Training and racing is equally, if not more, mental than physical. If you think you can, you're right. If you think you can't, you're right. If you don't go into a race thinking you are 100% prepared you will be plagued by self doubt.
It has been a tough week or so for me, having trouble staying positive with the training load and sickness. The wind has been my enemy. The pros and top age groupers swimming and running circles around me has been beating down my confidence. Stuff that doesn't normally bother me at all has been getting me down. I just haven't been myself at all. Today I woke up finally feeling like a normal person again. My nose wasn't running, my coughing was better, and I felt good. On the schedule was a long workout by myself. 4 hours on the bike with 2 x 30 minutes zone 3 intervals and a 40 minute transition run with pickup to race pace. We all left together this morning, but everyone else had a 3 hour ride with 3 x (40 min Z2 + 20 min Z3). I am the only one left at camp that has not begun to taper for an event (large contingent of Oceanside and IMAZ racers here).
About 10 minutes into the workout I realized I was going to lose the group sooner than I had planned. I had to pee SO BAD. The 2 cups of coffee I had before I left wanted out in double time. There aren't exactly an abundance of McDonald's around in middle of nowhere New Mexico, so I was on the lookout for an impromptu little girl's room. Complicating things was the fact that I wore my one piece trisuit under my jersey (zipped up the back). It was seriously ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT for the first 35 minutes of the ride when I finally found a group of pine trees next to someone's house and did the discreet trisuit removal dance. I have this little fear that there are now pictures of my big white ass circulating around the net, but that pit stop made me feel SO much better. The only downside was that now I was riding the next 3.5 hours on my lonesome. Not a biggie. The forecast was for light winds (<5mph) and I knew the route. When I turned onto the main highway for the ride was hit with an unexpected gust of wind. Damn. I should have known better. There is no such think as light wind in New Mexico. Oh well, just go at your own pace and cruise. I was actually enjoying myself in my little chain ring just spinning it out when all of a sudden- thump, thump, thump
Flat #3 of camp.
When I pulled over I saw the familiar site of 2 very sharp thorns stuck directly into my rear tire. Well, at least I found the source. I sat down and very carefully fixed the flat. I usually wouldn't take so much time to do this simple task, but I only had enough CO2 for 1 tube and no hand pump, so I couldn't afford to screw anything up. Plus, I wasn't in a huge hurry. I thought of asking the family who was politely staring at me as I was fixing the flat if they happened to have a pump, but they were spanish speaking and my spanish blows. So I patched things up and headed out. 3 hours left. I underpumped my rear tire in hope to save enough CO2 for another fix. Nothing like a little extra resistance training. You can call me totally lame, but for the rest of the workout I had this song in my head:
20 minutes later I ran into Sergio, Danny and Jonathan and asked if any of them had a hand pump I could borrow. Sergio nicely pumped my tire up an extra bit and gave me the pump. With that in hand I could breathe a sigh of relief and start my intervals. The first one was really tough. The wind was at least 15mph at direct headwind and my zone 3 interval was so slow. But the awesome thing about this ride is that headwind on the way out is a blessing. You know you will have a fun return trip. I took it out an extra 10 minutes and turned around at 2:10 with an average speed of 16.6 mph.
But then the turnaround
Ah, I love a tailwind
By the time I was done with my second interval my average speed had gone from 16.6 to 18.5. I was really enjoying myself. There is no better feeling than riding fast tucked in the aerobars in the desert. Awesomness.
I rolled into town at around 78 miles with an average speed of 19mph feeling really good. Just had to throw on the shoes and head out for my transition run.
That's when the wheels fell off.
I headed out into the trails in my normal loop. I wasn't really thinking anything of the fact that the normal loop starts with a first mile with a ton of very steep climbing. I can barely climb the hills when I'm fresh. After a 4 hour ride I just couldn't push the hills. At 3 times in the first mile I was reduced to walking. I considered just turning around and bagging the run, but then I began to think to myself...
After the bike at the Kinetic half are you going to just call it a day and walk to the car?
At the DeSoto Triple T when you roll into T2 for the 4th time in 3 days are you just going to say- that's good enough. Sounds like my day is done.
Did you put in hundreds of hours on the trainer to DNF? What about all those treadmill runs?
And then I hit my stride. 11 minute miles turned into 8 minute miles and I hit race pace for the rest of the run. After I got home it took about 10 minute for me to breathe normally again.
That's what it's all about
Well, and also a nice swim and a meal of QUIZNOS!
And now for some chill out music:
A Few Good Swims
2 hours ago