Friday, March 13, 2009

Excuses, Excuses

I thought this results page was funny. It contains a comment field with notable mechicals and injuries. Don't you wish all races did that?

As for myself, I'm doing everything I can to not need an excuse for tomorrow (crashes and mechanicals be damned). I've spent the whole week trying to hone my "Eye of the Tiger".

I read the following passage of this article a few weeks ago and it really stuck with me.

MiMBR: For those people reading this who are just starting out or who want to race, what advice would you give them?

DM: The important thing is to be easy on yourself. That’s something I tend to not be. If you go into a race and you’re constantly putting yourself down, then it’s not very much fun and you set limits within your own mind.

MiMBR: And you tend to live up to them.

DM: Yeah, exactly. That was the biggest mistake I ever made and to this day I still regret it. I did this race in Massachusetts and there was this other woman there. It was when I was still new to racing and I was just like “she’s going to beat me, she’s going to beat me.” And I was always just 15 minutes behind her and I never even really tried to push harder because I just thought I couldn’t.

Even though I'm no underwear-under-my-chamois-wearing newbie (earlier in the article), I think I would do well to heed this advise. I think I've always had a disconnect between I'm physically capable of and what I believe myself to be physically capable of. My college track/xc coach mentioned on more than one occasion that I did not look sufficiently spent after practice. It's not that I was consciously sandbagging, but maybe I just had another gear that I didn't realize I had. The only problem with trying to push past the pain and find the other gear is that it makes you even more conscious of the pain. That fact alone usually breaks me.

Maybe this is my true weakness. Perhaps what I believe to be my well below average level of physical talent is actually a well below average level of mental toughness and/or self-efficacy. I really want to use tomorrow's race as an opportunity to try and test my boundaries this area.

After all, I am technically undefeated on the road, so I should to focus on the fact that anything is possible and not create mental boxes how I should stack up against the field.

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