Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Tale of Two Races

Last month I did the Loveland Lake to Lake triathlon (sprint distance).  It was awesome cause I did it with this lady (though she was racing the longer distance) and it was awesome cause I finally got my swim mojo back.  The swim was fast, fluid and comfortable - only took a year to get that back.  The bike was balls to the walls hard as I could and the run went fine.  I even caused a car accident when a particuarly vocal gentleman driving a pickup truck failed to notice traffic had stopped in front of him.  Pinnacle achieved.

Jeff came out to cheer at my last tri and captured my joy at being done just after the finish.

After I recovered a little I went back out on the run on the hunt for Tea and photobombed her race.

Duathlon Nationals came last weekend.  I flew out to St Paul alone, making it to the host hotel just in time for packet pickup and then built my bike in a hurry, ate dinner and went to bed.  I was up before dawn on race morning to take my bike over to transition and then went back to bed with my coffee for a few hours, because the sprint distance race didn't start till nearly noon.  There's not a ton to be said...it was hot, humid and windy.  I looked like a wet tomato for the majority of the race.  My first run was pretty fast.  I pushed some big watts on the bike but it was stupidly slow, even for me.  The women who took my AG were the sturdy strong bikers who weren't being pushed around so much in the wind; the course did not offer much advantage for small folks who climb well.  My second run was just hanging on and trying to pass back people who had passed me.

And then it was done and after I was done dry-heaving over the side of the finish chute mostly I just wanted to go home.  I packed my bike in a hurry and caught an early flight back rather than stay another night in Minnesota.  The look of surprise on my husband's face when he saw me in our local watering hole made it all worthwhile.  No big revelations or special moments with the last race, I guess my brain was already finished.  The goal was to go as hard as I possibly could and leave nothing in the tank - mission accomplished.  And now...I think I'm done with that particular form of pain for a bit.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Not an Ending But a Beginning

I'm not sure if there's anyone still around but...yeah, it's been a while.  I owe a race report...or maybe two.  My last triathlon as well as Duathlon Nationals have come and gone.  I'll get to them, eventually.

With the end of my season, and training/racing life for now, comes a whole mix of emotions.  Joy at being done. Sadness at no more snarky little comments in TrainingPeaks from my coach as well as virtual pats-on-the-head.  Excitement about what lies ahead.  Interest about how embracing a less structured active life will play out in body composition, energy levels, and beer consumption. Curiousity about how the changes to my life over the last year led me to become so apathetic about training and racing.  Relief that I recognized the changes in myself early enough to know when to call my season done without fear of judgement.

But also...a large proportion of gratitude.  I'm grateful for my husband for supporting this sometimes-outlandish journey into competitive sports as well as supporting my choice to drop it and take up whereever the summer's explorations take me.  I'm grateful to so many friends who talked me through hard training days and disappointing races and celebrated the good ones and were happy for me when I had a big breakthrough.  I hope you still bitch to me about your training and race dilemmas and that we can continue to make fun of triathlete egos together.  I'm grateful more than anything else to my amazing coach who has been with me for most of this journey and taught me everything I know about how to push my limits and succeed.  I'm happy to call her a friend as well and once she's delivered her baby I fully expect we had better find a way across the 1000 miles between us to have a beer!  Seriously though, I could never have done anything in the last 7 seasons without her; it's not just about the PRs (of which there were many) but the journey from timid adult-onset athlete to confident racer.  Thank you, Elizabeth, for everything.

So what's next?
*Rest. I'm taking this first week slow and just going with the flow.  By slow, of course I mean that yesterday, the day after the race, I took the dogs to the lake, bathed and groomed them, vaccuumed all 3 floors of the house, organized and packed away all my racing gear, rebuilt my TT bike and put it up for sale, rearranged a few parts of the house, and ran 4 loads of laundry.  But really, other than some yoga and an open water swim with Tea, it's going to be a mild week.
* Hiking.  Jeff got us an annual pass for Rocky Mountain National Park and as it's only 20 minutes from home I expect we will be checking out a trail each weekend.  He's doing some advance scouting for his yearly man trip into the wilderness and I'm happy to join in and explore with him.
* Still biking and running.  Stanley loves to run with me and we shall do some trail running.  It'll be nice to just go out and run and stop when I feel like it and not even care about pace.  I've got a road bike on order and hopefully a mountain bike will follow.  There are so many roads and trails to try out here and I'm truly chomping at the bit to explore things in our new home.
* Dog agility.  I've had to put competition on the back burner while I trained and raced but we are entered in some trials coming up soon.  Stan will be very happy to get back to it!
* And more.  Music festivals, concerts, beer, tons of work on our property and house, and maybe a few other little things along the way!  Life in Colorado is pretty full and I'm looking forward to embracing it all.  Maybe without the pressure of race reports (after I get the last ones done) posting will even be a bit easier to do :)