As the bulk of race season is ending it is important to stop and reflect on our races. To celebrate our successes and review our disappointments. Sometimes our biggest wins come from what we first view as setbacks.

There are times when we strive for something, a podium finish or a personal goal , whether it be time, pace or otherwise and we fall short. These can teach us more than our wins and empower us more then we thought possible.

As athletes was have disappointments to deal with, its how we respond in the end that makes us stronger. We can have that fist clenching grr but if we listen we can build a fire inside us to build resilience. How do we ignite the fire after the downpour?

  • Acknowledge the disappointment so we can move on. It’s okay to feel angry and sad and frustrated. Let it out, so it doesn’t consume you. Once you let it out it loses control over you.
  • Find the positives. Although overall you may feel disappointment if you take a moment to stop and review you will see that there are positives. Remember your ‘why’, ‘why’ you chose the race in the first place.
  • Learn your lessons. Take the time to review what went wrong and address how you can change them next time. Acknowledging them helps us grow, it builds our resilience. Let’s be honest, does the perfect race exist? Rather our strength and ability to adapt makes a race great.
  • Lean on your tribe. Let them help you see objectivity and remind you that you are more then just one race.
  • Enjoy the ride. Race day isn’t our only time to shine. The journey to get to the start line needs to be celebrated too. Those training days, hard efforts, rest days, the ups and downs are just as valuable.

Its always hard to share personal experiences, it can leave us feeling vulnerable. But at the same time it empowers us. That no matter how much experience and training we have we all face upsets, including the pros.

I took the time to reflect on my summer and ended up having two races quite close together. Although unplanned I raced Ironman Canada and two weeks later Calgary 70.3.

I had a difficult run in Whistler. My back was spasming but what hit me the hardest was the negative that consumed me on the run. Even as I raced and saw fellow team mates cheering me on…my response to them was ‘my back hurts’. I forgot the beauty of where I was and what I was doing. The negative talk was winning, the positive was lost.

I was running better than I ever have pre race, posting my fastest run times and recovering quick. I was feeling strong and ready for the run. But that day just wasn’t mine and I walked a good portion of the run. That was mentally challenging.

After my initial disappointment and processing the race in its entirety. I leaned on my tribe to shed some objectivity on the day. They reminded me that I had made the start line, I embraced the day and yes I had setbacks but the journey was fulfilling. I acknowledged what I could work on and quickly decided I had unfinished business.

At the very last hour, I found myself hitting the registration button for Calgary 70.3. So last minute, that I had the second last bib number which I still giggle about today. I had one goal for that race, a positive mindset on the run. The rest of the race were building blocks to get to the run. I had no time goals, only mindset. Something that was well within my control given the fatigue I had entering the race.

I am excited to report that my run was successful. My mindset was positive throughout the majority of the run. There was a slight waver after the climb out of Fish Creek around 17km but by the last 2km I had regrouped and was ready to challenge that finish-line. I ended up posting my fastest run yet and overall PB, yes that was gravy but my true win was mindset. My goal was to stare down that run with vengeance and beat the negative on the other side. I did just that.

Missteps and perceived roadblocks are inevitable in triathlon. Often after we reflect on what we initially identify as so called failures we see these are the building blocks for our biggest wins. Triathlon is an adventure with twists and turns, true success comes when decide to rise after our fall.

Coach Karleen