It’s on now…the build phase! 14 weeks to go…and this one is selfish

Ok. I feel great! Is it the spandex??? The new tri kit??? I got the suit and spent a solid 10 minutes jumping around on my furniture. There is something about fresh spandex FullSizeRenderthat makes you feel like a superhero. Not to mention – mine is patriotic and RWB which gives it added spunk! I literally jumped on my couch, I jumped on my bed, I turned in circles around my tiny little sardine can apartment. Life is good. This all during a time my legs were supposed to be recovering from track work. Hey…legs felt good as I was jumping so…a win. I am still able to wear a little lime green at times too. The lime green is the best. Hello tri kit and lime green. Welcome to Studio J.

I have found a new boost in my training over the last week. I am gonna go ahead and attribute much of this to the new coach. Someone is actually monitoring what the heck I am doing. Not to mention – keeping me accountable when/if I mess up and/or get lazy. I am optimistic about the upcoming ride to awesomeness. October 3rd is getting closer and I find myself getting more confident each day. I still have “WTF!” moments when I think about the undertaking – but then again – I am putting in the time and the training and all will be well.

I love this sport and all of a sudden I have a renewed energy. It’s great, especially after last week’s bummer of a race. However, I must admit that the training is becoming a little bit of an obsession. I don’t know if I will know what to do with myself once the race is over. Training is taking up a huge part of my life. It is almost like having a second full-time job. Don’t get me wrong, I love every minute of it and thankfully I have a great support group around me. I fully admit now that this is a selfish goal, whereas I didn’t before. If I had a family here and more responsibilities – I would certainly NOT be able to do this. My tiny little apartment bears the brunt of my busy schedule. Vacuuming, dishes, pretty much any sort of housekeeping falls to the wayside. You’d think I would be able to keep 500 square feet clean (it isn’t quite that small!). Nope. It’s atrocious. The training really does take up my time. Then it’s dump all training clothes, shower, change into work clothes, rinse, repeat. If I am not training, I am usually napping, working, sitting by the pool, or eating. I have skipped happy hours to train, dragged friends and family to the pool with me so I could get in workouts, and bypassed girl’s nights to spend time on the bike trainer. But it is game time. I love the challenge. I love the schedule. I love the way it is making me feel.

The rejuvenation and start of the build phase has also boosted my mindset. A lot of that was also probably because of the extra sleep. If I was positive before, I am even more so now. I love this area of the country. I am so happy to be here. I am happy with everything in my life right now. Sure, I still have a bad day here and there but they fade so much faster now. I really am becoming me again. There are many other factors adding to this happiness: relationships, work, music, etc. All of which are only helping my training. It’s a cycle of amazingness where each thing is helping the other.

Sooooooooo what does this build phase mean? It means getting faster and stronger. Building. How we do…

So…the swim. I am still sooooo SLOW!IMG_7297 I need to get faster. This was my pre-swim smirk face today and I shared it with my number one motivator! It’s a game face before every swim. Every swim. The pre-swim selfie is a must. It’s how I pump myself up. I intend to dominate every swim. I did fine on this one. Still not as fast as I want. Technique needs a lot of work. I am sure I have a slew of bad habits I have to break because I really do feel like I am working hard every swim and it’s just…..S.L.O.W. I do some drills each swim, but it remains a struggle. Bonus of swimming outside…a bronze glow.

The bike, oh the bike: My forever favorite. The bike is still feeling pretty good. Last weekend I biked Mt. Weather. It was tough, but I really felt good and can’t wait to try again. The bike needs a tune-up and it will be nice to get it back in decent shape in a few weeks. I also need to get fit again. Although bike as extension of body still works. It feels good. It is most definitely a part of me. I just keep working on making it better.

