Race Preparations

qimono / Pixabay

Guys, I don’t know if I remember how to triathlete.

I was supposed to be starting my race season all the way back in April.  APRIL!  (I’m kind of glad I didn’t because that race looked cold and miserable, but I might also be saying that to make myself feel better about the fact that I was broken and couldn’t race.)

But Sunday, I’m showing up at the start line at Rev3 Williamsburg Olympic, so I’d better figure this out soon.

This race is going to be a huge mental game for me.  This is probably the “easiest” Olympic course I have raced, so naturally it’s my PR course.  But I’ve set course PRs each year I’ve raced it.  That’s not going to happen this year.  And no, I’m not just saying that.  I’m in a very different place physically.  I’m still in the recovery phase of my labral tear.  And I did have abdominal surgery four months ago, which set me back as well.

So while my race plan for this race is usually “KILL IT,” this time it has to be “race smart.”  Which really should always be my race plan, but triathletes are dumb.

Mental challenge 1: The course has changed a bit and the swim is reversing directions (to go with the current).  Awesome, I don’t like swimming against current.  But the downside is that there is now a quarter-mile trip between swim exit and transition.  It’s on paved road, but far enough that people can leave shoes at swim exit if they want.

I’m intentionally not leaving shoes, because I need to take this slow.  I wouldn’t want to leave my running shoes, for fear they would get stolen and then I would be without shoes.  And I don’t need to be running in flip flops or other shoes that I’d be okay with losing.  To make sure that I’m protecting my hip, I need to be taking this slow, and the easiest way to force that is going to be walking barefoot.

That obviously leads me to mental challenge 2: The run.  I haven’t run more than 4 miles since November.  I’ve walked much more than that, of course, but not on a dedicated run.  I’ve been slowly working to get back to my normal 1:1 run/walk, but right now, I’ve been doing a 3 minute walk 1 minute run pattern, occasionally a 2 minute walk 1 minute run.  I need to start out easy with the 3:1 pattern and only if I’m really feeling good after at least two miles should I start to think about stepping it up.

Yes, this means I will be passed constantly.  Which, let’s be honest, happens every race anyway.  But it’s going to be a huge mental challenge to have lost so much of my speed.  I’ll get it back eventually, I’m sure.  The point here is to run without pain and finish the race.  I expect to be sore afterwards, but I don’t want to do something that leaves me in enough pain that I set back the progress I’ve made.

It’s going to be a hot race.  The water temp was 88 degrees on Thursday which is disgustingly warm.  The bike will be hot.  The run will be hot.  So being slow won’t be such a bad thing.

Mostly though, I’m excited to get to race!  I’m excited to see my friends!  I’m excited to finally be back out there and I hope this isn’t my last triathlon of the year.

 

 

June Mileage Update

Another month of quality training down.  I definitely pushed this month and am feeling it in my body.  It’s a reminder that my hip is not and will never be healed, but I just have to keep going with my strength work and stretch and remember that I’m still in the recovery process, but I’m getting stronger every single day.

June Miles
Swim – 10.2 miles
Bike – 178 miles
Run – 34 miles

In all three sports, I had my highest monthly mileage all year.  Yes, much of that run mileage is actually walk during my run/walk workouts, but it’s miles on my feet and that counts.   I’m so excited to be at this point in my training.  I do have a long ways to go, but finally, FINALLY I’m really feeling like I’m seeing solid improvement.  I do have aches and pains, but nothing like what I was feeling back in December when I ran.

I still hate going to the pool.  I don’t hate swimming, I just hate the logistics.  But clearly, this month, I showed up anyway.  That’s what it’s about.  (Okay, so my training plan had at least another mile or two on it.  I got close.)

2018 Miles to Date
Swim – 29.4 miles
Bike – 974 miles
Run – 43 miles

 

Racing On My Mind

Okay, not this kind of racing, but don’t these dogs look super happy? violetta / Pixabay

I’m not even into taper week and already I’m starting to think a whole lot about my upcoming race.  You would think this was my first triathlon ever, not my first triathlon of the season.

No, that’s not quite the right way to explain my feelings.  I’m not nervous, at least no more than I am for any race (and let’s be honest, I’m mostly just worried about forgetting something important like my bike or sleeping through my alarm – everything after that is what I’ve trained for).  I think I’m mostly super excited.  Super SUPER excited.

Of course, there’s a lot to be excited for when it comes to this trip.  Rev3 puts on incredible races and the Williamsburg race is definitely one of my favorites.  It’s a fast course and has been my PR course for a few years running.  So it’s a great course to return to.

I also have so many friends racing, both local and from far, far away (guys, Florida is really far away when your running partner abandons you to move there), and I’m so excited to see everyone and get to hang out.  I’m excited to get to cheer at the sprint on Saturday.  I’m excited to eat at the delicious Cheese Shop.  There’s a lot to look forward to.

I’m also just really ready to be back to racing.  I’ve missed the adrenaline of race day.  I’m pretty sure every race morning, I utter the phrase “this sport is stupid,” and let’s be honest, it kind of is, but stupid things can be so much fun.  While I’m far from fully recovered, I’m able to run again and I’m excited to get out there and see what my body can do.

It’s definitely going to be a challenge, since I’m taking the labral tear rehab incredibly carefully.  So far, I’ve been able to run without pain while slowly increasing my distance and reducing my walk intervals, but I don’t want to overdo it.  Right now, my goal is to keep following my training plan, see how this week’s runs go and then decide what walk/run interval I want to set for race day.  And if on race day, my body says “Hey, this running thing hurts,” (and it’s in the bad hurt kind of way and not the “it is hot and running is hard” kind of way) then I will be walking.  And that’s okay.  It’s all about getting back out there.

