“2 minutes” The announcer calls over the intercom. I kiss my vial of Spirit B and put him safely in my pack, take a swig of water and head down to the start line of the Telluride 100 mtn bike race. My nervous jitters are finally starting to fade the closer I get to start time and soon it will be replaced with the type of energy I crave and love: focused and driven. The words of my coach and husband are ripe in my mind and echo as I clip in to my pedals and pull my arm warmers up “Trust your training, be curious about how much faster you can go, have fun, and lastly – remember we ALL love you no matter what happens.”
Twenty minutes later I am in the lead pack charging up Bear Creek Pass, the famous ass-kicking climb that gains nearly 4000′ in about 7 miles and tops out at an elevation of close to 13000′. All of the jitters are gone. On the surface my thoughts are going crazy: “Why am I doing this again?”, “I don’t know if I can hang on” and “It hurts too bad!”; deep down I know that this too is part of my process.
After struggling through so many adventure races and mountain bike races it is nice to finally see my patterns from an outside non-reactive perspective. Instead of acting on any of my thoughts, I was able to observe them and know that at some point they would pass.
And sure enough, another twenty minutes later I was digging in and trusting all the work that I had put in for the previous 5 weeks.
After recovering from GodZone, putting on Expedition Oregon and helping Jason get ready for his 400 mile paddle race in the Yukon, I was ready and inspired to train hard and see if I could beat my time from last year. This year I had a couple things going for me, the main one being that I wouldn’t have to worry about feeding Max and emptying my engorged 6 month postpartum boobs!
This time around, I was also able to train a bit harder and be more focused. Jason set me up with a simple five week training block that included hill repeats, max outs, endurance days and mandatory rest days (I need these built in or else I will not listen!). On each training day I had a different goal and different mantras that I knew would help on race day. Sometimes it was “just get to the top” other times it was “see if you can give it an extra 1%.” On the days that I couldn’t get out until the hottest part of the day because I was with Max, I told myself that it was “adaptive training”. Because all focused training is good. Sometimes the training is purely mental. Making the choice to get up and do it is 99% of the battle.
So during the race when I wanted to hang back and chill out on the flowing single track or take it a little easier on the unrelenting climbs, I just asked myself “Can you go a little harder?” “How about now?” And when doubt or worry about who was ahead of me or behind me crept in I reminded myself that this ultimately was my race and that all I was doing was gathering information for the next time, and the time after that.
Because training for races, racing, raising a family and living this life is all the same when it comes down to it. Everyday I trust my own process. I trust that I am learning, growing and adapting in ways that will help me become the best mother, wife, daughter, sister, teammate and friend that I can be.
After 10 hours and 10 minutes (almost an hour faster than last year), I skidded through the finish line in third place just 18 minutes behind 1st place and 3 minutes behind second place. And just like last year, I crossed with a huge muddy smile on my face. I had completed my goal. And best of all there at the finish line was the greatest gift of all: Max and Daddy! I took Max in my arms. He looked a little bewildered after a day of chasing me around the race course. Every time he’d see me, he’d stretch out his arms and I would ride right by…but this time Mama actually stopped and held him! I told him that I’d been out playing and talking to his brother, and he smiled up at me, all forgiven.
Big Thank You to Jason, Max and Spirit B for being the best most supportive family and teammates out there 🙂
I love you, I love you, I love you
And if you are looking for someone to train you for an upcoming race or mission – I whole heartedly recommend Jason at http://www.jandctraining.com !!!