Yesterday I completed by ninth 70.3 triathlon. It is by far one of my favorite distances to race and train for. The training doesn't completely suck up your entire life, but it is challenging and really tests endurance and will. This year I took my friend Carole's advice and joined Wheelworks Multisport team. I've also been training with Squanacook River Runners and Masters in Groton. I've realized that one of the reasons that I fell out of love with triathlon was that I was lacking community. When I'm racing and training with friends or simple teammates I feel a sense of belonging that I have never felt in any other group. Triathlon is a solo sport and can get very very lonely if all of your training is done alone. Long bike rides and cold winter runs are far more enjoyable when you've got a gaggle of fellow crazies with you. In addition to my local teams I have the honor of being a member of Trisports.com Ambassador team again this year and am being coached by Endurance Nation. Both of these teams add virtual support.
I stayed over night this year about 20 min from the race with Mare and Petra. This was so fantastic as it allowed me to register on Friday and get up at 4:30 versus leave at 4:30. An extra 45 minutes of sleep is key the night before a race. I was feeling pretty excited and ready for the race a week prior. I was not at all nervous until the morning of the race. I knew that I could finish, it was just a matter of how fast. And, like I've been saying, I found the love again. The day was about pushing myself to my limits (and a bit beyond), but also taking it all in, being thankful that I could do this sport, and thankful for my community; triathlon and non.
The pre-race nerves hit me as soon as my feet hit the ground. But my years of racing experience with new found wisdom allowed me to stay grounded and really enjoy the moment with my new found teammates. We arrived separately at the race and began our race prep. My head was in the game and a huge smile crept over my face. I was thinking about all the cold dark mornings over the winter and into the spring. It was raining, but I was SO happy to be racing! As soon as I walked into registration I saw a familiar face. This happened over and over again that day. It occurred to me how many people I know in the NE triathlon community. It had been two years since I'd done a race in MA and it felt like a coming home. I've simplified my transition and prep so was ready to go after about 15 minutes. Now to stuff some food into my nervous belly.
Before I knew it it was time to race. We all lined up in a big mass in front of Long Pond. With a big bang we were all off two by two into the water. Some for a prize. Some to prove a point. Some for fun. Some because that's just what you do on a weekend day in the summer. Me? Because I love it. I love waking up stupid o clock in January to schelp into a cold dark pool, hop on a trainer, or throw myself into the cold dark morning. I love how amazing and proud I feel after those workouts. I love the look on my coworkers faces when I tell them that I've run 13 miles before work or 3 killer miles before a big ass snow storm. I love finding just a little more of me to give. I love finding my zen in the middle of a long run or ride.
The water was a bit choppy from the beginning, but I quickly fell into a rhythm. Unfortunately I was at the back of the pack and had to fight my way thru a lot of swimmers. I was pretty pleased with my swim, but still can't break 40 minutes in a 1.2 mile swim. I swam until my belly scapped the bottom, hopped up and ran the wetsuit strippers. BEST THING EVER.
9/11/17 THIS WAS THE LAST LINE I entered a few months ago. What can I say; it was a busy summer. I trained for Cranberry Sprint and Oly. Raced. Kicked some decent ass. Had fun and smiled.
I did not PR in 2017. What I did do was continue having fun racing and training. Which is why us mere mortals do it. I don't get paid to get up at 4 am on a work day to run 2 hours before I walk the dog and work. I do it because of what I get out of it.
I improved my run and swim. I am stronger on both. I got into zones on all my race swims and runs this season. I did have a decently fast 5k during Cranberry Sprint. I ran ran continuously during Patriot. Something I've not ever done during a half. I was steady and strong. Two weeks ago I was feeling strong and at a good place to put a tack in the season.
And then I got sick. I've been unable to work out for about 10 days. I made the hard decision to drop out of the 13.1 I signed up for. I've missed two long runs and feel very deconditioned from being sick. It's insane how quickly it happens. I maybe able to pull it off but at what expense. I'm doing a 140.6 next year and I need to enter 2018 in a good place. I've learned over the years whe to say when. A quitter I am not. A smart athlete I am.
Here's to a great 2017 season and an even better 2018. Every day that I get to train and race is the BEST DAY EVER.