It’s so nice when you’re the recipient of an immensely thoughtful gesture. I have experienced that today when I found the above left at reception for me. This is some super duper caffeine and guarana lanzarote booster fuel. I first tried this in Lanzarote on a training run and was so impressed took some with me to Austria. Who introduced to me to this – none other than Ultra Ironman super star Paul Thompson. There was no note but I absolutely know that somehow he got a bottle of this from his home in Lincolnshire to me here. Thank you Paul. Rest assured that will be with me on the run and I will be necking it at some point on Ali’i drive or the Queen K or … if I’m going really well it will last to the Energy Lab and be used for a kick to finish strong.
This morning I got my first proper nerves. It’s getting close now and I had butterflies in my tummy. I had to get up and down to the swim as it calms my nerves immensely to be with others. I will remember that tomorrow morning and go down and people watch even if I don’t swim. Today I swam half course in full race gear. The swell was immense. Half the time it felt like I was swimming up a steep gradient before crashing over and hurtling down the other side. Despite this I felt strong and enjoyed it. Quick stop for coffee on the way back and that was that.
A long relaxed breakfast with Brett watching the Underpants Run. This has moved on from last year with even more people. It’s moved from this very quirky event on my first visit with a few daring souls willing to do it to a mass participation event where there’s not risk in wearing undies due to sheer weight of numbers and half the people didn’t look like they wanted to be there ! It’s why I’ve never done it … when it was small and quirky I probably wasn’t daring enough (or lean enough!) and now I wouldn’t because it’s the thing to do. Then I found out it raised money for charity – that could be pushed more as I was unaware of this or how it raised money. Perhaps next year (if I’m back) I’ll be far more tempted. This could be another time my mind is changed in the light of new evidence !
Following this I put my new ceramic jockey wheels on my derailleur (thanks to a very generous friend) before heading out to ride to the coffee shop and back with Kerri and Brett. 30 minute ride total with a 30 minute stop was just perfect. Enough time to check shifting was all OK. Did a run off the bike and felt great, so good that I stopped after 2.5km feeling there was no point in risking starting to not feel good later. Better stop ensuring that I enter the race with good running memories fresh.
I walked back via the expo. First stop Louis Garneau where I chatted about my Vortice helmet and how part of the back had come off. He was straight up that it was a design fault which they’d fixed and I would get it replaced under warranty. In fact, if I had it with me he would have replaced it. I told him I hadn’t brought it because I thought it would be too hot. He reckoned it would be cooler because it would reflect the sun. Who knows !
Next stop the QR stand. I’d raced a QR last year and this year they were giving out a very cool t-shirt to all QR riders. I tweeted that I was gutted about this and I don’t think I’ve ever had so many retweets ! I went to say hi and when I said that I’d had loads of retweets they asked “Are you Steven Lord” to which I said “Yes” (what else could I say ?) to which they said “We’ve got a t-shirt for you” !!! Very pleased.
All done by not long after noon. Decided to sort out my bike, change the tires and attached my numbers.
It’s one of the groovy things about this race – the very professional looking ID sticker and the super cool plastic bike number. I’m not one for keeping souvenirs. At my first Kona I ditched my race numbers so I wouldn’t be tempted to keep them all. However, I have kept all the plastic bike numbers.
Then it was all about relaxing. A little bit of sun, some reading, some hanging out, a coffee at Kope Lani before heading to the banquet. We had a good bunch and it was fun chatting. I bumped into Mark Petrofesa who I’d started the swim with last year. He suggested a different spot to start at and I’m seriously considering trying it. Not only would it be good to start with him but also if I always head to the same sport I’ll never find out if somewhere else it better.
The banquet went the way of the awards two years ago with rain developing into very very heavy downpours. We’ve already (mere hour later) hit the ironman.com update with this photo of myself, Mary and Roger. We had numerous people take shots of us. It was hilarious, it’s this sort of thing that really makes for lasting memories. They did the usual stand up if you’ve been before. They always skip to five times so until now I’ve had to sit down. I don’t mind admitting I was very proud to stay standing when they said 5 or more finishes.
So finally to the title of this post and something that will probably continue tomorrow. It’s the current thinking that all goals must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely), we had it at work and it’s what you tend to try and establish with athletes. It’s useful because it allows for planning and measurement. It fits with our whole culture of control, of science, of precision. However I really don’t think that it’s always the right thing to do. Having goals that are specific etc… means that it’s clear cut whether you achieved them or not. I guess thats the point. It makes it cut and dry, no middle ground. Win or lose. To temper this we tag on to the goals your A,B and C goals or some other naming. This allows for discrete differentiation but it still provides clear points where you switch from happy to less happy to pissed off.
My general approach to life is normally to see the positive, to think the best. For instance when we’ve been swimming if it’s felt tough I’ve thought it’s tough conditions but I’m swimming fast, if it’s slow to the turnaround it’s not me thats slow it was tough conditions. In the run up to the race it allows me to be positive. Swimming open water doesn’t allow for SMART goals – the halfway buoy is unlikely to be exactly halfway, all the measurements are approximations. Whenever I run I never start a stop watch I just glance at the time of day. I intentionally lack precision.
So with goals how’s about having them a little airy fairy. How’s about allowing some interpretion in deciding whether you’ve achieved them. How’s about allowing them to be vague enough that there’s a massive range of outcomes that allow for a positive view of the outcome and a happy triathlete to emerge at the other end of Saturdays race.
Tomorrow I will be stating my goals and there’s chance some if not all will be very unSMART.