Here is the journey of my last week....
Thursday- The beginning of self-doubt
I do not know what I did this day all I remember is that this is the day I think I started to wonder if I could really do a 70.3. I remember dwelling on the fact that between work and illness, I have missed three long runs and 3 long rides since I started training. With that many miles missing from my base, I am just not sure I have the training to back my goal. In retrospect I now realized that although I had missed these workouts, I had hit both the longest workouts of the training schedule to this point- a 14 mile run and a 60 mile ride. I may have missed a 35 miler, but it did not dawn on me that I had accomplished much bigger rides.
Friday- Moving further down the spiral
Friday I was off work and planned to make up a long ride, plus do my scheduled swim. I also had yard work that needed to be done. Well, more garden work and landscaping, less yard work. I flip flopped between what order to do them in, I even tweeted for advice. thank you Jon for the advice of "swim, bike, yard work, beer, pie". That did sound fun. One of the biggest worries on my mind was the fear of the open water swim. This would be my first open water swim and my longest race swim to date. Not sure I liked the combo. What if I get tired, or a cramp, or forget to HTFU?
Before I could decide I found out my in-laws were going to visit their great aunt who lives on a lake in a private neighborhood. I decided this was my perfect chance to go swim and then I would just bike home (30-50 miles depending on my route.) Perfect timing. Cb was going to go shopping with her family after we went to her aunt's so we waited all day for them to be ready.
At 5pm they were finally ready, at this point I did not think there was enough daylight left for a safe ride home so we told them never mind and started the grill for dinner.
Saturday- Cycling up and then crashing even lower.
Overnight we concreted plan to go to Cb's aunt's house. The house is located in a private neighborhood on a cove 100-400m across (depending on the angle) and 150m from the end. Due to its location directly across from the yacht club, it is in a no-wake zone and seems to me like a good place to swim. We got out there and I swam two out and backs totaling 415m. It took 17 minutes. Why? I haven't the slightest clue. I was having the hardest time keeping my form together and I could not breathe! I got done. Despite the challenges i was not upset. I was looking forward to my bike ride.
I set out and was happy as a clam. I was averaging 20 mph for 45 minutes of the first hour and wasn't even trying. Then it happened. Have you ever been driving and the map and the road signs didn't agree? I mapped the route out before I left and it was a straight shot. At 15 miles a sign had the highway number and left arrow. I noticed it and quickly crossed three lanes and made the turn, despite my mapping showing no turns. I followed the road and got to a location I recognized, I knew this was not the right way. I turned around and climbed back up the hill thinking I must have misread the sign. I got back and it said exactly what I thought it said. I explored past it just to see if the road would continue to have the sign for the road I meant to be on. It didn't. I doubled back and took the turn.
It dumped me out into a 4/5 lane road that happens to be the busiest road in Mooreseville, NC on a normal day, let alone a day with two different festivals going on. I got to the three way intersection and there were no signs about which way to go to stay on or get to the road I was looking for. I knew if the road is there it would be east, so I went east. After a little bit I decided this traffic was too sketchy to be out exploring in. I pulled over and got my phone out to use the GPS. Blackberry maps would find the location and every time I would scroll in the direction I was heading the screen would go blank. I got fed up with the GPS and did not want to explore any further on the road. I called CB who happened to be 10 miles away, heading towards me and had her take a detour to come pick me up. ride failed.
On the way home I asked her to let me explore, and in fact the next major intersection was the road i was looking for. I thought about just getting back out but that would be messed up since she came to get me. We followed my planned route home, but not before I took her and her sister out for Mexican, I went to the store and got oreos, and rented a season of lost and a season of house. I sulked the rest of the day laying in my chair binging on oreos.
Sunday- Not as low, but not as high either
After i went to church that morning we were celebrating my Grandmother-In-Laws birthday at a local seafood restaurant (I refer to this particular restaurant as hillbilly heaven). I decided to help ease my frustrations i needed a non-training ride. I rode my bike to lunch and back. When I got home i decided to sit down and take a minutes before i would go to the pool. 5 hours later the pool had closed and i had not been able to talk myself into it.
