Hey Pat,

This is totally cheating I guess. But I wrote a race report in an email, and it says all I want to say. Except my actual times: 57.266, 55.166, 54.715 (all clean runs). Perhaps I should call this one “Letters to My Imaginary Driving Coach’s Chief Strategist,” if you get my meaning. So! Here’s the note I sent him –

Dear Thomas,

I know you have been on pins and needles about how my autocross went on Sunday. Ha! I came in last in my class (OK ahead of a DNS and a guy who got all DNFs), and I was about third from the bottom in raw times. So that’s the bad news.

But the good news, as already reported – I started out WAY ahead of where I usually do. Usually my first run has been anywhere from (average – four prior events). My first run at this event was a! My fastest run ended up being a which I did during the non-points fun runs after the 3 points runs; the guy who got FTD ran a so yeah I have a long way to go.

I will sound like a crazy fan girl saying this, but I really took to heart what I read from you & Pat Long about preparation in the weeks leading up to this event. I had seen some neat interviews with Pat that I’d not seen before, and there was some great stuff in there. And you know I soaked up the article about YOU in Panorama. And I realized that I was not taking it all as seriously as I could. I was not “showing up to win,” and was in a kind of self-fulfilling-prophecy mode there, I think. I had super low expectations for myself. So…I changed my mind. As unlikely as it would be that I would “WIN,” I showed up to “win” for me – to do my very very very bestest best.

I read about all the data-gathering you do, and I also thought about the winners at my autocross events and what THEY do to prepare. I decided to emulate them. So I started my prep much earlier this time. I showed up super early to help lay out the course, a great and totally legal/ethical way to soak up info about the day’s course. Then I made sure to do three course walks, and I came up with a few little cues for myself at crucial points to remind me where I needed to be/point, etc. I worked hard to get into the right headspace leading up to my first stint at the start line – instead of running around hugging people, I sat in my car, got completely centered, and thought about what I was doing. When it was time for me to launch, I felt really ready in every way. This was new!

When I saw that coming off my first run, it didn’t even occur to me that this could be MY time, I assumed the clock had not turned over to my time yet, since I was expecting my “usual” for the first run. As “ready to win” as I thought I was, I did not even consider that this was my time. But I went to the timing station and it WAS my time. It sounds silly and petty but it felt like a big breakthrough to start out where I usually end up!

This will sound even crazier, but I realize that I get overly distracted with the course details, and lose sight of the “GO AS FAST AS YOU CAN” part. It’s a race, you think I would remember that! It is only ONE MINUTE that I have to maintain that focus, and even in that one single little minute, I am all over the place. I got on-board video of one of my runs, and it seems soooo slow. Until I am headed thru the last slalom to the finish. I asked myself, “Why didn’t I attack the whole course like I attacked that finish line???” I have my work cut out for me next year.

Here’s video of one of my runs:

Have a great Thanksgiving!



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