I don't think triathlon necessarily comes easy to anyone but it really doesn't come easy to me. As I sit here two days post Galveston and quickly approaching OilMan, I still find it hard to believe I stuck with triathlon. My first experience was horrible. I don't come from a strong swimming background and most of my experience around pools involved laying next to them with tanning oil all over my body. Yes, I knew how to ride a bike but not a fancy bike! I have always enjoyed running but most of my running in my younger years involved a 5k here and there and I never cared what my time was. In fact, I think I was pretty consistently in the 30-35min range. On top of all that, I definitely am not built for speed. I'm not bashing myself or anything like that...just stating a fact.
So given all that, why do I beat myself up after every race even when I have a good race? Well, that would be because I have ridiculously high expectations of myself and I don't like doing things I'm not good at. Yes, everyone in my family will tell you I'm super competitive (especially when it comes to board games) but I'm seriously not really competitive with others at races. It truly is ME that I want to beat. I want to beat my last time. I want to always show improvement and for a long time, I equated improvement with faster times but I'm quickly learning that there is much more to it than that.
Talking w/ Ana after my last few races has been really good for me. She is awesome at analyzing results and can quickly show me that even though my time may have been slower, I moved up x number of places in the standings. Or maybe I was not as fast on the bike as I hoped but compared to others who raced the same race the previous year, I showed greater improvement. Ok, so I need to look at things differently. We all have a different starting point and that's what matters. Where are you today from where you were yesterday? Or from where you were when you started? THAT is what matters. 1st, 5th or 14th place don't matter. Those are just numbers. Ok, they do matter a little but you get my point.
I told Keith I need to remind myself why I do this. Sure, someday I would love to be in the top half of my age group CONSISTENTLY but at the end of the day, I'm doing this because I enjoy it and it makes me happy and keeps me healthy. I'm trying to improve. And given where I started, I'd say I've improved by leaps & bounds.
It's funny how you can experience feelings at both ends of the spectrum about the same race. You can start out so happy because you achieved your goals and then after a few hours you start thinking about what you could've done differently. Ok, maybe YOU don't do that but I definitely do! I suspect there are more of you like me out there though.
So that's it. I just wanted to clear my head of these last few thoughts so I could make room for all the visualizing I need to start doing for OilMan. I am really, really excited for this race and I'm going into it with the same sense of calmness I went into it last year. I so enjoy this distance and I really like this course. So many people had told me this wasn't a good race but I totally disagree. Sure, it lacks many of the bells & whistles you get at other events but is that why we really do these races?