June 12, 2012

Triathlon Training Tuesday: Post-Race Reflections and Not Selling Myself Short

Thank you so much for the supportive comments on my SheRox tri race recap!  You guys are seriously amazing.  To the few of you who said something along the lines of that you could never make it through a tri, trust me when I say this: if I can get through a tri, ANYONE can!

Two days post-tri, I've had a chance to reflect a little bit on the experience of training for and finishing my first triathlon.  It's pretty crazy to think that a couple of years ago I couldn't have finished ANY of the three legs of the tri!  I'm really thankful that Lauren mentioned triathlons to me last summer and assured me that I could definitely do one.  I'm so glad you put that little bug in my brain, Lauren!  One huge thing I'm realizing is how much easier on my body training for and racing the sprint tri was than my half-marathons.  I'm one of those runners who is ALWAYS injured, and while training for the tri drained my energy big time, I was almost never sore or hurting from any part of the training (minus my sore neck that was from a poorly adjusted bike seat!).  What a welcome relief from my constant running injuries!  Also, even immediately after the race (and the next day!), my body felt great.  How awesome is that?!?  Maybe triathlon is where it's at for me!  (Although I'm just going to stick with the sprint distance for now!)
One other thing I've been thinking about while reflecting on the race is how I had a little bit of a defeatist attitude in the weeks leading up to the tri.  During my training, even though everything was going great and I was improving week to week, anytime I talked about it with friends or family, I would say things like, "Yeah, it's going to be a train wreck," or, "I'm probably going to drown," or, "I'm definitely going to be one of the last ones crossing the finish line--if I even make it!"  This is not unusual for me.  My dad and I were just talking the other day about how he tends to miss me crossing the finish line even if he's right there watching.  This happened during the Soldier Field 10 Mile race a few weeks ago, and my dad commented that he wasn't expecting me because I'd said I'd probably be one of the last finishers.  It was a challenging race for me, but one of the last finishers?  I wasn't even close to last.  I may be a "back of the pack" runner in terms of my pace, but actually in bigger races, I tend to be a middle of the pack finisher.  Why am I so self-deprecating, then?  Did I actually think I was going to drown?  Was "not finishing" really a possibility?  The truth is, I trained hard for this race and was more than ready.  Why would I assume it was going to be a "train wreck"?  What's more, anytime someone asked me about the tri distance, I'd start talking it down.  "Well, it's *just* a sprint tri, so it's really short.  It's not a big deal."  Not a big deal?  Did I really think that?  Or was I just worried that other people would think that?    

Maybe it's time I stop selling myself short.

After finishing three races in a row that I am genuinely proud of, I'm realizing that while I will NEVER be fast, I have accomplished so much.  In the past year and a half, I have conquered some huge goals.  Finishing a half-marathon and crushing my time when I finished #2.  Setting a 5K PR.  Running 12 races in 12 months.  And most recently, finishing a triathlon.  Nothing about these accomplishments is "not a big deal."  They are a big deal, and they are huge achievements for me.  I'm proud of them, and you can bet that next time I train for a race, I'm going to stop selling myself short.  Here's the thing--it's okay to be afraid of your goals and dreams.  It's okay to be nervous about races.  But I'm deciding right now that it's no longer okay for me to hide my fear behind a mask of jokes and self-doubt.  From now on, I'm going to be confident in my ability.

That being said, let's celebrate things that went really great during the tri.  I like celebrations, don't you?  The teacher in me who comes up with silly cheers to give *props* to students will celebrate each of these things with a marshmallow clap.  What is a marshmallow clap, you ask?  1. Hold out your hands in front of you like you're about to clap them together.  2. Picutre a gigantic marshmallow in between your hands.  3. Attempt to clap your hands--but wait!  There's a marshmallow in between them!  Congratulations, you have successfully executed a marshmallow clap.
Breaking out the marshmallow clap during senior bar crawl in college..

  • I made it through the swim and did not get kicked in the face or need to hang onto the buoys to rest. (Marshmallow clap!)
  • I got out of transition areas in less than 5 minutes.  (Marshmallow clap!)
  • I biked the entire distance without once feeling tired.  (Marshmallow clap!)
  • I finished the run strong with a sprint to the finish.  (Marshmallow clap!)
  • I truly enjoyed the entire race and celebrated every mile.  (Marshmallow clap!)
And those things, my friends, are no small potatoes.  Or small marshmallows.
Of course, there is always room for growth, and as I've said before, one of my favorite things about running (and I guess triathlons!) is that there is always another goal to be set.  On August 26th I will be doing the Danskin Sprint Tri in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.  At this race, I really want to improve my swim and transitions.  I did okay during the swim at SheRox, but I totally was freaking out during the swim start.  My goal for Danskin is to STAY CALM in the water and just KEEP BREATHING.  In the transitions, I'd like to get out of T-1 in under 4 minutes and T-2 in under 3 minutes.  I better work on getting those shoes on and off quickly!  I already can't wait for tri #2--just wish it wasn't so far away!  Until then, I guess I should start thinking about Fitness Goal #3 for 2012: Sub-30 5K...

Here's to celebrating achievements, not selling yourself short, and chasing goal after goal!


  1. Great job on your tri! Your swim time looked pretty good to me. Interesting lake/pool combo. I've never seen anything like that before!
    My goal for my next tri will be to actually do some swim training beforehand.
    Marshmallow clapping for you.

  2. Thanks for your nice comment. One of these days I will do a tri. Love the marshmallow clap.

  3. Great job on your triathalon and good luck on the next one and the next one and the..... :)

    You have come a LONG way!


  4. Totally! I think this is a bad habit many of us fall into - making a self deprecating joke about our performance or training. I'd say, "I'd like to be standing at the end of my race-not standing on the podium!" Don't knock yourself too hard for it. I think its half defense mechanism/ half please don't scrutinize my performance too much. Big marshmallow clap for your 12 races in 12 months! That may be one to shoot for. Keep running and writing and learning. Great job.

  5. I just found your blog (through a Pinterest link). Congratulations on your accomplishment! I'm a runner too (and a fifth grade teacher and reader!!) but a triathlon sounds intimidating. Very impressive!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...