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Racing Without Fear

Racing Without Fear
June 24, 2016 Michael Harlow

One of my favorite quotes growing up was “Don’t let your fears get in the way of your dreams.”  This was stated on a poster of a rock climber hanging from a ledge in my room and was a constant reminder to me when fears trapped me.  I remember saying it to myself over and over as I convinced myself to do many things despite my fears.

This past weekend, I traveled with our junior elite team to Seattle, Washington for the third race on the Junior Elite Cup Series.  We determined race morning that one of our juniors would not do the run due to injury so we would use the swim and bike to prepare for nationals.  Without the pressure of a full result, I noticed this athlete seemed more relaxed.  When the gun went off, he shot off and posted his best swim to date.  On the bike, he immediately went to work with more determination than I had ever seen.  He not only caught the front pack but dropped them with a monster attack that put him off the front going into transition.  This was a breakthrough!  This was the result of racing fearless.

Sometimes we just need to take the pressure off and race as if we were a small kids again.  On race day, we allow expectations, fears, and perceived limits to weigh us down when the path to breakthroughs lies in fearlessness.  I often wish I could return to the days when I did not have years of data to tell me what I am capable of doing and could just run on unlimited possibility.  On race day, we have to embrace that we are capable of more than our minds (and fears) might suggest and be willing to fearlessly go after it.

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