The other day on Facebook one of the swimmers I used to coach (breaks my heart a bit to use the past tense) asked me if I was ready and excited to race. Of course the answer is yes, but there is always a bit of trepidation during race week. I get a little nervous about packing, getting everything together, traveling, etc. However, when I started gathering some of my things today I felt some of those feelings start to fall away and it was replaced with a real feeling of excitement for what lays in store for me this weekend. I approach my training much the same as I approach a race day so there is a certain comfort level in getting ready for a race. I believe that the key to racing professionally is to approach training in a professional manner as well. I like to prepare for training the night before by making sure that everything is ready to go so that I can focus on the task at hand the next day. Therefore, when I get to a race day I am pretty used to getting everything together and ready to go. Of course, this is my first race since September 5 so I am a bit rusty and will probably overpack just a smidge. Also, I know that San Diego has stores so if I forget anything I can always pick it up once I get there.
As far as the race goes, I am totally ready for the challenge. I have been out in Napa training for the past few weeks and it has helped immensely. After several days of fatigue and soreness about a week ago my body is starting to come around and I can see that I have some solid fitness for this time of year. I have done this race two times and I have learned, at least for me, that placing expectations on myself for this first race after a long winter does not work. This does not mean I don't have goals, but my goals are to be in the moment, execute my race plan and have fun. I had a couple of workouts last week that reminded me what the pain will be like and also reminded me that when it gets tough, I can keep going. This is a racing mindset that I am working on developing every year. Mentally, I have to be ready to embrace the pain and keep going. I know that I am strong and fit and my body can handle the stress of a long race.
Nothing is guaranteed in this racing game. I have learned to be at peace with that and roll with the punches. No matter what happens on Saturday the sun will rise and the sun will set. "Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." (Thomas Edison)
See ya on the flip side!