I wish I could say that I didn't have any weaknesses. But then I'd actually have a weakness - lying. This weekend has been tough for me because my weakness reared it's ugly head in a big way. And I've really been struggling with it.
My husband always tells me what an amazing woman I am. Easy for him to say since he's married to me and it would look kind of bad if he was happily married to a less than stellar woman. :) And any time he tells me this, I guess he has facts to back it up - I mean, not to toot my own horn or anything, but I'm a wife, sister, daughter, friend, mommy (to fur pets, but they count). I'm a business owner, a chairperson, a philanthropist. I'm a swimmer, biker, runner. I've run 6 stand alone marathons and I'm a multi-time Ironman finisher. On paper you'd think I'm a strong woman. And in most aspects of my life I am. I know what I want. And I'll get what I want (but in a good way... not some diva sort of way).
But I'm battling a mental weakness that I can't seem to kick. I admire people who can be tough through anything. Me, I crack. I falter. I crumble at adversity.
Prime example - Saturday was the Capital City Half Marathon. I was super excited to go after a PR. I got there early, with my biggest supporter right next to me (he wasn't running, but took pictures and cheered me along). I met with up Meredith and Dave and generally felt good. I had some nerves and my stomach had been acting funny prior to the race, but nothing I couldn't handle. I'm amazing, remember? :) Mer and I started out together and we ran fast. Too fast. Of course, I don't really start to realize this until it's too late. 6 miles into the run and we're averaging 8:08's. Meredith was feeling great and I had told her to go. I ate something, thinking maybe it was just hunger, but the damage was done. I'm started getting the chills. Maybe I didn't have enough electrolytes - made sure I got some at the water stops and kept drinking. My legs were feeling it. I started to slow down, which on most days is fine with me. But today, when I so badly wanted to PR and have a great race, my body didn't necessarily fail me - my mind did.
As soon as I saw those miles start slowing down, I was defeated. I can be my own worse enemy. Instead of saying "Colleen, you're lucky to be out here running. It's a gorgeous day. Enjoy it. You're body is strong", I was saying "this hurts. Why am I doing this? How am I going to get through my half IM next weekend."
I crossed the finish line in 1:53:31. 4:10 off my PR, but my 4th fastest half marathon EVER. I should be ecstatic.
Why then was I disappointed? Why can't I be happy in my accomplishment? Why could I not get over the fact that I wasn't strong when the miles got tough? Why couldn't I force a smile, tell myself to put on the big girl panties and get it done? Why did I make it so hard on myself?
The mental side of triathlon is probably the hardest part. I often tell people that the sport is 10% physical and 90% mental. But it doesn't get easier for me. I can put hours and hours in at the pool, on the bike, and on the roads. But how do you train the mind?
I know I can do it. I know that I'm fit. But the minute my plan changes, especially when I'm alone, I self destruct. When it's really not the end of the world (like Saturday...), I check out instead of persevering.
I have admitted the problem, cried too many tears about it this weekend and am working on how to fix my mind. It's my weakness. I have a mantra, which I will learn to repeat. Hopefully it will help with the valleys that come with training and racing. I need to remember that not everyone has a body that lets them do what mine does. And maybe I need to tell myself that I am amazing, and not because that's what my husband thinks about me, but because I am strong. And I get what I want.
But in a good way...