The run: Ugh. Oh. Bah. The run. The run. Track work. Get faster. It’s coming. Bit by bit. It is coming. I have added motivation from an outside source to push harder. 🙂 Hills. The run. I really just want to make it through the run in a standing position. I don’t really know how my damaged knee will hold up once I start upping the mileage. Time will tell. For now, it’s hills and track and hills and track and long run and etc.

The wedding and the return home: My sister’s wedding is smack dab in the middle of this build phase. I am so looking forward to seeing her and have felt far away during all of the planning. She takes priority during this time. I have been so far away, that for the time I am home, she is number one and the only one! With her wedding and a big Brewer game bash with so many of my favorite people, the trip home looks very promising despite some earlier bad vibes this week. My time management skills will even find a way to squeeze in the necessary swim/bike/run business. Can’t wait for that challenge. There WILL be updates. Hoping to lose this racerback tan before I have to sport that bridesmaid dress…although my mom told me it would make me look tough…not so sure about that…and sis wants me to wipe off my smirk for her pics. 🙂 I’ll just have to make sure I don’t plan a swim on wedding day!

The selfish – Ok. I know. Everything about this blog post was selfish. It won’t always be that way. But, I was told recently that it was okay to be selfish when it comes to training, “Training is one thing you’ll never have to explain. I get it.” That is the utmost importance to me. Those few words which could seemingly be unimportant to someone else. My training was respected. My goals were respected. Everything was understood. It shot straight to my heart and hit me in the feels. Wow. It is a difference of night and day. Smiles and sunshine. It is my race. My rediscovery. My journey. So far, it is a good one. I am so lucky and thankful to have wonderful, selfless people helping me on the way. So, so lucky.

Excited to see what happens next! In every aspect of life! 🙂

Sarcastic Wonka seems appropriate for this post.

WillyTriathlon

“The purpose of training is to tighten up the slack, toughen up the body, and polish the spirit.” – Morihei Ueshiba

That it does. That it does.

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Every Mile Was A Struggle – Recovering From A Bad Race

Well – at least the medal is kind of cool. That’s a positive. Right? I have had a lot of decent races my last few times out, and I think I got a little spoiled. Sometimes races just don’t turn out as you expect them to and you have an off day.

This was one of those races that I’d like to forget. Something that becomes difficult IMG_7136with each passing moment! I cannot seem to remove my race bib number tattoos from my arms and legs!! Rubbing alcohol, soap, scrubbing the skin raw. Does anyone have acid or something?

It wasn’t all terrible. The blow-by-blow. My pre race day food was great. Lots of water, two 32 oz. bottles. Good. Great. Egg, cheese, turkey sausage bagel and coffee for breakfast on the road to Williamsburg, a giant turkey wrap for lunch, and pasta for dinner. Nothing over the top, but a little extra salt as one of my race day goals was to prevent muscle cramping. So I am experimenting with salt. I met an Eagle at the Expo and we drove the bike course together. Very glad we did that to scope out the rough patches.

I crawled into bed around 10PM on Saturday night at the home of my lovely and wonderful RWB hostess. Painted my toes. Chatted on the phone a bit with my ma. A nice relaxing night. The bed was comfy and I had no problems sleeping – once I finally fell asleep.

PRE-RACE MORNING – PRO – My alarm went off at 4AM. I got up! (I have to count the little wins here….) Got to T2 and set up everything just how I wanted it. Winning so far. Got on a shuttle to T1. No problems. Got everything set up. Ate my peanut butter bagel at 5:30, 2 hours before my wave start. Did my transition paces, hit the potty. Drank plenty of water. Everything was feeling normal. Banana went down the hatch at 6:55. Half hour before wave start. Good. GOOD! This was good!

