Wednesday, August 20, 2014

#3 in 2014! RR

It was a day of progress, frustration, fun, madness, and smiles.  Triathlon #3 of 2014 is in the books!  Huge, huge thanks to Dave for pushing me to get out of town and race, as well as my parents for making sure I had a place to sleep, morning caffeine, and post race cookies.  And super thanks to Wattie Ink, Enell, ISM saddles, Power Bar, Herbalife 24, Blue Seventy, and Los Locos Racing.  They played a sincere part in my day and really motivate me to keep on keeping on!

I started my 3rd triathlon of the year with the intention of continuing to push forward.  I find that the more I race, the more my motivation increases.  I entered the race last minute due to some hesitancy with the stress of Isla being really sick all week as well as an injury I sustained on a random zip line crash.  But, my need to get out there and enjoy my sport was stronger than my many lame excuses for staying home. 

Race morning followed the same post baby standard it has followed all year.  I look around at all of the fit women and I feel out of shape.  I know I have lost a ton of muscle and have more dimples than I like to have, and I suddenly am self-conscious about my body.  I notice everyone's new equipment, like the girl near me and her new P5 and race wheels, and I feel out of date.  I am missing a few things in my transition bag, and I feel unprepared.  I watch the women warm up while I sit in the car using my breast pump, and I feel old and matronly.  I have the desire to be fast and competitive, but I know that I will only be able to do what my training and body allow me to do for the day.  And I know it is not enough, but I have to get out there and just be okay with that.

Swim:  What a treat to swim in the open a mass start.  I love it!  The swim will be slower, I know, as I haven't been swimming.  But I am okay with that.  What I am not okay with is the immediate knee pain and instability when I start swimming.  I realized I would have known this if I had bothered to swim this week, and this is an unwelcome surprise.  I kick as little as possible, swim off course a ton because I can't see into the sun, and still love every minute of it.  Heck, I just swam 1500 meters in the open water.  What a great way to start the day!

Bike:  I start riding and feel great.  I notice my swim might have been my slowest time ever, and I don't care or stress.  I didn't put the work in, so I don't expect the outcome.  I am riding along and passing people, and all of a sudden I feel an instant flat in my rear tire.  I soft pedal and look back, but I don't see a flat.  I do this a few more times in the next mile, wondering why I feel a flat but don't see one.  I guess everything is okay and I keep riding.  My tire is holding air.  I play cat and mouse with this one guy, and we end up laughing and having a blast through the course.  I am still puzzled as to why I am trying to push my bike and my legs feel great, but the bike just won't move any faster.  I have a conversation with myself to make no excuses and keep riding.  I seem to be the 4th place girl at turn around.  I try to make up ground on the others, but they are out of sight.  I finish the bike about 9 minutes slower than the last time I did this course the year after knee surgery when I wasn't "fit" (much like I wasn't "fit" for this race).   I am baffled as to how I can be that much slower in an Oly, but I don't get upset and just keep moving forward.   
Run:  I head out on to the run, and a guy tells me I am in 5th place.  5th?  I must have missed a girl.  My leg is hurting.  Really hurting now.  I focus on form and I am able to run through it.  It is not getting worse and it is tolerable, so I decide to keep at it and vow to go to the doctor in the upcoming week.  I see a girl up ahead and pass her with a friendly "great job."  She tells me she was in 3rd, so I know I am now in 3rd place.  I saw 2nd place in and out and back, and know that unless she blows up, I am not catching her.  (I later saw she runs her 5ks in 17 minutes, so that explains why she looked so fast....because she was fast!).  I spend the rest of the 10k on my own.  I can't catch the girls in front of me (who are running 42-43 minutes on a hilly course..yikes!) and I try to just make sure I maintain 3rd.  I pass a lot of guys and get a lot of encouragement.  I run the course, in tolerable pain, 3 minutes faster than my previous attempt at the course AND felt 10000x better and fitter on this run.  I am happy and I love triathlon. 
I finish the race mostly pleased and 3rd OA Female.  It is a personal worst time for an Olympic by a lot, and I am still confused as to how my bike could have been so slow.  I have raced a couple of times this year, so I have an idea of where I should be, and it was a lot faster than the numbers I was saw.  I realize that my time from this course a few years back would have put me competing for 1st place.  Now, though, I am off of the radar, but I am still proud of myself and happy to be there.  

I talk to a lot of people.  I chat with my biking friend and we take some pictures together.  I introduce myself to a girl that I see in an Enell bra, and we talk about how much we love them and how it is life changing.  I try to talk to 1st and 2nd girl, but they don't give me much back.  (I guess not everyone is as social as I, but hey....after singing Old MacDonald 1 billion times, I like talking to adults!).

