Took the plunge yesterday and put on my race face (grrrr!) at the Blue Lake Triathlon here in Portland, Oregon. I haven't competed since Mexico in September...so I was nervous! Usually, I am about 50/50 full of nerves and excitement. This time the nerves took up a bit more real estate.
I consider a race (or tough training session) a "win" if every time my body and brain say "whoa, slow down this hurts!" I immediately reply (sometimes out loud) "No way! I can go harder!" Regardless of results, time, place, whatever, if you can stay focused and lean into the work -- you've won.
This is no easy task. I think I was feeling wary of how difficult this is to do when running on high for over an hour. This is where the nerves come in. "Can I do it?"
Back story. For the past few months, my training has been getting derailed by doubt and cloudy thinking. Instead of allowing myself to be totally immersed in the task at hand, I was swimming in a world of thoughts and emotions that only got in the way of my work. "Can I do it?"
Recently, I've been practicing a meditation technique in which you take the bothersome, negative, or fiercely reoccurring thought and put it in a bubble and send it on its way.
Race morning, as I drove to the venue, I opened the window and let all the bubbles out. When I arrived, I was calm and clear headed.
From there, I just did what I always do. And on this day, I took first place. The hardest work I did was before the race even started. Changing my mindset and getting mentally prepared to execute my race and put all my training into practice was the real win.