These were the words I heard from Greg Lemond's Exercise Physiologist Dan Zeman on Friday evening when I picked up my packet for my first and only Olympic race this year, at Buffalo.
I have to admit - these words of advise do not seem to be rocket science - but yet I've never quite thought of racing/training this way. The approach - rather than train to bust your butt to leave all you have on the course and shave seconds off your time from last year, why not train so you can do the same race you did last year "more comfortably." Hmmmmmm....So being that I have been pretty sick these past few weeks and hacking up a lung prior to entering the brisk waters of Buffalo this a.m. I decided this was the approach to take.
Let's face it, coughing coupled with swimming does not make a favorable outcome. Picture coughing, followed by MORE coughing because of unexpected water intake. Ugh! I was happy to see the last of the big yellow rubber duckies behind me. If anyone is wondering about the ducks - well, take a look at their site and you'll find out.
The bike and the run were much more "relaxing." While I didn't have a stellar performance, I was fortunate enough to cheer on several other friends and acquinatances as they passed me. (heading to the finish line on an out/back course) I even met a few new friends and chit chatted a bit with them before settling into a comfortable pace with a fellow GW teammate of mine. He's doing Ironman Zurich in a few weeks, so this was his final race before making the trek overseas. How exciting!
I was pleasantly pleased with the overcast day we had. The night before I was secretly hoping for rain (a little bit of rain.) Years past this day could bring wind and an unforgiving sun. Ok - so it's only a 6.2 mile run - but hey I'm a middle of the packer so I'm out there longer ok? I was happy with the rain. Sorry to any of you who feel to the contrary!
The greatest news of all however is the feeling of leaving the race and not spending the rest of the afternoon in extreme discomfort as in years past. My legs were not as stiff and sore so I'm happy about that. So - I really took what Mr. Zeman had to say, to heart and I feel pretty good about that. I know I could have pushed myself harder to have a better time but rather I chose to stop and meet some people along the way. I had a great day and I truly enjoyed myself.
Now I only have two more races this next weekend. I have a 1/2 iron race on Saturday and I am signed up for a sprint on Sunday. Not sure I'll make the sprint....but I can surely go cheer on some fellow teammates. After that, all I have is the final home stretch of training until IM LP. 7 weeks and counting.......