In training I had a 100 mile ride with a 6 mile run off the bike and immediately into the ride, I knew it wasn’t my day physically or mentally. Half way through I stopped at my car to refuel but ended up with my head buried in a towel and sobbing. I wanted so badly to quit; it was so hot out, my back was killing me, my legs had nothing and I wanted nothing more than to go home. Standing in the parking lot crying, I called my husband. He tried to assure me that I could do it and told me if I threw in the towel I would never forgive myself. After I talked to him, I texted my coach. He told me to get off the bike, stretch, regroup and get back out there. He reminded me that this could happen on race day and I needed to fight through. Still not satisfied that no one supported me quitting, I called my training buddy and friend Stacey. Getting what I was going through like no one else, she calmed me down and told me to go back out for 10 miles, just 10 more, and then make a decision.
After riding 50 plus miles, another 10?…I could handle that. I wiped away my tears, told myself to ride 10 more and if I still left lousy, I could call it a day. Turns out those 10 miles weren’t bad at all. So I did 10 more. And then another 10. I started to go down hill again and the last 20 were rough but I pushed through and ended up finishing all 100 miles. Happy to be off the bike, I quickly hustled at my car to transition to my run. A woman parked next to me clearly knew what kind of workout I was doing and asked if I wanted to join her and a friend for their run. After almost 6 hours of suffering alone, I jumped at the offer.
Turns out these two were also triathletes and the woman was a sports psychologist. Well, as soon as I heard that I jokingly said, “can you tell me why my ride sucked so bad today” and told her how I was in tears at the half way point. We chatted for a while and her big question to me was “tell me why you do this.” I spewed out some answer that sounded believable but on the inside I was questioning myself and why I was doing this.
I came home that day and did a lot of thinking about my goals and why I train for these big races. I’ve always had a reason for doing a certain race but on this particular day I actually thought long and hard about WHY I do it. I never dug deep enough until this day to go to that place and find my why. It wasn’t because it’s a bucket list item or because it was a challenge. It was something way more personal and something that I hold tight inside. Honestly, finding my “why” was emotional and a little scary but it was the most important part of my training. When times are tough now I can answer the question of “why am I doing this” and having this answer gives me the drive to continue.
I tell my athletes when they set goals to “know their why.” When things get tough during a long training day or on race day, and you ask yourself, “why am I doing this?” you’re much better off if you can answer your own question. Don’t just set a goal…know why you’re fighting for the goal.
Here’s a good article regarding on this topic: http://www.runnersworld.com/run-matters/reach-for-goals-you-really-want?cid=social51419746&adbid=10152993593056987&adbpl=fb&adbpr=9815486986