So leading up to Oceanside I basically had 5 months to visualize the race and prepare. Although this wasn't the biggest race of the year for me, it still was an "A" race for me so I gave plenty of attention and focus to it both physically and mentally. One of the ways I always prepare for my races is visualization. My high school coach during race week (for bigger races) taught me a lot about it. He'd bring us into a classroom have us all lay down, dim the lights, have us slowly relax and then talk us through the race. He was an old school coach, but he was actually way ahead of his time when it came to mentally preparing us for races. How many other coaches where doing this? Once we got to the starting line, we were totally prepared because we had played the scenario over and over it our heads. More often then not, the races unfolded just as we had visualized it.

One thing I know is that you don't learn much when you win a race. However, when you get your ass handed to you, I've found out that you learn a lot! I discovered something huge for me last week after thinking about my race. Triathlon (especially long course) is soo different from a Cross Country race or a track race. I make a lot of references to my hs and college days running because that is the closest thing I can relate to since I'm so new to the sport. When visualizing those kind of races, you are racing against competitors from the gun. It's very clear who is winning, who's making moves and what kind of race it's going to be. You can pretty much visualize every type of situation and be very mentally prepared come race day. I finally learned with triathlon, you can't focus on the outcome. You have to live in the moment and often times you are out there just pushing yourself. There aren't teammates racing along side you, you most likely have no idea what place you are in and you may not see another competitor for miles. Add to the fact that it's a 4-5 hour race and you have that much time to make mistakes....or you can look at it as 4-5 hours of opportunity to live in the moment and be your best. Because of this style of racing I often focused on numbers and outcomes. I visualized them only to find out that it helped lead me to my failure in this race.

A lot of post-race relaxing went on last week
Hopefully this makes sense, but last week was HUGE for me. I went through quite a bit of emotions through it all but the outcome made me a much better triathlete. My visualization for races has taken on a whole new re-haul and I'll be much better for it. Over the weekend I rode with a friend of mine, Mike Hebebrand and we were talking about the race. He's a Kona qualifier and has a lot of races under his belt. He mentioned to me, "You know when you line up for a 5k or 10k that your going to be competitive. You've been there done that and you know how to pace yourself. You've been doing it for years. Well the same goes with triathlon. Those fish that line up at the front have that confidence that you have for running. You need that same type of confidence." It's so true and after yesterdays swim where I did 20x100 at sub 1:30 pace - I really thought to myself that I CAN swim, but I have just approached the swim portion in races too conservatively. I go in almost too relaxed and look at it as a warm up for the bike/run portion. As I was doing my 100's I realized that I don't even touch that effort in a race but I do it every week in the pool! Time to change the mind-set going into these races. Instead of the relaxed/focused mind-set, it's time to Attack! Last week I wrote on my hands in bold letters "Focus" and "Recruit" as a constant reminder to Focus and to keep recruiting muscles throughout the race. It worked, but I think it made me a bit too relaxed.

This week, it's time to switch it up and have the words "Attack" and "Compete" in my mind. I jumped in last minute to do an Olympic distance triathlon at Lake Perris called Big Rock Triathlon. I thought it would be too close to Oceanside and the Ragnar Relay, but the way I have been recovering lately, I'm not worried about it at all. I'm excited to race and especially excited to "race" the swim. The plan is to leave it all out in the water, conserve nothing. I'm fit enough to be able to recover on the bike and still have a good leg. This will only be my second Olympic distance triathlon. I'm excited to get another one under my belt and practice racing in the open water as I build towards Wildflower which is only 3 weeks out!

As for the week's training, it was very unstructured. As in, train light and do whatever you want! Just a chance to mentally and physically get over the race. To be brutally honest, I was very unmotivated, border-line burnt out throughout the week, so it was great timing just to get over it all, gather my thoughts and spend some great quality time with family. By the time Saturday came, I felt refreshed and ready to dive back into training. I think I gained more last week then I did on my biggest week of training. I feel good and am excited to race the next two weekends. Going to be a lot of fun!

Here's a few more pics from the weekend:

Growing up fast!
Obsessed with the Chipmunks
Pool time!
Plenty of this throughout the week...Seriously gained 5 pounds last week...ha


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