I am now less than two weeks out till the my longest race ever--the Buffalo Springs 70.3 Half-Ironman. It doesn’t feel as big as maybe it should for me—maybe because I’m not going out to wreak havoc on the competition (not that I can truly do that anyhow) but more to challenge myself and see what I can do. Sure, I will get out there and do my absolute best, and race day adrenaline will kick in and motivate the competitor in me. Sure, I’ll look for rabbits on the bike and the run, but I truly am looking to do this the best that I can and accurately record it in my mind and analyze it to make my 70.3 race in October (Longhorn Half-Ironman) a race that I go out with the intent to wreak havoc on the competition (as best as I can of course). I also know that the conditions I will race in will be different for both events. For example, while it is possible it may be hot in Austin in October—it was last year for this race—I still don’t think it’ll beat Lubbock in June! The hills in Lubbock are steeper and fewer, while in Austin they are your TX rolling hills. Wetsuits will be legal, most likely, in Lubbock, and it’s probably 80-20 against that for Austin.
My swim coach, a triathlete and friend also, is fairly stressed it seems about the upcoming race as there are three of us she works with/friends with that are in the F25-29 age group. She thinks we're going to going to become crazy competitive with each other. Now, I will admit, I can be a fairly competitive individual (some of you are laughing that I just wrote "fairly")...but I am not malicious competitive at all, just individually competitive. When KA (my coach) asked me what I would do if B passed me on the run or I saw her ahead on the run (cause she's gonna beat me on the bike...of that I'm pretty positive), I was honest and said I'd probably run harder, as my body will allow me, with the concept of I have to finish the race...I can leave it all on the course, but finishing is key. Will it motivate me if I see someone I know a few up from me--sure it will, that's natural...but again, I have to do what my body can let me do. Will my goal be to go out and catch B or T on the bike or run, no, that's not the goal. The goal is for me to race those 70.3 miles as hard as my fitness level allows me. Will I use motivators on the course of "rabbits" in front of me to help me dig a little deeper and find something more that I was holding back, absolutely, that's part of the mental aspect of racing. Will it motivate me more if it's a F25-29 age grouper, whether I know them or not, sure it will--I always want to place as high in my AG as my fitness will allow me. But is my intent to go run down my friends I know and "beat" them. Nope, not this race. There maybe some of those races, but not this one. This is a PR (personal record) for me regardless--because I have never done this distance. I am not going to get an Age Group slot to Kona or Clearwater--but I am going to race and finish a half-ironman, all 70.3 miles and I will leave it with the confidence that, come October, I can go out even harder, faster, and stronger in Austin. And most of all, I want to HAVE FUN!
On a side note--it is also motivating in a fun way to have people you know racing out there with you--and there will be several folks I know out there on the course. We will all be fighting the same heat, the same course, and the same urge to just jump in the lake and cool off! So, to my fellow racers---I appreciate you, race hard!