Obviously I am not excited about how I raced over the weekend. However, I think this race may be the best thing that may have ever happened to me. Let me explain.
A few years back a friend of mine (Dave Jewell) wrote a blog post about being a “pro” triathlete. After reading this post I was honestly pissed off. Really pissed off. Who the hell did he think he was? He was my boss at RoadRunner Sports and knew a ton about shoes and running, but what the hell did he know about triathlon and “acting like a pro”?
For those who have followed my career thus far, it has been lackluster to say the least. Being very honest with myself, I am not a professional triathlete . . . not even close, never have been. I barely qualified to renew my pro license this time around and gave a long hard thought about even racing professionally this year. I raced Kona last year because I got a “lucky” roll down spot at IM Wisconsin - one of the least competitive races on the IM circuit. I WAS THE WORST PRO ON THE START LIST AT KONA. Injuries, over-training and mental breakdowns are nothing but excuses as to why I have not performed to my capability. At the end of the day I am responsible for these things that happened, no one else.
I am 33 years old and need to make a decision. Either I act like a professional triathlete or not. That means I re-evaluate every aspect of my training. I will break it down to what I feel are the most important aspects. . .
Training (swim/bike/run) - I am good at listening to my coach. I have committed to Dr. Skiba and we will grow with each other as time goes by. We need to iron out a few kinks, but I believe in him.
Strength Training - I am doing a good job with this and will stick with it. Good news is I am injury free and I think working with FunctionSmart trainers Chris and Gino are a big part of the reason why.
Nutrition - I will give myself a F here. I am WAY too heavy to compete at this level. What I mean by heavy is my natural body weight is 180lbs. I am a big guy from years of lifting weights and doing massive amounts of creatine in college. It was necessary to be as strong as possible to play college lacrosse (I was 205lbs in college). I never really changed my eating patterns since college, I just trained more and the weight came off. This needs to change and WILL change. Right after Cal I came home (had a pity party like a child) and swore things would change. They will. I will get lean. Triathlon is a strength to weight sport. Nutrition is a simple choice. I know what to do, what to eat. The act of actually eating the right things is nothing but discipline.
Mental game - F. F. F. As soon as we get in the water to warm-up for the swim I have no confidence in myself, none. Bad thoughts pop in to my head and I doubt all my training/fitness. When I am down coming out of the water, I fold. I will ride hard, but the white flag has already been waved. This is inexcusable. Mental breakdowns like this are not professional, they are AMATEUR.
There are no prizes for the athlete who came back from injury and finished an Ironman on the professional level. No one cares. I have been using this as an excuse as to why my racing has sucked so bad. Pathetic. Do you think Macca, Potts, Alexander or Henning would whine because they had some injuries to overcome?
Let’s look at Jordan Rapp. I consider Jordan to be the most professional athlete in the entire sport. He is a role model, he races hard as hell and is very intelligent. How many times have you heard Jordan complain about his fitness because he almost got killed in a car accident? How many? 0 - no times. Not once. You know why? The finish line does not care about injuries or excuses, Jordan knows this. The first guy across the line wins. You think other athletes feel bad about Jordan’s accident when they race him? Yeah right. They go at him even harder and he knows this. Jordan is nails.
I can sit here and write this nice and eloquent blog about how I am going to change, but that’s all it is . . . writing. I know I have the talent to compete at a VERY high level, but that means nothing. Anyone can vow to change. ANYONE. Talk is cheap. Talk is for pussies. Am I am pussy? Am I going act like a man and a professional? That remains to be seen . . .