- Published: 20 May 2015 20 May 2015
I know that some of you have been pretty interested in race reports from both St. George, and Ironman Texas, but I have to say that writing them just didn’t appeal to me this time around. Who am I kidding? You all just wanted another funny video from Trevor! Don't deny it! Ha ha. I like writing blogs to ruminate on the things I learn from the sport (and I do think that it’s more interesting and more valuable in the long term), so that’s what you’re going to get here. There are also a lot of cool pictures, all thanks to a photo shoot with ENVE's Ian Matteson, so there’s that to pique your interest if nothing else!
Race week, I always like read through quotes stored on my Kindle, many of which are from sports psychology books. This time around these two stuck out for me:
I feel like I am finally getting better at keeping things in perspective.
What matters is that, on the day, I did all that I could to deliver my best performance. I wrote on facebook that my race sucked in Texas, but I still did everything I could on that day to perform my best. The sucky part was that I had to struggle so much and work so hard, yet I couldn't get my body to do what it usually can; what usually comes much easier. It wasn’t fun. I wasn’ t impressive. But I got the internal demons that made me want to quit to shut up, I rallied the best I could, and I got to the finish.
At one point my internal dialogue went: “You just need to keep trucking and get through it to validate for Kona…” followed immediately by “ I don’t even want to go to fucking Kona b/c it’s hot and humid just like this!” Ha ha. One could argue that winning those internal battles is more of an accomplishment than winning the race. I’d be inclined to disagree, but I definitely tend to learn a lot more about racing when things do not go well! And I did learn a lot for Kona, which I do want to do (just not in the heat of that moment - pun intended) so there were a lot of positives to take away from a bad performance.
A big positive, in general, is truly feeling freed from any sense that my results define me as a person. Sure it’s super rad to have big wins on your list of palmares, and I care deeply about striving for my goals, but it’s the striving part where the value lies. Winning the North American 70.3 Champs in St. George was awesome! But it’s 3 weeks later, and no one really gives a shit. I don’t want to belittle things. It does matter, and people (sponsors, fans of the sport, family, press) do care to various degrees, but we’ve moved on to the next race, the next exciting thing. If I define my success solely on the last result I achieved my sense of worth would be tenuous and fleeting. The process brings the joy.
I remember back to the year after I won my first Ironman – Coeur d’Alene in 2008. I was on the pro panel for the 2009 race and Michael Lovato asked me a question that he prefaced with something like “last year you said that you didn’t belong up here”. I remember vividly being sort of hurt because my own insecurities as a new pro athlete caused me to internalize that as “we don’t believe you belong here”, and I had kind of an awkward, defensive answer. There was a lot of “one hit wonder” talk after that first win, and I didn't feel like people believed in my ability to be a world class athlete. As such, I put a tremendous weight on every single result to validate my own belief that I could make it. I finished 3rd that year, and that result was a lot harder on me than it should have been.
Life is much more satisfying when what boils down to ‘numbers on a page compared to other peoples numbers on a page’ stop defining your value as an athlete (to yourself at the very least)! Part of it is simply that you get enough, consistently good, results that each individual performance stops mattering so much to people. But for me, the best thing has been ceasing to care what people think at all. Uh, scratch that. Let’s say, ceasing to care so much. About things over which I have limited control. What I can control is how I go about the everyday business of living. Honesty, empathy, good humour… going after my goals with passion and being authentically me, and if you don’t like it, who cares! I’ll screw up and have bad races, I’ll say the wrong things, I’ll get wrapped up in stupid shit on social media, and let myself get my feelings hurt (getting offended is a choice – it’s not the things said/done that matter, it’s our interpretation of them), but I’m learning to keep things in perspective and I'm loving the process!
P.S. If you’re interested in my race nutrition, I’ll be doing updated videos for the First Endurance website where I explain my plans for both 1/2 Ironman and Ironman races. Those will be up next week!