Tomorrow is my third crack at an Olympic-distance triathlon. I’ll be racing the Lifetime Tempe Tri for the second time. Last year when I participated in this event, it was my first ever race at that distance. Although I finished, I knew I could do way better than a 2 hour 54 min Olympic-distance race. My second shot at the distance came just this past May in Hurricane, UT. I saw some improvements in my swim and run splits and also managed to win my age group. I was definitely happy with the improvements, but I still felt that I could do so much better.
I have always had a tendency to overthink things, especially before a big event. The week leading up to a race, my mind wanders to all of the “what ifs?”. What if something happens during the swim and I get kicked in the face, or don’t swim as fast as I want to? What if I have a flat on the bike, or get into an awful crash? What if the heat causes me too much discomfort on the run and I just fall apart? What if I mess up during either of my transitions? Worst of all, what if I don’t even finish the race? These are often the thoughts that I obsess over before a race, which as you might have guessed, gets my nerves going at full speed ahead well before the race has even started.
While it’s completely normal and expected that I get a little nervous before a race that I have trained extremely hard for, I am working to drown out all of the “noise” that clouds my focus. There is no need to obsess over all of the negative things that can happen. There are literally dozens of things that could go wrong when it comes race day. All that I can do is acknowledge that the possibility is there, accept that it is out of my control, and focus on what I do have control over. The only things I can control are my training/preparation and the attitude that I bring with me to the starting line. Whatever happens once the gun goes off will be dealt with when and if it happens.
Normally I go into races with some strict time goal that I have set for myself. I’m very competitive that way. I always want to do well and be competitive with not only myself, but with the rest of the field. For tomorrow, I have some goals in my mind that I am looking to accomplish, but the biggest goal I have set for myself is to tread in the waters of Tempe Town Lake just before the start of my wave with a clear mind and a sense of confidence in myself. I’m not trying to make race day any more complicated and difficult than it already is. Just go out there, focus on the things that I can control, and enjoy what months and months of hard work have done for me.