I spent the day very busy at work, however at sometime one thought came to my mind- If not now when? i realized I would probably always feel under-trained and nervous. suck it up and do it. i went for a long swim after work and was going to time it to guage what my time should be. I felt good about my swim, I was not putting in a tempo effort but felt i was moving smoothly. I however was feeling bad as the three other lap swimmer were flying past me. I worked hard not to get lapped by the guy next to me. When I got done I stood up at the end of the lane and had a breather before I got out (by the way when i stood up out of the water, it was the first time i have ever remembered felling WARM after a swim). When I stopped the guy next to me stopped and as soon as he broke the surface of the water he looked at me and said, "you must be a triathlete are you racing White Lake this weekend?". He then proceeded to tell me that last July he did his first race on his 50th birthday and between then and the end of October he race 1 sprint, 1 Oly, and 1 HIM. He told me he hates the bike, doesn't hate running but doesn't like it, but he loves the swim. He then gave me a long list of open water swim tips (without asking). This seemed like fate.
So I have decided to go for it. Now, a few of my travel plans have changed and I must re-budget. Now it turns out that with my purchases on the way home Saturday and for my yard on Friday that I could not afford travel. I could probably swing it, but would not have the money for my sprint the following weekend. I spent the afternoon scrambling trying to call friends to crash with and do the like. Nothing worked out. CB volunteered to drive and make it a 1 day trip but i didn't think leaving at 1am for he race would be a good idea.
Wednesday- Depression, Anger, and Bargaining
The close of registration was at 7:00 am with 129 spots left. One of those should have been mine. Although feeling like going back to bed I got up and went to the pool. The plan called for a 1000m tempo. I decided since I wasn't doing the race i would prep for my sprint and do 50's instead. After 250m I still hadn't found my rhythm and decided to give up. Sometimes I find swimming very relaxing however it is not something I am in love with. It is one area that i can easily quit if I am not feeling it, so I did. When i got out the life guard talked to me for a while. She said that she thought i had good form but needed to work on my inconsistent kick coming from the knees and said i would be waster if I learned flip turns (clearly this won't matter in open water). She explained to me that she feels about running the way I do with swimming.
Afterwards I planned to go for a 4 mile run and I was too angry to go. I was angry because I felt like I just wasted 20 weeks of training. Countless hours on like rides and runs. I was also angry because of three longer distance events I have planned two have now been crapped out because not being able to afford them, plus my February marathon being called off for injury purposes when my knee started hurting on my 20 miler. It made it worse that I chose this race in part because it was the cheapest 70.3 i was going to be able to find. As a non-multisport point of aggravation I have shared before.
The other reason I chose this race was because it was a regional qualifier for the USAT long course championships and therefore 33% of every division gets to go. Even better, the championship race is just 4 hours away from me. I did my recent search and my 1.2 mile swim time, in a pool without a wetsuit, is neck and neck with last year's winner of the division i was going to race in. My run time of my last half mary was faster than the run leg of anyone in my division last year and i run faster now than I did then, in fact my last 14 mile LSD was only slightly slower than the winners pace. My average bike speed is slower, however my estimated total time per my coach was 15 minutes faster than the total time from the division winner last year. i felt confident I would be in that top 33% and therefore go to Halfmax. How cool would that be? Later this evening I started the bargaining process. I looked at the time requirements and realized that if i did a non-regional qualifier I would never make the time of 5:05 for my first 70.3. I then began looking at regional qualifiers. Sadly, there were several regional races that were within travel distance but they are the same day as this race. I realized my best chance is the special qualifier at REDMAN in Oklahoma. It takes the top 45% of each age group and is a mere 12 hour drive away. This will probably only happen if I get a raise and can do some serious saving, fundraisers, or get sponsorship to pay for it. All not very likely.
I emailed my coach and let him know that I would not be racing. That stung a little as this distance is one of my goals for the year. He emailed me back his condolences but made the great point that although, not ideal as I could have spent more time focusing on short distance speed, however the long workouts were great base training for the rest of my year.
Now that I have accepted this set back, I am locked my sights on my sprint next weekend. I am going to put in some extra workouts this weekend just for fun. In the pool I will focus on my kick and intervals, on the bike I will work on speed, climbing, and getting even more intimate with the course, and on the run I am going to repeat the 1/2 mile hill that you must run twice during the course a couple of dozen times.
On the morning of 05/14/11 my race plan will be to prepare and serve a heaping portion of pain to anyone in my AG and for desert pain cupcakes. And anyone who I can't serve pain, the finish line and awards are a 1/2 mile away from transition, while they are getting their plaques and medals I will be slashing their tires and peeing on their handlebars.
Enough with weak emotions time to HTFU and GO TO WAR!