Sunday, July 5, 2015

Lovelend L2L

Was the vial half full or half empty?  Well, in my case it was more than half, it was full to the top, full of my blood that the doctors took last Wednesday in hopes of figuring out why I was struggling in all my running workouts.  Despite a great start to the summer, my legs had stalled, and I was not progressing.  My interval times were slower than in years past, recovery runs felt like tempos, and a long run was more like a crawl.  With this said, my swimming was going well, and my biking was about average.  So, I looked to the doctors in hopes of discovering some imbalance or something that they could give me to magically bring back a spark in my running.  Sadly, the doctor informed me that I was the picture of perfect health and perhaps I just needed more rest.

So, whether the vial is half empty or half full is a question of views based on one being optimistic or pessimistic.  I like to think of myself as an optimist who keeps reality close by.  Realistically, I knew I could finish the Loveland Lake 2 Lake Triathlon, optimistically I thought I could be top 3 of the elites and pessimistically, I thought I might drown or wreck my bike coming down Horsetooth.

As I exited the water after what had felt like a smooth swim, I knew I was behind.  Throughout the swim I felt sluggish and figured I should stay smooth and relaxed, knowing there would be a lot of time to play catch up on this difficult bike course.  I did not count on giving the top competition a 10 minute head start.  Somehow I managed my worst Olympic distance swim since my first ever race.  Once I realized this fact, I was immediately shocked as swimming had been the one ray of light in my training.  Choosing to not abandon my optimistic views, I knew I had to stay composed and simply bike my legs into a new pain threshold and then hope to run the fastest split of the day, and I might be back in contention.

Throughout the bike segment, I felt uncomfortable but yet strong.  I simply kept pushing a bigger ring and stayed aggressive on the down hills while dancing on my pedals on every uphill.  This was risky knowing that this could cost me my run as it did in Mexico, but I had little choice if I wanted a chance for redemption.  When I finally made it back to transition, I had clocked my fastest bike split on this course by over 2 and a half minutes.  That dug into my deficit a little, but there was still ground that needed making up.         

It was time to run and to run fast.  I took the extra 15 seconds to put socks on which I normally forgo, but with the heat and sweat I knew if I was really going to roll, I would not want the pain and blood of blisters plaguing me later.  The run course was an out and back which gave me the opportunity to see my competition face to face.  With three miles to go I knew I was too far out of it for a top 3 but continued to push and fought my way back to the 6th place of Elite.  In doing so, I had clocked the fastest 10K of the day by anyone and had run my personal best there, as well as also biking my personal best.

After the race I kept wondering how did I bike and run so well when the workouts hadn't reflected me being anywhere near ready to lay down such a fast time?  I came to the same conclusion I tell my athletes all the time.  "If the effort is there in workouts, and you believe you can run fast on race day, anything is possible."

I was extremely blessed to have my mom there to cheer me on.  A little encouragement goes a long ways.