Keeping it real

April 27, 2013

If there was one thing I have vowed to keep this season… it’s the fun. Sure I am a competitive girl…. but I am also an accomplished girl. I have good things on my race resume and I have been fortunate to be able to meet people all over the world. This sport has been incredibly…. incredibly good to me through the 17 years I have been in it. I can’t believe I have been able to do this for 17 years!

I got pretty sick the past few weeks. After a winter of very solid health I totally fell apart. It was my own fault. During school break I took on too many cycling classes in terms of subbing, and when I take on too much, one thing leads to another and I found myself on that slippery slope. I haven’t been there in a long time. When I was 30 I could get away with that kind of reckless training. But at 39 I really can’t.

My passion is teaching though, and I can’t turn down an opportunity to ride with the amazing people I get to ride with.

I got pretty sick for a good two weeks, yet surprisingly didn’t miss much training. In my opinion… and I am an RN so I take medical credibility here…. I think that if you are baseline very active, then training through illness isn’t a bad thing. I kept the intensity very low, like real low. It enabled me the opportunity to breathe deep, to improve circulation and in the end to recover faster. There were no intervals and one day off. I trained as long as I felt good, which was no more than 2 hours a day. There were a lot of naps however and a lot of really good nutrition. I was right on the edge of falling into that deep hole….. but I didn’t. I have good people around me who know me enough to stop me.

I am just like every body else in this sport. But as a coach and a role model I hold myself to a higher standard. If I am going to preach to you about R&R, then I need to be the example I wish to be. And I wasn’t. The good news is that I am again 100% and I didn’t dig myself too deep a hole that I can’t pull out of.

This is where having a coach is the most beneficial. Through the past 2 weeks I had to pull the plug on 2 of my athletes in terms of training days. There are days when we have to do that, and days where we need to push through. When I am so focused on them, I lose focus on me. Martyr…. I know.

When my husband declared he would be assuming the coaching role of my training…. I was grateful. Coaching is expensive these days and at this stage of the game I know what I need to do and there are better places to spend that money. What I have needed was a consultant, a mentor…. and Curt has provided that for me.

As a husband and wife who have been in this sport for longer than many of the kids these days have been out of grade school…… we have always talked training on a daily basis. But we have made it a point to never dictate one another’s training and to never make it a point of contention. While Curt has certainly helped me with gear issues…. if I have an issue with my bike its ultimately up to me to take care of it. We keep it together yet separate. We don’t train together…. that’s our personal time. We give that space to one another. After 13 years of marriage I think we are doing something right, and for us this is one of those things.

We are also parents, and while our entire family is involved in this sport we like to keep our focus on our son and life beyond sport. I have never been happy when my focus is secular. We have a pretty well rounded life.

Curt, in one week…. has been able to provide me with exactly what I have needed. I wrote the whole IMMT plan out months ago. I create the training blocks. He oversees it and makes suggestions. For example as I have been recovering this week I have to pay attention to my level of fatigue. We decided I would keep everything very aerobic and frequent this week and through the weekend get in some of the bigger miles if my health allowed it. Which it looks like it will!

His training is very simple: consistent and progressive. Just like we plan for our athletes. I like the little things he does however that have already felt to have made a difference. At the completion of recovery runs he has me do five minutes of jump rope. (It helps keeps my achilles strong). My hill run today is not the same hill 6 times…. it’s 3 times through the “trifecta”. It’s a route I have run a million times but never thought of structuring it the way that he does.

He has a well rounded experienced approach that mirrors what I have spent years learning from the best in this sport. While not one system fits every athlete…. it’s always interesting when someone like Curt developed his own style through 25 years of sport….. and it’s what coaches and exercise physiologists write about years later. There are common themes that work.

One week and it’s a good fit. I like the relaxed approach. I like not having my data scrutinized (I do that myself) and I like the ability to say “What do you think.” It’s good for me where I am at right now.

I never want to lose the fun of all of this. I find multisport to be an incredible amount of fun. No matter who we are or what level we compete at…. no one will write on my tombstone “Was really fast.”. What they will write is “Beloved mother, wife, daughter., sister and friend. Fought her heart out against cancer. ” Those are the roles that will be with me forever. This sport will always be part of my life. I have been faster in the past and I feel as I approach 40 I can be just as fast. It comes with time. It comes with patience. It comes with being in the right place emotionally and physically.

Honestly right now I am there. I feel lucky. I see some of these kids tearing themselves up about races and wheels and bikes and this and that. I am kicked back, one hand in my pocket…. knowing that life is bigger than all of that. Oh trust me…. I have been there and been that kid too. I am just glad to be where I am now. We all go through that. It’s called …. life.

I am on the mend. It was a small enough hole that I can crawl out of. I am in good hands. Between my husband and Steve I am in really good hands. I value their insight and I value their opinions, and their experiences. I never take that stuff for granted. If anyone….. including my husband is willing to take the time to guide me…. I don’t take that lightly. I am honored.

We did decide to pull out of the Woodstock half Ironman next week, which was a crusher for me. But to save my trailing volume I would have had to train through it. The water is in the high 40’s right now, and the risk of getting sick again could set me too far back. So we will readjust and likely run a 5K instead and get me out there and racing. I have loved the events I have gotten to race in through the past 2 weeks and I want to get in there and get dirty as much as I can.

At the end of the day…. we have lives. We are not just triathletes. When I personally fall into that secular focus I miss the rest of my life. I lose out on the fun. And I won’t do that, nor will I ever again sacrifice my health for it either.





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