Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's Not Always About HTFU

Last year, during my sabbatical, I learned to HTFU. This year, at Wildflower, I learned when not to apply HTFU. I vomited twice within the last 4 miles of the bike, and out with the vomit went the precious calories I needed for the run. My stomach could not take anything other than sips of water for the first four miles. I was running on fumes, and to my surprise, fumes carried me to mile 7 of the run. As I was approaching my campsite at mile 7, I made a decision to call it a day. There is no doubt that I could have finished the race, but in doing so, I would have run myself into the med tent, an IV, and two weeks of recovery. Instead, I made the choice to DNF, and in doing so, avoid the med tent, take little to no time to recover, and be able to resume my training for IM CDA right away. I didn't know it then, but I made a good logical decision over an emotional decision.

Jesse Thomas, the rookie who had his breakthrough race to win Wildflower, and my former teammate, does a great job of explaining the difference between a logical and an emotional decision. I'll paraphrase here but you can read the whole thing at his blog.

Logic, NOT Emotion.

It was like I heard Matt say it to me…in my mind. I know that sounds like a cheesy Yoda analogy (Nerd Alert!), but that’s seriously what happened, so I’m sticking to it. Logic, not emotion is a mantra Matt has ingrained into my brain the last 6 months to help us decide when to push through, and when to pull back in training. It forces me to logically listen to my body’s signals, and do my best to remove the emotional inputs and consequences of the decision before making it. In this case:

Emotionally, I want to run fast, I absolutely don’t want to drop out, I could finish well if I keep running.
Logically, it’s my first 70.3 of many this season, I risk serious injury, a gap in training/racing, and my leg hurts A LOT. This is not racing pain, this is actual pain.

Reading this totally put me at peace with the DNF, and made me realize that I made the right decision. And it taught me that a DNF can allow you to succeed down the road, as it did with Jesse. Sometimes, it's not about HTFU.

*The blurry pic is a metaphor of how I felt on the bike


Charisa said...

Awesome post - you raced smart. that is HUGE!

Beth said...

I really think it's a sign of a truly mature athlete when you can differentiate between emotion and "logic" as Jessie puts it. Hard to do but when you can start making those smart decisions and not beat yourself up about them...and move forward with confidence...well then you are really on to something. Clearly that something for you is going to be an awesome CdA!!!! :)

Teresa said...

Super smart decision...look out CDA!


mtanner said...


Kim said...

I 100% agree with this statement..there is a time and place for both, but only the individual can know where that is and when to pull the plug. Being a good experienced athlete also makes you smarter by listening to the signs and signals and from the sounds of things, you did just that. Rock on my friend.. IM CDA is coming along!