Happy July 4th! For a brief moment…I am going to discuss a little history to introduce the topic of grace and freedom. July 4th 1776, marks the year 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence when America became independent from Great Britain. The new found freedom was celebrated with family get to gathers, music, parades and fireworks. America wanted to become the best it could be and key individuals like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin pursued freedom so that we could pursue independence. We continue to celebrate our freedom with grateful hearts.
In honor of July 4th, I wanted to discuss personal grace and freedom in regards to training. As athletes we are driven to become the best and we find it difficult to stop until we reach our optimal level. We eat, sleep and train to become the best. While there is nothing wrong about drive and dedication, as that is necessary to become an elite athlete, if there is no freedom for grace then greatness will never be achieved.
Most of us can look back and think of a race that did not go as planned. If we choose to let the terrible race be our last, where is the grace? It is important to have the freedom to accept having a sub-par race and to learn from mistakes.
This week, I wanted to feature my husband and his “sub-par” San Marvelous Road Race hosted by Cibolo Creek Racing. Normally, we train “together” separately on the weekends. Meaning we arrive and leave together, but he is way too fast for me to keep up swimming, biking or running. So, last weekend, we drove our separate ways for training. He drove to San Marcos to represent the Ride Away Bicycles Race Team as I drove to Bourne Lake to meet up with Alamo 180. Michael had mentioned the night before that he was not as prepared for the race as he wanted. He felt it was going to be a long time until he was as strong as his competitors. Most of you don’t know this, but Michael is actually a very strong Cat 4 cyclist. At San Marvelous, the Cat 3 & 4’s were competing against each other with the majority of the group being Cat 3. Meaning, he was competing against a group with more experience racing. As he started the 58ish mile race, his positioning was great. He hung out in the middle to front of the pack and was in great position. Around mile 40, he began having cramps in one leg and by mile 50 both legs were cramping. It was hot and windy and the leaders in the pack started increasing the pace significantly. He hung on to the group until there were three miles left and just like that, he was dropped from the group. Disappointed, he finished the race and ended up 16 out of 27 riders that day.
If Michael had given up and quit, he would not have given himself the freedom and grace to go out there and give it his all. Michael did the only thing you can do; just keep fighting till the end. While the race did not end with Michael’s ideal race results, he learned from the race and he is a better cyclist today than he was last weekend. Michael realized that he needed to give himself grace as he is training for two 70.3 triathlons this year as well as bike racing.
The moral of the story today is, allow yourself to pursue greatness with grace and freedom.
As always, thank you for taking time to read my blog. I would love for you to leave comments and feedback!
Click on Cibolo Creek Racing, Ride Away Bicycles or Alamo 180 to learn more. The awesome photo is from the Cibolo Creek Racing Facebook page and features a good friend, Charlie Krouse on the front! He is a Cat 2 cyclist and is a very strong rider who ended up getting full body cramps by the end of the race and still placed 4th in the San Marvelous race. Go Charlie Go!!