Wildflower Tune-up, Taper, and IM Excitement

Wildflower was a blast! Not to mention that Heather Jackson laid the smack down and defended her WF Long Course champion title. Back to back baby! And Wattie Ink teammate Erin Green made her pro-debut and kick arse. Not to mention Eurostar was in the house gave WF a taste of some awesomesauce (not my word, I “borrowed” it from teammate Sara Barkley, 1st Amateur Female Long Course)

Champion what?! Back to back, Miss Jackson!
Champion what?! Back to back, Miss Jackson! Power posing, yes!

Saturday at WF was lots of fun, volunteering with our sponsor PowerBar and cheering on all our teammates that raced long course (70.3 distance). It was great to meet our Wattie teammates in person for the first time and camping together. The weekend was full of fun, shenanigans, and overall stellar performances on what is known to be thee hardest 70.3 distance course.

Team K & G at WF Powerbar Booth. Good times!
Team K & G at WF Powerbar Booth. Good times!

Team K & G raced the olympic distance race on Sunday as a tune up. Both of us placed 10th AG. Ken had the fastest swim split of his AG and I pulled the 2nd fastest run split in my AG. It felt good to remember that my legs really can turnover when I need them to:)

Following the race at Wildflower we were settling into a two week taper for Ironman Texas and I was able to psychologically justify the odd and rickety feelings in my body. I had thoughts like, “Well of course I feel like this I just raced.” However, for the latter part of the week, into last weekend, and up until yesterday I was feeling blah, tight, and not as fluid and loose as I’d like. Ken and I have been getting in the pool to loosen and that’s helped. However, I needed to remind myself that I am supposed to be feeling like this. Taper is a strange adjustment that can do mind tricks on you if don’t manage it well.

Here are few tips that have helped me approach taper in a mentally balanced way:

1)      Be mindful.

Being aware of your body’s changes are important. Especially on race day so if during taper you notice every little thing that’s a good thing. But noticing your body’s sensations in present focused non-judgmental way is the real key, which leads me to #2…

2)      Do not react. Respond.

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Reacting most of the time comes with a great deal of emotion. Reacting is impulsive and not always accurate. Reacting is letting your emotions in the driver’s seat of your decisions. Not a good thing because emotions are temporary and are NOT facts. If I thought, “OMG I’m tight. It can’t be like this. I hope I’m not like this on race day. What if…” and so on. This reaction could create a lot of undue suffering and is an emotional response to physical tightness. Responding on the other hand requires that I mindfully check-in, notice the sensations, then ask myself “Gloria, what’s the best way to deal with this feeling?” Responding allows you time to seek the effective solution that is right for you.

3)      Validate.

Validating your current state just indicates that you are aware and that you acknowledge “what is”, as it is. It does not mean you agree or like what is happening. It just means you are acknowledging what “it” is in this moment. Everything is temporary, so what “it” is now is not what “it” may be later. For example, I might say, “I realize I’m tight right now but that’s just today for,” or “Today I feel really loose. Yesterday was not the case.” It’s important that we develop self-validation because no one else knows what is going on inside of you but YOU. You are the expert of your own life, so own it and acknowledge it!

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Remember that true validation is the essence of developing self-worth. Only you can demonstrate to yourself the true value and worth of your emotions, thoughts, feelings, values, preference, abilities, and beliefs. You can’t expect anyone else to validate you i.e. make you feeling important or worthy, if you are not taking the time to validate yourself.

4)      Stay busy and distract (if needed).

After all is this work you have earned a bit of extra time to stay busy and do the small things that you have been putting off for weeks and maybe months. So treat yourself to read a book outside, organize that room, go to the park and relax, journal, create some race day playlists, have coffee or lunch with your family or friends, do anything fun and good-feeling to keep your mind in the present moment and enjoy the process.

Also, this is a great time to do visualization/imagery exercises of transitions, exits, entries, etc., you could also watch course videos, and start developing the feelization of race day. Develop affirmations and mantras for race day. Mental preparation is key!

Well Ironman Texas 2013 has been a long time coming for us. I’m feeling really excited to experience it and challenge my limitations. A lot has happened in our lives over the last year and through it all we have managed to stay focused, stay the course, and rely on the prayers, love, and support from family, friends, and God. Many stars have to be aligned in just the right way to be able to toe the line of an Ironman race. I thank God for the opportunity to do so healthy and with my husband. No matter the result on Saturday I know the journey has not been for nothing. Thank you to everyone that has sent good vibes our way during training and this week. I am truly grateful and blessed. Especially, Marni Sumbal aka TriMarni, my friend, confidant, and inspiration.

Through this experience I can tell you that no one know what you are capable of except you. Give your self the chance to push the very limits of your beliefs and abilities, it is then that you will reach the unbounded and limitless potential of your soul.

Kinda flying...
Kinda flying…

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Published by

Dr. Gloria Petruzzelli

Dr. Petruzzelli is clinical sport psychologist and certified mindfulness meditation teacher located in Sacramento, California. She works with elite athletes and sport teams across the country. She is competitive athlete herself and enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her family and traveling.