Saturday, 21 March 2015

Transgrancanaria - when things go wrong

It's taken me a while to come to terms with my DNF (did not finish) at Transgrancanaria. I prepared for the race following the approach that has been successful for me in the past. My training was consistent, I increased my weekly mileage and vertical gain and I wasn't injured or sick during the lead-up to the race. I studied the various elements of the race that I believed would be important and tailored my training to those factors. I trained big climbs and descents, I trained at night, I had a solid nutrition plan and I learnt to use poles for the long climbs. My confidence was high and I was positive that I could race well. However, that's not what happened.

My result was a disappointment and my confidence took a knock after struggling so much during the race. Physically I was in a lot of discomfort, mentally I was unhappy about what was happening and emotionally I was on a roller-coaster with a lot of lows. That was not what I expected and I wasn't at all ready for that negative situation.

I think that this was a case of "I didn't know what I didn't know" and the outcome was not the result of letting something slip or missing a component of training that I was aware of. For that reason, I'm being cautious in assessing the result and jumping to any conclusions or arriving at any lessons learned. As much as I'd like to share those and know I'm on the right path in working towards my next race I don't have the answers yet. To figure things out I have been reviewing my training logs, looking at the parts of the course that I ran and assessing how I felt at each point, working with Ian to build a strong programme for my next race, and meeting with a biokineticist to see if I have any muscle imbalances or deficiencies. This process of figuring out what happened and improving will take time and some trial-and-error. Hopefully I can look back after my next goal race with a good result and share some lessons.

One of the many things I love about running is that it's simple and objective. There are no judges or points and no circumstances or excuses are listed on the results sheet next to a runner's time. Quite simply I came up short at Transgrancanaria. Yet I have an objective point to work from and data to help me improve and become a better runner. And improving myself is another reason I love running.

Thank you to everyone who supported me before, during and after the race. I have had some unhappy moments since the race and one of the things that pulled me out of it was Vanessa's advice: "You might feel disappointed and unhappy now, but you have family, friends and sponsors who believe in you. Even if you can't see it right now, you have to accept that we see something in you that we believe in and want to support". After two weeks I can see that and I will give my absolute best to justify and reward your kindness and confidence in me.

7 comments:

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    1. Thanks Gwinyai. You're right of course, but sometimes it's hard to be "forced" to learn... All the best.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this DRow. Looking forward to know what is your next goal. Keep it up buddy.

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    1. Thanks Mati. I'm already thinking about and working on the next goal. I got your message and I'll reply there so we can chat. All the best buddy.

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  3. I agree with what V. told you my friend !

    You are an inspiration and I know you will find what went wrong an be stronger for the nex one.

    Abrazo.

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    1. Thanks Max - I appreciate that. Un abrazo grande!

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  4. Hi Dan - a very pertinent report! Many elite athletes define their self image by their race or competition results. However as you have noted, competing is just an integral part of life - there is so much more to life involving the lives of many others - especially those in your immediate orbit. A DNF, while disappointing on the personal front in the first instance, is part of a learning curve not only for you but also for the many who aspire to be top performers and learn from those who are. It challenges one to reflect upon strategies, training plans and preparation for the competition in question. That reflection helps define possible areas of improvement for the next round. It also shows those aspiring 'others' that competition, like any other aspect of life, can be unpredictable at times and that has to be taken in our stride. Well done!

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I'd love to hear from you and get your perspective on my stories, thoughts and training. Please feel free to comment.