A Help or a Hinderance?
My writing has been a little bit sporadic the last few weeks and for this I am sorry. As I am sure you can imagine things have been a little intense here with the World Championships getting closer and closer. My training last week was brutal. But this isn’t some local race. This is the World Championships. The training obviously needs to lift to another level if I expect to line up against the best athletes in the world on September 4. I am really trying to not spend too much time thinking about the race. It is what it is. As long as I do what I can to prepare nothing should go wrong. I also learned last year when I was in Thailand that I do not like pressure in the lead up to an event. As I said, I do not spend a lot of time focusing on what will unfold on the day. The problem I am having though is that other people are.
I know that my approach to racing is probably different to a lot of other people. I also have to admit that after getting on the podium at some big races last year I have gotten a taste for it. Missing out on 3rd place in Norway by a handful of seconds did have an impact on me. However, I am not motivated by where I place. Ok that isn’t necessarily true. I am not motivated by where I place at the World Championships this year. When I set myself the target of qualifying 18 months ago that was the goal, to qualify. I like the quote from the Joker in the Dark Knight (love that I have worked a Batman reference in here) “You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it.” So that is what happened. I qualified and was a bit like, oh so now I have to do the race too.
I am only too aware of my own limitations and maybe it is because I was never very good at sport when I was overweight but it is all too easy for me to say that I am just going to give it my best. To be honest, that is what I intend to do. But I do not think that is the end of it. I am not expecting a podium at Sunny Coast at all. As far as I am concerned it is not even a possibility. But that doesn’t mean that I am not going out there with other motivations. This is what I mean when I say that my approach to racing might be different to others. The thing that is motivating me to give my absolute best performance on September 4 is to show that it can be done. I know I am not some weight loss messiah or anything like that. But I do feel like I can try and give others a demonstration about what is possible. If I race hard and fast I am showing other people who may feel like they can’t do it that in fact they can. The fact is that quite a lot of people read what I have to write. I also get lots of emails from people who say they are going through something similar. So if you are one of those people I want you to know that you are motivating me to race hard on the Sunshine Coast.
I know I will go faster. I am getting faster. I see it in my training and I see it in my results. I have no doubt that if I keep working hard there is a chance that one day I may be able to challenge the podium at a World Championship race. This is definitely something that motivates me as well. Racing against myself or trying to motivate others is good to a point. There needs to be a big carrot somewhere down the line. It is funny but while I am writing this I am incredibly uncomfortable admitting that I do have the desire to win. Maybe it is being Australian and the fear of the tall poppy syndrome but I will admit that I have that desire. I just don’t think I am ready yet. I am a realist and I am also a bit sceptical (I blame it on my law degree) so instead of saying it isn’t going to happen I would rather admit that it isn’t going to happen right now.
The problem I have though is also part of my motivation. Other people are starting to place their own expectations on me. As many messages I receive from people asking about losing weight or sharing their story with me I also get messages of support about the World Championships. Here lies my problem. I don’t like the pressure. In Thailand last year after I was surprised to win my age group at the Laguna Phuket Triathlon, all talk started about how I had to win my age group at Challenge Phuket the next weekend. Yes, I wanted to. But having other people expect it from me started to stress me out. This is very much the same. No in fact this is a situation that is worse. I said it before; I do not think I am good enough at the moment to really compete with the top athletes at this race (yet.) So I am truly worried about disappointing people. It isn’t a feeling I am comfortable with. It feels like I have let people down sometimes before I even get in the water.
So maybe now you are starting to see the reason why I chose the name I did for this blog. The biggest source of motivation for my biggest race of the year is also one of my biggest sources of stress and fear. Much like with my training at the moment I am on a knife’s edge trying to stay motivated but not be scared. What I keep telling myself is to work on the things I can control. I remind myself that these people are not placing expectations on me to cause me stress. Instead they are trying to motivate me. They do more than I think they know. I just need to manage how much anxiety it also causes me.
When that gun goes off at 6:45 on September 4 you can bet I will go as hard as I can. With the way that I have been training I am personally expecting to put in one hell of a performance, a performance that not only makes my family, friends and coach proud. But one that shows people out there that anything really is possible. I always said when I started this blog that if one person after reading what I had to say signed up for a triathlon that would be enough for me. I am so proud of the fact that I have had multiple people tell me that now. So consider this race my attempt to take it to the next level. I don’t know what will happen on race day but when it is hurting I will be thinking of the people following my performance and doing my best not to let them down.
Have a great week, thanks for reading and remember to TRI!
26/12/2019 02:55:10 pm
I am so thankful for you because it seems like you don’t stop on updating us with everything that is happening on your life as an athlete. Definitely, it is not an easy thing but you can handle it very well. Perhaps, it is because of the fact that you’ve been doing this for years now and your experience made you a veteran. Well, I can feel that there is no more problems that can shake you because you can handle everything. That’s a skill I need to know yet!
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I lost 50kgs though triathlon and completed the 2016 70.3 World Championships. Aiming to hit 4:05 for a 70.3, the same time it took me to complete my first Olympic Distance Triathlon. I want to bring as many new people to the sport as possible. Whether you are fit and active or want to make positive changes to your life.