So it turns out that when I bonk, I bonk HARD. I had my first steeple of the season at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, CA and I was feeling ready. I had a time goal in mind, but that took a backseat to my primary goal of staying competitive and mentally tough throughout the race. On Sunday, I managed to run one of the most unsuccessful openers of my career most likely because I failed miserably in the mental toughness department. Off the line it was a giant cluster of women vying for good position within the pack while heading into the hazard of the most dangerous first barrier, which is 200 meters into the race. Things never actually seemed to spread out, at least not while I was actually in a competitive position within the race. Imagine trying to hurdle a barrier while surrounded closely on all sides by women who are also trying to make room for themselves while also trying to avoid errant legs, arms, spikes and elbows. Hot mess. Even in the first lap I felt discouraged and irritated by the bunching but it did not dawn on me to throw in a surge and make a move to get around the traffic. That might have saved my race. Instead, I chose to slowly drift to the verrrrry back of the back and just run my own, much slower race. Not a great idea, and the fact that I had several terrible water jumps due to the bunching and a wonky landing in the pit certainly didn’t help my cause.
I ended up running 25 seconds slower that I had planned, had sluggish legs and never fully engaged in the actual race that was happening way up front where my fitness indicated I should have been. And I think I sprained my big toe. Insult? Meet injury. What a gong show.
I was pretty disappointed in my performance, as you may imagine, but I don’t have any choice but to pinpoint my failings in this race, work on them for my next race and move the heck on. Bigger and much faster things await me, so if I have to have any feelings towards the opener being a giant dud, I choose to feel like I can’t take racing opportunities for granted and need to be prepared on all fronts of my race if I want to reach the goals my coach and I have set for me.
After seeing several friends run killer races this past weekend, I could easily be more disappointed in my own race, but I’m not choosing that route at all. I am very happy for my friends’ success, and it doesn’t take away from my own goals or success, in fact, it should simply motivate me to train smarter, be on top of my pre-hab and know that even though we run different events, we’re supportive of each other and all in this qualifying thing together. A friend once told me that I can only be concerned with me because what everyone else is doing is not going to make me better or worse. It’s true; I’m in control of my own preparation and my individual approach to things may be different than someone else’s, but that shouldn’t make me question my process.
I’ve always had a positive attitude towards things- even when training was terrible or I was injured- and that has afforded me some great opportunities, so even if things didn’t go as I planned this past weekend, I need to understand that I can leave that race there, resume my training and focus on my next valuable racing opportunity. One in the same? I think so.
Enjoy a few photos from the water jump portion of my race. This may provide a little more context for the jumble of appendages I referenced.
Heading through the first water jump at Payton Jordan. There’s actually more cluster behind me.
Getting on my mean face outta the pit.
This has been deemed my “Kung Fu Fighting” photo. Yes, it was a little bit frightening.