As those who follow me on Instagram or Facebook will know, my race scheduled for this upcoming weekend (24th of Sept), the IM 70.3 Chongqing, has been cancelled – well officially postponed. It was a bit of a sting when I found out. Of course the race organisers would not have wanted this, as it would have cost them a lot both financially and in terms of their reputation. Rather than slay them down yet again – I really was pretty frustrated and annoyed – I thought I would discuss the main way I feel this has impacted me, but that is not often talked about: mentally.
As an athlete, no matter the sport and level you are competing at, having clear goals and objectives is an essential motivational tool. When it’s raining cats and dogs, cold, and your legs feel like bars of lead before you’ve even gotten out of bed, it’s visualising a race finish shoot and having strength at some of the lowest moments in competition that get’s you out the front door.
The few weeks prior to a race, say race day minus 4 weeks to minus 1 week, would typically involve some of the greatest intensity, a solid amount of volume, and a significant amount of pain. So basically, for the past three weeks I had been training specifically with this race in mind. When I saw yet another 20 km + run in my program, rather than feeling drained by the prospect, I would think “it’ll get you to the finish line that much faster”.
And so it went on. Perhaps for this race there had been more self-chat than usual as I had been training mostly alone in Switzerland – apart from of course some very obliging Geneva based training partners.
This had been my main short term aim since Vichy IM 70.3. Race visualisation had begun, I’d worked out my nutrition strategy, in fact my bike was already packed. And then I found out the race was postponed.
Absolutely gutted. In the moment, all I could see was 10 days ahead, and suddenly I felt that all those runs, the bikes the swims had been for nothing.
But a rapid re-shift in training program thanks to the coach, and reconfiguration of race schedule meant that I had new races to focus on.
But yes, I spent most of the weekend going through the various phases of mourning: denial, anger, depression and finally, on this rainy Monday mourning, acceptance.
Sport is not an easy world to live in, especially when you decide to take it on full-time. It means there are fewer things in your life to dilute the importance of such events. And, even more so when it comes to injury, bone breakages etc.
So, here’s to the next race, whenever that may be! But you’ve got to remember, and when times get tough remind yourself to remember that the long term goals are always there, although they may change and morph as you do as an athlete and as a person. But don’t let that scare you.
Stay focused, and of course, motivated (and hydrated) – Imox