Thursday, June 30, 2016

Life Happens

Having a solid chunk of time between Green Bay and Graniteman (coming up on July 9th), I was optimistic about the progress I could make, most specifically with the run, but also on the bike as well.  While I’ve been spending a lot more time pole vaulting this summer than what I have since… ever, I’ve also been able to get outside for a couple weekday rides right after Andy gets home from work, and I had a killer brick run several weeks back.
Since Green Bay, we have also had to deal with our share of setbacks as well.  Baya had something viral going on that had her in pain and with a fever for 3 days straight (couldn’t even sleep at night), before we started getting things under control, but it lasted for well over a week with symptoms.  Then Myles got slammed with a sty in his eye, as well as throwing up, as well as croup, all at once.  The croup became so severe that we were admitted to the hospital for a full 30 hours before he was acceptable enough for a discharge.  A few missed workouts?  To say the least.
My foot has also been bothering me, and it feels like it is something that could become a stress fracture if I am not careful.  And so ended my high mileage weeks of knocking runs out of the park.  I’ve backed off on running a lot, but mentally I am still in a good place.  I am less fatigued going into my rides and runs and feeling stronger when I workout.  I hope that stays true as I don’t dare push it at this point in the season.  I guess we’ll soon see how it all shakes out at Graniteman in just over a week.  Graniteman will serve as a test run before Nationals.  Last year, the 10K run ate me alive, as I lost my lead and ended up 4th female overall.
My run-spiration to leave you with comes as a quote from Julia Webb, who was hoping to qualify for the Olympic Trials this year (after having her second baby last year).  As her deadline approached to make a qualifying time that she once hoped would be attainable, it became apparent that it wasn’t something realistically within grasp anymore. 
 “I will admit there’s been heartache as my own athletic season has hit one road block after another, looking back at small mistakes that lead to great losses. But beyond the “failure” of running some magical time, I have truly loved the process. I've also learned much that benefits me as a coach! Each and every run I get out there is a great day. I could be hanging my head when I arrive on that starting line. I could be feeling pretty badly knowing I am now far from chasing something I thought was a given many months ago when things were looking up and up. Yet the fact that I’m still out there chasing a new dream (running the best I possibly can- doing what I love) is a win.
Being flexible and always adapting is the key to success as a runner. We all want to have a straight line leading to our ultimate level of success, but more often than not, there are numerous setbacks and unforeseen circumstances that come into play. Adapting and changing our expectations and not trying to be the runner we once were (or were hoping to become) is critical. Yes, having goals is important. Enjoying the process of the every day journey is above that goal. Don’t forget — Measure your success in as many ways as you can!”

            When it comes right down to it, life happens.  It will mess with your perfect plan.  It will force goals to change.  But how you respond to it, makes all the difference.  So enjoy the journey!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Badger State Games Track & Field

            A group of us from Three Lakes went down to La Crosse this weekend to compete in a Track & Field meet put on by Badger State Games.  This was for all ages to compete against their own age divisions, from the 8 & under category to 80+.  This means that I got to compete!  It was almost 90 and full sun out, but it was a blast!  There were a lot of great performances from our group, and everyone earned some sweet medals.  Daisy had a PR in the high jump and made 5 feet for her first time, and Jared set a new PR for the 1500 with a 4:33.  I started with long jump and jumped 14’1” (only 3” away from my PR from about 10 years ago)! 
            The day was magical when it came to my main event: pole vault.  My goal was 11 feet (my best in college 6 years ago was 11’10”).  In warm-ups, the biggest pole we brought for me was too small, but I was able to borrow poles from UW-La Crosse, and I ended up moving through an additional 4 poles, putting me on poles I used to use in college, as well as gripping close to my old grip too.  I made 10’ and 10’6” on my first attempts, and then I missed 11’.  Fortunately, it put me as a tie for first female overall at the time, which resulted in a jump-off and giving us an additional attempt at the height.  And I made it!  Another blessing was having the UW coach there, who not only allowed me to borrow several poles, but also coached me and helped me achieve my goal!

            I later ran the 800m race as well.  There was only one heat of females, and the oldest one besides me was about half my age, so I led the whole race and ended up only 2 seconds off my PR.  This couldn’t have been a more exciting and fun experience, and I’ve really realized this past year just how much I miss the track scene and competing in pole vault.  I honestly never dreamed that I would still be able to perform at this level after 6 years and 2 kids.  The day was almost surreal.  I have heavily focused on triathlon for the past 5 years, but Track & Field (and pole vault specifically), is my true passion, and it was a day that I couldn’t have felt more alive, or more at home.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

2016 Season Kick-Off: Green Bay Triathlon

            We lucked out with great weather – it was warm, sunny, and a bit windy but not terrible.  I skipped the wetsuit this year since it was such a short and warm swim, and I figured any time I’d save with it would end up costing me in time taking it off anyway.  I did a ton more dolphin-diving than what I even remembered and the swim went by so fast!  I hit the beach in 4:58 for the 400 yards (1:15/100 yards), and ran the beach to T1.  I put on my helmet and grabbed my bike.
            The flying mount was smooth without any refresher practice.  I struggled to keep my watts up where I wanted to on the early part of the ride though, and the headwind was more intense than I thought it’d be.  Almost half way done with the ride and my bike computer said I was averaging 19.6mph!  (Which was nowhere near my goal of 22mph).  The second half was so much faster and by time I dismounted, my ride averaged 21.7mph.  I was much happier with that.  I couldn’t believe how many women I had to pass out on the bike though.
            I was fairly confident before the race regarding my run, but when I got out there, the 5K seemed much too far.  Men flew past me early on until I was able to start picking it up a little and then I was able to keep better pace.  On the return, I saw Katherine gaining ground on me. I figured a woman would catch me (I was going SO slow!), but I was glad to see it was Katherine.  With so far yet to go on the run, I debated trying to just beat her, or “letting” her catch me and finishing it together.  I thought we were first and second.  Fortunately, I decided to kick it hard for the very final stretch and cruised in for an overall decent race (despite my pathetic 5K split that should have been 2 minutes faster – yikes!).  Katherine finished close behind. 
            Unbeknownst to us, two women about 5 waves behind us were cruising in to take 1st and 3rd place, and I ended up getting beat by about a minute.  Good thing I kicked at the end though, because I beat the other girl by only 1 second!
            The biggest goal of this race was to have Katherine qualify for USAT Olympic-distance Nationals and since she won her age group, she did it!  At this rate my run won’t get me close to podium at Nationals, but two upsides: I have a generous 2 months to turn that around and Katherine will be in Omaha racing with me!  By the way, major props to her, as she is only 4 months post-partum from her second baby!