Thursday, June 08, 2017

2017 Begins for Real

Tomorrow I'm off to Lake Placid for triathlon training camp.  In a radical departure from previous years I've actually been following a real triathlon training program. *GASP* None of the typical Polly training weeks of 200 miles on the bike, 6 miles of running, and 2,000 yards of swimming. That plan works okay when I'm the big fish in the little pond and destroy my competition on the bike.  That doesn't work so well when trying to qualify for for age group worlds at National Age Group Championships, where women my age can ride as fast as me if not faster, and just kick my ass on the run. Also given that I entered my first 70.3, I figured I really needed to have my act together if I was going to run 13.1 miles after my usual aquabike distances of 1.2 mile swim and 56 mile bike.

Along with many of my triathlon club teammates, I've been following a 1/2 iron plan put together by our coach, Ray Kelly.  I spent a lot of time this winter doing bike workouts on the trainer, instead of doing junk miles outside in the cold.  I started taking swim classes 3 days a week.  I also have been actually doing the run workouts instead of blowing them off for a bike ride. Winter was great! I felt fabulous and had avoided getting the various colds and flu bugs that were going around.  I was really pumped about going to St. Anthony's Triathlon, and seeing how much improvement there would be over last year's race.  I figured after my Seattle mishap last year, this race would be a big improvement.

BUT....I managed to find a new way of screwing up my grand plan.  First, I had the wrong date on my calendar and booked my flight and hotel based on that information.  It wasn't until a read a post of Facebook that I realized the race was actually a week later.  I had to change the flights which cost me extra money. Thankfully I had not done an advance purchase on the hotel, so that was easy to fix. I canceled the one reservation, and simply made a new one. At least all of this I discovered and fixed before arriving in St. Petersburg for a race that was a week later.

No problem, EXCEPT I managed to find a new way of getting injured.  I broke two ribs trying to crawl part way out of the pool to reach my water bottle on the pool deck.  I way I reached up I managed to slam my ribs into the edge of the pool.  Damn that hurt! I really didn't think I had broken anything.  I just figured I bruised them.  I continued with my swim workout.  In fact over the weekend I biked and ran.  It wasn't until the following week when everything still hurt that I figured I better get them x-rayed. Yes I managed to break the number 8 & 9 ribs on the right side.

After a lot hemming and hawing, crying and having a melt down, I opted to defer my entry to 2018.  I decided the risk of getting kicked in the rubs during the swim and incurring more damage was not worth it.  I decided I need to be an adult about this, and look at the big picture of my 2017 season.  I have multi-sport world championships in Penticton, BC where I'll be competing in aquabike (3K swim, 120K bike). BTW I was a little shocked by the distances, but more on that in a later post.  In September I have Lake Placid Ironman 70.3. I November I go back to Miami Man for National Aquabike Championships. Needless to say, doing an Olympic distance in April with 2 broken ribs just didn't seem to be worth the risk.

I went to Florida anyway since the plane tickets were paid for.  I hung out with friends who were racing. I also volunteered for the Meek & Mighty race on Saturday and the main race on Sunday.  I had a blast!  It was nice to be able to give a little back to the sport.  I know as an athlete these races don't happen without volunteers, so it was nice to return the favor.  The Meek & Mighty was interesting to watch.  You had these kids with custom skin suits, shoes clipped on the pedals and seriously expensive bikes and the intense parents.  Then you had the kids on their basic kids' bikes with baskets on the front, knobby tires, and high handlebars.  The most endearing picture was this little girl with training wheels.

She toughed it out on the bike, and I ended out running with her to the finish.  She kept asking me where the finish line was? I didn't really know myself. I just was following the arrows and telling her not too long to go.  Her division had a 1/2 mile run at the end.  I was glad I was able to help her since she seemed a little lost at times.  Her family was waiting for her at the finish line and was appreciative for my help.  It was a joy to see some innocence.  Such a contrast to the ultra-serious kids with all the fancy equipment.

The next day I had an interesting assignment which gave me a front row view to the finish line.  It was rather cool to be able to snap these photos of the men's and women's winners.

It's not too often that one gets this type of view of the finish.  After I was done with my job I was able to go find my friends and watch them finish.  It wasn't such a bad way to spend a weekend.  I got to enjoy the race festivities without all the stress of racing.  I also got to enjoy some culture and finally make it to the Museum of Fine Arts and the Dali Museum.  These are places I just never get to when I'm stressing over my race.

So the ribs healed very quickly.  I got prayed for at church and, I really believe that God did a quick healing because the pain went away after just about 3 weeks.  It usually takes about 6 weeks. I remember when I broke ribs in 2006, I was still feeling them 2 months later.

I got over that bump in the road only to have some kid cough in my face at my last tournament job of the chess season.  I get through the entire winter flu season unscathed, and then BAM! Nasty bug.  I was out sick for 3 days and was just a zombie for over a week.  That totally messed up my training.  It was getting frustrating since I felt like I was doing everything right in terms of training, sleeping and eating.

However I'm back and I'm looking forward to camp this weekend. I'm a little nervous because there's rain in the forecast so the biking could be a little hairy.  I also am running my first 1/2 marathon on Sunday in many, many years.  My training isn't exactly where I wanted it to be.  My longest run has been 10.5 miles.  I was hoping to have been up to 12 miles by now but ribs and colds kind of messed up my run schedule.  We'll see what happens.  This race is really just a training run as I prepare for September.  I plan to run/walk my way through it. 

Stay tuned....

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