2 Weeks till Kona – To Race or Not To Race…

2 Weeks till Kona – To Race or Not To Race…

…that is the question: whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the heat and wind of Kona or bathe in the warmth and comfort of the sandy coast.

So I’m not really debating whether or not to race in Kona. But the thought has been on my mind, for the better part of the last year, of how I would race Kona. Not knowing if or when I would have this opportunity again, I’ve been wrestling with how hard I want to push to compete at the highest level possible or take the day a little easier to ensure that I have the best possible experience and memories from the day.

The first time I raced IM Wisconsin in 2013, I did not have the best day. Poorly executed nutrition coupled with low run training thanks to an Achilles injury left me pretty dazed at the finish line. I honestly don’t remember much about that last few hundred meters heading down the finish chute, and I’m disappointed about that. Not having a memory of what it was like to cross that first IM finish line is not what I wanted. 2015 was a pretty different story, a testament to much better training and tutelage from Alyssa. At the same time, there are huge gaps in my memory of last year’s race. I’m sure this isn’t something I’ll ever be able to completely avoid simply because Ironman is a crazy long day; there’s no way to remember everything. But how do you soak up the experience as much as possible so it’s a lasting, vivid memory? The day is going to come and go faster than I would like, and I want to remember what it was like to race on the biggest stage in triathlon.

This last week I came across an article by Jesse Thomas on triathlete.com.  During a kid’s race his son did the night before Ironman 70.3 Oceanside this year, he was reminded of some key points that anyone that races should pay attention to. I won’t outline the whole article, the link is below if you want to read it, but my favorite point was to enjoy the process.

It’s easy to get so focused on the outcome that you forget how awesome it is that you’re doing what you’re doing, the places you get to go, and the people you get to meet. Don’t forget that while you’re out there suffering.

Whether I’m loving life or questioning why in the world I would put myself through such misery, my focus in those moments usually is on the end result.

“I’m flying right now…PR here I come!!!”

“I’m dying right now…I guess this isn’t going to be a PR race.”

It’s in those moments and thoughts, and the accumulation of thousands of them throughout the day,  that I lose sight of the bigger picture. I have been given the opportunity, the health, the support, and the ability to do something that I truly love doing. Will ever race be everything that I want? Absolutely not. But every race is a chance to show up, test myself, appreciate what I have and am going through, and love every minute of the process.

So will I sandbag my race in Hawaii so that I have more time to soak everything in? Absolutely not. But I will do everything in my power to stay in the moment, recognize what is around me, show as much appreciation as possible for those supporting the athletes, and smile through the pain. After all, the vast majority of us are just big kids out playing our favorite game!

Triathlife: Race Like A Kid