Were you? I recall my inability to ace a test even as a great student. Spanish was my worst, with history not far behind, and SATs…my goodness, that darn test. Had me shaking in my boots for months and no matter how much effort I put into studying, I nearly blanked before each attempt.
I find that racing brings me back to this theory – that no matter how much you “got this,” sometimes things don’t necessarily go as planned. And with that, I’m actually surprised I decided to take on some big feats over the last few years. Because when I do look back, no race was ever perfect. No matter how strong I got through training or how much progress I saw over a period of time, something would strike at some point in the race that would prevent me from finishing without some setback on the course.
It’s kind of funny, to be honest. I mean, how could we expect perfection, ever? What in life is actually perfect and why must we always seek it out? I’m a glass half full kinda girl; I see beauty and find happiness in most things. If I fail at something, I haven’t actually failed at life, but I’ve learned a lesson and I take it with me as armor for my next mission. When I go all out too early in a race, I’m mad at myself for about two minutes, and then realize how pointless that is because I’ll have that knowledge next time when they sound GO. Pros make similar mistakes all the time and you hear them talk about it often. They should have fueled more, they didn’t stretch enough, they cramped up because of lack of hydration. It’s inevitable. We might always have at least one mistake waiting in our tank.
A couple of days ago, the Terrier Tri team had our second training test to kick off the season. We knocked off the 500yard swim test on Sunday, had to cancel our 5k run test on Tuesday (due to icy roads), and now was our bike power test. Power hour was not something I was looking forward to. I was told by someone to push until you feel like you’re going to throw up. What?! Puh-lease, I am not about to start a humpday like that. BUT, I did power through like a champ considering I had no idea what to expect when I hopped on my bike at T2 Multisport. For 30-40 minutes we cycled along the course with a few pushes, until the 20-minute power period approached. Coach yelled GO and suddenly the room fell silent. A few minutes in, and I popped my head up to see everyone completely focused on their on-screen avatar, pushing their wattage, ramping up their RPMs, with puddles of sweat below them. I thought, am I working as hard as them? I’m looking at the screen and my numbers are quite lower than most and I’m thinking I could be failing at this. So I tried not to get distracted and just kept pacing my power periods. I divided the 20 minutes into a 6-6-6-2 model, where I would increase power and speed with each 6-minute block and then the final 2 minutes would be an all-out effort. At times we chanted, screamed, encouraged one another, but mainly we just rode on until that magic 20:00 appeared on the screen. For a first-timer of sorts, I did fairly well and I definitely should not have been focused on other people’s numbers. Wattage and power and all the other details are also based on my weight and my heart rate which I kept at an average of 180bpm (beats per minute). I’m just glad that test is over. Tests in general make me too nervous. I bet if we didn’t call it a test or a race, we could possibly do remarkably better at certain things. But some would argue that nerves make them stronger. The debate continues!
Post sweat sesh, I did feel incredible. I left my bike at T2. Her name is C.C., by the way. C.C. stands for Cavalier’s Choice, which was my grandfather’s winning horse that he loved dearly. C.C. will live at T2 for the next few months and ride with me indoors since outdoor cycling should be illegal with these frigid temps.
Yesterday, Thursday, I met the team again for an early morning swim. It was another great workout to cap off the week as today I took it easy to rid myself of an ongoing cold. Tonight I chill, tomorrow, well...I haven't figured that out yet! run? cycle? kickbox? We shall see. And boy oh boy I cannot wait for Tuesday’s run test. Tests, ugh. Ok, ok, I’ll try to be positive :)