Doubt and negativity have been knocking on my door recently. Doubts – will I be able to pull off fast race results again this year? I’ve struggled to hit my fastest swim times in workouts, and have basically plateaued with it. On the bike, I should be doing phenomenal since I have been training way harder than any other offseason, but my first two outdoor rides did not show it. The first, I gave myself the excuse of it being my first outdoor ride of the season. The second one, I had 20mph winds, with me going into it for the majority of it. I was headed down a hill, and only going 17 mph, and then even though I was pedaling and still going down it, my speed kept getting slower. Say whaaat?! It was both a physically and mentally exhausting ride. I had planned to do 47 miles, and quit early at around 30, which still took me 2 hours to complete, which is absolutely ridiculous, as it should have been closer to 1.5 hours! It is difficult to not doubt and question my ability on the bike. I should be going faster. I should be able to ride harder. How many times must I try to give myself excuses for not doing better??
When it comes to running, I feel fairly confident. I’ve been putting in decent mileage and have been doing speed work. I have also had my hamstring problems diagnosed. I have inflexibility issues in my right hip, which resulted in the stressed hamstring. When I was training for the marathon, I merely addressed the symptom by rolling out and massaging my hamstring. Now I have been foam rolling and stretching my hip. Since I have started doing that more, I haven’t had any pressing issues with my hamstring. I know it is not solved yet, and a massage therapist has told me that as well, but at least I am on my way with being able to correct it.
Then there has been this never-ending winter. It seems like we have been stuck in Narnia’s Long Winter (from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe). We got a foot of heavy snow dumped on us right before Easter, and though that batch melted in a few days, we still had leftover snow from the winter hanging around. It also continued to be below average temperatures. Since we are in the land of lakes up here, all of the ice and snow on the lakes contributed to the persistent lower temperatures (says meteorologist Rob Duns). Meaning, while Wausau (just 1.5 hours south of us) isn’t far away, they had been 5-10 degrees warmer for a lot of days as we struggled to shake off this cold. Even as recently as April 29th we were getting more snow. Aren’t the April Showers supposed to come in the form of rain? Will we get May flowers, or just more snowmen? Well, enough about that! By the way, good luck to all those out drilling holes in the ice up here for Fishing Opener weekend! (Truth be told, there is more open water than ice now at least).
I have decided that perhaps a half-iron distance triathlon in June isn’t such a good idea. I’ve been struggling with being able to get outside for rides, and I’m already starting to countdown the number of weekend rides that I have left until I start racing June 1st (only 3 left)! Yes indeed, it can be easy to become negative these days. One of the biggest things that an athlete, and especially a self-coached athlete, needs to do is to trust their training. Since I did so well with last year’s half-irons, it seems that I had begun to have this idea that the half just isn’t so bad. After my first outdoor ride, that notion was shattered for sure – the half-iron is a tough race! It was reaffirmed with my second outdoor ride, as I wanted to quit and cry. Negative Nancy was not only knocking on my front door, she had taken up residency as well!
I have nervously pressed onward, telling myself that my rides could only improve, and I am merely being prepared to be mentally tough. I don’t know if that made it any easier or not. I had a 10-mile run in 35 degrees and rain. Better than snow? I finally had a decent outdoor ride recently, but then it was followed by another one that I struggled through. The doubts are indeed heavy. There are moments where I feel like a failure. As I express my frustrations to my husband, he expresses his confidence in me, telling me that I may not be where I want to be right now, but he has no doubt that I will race well this year. He thinks I perform well under pressure (I’m not sure about that one), and believes in me, even when I don’t. I also really like impressing him when I do perform really well. So I’ll give myself a little time to recover from the heavy load I’ve been putting on myself, and then I’ll push again, and even if no other reason, than to impress my hubby, who has more confidence in me than I ever may. At the end of the day, isn’t all that really matters is your family anyway?