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  • Writer's pictureJason Pohl

Trust The Process

#imflorida #ironman #theprocess #whateverittakes

Pre-race swim practice in the choppy waters of the Gulf Coast

IRONMAN FLORIDA LEARNINGS - Everything you go through, good or bad, leads you to where you are. You take away the learnings, grow from it, rebuild, and comeback so much stronger. It's all about the process you go through and the person you grow to become to achieve your dream. Trust it.

It has been a solid week since IM Florida and the offseason is now underway. Taking a step away from it all and letting the body and mind heal is always a challenging but good thing. I have had some time to reflect on Ironman Florida, the 2019 season, and some big takeaways.

Ironman Florida was a tough one to take after putting so much work, dedication, and heart into it all. I was feeling calm, confident, and ready to showcase my work. Physically I was feeling very strong and healthy. The build went very well. I was ready to shine.

I had seen some great progressions on my swim in IM Florida. Being only 5 minutes back from the lead pack was a positive, but a big positive for me, was that my swimming was so much more efficient. I swam relaxed, efficient, and confident. I was in control. Coming out of the water feeling fresh and having legs at the beginning of the bike was new to me. Swimming almost everyday for the last 2 years with the intention of becoming a faster swimmer, but seeing little to no progressions on the swim can be very tough. Finally seeing some improvements is motivating. I really enjoyed the swim in Florida and gives me some more excitement to continue the hard work & improve on the swim.

I had also seen some positives with my run fitness as well. Although in IM Florida I ran into GI issues and could not overcome, I seen some positives on my run prior to the issues. I was running and feeling strong, and heart rate was low, I was confident I would hit around a 2:45 marathon. Unfortunately my stomach turned very fast on me and it was downhill from there. I had to run/walk 25km stopping every couple miles to hit the porttapotty. I believe this was ingesting a bit too much caffeine on the bike. After having some negative thoughts for a couple of miles, I got out of my head and told myself I am getting to the finish line in respect of all the other athletes battling it out and encourage them.

One of the biggest takeaways for me was the bike. I had two opportunities to work with some of the other guys to close the gap and get back into the top 10 mix. I could not hold on to the pace. Yes it was discouraging falling off and having to ride by yourself, but I stayed positive knowing I have the run to back it up. I had a lot of discomfort and sometimes pain while riding. So going through some disappointing times on the bike really makes you re-evaluate things and reflect on how you can grow from it and comeback stronger.

My takeaways & focus for the start of the off-season:

1. To become so much stronger on the bike is #1. To be out biked by some of the others just cannot happen anymore. I have to be able to close the gap coming out of the swim right off the bat.

2. My biking & running biomechanics & flexibility. I experience much discomfort in my hips and legs while running and cycling. This has hindered my performance on the bike, and to ride in discomfort negatively impacts what I can do on the bike. So I have a major commitment to let my hips & legs heal, increase my flexibility, and biomechanics efficiency.

3. Strength training. I have been consistent with my strength training doing 3 weight sessions and 2 foundation training sessions a week. I race at 6'2" and 156-157lbs. I am committed to increasing my strength and lean muscle so I am at 165lbs. See how that feels. I will be working with a strength coach to oversee my strength program now to ensure I am doing the proper strength for a stronger & more efficient bike/run, and increase flexibility so I am not experiencing this pain on the bike/run anymore.

4. To continue to work hard on the swim. My swim fitness is there swimming consistently 25kms each week, but what is holding me back to that next level is my technique. I had seen some major changes I need to install doing a video session back in September. By making some tweaks I seen some great improvements with my swim in Florida. I will now be doing video analysis each week to tweak the inefficiencies in my swim stroke, and install much better habits with my stroke. It is important to constantly see what you are doing underwater while making these changes. This will be so important to help continue with the swim improvements. And seeing these progressions finally makes me love the swim now!

If I did not go through this failure at Ironman Florida I wouldn't have reflected as much as I did. I wouldn't have figured out these key takeaways to work on and grow me as an athlete to go to that next level. Yes, mentally it can be very discouraging, and self-doubt can come into your mind at times. But I am a firm believer in that every experience you go through, good or bad, has a positive learning. And these learnings grow you. Everything you do effects your present and future life. Every empowered positive emotion uplifts and empowers your next moment and opportunity. Trust the process, keep moving forward, and never friggen give up on your dreams. I am committed to my dream of inspiring others that no life is limited and become an Ironman Champion. I know it is within me and I am so close to this happening. Thank you to everyone for the encouragement and support over the last couple of weeks. It really does make a difference and keeps me going and inspired.

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