Building Character

Athlete Stories , Wildflower Add comments

Guest post by: Kari Hamilton

Ahh race day. All of the preparations you have made for weeks and months in order to be in your best shape physically and mentally pay-off today. You have run the race over and over in your mind, thinking of every scenario, visualizing yourself through it all. Your tri-bag is packed with all of the tools that will make today a success. You have brought your A-game.

That was my scenario for Wildflower 2012. I am an age-group rookie racer and did the Olympic distance for the 2nd time this year. I knew my weaknesses for the course and had trained accordingly. I got down to the swim start, all wetsuited up ready to have my visions play out perfectly in the race. I did my warm-up and felt great. The water conditions could not be more perfect. I played out my start just as I had planned and had escaped the pack. I wasn't getting run over and kicked and my lungs were feeling great, just like the sprints I had practiced. And then at about 150 yards out, I couldn't breathe. It felt like I only had a tiny straw to breathe through. Stupid asthma. Inhaler and all, it was putting a wrench in my plan. I tried to just relax and swim through it. Nothing was helping. I pulled off to a kayak (definitely NOT part of my grandiose vision) and unzipped the back of my wetsuit about 12" so my lungs could expand fully. It helped, so I got back to my swim... with my wetsuit unzipped. I had lost a lot of time trying to recover from my asthma attack, but did my best to make up as much as possible.

Onto the bike, I had a good transition and got off as quickly as I could. On my way up Lynch, Macca was running down. That guy is awesome. Gave me just the boost I needed to climb that hill. One thing I love about triathlon, the pros are on the same course at the same time as the "regular" athletes. It's very inspiring. I pushed hard through the bike and felt like I had a good ride, yet saved my legs enough for the run. By the time I was on the run, it was about 90 degrees. Hot. I didn't fly on the run, but I definitely did better then last year, which made me happy.

When it was all said and done, I beat last year's time by 26 seconds. As an OCD triathlete that had bigger plans then that, I was very annoyed. I know I could have done better. I could have reached my goal if my mojo hadn't been screwed up in the swim. Mentally it is hard to recover from that. When I was telling a coach from a tri club what happened he laughed and said I had a "character building" race. I guess. I did learn the mental game is just as much as the physical game. All the preparation in the world can't be as useful as "in the moment experiences". I cannot wait until next year when I get another chance at my own personal victory. I will meet my goal of 3 hours. Wildflower is my favorite race by far. Even with "character building" you still have fun. Finishing alone is a victory.

1 response to “Building Character”

  1. Rosa Michelle Says:
    Do not neglect this improvement of 26 seconds, nothing matters as long as you are putting in your best efforts and watching them being fruitful, no matter how insignificant. Make these 26 seconds count, and smile :)

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