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My main goal was just to finish and to do so before the cut-off time, which coming into the race I didn’t think that second part was going to happen. I did both and felt good about completing a strong consistent race. I knew the race plan was obviously helpful for the planning purposes, but it ended up being part of my mantra during the “run.” That is my weakest part and I often end up getting in my head saying I’m not a runner or looking at others and thinking that I should be doing what they are doing. I had a walk/run interval plan that I have been training with and works for me for where I’m at, and at one point I realized I was thinking that I should be running more (because of all the amazing people around me that were running and that I wasn’t like them) and I heard myself say ‘stick to plan, run your race.’ It was helpful to get the more negative thoughts out of my head and focus on what I wanted to accomplish and how far I have already come in training. Although apparently you can be so slow that you don’t get a finisher’s medal (they ran out), which kind of stinks but a reason to try and get faster.
Here’s one thing that came up for me on my swim: I am most confident in my swimming so I’ve spent more time thinking and strategizing (and stressing) about the bike and “run.” For some reason, after I passed the first buoy, I told myself 100m down 1400m to go. I have no idea where this idea came from and why I thought the buoys were 100m apart (starting to think that it was from a past race), but I kept doing it as I was swimming. I got into a good rhythm and felt really good, but the buoys changed shape after the turn buoy which I thought was interesting and wondered if that meant anything and I was pretty sure they weren’t the same distance apart as before, but still kept counting them as 100’s anyways (although I lost count a bit). I thought I was somewhere around past half-way to 2/3 of the way done; sighting was challenging because the sun was in my eyes. I started to notice that it seemed like several people were drifting to the right or deciding to stand up near the shore to take a break, but I didn’t really pay attention because I was in a groove and only half way done! Thankfully one of the people who was swimming with inflatable boats had just passed me on my left and started to cut in front of me to turn to the right. That is when I finally pulled my head all the way out of the water and paused and realized this was the end of the swim and I was about to swim past it. So my lesson learned was just looking at the start and the end of the swim before the race was not enough when I really hadn’t understood what the inbetween part of the course looked like, even when I’ve always told myself that I’m fine on the swimming part – it’s those next two I need to stress about. Also, that not all races set their buoys up the same so maybe ask some questions if you use them as a tool to break down the swim (which I didn’t realize was an automatic thought for me until I got it so wrong).
Thanks so much for all of the great advise, Coach AJ!! It was invaluable!