Now What?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

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This isn’t the post I thought I’d be writing, but I am.

I am not feeling the way I should be feeling, but I am.

Yes, I successfully completed IronMan Muskoka 70.3, and yes, it was a very challenging course, so in reality I should just be happy to have crossed the finish line—almost 40 people of the 1300 participants didn’t finish.

I know that I improved significantly over my performance at IronMan Lake Placid last year, and I’m happy with that. Overall, I felt better prepared and in better shape.

But the bottom line is that, for me, my performance on race day just wasn’t good enough. I trained my ass off for close to 6 months. Others that were competing with me (my wife and brother and sister-in-law in particular) all said that I would do way better than they would because they hadn’t trained. My brother had only ridden his bike 3 times this year, and I’ve put on miles in both races and training. My wife kept telling me that she was worried that she was going to suck because she had hardly spent any time training and I had done so much.

Both my wife and brother beat me, and not by seconds, either. I finished with a better time than my sister-in-law, but not by much. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very very proud of all of them, and I’m happy for them—they did a great job, and deserved the result they got on a difficult day. I’m just really disappointed in my own result. It is an accomplishment to finish any IronMan or IronMan 70.3 race, but I’m not in it finish. My mantra for the last year has been “Last year we did enough to get by; this year we want to do enough to do well”

I had to work my ass off for 6 months, all the while feeling guilty about the amount of time I was spending training with the help of my coach (Dave Harju), working out with my personal trainer, getting treatment from Tina, my massage therapist, and what did it give me? A performance that disappointed me. Why did it disappoint me? Because I think I can do better.

The reason I’m feeling down about all of this? Probably because I’m questioning everything, right down to the fundamentals. Maybe I can’t do better.

Maybe, when the chips are down, I just can’t perform in these longer races to do anything other than “finish” the race.

I just don’t know right now, and I’m not sure whether I want to train more and with more intensity and focus, or whether it is time to just accept that I’ll only ever just finish the race and be okay with that.

Derek Featherstone
Derek Featherstone
Web Designer/Developer, Speaker, Trainer, Author, IronMan Lake Placid 2007
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Man, I know how you feel. I did IM Kansas 70.3 this summer, and, even after training my butt off for 6–8 mos, still got trounced on the bike vs. my training buddies. To top it off, they called the race while most of us were just a few miles from finishing the run due to weather. All those hours, all that money, all that effort, and you have to wonder – for what? I was burned out at first, too. Now, I’m just sorta warming back up…

Dave – egads, that sounds like a rough race and like your head is in a similar space to mine right now. I’m having a tough time training right now as well – knowing that I’ve got a bunch of races next year, but that they are so far off. We’ll make it, and I’m sure we’re tough enough to do it, but its tough to see a bright future when all you see is dim.

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