I don't care if you've just sweat blood racing a 5k or spent the majority of your last 12 hour IM regurgitating gels and Bonk Breakers, NOTHING feels better then finishing a race! For some of you, eating 5 pizzas may be better than finishing a race, I'm not judging. Before I start "fatting" out on some delicious food topics, let's get into my main point; we don't spend enough time appreciating the "glory". Think about it really hard. We spend hundreds of hours in preparation for one day of performance, execute our race plan and before we know it, the race is over. Sure, we all feel like celebrities on Facebook with all the "good jobs" and "congratulations", but do we really take the necessary time, giving credit to massive amounts of sacrifice it took to get across that line?
Personally, I know I don't...which leads me to think there might be others out there who also dumb down their accomplishments. Of course there have been others who have completed races before us and have even posted better results, but "glory" is relative to each person. Sometimes, it's the simple things that can give us some glory. A solid fartlek run or interval session deserves some credit too. On too many occasions I've woken up the next day, forgetting what I subjected myself to. The shower is always a good reminder since steam will irritate any sun burns or road rash. The first few steps out of bed are also a tell tail sign of hard work, screaming calfs...etc.
I know when it comes to being an athlete; each race is just another "check box" and it's probably about time I figure out what the heck to do with the finisher medals I've earned. Volunteers are so eager to hand them over as I struggle to stand up straight and catch my breath. Next thing I know, I've had my moment and I'm wondering how I'll race again in 2 to 3 weeks. This is why I've decided to make next season more about the post-race "GLORY", forcing a more jovial, laid back mindset, harnessing every amazing emotion so it lasts until the next race. Hopefully, this means I can smile even more when I'm on the podium (fingers crossed)! I'm not saying I'll change to unhealthy eating habits (like most do), but I'll spend some quality time trying to give myself some peace and enjoyment I've missed out on (more Froyo?), reflect on what it took to accomplish that goal and soak up the "GLORY". Waking up at 4:30 am, 5 days a week means an early bed time 7 days a week...Even then, it's impossible to feel caught up.
So it's almost time to hang up my tri-suit for the season. My last two races are within 90 days from now and will certainly require just a little more training. Luckily, I've avoided any further injury, meaning I was able to actually get in some decent run mileage. I actually competed in my first open half-marathon last weekend. It was the Halloween Halfathon at Ft. Desoto! A flat and windy course with some perfect weather made for a great day (Finished 1:22). Like most local running races I was still beat by a girl...(dangit), BUT I'm confident I'll eliminate future "chicked" moments very soon! I'll just need to lose 20 pounds immediately. As I roll into the end of the season, I still want to challenge myself to be the best version of "me", achieving goals, sharpening coaching fundamentals etc. The main reason I'm reflecting is to seriously learn from my experiences. Just like we need to rest and absorb fitness, the mental aspect of training needs it's time as well.
As this season comes closer to an end (frownie face), it's time to remember my "Why". Since I fully committed to this lifestyle and future career, life has taken on new meaning. Going to "work" is often the easiest part of the day because there are usually two to three workouts mixed in, not to mention healthy pre-planned meals and mentoring dedicated athletes. No matter how many ups and downs head my way, it's always important to remember the big picture; my "why". Why do we as athletes strive for such success and continually challenge existing expectations? Heck, sometimes I haven't the slightest idea....because honestly, it's super expensive, tiring and places a huge amount of stress on the body and mind. Those reasons keep a lot of people from succeeding but it's important to keep it in perspective. I know I love being a triathlete because I get to train and compete with some of the most inspiring people I've ever met. I can't think of many sports that have such an intense dynamic, forging talented individuals not only in sport but in life. Approximately 90% of the season is training, which means there is time for a taper and a race every so often. SOOO much emphasis is put into one day of performace. Months and months of training spent balancing the fine line of healthy fatigue and certain injury. Anyway, Ironman World Championship (KONA) was on Saturday and some athletes I look up to flawlessly executed their race plan, setting PRs and representing some amazing foundations. I'd like to thank all of them for giving me TONS to think about while I was competing at Long Course Nationals in Anderson, SC. The pain is temporary and everyone else is hurting too. Mental toughness is the missing link for many athletes. Click the pictures above to read about a few amazing athletes I have the pleasure of knowing.
