The Comeback Kid – ET Batavia Triathlon
Since October of 2011, it has felt like rather than focusing on getting faster, stronger, and tougher, my training has been about moderation, control, and self-discipline. Why? How much time do you have? We’ve got the “Freak Marathon Bottle-Cap Foot Injury,” the “Peruvian Parasite Ordeal,” the “Embarrassing Visualization on the Treadmill Quad Strain,” the “Sneak Attack Club-Foot Calf Cramp,” and most recently, the “Curious Case of the Hurting Kneecap.” Needless to say, sometimes my body likes to pretend that instead of a fit 24-year-old, it’s actually that of a retired rugby player.
Through all of my weeks spent “returning to running” and having to yield progress for the sake of recovery, Coach Joe was a calm, constant voice reminding me constantly to think about the big picture. Making it to the ET Batavia Triathlon ready to swim, bike, and run was a BIG deal for me. However, as much as I wanted to unleash and “hulk out” during this race, I still had the big picture in mind (which is still just over a month away).
If there was one thing I’ve learned over the past 8 months, it’s listening to my body and knowing what it can do. Through what I could only imagine was careful and deliberate coaching, Coach Joe somehow got me to stop thinking about pace, time, and speed –basically, all the fun numbers – and start thinking about stamina, strength, and mental toughness. Funny story though… The more my paradigm shifted to the latter, the more my “fun numbers” were improving.
So. The race. Gorgeous day, sun was shining, temperatures were delightful. Basically, it was a great day to be a triathlete. Putting my new-found skills to the test, I decided to forego the “Watch that Tells You Everything but the Time” and just go with what felt right: I wanted to feel good and push myself without racing the clock.
The swim was much better than I thought it would be, and I popped out of the water faster than I thought! T1 went pretty quick, and before I knew it, I was cruising along on the bike. The course was stunning, relatively flat, and I had a great time saying hello to all of the ET volunteers along the way! I had that wonderful feeling in my quads that was letting me know I was crushing it out, and was just on Cloud Nine soaking up the gorgeous day.
T2 went by in a flash, and then I was on the run. After the standard brick feeling left my legs, I was carrying on at a nice clip when a girl flew past in a blur and all I could see was the “23” on her calf. She was in my age group… drat. So, as an incredibly competitive person, I’m at a crossroads: Do I punch it into fifth gear and try to keep up, or do I carry on at the pace I’m going? You guessed it, the new and improved me said, “Touché,” and just carried on. In about 30 seconds, I had completely forgotten about the other runner, and I settled in to a strong, consistent stride and finished my run.
Best part is… I crossed the finish line with a huge smile. And then I got to look at the fun numbers. The race was a new PR for me in all three events, and I placed in my age group for the first time! At the end of the day, all of that focus on moderation, control, and self-discipline made me faster, stronger, and tougher. And I couldn’t have done it without Coach Joe!