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Keep Moving Forward

Jul 12, 2021

My Mother in Law can look at a grey, non descript pebble and see the beauty in it. It's a skill. One I do not possess.

Yet!

I say yet because it's work in progress; training my mind to see the positives in almost every situation. So in this blog I want to tell you a tale of when it all goes wrong, how to get back on that horse again having learnt some valuable lessons. But most of all, how to see the positives in a situation that looks a little bleak!

A few weeks ago I threw my hat into the ring and signed up for Outlaw half triathlon in Nottingham. I entered the race through nostalgia more than through an awareness of current race fitness. And this was to bite me on the bum!

(However, it did bring about nostalgia of racing with great friends, and of course visiting the Harvester 2 nights in a row was a major highlight #saladbar)

I've competed in an Outlaw race 12 times now in the past decade, 10 of which were in Nottingham, so it's safe to say it feels like my second home! I've used this race to chip away at personal bests, year after year, and achieving a time of 4:46 in 2019 of which I was very proud. 

In 2015 it was my first ever long (Ironman) distance race too, suffering 5 punctures, but still crossing that trademark orange finishing carpet. I stayed up most of the night working out how I could improve. In 2018 I finished 3rd overall female, achieving a best ever long distance time (yet!) of 10 hours 4 minutes. 

What I hadn't taken into account this time round when I entered Outlaw Half 2021, and the elite wave too, was that I had spent (through lockdown) MUCH more time and energy on my new passion: coaching and Mojo, and not really settling into a consistent training rhythm. 

And then there's Covid, which can be used as a scapegoat for many things! But it has actually retired many triathletes. Those who couldn't cope with the uncertainty, those who found new sports, those who wanted a break. I can see how too, as race after race was cancelled, and even now international races are dicey at best. 

The gun went off, I did my first ever diving start, and immediately considered the 'retirement' option! Turns out the dive was to be my best performance that day, as I allowed my head to rule the race, repeating over and over "maybe you don't like racing, maybe you aren't capable of racing hard any more" (I think some of you will resonate with these thoughts!) 

I travelled home to Devon in a slight haze, of frustration. What is next for racing for me? I was uninterested, yet frustrated, which meant it was actually quite important. The negative thoughts, self doubts and barriers to performance circled my head for hours. Slowly getting worse. 

Then the next morning came and I had 2 choices:

1- Stay Stuck 

2 - Take Action

I found a piece of paper, and wrote in the middle of it "dont be sh!t!"

Then, in an attempt to be kinder to myself, because after all the most important words are those you say to yourself, I then changed it to "Keep Moving Forward"

I continued to use sticky notes and add all the things that I believed would get me back to race shape, including buying new trainers, settling into a consistent plan, finding groups to train with, having a sports massage, having some time off work to train, getting the bike serviced, getting back in the gym, and only drinking wine at weekends!

The only question I needed to ask myself on the way back from that race was "how bad do you want it?". And then follow it up with action. The best way out of a situation is nearly always to take action. You can make excuses for infinity and beyond, but if you stop the excuses and just take action the answers will come to you. 

So I have taken action, almost completed the whole list of sticky notes, and ready to make some more. Just moving forward. Like in a race, when you are tired, just keep moving forward.  

With the triathletes that I coach, I see this almost every day. Inch by inch, day by day, they are growing as triathletes and adding to their skill sets. Some days this looks like personal best's, some days it looks like frustration, some days it looks really quite vanilla and uninteresting, just getting the work done. But because they have structure and a plan, it works, and they keep moving forward. 

So this is now my new mantra, for training and for racing. Its going on my bike frame as a sticker for the next race, which is already booked.

It's fine, no it's brilliant, to have these wobbles about racing. It helps you ask the question 'how bad do you want it'? It helps you reset, revaluate and above all, whatever you decide to do, it keeps you moving forward.

So out of a situation that was uncomfortable in many ways, I am much more prepared for the season ahead. Seeing the positives in a tricky situation isn't always apparent but the sooner you take action the sooner you unearth those positives and move on. 

The new Members Club I am launching within Mojo Sisters will be centred around this theme, to keep moving you forward along a success path, helping you make progress every day towards your tri goals.  

More info on that coming out in the next few weeks. I am incredibly excited to offer more fun coaching opportunities for women in triathlon and I think you are going to LOVE this idea. 

After all, it's what I have been working on this past 6-12 months, instead of training hard!!

Have a wonderful week, can't wait to hear about your training and racing, and I'll be back soon with more ways to keep moving forward :