A few weeks ago I was asked along with my sister to come to a group of young triathletes and tell them why and how I got inspired to do triathlons and continue to compete in them. What started out as a simple discussion led to a breakthrough in my season that I needed.
When we arrived to talk to the kids, they had just finished biking and running and were ready to listen to what we had to say. We started with a simple introduction of who we were, when we started doing triathlons, and how old we were when we did our first one. It was easy to respond to most of the questions until someone asked me why I loved competing in triathlons so much. At this point in my season I was still trying to figure out this question because it did not feel like I loved to compete. I felt like my determination and my drive to do better was slowly slipping out of my hands and that there was no way to get it back. I felt that I was getting worse instead of better when I would compete which made me wonder why I was working so hard for no reason. At this point in my season I felt sad, slow, unmotivated, and scared that nothing was going to get better.
So when somebody asked me why I loved to compete, I really had to think. After a long time wondering why I had a love for competing in triathlons, I finally had an answer. I love to compete because of the overwhelming joy it gives me. It was something so simple but so true and it made me excited that I finally figured out what keeps me going throughout the whole season. It was a turning point in my season that would benefit me a lot more than I realized. When I told the group of kids why I love to compete there eyes lit up with excitement because they also wanted to experience the joy of competing and racing. To see kids much younger than me be so determined and so excited about the sport really helped me to become excited and determined again. They helped me turn my season around in the right direction and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.
After having the discussion with the up and coming triathletes, I had a whole new view of the season. I was ready to work harder, but I was also ready to really enjoy every moment of my training and competing. I had a long period of time before my next race, but each day I reminded myself that the work would pay off and that I would have a breakthrough race where I had my joy and love for racing again. Timberman got closer and closer each day, and the excitement inside of me kept growing. I didn’t have an anxious feeling like I did at the beginning of the season, but instead I had the feeling that it was going to be a really good race.
The day of Timberman started out with an early morning wake-up call, but it also started with a feeling of excitement and determination. On the drive over to the race venue I took time to mentally prepare for my race knowing that it wasn’t going to be easy, but it would be worth it. Packet pickup was simple and easy along with body marking, so it gave me a good amount of time to setup my transition area. Instead of being stressed and frantic in transition, I tried to take that time to talk to the people around me and simply enjoy my time before we started the race. When we were called down to the water I looked around at the people that would be in my wave and I saw something very similar about all of them. Every single one of them looked like they were having a really good time and to see that really helped me stay calm before the race start because I knew that I was going to have fun racing with this group of people.
With the ten second countdown and the sound of the airhorn we were off. The swim start will sometimes feel like a boxing match and at this swim start I felt like I had to do a little fighting to get out to the front of the pack. Once I finally got out in the front something felt very different from most of my swim paces. I felt much faster that day than I normally did, so I decided to take advantage of that and continued to swim at a pace much faster than I was used to. All of a sudden I came to the end of the swim much quicker than I had planned on and got onto shore to get ready for my first transition.
I was very dizzy coming into my first transition, so when I tried to take my wetsuit off I looked a little bit like a fish out of water when I was flopping on the ground struggling to get it off. After my adventure of Simone versus the wetsuit I finally was on my bike, excited to see if my training would pay off. I tried to focus on my biking a lot more in my training so I was curious to see how I was going to do. The first half of my bike ride was really great, but the second half was not so great. My bike time might have been a little bit faster if I would have not gone so fast in the swim, but I was still very pleased with it. Coming into transition again I knew that I had some ground that I had to make up, so it was going to be a good fight to the finish.
The run was a blur and I don’t remember much of it. I do remember how hot it was and I remember the kind people all throughout the course cheering on the athletes. I passed people all throughout the course and I felt like I had my determination again. Coming into the last quarter mile of the run I was in pain, but it didn’t matter because I wanted to finish knowing that I left it all on the race course. I came into the last home stretch with my fire and love for racing again. I felt like I finally had the right attitude and I felt the joy that I get from racing. Timberman was the race that I needed to help me turn my season around. Because of the kind people, the awesome race venue, great competition, and a good attitude I finally had my love for racing again. I finished off the day with a nice swim in the lake and talking to all the other athletes around me, and I loved every minute of it because I still had a whole season ahead of me to enjoy days like these. I don’t know what the future holds for my next races, but I have a feeling that they are going to be good.