The thing about a Killer Instinct is this ….
I don’t have one ….
I am not sure if you can even develop one if it’s just not part of your make-up.
I see other’s racing, others that I know have not put in the training time I have, or are equal to me even during training sessions, but then during the race they blow by me like I was standing still. I have even seen my training partner, Jennifer, when we are passed by faster cyclists at Flatwood’s, without her even realizing she is doing it, hunker down lower on her bike and start matching their cadence. The thought of being passed like that grates on her, whereas I am the type that thinks to themselves “I’m training, not racing, I don’t care if they go faster, this is the pace I am doing today.” I am envious of her for having that inside her, but I don’t know how to cultivate that in my own psyche.
I first noticed this in high school (actually junior high school). I decided, as an after thought, to go out for football in 9th grade. Up to that point I had never played football on a team, but my friend Gary had been playing since 8th grade and he talked me into trying out. I wasn’t big (probably about 125 pounds at that time) but I had two things going for me; (1) I was fast, and (2) I picked up on things quickly. So when I went out I made the team without really trying that hard, and played both ways on a small unit (Tight End and Safety, plus on all special teams). I was put at those spots because I was quick. What I lacked in “killer instinct” I made up for with studying the playbooks and knowing how to be in the right spot at the right time, so if the opposing team set up in a certain formation I knew what was coming and could be there before it happened. On the other side of this was my little brother, three years behind me, who also had “football smarts” but had a killer instinct. He would pick you up and drop you on your head, then stand over you gloating (something he did a few times to RB Sammie Smith of Apopka – who went on the play at FSU and for the Dolphins – before starring in his own version of Shawshank at a Florida penitentiary).
But I digress …
So back to triathlon’s, when I am racing I see people on the course that on an equal playing field in training I can beat in probably two of the three specialties (Swim and Bike), but as they pass me on the road you can see in their eyes that they are eyeing the next person down the line to target and pass. I’m out there happy to be participating and just wanting to finish. It’s a mantra of mine …. “I’m not here to compete, I’m here to complete” …so I keep peddling at my pace and finish the race, often last or next to last in my grouping.
Can I be honest for a moment?
I am tired of it ….
So CAN you cultivate something in you that you’ve never had, and at the age of 51 (Lord Help Me)?
I WANT to get pissed off when people pass me ….
I WANT to be able to push myself to the point of exhaustion ….
I WANT to finish in the top 50% of my group ….
See …. dammit! There I go again!!! Why am I aiming for top 50%???? Why am I not aiming for top 3???
It’s like I am giving myself a built in excuse for failing (I know … it’s NOT failing … I am completing TRIATHLON’s … something the majority of people cannot do). Maybe I am just so used to losing that I have just accepted the fact that I will not win and will not be top tier, so why push to the limit? I am not asking for psycho-analysis, just was pondering these things all morning.
So, avid readers, HOW do I cultivate this in myself and learn how to push through the pain in my shins to keep running, or the burning in my thighs to keep peddling?