I’ve held off writing this for the last week because it’s taken me a while to figure out what happened. And I think a lot of it is simply swallowing that big ole slice of humility. I’m talking about last weekend’s ITU event, Clermont Challenge.
“I feel incredible.” “I’m so ready for this race.” “This is big…”
Those are the things I said and exactly how I felt going into race weekend. I could probably say I’ve never felt so mentally ready and excited for a race. That special kind of balance of anxiety and calm focus. That stayed through race morning…until I climbed out of the water.
If you’re not familiar with ITU rules, that’s ok. All you need to know is that it’s draft legal on the bike, and if you get lapped, you’re pulled from the course and the dreaded DNF shoes up on your race results. It’s the triathlon format used in the Olympics. That’s what’s happened both times I’ve started [not finished] these races.
There’s lots of excuses I could make, but they’re all just cop outs for the truth: I was flat out old fashioned out raced last Sunday. Coming into T1 and only seeing 4 bikes, including mine, mindset went from ‘win’ to ‘finish’ to ‘don’t get freakin pulled…again’. Coming in on the last leg of the 4th and final bike lap, I was given my red card and asked (forced) to hand over my timing chip. When I finally coasted into transition, all of that fire that had been ablaze moving to race day had been reduced to less than an ember. And the weirdest part? The only word I could come up with for my performance was copacetic. My swim was terribly slow, and I can’t explain that one, but it *felt* like a threshold effort. The bike, the 30 minutes I was on course, I stayed atleast 15% above threshold power, with my pulls being over 200% more than just a few times. And that’s why I’m ok with it now. My body did exactly what I asked of it, even beyond maybe. Just wasn’t up to snuff for the field that day.
Draft legal racing isn’t my strong suit. I’ve gone down enough times in a group that Sunday was the first time I’d been on my road bike since the crash that landed me in the ER for 2 days last July because I avoid group rides. There’s also a whole new set of rules and tactics in ITU racing. I’m ok with the day. With the lessons I learned. And I’m really excited to get back into my QR CD0.1 at the end of the month where I can just put my head down and pick off other racers and make them chase me. So until then, I keep in mind that there’s still plenty if work to be done and room to grow until September. Back to training now, because I can promise myself that those guys who raced and finished Sunday are still at it, and wether you’re putting in the work or not, your competition is.
Some of you know, others don’t, but long story short is my grandmother starts chemo
tomorrow, February 11th February 18th due to the crazy weather in Atlanta. We knew that was an option, but it was just last week we got the news that she’d definitely have to go through it. On top of running the Donna 5k event, same as the Donna half and full marathon, on the 22nd, I did this:
Which resulted in this:
My tattoo artist is out of town, so this was the next most blatant thing I could do. The thought process is that people notice, then they ask, and for every person that asks, I tell them about my grandmother, and then ask them to keep her in their thoughts. It may as well be free. So now you know, and now you can do just what I’d ask the strangers who comment on the pink hair. And if you don’t know her, here’s her Facebook page. She’d appreciate any and all posts of encouragement and such. Hell, I’d appreciate it. As much as a freakin trooper as she is, a little extra support is good for all of us.
*DISCLAIMER*Yes…it is in fact already fading. I’m surprised it stuck at all honestly; anytime I’ve tried to do any kind of color or lack-of, it’s back to red within a week if I don’t redo it. So don’t freak out you-know-who*
It’s obvious we need to recover from stress in order to adapt. In this situation, I’m talking about training, but more specifically, the rest that comes from taking time/backing off at the end of a season. I’ve never taken a real ‘off-season’; I don’t sit still well. This past year I was forced to thanks to injury and illness + life. Starting now, there’s aspects of my three disciplines that aren’t as strong as they were. I’m talking to my cycling prowess here. After getting back into structured training for a few weeks, I took my cycling power test. Short version is I dropped a full 60watts from my previous FTP. But, what that is is normal, and proof that I gave the body the rest it obviously needed after an ugly and broken last 4 months. I don’t like that it’s lower, but I know it’s the truth, and I know that I trust my PEAK plan by my coach that I’ll be back to my 4.5 power:weight, and more likely, above that. Remember that it’s February. If your race schedule is like most of our’s, you shouldn’t be in peak form. I decided to write this as I just now accepted this fact. Or at least this part of it. So relax, stick to your plan, and trust the process.
3 words: Rev3 Draft Legal
Interested; right?! Here’s the full press release:
It’s been over a month since I posted anything, which is not ok. I guess I took the holidays the way they’re meant to, and really unplugged from basically everything. Actually took an off-season, even though it was slightly forced thanks to illness (mono) and injury (chipped proximal medial R hallux). I spent a month out of Florida, and got ‘stranded’ by the polar vortex…But now I’m in my last real semester of my undergrad, and wanted to throw out a couple quick updates before I get back to typing up lab reports.
