The travel sponsor has requested a blog that is actually about triathlon and not travel adventures and dating stories.
living out of a suitcase. dogs everywhere too. miss ya, Mads!
I shall not bore you too much with the nitty-gritty on training and mileage though, as I find that stuff excruciatingly boring to read. But just because I don’t blog about it doesn’t mean I’m not doing it. If my life were like a reality TV show, it would be some freak hybrid of The Biggest Loser (making and maintaining race weight = a daily battle), Survivor (“stranded in a remote locale, with limited resources”), MTV Cribs (some, no ALL, of these homestays are suh-WEET), the Amazing Race (navigating my way across the USA), and… the Bachelorette. I just choose to blog about the fun parts, just like the TV producers only highlight the drama and shenanigans.
But fair enough, it is the end of August with half of my summer tour complete (2 down, 2 to go), and for the year, 5 done, 4 to go. So sure, it’s about time for a midseason report card, isn’t it?
This year, or at least this summer, has definitely been different than the last, as I’ve been set loose here in the USA, squad-less, being coached by the Boss through email, and living out of my suitcase. There were a few reasons for this–finances, teamTBB representation at the American races, and some nebulous “test” of sorts from the Boss. As one of the newest pros on teamTBB, this summer has been my symbolic walkabout: “a rite of passage during which male Australian Aborigines would undergo a journey during adolescence and live in the wilderness for a period as long as six months.” (Thanks as always, Wikipedia.) Ok, so I’m not an adolescent male Australian Aborigine, but I think you get the gist.
Living out of a suitcase and traveling solo has been trying at times–just when you get settled in somewhere, get into a routine and learn the roads, get to know people and start forging stronger bonds with them, hey! it’s time to pack up and go again. Still, I’ve met so many great people that have helped me along in this journey and am really grateful to all of them. I’ve also learned a lot about myself as an athlete and person during this summer tour. What works for me, what doesn’t work, what I want out of this sport, and what I am willing to do to get there.
Performance-wise, how do I think I’ve been doing? You can’t really gauge too much based on times and finish positions because from course to course, the terrain and weather vary, along with how competitive the field at each race is. Last year, it was quite obvious that I improved by leaps and bounds, because even though all the courses were different, dropping 2 hours and 14 minutes off my Ironman PR could only mean…I got way faster. This year as I am primarily racing in the USA, the competition is obviously deeper than in the two ironman-distance races I won in Korea last year, so getting a top 10 finish in the pro field here is arguably harder than some of the races I spanked last season.
So am I still improving, performing well, and getting faster? Yes. Well, ok, I take it 1/3 of that back–my swim has gone a bit backwards this year. My dad compiled my IM stats for this year with all my splits (thanks Papa Wongstar!) and the swim’s gone like this: 1:18 (non-WS), 1:11, 1:17, 1:22, 1:14 (non-WS). EWW. In my six ironmans last year, there were a couple of 1:05′s and a 1:07. I’ve learned just how difficult it is for me to properly swim (and properly swim hard) when I am on my own. But my bike continues to improve–I’ve got big strong bike legs that will stomp down the skinny girls. My run has been solid and consistent and I’ve learned that I can do those big track sessions (even a marathon on a dirt track) completely alone without a squad or coach around, and faster than I’ve ever run them. The race experience I’ve gained from racing so often has been invaluable, and I’m lucky to be able to live here in the USA where there are so many Ironmans. It was inevitable that the chunks of time I kept chopping off my IM times last year would start to plateau, as taking an hour off would get me in the sub-9 club and then another hour into the sub-8 club, and well that’s not quite so realistic. I do believe that I am still improving and on the verge of another breakthrough.
I’ve had a very solid training block in Delaware, and for the first time all summer was able to swim with a squad under Coach Mac’s guidance. I have high hopes this Sunday to continue the upward trend my swim has returned to at Lake Placid. It’ll be non-wetsuit BUT two-thirds of it is downstream, which I’ll take. I lived without a car in Delaware, so got in plenty of extra bike miles in (a 45-minute bike each way to the pool every morning), and the roads in the Lower Brandywine Valley were amazing for cycling. It was also plenty hot and humid, as it will be here in Louisville on race day, and you know how much I love that kind of weather! The hotter the better, so bring it on!
Finally I shall leave you with the question I ask myself when I wake up every morning:
my answer is always "BE BETTER"