Monday, April 2, 2012

Mastering My Mind at Texas 70.3 National Pro Championships!

Texas 70.3 was a successful day!

In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
Bill Cosby

What is success for me???
Success differs from person to person. Being a competitive athlete and only measuring success on your placement can be very frustrating. I have definitely been one of those athletes...but I have learned over the years to set different goals for races and thereby broaden the definition.
Yesterday I placed 11th in a competitive field at Texas 70.3. I viewed it as a good day for many reasons! Don't get me wrong ,
a Top 3 or Top 8 or a pay day would have been ALOT better and a big BONUS! But that was not my goal for this race!

Why race then?
I really believe you learn from each race....and from each race you get a boost of fitness. This was what Texas was for me! An opportunity to train in the best possible environment...a closed course,great competition and a chance to push myself harder than I would in any training day!

What did I gain from racing?

It was my suggestion to add Texas 70.3 to my schedule after my flat/mechanicals in Panama. I really enjoyed racing in Galveston last year and I love a 70.3 race 3 weeks before an Ironman. At first Coach Jesse was a little reluctant but then he agreed. On one condition I had to accept the day no matter what...without any negativity as it was going to be in the middle of my last big training weeks for Ironman South Africa. Now this is always easier said than done. Of course I had suggested racing prior to seeing the heavy schedule of training I was going to endure the 2 weeks prior to racing. But I just rolled with it and took each day one at a time . (With the occasional freak out ;-))

As a lot of you may have read...I went into race day quite fatigued. I raced Costa Rica Oly 2 weeks ago and made it a 20 mile run day then followed it up with another 22 plus day running 3 days later...then followed that with a 110 mile ride followed by a 140 mile ride4 days later on the lovely Texas 70.3 course (4 days before TX 70.3)!!! This was quite a big block of miles. And anyone who has done this race knows that riding in Galveston is like riding on the trainer...down in the stopping... It was a windy long 7 hours.

After riding in the busy NJ roads I welcomed miles and miles of open riding with no stops!

San Luis favorite oart of the course!

So I was pretty much smashed 3 days before the race. Thankfully Coach Jesse eased up on the last few days by a hair allowing me to soak up the hard work and giving me the chance to recover a little before Texas.
He assured me I would be ok but after the race he shared that he was definitely worried that I might not have anything in the tank come race day! A good coach knows when to lie :-)

One of the things Coach Jesse and I had addressed the week before racing was the fact that I put ALOT of pressure on myself in wanting to perform well! Who doesn't! I have the tendency to want to make each and every workout count and each and every race a PR. Now this does not always happen. But by race day mentally I was quite prepared for the day! I knew it was not going to be easy!

So to reflect on race day. Here are 10 positives I took out of of my race yesterday.

1.I did not sleep much the night before the race..but reminded myself it's the sleep two nights before that really counts.

2. It was warm out...always a great way to start the day! As NJ has been cool I have been lucky to get 3 HOT weather races in this year. Big help for IMSA!

3. It was going to be a wetsuit swim...I have not swum in a wetsuit all year and IM South Africa will be wetsuits so it was important practice for that race.

4.Even though I missed the main pack and it was not the swim I hoped for I still took off more than a minute off my swim time from here last year. I swam aside 2 girls but never got the benefit of swimming on anyones feet.

5. Coach Jesse had decided the day before to have me ride 5-8 watts lower than previously suggested...I am glad that I chose to follow my instincts and biked at the initial suggested watts as my legs although flat were able to push. The bike just like last year was a chase to catch up to the girls who had come out of the water 1-3 minutes ahead of me. I managed to catch about 5 girls on the bike. Biking a 2.29 in windy conditions.

6. I was very thankful that that plan did not backfire.

7. My Torhans Aero Bottle is an amazing addition to my bike set up. In windy days like yesterday it wass perfect!!! Can't race without it!

8. Once on the run it was a relief to find out I still had running legs. My first 5km was 6.22 pace...probably a shade too fast as I could not hold it later in the race when it got really HOT! It was a 1.10 minute PR run for me on that course. 1.28.40 run.

9. Now for the BIGGEST one. I was more focused than I have ever been in a race. 100% in the race. If I had allowed myself at any point to dwell on my prerace fatigue I would never had been able to push this race...In my mind I was fresh and tapered!

10. I am so grateful to be back racing!!! I had no expectations going into this race other than RACE!!! No expectations =Happy with 11th place!~

It was so good to see everyone out in Texas. Big thanks to QT2 for putting together a lovely pre race breakfast and really fun post race party! What a great group of athletes.

Galveston..a unique touristy shore town...

Thank you to all of you for your warm wishes pre and post race.
Thanks to my sponsors Revolution 3, QT2 Systems, Power Bar, Pearl Izumi, Recovery Pump, TorHans Aero, Louis Garneau, Kestrel.


Bre said...

You know I love watching you race and reading you insights and learn so much from you and your experiences.
The mind is really incredible eh? Sport & exercise psych was part of grad school for me...fascinating stuff!!
I'm glad you raced after the mechanical junk in Panama, this is the perfect way to start the weeks leading up the IMSA. Yeahhhh baby! Get ready to rock IMSA and congrats on this weekend!

Jen Small said...

it was great following along on the live feed (until it shut off...grrrr!!)

I have been spending a lot of time digging into the mental aspect of training and racing, just so fascinating how the two work together :)

Well Done out there!!

Jacqui said...

Hey Bre and Jen

I need to write a blog a little more on this topic...I was just so mentally fried on the
It is very interesting! It is one of those things that has to be practiced though in training as it is so easy to be distracted when racing.
Thanks for watching race day...If I had a few miles i think I could have run my way into Top 8 for sure as I was making ground on girls ahead...Good way to finish a race...also good as I have an IM in 19 days...AHHH!
Thanks again

Jamie said...

Really interesting race recap Jacqui. Especially after hearing stories lately about pros dropping out after the bike once they realize that they aren't going to earn Kona points or a paycheck so they can plan to jump into another race ASAP.

Kim said...

All exceptional things to take from that race experience! Thinking of you as you head into IMSA! Have a blast, you are more than ready!!