Sunday, August 11, 2013

Adjustment

Races are all different. No two are exactly alike. I wish I had learned it earlier in my racing days. After a lackluster cross country career, which taught me much, but yielded little in the way of results, I moved to triathlon.

My first race, back in May, was a sprint distance race. The namesake is obvious, this is a fast event, you go hard from the gun. It was a lot like cross country or track, where the longest event in either is a 5k. So for 20 minutes or so in those races, you just hurt. Your lungs hurt, your legs burn, your heart beats at 180 bpm, just like your feet hit the pavement 180 times every minute.

In June, I raced Ironman 70.3 Kansas. Completely different. The only thing that was similar was the fact it was swim, bike, run. But what I wasn't really expecting was the fact that it didn't hurt. Not all the time at least. Certainly there were parts of the race, like the massive climb that showed up twice on the run that hurt like Hell. But I was used to hurting the entire time, in fact, I rather enjoyed that aspect of my previous races. Without pain, I had no measuring stick to gauge my efforts. I never raced with power, etc. and I had never raced something so long.

The best thing to do is learn from each race. What I learned in Kansas was that (despite the foreboding nature of the race) longer races aren't necessarily harder than shorter ones. They're simply different. Once you learn to make that mental adjustment, you'll grow in leaps and bounds as an athlete.

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