Kelly Handel - Aiming High

A few days ago was the 'inaugural' Champions Triathlon here in Austin. It was out at Pace Bend Park. I will be entirely honest here, I did not really want to race. Being the first race, I think I subliminally had pre-race jitters in that I was not sure I was 'ready' for a competitive race and I did not want 'to fail'.

I checked out this crazy 350-meter run from the swim to transition... wow! This made the race really a swim/run/bike/run, good for runners.
The race is on. Swim: I noticed Amy Marsh way to the left of me (and later told her, 'Amy where were you going?!) but luckily by the first turn buoy, I had caught Amy and she and I swam very well together until the finish. We came out together, threw on the shoes and were off on Run #1. A long, rocky dirt path. But the legs felt ...surprisingly good.

Photo: Jake North

Bike: This was a 3-loop bike course on open roads (no traffic, or very little) and oh boy was it hilly! But, something about "3 loops" that makes it seem easier. I think in my head it is that you are never too far from home. :)

Photo: Jake North

Run: Yet again, I will reveal my insecurities. I was nervous for this because I have done a lot of run racing lately and the legs have felt rather trashed lately. But, I tried to ease into this. As I took off on the same dirt path that we ran on post-swim, and headed towards the woods, I told myself, "Aaah; this is just a run through the woods." (Self-talk does help!). By mile 5, I began to feel like crap. Luckily I had a strong 2nd place position that was not in jeopardy by slowing down a bit, which I did, and finally could see the finish line. It was probably the best thing I saw all day long; and we grilled out and drank beers that night, too; yes, the finish line was more enticing. That says a lot.

We think we have to be in tip-top shape to go and do a race (especially one that is more competitive). But really, any time we go out and challenge ourselves, it is a chance to get better, and a chance to learn something. I have learned over the (many) years of doing this stuff, it is usually when you least expect it that you perform the best. This was far from 'the best' to me, but it was a bit better than expected. So; my take home message is to not be afraid to get out there and simply give it what you've got, on the day, a good honest effort. After all; this is all we can do anyway, right? Enjoy the process and appreciate every moment. Thanks for reading!

See the whole story on Kelly's blog

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