Friday, May 4, 2012

the no goals post

And in a surprise twist that shocks both of you the universe, I have no goals for this race.  But that doesn't mean I don't have a plan.

When I was out in Colorado visiting, we spent Friday night eating and talking about a lot of things, in particular racing.  And Michelle said something that has really stuck with me this past month.  She told me how, a few years ago, she had been struggling to execute on race day despite being really ridiculously fit and all the while she was talking, bells were going off in my head.  The magic puzzle piece, the sprinkle of fairy dust, the lesson that she finally learned was to get out of her own way.  That's what has been going around and around in my head, that was repeated to me over and over by Sonja in her response to my race plan, and if I had one goal for this race, it would be that.  To stay out of the way, out of my OWN way, and just let my body do.

I do understand that fitness doesn't equal speed.  I don't believe in race day magic, I don't think that my body can lay down my 5K race pace for 13.1 miles at the end of a hot and hilly day.  But I also believe that I have yet to truly race this distance.  I feel like I've never attempted it before, not like this, I feel like it's brand-new.  And the best decision I can make is to have no expectations for time on this race.  Not even secret ones inside my head that no one knows about.  I have none.  I want to give my fitness the chance to show me honestly where I am right now, and if I'm trying to squash that into a time-goal-box, I'm not letting my free flag fly.

I think about all those races I ran last year, especially the ones that I was hugely disappointed by, and all they did was light a slow fire.  I've done a lot of training in the past six months leading up to this day, but the biggest training I've done hasn't been while swimming, biking, or running.  It's been done in my head.  It's been learning how to quiet the voices, to silence the noise, to not care what this person or that person is doing.  I have done my own work.  I have started to learn how to focus, how to pop up the blinders and slam down the earmuffs.  For the most part I have been consistent about my own work, I don't think it is lying to say that I have been consistent with nutrition and recovery and going easy and going hard and giving myself every single opportunity I can to fine-tune my fitness.  I have not been perfect, but I'm hoping it's honest to say that I have been dedicated.

So here is what I know.  Here is what I will not apologize for.  (A lot of this I am stealing from Sonja but hopefully she won't mind):

I am a good swimmer.  I am a fast swimmer.  I am fucking legit and I belong at the front of the pack.  I will swim as aggressively as I know how.  I have never done this before, I have never hurt on the swim, but it's time to get over those thoughts.  I will fight to protect the fast feet that I jump on, I will not give myself the time or head space to worry about what I am doing, I will breathe hard and blow bubbles and chase chase chase.  I will swim.  Hard.  

I am a strong cyclist.  These thighs aren't just for decoration.  This ass is powerful indeed.  I will ride steady and tough and whatever that turns my time into at the end of the day is whatever it will be.  I will let my brains run the bike, I will eat and drink like clockwork and I will focus on holding things constant and hard.  I want the bike to feel like the sound the engine makes when you really should have shifted up to third gear 100 rpms ago, like I am riding the sharp knife edge of what is acceptable for the distance, like it is almost-but-just-a-hair not too hard, breathless.  

I know how to run.  There is so much emotion wrapped up in running for me, and I need to leave every single bit of it behind in transition.  I will not be afraid of the numbers I see on my watch.  I will not be afraid to really hurt because I know that I will not die out there.  I will hold the pedal down as hard as I know how and do everything I can to keep my brain quiet.  I will let my heart take over on the run, I will make the choice to hurt hard and dig my heels in the ground and go.  I will be tough, no matter what happens it will be tough, but I will put my nose down and grind it and push all the noise away from my ears and focus.  I am ready to hurt on the run.  

I am ready.

42 comments:

  1. This is an awesome pre-race post. I will definitely be book-marking this to read before my next 70.3. Good luck and kick ass!

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  2. This is YOUR weekend!! Turning off your brain and quieting your thoughts is something I focused on doing last year and it was soooo helpful! We are our own worst enemy, just keep your head out of it and RACE!! Oh and have fun too!

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  3. You are AMAZING! I can relate to your comment about not feeling like you have raced the distance. I feel that way about the half marathon. Stay out of your own way, out of your head and let you body do what you have trained it to do!
    Good Luck!!!

    The Kidless Kronicles

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  4. ***CHEERS***
    That was a helluva pep rally post! Loved it. And I can't wait to read the race report, no matter WHAT happens out there, I bet it's going to be a great race for you. And I think you're gonna really rock it.

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  5. This is a post I really relate to and I think you're really onto something. You and I seem to face the exact same challenge- it's us who gets in our way! The over-thinking syndrome. You are in awesome shape and I know you are going to do well. Wishing you the best!

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  6. This is a great post! I tend to struggle with the same thing, but my best races are the ones that I just go out and have fun and don't put any pressure on myself. ENJOY!

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  7. Good luck Katie! I can't wait to hear how you do. Such an inspiring post!

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  8. Good luck Katie! So excited to hear how it goes!

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  9. Trust, dude. You ARE a good swimmer and strong cyclist, and you DO know how to run. All you have to do is trust those things. I'll be doing the same.

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  10. Kick arse. A lot of people out here rooting for you. And if it doesn't go to plan? We're still rooting for you. The puppies and Poet will still be delighted to see you. It's all good, dawg.

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  11. Have a great race! And yeah, the goal of "following the damn race plan" is a great one. It was mine at the 70.3 I did 2 weeks ago, and fascinatingly, it resulted in a halfway descent time (for me, at least). Fascinating, maybe there really is something to those plans.

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  12. KILL it out there this weekend!

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  13. There you go! A great way to approach the big day. Good luck--you've got this!

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  14. Awesome post. I'm really excited for you.
    also I will be re-reading this before my marathon. You write so many things I feel (but can't write as eloquently).

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  15. I see we are on EXACTLY the same wavelength, my dear. I wish you much luck - and luck in the sense of hard work meeting opportunity. You are ready.

    And, both of us better be really f'ing sore from pushing as hard we can. I'm looking forward to swapping race reports.

    Get it, girl!!

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  16. Sounds like you've got it all under control! Awesomeness!!! Good Luck!

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  17. Can't wait for you to see what you can do!

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  18. This is a fantastic post, Katie. Wishing you the best! Kill it out there.

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  19. The mind is your most powerful asset during the race or it can be your biggest enemy. You've come so far in changing it from enemy to ally and this will be HUGE for you!

    GOOD LUCK
    ps Yes you are a good swimmer - in fact I think you're GREAT! :)

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  20. Enjoy yourself this weekend! Trust the plan and your training and just GO!

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  21. " To stay out of the way, out of my OWN way, and just let my body do."

    how funny that this is my goal too :)

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  22. Good luck, Katie!! I love this post, l love the attitude. I should learn from it and get ready to hurt on Sunday as well. You're going to rip it!

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  23. Good post. Kill it out there!

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  24. Awesome! That's the perfect pre-race mind-set! Have a super day!

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  25. Go Katie, go! Have a great day tomorrow!

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  26. This post is fantastic. You will rock that race!

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  27. I grew up near where Dr. George Sheehan practiced, and have always loved this quote of his: "It's very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit." I first heard it when running high-school cross-country, and it rings just as true now. Good luck battling the little voice—I think you'll get him this time!

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  28. I know the race is over now, but I love this post. Can't wait to read about how the race went. Sounds liike it had an interesting ending based on your twitter updates.

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  29. sometimes i read your posts and wonder how you took the thing in MY head and turned them into words on your blog.

    printing this post up and keeping it in my pocket :)

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