Sizing it Up

I'm  in Paso Robles at the La Quinta Inn with my friends Chris, Tia and Mike, winding down our preparations for tomorrow's Wildflower Long Course triathlon.  It's 8:30 p.m. and we're going to bed for a 5:15 a.m. wakeup call.

It's been an exhausting two days.  Yesterday, I took the day off from work to focus on race prep and getting my head straight.  Instead, I worked from home and completed two upcoming articles for Lava Magazine Online -- one of them ironically dedicated to stress management.  I went to bed last night cranky, tired and felt bad because I took it out on Stephanie.  It's the taper, I told myself.  But still, there's really no excuse to be a brat.

My mood continued through this morning, when I rushed out the door in a blur after submitting both articles and arriving late for our scheduled 9 a.m. caravan time.  I was frazzled and couldn't have been further from my desired mental place a day before racing.  I needed quiet time. Badly.

However, when you travel with a group anywhere, that's not what you're going to get.  So, taking a lesson from one of the professional triathletes I interviewed for the stress column, I controlled the situation as best I could and got quiet within my own mind.  I thought about what I could do to have a great race, the important steps to enjoying a great race.  For once, I tried not to think about hitting a specific timeframe, which is difficult for someone as competitive as I am.

While I'm not sure how this approach will play out tomorrow, I do know it helped me today once my group and I entered the Wildflower expo area. G-d and G-dess bodies abound at the lake.  Everyone is ripped, dressed in their pre-race compression gear and looking ready to absolutely crush the course.  My friends noticed several competitors and called them out to each other, questioning whether they could beat them.  I remained silent.  I can't control their performance.  Or anyone else's but mind.  It doesn't matter who's faster than me.  What matters is did I run the best race I could, and how can I ensure I achieve my potential.

I am nervous for tomorrow morning.  Who isn't before a big race?  But I feel prepared.  I know I belong here, along with the athletes who might look the part better than I do and even talk the talk better.  I am aware, but I am not afraid.

So for once, instead of sizing up the competition, I'm simply sizing up myself.  And, despite a hectic two days preceding the race, I like what I see.

58 days and counting.