There are many reasons why a day will stay in your memory. How memories are stored in our brains depends on how they were encoded. Simply put, we have little filing cabinets in our brain for long term memory. A filing cabinet allows us to keep these memories organised, open them up when we want them and put them back when we don't. If, however, we are more emotional at the time the memory is created (or anxious or experiencing trauma), these memories can be left floating around the brain and not stored in the nice neat long term memory section. The memory can be more present, appear when it is not wanted and become integrated into present situations in a, sometimes, less than helpful way. Now, why am I doing the 'Psychology' bit you may well ask..... Well because processing the memory can help. All memories start out as the 'floating' disorganised type, but some are more easily stored than others. Sunday 30/8/2015 has been with me a lot over the past few weeks and it's about time I stored it away in the draw labelled : 'one to remember' .
I will remember it as my first IM 70.3 age-group World Champs. I will remember what it has taken to get me there in great shape and the confidence I felt going into the race. I will be pleased I gave it my all (ending up in the medical tent), but use the disappointment of not putting it together on the day to learn new strategies for racing.
I will remember the beautiful scenery and the opportunity to see a new part of the world. I now know the build up to a race and how important it is to not get excited and nervous too early. The scale of the event was phenomenal and the huge number of athletes a new experience, but an experience I have now had and can deal with.
I will remember the pre-race routine and the waiting. I know the impact of a later start and the lack of preparation I had done for this. I have learnt to replicate start times in training, even if the opportunity to do so might be limited.
I will remember the doubts before the race and in the swim. The frustrations at loosing feet and the lack of belief in the pace I can hold, that I know is there in training. I will remember this feeling for training, for finding faster swimmers to push me and to work towards delivering what I am capable of in races.
I will remember how much I love cycling up mountains, the feeling of relief, elation and fatigue at the top and the knowledge that it is a good asset to be able to climb.
I will remember how proud I felt to have finished, despite the lack of run legs, the heat and the small demon in my head telling me to stop. I am strong and whilst the run was slow, it was consistently slow and I kept plodding on. I know how I was running off the bike in training and know that this will be there when I need it. I have learnt that you can do it, even when you having a bad day.
I will remember how great it was to see my family and friends during the run. Them being there reminded me of how much they had given up to support me in the build up, and on the day, and that I could do it. I knew they would be there at the end to pick me up (literally in this case) and still smile, saying you did all you could and have achieved so much.
i will remember the review with my coach this week. The things I have already put in place to make improvements and changes that respond to the mistakes I made and the things I have learnt. I will remember the new found excitement for the next block of training and the renewed belief that I have in myself to be better.
I will remember how grateful I felt to be competing against so many amazing athletes and the opportunity to see where I am at and see where I want to get to. I feel grateful for all the support that gave me the opportunity and I can't thank all my sponsors, team mates, coaches, friends and family enough. This continued support will help me take the memories from this race to race faster and better in the future.
So the memories are mixed, some good and some bad. Importantly, however they are now filed away and ready to be used when I need them. Next time I'm on the turbo, on the last rep of a run set or maybe even when I am next on a Swim start line. I finished 17th in my age-group, I survived the heat and I have completed my second IM 70.3 race. All in all, 'one to remember'.