To Race or Not To Race?

Hans / Pixabay

This week, the athlete’s guide for my next big triathlon came out.  Next month, I’m doing the Challenge Williamsburg Olympic Triathlon.  For you non-triathletes, that means it’s kind of sort of twice as long as the last race I did.  The swim in 0.9 miles (1500m), the bike is 24 miles, and the run is a 10k.  I’ve done an oly before, but the distance is still a bit intimidating.  Well, it’s not so much the distance, it’s the time limit.  4 hours and 15 minutes.  I can do it, but if anything goes wrong, it’s questionable.

And yet, while I’m freaking about my next race, I’m also considering signing up for another triathlon.  But a sprint distance, of course.

You see, I don’t have any races in July.  This is intentional.  July is hot.  But now two of my friends are signed up for a particular race mid-month.  And I could go race with them.  It would be good practice.  And if my race in June goes poorly, this forces me right back out there.  And it’s only a sprint distance.  These are all good reasons.

So I am debating.  Do I want to add another race to my schedule when I’m already freaking out about the races I have?  Should I do it?

Wednesday Workout Recap

Last week could have been better.  I have a race coming up!

Monday – Missed my swim.  My own fault.  No excuses.

Tuesday – Brick: Bike trainer workout followed by a fairly slow one mile run.  I was supposed to do speedwork today, but a mile and a half in, I realized it wasn’t happening, so I switched over to the brick.  So I guess I got in a slightly longer run.

Wednesday – Speedwork.  800m intervals.  UGH.  I hate these.  But they are good for me, so I do them.  Total of 8 miles.

Thursday – Team Swim.  Nice long drills.  I really enjoy this workout, but if I didn’t have team swim to come to, I probably would be missing a lot of my Thursday workouts.

Friday – REST.  Ahhhhh.

Saturday – 10 mile run.  Didn’t feel great and I just kept getting slower.  Then around mile 9, I realized that I hadn’t fueled at all during the run.  No wonder I was dragging.  I’m a genius.  Still did the ten.

Sunday – Group ride on the Old Iron Girl course.  I love this ride.  So well supported and a good challenging course.  17 miles in 1:21.  At least something went well this week.

More OWS Practice

Fort Ritchie 2015Yesterday was a lovely day for a swim out at Fort Ritchie.  One thing I’ve learned is that I need to take advantage of every single open water swim practice that I can.  No matter how much time you spend in the pool, nothing compares to being out in the open water.

I actually spent the first half of the OWS as a kayak volunteer, keeping an eye on the swimmers. Talk about pressure!  Not that I would be able to do anything to save someone, but I could offer a kayak to grab onto.  That’s allowed in practice swims and it’s allowed at races too.  You just can’t have the kayak offer you any forward motion.  Of course, if you are drifting along with the kayak, that’s okay.  But you can’t have the kayaker pull you.  Apparently, at one race a few years ago, a swimmer tried to pull a kayak so she didn’t have to let go.  That’s not really going to work well for anyone.

So I kayaked the first half and cheered on some swimmers, then swam the second half.  I wanted to swim a full 1500 to be really ready for race season, but only got in 1000 because of the limited time.  Either way, it was a good swim and confirms that yes, the hour time limit on the swim at my upcoming Oly won’t be a problem.

It was an awesome day for a swim, but man, that gross murky water freaks me out every time.  Maybe I should just paint the lenses of my goggles so that I can’t see anything in the pool either.  Sure, I’ll probably crash into people, but that’s part of the fun of triathlon, right?

Speedwork Suffering

Yesterday, Coach made me do speedwork.  Well, actually, Coach made me do speedwork on Tuesday, I just didn’t do it.  I’m a rebel.

And it hurt.  Oh, it hurt.  Only 8 800 repeats, but it was still completely not awesome.  That said, if I think back to where I was just a few months back, I wouldn’t have been able to even consider completing the workout at the pace I kept.  So clearly, the speedwork is working.  Doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it though.

When I’m doing long, hard workouts, I always find myself bargaining with myself or trying to use math to convince myself that it’s not that bad.

“Distance wise, I’m halfway through the workout!”

“Only 4 repeats to go. I can do this.”

“You went out to lunch today, you need this calorie burn.”  (Which was true, plus I also ate half a donut.  I do not think the speedwork negated either of these things.)

While training, I’m never actually thinking about the real reason I’m training – to improve for races.  (Well, and to improve my general health.  And to burn off rogue donuts that find their way into my belly.) Considering I can see my triathlon medals out of the corner of my eye the entire time I’m on the treadmill, you would think this would cross my mind.  But nope, I’m just living in the moment of pain and suffering.

But at the end of the workout, I’m proud of myself for getting it done.  Maybe I even brag about it by writing a blog post.

Non-runner coworkers ask me how I get the training done or where I find my motivation.  I can’t always answer them.  I just do it and check it off the list and move on to the next thing.  You may not always want to do the workouts, but it’s worth it in the end.  Maybe not right afterwards, but the work pays off eventually.