And then I pick up my bike from transition and see the brakes firmly on my wheel, caliper moved completely over out of center.  There is no "maybe my brakes were rubbing."  It is, yes, your brake was rubbing in the race.  I have had this problem since the bike shop "worked" on my bike and tried to get it fixed by a neighbor a couple of months ago.  I am suddenly very, very mad.  I haven't been this mad in a long time.  I curse to my husband, my parents, and Joy on the phone.  I drop more f-bombs than I have in the past year.  I just feel this intense frustration at myself for not setting up my wheel properly as I have had problems with it and know to double check and get help with it.  It is my fault.  I am just not paying attention to detail like I used to do and need to do.   

I also feel stupid for being that person with the lame excuse.  I hate hearing people with their excuses for poor performances.  And yup, I started to play that game of "explaining my bad race."  I am now that lame person that I hate.  I am no longer a "doer."  I have become a "complainer." But the wheel had nothing to do with the outcome of the race...I realize, once again, that when we start offering up our excuses, we are letting our egos in.  Because honestly, no one cares what I am capable of on my bike but me.  So, it is a lesson in letting the ego go.  We are going to have just as many mistakes in execution as we will have excellent execution.  It is part of sport. 
And because I want to be a "doer" and not a "complainer full of excuses,"  I move on and get right back on track with training :)  We are either moving forward or backward, and I know which way I want to go!  I have a calendar full of things to come!  I did get the leg checked out, and I may have to stay off of it for another week or so, but ligaments are good and it is just bone bruising/contusion that will heal with a little more time.  Next time I zip line, remind me to ask where the braking mechanism is BEFORE I hit the tree. 

Cheers to another race, more fitness in the bank, and lots of FUN!!!!!!  I loved seeing old friends and meeting new ones....let's do it again!
Love ya Susan!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Foundation Building

Does everyone remember Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs?  I must have learned this a million times as a psych major, but I never applied it to athletics.  But Hillary, the smart lady that she is, reminded me of this when I was really struggling to train.  This idea has wonderful application to athletics. 

In its most basic form, this theory proposes that we must meet our basic physiological and safety needs before we can capitalize on our more cerebral needs of esteem and self-actualization.  So, if you don't have food, you probably won't achieve your greatest results in athletics.  That makes intuitive sense, yes?  

For most of the first year, I was getting less than 4 hours of sleep a day, skipping meals, stressing about work, battling little illnesses with Isla, etc.  You must have a solid base before moving up the pyramid.  How could I get in solid training when I couldn't even eat dinner?  How could I get faster when I couldn't even sleep to recover?  How could I worry about getting in a trainer ride when my job wasn't secure?  How could I leave the house for a S/B/R at 4:30am when my exhausted and overworked husband was resenting me for having to wake up too to care for the baby?

When I started to think of my needs by looking back at this pyramid, I was reminded that first things must come first.  We have to have a solid base in life before we make it to the pointy end.  The same applies to training as we must have a solid base of work before we become our fastest.  So, when training is extra tough or stressful to complete or improve, try to take a bird's eye view and make sure your basic needs are being met, and if that is perhaps a hindrance to your improvement in other areas if they are not being met.  

I know for me, they were definitely a hindrance to my first year of training postpartum.  Now, I really try to look at my resource base and make sure it is as solid as it can be before worrying about what workout I want to accomplish.  Food, sleep, healthy baby and mom, happy dad, work and income...check?  Check.  Train.  I find that when I do this, my training is more productive and less of an interference in my family life.  

And that is what I am doing now.  I am building a strong base and foundation in as many ways as possible.  Last year I was training on a house of cards.  It wasn't sustainable and was wildly stressful from day to day.  Now, I get more out of my training because I plan it when the base it secure, and don't plan it when there are more basic structures that need attention.  I am going to keep building my foundation!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Baptism and A Race

This weekend we (finally) had Isla baptized.  It was precious, laid back, and simple.  A huge thanks to Emily who made Isla's dress for me.  There is nothing better than a gift that has been made with love!   
The Catholic grandmother can finally stop worrying about Isla's soul.  ;)
Isla's godparents, Sean and Jenny- we love them!
My sweet baby was not feeling well all weekend but was a little trooper. 

I resumed my return to running this weekend with the Road Race Series 5 miler.  I was not swift on the day, but I paced appropriately with almost even splits, using only a watch.  I had a feeling the day would not be fast for me.  It was 98% humidity, and I just didn't feel that great starting off.  So, I made sure to find another way to measure success by working on my pacing in the heat.   

It was also clear during the race that it is time for me to do some speedwork.  I am covering these courses minutes off of my regular running times.  So, after 2 years of zero speedwork, I am ready to slowly add a bit in.  The key, though, is to keep being patient and adding it in appropriately.

I hope to do another triathlon this weekend, but Isla has been pretty dern sick, so I am not sure how the week is going to pan out for us.  I have spent my nights and early mornings rocking my feverish baby, so the workouts have been set aside for a bit.  One part of me just wants to set aside triathlon till next year when I have more time and hopefully more fitness and focus.  Yet, I know that there is also benefit to just continuing to get out there time and time again, even when things are not ideal.  It is all part of the journey!