Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Thursday, January 23, 2014

After racing two Ironmans in six weeks, my training focused mainly on recovery instead of gaining fitness. I had clients racing at Augusta 70.3 and I wanted to cheer them on, so I decided to race. I was not expecting anything super speedy, but I was pleasantly surprised with the end result.

So excited for my favorite 1.2 mile swim in the Savannah River

When race morning arrived, I felt relatively calm. The pros lined up on the dock and I told the pro next to me (who I had never met before) that we should move where we were standing in order to gain a better current push. After we moved to the ideal starting position, I told myself that maybe I should not give tips to other pros, :). It reminded me of my former tennis days. My twin and I would never call balls out. Finally, our coaches forced us to do suicides every time we missed a call. They quickly figured out that we did not mind the extra fitness and would sometimes continue the point even when the ball was over two feet out! Only when they decided to sit us out from practice, did we begin to actually call balls out!
Finally it was time to dive into the Savannah River. The gun did not go off for the females so the start was a bit chaotic. Throughout the swim, I focused on engaging my lats and good body position. My swim ended up being my fastest Augusta swim and I actually came out of the water with a couple other pros. Progress.

Immediately on the bike course I knew I needed to adjust my race plan. I started off about 20 watts higher then I was supposed to hold, but two ladies came flying by me like I was standing still. Another pro was about 50 seconds in front of me, and my main goal was to keep her in sight. I felt comfortable holding higher wattage and figured I should just focus on my new goal instead of the watts. I kept her in sight and then at mile 50 I bridged the gap and made the pass. I ended up holding the highest wattage I have ever held in a 70.3, by over 20 watts, and felt strong at the finish.

I was worried about my run as I had only been running 2-3 times a week for the last month. I took off a bit too fast on that first mile, but then settled quickly. The course is extremely spectator friendly and I loved seeing my friends and family all over the course. I ran a couple minutes slower then last year but managed to run sub 90 mins (1:29:20). I finished in 4:30:43 (8th overall) but was much more proud of my clients. I had a client who could not run more then 3 miles a couple years ago complete her first half ironman and then other clients smash their PR’s.

After Augusta, I was supposed to race a sprint the next weekend, but sadly the race got canceled due to a hurricane. Therefore, my season came to an abrupt end. With the off season in full swing, I started running trails. The mindless aerobic runs made me fall back in love with running. I realized what a gift it is to have the ability to run! I carried that mindset into my decision to race my first 5k in years and was actually excited to get outside my comfort zone of long course racing. I raced with my TrySports team and really had no idea what to expect, being far from 5k shape. I knew that the course was USATF certified, but a fast course, so I was excited about that. I had an absolute blast. My twin sister ran with my nieces and I enjoyed the ease of getting to the starting line with simply running shoes. The first mile was up and I went out too fast in 5:45. The second mile was down, and the final mile was flat as a pancake. The course was perfect for me because I always run way too fast from the gun. I ended up holding 5:45 after only running 8+ min miles for weeks on end. My 17:52 brought down my TrySport team’s average, but we ended up getting the team win thanks to my super speedy stud teammates! After the race, Meghan and I had a blast taking my nieces to the carnival while my brother and sister-in-law went car shopping!

The day showed me that sometimes we have to stretch ourselves outside of our comfort zone. Meghan always makes the ridiculous statement that she would prefer to race either a marathon or an Ironman instead of a 5k. But truly, she has such a strong aversion to the short races. They are completely outside of her comfort zone. I was so proud of her for getting to the starting line and running (with the double stroller!) Additionally, I knew I was not in shape, but I decided to put myself out there despite not feeling fit. I tell my athletes all the time that we have to “be comfortable being uncomfortable” when training. This applies to life as well. If we live life on cruise control and never take ourselves outside of our comfort zone, we will not grow. Forget about breaking barriers and reaching dreams. Dreams become achieved when we go beyond the safe, easy life and stretch ourselves past the mundane, comfortable road. It’s time to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *