I haven’t been feeling it lately.

I’m not sure what was going on with my mental game but, when I thought about my triathlon this Sunday, everything just seemed a little off.

I usually go into a race like a maniac and want to dominate. I think about all my hard work and training leading up to it, and use that knowledge to fuel my brain before and during the race.

It wasn’t happening.

On a recent run, I was struggling and thinking of how hard, hot, humid, sore, tired, etc. everything was. I tried to call upon my go-to mantras; keep your pace, run your race (even though I wasn’t racing, it works), can’t stop, won’t stop, a little faster, a little farther, a little stronger – but it all felt fake. My heart wasn’t in it and so my brain and body were not buying it.

This is the only mantra making sense to me right now.

This is the only mantra making sense to me right now.

It started me thinking that mantras are meaningless unless you truly believe them.

There have been many times during my running and racing that I have felt fearless and unstoppable. Up until about last week I was feeling tired and unfocused, and my mantras were meaningless because my mind and heart knew it.

So, what should you do when you feel like a phony and have a big race coming up? I’m not sure, but this is what I did:

Take A Rest Day

Usually this is a very hard thing for me to do but, not this time. My body was (mostly) fine but my brain needed a break.

Maybe drinking some of this tea will help?

Maybe drinking some of this tea will help? Although “too much sugar” was not the issue.

Be Flexible

I’m not talking about with my body because that is just not happening, but with my training schedule. Everyday I wake-up, look at what my coach has laid out for me and I do it. I don’t think about what I want to do, I just follow the schedule. Usually it’s easier that way and, a lot of times I love not having to second guess my training, but it’s also great to just do what you actually want to do for a day or two.

Kayaking is a total upper body and core workout, especially when you add another 45 pounds of love. #BestBuddy

Kayaking is a total upper body and core workout, especially when you add another 45 pounds of love. #BestBuddy

Face Your Fear

Let’s be honest, I was more then a little afraid of “failing” again and not making the top 10 women in this race and, therefore, not qualifying for Triathlon Nationals. Once I was honest with myself about it, I was able to let it go. I have many years ahead of me in which I can qualify, and Sunday may just be that day. Either way, this is supposed to be fun!

Smiling at the finish of the Pat Griskus Triathlon before I knew I didn't qualify.

Smiling at the finish of the Pat Griskus Triathlon before I knew I didn’t qualify. I won’t let it take away from my experience this time!

Read About Successes and Failures

As most of you know, I’m reading Ronda Rousey’s book My Fight / Your Fight and it was the best possible thing for my little rut. It’s filled with passages like this:

You can spend your entire life waiting for perfect. The perfect job. The perfect partner. The perfect opponent. Or you can acknowledge that there is always a better time or a better place or a better opportunity and refuse to let that fact hold you back from doing everything to make the present moment the perfect moment. I’m not undefeated because I had the perfect circumstances leading up to every fight. I’m undefeated because, regardless of circumstances, I still win.

She then goes on to talk about the time she was bitten in the foot by a pit bull, two days before a fight. She got stitched up, hid the stitches at the weigh-in, and beat her opponent in 25 seconds.

It’s hard to complain about anything after reading that and, Rousey’s life is one story after another like this about her determination and drive. Surely, I can get out there and run a race in perfect health. #perspective

All she does is win. Quickly.

All she does is win. Quickly.

I also happened to read the article in Runner’s World about coming in DFL (dead f-ing last) and how, a lot of times, it was the best thing to happen to an elite. Yes, elite runner Ryan Hall:

It was the 5,000-meter race at the 2006 London Grand Prix—the field was stacked with world record holder (then and now)Kenenisa Bekele, and top Americans like Bernard Lagat and Adam Goucher. The pace was hot early and I was off it quickly. Guys all around me were dropping out. By the time I hit 100 meters to go, the race was over and I was getting the dreaded pity clap. I remember thinking, I can’t believe I’m getting the pity clap. The humiliation made me take a good look at my running abilities [in short vs. long distances]. The following January, I ran 59:43 in the Houston Half Marathon. None of my successes would have happened if I hadn’t gotten last.

 

I’ve definitely been thinking a lot about how badly I want to chase my goals. It all comes back to me needing a re-set button. Hopefully I don’t have to come in DFL to prove that to myself.

Get Back Out There

Wednesday was a tough day for me as I put my boys on the bus to all-day first grade, in separate classrooms. It was emotional on so many levels and, when you lose your mom at a young age like I did, all of that comes to the surface as well. My Aunt suggested I go have lunch with a friend. Instead I met up with CRS (Coach Rocket Scientist) and did the entire triathlon course. Yes, I did.

Who wouldn't want to swim in this water?

Who wouldn’t want to swim in this water?

Is my brain completely fixed and back in synch with my body? No. But, I’m ok with that. My goal is to relax, qualify, and have fun during this race, and not necessarily in that order.

The water at the venue is gorgeous, the bike course is pretty flat and the run, well that’s on a rocky and rutted trail but whatever.

This was definitely the best part of the running trail. Unfortunately it's only at the very end!

This was definitely the best part of the running trail. Unfortunately it’s only at the very end!

For the first time in a few weeks, I’m excited about my last triathlon of the season, no matter the outcome. I have a feeling that when I reach for my mantras on Sunday morning, they will be filled with meaning.

Have you ever faced this in your fitness?

What do you do or read to help/motivate/inspire you?

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