After coming 2nd in the US Championship Series and 3rd at Spartan World Championships last season, you better believe my goal was to win everything this year. During my first year as a pro I had proven that I was someone to reckon with, and with a year of experience under my belt I felt like there was no where to go but up. However, while I was growing as an athlete, the sport and the competition were growing even faster. I struggled to hit the top 5 extended podium at NBC races in the early season, but I kept telling myself that I still had time to sharpen up and reap the benefits of my training. As time passed, I stayed 4th/5th position in the series and I was beyond frustrated. I was still having the time of my life racing, traveling, and meeting exceptional people, but I deeply missed the feeling of chasing down 1st place with no one but Lindsay Webster in my way. I kept saying to myself and others that I was peaking for the Tahoe Spartan World Championships, but as we came closer to the event things still weren’t clicking. it became harder to push away the feelings of doubt. Thoughts like “maybe this isn’t my year” and “perhaps with the new fierce competition I just don’t have what it takes” circled through my mind constantly.
My dad kept telling me that my struggles were all mental and that it wasn’t my physical abilities that were holding me back. As someone who prides herself in being mentally one of the toughest, I had a hard time believing my mind was the problem and I continued to recklessly push my body. GO GO GO was the name of the game and downtime was something I thought could wait until the off season – I thought I had to catch up! Sadly, spreading myself and my energy too thin caused me to lose the competitive intensity that I’m so familiar with. This loss of fight and passion for racing couldn’t have been more evident in my West Virginia race. I was done and had nothing left to give that day and I wasn’t sure if I could pull myself together before the most critical race of the year.
With 5 weeks before the Spartan World Championships most people were talking about increasing their training mileage as they built for Tahoe. My coach (and Grit coaching partner!) Jess had a different idea for me and one that I was nervous to try. She had me reduce both mileage and intensity in hopes of digging myself out of this hole. Resting and saying no required more self control and discipline than I have ever exerted, even in the hardest blocks of training. However, I kept resisting the urge to do more as Jess reminded me to trust the process. This was hard because as someone who has achieved success by simply outworking others, it was scary to accept that in my new training program I wasn’t outworking anyone. I couldn't wrap my head around how I was going to make up for this but I continued to obey.
With the extra time on my hands I did things foreign activities like taking baths, watching TV, cleaning my condo, and as each day passed I felt old Faye coming back. I was building up an energy reserve and I promised myself I wouldn’t tap into it until the gun went off at Tahoe. Trust me, I was still skeptical but I knew the fire inside me was slowly coming back and that if Jess had timed it right Tahoe would be a good day. The days leading into Tahoe I found myself wondering “I am fit enough to podium?” This was a question I couldn’t answer because I hadn’t done any epic workouts to give me tangible confidence. I felt like I was going into the race blind and unaware of my abilities. I stood at the start line having no real idea of where my “fitness” would take me but for the first time this year I was truly rested. This rest made me happy, hungry and ready to fight.
So that’s exactly what I did, I fought with passion and intensity for a painful 3 hours and 17 minutes securing 4th in the World and ending a disappointing season with a comeback.
Thanks to :
Jess O’Connell (@jessmoconnell) for her brilliant programming
My sponsors for their support: Spartan Pro Team, Optimum Nutrition, Yokohama Tire, RefreshinQ, Elite Sport Therapy, Reebok, Yoga Santosha
My family and friends for the happiness and balance they bring to my life
Would you like personalized, professional online coaching from Faye Stenning and Jessica O'Connell? Check out www.gritcoaching.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!