Confidence breeds confidence. It’s long been said, and I firmly believe it to be true. When we witness ourselves master a task, we feel good; our sense of assurance goes up, and often times we want to do it again; do it better. In the sporting realm, I’ve also found that racing elicits incredible fitness; gains that can’t quite be matched by training (that is, if you know how to race “hard”; take risks, go to places unknown and realize your potential). In the span of my triathlon career, I’ve always loved to race. Some of my best years I’ve raced as much as once a month; and often at minimum, once every 6-8 weeks. Of course as we age as athletes, we have to adjust recovery accordingly; and the more we do Ironman racing, the more we must respect not over-racing. I’ve had to step back this season from racing due to the not uncommon issue of niggles. Hence, less racing than I would prefer. I feel fortunate that the latter half of the season, my body is coming around; giving me the chance to toe the line more frequently. I can feel myself racing a little more aggressive each time; remembering how to dig deep, embracing the pain of competing, and appreciating that it doesn’t come easy. But you know what the hardest part has been? Having the deep-seeded, without a doubt belief that I can be as successful as I want to be when I step out there.
One of the many things I love about endurance training is the time we have to ourselves. Time to feel our body working hard, enjoy the environment around us and let our thoughts wander in and out. Today while riding long, I was thinking about the process. We all work hard; but I know for me, there are times I feel more motivated than others. This year has been challenging as it hasn’t been a smooth ‘flow’ of train-race-recover-repeat. When the body doesn’t fully cooperate, it’s easy to lose some motivation. However, I often find that it’s during times of adversity and setbacks that I’m forced to ask myself why I’m doing it, why it matters, and how much I’m willing to do to get back to where I want to be. Call me crazy but, I tend to embrace these challenges as much as a hard session or a competition.