Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Perfect Race

I was glad this week is over and I am looking forward to a more relaxing week. I finïshed off the week with a swim at Cottesloe. The talk today was about the shark attack at Garden Island yesterday. A guide was bitten by what may be a whale shark or a white pointer .As we drove towards Cottesloe we could see the Island in the distance. The Swim WA open water swim at Rockingham was cancelled and there were  only a few swimmers in the water as we got suited up for our Sunday swim.

It was cold but otherwise the sea was flat and calm.Great for swimming .It wasn't murky as we got further away from the Tea House and we made good time to the Blue Duck cafe. There were only a few stingers around.We swam back and did the swim in 33 minutes. It felt good and I could have gone further but it was nice just to be able to relax .

After the swim at Tony's place the Subiaco local rag had a front page piece on the death of Ken Crew 10 years ago on 4 November 2000 at Cottesloe Beach. I didn't think much about it , it was a nice day and I probably would have a higher probability of being hit by a car then eaten by a shark.

Had breakfast at the usual spot ....John Street Cafe.

I had no swimming on Monday and so I ran in the evening .It was a short run and very slow but it did say easy run. Did about 8km in 50 minutes .I had the NCTC meeting on Monday night and did not finish till 10.30pm. Was a Long day and  had to get up early for the Tuesday ride.Thankfully this is an easy week.

Despite the less than optimal hours of sleep I got out to Nedlands early and it was nie to have an easy ride. ross suggested we just spin around behind the groups .I managed to catch one of the groups and rode with them for 2 and half laps .Felt very comfortable and it was the nicest ride for a long time .No discomfort as I took my turn at the front and I was not pushing hard. There were 7 of us so it was a large group but we managed to stay together till the end.

The perfect race ....there isn't one . Training to race is preparation for all the possible issues that could come up in a race. Being prepared and hopefully practice over the last few months would have been sufficient for all that can happen.It is a cliche but training is a journey of experiences and memories which hopefully prepares the body for the day. I feel strong and comfortable. My swim and bike are definitely better . My run is about where I was last year but I have had no injuries and I have definitely been able to hold a harder pace in intervals.

Mark Allen said in a piece in TRIATHLETE:
"The Perfect Race

I tell people all the time that there is no such thing as a perfect race, but you can run a race perfectly. What this means is that things happen in racing that are, at the very least, unwelcome and, at worst, unexpected. It’s how you handle each of them that can make every race “perfect.” You always try to visualize what your perfect race will look like and how you will deal with situations that are challenging. But the reality of racing is that usually you will encounter situations that you hoped you would not have to deal with and situations that can seem off-the-charts tough.

Racing perfectly means that you deal with difficult situations calmly. If you get a flat, don’t freak out, just change the tire. If you get kicked during the swim, just keep swimming. If you miss a water stop on the run, pick up some extra at the next one. Whatever it is, just deal with it calmly and move on. That is what having the perfect race is all about.

No Bad Races

There is really no such thing as a bad race. Certainly there are expectations that far exceed reality, and there are days where absolutely everything imaginable goes wrong. But there is really never a bad race—with one exception. That is the race where nothing is learned that will help you out in the future. Each moment in your race day is a chance to note something that will help you in the future. It might be a stark reality that tells you how to train better for the next race. It could be personal insight into a weakness that you become inspired to transform into a strength. The toughest races are often the ones that give you the pot of gold for the future. But this only happens if you reflect on them and learn something that betters you as a person and gives you insight that helps you race better the next time.

As for the ultimate race of your life? Well, it is only after the finish line has been crossed and enough time has passed to reflect back on the day that you will really be able to see how great of a race you just had. In the moment of having the race of your life, it will hurt, you might doubt your preparation and you could ask yourself a thousand times why you are even there. But between those moments of questioning and doubt, there can be magical miles where your mind is quiet and your body is working at its top efficiency, where you ignore the moment before that was tough or the next instant that is unknown. The best race of your life exists in the quiet beating of your feet on the pavement and the breath of air that is sustaining your efforts. That is the mindset that will take you from being a novice in the sport to having the best experiences you can.

Mark Allen is the six-time winner of the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. Based in Santa Cruz, Calif., Mark has a state of the art online triathlon training program at Markallenonline.com.