My race weekend playbook

Welcome to race weekend. For me, this particular weekend is about endurance and strength and taking life as it comes. It’s about sharing the day with amazing friends who inspire me, comfort me and support me. There are periods of time where my focus shifts toward a performance goal. Last year, for example, I chased some PRs and got one in the marathon. I will shoot for PRs again, I’m sure. It’s a rewarding challenge. But it’s not the challenge for this particular event. The goal for DoubleMussel weekend with a sprint triathlon and a half Ironman? It’s to trust myself, to push myself and to roll with the journey instead of trying to fight it.

This weekend is about:

Friends. I’m spending the weekend in the dorms at Hobart with my good friend (and fellow Sister of the Traveling Wetsuit) Mary who will be doing the sprint on Saturday with the intention of crossing the finish line together. It’s been a year filled with challenges for both of us and if the quickest way to the other side of pain is through it, I’m glad that I had such a strong, funny friend to go through the fire with me. Then there’s Hitch who has some ambitious goals for the 70.3 race on Sunday. His commitment to chasing his dreams, even on dark days, is something pretty amazing to watch. My approach to the sport is different from his, but that doesn’t make it less valid. His respect, support and willingness to watch movies featuring vampires helps keep me going when I misplace my perspective. There are other friends who will be racing and cheering this weekend and my parents are planning to brave out Sunday. The word “grateful” doesn’t quite capture how fantastic it is to share a weekend with people who have your back. It’s something I don’t take for granted.

Getting out of my comfort zone. There is nothing comfortable about the Musselman course. The bike isn’t horrible, but it’s hilly. The run is an endless, hot hilly run. And the swim, well there is nothing comfortable about a triathlon swim. You get as comfortable as you can and keep moving forward. You don’t have try to break your personal best in order to push the limits of your comfort zone. It’s playing at those edges where growth happens. It is what changes what I believe about myself and what I think is possible for my life. A

Rolling with the day. The forecast for the weekend looks, well, iffy. There’s a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms on both Saturday and Sunday and an old gremlin would like to freak out. But while I’m not strong in math, I do know that this means there is a 70 percent change that it will not storm. And what if it does? I follow instructions of race officials. There is little point in panicking in advance and there’s little point in panicking during the race. My goal is to do the best I can and that means taking the day as it comes. I trust my training and my fitness level and can push myself out of my comfort zone. But I also know that life brings twists and turns, not to stymie me but to make it more interesting. Or perhaps to lead me into a situation I need, even if I can’t see the reason why at the moment. Rolling with the day isn’t a passive act. It’s choosing defensive indifference — to focus on what’s in front of me right now, forgetting about what just happened and releasing any worry of might come around the corner. Every obstacle has an opportunity.

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