16 April 2008

Perspective and the Bigger Picture

Sometimes it takes some time and conversation and distance to gain perspective on the things that happen in life. If you read my race report for the St. Louis 1/2 Marathon, you know that while I had some really good things happen during the race, I was pretty disappointed in the end result. On Monday afternoon, I had the opportunity to sit down with my good friend Sherry and discuss the race and to gain a little perspective about the big picture. Sherry did a fantastic job of listening and offering perspective and helping me to see how what I learned before, during, and after the race can have some pretty significant effects on my future racing, specifically my 1/2 IM in August, and IM Wisconsin next September. So, in an effort to remember these great lessons, I've decided to write them down, and to share them with others in hopes that my experiences can help those of you who find yourselves in similar situations.


  • Create enough alone time so that I can collect my thoughts and rehearse my plan for race day.
  • Eliminate unnecessary stress by being prepared with necessary information.
  • Know where I'm going to eat and what I'm going to eat for my pre-race meal and have a back-up plan.
  • Have my race day plan ready to go, with the necessary contingency plans.
  • Take the time to clear my head by writing down my thoughts and fears and then accepting them.
  • Make sure that my expectations match my plan to avoid any disappointment.
  • Arrive at the start with enough time to check my gear and get to my starting corral with no unnecessary stress.
  • Take enough time to collect and gather my thoughts and rehearse my plan.
  • Carry out plan to the best of my abilities.
  • Have fun and remember that I LOVE to race.
  • Celebrate my finish, as well as the other finishers.
  • Take some alone time to decompress and reflect on my race.
  • A few days later, evaluate the race and how my plan worked, didn't work, and examine if any changes are necessary.
  • Write my race report!

I will probably think of more as I go and add them to this. Ultimately, the race in St. Louis taught me that I can make a plan and follow it, and it taught me alot about what to do and what not to do before and after the event. I also learned that the mental focus training I've been doing is working and that I have the ability to focus and take my racing to another level (not competitively, but internally). As Sherry pointed out, these lessons will truly benefit me as I start completing other events, especially my long-course triathlons.

One more thing...I should also mention another thing that Sherry pointed out. She told me that my disappointing time allowed me to stop and think about the positive things that I learned from the race. If my time would have been in my acceptable range, I probably would have just chalked the race up as a good, fun experience, and wouldn't have realized alot of the important lessons that were there to be learned.