puzzle pieces

Thursday, September 15, 2011

the orange shoes don't work

(disclaimer: do not feel the need to read the following post if you aren't into racing 
and thoughts and such. 

This Race Report is more for my own peace of mind.... and for those of you who have 
asked me about how "the last Oly went".

and to prove how the color of your shoes has no significant impact on your ability to put out a good race result.

Last month was my 2nd Olympic Distance Triathlon for the season.
On the same weekend, I thought I would try out the "free" Aquathlon as well....
the one you could register for if you had already paid the fee for the Tri.

This is me...before the Aquathlon:
Note the nervous smile....
as I had no idea what do do in a race like this.
And while I questioned more seasoned Aquathoners as to the method of this race and tips she could share....her main focus was on my shoes.

My Orange Shoes.

"Oh...looks like you have fast shoes. You'll be fine."

Seriously? The color of your shoes makes you fast or not so fast in an Aquathlon?
Guess I was okay then.

As we lined up at the start line ... I noticed a girl turning to stare at my feet. 
(see picture below)
I only hoped they were scaring her....to slow down.
As I looked around me I happened to notice I was old. 
And short ~ and slow looking~  to these fit females.
What was I thinking standing in this group?

Oh right...I had Orange Shoes.
I'd be okay.

I won't give you all the details of the race,
but my time for the
2.5km Run/ 1km Swim/ 2.5km Run

I never came in last, but I have to tell you~ 
the Orange Shoes could have worked a heck of a lot faster than they did. 
I cut it too close to being the one crawling slowly across the Finish while everyone 
was already at home eating supper.

Fast Forward to Sunday morning....almost 3 hours before Tri start time.
And not nerves of steel.
More like prairie grass in a hurricane wind.
I don't know whether it was because of the "hugeness" of this event....

...if it was the fact that I was alone in the middle of a sea of unknown faces, 
and bikes~~worth 10 times as much as mine.....

...or if it was because there were television cameras and serious looking 
race officials everywhere I looked, 
as the Elites were there to race later that day.

All I knew was, that from Friday's Aquathlon results, my Orange Shoes could not be counted on.
It would be solely  (no pun intended), up to me.

And that is where I had no faith.

Faith is easy when you have something to believe in...like a tangible Orange Shoe.
But put that tangibility aside and you're left with something you can't see.

I stood at my Transition spot for a ton of time, going over and over my moves I would be making.
It was ridiculous. I had done this many times before.
I analyzed everything~~to where I laid my gels, the alignment of my towel, and the position of the Orange Shoes. 
The ones that couldn't be trusted.

3 hours is a long time to wait. 
And watching the early heats hit the lake 
didn't seem to help.

I have never in all my life been as nervous as I was that morning.
I still don't really know why.

(I do know I seriously have a lot to work on in the area of mind over matter.)

Chanting ...."It's All In My Head" doesn't help either, 
when surrounded by young, fit athletes~~ who seem fearless.

This race was the first one where I felt completely alone.
And I didn't like it.

It was one of those moments when you're surrounded by a ton of people, 
but you are truly by yourself.
In your own head.... battling your own wicked thoughts.

It was the worst Mental Challenge I've had to deal with.
I felt vulnerable, unsure of my abilities, and a disappointment with myself that I couldn't conquer this overwhelming sense of fear.

That's me below, second in, toeing the line.
And wondering if I should turn around and head for home.

Luckily....I HATE quiting. 
And the idea of quitting overrode my feeling of fear.

When the gun went off within seconds of toeing the water line, it was on.

I was still alone, but now I battled the race itself instead of my own thoughts.
And it felt better.

I pushed my fear back and thought I would deal with it later....

(The bike is my favorite part- and I was happy with my time here.
It's also the only leg of the Triathlon where I hardly get passed. 
A good mental boost...
which I need after the swim, as I tend to get passed by numerous others....

(I'm the one rounding the corner)

....and the dreaded run....
where every person on the run route~ I SWEAR~
searches me out just to pass me to say they did.)

I know I need to work on the run over the winter.
It's the biggest weakness I have.
{Besides the Fear weakness}

(As IF the above volunteer needed to remind me with his sign to "SLOW;))

My Finish Line pictures are hidden away in the archives.
It was an Okay race, but I wasn't proud of myself.  

