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Can Experience Actually Hold You Back?

A month from tomorrow, I’ll be racing the TriRock Clearwater Olympic distance triathlon. I’m pretty psyched — I did the same race last year, and I absolutely loved the experience. (My actual performance was seriously subpar, but I lucked into a third-place finish and had an amazing time doing it, plus, there was good beer at the end, and my trophy was a mug! Awesome!)

And, I mean, after doing what was essentially a half Iron distance race in April, this should be a piece of cake, right?

No. And it’s that kind of thinking that’s gotten me into the pickle I now face.

triathlon race tattoo

I felt pretty confident before last year’s race, too, and that … was rough.

I’ve been training, but not with the discipline or intensity that I had at the beginning of the year. It’s because, honestly, I know I can do this. I have done it, and since then, I’ve done much harder. So there’s a part of me that’s all too eager to hit the snooze instead of hitting the pool at 6 a.m., or call it quits after running four or five miles instead of pushing through to eight or 10.

With just a month to go (which, in triathlete time, really means three weeks because I’ll be damned if you’re going to take my taper week away), I have to get my butt in gear. No more skipping workouts in favor of happy hour. No more going easy on what should be a hard day.

I’m going to spend the next four weeks remembering that, although food is fun, it’s also my fuel, and making sure that I’m focusing on the fact that, yeah, I’ve done this distance, but it wasn’t easy. It’s never easy. At best — if I am in great shape and I have a solid race and leave everything on the course — it’s going to take me close to three hours to finish, and I don’t know about you, but doing anything (other than maybe sleeping or reading or watching The Hobbit) for that long is always going to be a challenge. I just have to be as prepared for it as possible by the time November 10 rolls around.

Anybody else ever had this issue? You’ve done it once and you know you can do it again, so you find yourself coasting through your training? How did you get yourself back on track? —Kristen

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