Musselman Race Report

I participated in the Double Musselman Race last weekend.  It’s a GREAT race—if you are ever in the Northeast, put this on your schedule.  It’s a weekend of races, a sprint on Saturday, a Half on Sunday, and you can do both and compete in the Double Mussel, which is the best combined time.

Saturday was great, and I finished 2nd/800+.  This was big for me; the race draws some good competition regionally, and it was probably my best finish ever.  Going into Sunday I was 42 seconds down, and only 22 seconds up on 3rd and 1:40 up on 4th.  Everyone else was 5+ minutes back.

I was in great position, and I figured I would need a 6-7 minute lead off the bike on Sunday to win.  If I paced the event, I could secure a podium finish in the Double, probably top 15 OA in the half, and fight for an AG win.  A good day!

Or, I could race, get that 6-7 minute lead and win the Double.  To be honest, I didn’t even have to think about it; when will I ever be in this position again?

On Sunday, the race was non wet-suit, which was perfect for me since I can out-swim all those who were in contention.  Turns out I had a lead out of the water of 5-12 minutes over the guys I was fighting with.

Onto the bike . . .  I rode hard, but was smart.  I was able to ride with a much better athlete (legally) the whole way.  I came off the bike 5th OA in the half race, with a pro leading the race way out in front.  I left T2 with 2nd, 3rd and 4th.  I was 1st on the run in the Double.

Boom—perfect!

Then I started to run and I knew I was in trouble at my first step, but stayed positive. My first mile was 7:15, but I felt way off.  I simply focused on each step.  By mile 2, I was averaging 7:50s for the race; by mile 3 well over 8’s.  By mile 4 I was into the mid 9’s and started to get passed.

At this point, it was the classic death march.  I finished the day with a 2:10 run.  Ouch!

Several of my buds asked me what happened as they passed by.  I really couldn’t answer; I didn’t know!  Later I understood . . .  I simply raced to win, and I did that with no fear of this result.  The decision to race was sub-conscious; it really wasn’t a decision.  It was 100s of tiny decisions I made all weekend long, with the realistic goal of winning that put me here.   It wasn’t a singular choice.  It was 1000s upon 1000s of decisions over the past 3 years that gave me this opportunity, and it was 100s of decisions over the course of 3 days that gave me this result.

Before the race, I sent MM a race plan, and when I woke up I didn’t like what I sent to her.  It focused on things I shouldn’t focus on—external stuff.  I re-sent her my plan, and basically said I am going to be my best; from start to finish.  My best changes everyday, within every moment, and I am simply going to focus on giving my best in every step.

That is how I raced on Saturday, and with a 42 second deficit, to race not to win would hardly be my best effort.  To race to place would be a comfortable effort—a known result.  And then within the race on Sunday, my best changed to simply finishing.  I slugged my way to the finish, and smiled knowing that I know.

There is a deep comfort in knowing where you stand, versus the regret of always asking, “what if I tried a bit harder…?”  A couple buds said to me, “I got to give you credit; you were smiling in the end!”  The smiles were the result of knowing!

Someone once said to me, “If you ever want to win, you better be willing to blow the F up!”  Sometimes you’ll win, and sometimes you will learn about your limits.

The irony of the day is I finished 2nd OA in the Double Mussel:
1st place going into Sunday didn’t show up—he was rather easy to beat.
3rd place, he won it with a 4:27.
4th place got a flat and didn’t have the gear to change it—he was easy to beat as well.

There were several times I wanted to turn in my chip and quit.  And there were several opportunities to do it as well.  Plenty of volunteers with cars would have been happy to drive me back.

My day ended in the med tent, with very low blood pressure and an IV.  I was extremely disappointed, but that wore off very quickly.  Eventually, I realized I wouldn’t have any regrets in 20 years; I’ll never look back on today and wonder…what if?

The comfort of knowing far outweighs the pain of wondering….

Always finish.

Thanks for reading!!

One thought on “Musselman Race Report

  1. Thanks for sharing Mike. The great attitude you carry is part of what makes you a great coach. People always want there to be something wrong when things don’t go as planned, that’s why they always ask, “what happened?”. The answer isn’t always a quick one and the answer that really matters lies within us. I am truly amazed at your ability to turn it around and see the positive. I have a lot of respect for you in doing so. Now go and kick some more butt!!! :-)

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