The reality is that there was never going to be a Husky Long Course in these legs this year and so letting 2013 slip by was the obvious choice. With a Cortisone injection planned for the very next day after the race, there was nothing left to do but find a silver lining. I hoped to be able to turn this into a learning moment and get back into the positive attitude that I pride myself for maintaining the majority of the time. With Big Gazza, Roberto and The Onion Man all racing and pretty much the entire AP.10 Crew out on the day also, I decided the first call was to self appoint myself to the role of Official Crew Photographer.
The second thing to do was to focus on what I could do and not what I couldn't and so as I could swim, I set some goals around that.
- Make sure my sighting was as we practiced in training
- Set myself up in the deep water start the way we practiced
- Keep my form in the swim and cadence just like Coach said to
- Find a pair of feet to draft off
- And so the list goes on.
- One I added for myself also was to stay in the moment.
Let me explain. The last few swims I have found I end up in my comfort groove, you know, the one you can do all day that stroke that is familiar and not a huge amount of effort just auto-pilot. And that is when my mind wonders off and I look at the birds over head, wonder what is for dinner, get distracted by the pretty fish and so on.
To further illustrate the point let me show you some photos of the day.
Ok, so this is me after a 2km swim. Relaxed, smiling, joking with friends, happy etc. And this is Coach at the end of his race. (granted he did the whole lot but....)
I see a huge difference here folks! What I see is not physical... cause it's obvious we are at different ends of the spectrum. What I see, is a point of difference in the mental approach to the race and for that matter training as a sum total. To further illustrate, read on....... Coach is a fun guy. That's him photo bombing Pezza. He is bigger than life and seizing it with both hands. In this photo the Crew is gathered and chattering on about the day, stirring each other up, fussing with gear etc and Coach is in amongst it.
But then he checks his watch, pushes the ear pieces of his i-pod deep into his ears, cranks up the volume (I assume) pulls out a banana and quietly moves to a chair away from the Crew and facing a blank sign. Why? What's going through his head? The Crew accept this easily and don't bug him. It's time to get his race face on. He stands up after a while and in a calm voice says "Ok team, today I think we should"........we wait for some last minute pearls.........."Do a swim......then a bike.......then finish it with a run. What do you reckon? Get your hands dirty!"
In other words, if you don't have it now, forget it. Nothing he can say or do will change anything. You have to trust you have done the work, trained true, been honest and communicated with him over the preceding months. We head for the water. High -5 from Coach and it's on.
I settle in the water. It's cold! Colder than I expected anyway. I find a position on the line, float on my stomach as it is a deep water start, siren wails and we are away. Dig in a few hard strokes and sight for the buoy regularly and stay true on course. Round the buoys I head and after the third buoy I notice there are no feet to jump onto. The speed demons are about 10 metres or so in front of me, then there is me. I can see a few red caps if I turn and look back but no one next to or close to me. I am in the lead of the second bunch. Nuts! But ok, keep grinding. ohh look at that pretty school of tiny fish.... Hmm, paddle boards are now replacing kayaks I note....probably Christmas presents... SAMMI!!!!!!!!!! Stay FOCUSED.
I have other thoughts too. "Well, I'm just doing the swim so this race doesn't mater if I go slow. NO!That wasn't the race plan. My lower back is complaining too and I notice I don't have any drive through my kick....this is going to be a slow time. etc etc etc.
Now, check this face out.
I assume here that he is not thinking about if the pink band on his wrist matches his eyes. There is determination, pain, exhaustion, belief, commitment and I would guess a good dollop of hunger and drive mixed in there too.
So where is mine?
The finish shute and behind him is Jono and his family from the Crew celebrating and cheering him on. Even in the finish shute there is no letting go.
So, back to the first two pictures...........
When I race, there is always a part of me that somewhere deep down isn't in the moment. It says, 'it's ok, we aren't competitive, we are just here to have fun, look at the pretty fish all you like cause we aren't serious we can pull out anytime, no one will care, you're just an average age grouper with out a shot so just smile and have fun."
It's a flat out excuse for not having the balls to dig deep and hurt and push myself beyond where my head says "That's BAD!" It's not having the faith and conviction in my body and the training to confidently say, and truly believe, that I know my body is physically up for the job. It can do this. The only thing holding me back is me, and my ability to be stronger than my own mind when it signals to my body that I should stop or something might possibly go wrong. I have not got the ability (Or perhaps drive/want to push myself to a place in the back of the Hurt Locker) even though I say I can do it.
My learning moment out of this weekend is to turn that entire thought process around. Otherwise why the fuck would I bother getting a Coach and spending money to have the best support and advice I can get in order to do this thing. Somewhere there is a gap. And I think it is a mix of Fear of Failure, Self sabotage, Excuse ladened bile. I do want to do the best and be the best that I can be.
So make the magic happen Sammi.