I feel like this should be tattooed somewhere as a reminder. I am not referring to a real dragon but my EGO, who I have referred to as the b!tch who lives in my head before. I am learning to separate my ego from myself so now I am thinking of it as a dragon that lives in a cage, it looks cute and fun to play with but if I feed it, watch out! My dragon looks like this
I have been working on my mental strength for a while now but especially as I was training for my goal race of the summer Ironman Canada 70.3 in Whistler. Something my trainer, Catherine, said last fall really hit a cord with me, she said I should have high commitment to my train and low attachment to my goals. I would get so frustrated when I did not hit my goals or when a race did not go as planned because of the weather (a recurring pattern in my life). I knew I did the training so why was I not seeing the rewards on race day. During a race, when things were not going well my ego would start the trash talk, you’re not an athlete, you’re too slow, you’re too old, you don’t belong her and all the other stuff I held in the deep dark part of my brain. Years and years of being picked last in gym, being told I was too fat to do something, not smart enough, not fit enough and just plain not good enough. Those thoughts are the bottom feeders of our soul; they hide away until that moment you are at your lowest and then come out to play.
I went into Whistler feeling strong. Tremblant had been a good training day, I hit 2 of my 3 goals and it gave us good info for the last few weeks of training. I had made significant improvement in my swimming and modest improvement in my biking but the run off the bike was still my weakness. We focused on those areas and I felt good heading to British Columbia. Huge thanks to my team of coaches for getting me to this race in such great shape, Andrea (swimming), Catherine (strength) and Ray (for everything else). My instructions from Ray were simple, just go for it and try to get a new PB! This would not be an easy task on a challenging bike course but I believed I could if the stars aligned that day.
Race day was amazing, how could it not when you are surrounded by snow-capped mountains and amazing, inspiring people. As I exited the swim I looked at my watch and saw my time was slower than Tremblant but I was not going to feed the dragon, I kept on going knowing the swim had been rougher than Tremblant and I had more people in my way this time. Biking is my weakest leg of a triathlon and also the longest but I was going to give it everything I had. Everything was going great until I reached the 63km turn around and faced the final 27k back to Whistler. At about 70k, the heat and the wind was more than I could handle and I needed to get off my bike. This would have been the time my dragon would come out to play but not that day! I got back on my bike, remembered I had been in tougher races than this and I could do this and more importantly, I would do this.
I used every tool in my mental tool box to keep my dragon locked up and for the first time, he stayed locked in his cage for the whole race. This was my biggest win of the day and one I have worked so hard to have, I did belong, I was good enough and when things got tough, I was tougher.