Yesterday I woke up early as I do every morning to start working on my computer. I quickly got frustrated and stressed doing "not my responsibility" school group work and wondering why I was falling into a deep hole of grumpiness. I sent off the report with some not so friendly words and looked at my workout for the day. I felt blah, wondered where is my energy, thought maybe I should rest and something is wrong with me. I went back to bed. When I woke up from this impromptu nap I thought "what the heck!" I have been here before and I recognize all this. It is called FEAR in action. I am scared. Yes I want to go home. Yes I am not totally psyched editing/fixing other people's work. But no that is not why I am stressed and lack energy.
In the past two races I have felt freaking fantastic in the swim and bike and starting the run. My ego, although a necessary component of being athlete, has gotten ahead of the race. I lacked the critical diligence to my energy output/input. As a result I have had to battle the demons that scream at the top of their lungs - you just don't have this long distance stuff in you. Quit. After these races I have had to turn around and say to myself again and again, you can do this. You just have to listen to your body to succeed. When you feel like the world is loading one stress onto the other though it becomes really hard to trust yourself and the work you have done. The negative thoughts pile up. I have thought while riding on the bike paths here in Brisbane "commuters are even faster than me". I have thought "it's because your older". I have thought "you don't know how to push yourself anymore". This is all bull-shit of course.
My mom almost religiously sends me positive notes every day. She reminds me that I am loved, just generally amazing and to not allow anything or anyone provide additional stress. The problem is not what other people say or the life events that happen. It is, of course, what and how I take them on and respond. In sport/life we set ourselves up to play out fears. Prior to some races I take on school, my new business or sponsor work, become mentally tired and then have a fantastic excuse as to why I didn't quite get the race plan right. When I worked in government, I stayed late at the office the night before flying out "getting necessary work done". I always have a great excuse to act out stress - assignments, exams, deadlines are real. But at the end of the day how I manage my work is a choice. We always have a choice.
Back to my FEAR. In 2010 Zane, my coach at that time, asked me what I feared. I told him I feared that my body would let me down. That I would not "make it" because of injuries and that my body could not keep up with my determination. As I approach this race I fear failing. I fear getting to the run and not being able to keep going. I fear walking and having all those negative thoughts overwhelm me and having to get through them. I fear feeling sorry and disappointment in myself.
What I know. I know that in my last two races my physical capacity was absolutely available to me but I messed up nutrition, power or pacing. This is my mind failing not my body. Failing physically is not an option -my body has everything it needs. This race is entirely mental for me. It is about taking the time and energy this week to be prepared to race smart. I have no choice but to slow down on my work, unload stress and be so mentally prepared that I get bored. I will not long for home because that will come in time. I will honour the work I have done here in Australia. Mom - I will think positive. Mostly though I will be smart.