Well the last 18 weeks have flown by. Come this Sunday I’ll be racing the Paradise Coast International Triathlon. I have to admit I’m more nervous than I would like to be coming into this race. The past few weeks my training has been significantly more sporadic than I would like. But when I signed up for this race months ago it was with two goals in mind.
1. Get to the start line uninjured.
I’m pretty sure that I’ve accomplished this one. Unless something drastic happens between now and Sunday. My knee hasn’t been overly happy with my long runs lately but it feels nothing like it did training for my last Olympic. So, I will place myself in the uninjured category.
2. Finish the race.
Since I first decided to take on the Olympic distance, I’ve always had a goal of one day racing in 3 hours or less. I know that it’s attainable and I probably could have reached that goal with this race. However because goal number 1 was more important than the 3 hour mark I decided it was better to get back into the swing of training and increasing volume than it was to push my body to the limits on a freshly rehabbed knee. Yes, I am overly analytical and therefore overly cautious.
Admittedly there was a point around weeks 6 to 8 in my training that I felt absolutely great and was ready to take on that 3 hour mark. I will also admit that around weeks 12 and 13 I spent many days in a hearing or at the office early in the morning and late at night. I knew that would be my schedule at the time since hearings are set so far in advance. So I did what any type A triathlete does, I reworked the training plan and completed as many sessions as I could. I didn’t see a slip in any of my progress but I didn’t see gains either, I just maintained. Given that I was already faster on the bike, breaking a long existing swimming plateau, and running 5 miles without pain I didn’t stress.
Then my entire office came down with the plague and passed it to me.
I loathe being sick. With this nastiness I went down for the count hard and fast both times. I didn’t train much, I thought the best thing for me would be to rest. So weeks 14 and 15 were basically a bust.
At the start of week 16 I went back to it. Biking and swimming were fine, I was still maintaining. But running, Ugh! I felt like I had been hit by a bus. My legs wouldn’t turn over, my lungs were wheezing, my previous 5 mile jaunt turned into 3, and my average pace went through the floor.
Insert crying and wailing here.
At this point my dreams started to turn to fears. My thoughts turned to, what if it’s not just being sick that’s taking a toll, what if it’s a sign something is wrong? I have to run 6 miles in two weeks! WTF?!?! Thankfully for my husband’s sanity there was no crying by the time I got back to the house but there were more than a few moments of sadness, dwelling, and frustration during the next few training sessions. It wasn’t until this past week that I felt back to normal but I only logged 4 miles.
So, what am I doing to prepare for race day?
Positive thinking. I know it sounds bizarre but it has gotten me through every race day. Even injured a few years ago, I surprised myself during the race by keeping the negative at bay and covering more miles running than I thought I could. I am reminding myself that I signed up for this race to finish injury free and even with the lemons, that goal is attainable. And of course, I went to see Coach Pat. She might not be our Coach anymore but I find that just spending time with her makes me feel better. We didn’t even talk about the race this week when we had lunch but immediately I felt lighter.
Planning. I know I can definitely cover 4 to 5 miles and the adrenaline of the race will carry me after that. What I don’t know about is my knee and my mental state. I haven’t been in pain during any of my runs but there has been more soreness which of course keeps those fears around. So, my plan is run/jog the race with my mental focus being on breathing rather than 100% focused on form. I will check in every mile when the Garmin beeps buts that’s it. I’m hoping with the positive thinking and focusing on breathe I’ll keep the fear at bay.
Distraction. This will be my first race with no Sistas on the course with me and no cheering squad on the sidelines. The perfect storm of life has created a situation where my husband will be in Denver, my parents in Orlando, and my training partners at another race course in town. I’ve been trying to get right with this for about a month now and I still don’t really have a plan. I know the positive effect seeing my sistas on the course has. The mental negatively leaves and there is an immediate boost in my pedal/stride. Same thing when I hear “Pick it up Mayfield” from the cheering squad. So, I’m trying to come up with something I can control myself. Why aren’t headphones allowed during the run?!?! Any tips from my loyal readers would be greatly appreciated!