Hey all! I'm getting a quick update out before starting one of the funnest time of year, Team Timex camp! I'll hopefully have some fun camp updates over the weekend. But for now, here's what I've been up to.
Off Season recap, training and Injury free
Snowshoe Women’s Half Marathon National Champion
Puerto Rico 70.3 3rd place
After a VERY busy Iron distance racing season last year, ending with a pretty slow and super tough time at Kona, I took some time off. I got married. I slept a TON. I did plenty of hot yoga and just did ‘normal’ things. Now I (along with most triathletes) have always struggled with off-season, but last fall was a totally different story. For the first time ever I was completely DONE. Mentally and physically, I had nothing left. For the first time ever I didn’t even feel like working out. This lasted for 6 full weeks. It was actually a little concerning to me and I really started to wonder if I had done some serious damage. Turns out it was just after the 6th week of rest that I started to come back around.
In December Mark and I tried a 30 day run challenge to jump start our fitness and get motivated to work out again. Since we were both coming from nothing, we started with 1-2mile runs and built up from there. I didn’t do anything too long or fast that entire month (longest run was 12 miles) and was diligent on maintenance (rolling, icing, stretching, yoga). This really worked for me. I kept it going through January, and even pretty much all of February....I think I’ve only missed 4 days. This is just crazy to me since I have always dealt with little nagging things. Somehow committing to running MORE has actually gotten my body to adapt.
Anyhow, I only rode bike during my coached classes at Speed (1 hr m/w and 1-2hr Fri) and was seeing the power numbers actually come up. I was well rested and not training at a volume that was wearing me down. Consistency without burning the candle too low. We mixed in snowshoe running when we could (with our low snow year) and had fun out on the trails each week marking our Snowshoe Scurry Courses.
We ran our first half marathon snowshoe on Valentines morning to see how it felt....OK for me, maybe not as great for some. Regardless, 2 weeks later we (March, Justin D. and I) headed north to the Snowshoe National Championship in Eau Claire, WI. I was the only one for sure going to race, but by Sunday morning the guys were in! It was a nice day and fast snow conditions (not much of it). Mark and I ended up running a little together (he waited for me) and I ran better than I ever had on snowshoes, finishing the 13.1 miles in 1:46....enough to earn the National Championship title and a sweet chalice! The guys both also finished very well - all happy to come out with no injuries!
After that it was 2 weeks until Puerto Rico, my first tri of the year and in complete opposite conditions to what I’d just raced in. This race was good for many reasons, but the main thing was that there was such a large group from the Madison area. Having support out on the course, and knowing you have a ‘team’ is a great feeling. I was racing hard knowing my athletes and friends were out there doing the same. As for the race itself, I can give a little report!
Swim: Non wetsuit, beautiful! I lined up right next to who I knew to be the fast swimmers and was just going to try and hang on some feet. I’ve worked a lot on race strategy the last few years and I am getting better :) The gun went off and instead of barreling ahead I started steady and moved right behind some feet (either Kelly or Dede’s) as we took off. I knew Sarah Haskins would be way ahead of us all, but I knew being in the first group out of the swim was VERY important for this race. So I hung on and swam a little hard through the first couple turn bouys and was happy to have the pace settle for the long back stretch. I just hung in and conserved to get ready for the bike ride. I was surprised to see that when we came out (group of 5 or so) most of the other girls had lost their timing strap - theses were a new thing, HUGE, and apparently didn’t work well in water (duh)....so hopefully IM didn’t order these for all the races!
Transition: It was a long run to get to our bikes and these girls weren’t messing around! So I ran a bit quicker than I wanted to not loose them...got to T1 and nailed it through there!
Bike: This is a flat ride, but got windy the last 20(ish) miles....windy and my legs died a little, so the wind probably felt worse than it was. Anyhow, I was racing off of feel here and I quite enjoyed it. I rode conservatively the first 10 miles, staying with the group, then one got let off the front and I went after her. Very soon it was all spread out for us and we were on to the VERY congested second loop. There was plenty of AG pack action going on, but I just kept hammering away, thinking (or pretending) that I saw the next girl right up there. I finished the ride really excited to get out for a run, I think coming into transition 4th or 5th off the bike, but with the next 3 girls within minutes of me.
Run: OK. My time goals were out the window as I could tell I was in an oven. This was a survival activity and a run of attrition. I didn’t look at my watch a single time, just listened to breathing and kept my eyes forward and focused on getting to the next ‘pick-up’ (aid stations, friends, music). Overall it went pretty well and I happily ended up coming across the line in 3rd with the 2nd fastest run behind Sarah Haskins.
After the race I was surprised to hear of of the events during the race, but am very thankful everyone is ok!
Thanks for reading and happy training!