Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Changing Race Priorities

by Lindsay J

I have a Half Ironman triathlon coming up in just under 3 weeks, Lake Stevens 70.3  I'm out in Seattle just for the summer and really wanted to try the premier race out here.  I've only done one other Half Ironman- Timberman 70.3 last summer, but Team Sports Bistro is making this distance our team priority for the year and I really wanted to be competitive at Lake Stevens.  My not-so-secret goal was to hit 5:15 and be top 5 in my age group.  This is what I accomplished at Timberman, but Lake Stevens is supposedly a harder course so I felt it would be a successful if I got the same result at Lake Stevens.

The training had been going decently, but I will admit I am now not prepared to hit my goals.  The race is a 1.2 mile swim. 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run.  However, I have not been able to do more than 2 rides over 50 miles (55 and 60 miles) and my run hasn't gone longer than 10 miles yet.  And this isn't back to back!  I've also only swum once, but that's to be expected.  I can't pinpoint where my training plan went awry.  I guess things came up here and there and all of sudden the race came up and I'm not ready!

I know I can finish the race, my longer runs and rides have felt comfortable and I had been adding more hill work in recently (a necessity for Lake Stevens!).  But I don't like to just finish events- I like to race and compete.  If I'm not able to do what I know I was capable of then that will feel like a defeat.  I also don't want the day to turn into a predictable sufferfest due to undertraining.  

Adding to my woes is that I had my first topple on the bike this past weekend, midway through my 60 mile ride (but luckily was less than 2 miles from home).  I was swerving to miss a car turning left across me, but as I was veering right to miss them the lane I was traveling in ended and I went into some unused railroad tracks.  Down I went, predictably.  I literally ran myself off the road!

The good thing is the tracks were off the road and not in use, so it was mostly dirt and grass (not even gravel, thank goodness).  I didn't hit my head, went down at fairly low speed, and got right up.  So no big deal.  Or so I thought.  I bumped and scraped my right knee, shoulder, and elbow pretty good.  The knee and shoulder are bruised but fine, but unfortunately an x-ray confirmed that I put a small fracture into my elbow.  While no surgery or cast required, it will heal itself in 6-8 weeks, it is just one more thing I don't need right now.  Swimming is out until I get more mobility in the arm and of course I have to be super careful biking, lest I fall again or put too much pressure on it in the aero position.  Today I thought I'd go for a light jog and my knee is still swollen for that to feel good so I stopped.  So now less than 3 weeks from the race I am not able to do any of the 3 disciplines!

Clearly Lake Stevens is not likely to end up how I intended it to.  But that's okay.  I'm now just looking forward to enjoying the race, regardless of time or place.  I know I can finish it, so why push it only to hurt myself?  It's actually a bit of a relief to not have to stress about the race.  I can enjoy the triathlon for what it is- a great Pacific Northwest race!  Game on  :)

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