With a lot of my athletes taking on big challenges this season, I often see, hear and talk about race day nerves. As race day approaches, all sorts of things can happen. Athletes can get nervous or excited. They can get psyched up or psyched out. I think it’s only natural to question why we stress ourselves by adding training and racing to our already very full lives. And while it’s up to each person to answer that question for themselves, I also have a theory. Whether I remember this in the days leading up to the race or not, racing is so very precious to me because of how it makes me feel.
I am fully alive when I race. My range of emotions and feelings run the gambit. I feel things I don’t feel every day, sometimes things I don’t feel anywhere else.
I am nervous AND excited. I psyche myself up and I psyche myself out. I feel pain and usually suffer somewhere along the course. I feel proud of myself. I feel like giving up. I feel comradery with my fellow triathletes. I feel like a role model for my kids. I feel happy. I feel focused. And often times, I feel simultaneously completely emptied and completely replenished.
And all of this occurs during an event lasting anywhere from 90 minutes to 14 hours.
So if you are approaching an event that has you questioning why you sign up for these races, take heart. No matter how difficult the day, how daunting the challenge, remember there is a reason why we do this.
And sure, the finisher’s medal is nice, but it pales in comparison to the other things you get on race day.