Revolution 3, Anderson SC (Long Course Nationals)
Alright, I'm gonna hit you with some facts about this race. Despite the smiles in the pictures, I definitely had some predominantly negative thoughts. It wasn't even anything physical or painful, I think I'm just kinda, sorta ready for the season to be over. Even though I was 3rd out of the water and am very happy with that, I found it challenging to push through the "lows". The slight discomfort was even MORE mentally impactful than normal. The negative thoughts crept a little further than I am comfortable to admit. I'm not ready to do a "season wrap up" yet but I'll say I'm definitely considering all options this week . I've got another 70.3 ahead and a Olympic in Key West, which let's be honest...will be FUN regardless. BUT wait...let's move on to the Bike Leg. This course cataloged between 2800 to 3000 ft of climbing (depending on who's Garmin you're reading). I know it's nothing mountainous but it took its tole on the legs. I'd like to say it was fun to lead the race on the bike...dropping the 5 pack of drafters who made it to my wheel for about 10 minutes, then suddenly faded when an REV3 van came around.
- 3 hours before race- 1 banana and almond butter
- 2 hours, 1.5 cups home brew coffee blended with coconut oil, ghee and omeg3 oil
- 1 Amrita bar 30 min out
- 3 gels, 2x Nuun tabs in bottle and 1 honey stinger waffle on the bike
- Sipped a gel w/ water at each aid station during the run...Gatorade too.
The RUN started with tight legs, either due to over biking or because I've been unable to get any long runs in over the past few months. Either way, after 6 miles, it was time to survive with a smile. The last ditch effort came to me within the last 2 miles, as I gloriously held off Jon Nolan...a very talented athlete/coach with FAST legs. I'm happy to have been able to run 1:30 considering what the season has handed me. Next season....will be a different story.
Try a REVOLUTION 3 Race next year.....I promise you'll be impressed. Support the companies who support ATHLETES!
Oh and.....Post Race Nutrition was a group meal at MELLOW MUSHROOM!
I know what you're thinking, "Dang Nick, that color shirt looks amazing against skin tone" (Thanks). BUT just in case you didn't notice, there is a little eye infection too...no big deal. But seriously, I'm glad all of the health issues waited to show up after a Olympic Distance Worlds. Finally, this week is the first week I've been able to run without pain. One day my body will stop fighting back and just accept it will continually be tested!
Anyway, bigger and better things are ahead! This weekend I will be racing Revolution 3 Anderson, South Carolina. I've actually enjoyed this course once before and had a decent performance too. The course is challenging and demands some thought as there are many hills on the bike and the run. Speaking of races, for most people the end of the season is near or has already happened. For me, I'll have another 70.3 and Olympic distance to knock out. Revolution 3 just makes it so easy to keep signing up for races! If you place in your age-group or overall, they reward you with a free entry to ANY REV3 event! You wont get that from a WTC event! For that reason, I couldn't let them go to waste.
So what else is going on the wide world of triathlon? Ironman World Championship is this weekend and I finally feel like a real fan. I know all the tops names (non-top names too) and have been following their races all season. I'd almost be able to have one of those annoying "football" like arguments but no one really knows triathlon where I work. None the less, I'm excited to see my idols perform at their best, defining what my life will hopefully one day become.
Crap Diet? Want some help?
I'd like to say that we are all professional "Eaters" in our own right. Over 200 of our daily decisions are food dependent! Most people completely rely on self control, often leaving any sort of sensible rationale in the dark. Since when does having a bad day mean your body can automatically process 5 donuts without weight gain? Also, with all of the new diets on the market, how the hell do you even know where to start? I listen to about 4 podcast (paleo, vegan fruitarian) stations that seem to make sense but are somewhat conflicting. I listen to a bit of everything because I don't believe in ONE way of thinking. Also, we shouldn't only be eating to be thin. As an athlete, performance is paramount. The most important "GOLDEN RULE" is; what works for me will not necesarrily work the same for you. Often times, even challenging someone concerning their eating, is like starting a heated debate over religion or politics. Eating is incredibly emotional so it's important to take control of your emotions before you eat! Have a plan! Fill your pantry with snacks you can enjoy without feeling horrible. Keep it simple and try this perspective:
- Purchase raw ingredients (local vegetables, local fruits, grass-fed meats, cage free eggs)
- MAKE TIME to prepare food and KEEP IT SIMPLE....(and don't be lazy)
- Know what you're eating for breakfast, before you go to bed. Know your pre-lunch snack AND have a lunch plan!
- Odds are, if it's in a box or sealed bag...it's meant to last a long time and is filled with mystery ingredients. Leave it be!
Most people have allowed sub standard levels of energy and motivation, only pausing to make more excuses and implosive, poor decisions. Make your life a priority and put some hard thought into what matters. You're a freaking Indy car and you need the best freaking fuel in the world to race in the this competitive world. Invest in yourself, set the example for others to follow. DUH!
- There isn't a perfect way of doing anything and you're certainly going to make mistakes. Ensure your decisions make you truly happy and support your philosophies. Relate a change in eating habits to a swimming pool. Everyone in the pool is wet. The difference is, some people walk in and some people dive in.
If you're interested in a VERY honest company that invests more in their product as they grow....Amrita Bars are the answer.