First off, to anyone who has taken the time to read my rant's, left comments or sent me some positive energy, I'd like to send out a sincere THANK YOU.
Yesterday, 8 March 2014 at the Sarasota Pan American Cup I towed the line for the second time in two weeks! Next week, I'll be attending the US Military Endurance Sports Training Camp in Tucson, AZ and topping that delightful week with the Super Seal Triathlon. With three races in three weekends plus a camp, racing is in FULL effect. I finally feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to do in this life.....which is easy to say now. When it's race day, certain negative voices pop in my mind which is totally annoying!
First off, notice the smiles (these are post race)! Like I've always said, no matter the result, you're a fool to not cherish FINISHING a race. I don't care if you're beating Manuel Huerta like my team mate Nicholas Sterghos or coming ahead of the 6 athletes at the tail end like me, there are multiple victories to celebrate. I feel normal enough when I say "The Voices" were surely nagging at me. #1 I know my swimming isn't going to increase to super speed within a week. I knew I was sorta out of my league. Thankfully, my Coach Tim Crowley tells me I'm not too far off...but being a coach, I would tell me the same thing! #2 Once the swim is gone, you're on your own...racing for pride. #3 It's still hard to go from doing fairly well in the AG ranks and winning, to bottom of the barrel. I completely expected this, but seriously...nothing compares you for the speed they carry.
BOOM! Check out that amazing picture above. But don't even pay attention to me! Notice the guy behind me? I actually was "racing" this time. I fought through the "suck" and re-connected with the race. Granted I did have to TT by myself until 3/4 of the last lap but I still managed 24.5 mph on a road bike with zero aero gear!! I'm pretty pumped about overcoming a rough swim leg. So anyway...here is a small race recap:
- Race morning - Since the race was at 2:30pm....totally hard to plan meals. I thought I did well but I'll explain more when we get to the run. I ate some bananas, sweet potato, plant based bars and slammed beet juice. I also Did some light biking and running with drills to feel "fresh", relaxed and enjoyed a lazy morning.
- Race Site - Arrived with plenty of time to warm up and get a new race number...Notice the home made number on my seat post? I made the rookie mistake of driving 45 minutes at 60+mph with my number on my stem...whoops. Being able to get into the Elite tent is pretty nice. They have hot meals, massages, a sauna, pedicures...etc. The big thing I notice is, no one really talks, except for some nervous banter. We act relaxed but once we line up, it's easy to see who is carrying the race day "tension" (might have been me). I'd say I was definitely nervous...knowing the type of effort I was about to try and attempt got me going. Especially since it was hard for me to put out a hard effort and stay on Nicholas's feet the day prior.
- Swim - The dive was great, the first 200 meters were also great. Before I knew it, the splashes started to slip away. How disappointing, I was brining up the rear...again. The good news is, I wasn't the last one out. I think it's a matter of developing that top end speed, coupling it with some more endurance. I know I'm a faster swimmer but when I have to go 150% it really throws me off, a technique I've yet to master. At the end of the day, it's just another way to get better but it will take a little more time. I've only been swimming for 4 years so I'm definitely happy where I am. Full disclosure, I was battling the "quit" voices...knowing I would be racing on my own. BUT then I thought DAMNIT, at least I'm gonna get a solid workout". It's hard to admit that....but I feel like I'm only human.
- Bike - The new Scott Foil, light as can be, felt great. I'm not 100% comfortable on it yet. I think I need to extend my "reach" a bit but all around love the new rig. After this week my American Classic aero wheel set will be in so I'll have some more advantages. I rode the Argent, tuble-less wheels for my first 2 races which are amazing in the corners. Sadly, all of that would have been of more benefit if I would have been in a bike pack. Anyway, I worked like hell to catch 3 guys ahead of me, welcoming the brief 2 to 5 seconds of recovery between pulls. I managed to make my way to the back of the race, so I was happy....and decided to yet again, NOT QUIT!
- Run - Remember I mentioned the 2:30 pm race start and it being difficult to plan the right sequence of food. Well, last weekend I nailed it. This weekend I felt super bloated, like a brick was moving around in my gut. I'd say it held me up a bit, but not terribly. I would have like to run down a few guys I bridged up to but I didn't feel confident aerobically and would have most certainly projectile vomited. Like I said, that top end speed is still developing and I'm realizing more and more, it just take time and patience. To be racing at this level is an honor and I'd be a fool to expect top level results with such a rookie background. I'm incredibly humbled and driven to succeed and EACH race lights a new fire.
I managed to defeat my own demons of negativity, for that I find ultimate internal victory. Despite taking a slash to the ego, my resilience is strong. I have always been a fast learner so with some great coaching and strong determination...let's see how far I can get.
Find Your "why"
Eventually we all have to hit some "reality". It's that critical point that may only happen a few times in life. For me, I ask myself the same question pretty often; "Will this path lead me to he best version of myself"? Seriously, a life free of the "normal" stress that most Americans deal with. I want to re-invent myself on a regular basis, surround myself with influential, positive people and focus on what really matters. The guts of our lives are as complicated as the inner workings of a cellular system. This world breeds stress, overcompensation, destruction...but only if you let it. How do I battle the every day issues with a smile on my face? It's because I've defined my "why". To make myself happy FIRST and find a challenge in everything. Happiness is a decision. Sometimes I decide to have a sub-par day but my favorite saying is, we have to have some clouds every now and then to remind us how bright it is. I have many hats to wear. As an active duty military member, endurance coach, professional triathlete and student the billet is usually full. If I didn't take a small step back sometimes to analyze if I'm doing things properly, I'd be lost. Luckily, the strong network of people behind me keep me in line. Karen Anthony (my girlfriend) is always on the front line...dealing with my continual dedication to being awesome and our lack of quality time (sorry babe). So when you find your "why", ensure you really take some time to find it's true meaning, analyze it and WANT IT and SHARE IT. If you put enough energy into a thought, I promise it will happen. The only downside is, it may take you around 10,000 hours to be a master. Anyway, for now just know that I challenge you to eliminate the waste in your life, find your "why" and give back to those who so proudly support you. It's through our relationships with our fellow man (and women) we truly find our happiness. No one succeeds alone and if you need me, I've always got your back!