For me racing is like meditation but my mind only focuses on one thing, the finish line. Your mind goes off in tangent too trying to make you stop or slow down. You go into a state of trance & you can become numb to your own body if your mind is strong enough. I could keep pushing myself until I collapsed when I raced. That was my talent & I have no other ones.
Visualisation & forward projection is what kept me in check with pain level. Visualisation of what was left of the course to cover & where the competition is & forward projection of where I needed to land my body after the finish line. My mind is like the pin drop on goggle map as my final destination.
Drop point = finish line, simple. You go there as fast as you can, then you can collapse & rest. Not before though, that would be weak & that would be quitting. So far, I have seemed to be able to time it right each time even if I was border line self-explosion & self-combustion.
There are multiple very embarrassing photos of me at the finish line. At a Gatorade series race 2014 for example when the female winner run through the winner’s tape & sneakily looks down at a barely alive & immobile soul. My body collapsed on her right, just after the finish line.
She looked shocked and unhappy as I have most likely destroyed a photo finish that might have landed on top of her trophy cabinet if only I hadn’t ruined it. That was the pinnacle of embarrassment. My body engineering was never made for running. I was too heavy and my lower body was too big. I was not made for triathlon but triathlon chose me. It was in my blood, passed down from three Grand Parents who were doing triathlons weekly by swimming, riding and running without ever competing. When running became too painful, then they took on big hikes across the Sonian forest. What made me good at it is my mental engineering, the way I put my mind together to sustain the pain & keep pushing. That is what allows me to do this. I feed my mind some bullshit formulas & reasons to keep it going & keep pushing. My huge sense of pride and ego was always a motivator too. I had to prove myself and others I could do this, that triathlon did not pick me by mistake. When you race hard and the body + the mind screams STOP, would you please just stop! It would be so much easier to succumb to the excuses & slow down. I yell at myself, abuse myself, call myself a weak prick when I slow down or listen to the voices of surrendering. When you have that single focus on that white finish line, you push to the limits & you are not always aware that you are exhausted or about to crack. You become numb to your own vital signs & do not respect the alarm bells your body is trying to sound to a mind that is too stubborn to listen. Funny thing is that brain is the human organ that needs the most sugar and not the body that you are putting under the test. The brain stores sugar too for emergency like our body does. When we push our limits, the brain will try & stop us from self-damage & by keep pushing, our bodies are undermining the orders from our brain. This makes athletes a very disobedient kind of person & a special kind. The brain keeps telling us we are crazy for pushing for no reasons but we keep doing it over & over again because we love it & because we love pain too much. We are only supposed to put our body and brain to the test like this in situation of danger or fear and not just for the fun of it but that is what makes us weird, unique and extreme.
While most people enjoy a walk and a big breaky by the beach on Sunday am, we are here punishing ourselves racing while we find ourselves yelling at those very people who block our paths during race day. Get out of my way, I am racing I have yelled many times thinking about those people as the weird kind by not exercising and walking instead. Walking is for the weak. They are most likely thinking that I am the weird unit yelling at them while racing when it is a perfect morning to lay on the beach with a stubby and crisp their skin like the bacon I am about to inhale after the race. Different minds, different people I guess but I would rather be putting my body through a brutal pace than having to walk off the Saturday nights drinks from a brutal night. They might not understand what I do but I will never understand how you can obtain content from that type of punishment.
We call an orgasm little death in French but racing is like a little death to me. Or it is flirting with death or having the experience of getting as close to it as humanly possible. Many times, I have asked myself if this is all worth it, risking my health by pushing this hard. I am a Dad after all but after the race the same answer always comes back, yes it was and I will do it over and over again.
I look like I am about to die or collapse on the side of the road most of the time when I push it. Thank God there was never any points for style taken out of your result or I would never have won anything. My little shuffle often looked like an agonisingly drunk puffing rhino while I am running off the bike. There is no chatting, just focussing, heavy breathing, grunting & hurting.
If I am talking, it would only be to yell at someone. But that is fine I don’t look as pretty, efficient and elegant as Javier Gomez, we all have our own style after all. It always comes down to whatever works for you. Train safe but race like it is your last one, always!