Goals can be a dangerous thing. A quote that I read years ago from motivational speaker Harvey MacKay has stayed with me: “A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.” At the time, it was the call to action that I needed. What’s the point in just sitting around dreaming about something you want? Get out there and work towards it!
The problem is that there are some things you can’t set goals for. Like black t-shirts. Six weeks ago, after I realized that I wouldn’t reach the goal of a mountaintop finish in Norway, I stopped smiling. I gave up. This resulted in a slow, miserable marathon experience on one of the most beautiful courses in the world.
At Norseman, I had set a goal that I wasn't in control of. Other factors were at play, like the weather conditions and the talent of the other athletes who showed up that day. It took me a while to understand what Emily was talking about when she told me to focus on process rather than results. She asked me my goals for Louisville, and I gave her numbers. Emily said instead to focus on process - what can I work on that didn't go well at previous races? She was asking me to set attainable goals and not random numbers.
I figured out last week what the goal would be for Louisville. Smile no matter what. Always find a way to enjoy the experience. After all, this is supposed to be fun! That can be easier said than done, and it takes practice. The Kerrville tri this weekend would be my chance to practice smiling all day before being tested again at Ironman Louisville.
I had two goals for the Olympic-ish distance race (1000 meter swim, 29 mile bike, 6.4 mile run). I wanted to gain some confidence by having a good swim in a wetsuit at a race, and I wanted to keep smiling and pushing forward no matter what.
But...for the first time in 5 years, the race in Kerrville was not wetsuit legal. Goal number one went out the window. Luckily, goal number two was to keep smiling and pushing forward no matter what. Take what the day throws at you: today would not be my day to build confidence in a wetsuit, but it could still be a day to have a great swim.
When the race started, I was in such a hurry to get in the water and begin swimming that I forgot to start my watch. Whoops! This mistake turned out to be a blessing. I swam strong and felt powerful in the water. When I ran out of the river, I didn’t have to analyze my swim time: I had only my feelings to go by. And it felt like a great swim. There's some built-in swim amnesia for you: just don’t start your watch! This is a technique I’ll take with me to Kentucky.
|That's the smile of someone who forgot to start her watch.|
|It started to rain 20 minutes into the bike. At one point it rained so hard I thought it was hailing.|
I flew into T2 and found an open field full of run bags: only a couple of bikes were there ahead of me. I took off running and vowed to hold a smile and a strong pace. The course was out and back – 3 miles out, 3 miles back, then another little out-and-back in the opposite direction before the finish. I started the run by myself, and as the miles went by, people started to pass me. And - at every aid station I passed, the volunteers complimented my smile. After I turned around and headed back, around mile 4, I saw Trent for the first time; we high-fived and he warned me not to let him catch me. This put extra pep in my step and although I was fading, I ran as fast as I could, still smiling. Having fun. Yippee!
|After the race, we got caught in a ridiculous storm with flash floods. The half ironman participants were still running in this weather.|
|Another thing that made my day - this guy picked a flower and gave it to me before the swim. I carried it with me during the race and I swear it gave me superpowers.|
|The beautiful San Antonio Smash girls.|
|Big Sexy Racing - "We're the shit." So much fun racing with teammates!|