Sunday, July 19, 2015

Stepping Back

            I considered the Half-Iron distance (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run) to be my best distance.  I could out-train people, and I did very well in the past.  My debut half was a mere 5 months after Baya was born.  I was stupid fast that summer.  Who has a baby and then 2 months later PR in the 5K by 30 seconds?  I was on fire.  I kicked off the triathlon season with an 8-minute margin victory in Green Bay (my first overall triathlon win).  I won a duathlon.  Then at my half debut, I was conservative on the swim and bike.  I got to the run feeling ridiculously good and just let my body lead the way.  I had a goal pace of 8 minutes/mile.  I ran it at a 7:17/mile pace (a half marathon PR) and placed 4th overall.  I went on to win the Wausau triathlon, and then PR’d at a half-iron in Iowa.  Seriously…who does that?!  At the end of the triathlon season, I decided to run my first marathon.  I had 5 weeks of marathon-focused training, then went on to finish 4th female overall and qualified for Boston by almost a 15-minute margin.  Did I say I was stupid fast?
Even last year I was doing ridiculously well.  I won Green Bay and Wausau again.  I competed at bigger races and still made podium.  I finished 2nd behind a female pro at my half-iron.  I competed at Nationals and made Team USA.  Anything was possible.  Then this season happened. A struggle would be an understatement. While there are definitely new dynamics and challenges to training with 2 kids versus 1, it’s not coming off of a pregnancy that is killing me.  It is the unbelievable sleep deprivation this time around.  Being short on sleep is one thing, but when averaging getting up 3 times per night for a month now, it also results in a lack of quality sleep.  Every pregnancy is different, and so every kid.
            I set myself up well in the spring with training, and was really excited for the season.  I was doing well with swimming, and biking better than I ever have before.  The run has been a work in progress, but I was moving in the right direction.  I was putting in a ton of hard work to try to get it back.  You don’t realize how much difference sleep really makes.  Elkhart Lake fell apart before my eyes.  Graniteman was an improvement overall, but my watts were still not where they had been pre-season, and my run was in serious decline.  I’m tired, unmotivated, and hating the run portion in races.
Recovery drink: Check. Recovery sleep: Pending
I had signed up for the Chisago Lakes half-iron for this season.  I was putting in the mileage.  I rode the bike course with Katherine and we followed it with a short run on the run course as well.  I biked over 60 miles in training, and ran 10 miles.  My power output was in decline though, and I struggled in training.  I DREADED training.  I was not having fun.  I also knew that this half would not be a good performance on my part.  It would also be my first half that I wouldn’t break 5 hours.  I thought I could out-train, but I’m not.  The lack of sleep has affected not only my training, but also my patience with my kids, and so has the stress of training for the half.  Finally, this past week it got the best of me and I broke down.  It was time to reassess.  I pulled out of my half and switched to the sprint distance.  I cried.
While the half has been important to me, Nationals is even more so, and that will require a lot more speed out of me then all the long, slow stuff I’ve been doing.  I regret the time I wasted.  It will be super tough to qualify for Team USA again, and I know that I won’t stand a chance with where my run has been at.  I have 3 more weeks to focus on speed instead of distance.  I also never thought I’d be so excited (and relieved) to race a sprint distance again!  While it was a tough decision, it was definitely one for the best.  Next weekend’s sprint will be painful, but it’s the best shot I have at getting ready for Nationals.  I may be a long shot for this year, but I’m not giving up.  A HUGE thank you to my husband (and rock), family, friends, and sponsors who have supported me along the way in this journey.

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