Tuesday, November 5, 2013


S - 14,100 yards
B - 242.0 miles
R - 56.8 miles

Time - 23.65 hours

Racing is a funny thing.  For many it represents the validation of training, the "raison d'etre" for their weekly sufferings.  Personally, I wouldn't train if I did not race; I do not see the point.  Sure, I like being fit but there are other (less time consuming) ways to accomplish that goal.

Racing SHOULD be simple.  It is merely a swim, bike and run tied together in one single event.  That's it.  There's nothing "special" about racing.  No mystical things that help you all of a sudden go faster, harder, longer than you ever have before (although a good taper can definitely help!).  So why then does racing make you so nervous?

For Ironman, there are certain things that make a race MORE than just another race.  It is a simple fact of life.  The expense, the travel, the volume of participants, the location; it all adds up to make the race itself FEEL more important than it actually is (unless of course you've read this blog post and realize that Ironman IS ALL THERE IS).  I get that, I really do.  But REALLY, it's simply a long day of working not-that-hard.  Why then, is it SO NERVE-RACKING!

Before start at B2B Full '09 you bet your ASS I was nervous!
The shorter the race distance gets the less pressure I put on myself.  For a local sprint, it's actually an "easier" day than a normal training day on the weekends! Show up, set up your transition in about 5 minutes, and go to the swim start.  Pretty easy.  The nervousness sets in when I realize how hard I'm going to have to be working for the next hour or so.  International/Olympic distance races are just about the same, but doubled in length so I don't have to go quiiiiiiite as hard but generally the race is "worth" more (in one sense or another) so that is a factor in nervousness.

First ever triathlon (NOLA 70.3 '09) with 50 miles to go.  I was nervous but I had enough fluids for sure!
For a half, the nerves come because it is simply a longer race that is going to hurt more.  Four hours is a long time.  You have to fuel correctly, pace correctly, and hold on the longest.  While still going pretty fast and hard.  The half is a great test of mental and physical strength, where the shorter distances are more just go balls-to-the-wall and see who crosses first.  Not too much emotional strain in that...

Ironman is a whole different beast.  The full distance is just a long freakin' day. You're not going that hard, it's not a physical struggle, you're just trying to slow down less than the other guys and gals.  Because everybody slows down.  Eventually.  There is great expense involved, usually.  There are huge time commitments in both training and doing the actual race.  As a consequence, generally there is some freak-out before you toe the line.

IMKY '10 I am nervous and people are about to start peeing all over the place
I still get nervous before every race.  I'm pretty good about not showing it and appearing nonchalant or blase (at least, I think I am?) about the racing experience but the reality is there are small voices in my head and butterflies in my stomach before every single race.  I have gotten faster over the years but some things will never change.  I don't think I WANT then to change.  I like being a little bit nervous! I think it helps keep you grounded in what you are doing.  If you are not nervous then you are no longer truly invested in what you are doing.

Getting to wear your full finisher's medal around the next day is worth the nervousness, no doubt!
My thoughts anyway.

Next Sunday I'll be racing for the second to last time this year down in Venice at Rev3 Florida.  It's a race I DNF'd last year and it was a sad note on which to end a pretty good season.  This year I have zero expectations for this race other than to go moderately quick and recover quickly as two very important weeks of training for Cozumel ensue immediately once the legs come around post-race.

Lemme just scoot around your bike Richie Cunningham

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