Hey, hey—happy October! Yikes, September sure flew by. Even though this means no more triathlons until 2014, I am doing a half-marathon soon (in less than two weeks!); and aside from running, I’ve been logging lots of swimming and biking time too, which is a direct result of getting “called up” to the racing team. (This group trains five days each week.) Throughout the past few weeks, I’ve experienced a new level of training intensity—and I love it.
But it isn’t without its frustrations and growing pains.
Sometimes, I can hang—like during last Thursday’s long-course pool swim. Sometimes, I fail to execute the workout properly and crash—like during last Thursday’s speedwork. And sometimes, I push, get dropped, but fight my way back—like during last Friday’s bike ride in Central Park. (Actually, the same series of events happened this morning too.) Basically, this is the hardest I’ve ever trained. And it needless to say, it’s been one reality check after another. But since food metaphors are irrefutably better, let’s say there have been several servings of humble pie. (And that’s also the phrase my coach used, so I’m accurately reporting the details, ha!)
My first serving of humble pie was consumed on Thursday when a few teammates and I made the drive from New York City to Stamford, CT for a swim workout in the long-course pool at Chelsea Piers Connecticut. Even though my swim is at a good spot now, I’ve noticed improvements thanks to new-to-me drills this training group does regularly. (For the swimmers and those curious, we’ve been doing a lot of sculling and hypoxic breathing sets.) And during this workout, I tried to “punk out” of a hypoxic nine breathing set (or breathing once every nine stroke). My coach called me out, yelled at me a bit, and said there’s no reason I couldn’t do it. So I womaned up and did it. Sweet!
However, after a quick rinse and gear change, a few teammates went out to do some speedwork on the Darien Triathlon run course, and I royally blew up. The game plan was to do a 10-minute warm-up, then alternate between two minutes at lactate threshold and one minute off for five miles. Long story short, I took the first three intervals too fast, then crashed and paid the price during the remaining sets. It was frustrating because I knew the pace that I should hit, but I pushed too hard in an effort to keep up with the fast people. Train and learn, right?
And last Friday’s ride in Central Park was solid, yet mildly frustrating as well. When it became my turn to pull (or take the lead) the paceline, I struggled to maintain the speed, which usually isn’t an issue. Later, I fell behind the group as we climbed Harlem Hill, but I somehow fought back and regained contact with the pack. (Shout out to the friendly cyclist who gave me gearing and climbing tips!)
When my coach asked me how I felt after the ride, I simply said frustrated. And he put things into perspective: Triathletes in this training group have been doing the sport longer than I’ve been alive. Triathletes in this training group continually win their age groups—and win races overall. Triathletes in this training group went to London for the World Championships. Overall, the triathletes in this training group will make me better, but they will push, challenge, and humble me first.
Let the feast begin.
How do you deal with adversity?