Sunday, June 16, 2013

Altitude, Attitude, and Acceptance

Part 1. Altitude:

Altitude sucks. Seriously, I never thought there would be that much difference up here from Santa Barbara, but I feel like I am breathing through a straw on a daily basis, and I take my inhaler way more than I ever had to before. My times and paces for swimming, running, and biking are all way slower and it is so insanely intimidating when I am biking back into Santa Fe and the city limit sign says 7000 ft and I know I still have more to climb. Additionally, there are no flats around here, you have hills and rollers. Every "easy" workout I do turns into more of a don't die scenario. Crazy fact: when I visited Santa Barbara a few weeks ago, I went on a long run and my pace PER mile was 2 min faster!

Part 2. Attitude:

Clearly, I need an attitude adjustment. Its funny, I have been an athlete for so long, so one would think I would know how to keep a good attitude, but I am constantly having to take a few steps back and reevaluate my situations. Since I have moved here, I haven't had much confidence in myself going into workouts. Usually what runs through my head are "This is going to suck," "it hurts so bad," and "I am so (insert choice of expletive here) slow!" Apparently I haven't figured out that the adjustment doesn't happen overnight. So this week I approached my workouts differently. I always feel guilty if I miss a workout from being sick, or just life getting in the way. Stuff happens and I need to TRUST my training. This morning I was not having a particular good run and was having some negative thoughts so I stopped (gasp!) at 60 min in and gathered my thoughts. I stopped looking at my Garmin and just ran the last 50 minutes according to feel and just enjoyed being outside. Fact: I did way better. It wasn't fast, but it FELT better.

Part 3. Acceptance:

And on to the final part of this story. I am finally learning that I won't  be as fast up here and things will not happen overnight. I need to enjoy the moment. In two weeks at BLST 70.3 I am going to enjoy the moment. The fact of the matter is, I don't know what is going to happen and I have to accept that. Will I make it under six hours? I don't know, but I am going to try my best. One thing I learned from swimming is that it is ok to fail, once you accept that, anything is possible. Will I make Vegas worlds on my first try? Probably not, but its always in the back of my mind and I won't limit myself. What if I have to walk on the run? Well sh*t happens and I will accept that. Moral of the story friends - I need to accept the ugly with the good, and I won't always be perfect!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Nutrition and training - learning how to fuel

Today was a half IM nutrition practice day. I had a 3:15 hour bike and a 20 min run on the schedule and my new coach (shout out to Liz!) suggested some things to try for fueling. I typically stick to water, salt tabs, gus, and chomps, but I added in an electrolyte drink to see how my stomach would handle it. I decided to try the reverse of my normal bike route because the reverse is mostly uphill and into a headwind, which is good practice for Buffalo Springs. I even had some company with a guy who was riding the same loop with me, so the kept me motivated to power those hills! We stopped at a gas station to refill on water around mile 37 and were on our way. Now, I remind you I haven't ever really drank my electrolytes, not while I was swimming or even now. So after we got back on the road, I definitely sicked up! I ended up making it home, but was very nauseous and its always awesome getting sick on the side of a busy rode haha! I have never been so glad for a ride to be over! I think next time I am going to dilute it with more water. Right now I am using Powerbar perform - does anybody have any other suggestions on this? Hopefully, I find a good combo for Buffalo Springs in 3 weeks!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

An introduction!

I am starting this blog for two reasons:

1. To document my journey to becoming a better triathlete
2. To post my insightful comments and share them with the world (in case you didn't catch it - there is sarcasm there)

So a few things to know about my reasoning for starting triathlon. I was once a collegiate swimmer, but then I went to grad school to get my Ph. D. in chemistry. In the first two years I gained 30 pounds (!) and was miserable. I also found myself missing competition and racing, so I decided to start training for triathlons. So here I am four years later doing my best to lose the last 10-15 pounds and learning the ins and outs of triathlon.

Over this past weekend I participated in the Deuces Wild Olympic triathlon, but it didn't exactly go as planned. We had near perfect conditions for racing and I was super psyched to see what I could do. Clearly, the swim is my best leg so I always try to get as big of a lead as I can. The water was chilly, but it was not the worst I have raced in. Once the swim started, I was having trouble settling in. My wetsuit felt constricting and I was having a lot of trouble breathing, so I backed off a bit and tried to keep my heart rate consistent. I came out with some other girls, which is unusual since I have never not been first out of the water in a race. I was pretty frustrated going into transition and my heart rate was spiking, so I was having even more trouble breathing. Regardless, I hopped on my bike and got into a pretty good rhythm, and got my heart rate constant. All was going well until I followed a guy in front of me off-course. I lost about 5 minutes there, but I tried not to let it bother me and continued on. And then disaster. Around mile 12, I hit some gravel and fell off my bike. Typically, I keep my cleats really loose so that when that does happen my feet come out, minimizing the damage. However, my right foot did not unclip, so my knee went one way and my body the other. A couple people asked if I was ok and I did the typical "I'm fine" and hopped back on my bike. At that point my race plan had changed to just finishing. As I continued on, the course became hillier and my knee started to swell. I ended up backing of even more and in tears the last 5 miles of it. Finally, I got to transition with a really fat knee and a bruised ego and asked for the medics. They came and checked it out and said it was swollen (obviously) and it looked like I sprained it. As pissed as I was about not finishing the race, I was reminded why I fell in love with this sport in the first place. Two other triathletes (who I believe were waiting for there relay team), helped me to cross the timing line to get my split (even though I don't even want to know what it was) and put my bike in transition for me. People in this sport are constantly cheering you on and supportive! Anywho, the medics put me in the cart, while Logan got my gear out of transition, and we headed to the car so I could get back to the hotel to recover.

Luckily, the swelling in my knee has decreased greatly and I was able to do a very short and very easy run yesterday. There is still a little bit in the muscle that was pulled/strained, but I think it will be back to full speed shortly. I am proud of myself for finishing that bike even though it hurt like hell and I am trying not to let bother me that I couldn't finish. I guess the lesson learned here is that crap happens and I just have to accept it. So I will continue training and move on to the next, which just happens to be my first 70.3!