Race Lesson 1: Go beyond your desire to quit

In Uncategorized on July 26, 2016 by mstevensrev

imageThis past Sunday (7/24), I completed the SeaFair Olympic Triathlon and ended up having a blast. Now it wasn’t easy, and there are a few lesson that I’m taking away from this race.

My weakest event is swimming, the brief history of my life as a swimmer is that I have been average to slow. When I took my lifeguard test I completed the swim section but just within the allowed time. Therefore I have very low expectations of my accomplishments in the swimming section of the race. Last weekend was an one mile swim, the longest I have ever completed in open water.

When it started my heart rate and breath were completely out of control. While training I have mastered relaxed swimming through the Total Immersion technique, this allows me to swim much further distances then I have before in my life. With the crowd and the excitement of the race I lost it and half way through the first lap was sure that I would not complete the race because of the swim section.

I then decided to take my time, and when I had just about lost it I swam past one of the lifeguards who encouraged me. The way I felt was terrible but when he said, “Keep it up, you got it.” that gave me rest. If he didn’t think I was losing it, then I must not be…it was a case of some very positive mirroring. At that point my heart rate came down and I was able to get moving. The rest of the swim was very enjoyable, I resigned to myself that I might be there for hours and all hope of a respectable race time was lost. I just enjoyed it, in looking back I think a good description of my swimming is like a Golden Retriever.

There are appropriate times to quit, I’ve learned this through racing. Also professionally I have found wisdom in Seth Godin’s book, The Dip. Then there are also times where you just have to keep going in spite of the feelings inside, sometimes they are fear, sometimes the fear is justified as I knew I did now train enough for the swim, and sometimes they are just wrong. While running I have never experienced what is known as The Wall, which many runner wills say they experience while distance running. They are left with pushing through it. Sometimes pushing through it is very much worth it.

Since I have good experience in distance running and I’ve updated my bike (it flies!!), my time was respectable. Actually my pre-race expectations were right in line with my swim time. If I had been able to remain relaxed from the beginning I may have exceeded my own expectations:) This experience was a reminder, and watching the night before The Good Dinosaur, both were helpful in reminding me that sometimes you just keep moving forward past the desire to stop past the fear.

In daily life there is often little choice but to continue…so then having such a weakness exposed needs a strategy which I’ll look at tomorrow with Race Lesson #2.

“Winning has nothing to do with racing. Most days don’t have races anyway. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up.”
Amby Burfoot, Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life




One Response to “Race Lesson 1: Go beyond your desire to quit”

  1. […] In Race Lesson 1: Go beyond your desire to quit, I mentioned the challenge that the swim leg of the SeaFair Olympic Triathlon caused me. It was great to get through that experience but it immediately led me to action for improvement. The number of years that I have dedicated to running and the expertise that I have gained in that area cannot be duplicated with swimming. Therefore my goal is not to make swimming my strength in triathlons. […]

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