I’ve blogged before about how I identify myself so I found a recent NPR story very interesting in how if you ask someone to help (verb) they are less likely to engage but more likely to engage if you ask them to be a helper (noun). I played this strategy on myself on Saturday during the Ironman St. George 70.3 race. Instead of approaching the race as a triathlete I had a mantra for each section of the race to take ownership of what I was doing in the moment.
I am a swimmer
I started learning how to freestyle swim effectively for triathlons in 2007. Prior to that I only had swimming experience during my youth at the local West Fargo Veteran’s community pool or at Lake Maud in the summers. I started attending master’s swimming workout sessions in late 2008 after my first half Ironman (70.3). I’ve never thought of myself as a swimmer until the last few years as I get more of a feel for the water and look forward to each swim session. During the 1.2 mile reservoir swim on Saturday I took on the swimmer role and owned it with each stroke. Each time I dug in the water I thought of a fellow swimmer that always encourages my husband and I to do one more set. He’s our cheerleader even though he is battling his own fight with pancreatic cancer.
Before the race I wrote down my stretch goals. 35 minutes was my target and I came close at 0:35:30. Happy to see the progress over my six 70.3 races: 45:54, 37:34, 36:01, 36:22, 36:47 and 35:30.
I am a cyclist
This was the easiest one for me to believe as I started cycling in 2003 and feel it is my strongest discipline in triathlon but always looking to improve. I’ve been thankful to have weekly training rides with my HERevolution team mates and other strong female cyclists as it can only help me get stronger. I knew last year I didn’t fuel enough during the bike and felt my power dwindle very early in the ride and melt away on Snow Canyon. I corrected that mistake this year by eating and drinking more and felt fueled during the ride and the Snow Canyon climb was finished before I knew it (still tough climb though)! It was great to see my husband and my friend, Monica, in the exact same spots as last year during the race. Happy to say it took my husband a little longer to catch me this year on the bike!
Pre race goal: 3:10 and achieved 3:06:42! Progress from last year’s time of 3:16:39!
I am a runner
It was a little tough for me to believe this sweet little lie during the run but it helped me shave 19 minutes off my run time last year as I didn’t give in as much and reduced my walking sections. I knew I put the training in for this tough race terrain and know I can do better in the future and need to figure out why I quad cramp at the end of the bike and seize up on the run (despite consuming salt tabs and electrolytes). I was able to push through the cramping but there is lots of improvement to be gained for my run fitness. When I first started doing half marathons and triathlon I was in better running shape. Not based on body weight, I was actually carrying a couple more lbs. then but I was doing the work such as track workouts, intervals and hill repeats. My next race, San Diego Rock and Roll 1/2 marathon is less than a month away so once my quads recover I look forward to a 2 week run focus to get me more tuned up for a shorter race distance and making myself believe I can be a runner!
Pre race goal: 2:10, result 2:16:21. Progress from last year’s time of 2:35:27!
In the end, I’m happy to call myself a triathlete too and be able to train and complete these great events! I achieved my revenge on St. George 70.3 from last year by improving my total time from 6:38:12 to 6:05:15 which is getting back to what I usually average during a 70.3. Need to chase my sub 6 hour time that I achieved at my first ever 70.3 in Boise in 2008, go figure!