Tag Archives: Bearcat Masters

2017 New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championship Recap

From Friday, March 17 through Sunday, March 19, my Bearcat masters teammates and I traveled to Boston for the New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championship.

Hello. It’s me.

A staple event for my team, this competition was my first multi-day and short-course yards meet. (My first two meets were measured in meters.) Suffice to say, it was a weekend of learning, absorbing, and growing as an endurance athlete, and I had a blast butterflying, backstroking, breaststroking, and freestyling.

Even though I took swimming lessons as a kid, I cannot compare myself to folks who logged laps through high school and college.  The competitive swimming learning curve is steep.  Yes, I had goals for the meet, but they centered on execution as opposed to performance-based, numerical values.  As I’ve learned with triathlon—and to paraphrase legendary basketball coach John Wooden—when I focus on doing the little things right, that makes the big things happen.

I went to Harvard … for a weekend for a swim meet. (Don’t worry, Mom: the tattoo is temporary.)

Speaking of John Wooden, I had flashbacks to my basketball days as we rode the bus from New York City to Boston on Thursday night: heading to another city for a weekend of competing, cheering, and hanging out.  During the 4.5-hour drive, my teammates talked me through the structure of the meet and gave me tips for warming up, cooling down, and staying composed during the eight-plus hours we’d be spending at the pool each day.  We also talked a lot about eating and team dinners, and it became apparent food was a top priority for swimmers.  Full disclosure:  I quickly hopped aboard the all-you-can-eat bandwagon and had two breakfasts every morning.  I even went to an amazingly delicious diner after finishing my final event.

So metabolically inefficient, so not caring. Thanks to The Breakfast Club for making this spread possible.

To be fair, swimming five events (50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 500 free, and 100 IM) over the course of three days revved my appetite.  I spent the most time in the water on Saturday, swimming the 500 free, 50 free, and 100 IM.  On Friday, I swam the 100 free and 200 free relay.  On Sunday, I did the 200 free. Heading into the weekend, this line-up seemed doable.  After all, I was “racing” 1000 yards over three days, and we typically swim 3000m each day during practice.  But when you calculate warm-ups (800 yards or so each morning) and cool downs (100-300 yards after each event), it was a lot of swimming:  high intensity swimming, slicing through the water swimming, searing pain swimming that made my muscles scream.  But that’s when the race starts, and that’s what makes it fun:  when your body begs you to relent, slow down, or stop all together, what do you do?

Just do it

As the weekend progressed, I became increasingly comfortable and confident reading the heat sheets and remembering my lane assignment, developing a warm-up and cool down routine, and managing my nerves and excitement.  This was a big meet, and the events progressed quickly:  the competition pool contained eight lanes, and each event saw as few as 8 or as many as 20 heats. (For example: the women’s 400 IM wasn’t a popular event; the men’s 50 free, however, was the polar opposite.) There were two adjoining, but separate pools, which were designated as warm-up and cool down areas.  Sometimes, I had a lane to myself; others, I was circle-swimming with six people.  I liked how there was a specific time each day to practice starts off the blocks.  I need a lot of practice with dives.  One of my teammates helped me adjust the blocks and gave me some pointers, and I could feel myself progressing throughout the weekend.  I enter the water with a little more pop and authority these days, although I still have plenty of room for improvement.

#WannabeSwimmer?

I had the most fun swimming the 200 freestyle relay on Friday afternoon, and I confirmed my partiality toward the longer distances of the 200 and 500 yards.  One of the coaches said people either love or hate the 200, and it’s an event that plays to my strengths as an endurance athlete—it demands speed, endurance, and the ability to hurt.  These characteristics matter for the 50 and 100 too, but elements like getting off the blocks (I may be the slowest swimmer off the blocks) and breathing patterns (apparently, you aren’t supposed to breathe every stroke during a 50 because it slows you down) matter more, and I simply have not developed those skills yet.  Again, those little things—starts, turns, breathing patterns—make the big things happen, and those little things mean more during shorter events.  If I’m the last one off the blocks during a 50, I can’t make that up.  Plus, I like the pacing strategy behind the 200 and 500.  The 200 was my final event of the meet, and it was the one I executed the most precisely: redline off the blocks for 50, settle in to 87 percent for the second 50, and then build through 100 by 25s.  I had a similar strategy for the 500: use the adrenaline off the blocks, settle in, and then increase the effort at the 300-yard mark.  Overall, my triathlon background translates better to those longer distances, so going forward, that’s what I’ll be focused on.

