Went up to watch the Kansas 70.3 Ironman race yesterday. This was my first time as a spectator at a big race like this, usually I’m competing. I had such a great time seeing all my athletes and friends compete. I also thoroughly enjoyed watching the pro’s race – wow, they sure look different than us “joes”!! They are amazing.
After the race was mostly over and our friends were done competing, I headed to the expo to take a look at some of the tri gear and wear available. In one of the tents I ran into an old friend. A really smart, knowledgeable athlete that has in the past been my “go to” for tri questions.
As we caught up on his race, things turned to my racing. I told him I was heading to Buffalo Springs 70.3 and his eyes popped out. He began to talk about the hot course, hills on bike and the tough run. He asked, “what do you want to do at Buffalo Springs?” I had 2 friends/athletes standing there and even if they weren’t I knew I had to share the truth with him. I replied, “I want to qualify.” Qualify means that I would race fast enough in my age group to qualify to go to the 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, FL. His eyes popped out of his head again. He told me the athletes that race that course are tough and fast. He began to tell me about the swim. I am fine with the swim after what he said. Then he began to talk about the bike. Told me that I needed to have race wheels to compete at this level. Told me that some of the hills going up were very twisty and technical and that on the way down to listen to volunteers telling me to slow down. Then, he talked about the run. Let’s just say that he scared me. I could see the looks in my friends/athletes eyes as he spoke about the hills, the heat, the long, straight stretch on black top without a lick of shade. Now, I am thinking, I’m dead. I’m toast. I love to ride my bike in the heat and I’m ok in the heat for a little while on the run…but a straightaway, black top, not a stick of shade and temps could be as high as 105 degrees? Now, I know we aren’t talking about something I do well. I also know from looking at prior years race times that these women kick my butt on the run and now with these extra details I think they’ll bury me on the run! He finishes by answering some of my questions about aero helmets and telling me to call a mutual friend and see if she will let me borrow her race wheels. I’m grateful for the suggestion about the borrowing of wheels (I will ask) and I’m glad for clarity on which aero helmet to purchase but, I am like a deer caught in the headlights about the run. My friends have now left the conversation of doom and after a few minutes of small talk, I part ways with my expert.
As I head back to the campsite where my friends are hanging out, I call Robert, tell him what my friend said, tell him about borrowing wheels and which aero helmet I plan to buy and how those 2 things should “buy” me 4-5 minutes on the bike and I’m going to NEED them..truthfully..I need way more than 4-5..but that’s all these toys will give me. I’m sure he’s just thinking, “oh boy…I’ve got to reel her back in.”
As I enter the circle of chairs in the campsite I finish my conversation with Robert. I tell one of my friends, “I’m scared.” She says, “you should be after what he said.”. I look across the circle at my other friend who heard the conversation and she makes a face and says, “you don’t even want to know what I’m thinking.” I ask, “What are you thinking?” She replies, “I’m so glad I don’t have to do the run.” Well, don’t I just feel better now! Not. Why am I going to Buffalo Springs? Why?
Soon we are in the car heading back to Wichita. I WANT to sit in the back. I NEED to sit in the back. I’m not very interested in little conversation and I’m really not interested in anybody else’s training or racing right now. I’m trying to wrap my head around the information and near death sentence I’ve just received from a reliable source 21 days prior to my first time trying to qualify for World Championships!
I close my eyes, pray and reflect. I begin to pull myself together with these few tidbits.
1. I am planning on qualifying via roll down. Roll down is where the top 1-2 in the age group get offered the opportunity to go to the championship and IF they say they don’t want to go, the opptorunity rolls down to 3rd, 4th etc. Last year, the roll down went way down the list and the woman who qualified raced at a time that would be about 30-35 minutes slower than my anticipated finish time.
2. Qualifying? From the beginning of deciding that this was something I’ve wanted to pursue, I’ve known that it would require God! So, even with the information I’ve received, that doesn’t change God does it? He is still in the equation and really, I think His work load got heavier than mine…because He knows what I am capable of and the gap that creates that will need to be made up!
3. Buffalo Springs is just my FIRST attempt to qualify. I’ve never said I would qualify in one attempt. I have said that I would TRY. The mere mental and spiritual shift to open up qualifying as even a dream and an option is really big.
With these 2 thoughts, I begin to get a touch unshaken and a little less rattled.
This morning, up at 3 am, I reviewed my race history. I reviewed the journal I started to mark the journey to World Championships and I reviewed the training I plan to do this week. Prior to all this reviewing I asked God to show me His truth and to show me satan’s lies. Here’s what He helped me figure out!
1. I used to be mentally a bit unreliable swimming and prone to some freaking out. Through God’s help, experience, good swim coaching and immense mental prep with scripture prior to races, I am now quit predictable on the swim. That took me time.
2. I am now in a position to tackle the unreliable running that I’ve had in triathlons! I get mentally weak sometimes on the run and just feel like I can’t keep up the pace and so I don’t. Well, I guess in God’s perfect timing Buffalo Springs is my race to put the mental, physical and spiritual effort into the run. I’m ok with this, because I’ve already done this with swimming. I know it won’t happen overnight, but I know it will be conquered.
3. I’m 3 weeks out and really my “hay is in the barn”. This means that I’m fit, I have endurance and the worst thing I can do now is too much training, physically. But, I can train mentally! So, I look at my training plan in a new light. Each session is a mental and spiritual opportunity to practice being stronger – especially on my runs and bricks. I’m ok with this too. I can do this. I’ll run in the heat, I’ll run hills and I’ll practice being mentally strong and tough to train me to be mentally strong and tough on race day.
4. This week is very, very critical for me. I must put work and distractions aside. This is my week. The training I will do this week will give me experience and confidence in Buffalo Springs. Everything that isn’t on fire is just going to have to wait. Next week, just light easy training. Race week again, just light and easy training. This week – get it done!!
God is still with me. I have a plan. I received great information that won’t hurt but can only help and I recieved it from a reliable source in the nick of time.
I will work like it depends on me. Pray like it depends on God. I’m ready to roll now!! Buffalo Springs here I come!