Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Regroup and Refocus

I have to say I am still annoyed about yesterday, my non event of a race. Not so much annoyed about pulling out, I still know that was the right thing to do, but more the measure of progress that the DNF indicates. I thought I was better than that and a reality check is never fun.

Disappointment is something that comes with sport. Sometimes training and racing bring amazing experiences and treasured memories, however, sometimes they don't. Sometimes training and racing brings frustration and disappointment that can really get under your skin, shaking confidence and impacting your enjoyment of your sport. It isn't what we aim for, but it does happen.

So what do you do when things don't quite go to plan?

Well an old coach of mine used to have a saying. Time to regroup and refocus.

When disappointment happens, and it will, take a moment to accept that disappointment, to think about it but not dwell on it. This means you need to have a think about why things didn't go to plan, do a bit of analysis on what led to the performance and what could have gone better. Every bad day has lessons to give, it just takes the courage to look for them.

However, once you have identified those lessons then comes the tricky part, let that frustration and disappointment go. The incident is behind you and the lessons have been learnt so there is nothing to be gained by dwelling on your disappointment any longer. Take those lessons and move on, don't wallow in self pity or annoyance, but focus instead on moving forward.

And that of course in the next step, refocus. You have your lessons, you know what to do to prevent your disappointment happening again, so now you have to refocus your energy on putting those lessons into practise. This is no guarantee that things won't go wrong again in the future, but putting those lessons into practise means they aren't wasted and you will continue to build and improve as an athlete.

It is a terrible cliche to say that every failure is an opportunity is disguise, but in this case the saying is rather apt. If treated with the right attitude, failure and disappointment can be great catalysts for improvement and growth, you just have to  have the will to do so.

Regroup and refocus.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Not to plan

Well that didn't go to plan.

As you may recall the plan for this afternoon was to take part in a paddling race. It didn't quite work out that way.

Paddling, like many sports can be significantly influenced by the conditions. Like open water swimming an event in rough or difficult water can make the experience pretty unpleasant or even, at worst, a little dangerous. Like many sports, knowing your limits in those conditions is pretty important. Today I found some of those limits.

As I mentioned the other day I like to think that I don't let the fear of something stop me from trying it. With that in mind I went down to the race today to give it a go despite the conditions looking far from ideal. However, there is a line between giving something a go and going outside your limits and that was the situation I was in today.

Nobody likes admitting defeat and withdrawing from a race. It feels very much like taking the easy option, which is something I have always tried not to do. However, today I was forced to admit that I was out of my depth and that the best and safest thing for me to was to record a DNF. It is still a decision I am not that happy about, even though I have no doubts that is was the right one. Withdrawing never feels good.

Still, no cloud is without a silver lining, and this cloud has one too. This race was a very low priority event, taking part in it for me was really in the name of learning, which is something I certainly did. Taking part in the event has really helped highlight the areas I need to work and improve on. Falling at this hurdle has also given me a bit of a jab of motivation to keep working. I won't lie, I am pretty annoyed how out of my depth I was today, I thought I was doing a bit better than that, but I can accept it as a fair reflection of the current state of things and get on with the work of getting better. The only way from here is up.

Not the best day, but not the end of the world either. Often the difference between mediocre and good is the ability to get back up after a disappointment, over and over if necessary. I will certainly be getting back up after today.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Satisfying

What a weekend. Just a little bit tired today. 

Following on from the long ride on Friday I have had two pretty solid days of training. The session yesterday was unexpectedly tough to the point that the session this morning was a bit of a sufferfest. I started the session with serious questions whether I would be able to put together a quality training session, or whether I would instead just be doing junk miles. In the end I think I managed to put together 90 minutes of reasonable quality, that is my view anyway and I am going to stick to it. Either way I made it through though the training and am feeling rather satisfied with myself as a result. 

On top of all the exercise we have also have a pretty satisfying weekend around the house, getting a solid amount of necessary housework and DIY done. Not glamorous for sure, but jobs that needed doing and that we have been putting off for a while. On top of all that the weather this weekend has been absolutely glorious. After a fairly solid winter the weather has definitely turned and we are now getting a chance to enjoy the best of Perth's weather. A weekend to feel good about. 

However, as good as the training and the housework and weather has been, the best thing about this weekend is that it isn't over yet. No, this weekend has a bit more to give because tomorrow is a public holiday in Perth which means we have a bit more weekending to do. Winning.

At the moment the plan is to use this extra day to squeeze a bit more of the same into our weekend. More exercise, more DIY and just generally more relaxing and enjoying wonderful spring days. 

On the training front, my current fatigue means that tomorrow morning is going to be a nice easy recovery session. I am going to need it because theoretically I have a paddle race in the afternoon. I say theoretically because for a number of reasons it may not be much of a race and may be more of a training session. Reason one is that I am pretty tired and I may just be a bit too fatigued to really put much of a race together. I will see of course, but based on what I am feeling now I could well be feeling a bit flat by tomorrow afternoon. Reason two is that the race is out on the ocean and will, therefore, be a bit technical, which is not exactly my strong suit. In fact technical racing is far from my strong suit and tomorrow is really going to be a bit of a suck it and see experience. Given that, tomorrow may be more about survival and learning than actual racing for me. However, technical racing is something I want to get better at and there comes a point where there is nothing to be done but go out and give it a try. It might well suck for the first few races, but everybody has to start somewhere. 

I have always said that I won't let fear of the unknown stop me from trying new things, seize the day and all that. That mantra held true for me in triathlon and it holds true for most other areas of my life and i have to say it hasn't really done me wrong. Seize the day is what the race tomorrow is going to be all about. 

It will be nice if it doesn't suck too much though....