A complete race recap needs results so here are mine:

Friday
100 free – 1:05.68 (seed – 1:06); 10th AG

Saturday

500 free – 6:32.29 (seed – 8:00); 11th AG

100 IM – 1:24.40 (seed – 1:30); 21st AG

50 free – 30.90 (seed – 32.00); 10th AG

Sunday

200 free – 2:25.28 (seed – 2:48); 8th AG

When is your next race?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 11 (March 13)

I’m a few days late with this post, but with good reason.

Blodgett Pool at Harvard: so much room for activities!

From Friday through Sunday, I spent some quality time with my Bearcat masters teammates at Harvard competing at the New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championship. This is a staple event for my team, and my only regret is waiting so long to attend—I had so much fun!

Training notes: this week centered on keeping my legs and body fresh for the swim meet. Thanks to Winter Storm Stella, I didn’t run at all, but that may have worked in my favor because my legs felt great throughout the weekend.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

It’s been a while since we’ve done this workout titled “Peter Rabbit.” Following a 15-minute warm-up, we faced three intervals that contained tempo and threshold efforts: four minutes at 88 percent, then two minutes at threshold times three (with one-minute rest between).

Tuesdaya.m. run and p.m. run off

Thanks to Winter Storm Stella, there was no working out—but I needed the rest day.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

About half the people at practice were heading to Harvard, so the coach divided us into two groups and programmed different workouts: a “normal” swim and a taper one. I opted for the taper option, and we did a lot of race-paced efforts (mostly 100s) and practiced diving off the blocks. I never thought I’d see the day where 3200m was a taper swim.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Easy spin-out to keep the legs fresh for the weekend. After work, I hopped on the bus with my Bearcat teammates and headed to Boston.

Friday – New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championships

I. Love. Swimming. Full recap to come, but my first short-course yards meet started with the 100-yard freestyle (1:05.68) and the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Saturday – New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championships

Day two packed the most action in the pool: 500-yard freestyle (6:32.29), 100-yard IM (1:24.40), and 50-yard freestyle (30.90).

Sunday – New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championships

The 200-yard freestyle (2:25.28) ended up being my favorite distance of the weekend, and it was my lone event on the final day of competition.

How was your weekend?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 10 (March 6)

Although half over already (what?), March will be a memorable month.

Long run headspace for the win

Next weekend is my third swim meet, and on the 26th, I’m guiding an Achilles athlete for the Queens Marathon. Big things coming!

Training notes: overall, this was another good week of swimming, biking, and running, and I also came to a few conclusions about training thus far. First, after Monday’s power test, I confirmed I cannot expect to make huge gains on the bike by riding only twice per week. I also realized I am ready to start biking more (remember how I avoided my bike for three months during the off-season?). This realization came at the right time, although I have a few events to finish first—my swim meet on St. Patrick’s Day weekend and the Queens Marathon on the 26th. After those two outings—and after some recovery from running 26.2 miles—we will shift to traditional triathlon training. Although I like swimming four times per week, my swim frequency will decrease to make room for more biking and running intensity.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

So that was a power test that happened. It had been a year since my last one, and I forgot how mentally tough it is. We started with a five-minute “blowout” effort to wake up the legs and open up the lungs before the official test began. I broke up the 20 minutes into mini, five-minute blocks and focused on building the effort throughout.  I did not make as many watts as I wanted, but I will get them back.

Tuesday – a.m. run and p.m. run

Started the day with five Cat Hill repeats for a total of five miles. After work, my Achilles buddy and I met up for a loop of Central Par. We both wore our neon Achilles t-shirts and received a ton of cheers and words of encouragement.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

There was a lot of “choice” work during this practice, meaning each swimmer got to select which stroke(s) to do—and since I have a swim meet in a week, I chose IM. (Never thought I’d see the day!)

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

This short, 60-minute ride was a “zone tester” to make sure our new FTPs were accurate. Since my FTP increased only a handful of watts, I didn’t have too much trouble hitting and holding threshold and low VO2 max intervals.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

We kicked off taper week with some short and fast efforts (lots of 25s and 50s), and during the workout, we also had our choice of strokes to work on. Since I’m doing the 100 IM at Harvard, that’s what I chose to do during our main set. I logged about 3,000m before heading to work.

