An Update on Training Since Nationals

A perpetual state of procrastination has left my site unattended. Have I been training? Absolutely. More than ever before. Which is partially why my procrastination to post has taken hold.

I’m now training twice a day, 6 days a week with one day only having one workout. Soon, that day will be either a long run, or a two to two and a half hour brick. The life of a triathlete is never dull, or should I say, never unoccupied.

I’ll use this post as a catch-up on training since Nationals last year and hopefully be posting more regularly now that we’re cranking into the regular season.

I’ve been spending a good deal more time in the pool this year. Now I am training with William Jewell’s head swim coach, Mark Gole, in addition to some of the workouts that Barb sends the Collegiate Recruits. Which the help of Coach Gole and the addition of approximately 7-9,000 more meters a week than my peak week last year (last year peak around 13k a week, now I’m swimming 20-22k a week) I have made some significant gains in the pool. This gains have led me to be green-lighted to go to my very first Elite Development Race. These are draft-legal sprint-distance races where professional licenses hang on the line. The first 3 to cross the finish earn them and the rest of the field are left to try another day. The field is limited to 75 entrants and every one of them pretty much fills up. This will take place as my A race, my final race of the season, in Mid-August. I’ve elected to skip Age Group Nationals this year (at least at this point) since it is a week before the EDR and I don’t anticipate being on the podium at Nationals this year.

If somehow I can pull out a miraculous qualification for my elite license this  year. Next year could potentially be my fist professional season. Or I may continue to race amateur for another year to get more experience and racing under my belt as well as take a shot at an overall Age Group Nationals title. Development is always slower than I hope it could be, watching some of my fellow athletes cruise into the pro ranks. Fellow Collegiate Recruit, Katie Hursey, recently won her first World Cup (top tier global professional level) race in New Plymouth, New Zealand. If I remember correctly I got to meet her at my first Age Group Nationals in 2012. This is only her second year racing professionally and already she’s cranking out a win at the absolute peak of competition. Unfortunately I’m not quite there yet, or more rather, anywhere near that yet, ha. But it’s great to see some fellow college athletes really stamping their name in the sport early on.

Yesterday was my first day back at the track outside. And it was the first speedwork I’ve done on the run in about a month and a half. I spent a few weeks not running, just rehabbing, after I had a peroneal tendon strain on my left ankle. No, I didn’t fall in a hole. No I wasn’t running on rough terrain. No, I wasn’t running fast. I was just on a long run and it as such a freak occurrence. I’m not sure what triggered it. My only thought is from a couple weeks prior I was running on the track at my gym doing full out sprints. Unfortunately the gym doesn’t have a regulation track so the turns are almost right angles. This may have weakened the tendon on my left side, but the world may never know.

The internet brought me a great solution I think I had only heard Coach Tom mention in passing. I wouldn’t have thought about it had I not seen the reference. KT Tape. Kinesiology Therapy tape. Pre-cut athletic tape strips to wrap various injuries from. From a business stand-point. These guys have it down. They know their product, they answer all your questions on the website, they have videos showing you exactly what you need to do to support various kinds of muscle ailments. I was sold almost instantly. In the future I won’t be leaving home without some KT Tape in the bag just in case. It helped me get back to running 3 weeks earlier than I anticipated. I’m not saying it’s a miracle or it’s magical, but if you are doing rehab I would recommend it to speed the healing process. I’ll be wearing it for the next month as I continue to run to make sure that tendon is nice and healed before running “naked” again. As a side note, my only complaint is that the version I got is supposed to last 4-7 days before needing to be changed and is labeled as “water proof.” However, my main pool workouts slowly peel it off my foot so I have to remove it. Essentially I only get 1-2 days of use out of a taping job. But, for $1.60 a day I’m happy to pay that to get back to training sooner. You can check it out at KTtape.com. I picked mine up at Wal-Mart. It’s widely available, but you can order online if need be. Again, no sponsorship deal with them, just a genuine endorsement for the product.

Back to my workout from yesterday. First speedwork on the run in what feels like an eternity. I decided not to make it too difficult and set up a set of 5 x 1000 meters with 90 seconds rest at 5k pace. More rather I decided to just do it by feel at 5k pace instead of setting an actual 5k time since I have no idea where my fitness is right now. By the end of it, between it being 40 degrees, the wind blowing me around and the intensity level I was pushing my body at, it became one of those days where you question your own sanity. Heading down the final 100 meters into the wind, legs are burning, lungs are pumping cold air as hard as they can, abs are screaming at you because you’ve neglected them for not running for so long. You question yourself “Why the hell do I do this again?” A major part of this game is being able to focus solely on the task at hand despite your pain. Despite the weakness in your head yelling at you “quit, just stop here, lay down and take a breather, it’ll be easier, don’t you want a rest, let’s find something else to do.”

A Consideration of Definitions

The truth is, sometimes I wonder whether I teeter on insanity or not. I push my body, like so many other athletes at this level, at levels below my speed and many levels above me. Push to the brink of exhaustion day-in, day-out. For what? A medal? No. Nobody is stupid enough to do this just for the sake of a medal. The medal is only a symbol. A symbol for other people to have a glimmer of understanding what it takes. A symbol for our superiority at that moment in time. A symbol that says “for this one moment in time, I’m the best. I put in the work, the hours, the grind, to make it here and I want to enjoy my moment.”

The word “sacrifice” is thrown around a lot with athletes. We have to sacrifice so many things in order to achieve our goals. To achieve the impossible dreams. I disagree. Some may sacrifice things, but on the whole I believe and certainly feel at times that this endeavor is entirely selfish.

Sacrifice (verb): To give up something important or valued for the sake of other considerations.

Does this sound like a sacrifice to you? We love, I love, this sport. A sacrifice would be giving this up, something that amounts for a large fiber of my self-identity, for the sake of other considerations. Not the other way around. Yes, I’m not able to do some other things that I enjoy. Play the violin, sculpt, paint, metalwork, etc. etc. However, when faced with time constraints, the whole of your life will be distilled to the most important things to keep you living and or that keep you happy. Unfortunately, they’re not always the same nor do they always coincide. I have been fortunate enough to have an infrastructure to allow me to (by societies standards) skimp by on a meager income while relying on family to help me on my journey.

But I am determined. This is my year. The year to finally take charge of everything in my life. To be able to support myself entirely, financially. To earn my professional license so I can stop saying “I’m trying to be a professional triathlete.” and be able to say “I am a professional triathlete.” This is the year. It takes little enough to say the words, but I’ve been working every day for months now and will continue, to make this my reality. Dreams are only an idea. Action, daily action, is what makes those dreams a reality.

We must always remember. “You can’t cheat the grind.”

One Response to “Teetering on Insanity – A catch-up in training and thoughts on reality.”

  • Chris Moore says:

    “You can’t cheat the grind.” –Love it.
    Congrats on the Elite Development Race invitation, but sorry to hear your won’t be going to Nationals in Milwaukee, was looking forward to meeting you. Good luck this year!

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