About two hours outside of Chattanooga, I finished up a stint of driving and checked my phone. I had 17 messages. Quite a few were of the go-gettem-girl variety. The rest were about cancellations. The one from Holly stood out the most:
THEY CANCELED THE SWIM.
Our 2.4 mile down-river swim was canceled three days before the event. I might have used a six-letter word that rhymes with Slammit. I was and still am disappointed. I love the swim. I want the event to be a triathlon. I’ve been working so hard for all three. Wah. Wah. Wah.
The river is running three times faster than normal, there are high levels of e. coli and there is a large amounts of debris floating around. I understand the reasoning and the decision (someone died in the swim here in the spring 70.3). But, still!
Another round of texts involved the cancellation of IMNC 70.3 - our hometown half that happens next weekend. None of the disciplines (or even transition areas) are safe for an event. Plus, volunteers and fire, police and rescue are stretched thin. It makes perfect sense to cancel. But, A few of my athletes were racing, I will miss out on raising money for the Haitian orphans and many businesses will lose money. Disappointment is valid.
In times like these, I do remember 4G: Gusto, Gumption, Gruel and Grace. It’s about time for a little GRACE here.
But, I’ve also learned about the 4Fs: F*CK, FIX, FORGET & FOCUS.
If something goes wrong, say the four-letter F-Word. Maybe not out loud. Or maybe very loud. Maybe not in front of your kids, though. Or at work. Be disappointed. Be pissed. Be emotional. You have four minutes to feel the feels.
Then, FIX it. If you’re already on the course, do what needs to be done to make it right - or mostly. Flat? Fix it. Dropped your bottle of Infinit? Fix it. Last mile not fast enough? Fix it. An event cancellation is out of my control, but I can fix my attitude. I can fix my reaction to it. My turnaround: This crazy course is still long at 142.6 miles (the bike is 116). And, I still get a medal for my longest brick ever!
Then, FORGET IT. Out of sight. Out of mind. Set a time limit now for how long you're going to think about it. Don't let the memory of that one incident weigh you down for the rest of the race. Let. It. Go.
FOCUS. First on the process. Focus entirely on the next right step. And then the next. Then extend that focus. Focus on the positives. On what will happen in the next mile. At the finish. My current focus is how to prep my gear for my biggest bikerun of the year. My attention is on a different nutrition plan and pacing strategy.
I recently watched a story on the Weather Channel (probably during all that Florence coverage) that mentioned the best way to aid a person in panic is to divert their focus to a task. So, get to work. Get busy.
And stop cussing.