What happened yesterday is still surreal. The conditions weren’t perfect but Door County was one of my best executed races in 16 years as an endurance athlete. I’ve said it before, but you can only control the controllable. Your training. Your nutrition. Your mindset. Winning the Door County Half Iron had everything to do with my mindset and mentally overcoming what I thought to be my physical limit.
About a month ago, Coach Steve and I had a no-BS conversation about what it was going to take to achieve my goals. My success is dependent on my ability to adapt and embrace a new (and amazing) lifestyle which requires the right mindset in every aspect of the sport. Putting together the pieces of the puzzle at Door County meant that each of the three disciplines relied on a different mindset. Composure in the swim, restraint on the bike and mental strength on the run.
The 5-foot swells on the way out and an aggressive under tow on the way back in shortened the swim. I can honestly say that it was one of the scariest moments of my life. We were tossed around, it was impossible to sight and even more impossible to get into a rhythm. The physical stress of swimming wasn’t the most challenging part of the swim. Instead, it was being able to maintain composure and not panic in conditions that I had never faced before. Hearing a volunteer yell “first female” as I came out of the water was validation that I did that.
Onto the bike. I was especially excited for this course because it’s one that lends itself to my strengths, flats and rollers. The weather didn’t want to cooperate and it was very windy to say the least. The wind throws a different element into the mix. Yes, it’s more challenging and it requires you to work harder. But more than anything, it forces you to use restraint. There’s this constant battle between wanting to see a certain MPH but not taxing yourself for the run. The right mindset was to accept that my bike time was likely going to be slower than I wanted. I had to remind myself that pushing 90-95% to get an extra 10 minutes wasn’t going to help me if it translated to trashing legs and running 20 minutes slower on the run. I was more attentive to my power than I typically am. I made sure to keep myself in check and was set up for a solid run.
I don’t know what my lead was off the bike but I was crossing my fingers for at least 7 minutes. The run has been the last piece of the puzzle for me. Over the past couple of years, I’ve had these consistent doubts that I can hold the lead off the bike. I finally did away with that. Putting together the run was a result of believing that I’ve earned a spot at the front and that my fitness is there. I’ve never felt stronger. I was consistent through 9, climbed the last bluff and then couldn’t regain my stride. I probably would have crumbled at that moment a year or two ago.
Coach Steve and training with Cindi and Madison Multisport have been instrumental to my success. There’s no doubt in my mind that this win wouldn't have happened without them. But, developing a mind set and mental strength is a choice that only YOU can make. My performances at Race Day Event’s Wisconsin Tri Series and the Door County Half Iron have been the culmination of hard work and a new-found belief I can push physical limits. All it takes is the right mindset.