Yep I skipped yesterday- was trying to write everyday but didn’t.
So today is not about the physical training, the sports, the mental toughness.
It is about the strength it takes me to SHOW UP and be okay with myself.
ISN’T THAT CRAZY!? I know. It isn’t logical, but our minds don’t always follow logic.
I have trained since January (along with trying to get back to STANDING after my back went out, ahem)… as hard as I could for this race (not that every day/workout/week was “hard” but hard meaning SMART)… anyway… I am fit and ready. Logically I know this. HOWEVER.. I also know … from YEARS of being ready.. that for me, SHOWING UP and not fluttering away with zero self confidence can be the hardest thing for me.
It is true. I park and pull into the (already hot) gravel parking lot outside of Sailwinds… and no matter if I am with my family or on my own… even before exiting the car, I feel “less than.” Like I am kind of FAKING my way --- an imposter! Taking up someone else’s space… taking up too MUCH space… not belonging. If I know 10-20 people there and see them, or if I know NOONE, I have some level of a feeling of not belonging, being an outsider, guilty of (I’m not really sure.. but just somehow guilty)?!
And…. Walking into the building for packet pickup… I see… MUSCLES. Oh my GOD EVERYONE IS FIT!!!!! (regardless that within the last 24 hours I was probably scrunching up my own face and nose at my own arms that have weird-ball veins that seem to pop out at this time of year (increased blood flow plus a little bit leaner, plus just genetics).. BUT…. At that moment, again…. I see FIT PEOPLE of which I do not include myself! I see muscles- lean bodies, tall bodies, long limbs, SWIMMER bodies, runner bodies….. I don’t see myself fitting in. I feel large and wierdball. I feel like a frumpy fake and ohhh everyone else is in their cycling shorts and… I hear people talking about miles and they just got OFF their bikes… and I hear talk about races they just completed and I begin to think….
OH MY GOD DID I FORGET TO EVEN TRAIN!!!!
Did I work out recently! Haha! (yes I did and it is very well logged—every week I’ve been 2+x swimming/ 40miles/week running and biking a significant amount… as well as all of the other elements of training that come into play: yoga/strength/conditioning/rolling/rest/physical therapy/ nutrition etc).
But.. me being me… cannot see or remember that!
I see other people previewing the course and think it must all be so easy for them!
**And 2 weeks of mental training that I do, self confidence building- reminding myself of how well trained I am… and THESE ARE THE THINGS that I think upon ARRIVING AT RACE SITE!!!
So, I take a deep breath, remind myself that I BELONG… that I MORE THAN belong.
I start the swim each year in my age group wave, kind of again feeling like… ahhhhh…. I’m like a kid in this group--- beginner level---- only because my swim is not my strength. SILLY. And I know this. But it takes effort to talk myself through. To talk myself into finding my space exactly where I want to begin/ not moving over out of deference to someone who may swim faster. They can pass me. I deserve the space I am in.
I was an oddball triathlete who kept my first- very low level entry -level tri bike since 2003 up until this year, so 14 years.. (unheard of. It is essentially like still wearing my high school jeans… which…. I sadly also still do)(wear things long enough and they come back in style actually!!!).. anyway…. For years, I’d see people arriving with what probably were very high level pricey bikes and I kind of thought, ahhhh man, I’m on like a toy bike…. But I reminded myself: IT IS NOT ABOUT THE BIKE- it is about the ENGINE.. and I KNEW from experience that I could stand strong…my bike is always top of the women, but it wasn’t my natural reaction. I had to talk myself through that and remind myself of that and just keep busy/moving/inwardly focused. This year I have a new bike. I am happy to have the technology on my side, but I also will be reminding myself that I am the very capable engine that could…. And can… and WILL….
Eagleman is a HOT AS HELL race usually. It is notorious for this. I never wore a 2 piece swimsuit in my life until I realized it helps me at Eagleman to stay a bit cooler and also to hold ICE better. Growing up in a leotard for gymnastics, a one piece swimsuit even through college, on my honeymoon etc… I am like a fish out of water in a 2 piece. I stand at the start line thinking, please don’t let me see anyone I KNOW!!!!! It is only when the race begins and I am in the think of being in a place I am comfortable that I begin to realize that I could care less what others think, and that I am fit and have nothing to worry about.
So… in short, race weekend is a weekend full of internal self talk reminding myself that I am worthy of being there, that I have done an amazing job preparing, that I am as ready as I need to be and even MORE! It is a weekend of reminders to stop judging myself, to stop negative self talk, to stop drinking in the nonsense that I don’t matter, that I am not enough, and to not make excuses for myself. I am glad I am aware that these are not logical thoughts I have, glad that I know that these thoughts and any negative self talk do not serve me well or lead me to a place I want to go to…or to a place I belong.. (no one does!!!)
I need to remind myself that I did not start out with an endurance capability, but I have trained myself hard for years. That I won’t play mind games with anyone trying to play mind games with me, that I am there as the culmination of a test of what I have done over 5 months, and that the day is a celebration, a party on the roads. The results are not who I am, but the work I put into the preparation IS WHO I AM!