Monday, April 7, 2014

Galveston 70.3 Race Report!

When I talked to Katie about my race schedule for 2014, I of course, wanted to throw an early season marathon into the mix. It's no secret that I love to run, but when Katie suggested an early 70.3 instead, I started researching. Galveston seemed to fit into my schedule, made sense financially, and I could convince Sara to come race with me. Being away from the triathlon scene for so long, I was super nervous for such a long race, so early in the season. Katie decided not to taper me much, and I could feel I was carrying some fatigue into this race. This is a GOOD thing; peaking in early April certainly wouldn't be ideal! 

Sara and I arrived at the race site early Sunday morning, secured a parking spot that would make for an easy exit at the end of the day, and made our way into transition. I forgot how much more "stuff" there is to do when playing in the world of triathlon, as compared to running! I did my best to remember everything, slipped on my wetsuit, and started the walk to the pier. 

The water was M-A-D Sunday morning; many moments during that swim I was thankful I'm so comfortable in the water. The current was against us going out, we then swam with the current for a bit, and the last part of the swim was right back into the current, which was tough! I got tossed around, kicked a bit, but it was FUN! My swim has been in a fabulous place, and my pool times have been great. That did not translate to Sunday morning, and I have a bunch of stuff I need to work on (i.e try swimming ON the course perhaps, and not swimming all the way to Mexico and back?).Its all good though - I exerted very little energy, took a few gulps of salt water (tasted that for hours!), and smiled. A lot! 

Came out of the water, hit the wetsuit strippers (best.thing.ever!), and ran into transition. Helmet, wet bike shoes (it had rained while we were swimming), and off I went! 

The bike... ohhhhhhhhh, the bike... The bike is the leg of triathlon where I'm least confident, and really need to stay on top of my mental game. The bike course in Galveston was perfect for me, especially this time of the year. I was able to just spin my legs, watch my heartrate, and go. It's a lonnnngg out and back, along the Gulf Coast, and flat as a pancake. Yesterday was windy (although not as bad as I feared) and rainy. This gave me a lot of opportunity to really keep my head in check; race my own race, let everyone pass me, and just keep pedaling. I felt great, nutrition was going down just fine. I was smiling the whole time. Around my 35ish, my adductors started screaming and cramping. I think it's a combination of not having ridden outside much, and being in aero for so much of the course yesterday. Whatever the reason, I didn't know how to "fix" it, other than just get my butt to T2 as fast as I could! 

T2 was tough, only because the adductors were so painful. I didn't think though, just kept moving forward. Threw on the run shoes, my headband, and off I went, shuffling out to the run course. 

I absolutely love to run. I wanted to CRUSH this run course, and I knew I had a good time in me. When I started to run, my run legs just weren't there. I flipped my watch over, decided not to look at it for a little bit, and waited a couple miles for my run legs to show up. They never did. At mile 5ish, I started to get VERY frustrated when I realized my miles weren't the 8:xx I was really hoping to see, and realized I had a choice. I could pout, and allow for the mental spiral to define the run, or put my head down, and do what I could to get to the finish line. I started looking for shoes in front of me. "okay, go get the pink shoes, and pass her. Done. Now go get those yellow shoes, pass him." I repeated this for literally the last 6/7 miles. It worked to keep me moving forward and focused. So much so that I caught 123 women and 570 total athletes on the run! While NOT the run I was looking for, I kept my head together, smiled, and focused. Had I let myself fall apart emotionally, the outcome of the day would've been VERY different. 

I learned so much yesterday; I have some new goals for my next 70.3 in June, and a lot of things I want to work on in training. I have so much more in me, and am capable of being a lot faster. However, the time of the clock isn't always what defines the day (for me - I'm also not doing this for a living); it's how I managed myself throughout the day. I smiled so much yesterday, got to see some great people, and got to spend the day doing something I absolutely love. 

A huge thanks to Katie, for putting up with my shenanigans every day. She saves me from myself on a regular basis, and I'm so thankful to have her in my life. 

Thanks to Coeur for putting me in a kit where I have zero (yes, z-e-r-o) chafing, and a headband (not a visor girl!) that withstood the entire run. Not to mention the hoodie that I basically lived in all weekend! I'm so very thankful! 

Until next time.... 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Me Versus Me..

I was a total bitch to my coach yesterday. She sent me my race plan for Sunday, and I immediately wrote back some childish response about the race taking me 16 days to complete. There was no excuse for my temper tantrum, and I spent a lot of my run yesterday thinking about where that response even came from.

Social media is fascinating to me; it can be such a wonderful platform for so many things, but can also be a place of "hey - look at me!". As an athlete, my Facebook and Twitter feeds are often filled with reports of how many hours people swam/biked/ran, at what pace/how many watts/wearing a Superman cape, etc. Its so damn hard not to compare yourself to what everyone else is doing, even when you know it's not possible that so many people are training 65 hours a week while juggling 86 children, 3 jobs, and no baby-sitters. Ever.

This journey to Ironman is one that I chose to take for my own reasons. I chose a coach who I fully believe will get me to that starting line healthy, happy, and ready to slay the Ironman dragon. I have put in a ton of work, and the confidence in myself grows each week. There is no room for me to be worrying about what everyone else is doing, how everyone else is training, or at what races other people are peaking.

All of this "noise", ironically, was at the root of my meltdown yesterday. "What if it takes me XX hours to finish this race? What will so and so think of me if it takes me 9 hours to ride my bike 56 miles? Will I be a total loser if I run a XX half marathon? Why am I not faster?" And it left with me with a choice - choose to follow the race plan, trust my coach (and myself!), and execute my own race, or spend the next 4 days  (and the entire race) worrying about what "everyone" will think of my if I don't finish in under XX hours.  I will never be the fastest athlete out there (spoiler alert: I'm not winning Sunday!), but I train and race with my heart, and this sport is something I absolutely love adore.

I made my choice - I have spent the past 5 months ensuring all of my "life buckets" are equally full. When I'm with Caitlyn, she gets 100%. Family and friends - I make phone calls, and make the time. I'm fortunate that I love my job, and when I'm there, they get 100%.  And when I get in that pool, on my bike, or in my running shoes, I give 100%. It's a way that I have chosen to live my life, and I rarely compare my day to day life to anyone else's. In which case, why the hell would I care to compare my training/race times to anyone else?

On Sunday, I am going to follow that race plan as close to the letter as I can. I'm going to smile often, and make it a point to give out as many "thank yous" to the volunteers that I can. I'm going to be thankful that I have the opportunity to race, and be proud of this journey that I have chosen.

While being a bitch to your coach is never a great idea, that moment gave me the huge kick in the pants reminder I needed. It's me versus me, and nobody else.

"Courage starts with showing up, and letting ourselves be seen."
-Brene Brown