The following comment was posted in response to the story I wrote about XTERRA Richmond. It was well written and well thought out and I thought it was worth highlighting. I have also commented on his comments. I invite you to do the same.
I debated the utility of posting this but obviously couldn’t resist.
Let me be clear: As a very average age groupie, I am in awe of your abilities and performances. Watching you come in and out of the transition area during the past two years at Richmond and generally following XTerra, you are a stunning athletic specimen. It’s a thrill to monitor your career and athletic achievements.
Having said that, I am disappointed by the emotional themes of your post. The bottom line that might have escaped you is that you and your competitors lined up at the boat ramp, swam, biked, and ran to the finish line, and you came in second among females. Specifically, JW hung in there for close to two hours before even seeing you again (which is pretty much the ONLY scenario she must deal with).
I think it’s disengenuous, much less unbelievable, for you to state that you "don’t race for a result." C’mon. That is serious defense mechanisms going up. Do you think Michael Jordan would ever be heard saying "even though we lost the championship game, I’m really happy that I played well and that my conditioning was high?" Never.
And I don’t let you get away with saying "I didn’t win because I didn’t have my best race/wasn’t in my top form" blah blah because no one gets to put an asterisk after their "2nd" with an "explanation" that anyone would care about.
And let’s face it, you wouldn’t have been as "frustrated" about your performance (which still was pretty amazing) had you won. [By the way, there’s no shame in dry-heaving. In the context of sports, I’m guessing that it’s most often a symptom of dehydration, electrolyte deficiency, or basically the brain in rebellion mode that manifests itself by vomiting even though there’s nothing in the stomach. Obviously, you’ll be reexamining your nutrition plan and strategy to beat the heat! Floyd Landis’ water bottle dousing seemed effective!]
Look, at least your post here wasn’t as delusional as Jaime’s comment after she crossed the line that her victory was "due to her faith in God." I won’t even begin to break that down!
I guess my ultimate point instead of coming across a bit whiny about things, you should still feel proud of your performance (anyone who tries these things should), reflect whether goals were met and mistakes made, rethink strategies (or just practice more), and go with the flow. Most important, ENJOY it!
I look forward to following the rest of the year!
Thank you for your post. There is nothing I like more than honest, straight forward discussion even if it is a criticism of sorts. I totally appreciate the feedback and I am absolutely stoked that it is coming from the site.
I guess the first part of your post to address is your reaction to my comment that I do not race for outcome. I guess I was unclear. I want to be the best. I can expect, given the years I have put in and the skills I have, that on a good day, I can win. No doubt. I have had five years now where I have consistently placed top 2 in every race on the US Tour and at the World Championships. Those races included some INCREDIBLE days and some good days and some "geterdone" days.
There is no question that I train to be the best in the world at this sport. My primary goal for this year is to defend my World Championships title. I guess this is racing to win so you are right, maybe I do race for an outcome.
What I do not do is EVALUATE a race based on the outcome. I guess that is what I SHOULD have said. I also do not go into a race planning on what the best strategy just to win is. I go into the race preparing to go the fastest I possibly can. That is why I don’t "shut it down" if I think I have first or second or podium already sorted, I still leave it all out there every time.
It is not a bad race to not win and it is not frustrating to not win. It is frustrating and a bad race when I feel like I am not able to race well. I did not mean to sound like I was whining. I just figure that when I post on my website about my race I have the freedom to be totally honest about how I felt about it. I have felt AWESOME about some races where I blew up and did not win but felt like MAN I was fast for a while and YES that was a breakthrough and motivating and I know where I want to be. That is different from an overall average race ending in an explosion. I am sorry, that is what happened the last THREE weeks and yes, I still held on for second but still, I have a lot of experience and can expect more than what I delivered at those races.
That said – THAT IS RACING!! Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don’t. What was frustrating in Richmond is not that I lost the race. It was frustrating that I did not run well. I blew up in the heat. Again. If I had had a 6 minute lead off the bike and run 6 minutes slower than Jamie and won by 1 second, I would have still been equally frustrated. Why? Because I should not be blowing up in the two shortest races of the season. I expect more of myself than that.
Make no mistake – JAMIE WAS BETTER. She had a better day. She had a better MONTH in fact! I didn’t feel like I was making excuses about my day. I don’t need to make excuses. When I have a good day and throw down, I race well and I am fast. I also don’t have to convince anyone that I can race better than I have in the last two weeks.
If anyone thinks that rolling in with run splits 3-5 minutes off the best time is the best it gets for me, get real. But on my personal site I am going to point out that running like that pisses me off, makes me question my appearances/training/travel in the weeks before and frankly, I am not going to say it was a good day. It wasn’t.
I don’t look for outcome when I arrive at the start line. I cannot control the quality of the field. I race the swim as fast as I possibly can, the bike as fast as I can and the run with anything that is left. On an incredible day, I’m gone and there is nothing anyone can do about it. On a good or even a not so good day, I go all out, race hard and sometimes down in flames. I race the same way on a mountain bike, not strategically hoping to eke out a win or squeak on the podium, it is all or nothing, hard as I can, with whatever I have. Maybe if I had raced more conservatively I could have held it together on the run and maybe not blown up so bad. That isn’t me. I race to bust out everything I have and leave ashes at the end. Anyone who knows me from mountain biking can attest, that I have gone for it everytime and sometimes had success and other times, been tactically or physically overcome.
That is just how I roll. I race not just for the races but all the things I experience preparing to get to the race. In MANY ways, it is much more about the people I have met, the places I have gone and the new friends I have now than race wins, and I really like winning! Screw it if you don’t believe me, it is true. I have goals that I would like to achieve but I believe the time I have in the sport is best spent enjoying all of the time than just worrying about winning and missing all the stuff that happens in between. It is much more fun that way. I love my sport, mostly because of the people that are involved in it.
As I said in my story, I am happy with the effort I laid out, I had nothing more to give. I had tons of fun being there and with the same body and the same day I would do the same thing all over again with no regrets. AND, no excuses.`