“Until you face your fears, you don’t move to the other side, where you find the power.”

photo4

Three people have said something to me this week that have hit something inside me. Lit a small fire. Tore through this patch of monotony that was slowly tearing through the confidence I had in my abilities. It’s been a rough season for me so far. I will admit, my performances have been far less than what I expect for myself. My confidence in my abilities dwindling in my head as I try to quiet the voices telling me that I’m too slow, too heavy, and too inexperienced. I was listening to Dr. Radio on XM talking about excess weight and why athletes cut weight for races. They said think about a 10-15 pound bowling ball, or a bag of sugar. All I could think about during my run this weekend was that bag of sugar I was carrying this year. A literal bag of sugar I pictured myself carrying. Those small fleeting moments when your past comes back to haunt you. You have to silence the voices. You have to quiet the mind.
My coach always seems to be in my head. There have been many days that she has quoted a famous athlete or coach that could NOT have said what I was feeling at that moment any more clearly. Or needed to hear more than that quote at that moment on that day. This was one of those days.
“There is no more important mental factor than confidence because you might have all the ability in the world to achieve your goals, but if you don’t have the confidence in that ability, you won’t use that ability.”
Wow. Home run. I stood on the edge of the water this past weekend doubting myself. Doubting the work I’ve put in, doubting if I was good enough, and doubting if I had the right to be there. And that is exactly how I raced. It was far from my best race. Nowhere near actually. I had talked myself out of it before I even started. But why? Confidence. What was it that was making me doubt myself? What was it that makes me think I am not capable of what I believe everyone else is? Fear. Fear of failure? Fear of the unknown? Fear of never living up to my own expectations? My fear has projected onto my confidence, which has projected onto my performance, which has affected my attitude, which has affected my motivation, which has affected my workout, which has affected my confidence which well… you get the idea.

photo3
As Adam and I were driving home from the race on Saturday. He asked me how I felt I did. I said I was disappointed in myself. That I mentally gave up. Once I had myself convinced that I was too far behind to ever succeed to what I thought was success (top 3)….I just decided I needed to finish. After I made that decision the race felt like a death march. It was more a battle of the mind. He then looked at me and said you know…”No one succeeds by accident Katie”. This is when it hit me. I didn’t deserve top 3 in that race and I knew it. I hadn’t gone prepared enough, hadn’t looked at the course well enough, hadn’t kept myself in mental state I would have needed to be in. I let the swim get the best of me. I let my mind get the best of me.
photo

As I look at what makes so many of these professional athletes so successful, I am beginning to realize that I don’t deserve that right now. I haven’t worked hard enough, haven’t sacrificed ENOUGH of my mind to this thing. I have sacrificed; I have worked my BUTT off but with reservation. With hesitation. With fear and lack of confidence. I am learning that we need bad experiences like bonking, knocking over bike racks in transition, getting lost, etc. to deserve to be elite. You can’t just expect it. Just because you show up at work doesn’t mean you are doing a good job. I don’t want to just show up. I want to believe I can be this. Do this. Conquer this. And at the end of the day, when I cross that line. I only want the podium if I have earned it. I only want my pro card when I earn it. And that may be a few years away. But until then I am learning each day what makes a better Katie Myszka. What can I do TODAY to be better than I was yesterday?
One of my teammates from QT2SYSTEMS said to me was “Racing 70.3’s and 140.6’s is amazing. But so few ever do race them. There is a big difference between doing one and racing one.” Another moment of silence please. Thanks David. I needed that. I don’t just want to “do” the race. I am a competitor. I NEED to compete. I NEED to race. Agh! I feel my fire slowly relighting already just thinking about it. Sometimes you just need friends to help you remember who you are.

photo1
I, Katie Myszka am a competitor. And if I have to compete with myself for that pro card for the next 6 years you better believe I will be racing and not just “doing” it to get there. No one succeeds by accident. Success is earned.

Advertisements

Life On The Home Front.

href=”https://katiemyszka.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/photo3.jpg”>photo3photo4

Most people know that I am a dedicated athlete. They know that I spend countless hours each day swimming, biking, running, and sweating. They know I love to run. They know I’m married, I love my two sweet dogs, and I miss my family back on the East Coast. In fact, many of you know me quite well…but not many know the life of a military wife, a military officer, or a military family. The constant goodbye, the constant worry, and the constant readjustment that goes on behind the scenes. Yes…we live a wonderful life that I wouldnt take back for a millisecond. But living this life comes with times where I feel like we are walking on a thin sheet of ice covering a frozen pond. Stepping ever so lightly trying to make it to the other side safely.

photo5
Days like today have reminded me of what is important. Days like today have reminded me why MY role might just be more important than I thought. I always hated the term “military wife”. I used to think “NO!I am a Teacher. A COACH. An athlete. A wife. NOT just a Military Wife!” But i’m learning that this really is a family in it’s own way when your biological family can’t be here in proximity.
I started looking at pictures the other day. Pictures from before I knew Adam. It made me realize that we tend to block out this part of our partners lives. Maybe because we can’t imagine our lives without them. But seeing these pictures made me realize he had these amazing friends that he spent so much time with. Who were going through the same things…and now we are older and are more in the depths of our careers. The odds of loosing people go up. And it reminds me how important it is to learn about this part of our partners lives, to love them not just who they are today, but for who they were. To look at those pictures of their childhood and adolescents. To learn about the people who are important in their lives, even if they live far away and have their own lives now.

photo2

Today Adam got word while on a mission that a Tanker crashed in Manas (overseas). Immediately my heart sunk. Adam’s best friend is there flying that very plane. No names had been released yet and I could feel the hair on my arms stand up. I couldn’t imagine how Adam was feeling. Of course we were scared that he was flying that plane. My thoughts raced with sadness for the families of the crew, and young lives lost too soon. Last week one of the plane’s Adam used to fly crashed over sea’s as well. We had to just sit and wait for names to be released for two days…was it a friend? Did he know them? Did he fly with them? He flew that very jet 3 times. Pretty scary.
This is getting too close to home. After getting word that our friend is okay, I tell Adam I love him and wish him safe travels for his next flight to Japan. Just be safe ok? I tell him… I love you. Praying that God keeps him safe.

After we talked I began to think about everything that goes into keeping a plane in the air. Everything that goes into keeping a pilot flying. Everything that goes into pre flight and a pilot being ready to fly. And thats when I realized that I do have a role in this. It’s important that I make sure I don’t disrupt his sleep the night before his flights. It’s important that he has a clean flight suit, a healthy meal before he flies, that he is awake and alert, that he has a cup of coffee, that he gets a hug and a kiss and is told that I love him. To not stress him out with petty things so he can stay focused on what he needs to do when he flys this enormous tanker across the Atlantic, Pacific, and god knows where else. To take care of the house, make sure the bills are paid, make sure the dogs are taken care of and the yard. To be able to be independent enough to handle things on my own when he is away, but not too stubborn to ask for help. To keep my identity and career. To continue to follow my dreams and pursuits while he is following his in this delicate balance of precious life. But mostly…to be supportive. To know that I may worry every time he puts on that flightsuit to fly, he loves what he does. And I am so proud of how hard he has worked to get there. And I am so proud of the sacrifices he makes for us to be there. So this is my promise to fold more socks, make more comfort food, and continue to give the love I know he deserves. From one home front to another, and as my dad always reminds me “fear and regret are twin theves who rob us of tomorrow”.