Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Race Awakening

by Sue Aquila

I had a friend mention that she is haunted by performances of races past. Easy to understand when you are used to winning races at a young age and have now become a Master’s athlete with your best times behind you.

I am relatively new to the sport and I am haunted by performances of races in my future. I am enjoying the trajectory of someone that entered the sport late. As I dial in my training, nutrition and equipment, I see consistent improvement.

I look forward to the potential PR of every race. Maybe flying by 20- and 30-somethings takes a few days off my age? For women, we often get faster through our 40s and frequently dominate some of the top racing times. We are tough, wise and know how to dig deep.

My greatest challenge is to not think about the eventual decline. To not think a slight ache in my knee means arthritis. To not think that the looming benchmark of menopause will cause me to slow. To not think that my next race may be my last.

Every spring, the first race seems to clear the cobwebs of fear. The ghosts in my mental attic turn out to be nothing but the creaks and groans of a long dark winter. If you don't have an early race on your calendar, it is time to sign up.

Early races provide opportunities to benchmark your:

  • Training
  • Competitive fire
  • Body composition
  • Nutrition
  • Equipment

My first race of the season involves the excitement of expectation tempered by no taper. If I attain my goals I am thrilled. If I crash and burn, I find I am still thrilled. The season is long and my race performance becomes the “tuition” I must pay to get better and faster.

Spring awakens for me the joy of competition and the lucidity of being very much alive.


Sue Aquila is a USAT Level 1 coach who balances her ironman training with running a successful business that she built from the ground up. She blogs regularly at fewoman.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @fewoman.
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