My time was reasonable, an exact double of a Sprint I had done earlier in the season....
so I didn't get slower.

But I wasn't happy with my attitude before and while I raced.

I conquered the race itself, but I never conquered my mind.

The fear is still there....
and I'm a bit worried as to if it will still be there the next time I toe the line for a Triathlon.

I need to battle it...and I didn't at this one.
That was more discouraging to me than a slower time.

I wish the battle over my mind was as easy as 
wearing Orange Shoes that made you go faster.....

Until next Triathlon season....
the last Tri-Report is now finished:D

On a side note:

The neat part about this Triathlon, (which didn't help nerves any), 
was that at the end of my stint, I was able to watch the Elites Race....
which included Edmonton's Paula Findlay....

...and Simon Whitfield himself!
( I watched him set up transition and noticed he took almost as much pain in aligning things as I did. 


 Elite Female~ Paula: 2nd place (2:05:35)

Elite Male~ Simon: 1st (1:54:12)

{Orange Shoe category~ Me:(3:05:20)}


TexWisGirl said...

dear dawn, you are made of iron from your head to your orange-shoe-encased toes. and it sounds to me like you've got a mind of steel too, and a gut of grit. the fact that you didn't psych yourself out of this shows buckets of balls. you should be proud of yourself, girl! damn!

Horst in Edmonton said...

Hi Dawn, we are all proud of you for having the courage to even try the Triathlon. You have a lot of courage and strength, you can only get better with experiance, so keep on doing what you love to do.

Brian King said...

I could never begin to do what you do. We've all battled something in our minds and we've all been beaten mentally at one time or another. Just the fact you competed and finished puts you in an elite minority of the population! Great job! You should be proud!

Love the pictures! And the orange shoes ain't bad, either. :-)


Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

I know what you mean. Just reading this gave me anxiety, lol. I have a race weekend after next. I don't have any orange shoes though ;-)

A Prelude To... said...

You kind of gave me a stomach ache with this one. I've SO been there, done that.

Too funny someone caught a picture of that girl TOTALLY staring at your fast shoes ;-)

Out on the prairie said...

Those feet don't seem to be failing you. I like the bright colors, and completing a race is all that you need to do. Times beat are a nice pump up, but think how many people in your daily life who would never even fire up to take that journey, you are a champion.

trump said...

The only way I'm joining that race is if i had motorized sneakers and a sack of white castle hamburgers in my nap sack. Richard

beth said...

i'm proud of you no matter what. WHY....because look at all of us who sat on our butts while you did what you did. at least you DID something.
me, i had another handful of m&m's as you were coming in on the home stretch.

see. now give yourself a pat on the back. a big pat !!

Jack said...

Dawn, you are amazing. I don't know enough about ties or technique to comment. But, I do know a lot about people and spirit. You are amazing.

Debbie said...

it only matters that you did it!!

"today you can"!!!

Debbie said...

oooohhhh and dawn, i read the whole thing and i can barely walk let alone run!!

Janie said...

I think you have a lot of courage (not to mention an incredible amount of energy) to compete in such races.
The orange shoes may not really make you faster, but they sure do look cool!

Jo said...

Oh, the human brain. What a mess it can be. But why be so concerned about all "the others"? You are in amazing shape. You are beautiful and strong and inspirational. You are doing what the majority of us out here could never possibly even imagine doing. And, unless I am mistaken, you do it for yourself. Am I right? Quit expecting too much from yourself. I would hate to see you lose the joy in doing something that you love so much.

And, just so you know...your comments always make me smile. Thank you.

Randy said...

I'm going to have to buy a pair of orange shoes. I wonder if they would make the work week go by faster.

Michelle said...

Hey Dawn,
If you are doing all of this and completing your races you rock! I have gone to these before to help my husband (who does races) set up his transition area. Whew!

sage said...

Are orange shoes easier on the knees? :)

Deb said...

you are just awesome to do this and to share it with us...wow...I'm bowing to you right now...and the orange shoes are awesome too...

Ransick said...

You summed up the fear involved with racing triathlons really well in this post Dawn. You also conquered those fears and self doubt and kicked butt. You should be proud of yourself!