Saturday – a.m. run; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Like last week, I tackled my long run on Saturday (12-mile progression run) before a longer, 1.5-hour (and 3,700m) swim with my Bearcat buds. It was a high-volume day, but I felt great during and after both workouts.

Sunday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Short, hour-long swim just to get a feel for the water

When’s your next race?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 9 (Feb. 27)

Welp, better late than never …

I saw this place a decent number of times this week.

Hello. It’s me.

With the New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championship—aka Harvard—coming up, I’ve been spending time staring at that black line. Two weeks and counting until my third swim meet!

General training notes: I’m finally power testing next week, so we focused on staying fresh and getting the fatigue out of my legs. My bike workouts were recovery-based this week, and aside from my hill repeat run on Tuesday, my runs were easy as well. I do have a swim meet coming up

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

We deviated from our normal Monday ride and tackled a workout that contained four builds on hills. Each five-minute interval began at 83 percent with the goal of increasing our effort as our cadence dropped.

Tuesday – a.m. run

Five Cat Hill repeats and five miles

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Aside from a cockroach on one of the lanelines, this was an uneventful freestyle-focused swim. (Progress: I’m becoming more proficient with paddles.) We logged 3,100m.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Since I’m power testing on Monday, this was an easy, 75-minute recovery ride for me.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Hello, Friday fly-day. Following a longer freestyle warm-up with plenty of pulling, we tackled a main set that alternated between butterfly and freestyle. Per usual, I brought up the rear in the lane, but I’ve noticed my butterfly stamina has improved: I can do 25m without feeling gassed.

Saturday – a.m. run; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Woohoo for sportz Saturdays! I met up with my Achilles bud, and we tackled 11 miles in Central Park. Due to the temperature being in the 20s, it wasn’t packed, but we were lucky enough to have three additional guides running with us to flank the way. (It helps to have an extra person or two running in front of us to clear a path and “direct traffic.”)

That afternoon, I hit the pool for a monster 4,100m distance freestyle swim with the Bearcats. Gotta get everything locked in for Harvard!

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

East hour-long spin-out at Tailwind followed by a 3,500m practice with the Bearcats

What’s your biggest workout day of the week?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 8 (Feb. 20)

Even though Monday was a holiday, this week felt especially long.

Bike, run, brunch: how every brick workout should transpire.

General training notes: all in all, this was another productive and uneventful week of training. As we enter March, both my swimming and running frequency will continue to increase in preparation for Harvard and the Queens Marathon.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance; a.m. run

Thanks to the holiday, I slept in and took the 7 a.m. class at Tailwind instead of my normal 5:30 a.m. one. We repeated last Monday’s ride that focused on cadence and pedal work. One of my friends came to visit, so we met up immediately after for an easy run in Central Park—and my first brick of the season!

Tuesday – a.m. run

We are slowly bringing structure back into my runs, and this outing saw five easy repeats of Cat Hill and totaled five miles including the warm-up and cool down.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

All freestyle fun during this 3,750m practice—and I was able to swim the entire 1.5 hours.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance; p.m. run

Practice makes perfect: we repeated last Thursday’s threshold ride. During the two, 15-minute blocks we alternated between surging efforts (102 percent) and low threshold ones (93 percent).

After work, my Achilles bud and I ran six miles in Central Park. It was 60 degrees!

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Friday, IM day. This practice started off well enough, but the main set zapped me: 2×100 of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle, and IM. Yikes. Per usual, I hung on for dear life and brought up the caboose in my lane. The lifeguards were late getting to the pool so I only logged 3,000m before I had to go to work.

Saturday – a.m. run; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Easy 3.5-mile shake-out followed by an afternoon 2,800m swim

Sunday – a.m. run

Two of my tri buds and I met up to tackle our long runs together. We started at 7 a.m., and Central Park was relatively quiet. They both did 10, but I continued on for 12.

How do you get back into the swing of things after a long weekend?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 7 (Feb. 13)

Hip, hip hooray for a long weekend!

February in Central Park

It’s the perfect time for it too because my aunt is visiting. Saturday centered on cultural activities: we went to the Neue Gallery during the afternoon, and she took my sister and me to our first opera last night, Carmen. It was well worth staying up past my triathlete bedtime!

General training notes: it felt really good to get back to my normal training routine this week. My key sessions went well—Thursday’s bike and Saturday’s long run—and I’m excited to build on this momentum. This week also marks one month until my “main” swim meet, and the Queens Marathon is also five weeks away. Big things coming!

