Faith, Love, Gratitude

might sound like an odd title for a blog post on my Paleo site, BUT, being that my racing is also a fundamental part of who I am and what I do, I felt it appropriate to write about this today, after a great race yesterday at this year's Ironman Hawaii 70.3.

So what's the connection between the three words at the top of this post and the race?

They were one of my mantras yesterday while racing.

Training and racing requires a great deal of mental focus, and I find that the more I develop the mental component, call it sports psych if you want, the more I'm able to continue to improve, train harder and smarter and get faster!

While I'm working out, there are many things going on internally.  What's my heart rate, stride length, cadence, RPE?  How deep have I got to go for X number of seconds for X number of intervals? What strategies have I got in place to bounce any negative thoughts or images that pop into my head?  As you can tell, it's a full on conversation…with myself!  Thus, I don't train with music or in front of the TV.  To do so, for me, would take away from the full experience and my ability to focus inward on the task at hand and complete any given workout to the best of my ability.

Enter the mantra.

A mantra can be anything you want it to be.  You're the only one that needs to know what your mantra(s) are, so go ahead and make it something that suits you right here, right now.

The 'faith, love, gratitude' is one that I started using about two years ago after having an emotionally rough A race the year before when, at Ironman Lake Placid 2008, things simply did not go according to plan and I felt crushed at not having qualified for Kona that year.  It actually dawned upon me here in Hawaii just before doing the same race I did yesterday, in 2009.  I woke up one morning and was overcome with the realization of how I lucky I was just to be in Hawaii, with my husband, both of us with the ability to race in our shared sport, which we love… and then suddenly it seemed silly that I'd been so uber focused on winning a race that all else would previously have felt like a failure.

Yes, of course I still want to perform, for myself, my husband, my coach, BUT on a much more fundamental level, it's the day to day fortune to be able to train, move, move my body that, thank God, is healthy and works properly and allows me to 'play' in this wonderful sport.

Whatever you do, whether you're also a triathlete, or a runner or a basketball player or someone who likes to rollerblade- it doesn't matter.  

Just do what you enjoy and embrace the gift  you have.