It's amazing in the world of triathlon how much we look to numbers. Distances, times, paces, number of workouts, heart rate, elevation gain/loss, cadence, stroke count and on and on are a natural part of what we do.
Part of that is finish times. I'm a competitive person, but I'm also afraid of what I can and can't do sometimes. I'm always being asked what my goals are or what my goal time is for Ironman Boulder. I never know how to answer. It's not that I don't want to tell people because I'm afraid of what they'll think of me.
I honestly don't know. I don't know what I am capable of on race day. When asked what my goal is, I say "To PR" and leave it at that.
In an off handed sort of way, I told coach that I wanted to break 6:00 before I turned 45. (And yes, I know I don't look a day over 30).
Me being ME, I expected Coach to say, "Honestly, you're about 3 or 4 years away from that. Great goal, though".
Instead, I get this response:
Of course, my response back was:
ARE YOU FREAKING NUTS?
Because that's how I roll.
And in the back of my mind, I was thinking....
Can I pull off a 5:52?
Could I really do that?
I see other women do it, but I'm not other women. I'm Tea. Little ole Tea. Tea, the plugger, the dolphin, the one with the REALLY COOL NEW BIKE.
With this NUMBER 5:52 looming in my mind, I went swimming.
and I thought....and I thought.....and I thought some more.
Then, I thought.....Maybe I could. Maybe I really could do a half iron in 5:52. Those numbers almost feel weird saying them....and directing them to myself. I mean, once you break into the 5 hour range, to me that's the CRAZY FAST PEOPLE. Those are the people that have showered & eaten by the time I usually cross the finish line.
Could I possibly be one of THEM??
I kept swimming.
Then, something changed. I went from "Could I really do it" to "How can I make it happen?"
Yea, I'm not the fastest runner, but so what! That's the beauty of triathlon.
Train to your weakness; race to your strengths.
Any combination of speed in the 3 sports will give me 5:52. I KNOW I'm faster than most women swimming. I KNOW I can hold that spot on the bike.
And the run? Let's just say that I'm no longer going to say "the run is a matter of survival". Nope. Not going to say that anymore. It's my 3rd best event. On the run, all I have to do is stick with the plan and focus. I don't have to be the fastest runner...not when I'm so good in the other two.
I just can't give up on the run.
Because I have a goal now.
And I'm not embarrassed to answer: My goal for Ironman Boulder? Oh, it's 5:52.