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Patience Young Grasshopper

Quick weekend visit to one of the Triathlon Meccas - Boulder, CO

View on my long run in Boulder, CO! Quick weekend trip to visit a Triathlon Mecca.

After being injured over the summer, the hunger for a carefree run was real.  I was thrilled at the prospect of having training plans, and… oh my! a schedule, again!! My legs (and feet) were giddy with excitement!! All I could focus on, was getting back at it, right that second. “Put me in coach, put me in!” was all that was echoing in my head. “When do we start? Tomorrow? Today?? Right now?!?!?!?”  and all I wanted to do right at that moment was a 6 mile sprint, balls-to-the-wall, see-what-you-got kind of effort. (Thank goodness my reliable team comprised of calm and logic held me back from a potentially fatal move.)

The point was, it had been SO LONG (in my mind) since I had done anything “quality.” Which, in the logic of a triathlete, means one of the following:

  1. A swimming session where you finish with a bright red face. AND/OR
  2. A biking session where you’re legs scream in agony, you rest for a minute, and repeat for the duration of the ride. AND/OR
  3. A tempo and/or track and/or hill session.
  4. Tackling a footlong Subway sub in under 3:00 (very proud of this record).
3rd Place and my best Draft-legal finish!

3rd Place and my best Draft-legal finish!

I got my schedule via email, and opened the excel attachment with euphoria.  Trumpets were sounding in my head.. this is it… FINALLY.  And what I heard while reading was more like a kazoo. No tempo runs. No track workouts. No hills (or footlong sub eating competitions). For. Three. Months.

I spent all of November, all of December, and most of January “building base.” And, this week, with just as much fanfare (in my head of course), I completed my FIRST track workout since April 2015.

I recently came across some pictures from a few of my first triathlons. I got this feeling inside, itching to get back out in a lake, river, ocean, and get back to racing triathlons.

Stoked to partner with Aquaman for 2016!

Stoked to partner with Aquaman for 2016!

(Another instance where it’s nice to have some sane people around you to remind you that yes, the lakes are frozen in January in Michigan, and no, as good as your Aquaman wetsuit is, it will indeed not keep you warm enough).

As much as I wanted to get on the track on that very first day of November because I finally had pain free running, I did not. And as much as I want to dive right into competition because I had my first successful track workout, I remember that time is good, and “simmering” just makes things sweeter.  The beautiful things about honest winter training are not captured by race-day professional photographers. The beautiful things about honest winter training are much more subtle. Coffee on the couch after crushing a saturday morning long run. Long rides indoors with buds, catching up on the latest gossip or TV shows. Knowing that this session, plus the next, combined with that long run last weekend, and everything in between will get you to that triathlon, marathon, ironman, open water swim finish line this summer.

So on that note, for now, we simmer!

Winter long runs, and Dirt Roads.

Long Run Bliss and Dirt Roads.

Let’s go out and Tri

Well, as my Belgian compatriot Claire Michel recently told me, there’s no time like the present to dive right in. This past week I competed in the Aquathlon World Championships at the World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Chicago, IL. I did not literally dive in, as it was an in water start, but nevertheless experienced my first taste of world class level, elite triathlon competition.

Baby powder prep for running shoes. Feet smell fresh and shoes come on quickly!

Setting up transition for an aquathlon is easy!  All you need is your running shoes.

Before proceeding I should explain that an aquathlon is not the same thing as a triathlon.  I am not sure any one truly knows the correct pronunciation, so if you sneeze and add an “lon” to the end, you’ll probably be fairly close.  The aquathlon consisted of a 750m swim followed by a 5K run.  I had a blast.  In short, I had a great first 100 meter start, struggled to hold on halfway, and finished the swim strong.  My run was lopsided, but I managed to finish 12th, not reinjure my foot, and smile at my devoted fan club (thanks mom, Frederic, and Carl), making the race a total success in my eyes.

Strong finish down the chute!

Strong finish down the chute!

A bigger point I wanted to make in this post, besides giggling like a little girl everytime I try and pronounce aquathlon, was to explain a theory that I am actively applying in this triathlon journey.  Not being afraid to fail.  In high school, I was determined to go to the senior homecoming with a date.  I asked 4 guys.  Embarrassing?  Maybe…  But I tell this story because rejection makes you more resilient. (also *most* of them already had dates I promise…)

I’m not sure how fast I can be, and how high my ceiling is, but I will allow myself the opportunity to find out. I will try and not make excuses for poor performances, but rather go back to the drawing board and be better. I’m delighted that my foot has healed and a 6 month injury is now in the past. I do wish I were more prepared for the upcoming races in Mexico and Puerto Rico, but I keep the bigger picture in mind.  For me, the upcoming competitions offer an opportunity to gain experience and learn now, what needs to be tweaked before the triathlon season takes it’s annual winter hiatus.  I will consider it a success if I finish the season with a healthy foot and ready to train hard again.