Or, "The One in Which I Quit Triathlon and then Jumped into a Race 2 Weeks Later"
It wasn't a good off season. Not by a long shot. My motivation to train was a roller coaster of ups and downs (my last post was clearly an "up" day). I'm not sure if this was because of the time constraints of trying to fit training in alongside a new full-time physical job, the timing of group training rarely working with said schedule, or perhaps that when I was sick in the fall and couldn't train I discovered this really neat thing called spare time, and kind of liked it. Honestly probably a combination of all of these. Anyway, the end result was that triathlon training had essentially "lost its magic".
Finally, after a lot of thought and just over a week before my season-opening race, I finally made the decision to quit. I had barely done any swimming or biking for about a month or two at that point, and I really just wanted to run. It seemed so easy. And maybe if this hadn't happened a week before the season started things would be different.
Although I'd pulled out of Woodstock I still went to cheer on Billy and the rest of the LPCer's and MSC Ambassador members I'd become so friendly with. I did really like being able to watch everyone and encourage them throughout the course, but I left the day feeling like something was missing. And then I took an off day from running a couple days later to give my legs a break, and jumped on the bike instead - and really liked it. Maybe I'd made the wrong decision after all.
So, that brings me to this weekend at Guelph Lake:
SAT: Oly relay (run segment)
Since I've been running 5-6 times a week (although mostly easy) I happily jumped into the run segment of a relay. It helped that the relay consisted of Dave Hopton, Jack Laundry and myself. Between the two of these crazy fast guys, I'd secured myself a huge lead before even starting my portion.
It was HOT. It must have been 30 degrees before taking humidity into account. I paced it relatively slowly but it still felt incredibly difficult. Not too many people passed me though, and I brought the team in at 4th fastest time overall (including individuals) and first relay team. I crossed the line tired but happy to be back into things, and immediately considered signing up for the sprint tri the following day. And then, immediately after that thought, I had to get out of the heat. The process of trying to cool off in a daze went from drinking water, to dunking water over my head, to finding shade, to the tent with fans blowing mist, and ultimately back into the lake before I could cool down and think clearly again. (With my poor sister trying to help me through the process.) And after that I was still set on doing the sprint the next day.
SUN: Sprint tri
I really didn't have time to be nervous before the race. Myself and a group of LPCer's had camped the night before on site so I slept in as long as I could before gathering my stuff and walking over to registration. And there was a HUGE line to register (nice to have all the added participation though!). By the time I got through that and put my bike into transition it was time to start warming up. So I hadn't really had time to really think about the impending race and my swim/bike fitness.
Swim - It went about how I expected it would. I ran into the water with Wave 1, found some feet and hung on for dear life. I found feet, lost feet, back and forth throughout the course but never really got too tired and it didn't feel that long. I had no idea what my place was getting back onto beloved dry land but placing wasn't a priority for this race.
Bike - Despite how hard uphills are on very minimal training, the rest of the course felt great and I managed to average over 30 kph! It is a very familiar course and it felt wonderful getting back out on my beloved TT bike and the new race disc. I was happy with how few people passed me on the course, and again wasn't really looking at how many were ahead. It was nice to see teammates Nina and Nadine not too far back though, having started 3 mins after me, and looking strong.
Run - As with Saturday, I was happy with my speed/pacing but it was a painful race in the heat. It was shorter but it was the day after doing 10k and this time after a swim and bike - so overall I think it went really well all factors considered. I lost in a sprint finish, but it was to Nadine who'd had one of her best runs yet so I couldn't be disappointed with that.
I ended up with a time that wasn't too far off what I'd been doing in previous seasons, and 12th woman overall, which was more than I would have hoped for going in. It felt so good being back in the swing of things.
So, I normally finish off with what's next. This time I'm not entirely sure. The only things that are certain are that I plan to do more tri's this summer, but going forward maintain a strong run focus in my training with my eventual goal to break 18:00 in 5k. Goals for tri's will come, but I'm not going to force them. It's got to stay fun, because if it's not, then what's the point?
Thanks for reading this slightly different-than-normal post. I hope to keep up with more as I go through this season and into some potential big plans for 2017. And thanks to everyone close to me who's had to deal with this emotional wreck of an athlete for the last few months, believe me I've been as confused about what I want as you!