I always say to come with a plan for a race, but sometimes you can't stick to your plan. When you train day in and day out you realize that through the good the bad and the ugly you’re going to cross the finish line somehow. Have that mindset before you even start the race so there will be no doubt in your mind about the final outcome of an event.
Just last year I completed the Stone Harbor triathlon. The weather was sunny and the water was calm. It was a great day to swim. The swim went great and then I hopped on my bike and started pedaling but soon I realized I was barely making any progress! This was a bit odd as the course was flat. However, I was determined to complete the race! People continued to pass me and I didn't know why, but I didn't care. I signed up and I was definitely going to finish. When I pulled in the lot finishing my bike I realized I had biked all 11 miles on a flat tire.
But throughout the race I was still convinced I was going to finish. If you ever biked on a flat you know it sucks. I still had to run and I think that there were about three people left on the course. It was the worst, but a lot of the triathletes saw me and said, “You can do it! You got this!” The run was hard because it was around 11 or 12 on a July day and as you can imagine it was hot and I was literally dead from biking on a flat for 11 miles, but I kept going. I think I finished last or second to last that day! But I realized you can't plan for everything; sometimes you just have a bad race!
But what was so amazing about it was how supportive my peers were! Many people said they would have quit and thrown in the towel. Everyone was very impressed by my gumption and perseverance. I felt like a badass for finishing and sometimes all that you honestly need to know is that you did your best on that day for that particular race. I worked my butt off and I finished and I was really proud of myself. I learned that I was not a quitter. After crossing that finish line I felt like I could do anything. These are the life lessons you take away from the challenging races. Don't give up so easily. Just keep pushing yourself and you will get there eventually.
I tell this story to try to make you realize that race day may not go exactly how you want it to, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow. Be patient and persistent and it will pay off in the end.