But I really hope to be able to run at least some of the 10k.  And I fully expect I will be able to.

I’m making a point to not do too much race day visualization just yet.  I have to get through this last week of focused workouts and not think too far ahead.  Next week will be time for race obsessing.

And then figuring out what other races I want to do this season because I miss racing!

 

Cheering Recap – 70.3 Chattanooga

I am behind on my updates.  Two weeks ago, I went to Tennessee to cheer on my friends (and strangers) at 70.3 Chattanooga.  On some level, I was sad to not be racing, but I’m clearly still not back into shape thanks to this hip injury, so it was clear that I didn’t have any business being on the course.  I think that helped prevent any sadness in not being able to race.

But don’t get me wrong.  Cheering is hard work!

Since I was just tagging along and playing sherpa, I let the others kind of dictate the weekend – which was awesome.  It was nice to not have to make any decisions and just go with the flow.  I joined some of my awesome Coeur teammates for an open water swim practice, which was so much fun.  It was great to hang out with so many lovely ladies (and their families) and it was super convenient to be able to get in an OWS as well.  I hadn’t been in open water yet this season, and now I’ve managed to check off that box.

Race morning, I let our racers decide what time we would get to the race site.  So we were in bright and early (which is my preference as a racer for sure).  I met up with a bunch of teammates who were racing, made sure everyone had everything they needed, and then made the first trip back to the car with the bike pump and some other things.

Headed over to race start and found some more of our team members.  I was wearing a giant shark mask (mostly as a hat, because it was hot inside that thing).  It made me easy to find, which is good, since everyone I was looking for was wearing wetsuits and swim caps.  I collected items from some of the racers and then cheered everyone as they entered the water.  I stuck around to see the last swimmers get in, and everyone looked so great!  I was so proud of everyone.

Sherpa Shark enjoyed the view from the school bus after swim start.

I missed a lot of people getting out of the water because that swim was fast!  A number of my friends were out of the water before the last swimmers were in!  I hopped a bus back to transition and headed over to swim finish to watch the rest of the swimmers get out of the water.  It was awesome to see so many grinning faces as people made it out of the water.  I know that some team members were worried if they would all make it out of the swim in time, and everyone made it with plenty of time to spare.  It was such a great feeling.

I then headed back to the car to drop off the shark head and a few other things I had collected along the way, then stopped to grab coffee and a quick breakfast.  I started getting text messages that one of our racers seemed to have stopped.  Finally, I got a text from someone with information.  Even though Ruth didn’t finish the race, I’m so proud of all she accomplished, and her spirit is awesome and you should read her recap of what happened.  I tracked her down and offered a hug and was super impressed by her determination to try again.

Now things were getting busy.  I spent much of the day going between bike finish and the race finish line and then between the finish and mile 12.6, trying to see as many people as possible.  It was exhausting, but it was also awesome to cheer people along the way, both friends and strangers.  It was a hot day, and I was so impressed with everyone (and also kind of glad I wasn’t racing).

As friends finished the race, I slowly collected people and we headed up the run course to cheer people on where the race split and people on their first loop went one way and people on their second headed to the finish.  It was a tough spot to be at when the race time limit was reached and people were no longer allowed to head to their second loop.  Some seemed to know that it was going to happen, others were clearly devastated.  It’s so hard to put in all that effort and not just miss the cutoff.

I was so, so proud of all of my teammates who were out there, pushing through different situations, each doing their best in difficult conditions.  Everyone made smart choices, and sometimes that meant not finishing the race, but being able to race another day.

Being out and cheering was so, so much fun.  Definitely highly recommended, and I’m certainly going to make a point to be at more races in the future.  Just because I can’t race doesn’t mean I can’t exhaust myself on race day just the same!

(Seriously.  I was so, so sore the next day.  So sore.)

Just a few of my Coeur teammates at Chattanooga. We are terrible at all getting into a pic!

Choo Cheering, Here I Come!

This weekend is IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga.  You may remember that I very excitedly registered for this race back in September.  Clearly, I’m not racing.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not going.

I’m headed to Chattanooga this weekend to cheer on my teammates and a whole bunch of strangers (who really are just friends you haven’t met yet).  I’m really looking forward to the weekend.  I thought I would be dreading it a little bit, what with not being able to race, but I think because I’m clearly still in no shape to race (or at least run a half marathon), it’s less of a struggle.  And even if my hip were in good shape, just taking a month off and then getting into race shape in less than two months would have been a bit of a nightmare.  Definitely high stress and hard on my body.

I’m glad I made the decision to still go to Chattanooga.  Sure, I could totally use the money I’m spending on accommodations to help fix the dent in my budget from all of the medical expenses, but I think if I stayed home, I would spend the weekend being sad that I wasn’t there and feeling sorry for myself for being injured (plus splitting a house with three other ladies means it’s not terribly cost-prohibitive).

I’m also really, really excited to go cheer.  So many of my Coeur and Collective Beat teammates are going to be at the race, many of whom I haven’t yet met in person.  I’m so excited to give so many hugs.  And of course, to scream at strangers on the street for most of the day.  I have my cowbell packed.  My goal is to drive the people around me absolutely crazy with my antics.  I think I can do it.

I’m planning to be all over Instagram with updates from race weekend, so if you’re interested, make sure you’re following me!