The longer I do this sport, the more I appreciate some of the very special people in my life.
It's because they have such a profound impact on my life. I am so humbled by this sport. I am so honored to have these people in my life.
You may have read about a recent swim breakthrough that I had.
I had another one (a couple of days later).
I'll give you the short story. At the end of masters, my swim coach came over to me and asked if I'd want to do an 800m time trial. The pool was set up as long course meters. He was going to take my splits for me.
Of course, I said, "YES".
The plan for the time trial was to practice my race pacing. When I race in open water, my plan is to always go out as hard as possible, get to the front (or away from the pack), and then settle into a very hard/fast pace.
I've always been afraid of going too hard. Isn't that a fear we all have?
For the time trial, I decided to give it a try. Who cares if I slow down too much? It's my safe place. This is where I can take those risks, try things out before race day.
I went out like a bat out of hell. Every time, I hit the 100, Coach yelled out my paces, but I couldn't hear him.
The entire time, I kept my eye on the clock, but it didn't make any sense. The times/paces didn't make sense. I didn't judge myself on the times...I was either swimming crazy fast or crazy slow.....I left the labels behind and swam as hard as I could. When I was coming up on the 800, I thought, I think I have 100 more to go. So, I did another 100.
When I finished, Coach told me I did the 900 in 13:20. That's an average pace of 1:21 per 100 and a HUGE new PB.
And that was at the end of my masters practice. A practice, in which, I covered 3600m.
When I finished, we talked about my open water race strategy. He told me that my first 100 came in at a blazing fast 1:10, exactly what I want.
AND I MANAGED TO HOLD ON for the rest of the swim.
I had two other incidents this week. I had run intervals.
Because I do shorter races, I tend to bring my garmin but not look at it when I run intervals. It's really important to learn how to race to feel. For me, knowing my paces and heart rate can be an inhibitor. I use my Garmin selectively.
Liz and I have been talking a lot about running lately because something has been happening. We've seen gigantic jumps in my paces.
The goal for my run intervals was to get outside and run them on the track. The past few months of training have taught me more in regards to mental toughness than any months before. So, when I got to the track, I knew I was going to run those intervals hard. (technically, they were builds. I didn't start super hard).
I blew away my previous times/paces.
I ran 1200's, 800's, and 400's paced perfectly and when I needed to go harder, I went harder.
I had the same thing happen for my 2 hour bike.
As I was pushing watts, I kept saying "Fearless". Fearless, as in I'm not giving in. Not this time. Not next time.
I was telling Liz about this change.This is a really big thing for me. I'm not afraid of pain. I'm not afraid of going too hard.
She told me that I've expanded my comfort zone.
I realized she was exactly right. I'm now most comfortable at the top edge....or as some people call it "redlining".
This is a first for me. I can get to a high level of output and hold it. It has nothing to do with physical ability.
It has everything to do with mental toughness.
This is a level of toughness that I've not had before. I wouldn't have it if it weren't for the coaches in my life who constantly work with me, teach me, push me to give my best and believe in me.
That's where the overwhelming gratitude comes in. I'm so humbled by the fact that they believe in me so much, to give me so much of their time.
The results I'm getting are because of them. They've helped me get where I am today.