Friday, November 22, 2013

What goes on between the ears....

Yet another Ironman weekend in the books.   I am so thankful for this sport and all the wonderful friends I have made since being in the sport.  What a treat to get to see so many of them lay it all out there last weekend.  I am always amazed that the quality of human tenacity and spirit that propels the body over the course of the day.  While getting in my own training with a friend, I was asked what I think about when I am racing and training.  I actually have been thinking of writing about this so the timing was perfect - thanks Megan!

I have and am very fortunate to have had some amazing mentors and coaches to light the way for me.  Some of them may be surprised to realize that their words of wisdom were not always lost on me and in fact stuck only to be replayed during any given training session.
Simon Lessing told me that the pool is the one place that I can and should always "race".  There are those times where I can get into just an easy rhythm rather than really grabbing the water.  This takes some commitment to really focus on the clock and tell myself the truth about what is showing up in the pool that day. 
Todd Erickson reminds me to avoid getting flat.  His take is "don't be a barge". This is a thought I have replayed during just about every race since I first heard him tell me. 
Susan Ingraham  is always tweaking my stroke and has taught me to ask the question "why not" fearlessly.  
Chris Aarhus was my first triathlon coach as well as cycling coach.  Volumes could be written here on all that I learned from Chris.  For the purpose of this piece I will stick to just a few.  "If you want to go faster pedal faster". Seems simple but often I find that it is easy to just get into a rut rather than really stay focused.   Sometimes it is just about turning the peddles over faster – although not necessarily in an easier gear!  Chris also taught me the importance of accepting the suffering, “give the legs time to accept the discomfort, Dawn”. 
Chris Legh was so brilliant to teach me the concept of “it’s not like you are going to die”. He should know as he gave it to himself so hard at Ironman that he collapsed.  He came pretty close and if he didn’t, the likelihood of me meeting the grim reaper on the course is slim. 
  Hillary Biscay has and continues to teach me so much about going for it.  Before every race, I ask for a race plan and at the end of each of those conversations she reminds me that “we are RACING”.   Hillary has also reminds me that the pain I can experience is directly in my control and that I can make it happen more that my competitors if I chose.  I love that I am in control and I can “make it hurt”.  So much of life feels like we don’t have a choice with discomfort and in racing, reaching my goals is in direct proportion the my willingness to embrace the suffering as a good thing.  
When I am training and racing I have realized it is critical to listen to what I actually telling myself.  Words have power - not only those that we hear from others, but just as important are those that we tell ourselves.   Being ever conscious of what is happening between the ears makes all the difference in any training session and race.  

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