Season’s Endings

It’s been quite a season and with two 10k runs left it’s not quite over. However, triathlon season has ended and what an adventure it has been. I have been waiting to do my post-season reflection until my aunt sent me my favorite photo so now it’s time.

HECLA Triathlon

All kinds of crazy and a little bit of “yuck” for this one. Two weeks before the race, participants received an email that stated that there was a change of location which resulted in significant course changes. The most noticeable change was that the swim was a fair distance from the transition zone. 750m from the transition zone. Uphill. On rougher terrain. Well, ok then!!  This was only mildly terrifying to think about. Many people chose to set up a mini-transition at the base of the hill so one didn’t have to try to run nearly a kilometer in a wet suit (can you imagine the awkwardness!?). To be honest, the run to transition wasn’t as bad I had expected. What was most frustrating that was with all the last minute changes, panic over algae in the water and whether or not the swim could happen and the change of location, transition was just a mess of confusion and frantic searching for the “what now?”.

The run portion proved to be a bit of a challenge. I usually love the run but this one felt like absolute death!!  It was hot, it was sticky, it was on the craziest terrain I have run on. They warned us about sections of “loose gravel” but that proved to be in inadequate description. It was small rocks, smooth lovely “skipping rocks” that on a hot summer’s day such as that one, would have been perfect for sliding across the water. However, their smooth nature and the soft sandy ground underneath did nothing helpful for running. It was as though one was running through sludge and at various points I was convinced that, possibly, I was forgoing forward motion in favor of sinking.

Needless to say, this race did not prove effective for myself esteem as I finished towards the bottom of my age category.  The post-race food totally made it worth it though: pasta salad and sandwiches were among the delicious meal provided to the athletes.

 

RMtri (Riding Mountain Triathlon)

Not a week later, 6 days to be exact, my poor, tired legs needed to tackle the course of the Riding Mountain Triathlon where hills reign on the cycling course, the amount of athletes doubles and this girl races without her regular partner in crime.

I love the Riding Mountain Triathlon. I love the location (mainly because I grew up spending summers on that lake) and I just feel good racing there.  Unfortunately, the first half of this race was a bit of an exception for me this year.  The swim felt cludgy and I had a hard time keeping myself focused and my legs cursed at me for the entire bike ride. But the run…oh the run…. how good it felt. I remembered how much I loved to play with the spectators as I ran by and went back to joking about stealing coffee and asking the men who had finished their wave if there was beer at the finish line. I finished that race exhausted but happy. I was 7th in my age group and a good solid middle of the pack over all. It felt fantastic. Until about 2 hours later when I was pretty sure I’d used up all of my energy and would not actually be able to stand up (a quick dip in the lake fixed that.)

Lessons Learned this year….

I am consistent on the bike in a race. Hills, no hills, feeling good or not…. I am consistent. My times from one race to the other for the cycling course were within 1 minute.  This may be an area to focus on.

Swim panic is starting to subside. I am finding techniques to help distract myself from the washing machine effect. From singing “Uptown Funk” in my head to counting to ten forwards and backwards, I am able to stop freaking out a bit in the water, although it still needs some work.

The run really is my favorite part and is likely my strongest leg — this is interesting to me because I love love love love swimming but when it comes to a race, those running legs just get me through (with the exception of this year’s race in Helca where running felt like death but let’s just pretend that didn’t happen.)

Goals for next year….(and perhaps the last 2 running races of the season)

  • get faster (duh)
  • mentally get back in the game.
    • I lost a lot of focus when I got sick. I spent so much time just trying to find, literally, my balance again that I just couldn’t focus on my training as much. My motivation and desire to participate in this crazy sport disappeared for a while.
  • Tune my body back up
    • Stress and illness took a toll on my body. My weight went up, my healthier choices went down and my body showed the effects. It’s time to take the machine back for a tune up
  • Challenge myself more
    • I got myself a fancy new training watch (Garmin 735xt) and I am just loving this thing!! What I don’t love, however, is the reminder that I am not pushing as hard as I could. My last two runs back from the lake have been, what I think of as freakishly fast for me, but only show a “training score” of 3.8. Apparently my watch thinks I have more to give. Part of me thinks that my watch is lying and may actually be out to kill me but the other part of me thinks that maybe that mental aspect is getting the better of me. Am I really capable of more than I think? Is it my  body or mind that quits first??

 

Two running races left this season and it’s time to run this body the way I want to.

 

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