Lesson #5: Dare. Dare to go harder. And then harder.
It was a random training day, and as every day, I open up TrainingPeaks and take a look at my training for the day. But on that particular day, it was a short session, but what looked to be a potentially terrifying physical experience. The interval was followed by a simple word.
Something about that four letter word called me.
Have the courage to do something, anything.
So I take a deep breath and saddle up. When the intervals came I dared and I broke all my expectations for that session.
The lesson I learned that day was that Simple. Dare to go harder.
I immediately took a liking to the word, for obvious reasons, and dared to go harder in each training session and in each race. It transformed me.
I write it on my arm for races!
There is a time for everything
But the lesson came in time and I don’t think I would have open to receive this lesson earlier on in my triathlon journey. As easy as this lesson sounds, it is the tip of the iceberg.
When this journey begins, we ask so much of our body. My first coach gave me exact numbers to hit. On the bike, it was about cadence and heart rate and for the run heart rate only. I made sure to stay within those zones, and it was probably the right thing to do at that time.
If I had recklessly dared to go harder than prescribed during those sessions, and I dare to use the word reckless, I could have potentially asked too much of my body too soon. It may have resulted in injury.
There is a time in your journey where you have to lay the foundation in order to build up. Endurance sport, and really any other sports, requires years and years of specific training to cause enough adaptation to push even harder. No major gains are made overnight, it is all about consistency, as you know. But there comes a time when the foundation has been laid and you can confidently dare to go even harder.
The time is now
Fast forward to yesterday. It has been at least two years since the first encounter with daring to go harder.
Yesterday was another session that tempted me to dare to go hard, harder and then even harder. And I nailed it. I blew away all my expectations and theories about what I am capable of.
I learned yesterday that my body is ready now, to dare to run even harder.
Looking towards the Gods of the Sport
So when I read posts like this one from Sarah Piampiano and her last mile experience during the 2016 World Championship, I have come closer to understanding what it takes to reach this level. Absolutely incredible!
Top Ten Moments of 2016 #1: the last 2 miles of the Ironman World Championships. This year's Kona was a disappointment in many ways - truth be told, I wanted a podium SO badly that I put too much pressure on myself in the lead up to the race. I was doing extra workouts in the hopes of getting the extra edge and all of my mental energy was consumed with the race. Rather than feeling fresh on race day I felt tired. And my performance showed. From the moment I got on the bike I was fighting my body the whole day, yet I kept willing myself forward saying "you can do this you can do this". With 2 miles to go I was 1 minute out of 7th and was at my limit - physically, mentally, emotionally. I was running with my head back, drooling and not knowing if my body would cut out. At the top of Palani (with just over a mile to go) @purplepatchfitness was standing there and yelled to me "I don't care if you don't finish - throw the kitchen sink at catching 7th". I remember having a conversation in my head where I said - "ok - you either go now or not at all. just sprint down Palani and see what happens" - I knew I had to try - even if I failed. and I went....and at the bottom of Palani I had closed the gap from 40 seconds to 10. At that moment I said to myself "run as hard as you can, pass her with intent, and don't look back". I ran the last mile in 6:00, which, even Now, blows my mind because I did not think it was possible to extract any more from my body or run a 6 minute mile to end a marathon at the end of a 9+ hour day. I finished 7th for the second year in a row. Was I disappointed with my race? In a lot of ways I was. But I was also SO proud that I fought right up til the end and I showed to myself that if you can will it - your body will ALWAYS give more. I think it is moments like this that define people as athletes and I was really really proud of myself for not giving up, not allowing myself to be defeated and fighting all the way despite not achieving my goals. #dontdreamitbeit #believe #littleredracing #limits #fitspo #grit #nevergiveup #IMWC #kona #fitspiration #triathlon #inspire
Bottom line, be patient in your journey. Allow the foundation to marinate and solidify. You may surprise yourself where it takes you!