I remember Lisa Bentley's awards speech when I first finished Ironman Canada in 2007. She took us through her race day, including all the little problems she faced and how she overcame them on her road to victory. It wasn't about having a perfect day - it was that she managed her problems better than her competitors out there.
"There's victory in finishing what you started ..." she said
* * *
For over a year now I've had the challenge on completing fast, hard workouts at CrossFit North Vancouver. "Constantly varied" is the name of the game - efficient, quick workouts designed to make sure your lungs fall out of your mouth. Seriously.
It's like a 5km road race or a sprint triathlon - if it hurts, go faster. No need to pace, no need to plan. And no time for doubt.
* * *
The problem with Ironman is that it's long ... really long. Long enough to become a little bored, and long enough for your internal dialogue to start talking ...
"Maybe I swam too hard"
"Where are all my competitors?"
"Maybe I can't ..."
* * *
You'll often hear me tipping my hat to the elite of our sport (or any sport) - those who are fast not only because of their training, their commitment to their pursuits, but also because they've mastered their internal dialogue. It works with them, works for them, so that they can beat their competition.
I've yet to develop an unfailing inner voice when I race: I know that there are going to be a lot of "I can'ts" going through my head this Sunday. And however your training's been going, however many motivational speeches and blog posts you've read, my guess is that you're afraid of the "I can't" too.
And In Pursuit of Excellence is a long book to read before August 28th
So here's what I want you to do
Be that voice for everyone else. Between now and Sunday, whether in Vancouver or up in Penticton, let everything that you say be positive and encouraging.
It doesn't matter if you don't believe it, it doesn't matter if they're in your age group.
You've trained with your fellow racers, you know where they are strong, and where they are weak. Chose your words so that when they're on the start line, heading up Richter Pass, or running down to OK Falls, it's your voice they're hearing in their head.
"I've seen you swimming, you're going to have a great time. Just get on some good feet, and trust your training"
"You may have pre-race jitters, but you're one of the strongest cyclists I've seen in years"
"You're going to fly down those hills and leave your competition eating your dust"
"I'm not going to need to give you splits to the racers in front of you, because you'll be charging out in the run"
"Just count it out. 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... 5 ... and when you reach 100, start again, and go faster"
"I'll see you on the run, and we'll race side by side to the finish"
* * *
Over the past month or so it's come to my attention that people actually read my blog. So be that voice, because you may just hear the voices of friends going through your head this weekend too.