Magic Does, In Fact, Happen Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

Race Report: USAP Olympic Triathlon June 25, 2017 Pleasanton, CA

Usually, a Race Report goes something like this:

I was pumped but certainly nervous going into my first race of the season. I had done a solid amount of work, and I was ready to put it all together and see the work pay off. I had my bike checked by my mechanic, tested my new wetsuit and all systems were ready to go! The race went superbly. A slow swim followed by a strong bike, followed by a run that could have been better as I fell apart by mile four but finished strong. Super stoked for the next race-now recover well and get back to training!

What is true is that this was the first race of the season, but everything else was different. 

As a female, there is a clear difference in how we plan our race season versus how men can plan their season. Some females are more sensitive to hormone fluctuations as others, and for those, tracking the highs and lows of the month is critical for peak performance. But here you can also argue mind over body. I get it. I have to show up and put my mind over body every month. But what you can’t argue with is the “monthly challenge” you get ahead of schedule! Then you are screwed, or at least, have a major hurdle to overcome.

Well, I thought I had it all figured out. The app I use is called “Hormone Horoscope.” It is fun and silly, but often validates when I struggled with the peaks and valleys of the month. And let me tell you, the valleys are deep. So, judging by the app, as for many months prior, I was “safe” to race on Sunday. 
Well, Friday came around, and I thought “You must be joking. Seriously body??? Couldn't you keep your schedule? Just a few more days! Come on!” I fell into a deep slump because the way I perceive this year is as following:

The Year 2017 Thus Far:

February: Switch Coaches. New beginning then get SUPER Sick. Out for three weeks, training interrupted. 
March: Train, family gathering, training interrupted, inconsistent. 
April: Train, Family Birthday in Germany, jet lag, training stress low. 
May: Train, Family Event, training low, two week sickness, training interrupted. 
June: Ramp up training. Finally, cough was gone, time to race on 25th. Now period comes early. Fucking ey!

And as every month, I get incredibly blue. I mean, the world’s pain is on my shoulders, and I feel it, to the core. Everything I thought I was passionate about leaves me momentarily in just a half days’ time. I cry, I sob and weep. I feel useless. 

So Friday was supposed to be “race prep day.”

Instead, I curled up and thought I couldn’t do this race, not in that condition. I had plenty of reasons why I shouldn’t race!
-It would not be a real-time result
-what about the discomfort
-the logistics of managing that
I didn’t see an easy way out. I thought something is out to get me and my season will just never begin. But it dawned on me with July 4th around the corner and another social obligation the following weekend, that I wouldn’t have the chance to toe the line until the end of July. This was too long.

I texted my coach Siri about it, between all the sobbing and weeping, and was hoping she would cave in. I knew 100% she wouldn’t, but I could still hope! Right???

Siri to the rescue!!!

I wanted to stay inside my comfort zone; I was not ready to leave it and expand what I was capable of and get over another hurdle on this journey. 

Her text arrived just in time; she nudged me to treat it like any other training day. This wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but I knew this is what I needed to hear. I knew I had to do this.

This is why I have a coach. To coach me through my darkest valleys, because I want to be the best I can be.

And this very moment is exactly the time she is right and I am wrong!” But I had yet to find the courage to say “I can” and find it within me to get off the floor.

It was also my niece's birthday the following day. I often hear that my brother’s girls look up to me for inspiration. It dawned on me that this is exactly what role models and inspiring stories are made up of. 

Magic doesn’t happen when you stay inside your comfort zone and are afraid to face the challenges head on. Sometimes problems are big; sometimes they are small. But regardless of their size, they can be emotionally so daunting that you rather pull your bedsheets over your head and disappear. But I knew that this weekend was not the time to behave like that. I am better than that! I knew I had a race to race, I had a challenge to overcome and master, and I wanted to be the role model for my nieces/nephew that I know I am when I am at my strongest!  

As the morning arrived, I cleaned my bike, prepped my race gear and embarked on the drive to the race location, picked up my race kit, biked and ran a little bit and then just focused on enjoying the experience and gratitude for being able to do this. 

A lot of people throw the word gratitude around, and I usually oppose to statements that are superficial or meaningless. But on this day I felt grateful for being able to do this, for my health and body, to live in a place where this is possible. All the negatives I focused on seemed to have vanished, and all that was left was a little hint of excitement, nervousness and a lot of joy to get out there and race. It didn’t matter what the outcome was going to be. 



Looking back on the weekend I am perplexed at the vast levels of emotions I experienced over a span of 48 hours. Perhaps it was a momentary lapse in my sanity that knocked me down. 
Perhaps it was just the perfect fuel for the voice of doubt, fear, and hesitation.
But the lessons didn’t stop there, but get this!
Race day came, and all the worry was for absolutely nothing. Let’s just say it was a spotless sunny blue sky that day and the race unfolded superbly. My goal was obviously to have fun out there and go hard, but deep down I did aim for a podium finish, and so I did: 3rd in my AG. Not enough to qualify for Nationals, and that is alright. 
The lessons I learned from this particular race are obvious:

  • Focus on the negatives, and they will eat you, they will beat you down. So focus on the good-there is so much to feel grateful for.
  • A German phrase “nothing is every eaten as hot as it is cooked.” This means it will never be as bad as you make it out to be! So chill-lax!
  • Don’t worry so much about tomorrow, or the next day. Be here, be present and work with what you are given on any day.
  • Don’t let things you can’t control mess with your inner peace. Easier said than done, but worthwhile trying.
  • You are capable of so much more than you think, so go out and just do it.
  • Magic does, in fact, happen outside of your comfort zone. 

Happy and Feeling accomplished. In the end Races are about giving what you have on that day. Face your fears head on, you may surprise yourself! Cheers!