Kerrville Olympic Triathlon
I began my prep with a specific goal both mentally and physically. Triathlon is NOT just a physical sport but largely mental. You have to prepare yourself for "game day" mentally just as much as you do spending hours in the pool, on the bike, and on the trail. I went into "game week" with a list of what I would need to be successful that had nothing to do with winning. It all had to to with ME, and the steps I needed to do during each phase mentally and physically. It is a change to focus on just me and what I need considering I have always focused on the team while in the military and as a football player. My goals revolved around the team goals and now they are specifically set for me. I focused mainly on the mental side of the 1000m swim since the last swim 4 weeks before went pretty rough. I felt good physically that I would be able to make it through BUT I knew going into it I would be fighting the voice on my shoulder to quit, that it was to far. So I set my thoughts around the swim. I planned to use the time before the race to prepare myself. I knew the voice would be there but I knew how to fight back. I knew the distance in the open water would look daunting and to not let that bother you. This time when we got to the waters edge to focus on the small steps - the first 150 meters I knew would be rough. Get through the first 150 meters I told myself over and over, focus on each stroke, timing, pull, breath. I was ready for the swim. I went through my first transition in detail, first step - socks, shoes, nutrition, race belt, helmet, glasses and out. My nutrition goal was 1 gel out of T1, 1 full bottle of Infinit, and 1 gel going into T2. Again I went through T2 in detail, shoes, hat, and out. Water and Gatorade was all I needed for the run. I was ready!
Saturday morning I was able to go to Kerrville and watch my father in law crush the sprint. It gave me the opportunity to get some of the butterflies out and do some recon on the course. It was really great to see the course and feel comfortable with my plan.
Rise and shine. Sunday morning I was up at 4:00 to eat. I had a sausage, egg, and cheese sandwhich and a bottle of MUD pre race drink. I pulled on my tri suit and mentally kept telling myself the same thing over and over that you are ready. You are prepared, its all up to you. I made the 40 minute drive to Kerrville with my pre race music going, AC/DC. I got into T1 to set up around 6:30 and began my focus and prep. I continued to drink Gatorade and hydrate throughout the morning before the swim began. T1 closed at 7:15 and we made our way down the swim start. I saw the course... it looked miles long, but I was ready, I knew it would look that way and mentally it didn't phase me because of my preparation. I watched EVERYONE enter the water before me, my age group was literally the last group to enter the water. I had a lot of time for that voice on my shoulder to intimidate me, it was a constant battle to keep focused. At 8:25 it was my turn. I walked to the waters edge and went straight in.
The first 150 meters were slow, my timing was off and there were swimmers on all sides of me. It was my first true open water swim as well. I hit the first turn and was fighting the voice to quit, it kept telling me you aren't going to make it, its to far. I have NEVER quit nor will I! I keep fighting, thinking small, focus on stroke, timing, breath, stroke, timing, breath! I make to the turn around and see the finish line which looks miles away. I have to fight off the voice again! Keep focus! Small things. I keep making progress and BOOM I am suddenly there. I didn't have a time goal for the swim just to make it through and I did! I knew at this point I could focus on my strengths. I didn't have time to enjoy the small win as I was immediately running up the hill to T1. I was already going through my steps. I hit T1 quickly and had my socks and shoes on in a matter of seconds. I was in and out of T1 in around 2 minutes. Out of T1 and now on the bike I stay with my strategy and take my first gel. I hit the bike moving quickly, I am pushing around 22 mph and I start passing people left and right. For the first 15 miles I keep a 21 mph average and feel great. This is my strength, Coach Dawn said to push to the max in this race so I hammer it. I know the run is short and I can gut it out so stay strong on the bike. I get to mile 28 in under 1:25 minutes and a pace of 19.7 mph, I take my last gel and finish my Infinit. The last 500 meters I turn up the cadence to 125 to get the blood back in my legs and before I know it I hit the turn into T2. Off the bike quickly and I run to my bag. I rack my bike and in a matter of seconds I am out of T2 with my shoes on and running. Out of T2 I take half a cup of water and dump the rest on my back. I feel great! I am running hard at a 7:30 pace and know that I need to slow a bit. I take it up to 8:00 and just put my head down. I cant believe how good I feel. After my push on the bike I thought I would be tired on the run. But because of the hours I spent training and prep I was hammering it. Mile 1, mile 2, mile 3, I keep going through the check points and continue to stay focused. Water at every station even if it was just a sip. I keep the pace at between 8:00 and 8:15 through the run and now I am on the last half mile. I had a little left in the tank and put my head down and push. I hit the turn and there's the finish, I lengthen my stride and done! I am done? I didn't have anything left in the tank, it was empty. I left it all out there. My wife and son are there to greet me and I give them a sweaty hug. Its so important to have the support in this sport and I have the strong foundation with my wife. She is my rock. Milestone #2 complete, now its time to grind. Next up Florida 70.3 in May.
Thank you again to all the people that have supported me on this challenge! To have you in my corner is so motivating. Without you I would not be able to push myself through this. Currently we have raised $4,007 of my goal of $20,000! Thank you so much! If you would still like to help me reach my goal please go the this website http://savethechildren.kintera.org/IronmanTX/agdodge50. Any little bits helps this amazing charity and will help me reach my goal.
Gig'em and God Bless,
PS: I have been writing about my 9/11 experience since the 13 year anniversary two weeks ago and hope to have it out soon. Its been more difficult than I thought to put some of those emotions in writing.