So numero uno: I’m officially back on the Rev3 Age Group Team, and love it. We have a lot of new faces this year who’ve already fit right in, so if you missed all the announcements, go check them out here. On that same note, Rev3 has lots of cool things in the works. Have you ever wanted to visit Mexico? Or you SO want’s to travel, and a race is just the thing to make you agree? Check this out!!
Numbre dos: I started officially coaching with my coach of almost 3 years and mentor, Tony Hammett, at Peak Racing Team. My page is linked there if you’re looking for coaching *cough*go*look*cough. This also includes coaching the UNF Triathlon Club through the term for our collegiate races.
Tres: Race schedule finalized. Very excited. VERY…
Quatro: After the BA in psych is done, it’s grad school for physical therapy. There’s a lot more to that, but not much in stone yet so I’ll hold off to share.
So I think that’s all. To make up for the quiet time, here’s a quick #ProTip: Mindfulness. Ever heard that you need to train and race inside yourself? Focus on each stride versus how many more miles you have to go? “Take out the trash” maybe? Check out the link and take it to heart. We all know this is a mental sport more than it’s not. Stay inside yourself.
I realized that I’m finally done with this crazy semester where I thought taking 7 courses was a good idea. Jury is still out on a couple final grades, but worse case looks like a 3.0. I’m good with that. Just 6 classes now to my BA in Psych, then grad school. But…now that that’s done, I focus on 2014. Specifically a couple big changes coming that I can’t tell you about just yet. What I can tell you is my 2014 race schedule minus any road races I end up throwing in there. I expect to see y’all at some of these, especially the Rev3 events…because if you’re not racing Rev3, well then you’re doing it wrong.
- Clearmont Challenge Sprint (collegiate) – 3/2
- Great Clearmont Olympic (collegiate) – 3/23
- West Point Olympic – 4/27
- Rev3 Age Group Championship - 5/18
- Rev3 W’Burg HalfRev – 6/15
- JaxTri Sprint 1 – 6/21
- JaxTri Sprint 2 – 7/19
- JaxTri Sprint 3 – 8/9
- USAT Long Course Worlds (China) – 9/? …at some point
- Rev3 Florida Olympic - 11/?
I plan to make that the first of 2014′s pattern.
PS!!!!!! Rev3 is announcing the 2014 team RIGHT NOW!!! Heres the link—> https://www.facebook.com/TeamRev3Triathlon <— The first round was announced today, so go over (and like the page if you haven’t already) to follow along. Like now…GO!!
So if you saw my last post, you know I found out that the reason I’ve felt half-baked since mid-September is because I had mono. Forced to take a hard 3 weeks off where I was on my couch or hunched over in class, I let my body right the wrong going on inside. After a crazy night of multiple fevers, I woke up the next day feeling better than I had in months. After a few days of improvement, I knew it wasn’t a trick, and saw a doctor who cleared me to get back into my normal routine…which meant racing in Sarasota just 3 days later. I’ve raced every year including my very first race on my birthday [weekend], and damn it if I was going to miss it now.
I headed down to the event with the goal really just to finish. 3 weeks of being pseudo-bedridden does terrible things to your fitness. So I toed the line Sunday morning with great weather and amid ~100 of my closest guy friends as we all scrambled off into the ocean. I love the ocean; if every race was an ocean swim you’d never see me exit the water with less than an ear-to-ear grin. I made sure to stay on someone’s feet and came out about 3:30 behind the leader. Wetsuit strippers yanked my blue70 HELIX off, always a nice addition to T1, and I was off on Dixie, my QR CD.01, soon after.
A fun bike course. If I remember correctly, only 2 cars passed by. Volunteers were great, police kept traffic controlled, and surprisingly the Florida wind wasn’t all that noticeable. I came in just under 1:10 for this leg, adding another 5minutes to my time behind the leader, now ~8:30 up. Terrible T2, my own fault, but the run was next and I was feeling pretty good.
“12 in front of you” a spectator yelled as I exited transition, and I was pleasantly surprised. Everything was great…was…until about mile 4.5. That’s when the wheels came off. I’ve hurt far less in races two and four times longer than this one, but this is when the forced recovery made its presence known. So my internal dialog:
“I might actually pass out…”
“It’s a mile left; come on man.”
“Imma pour that ice down my shorts; that’ll keep me up for another couple minutes to the finish.”
I run down the chute, happy to be done, and happy with what I put out there. The race came together incredibly well, and the venue and volunteers made this a fantastic end of the season event. The pro’s came through a bit later as I was sitting in the NormaTec tent, and you can check out the pro recap here. The age group video is here.
Now to find some way to entertain myself until I start training for 2014. I think I have some kind of school stuff…or something…not nearly as fun as racing.