So my 2008 eason is in the books and I'm just over a week into my off-season. I think it's time to look back and evaluate the season. Hindsight is 20-20 afterall...
I had the chance to listen to Brad Kearns (retired Pro Triathlete) speak and something he said stuck with me. I'll paraphrase:
In order to truly enjoy Triathlon, you need to release yourself from your objectives. He clarified by giving an example of his best race ever. He merely focused on having the best race he was capable of putting together on that day. Despite the cold water, rain and seriously delayed race start, he found himself in front on the bike course with a chance to win. By ignoring the conditions, his competitions reactions to them and by focusing on maximizing his own performance, he was able to win.
I raced 2008 with that same mentality: ignore what other people are doing and race your own race. Chucky V. said something similar in his Pacific Crest Trail journal that amounted to "hike your own hike".
I definitely feel that intrinsic motivators are more powerful than racing for a place or arbitrary time goal. Can you miss a time or place goal and still have a "good race"? I'd like to think so; otherwise my 2008 season was lackluster at best.
Personal best by 20 minutes. Still think I could've gone faster if not for my GPS foul-up. Totally my fault, though.
Racers and Chasers:
A prettty big let-down. Dead F'ing Last (DFL) in my AG. This plus Xterra REAL put a huge "?" on my seasson.
Took 2 weeks off before this race to focus on school. Same time and placing as last year, but all I had at this point in the season.
Arizona Xtreme Triathlon:
Hot, Hot, HOT! I suck in the heat, but managed a respectable finish considering the heat and the stacked field.
Idyllwild Spring Challenge:
A training race for me, but I pulled top 5 outta my a$$ and qualified for NORBA Nationals as a reault. I also beat some guys that whooped my a$$ last year. Hands down, my most surprising race of the year results wise.
Xterra West Championships:
Again; hot, hot, HOT!
A strong race for me. Camping in the heat probably put me in a hydration deficit, but still redeemd myself after last year's broken chain debacle.
Xterra Snow Valley:
Missed opportunity. Here's where Brad's (and my) philosophy broke down. I raced my own race and got 4th, when I had 3rd in my grasp. This one still stings a little.
It looks like I'm stil learning how to race up to my potential. Some guys have that innate ability to push themselves right up to the brink of their fitness, and beyond if necessary (yeah, that's James for sure!). They have that intangible "thing" that drives them and allows them to acheive amazing physical feats. I find myself wondering if I have "it".
Perhaps I need a paradigm shift. A switch from "zone" defense to "man-to-man". Develop my "killer instinct".
At Idyllwild I told myself I'd hang with the front pack until I blew up. Amazingly, I hung on for much longer than I thought I could. Maybe it's time "race your own race" gets replaced by "fake it 'till you make it".