Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Wildflower Race Report

Well let me tell you, this race lives up to all of the hype.  Most of the 7,500 athletes and 30,000 spectators end up camping for the weekend, but Tri-California is generous enough to provide elites with houses that are...well, just take a look at the pics. Thank you to everyone at Tri-California!

The above is from the road that drops you down to the houses, about 500ft below.

The second is from the balcony of our place.

The week of the race was great for me. I felt the best I had in a long time and was swimming, riding and running very well. One of the reasons that I choose this race was not that it suited me, but because it addressed almost ALL of my weaknesses.

- Narrow congested swim start.

- Fast descents on the bike, with speeds easily reaching 50+ mph

- Run course that was off road, off camber and very hilly/technical

I didn't expect to race my fastest, but the goal that Cliff English and myself had was to stay focused and race hard no matter what. 

I had varying degrees of success on the course with my above limiters... I wasn't aggressive at the swim start, which cost me the front group. I did lose a bunch of time on the descents, but not as much as I have in the past and I didn't run well, but I stayed focused.

17th was far from what I wanted on the day, far from what my fitness shows, but the course was completely opposite from one that suits me and all of the anxiety and focus issues were over come on the day...That in itself was what I was looking for!


Going forward I will race the local Aquathon's in Madison and either Elkhart Lake Olympic Distance, or Kansas 70.3 on June 10th before heading to Ironman Coeur d'Alene.

More to come and thanks for all your support!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

"Knowledge Is Power!"

As I type this, I am on a San Francisco bound plane, for a “re-do” to the start of the 2012 triathlon season.  For those of you who have followed my blog, you now know that I decided to go public with some of the anxiety issues that I have.
Thank you to the 20 or so of you who sent me emails or Facebook messages with support and encouragement.  It is nice to know that I have so many people rooting for me and that in itself, makes a big difference.  
I wanted to expand a little bit more on the anxiety and what that actually means for me on race day.  It is typically not the hyperventilating, rapid HR response that many people picture. It can be if I swim too hard in the first 400m of a race, but usually it’s a series of negative thoughts or visions that I attach to, that leads to a lack of focus, a sense of hopelessness and ultimately, giving up. It has happened so quickly sometimes that I have still been in the top 10 of major races when I throw in the towel.
Back in 2010 I worked with Sports Psychologist, Bobby McGee (also Author of “Magical Running”). Within a short period of time, he was able to help me overcome what we called “focus issues.” There is more about on that over on our forum that is linked off our website, www.blakebecker.com. What we didn’t identify in 2012, was why this all was happening.  It took 2 more years, but I now have realized that my anxiety can ultimately lead to my loss of focus.
“Knowledge Is Power”
Simply identifying an obstacle and coming up with a plan...a plan for everything, make that obstacle much less of an obstruction.  When you have a plan to deal with issues that come up and when you have process that you are engaged in, there is much less room to worry, lose focus and a much greater chance of success.
This principle and plan can be used throughout life and the issues that arise. Develop a plan, a reason for the plan and stay engaged in the moment to problem solve as you navigate through rough patches.  This can involve thoughts, other people, things in your life or places you visit. Ultimately what you are showing yourself and what YOU are creating, is the ability to overcome and get through many things that you might otherwise give up on at first glance.  
The second and simple part to the above is practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Use a cheat sheet, make notes, whatever you need to.  Eventually you won’t need them, but they will help bridge that gap from not doing it at all and making it habitual.  a.k.a. - Repetition.
So I am taking the above and my notes from 2010 and running. I have a plan for the 2012 season and Wildflower this weekend.  
Have a great week everyone and I will post again from California!