What was different for me this time was I wasn't so worried about letting anyone down.
The thought of letting everyone down seemed to consume me my last two 70.3 races. My family scarified time with me so I could train. My coaches invest their knowledge and time too -- I hated to think they might feel it's for nothing much. I'm not their best, fastest, athlete, and always found myself wondering if my boatload of determination really meant anything and if my "just finishing" really gave them enough satisfaction; that maybe not my not experiencing stellar finishes they might feel as if they had not done their job.
This time though, I felt differently about it. My goal with triathlon has never been to be the fastest or to stand on a podium step, although when the fast folks don't show and it happens it's cool -- an undeniable fact for every athlete. But truly, for me, I just need to do better than I did the last time. I race against myself only, and anyone I pass along the way is simply incidental... most of the time. :) This time that's what I kept in the forefront of my mind -- my reasons for doing this crazy, sometimes stupid, sport.
My disposition with this race was completely different than in past races. I was more relaxed and felt more positive than I ever have previously. I found myself smiling through my swimming, biking and running and it felt great to actually be having fun, and not being worried about 7 or 8 hours later. I stayed present, noticed everything. It made everything so much more enjoyable.
Overall my training was consistent when I was in control. I had some medical issues and surgery during my 18 weeks, which brought on some pretty serious emotional challenges I had to accept and overcome. All that crap gets in your head and until you deal with it and flush it out it's there, interfering with your focus. There's still some lingering drama, but I'm trying to let go. There's no sense in wasting time on pepole who clearly don't value relationships in similar ways. I just hold out hope that pepole will do the right thing in the end, and I have to stop doing that. "When people show you who they are, believe them."
I did much of my training alone this year, which I'm okay with, and I think I benefited from doing so. TB was training for the full, so to start we really weren't training together. When we did go out for a ride, he's generally way ahead and really is just someone who knows I'm out there, not someone I'm riding with. While I'm racing I can't be drafting or riding with friends, so why train that way? Yeah, it's fun once in a while, but it seems counterproductive for me at this stage. My thing this year was, "train how I want to race." Not train for somebody Else's race. I really wanted to learn how to stay focused, and with that I was successful. In fact, on the few rides I did do with other people, I kinda fell apart in the nutrition area being so per-occupied with trying to keep up, or yappin'... something would always get in the way. LOL
A member of the club once said, "People tri for one of three reasons: fame, fortune or fitness." I'm definitely in it for fitness, but I have big dreams, and this race is just part of achieving that bigger goal (to do a 140.6) one day. Perhaps there is some additional peace of mind that comes with thinking on a larger scale, seeing the bigger picture, instead of looking at 1 race on a single day. There will be countless races between now and then and with each one I'll learn something else and get closer to where I need to be to achieve the bigger goal.
I felt pretty darn strong that I did a good job in holding back on the bike at Redman. However, the data told a different story. I mean, it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't according to plan either. OC was right. I went too hard on the bike. While my overall average Heart Rate was 144 on the bike, my target was 140. The data shows I spent more than an hour above. Of course my HR increasing was unavoidable on the steeper climbs -- I'm just not that efficient yet. I did do my best to manage what I was dealing with though, so I feel like there was a huge lesson learned. What it tells me is, I need to increase my weekly mileage on the bike. The more efficient I get on the bike, the more control I have, and therefore the better my run will be.
"To have the kind of race you want you have to be able to run your run." The best way to ensure that is be an efficient super-star on the bike! :)
Of course everything gets better if I can get to the bottom of the Thyroid/HyperP stuff and lift the gate on dropping this last 50 lbs. Having my skin removal surgery wouldn't hurt either! The extra pounds is a huge obstacle and I don't act like it's not there. It's in my face every day! When the weight comes off, I will be able to become that much more efficient.
So for now I'm making a point to add-back my strength training (again!), continue Masters for swimming, and find a better way to get more weekly bike mileage in -- learning how to ride better at a lower heart rate. It's marathon season now, and I have the Texas Half Marathon on 1/1/12 and the Houston Half Marathon on 1/15/12 -- so that will keep my running in check.
For this year I have the Galveston 5150 and Oil Man Texas. For Oil Man, I switched to the Aquabike. I just don't have another 70.3 in me this year AND try to figure out how to keep everything balanced with MAKING strength training a part of my training routine permanently. At least that will give me a reason to keep focus on Swimming and Biking during my Half Marathon training.
I'm already thinking about the future..
USA 10 Miler (10/9/11)
Turkey Day 10K (11/14/11)
Texas Marathon - Half (1/1/12)
Houston Half Marathon (1/15/12)
HITS Corpus - 70.3 (2/12)
Kemah Olympic (4/29/12)
Sylvan Beach Tri (6/12)
Houston Olympic (9/30/12)
San Antonio (Tentative -- it is might be an addition to the TX3 series)
Talked to OC about what's to come and I mentioned Corpus HITS 70.3 race. He said that would be fine, but of course he also had to inform me the race it's mid-February and could be a gamble with Corpus weather. We could have high, 30 mph, winds like the training day (that drove me to tears) in Galveston. Of course I had to remind him of something he once shared: You can't pick a course because you think it's going to be easier than another course. He does make valid points about little outside training availability being an additional challenge. Lots to think about.