Love the shoes and really like the pick of the other racer looking down at them. Her face says "I'm gonna get my ass kicked" :-). BTW, I don't think you look old or slow. Just another thought next to the fear and doubt.

You did well in your races. Both times are very respectable and way faster than the 99+ percent of the people out there not racing.

Oh, I liked the slow sign on the run too. The volunteer could have been wearing a shirt saying "yeah, I kick people when they are down" :-).

darlin said...

Dawn I LOVE the orange shoes, they're awesome! I admire your courage and determination and pure insanity of pushing yourself until you get over that line... did I say insanity? oops, I meant... ya insanity! LOL Just kidding.

You're such an inspiration... now after seeing this I've got this drive building up, something I've been missing trying to get back in my study mode. I'm doing the studies but only half halfheartedly. Time to change that up a bit I'd say.

Here's to our own personal successes, no matter how we go about getting there. :-) Enjoy your day!

Allison said...

This was a really fun post from start to finish, Dawn! Loved that look at the orange shoes... haha. You do NOT look old! I always think how beautiful and sporty you look. Those young girls have nothing on you! (said like a true 41 year old, of course). :D

Three hours when an elite athlete did 1:54? That is a rocking time, isn't it? Not that I would know, but I think it is. My time would be more like... three DAYS!

Joe said...

Interesting post/pictures and I like the orange shoes to. I had a pair of lime green ones when I ran track in high school...I think they did make me run faster ;).

Nancy C said...

Hey, I wouldn't be able to psych myself into putting on those spandex shorts, let alone do what you did. Be proud, girl! You have every right to be.

Buttons Thoughts said...

Hey give me a break you are awesome.Do not doubt yourself. you do not look like the oldest you look fabulous. You do not need the shoes to pump you up. You just have to believe in yourself.
I think your times were good next year will be better again just the fact that you would even try this thing on your own makes me think you are the strongest girl I know,oh yes and Sara at


You two are the most determined, strong women I know you both have a lot in common. She just did two races in a row. She will then go to Hong Kong and do a 100 miler. WOW you two are both amazing.
Nice post Dawn. B
You rock and never doubt that. B

Buttons Thoughts said...

I love TewisGirl's comment so true she is very good with words I feel the same. B

Judy said...

You are doing WAY more than I could ever do! You are an inspiration!

wayne15575 said...

you may not have won, but, with your determination and conviction, you're in an elite group in my book.

Each race , you become that much better then the last. Hang in there sweet lady. We're so proud of you. you're a winner. Wayne

Unknown said...

Dawn: This was an inspiring post, Dawn! That you stayed in the race and finished is an amazing feat!!

Carole Barkett said...

I was wanting to hear how it went and it was a very interesting post, good for you it takes a lot of strength of character, which you have, even if you don't think you do. Love the orange shoes

Aimee said...

They say that most sports are more mental than physical, and I believe it. I have found that it's really hard to change my fear/negativity/self-doubt around when I have it at the beginning of a race. But, it's how we handle it that matters. YOU didn't give up. YOU FINISHED and did AWESOME! You should be so proud of yourself because you did something that only a small percentage of people ever do. Think of all the people that were lounging on their couches while you were out there doing your tri...it's awesome!!
AND, the orange shoes rock!!

carmilevy said...

You're a hero no matter how you place.

I'm willing to bet none of the other athletes captured the spirit of this day even one iota as well as you have done here. Go Dawn!

Leontien said...

Oh sweetie i don't think it matter what color shoes you were! i think your just fantastic! And your 3.05 is nothing! haha i would probably do it in 30.5 hours!

Hope you have great weekend!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Nancy, you have every right to be proud of yourself!
Wow! I am impressed!

I think the girl was wishing she had some rockin' orange shoes like yours!

Pat Tillett said...

You may not give yourself a high grade, but I sure do! I'm so impressed that you do these things.
You started and finished something that would kill 99.9% of us!

Alan said...

Did it ever occur to you that all those "younger, fitter, more confident" competitors were every bit as nervous as you and wondered why you looked so relaxed and self-assured in your orange shoes?

Nerves are there for a reason. They show how much it means to you. Harness them!