THE SWIM – CON – The Swim. Was. Awful. I have NEVER been so disappointed in a swim. The water was 81 degrees. That means it is not wetsuit legal. Fine by me. One less thing to worry about, and I prefer to swim sans wetsuit. We start…it’s shallow. I get behind someone who is zig zagging….Worst. Thing. Ever. Especially because this time I was actually swimming straight. So I had to turn on the burners and get around her. A feat that was unusually difficult considering I took a decent spill Friday when the back bike tire on my commuter was swiped by a car. I went down hard on the curb and my right hip just did not want to kick. I thought this might be an issue during the race because I struggled with kicking during my Friday evening swim. Turning the final buoy, the current hit right in the face…..there it was. No doubt about it. Ugh. I was pulling so hard and felt like I was getting no where. Whine, whine, blah, blah. No excuses. It was just a rotten swim. Very frustrating. Got out of the water. I knew it was a bad swim. I tried to put it out of my mind so I could focus on the bike.

T1 – A long run from the beach to transition. Fine. Whatever. I was still mad. But I wasn’t going to sprint there. I used the time to clear my thoughts a bit.

BIKE – WE’LL CALL IT A DRAW – Ok. The bike. My FAVORITE! I knew I’d start picking people off once I got out on the road. I took my first salt tab and got out on the road. Great…more frustration. I couldn’t get anything going for the first 3-4 miles or so. A slight uphill and into the wind. Whine, whine, blah, blah again.. No excuses. But I couldn’t get the damn thing over 17mph. At least I was picking people off…the two loops were actually sort of pretty. A bit wooded and shady. Although there were some rough patches right at the bottom of a hill so all momentum was lost for going up the other side. By the second loop I started to find my stride. It was much hillier than I had planned. Good. I like hills…but there was a decent 4 mile slight uphill which might have taken it outta me the second time I had to do it. Note to self: more hill work. 25 miles. Ok cool. I wanted 19mph, got 18.8. I drank my entire Gatorade and shook off some impending leg cramps that never materialized into anything.  A draw. I wasn’t pleased but at that point, it was a win…

T2 – Uneventful but slow. I just was NOT feeling this race. Ok let’s run.

RUN – CON – I went out on the run with another salt tab and a great plan! I wanted to keep my heart rate low for the first part of the run so I could kick it in gear for negative splits on the second half. I really didn’t feel bad but again, I just wasn’t going ANYWHERE! Run run run. Trail trail trail. Most of this was a shaded trail run. At this point I was sooooooo glad I hadn’t signed up for the Half Ironman distance…they had to run 4 loops of that thing….yuck! 2 was enough thank you! I had water at the aid stations, a GU at mile 2, threw ice in my bra a number of times – which cut the heat for about 10 seconds…Well, I didn’t get my sub 10s (very bummed about that – I’ve been working hard on the run). Or my negative splits. But I did avoid the muscle cramping. Mini-win. Everything was just “off” today. And I don’t know why, but I better find out. Every single part of this race was work. Every part. So frustrating.

The end….I grabbed my medal, a water, and a sweet cold wet towel on my neck. Got my bike and tore out of Williamsburg so I could try to beat the beach traffic on the way back to DC.

So. Not my day. The bonus was that I met some wonderful RWB people!! I hope to go back to visit in the fall! I am not sure what went wrong in the race. I do think some of it was mental after that awful swim. I need to shake it off better next time. Also, I just wish I had smiled once or twice on the run. Yeah it might have been an oven out there. But I don’t know if  I smiled one time….but there was a time that Meredith Kessler passed me on the run and I got a spurt of run energy for about 30 seconds. That was a nice moment. She’s a favorite of mine.

Much work to be done. Base phase OVER. Looking forward to a new coach! Looking forward to getting these damn race tattoos off.

I’ll sleep with my medal tonight. Maybe I will wake up in the morning and we’ll be friends. We’re gonna pull a little Gandhi in on this one:

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Gandhi

So with that. I say goodnight, sweet, evil medal. I shall hang you in front of my other medals. You will be there right with all of my workout stuff to challenge me to do better.

Final thought – PRO – I can’t wait to train harder, faster, stronger this week. Time to conquer. See you in the morning, medal. It’s on. Enter beast mode.

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