Monday, August 3, 2015

Why I Still Tri

            It wasn’t just a couple frustrating races early on in my season - it’s been frustrating training for the past 2 months as well.  I’ve gotten down on myself.  I wasn’t having fun anymore.  I hated my bike.  Yup, it was so bad that I hated my new, beautiful speed demon of a bike.  I hated running.  I was going through the motions without the heart.  After I switched from the half to the sprint at Chisago Lakes, things started to improve.  A huge amount of stress was lifted off of me.  I had more manageable distances to train for, and I have become better focused on Nationals.  Andy and I started sharing night duties with Myles.
            The sprint race was fun.  I didn’t need to win it.  I needed to enjoy the journey again.  Then the Tuesday night after, I went out to the track for a quality run workout.  Unsure of what I could handle just two days post-race, I was mentally flexible with what my workout would be and planned to adapt based on how I was feeling (instead of getting frustrated for not meeting set goals or expectations).  At the very least, I’d do a fartlek run based on effort, not pace.  I decided to go for the threshold and repeat workout since I was at a track.  My goal was to run 3-4 miles at 7:10/mile pace and run 4x200m repeats after.  I ran 4 miles at 6:59 pace and felt surprisingly GOOD like I could have kept going if time allowed.  I ran my first 200 and it felt almost too easy, so I held my pace longer and ran a 300m, and then I did a 400, all faster than pace and I still felt great.  Killed it.  Then with my most recent hard brick session, I ran 3 miles way faster than I did at the Chisago Lakes sprint.  The focus on the run is finally paying off.
            I have struggled through so many training sessions lately, or been frustrated when things haven’t gone as planned and I miss a workout, or have to compromise what I planned to do.  Then I have workouts like those, and I have to remind myself to let the frustrations slip away and to focus on what I know I am capable of, what I have accomplished, and to trust my training.  As much as I don’t feel ready for Nationals, I also know that I AM ready.
            In mid-July, I was tempted to walk away from triathlon completely.  I was burned out.  I have been tired to the point where I have felt physically ill.  Then I have a run night like Tuesday night and I am reminded that this is why I still tri – to discover that I’m capable of far more than I give myself credit for.  In a valley?  Keep pushing and you’ll eventually find your breakthrough.  Ready or not, I’ll lay it all out on the line and give it my all at Nationals.  When I get to that run, I can be confident that my legs are capable, and let my heart carry me to the finish (and maybe have the theme song from Rocky playing in my head).

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