On Achieving, at least once

Remember that post I did about my new goal to podium at my first race? Well the day has come and gone.



1:42:26 and I placed third in the Female 30-34 year old division, beating out 6 other ladies and coming in with the second fastest bike of the division and the third fastest run.

How did that happen???

I knew I had been putting in some good training and excellent work on my bike, but I had some serious mental doubts about my abilities during the race. I kept checking my watch, and worrying about my pace and the time that had elapsed. I had set those time goals, remember, which I thought I needed to hit in order to finish on the podium? A 10 minute swim, 45 minute bike, 35 minute run and 5 minute total transition time for 1:35ish total race. I was checking my watch, adding up time in my head, and knew I was well off that pace. I was looking at ages written on calves, trying to find my competitors. I was starting to get a little frustrated thinking that I was nowhere near anyone else in my field and not on track to hit my goal time. Mid race, I suddenly thought I would be happy just breaking 1:40, even if I didn’t end up on the podium, just breaking 1:40 would be achievement enough.

It was time for a mental slap.

Gauging your position compared to others is nearly impossible in triathlon, and worrying about their performance isn’t going to help you do much about your own. Suddenly downgrading your goals doesn’t help either. All you can do- and really, all you should do- is worry about your own race. Once I mentally refocused on myself, the concern about my arbitrary time goals started slipping away. I kept asking myself, am I pushing myself as hard as I can? Can I turn my legs over a little faster? Can I pull my core in a little tighter? When I cross that finish line, am I going to be satisfied that I did everything I could have or will I wonder what would have been possible if I had just pushed myself a little harder?

And with that new mindset, I knew that the answer was yes. While not the fastest swim I’ve posted, it was certainly the smoothest and least taxing I’ve ever had. I pushed myself as hard as I could have on my bike. I asked everything I had of my legs (and apparently PR’d my 5k race time, if the official timing splits are to be believed). Did I do everything in my training to be as successful as possible? No. I could have put out more effort, built more strength, not had so much wine. But that’s okay, because I know I have things I can work on and a place to grow. My performance in the race proved to me that I am capable of competing in this sport, not just finishing a race, and that drives me forward to set new goals.

More to come on that new goal, I’m not quite ready to announce the details yet. What I can share is that it is going to push me so far past what I thought were my limitations in so many ways. It’s going to be epic, and I’m so excited to get started.

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