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Back to basics: this technique-based ride focused on cadence and included four, 10-minute blocks. Basically, as we built the effort from endurance to tempo to threshold, we added gear (increased tension) and allowed our cadence to decrease while focusing on the pedal stroke.

Tuesday – a.m. run

The return to dawn patrol: I woke up the sun with 5.5 easy miles through Central Park.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

The Russian coach led this IM-heavy practice, and my body was dunzo by the end. It took a lot to hang on, though, but I remembered I’m doing a swim meet in about a month.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance; p.m. run

We watched coverage of the Island House Triathlon while taking on this threshold ride. The main set included three blocks with efforts ranging from 107 to 93 percent, and we’d start at the high end and work our way down to the low end of the zone.

I had some time to kill after work and before dinner so I went to Central Park for a super easy four-mile shake-out run.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

As we progressed through the warm-up, tech portion, and transition set of this workout—which contained no IM work—I let myself believe this practice would be freestyle only. A girl can dream—and be unrealistically optimistic in this case because the main set was all IM work. Although I still hang on for dear life during these sessions, I can actually complete an entire practice as prescribed, which is huge progress. I logged 3,250m before heading into the office.

Saturday – a.m. run

With my aunt visiting this weekend, I wanted to get my long run out of the way and do it Saturday morning. It seemed daunting though: fifteen miles, and my running buddy couldn’t make it, so 15 solo miles. The conditions were perfect—sunny and the temperature hovered around 40 degrees—and the miles flew by. Since this would be a personal distance record, and because my most recent 14 miler didn’t go super well, I kept the pace ridiculously easy, especially on the hills. And the only time things got tough was at mile 14.5, but that’s probably because I was so close to being done. But overall, this run went really well—it was totally blissful, and it really was the elusive, easy, perfect outing we chase.

Sunday – off

What are your plans for the long weekend?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 4 (Jan. 22)

To sum up this week in one photo:

My secret cold-fighting weapon. Guess it’s not a secret anymore, though …

It seemed like everyone was sick this week, and unfortunately, I succumbed to the congestion and coughing for a few days. Toward the end of the week, I was on the mend, but relapsed today and cut short my scheduled long run.

General training notes: as week four of structured training, this span served as a recovery week, and it was perfectly timed. Thanks to a nor’easter and a head cold, my workouts were affected a bit. Granted, almost everything got done (we missed an Achilles run due to the weather), but I was feeling only 75-80 percent throughout the week.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

I kicked off Monday with our normal technique-based ride. My coach also announced we’re power testing next week, and I’m strangely excited—probably because it’s been one year since I’ve done a proper test. Bring on the pain!

Tuesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Due to the nor’easter, I opted to ride indoors. This session contained three, 10-minute blocks filled with threshold and VO2 max efforts, plus a five-minute FTP block at the end. On Tuesday evenings, I normally run with Achilles, but my bud and I decided to skip it since it was still raining and pretty windy. (He’s visually impaired so any type of precipitation is a factor.)

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

This freestyle-focused swim contained a lot of cruise and build efforts, and I’m really excited I can finally tap in to distinct speeds in the water. I logged slightly less than 3,000m before heading to work.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance; p.m. run

Wow, lots of time in the saddle this week. We repeated the ride we did last Thursday that centered on cadence. Since I didn’t run at all on Tuesday, I was itching to lace up so I logged four easy miles in the park after work.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Why I swim with a masters team: I can lead my lane during freestyle practices, but I bring up the rear during IM sessions—and that’s very humbling and motivating. Our “normal” lanes saw some changes again, and a few folks who swim in the fast lane joined my medium-speed lane. Per usual, I took my place in the caboose and hung on for dear life, but I executed the workout as prescribed (i.e. not reverting to freestyle) and did not get lapped. Both I consider huge wins, ha.

Saturday – a.m. run with Achilles; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

I met up with my Achilles bud for one loop of the park in the morning and managed to survive distance-freestyle day in the pool.

Sunday – a.m. run

I planned to do eight miles today, but since I was coughing and congested, I shut it down after five. Womp, womp.  A super early bedtime is in order tonight.

How do you decide if you should work out when you’re sick?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 3 (Jan. 16)

Did this short week seem long to anyone else?

All about that dawn patrol

General training notes: my body has finally acclimated to the 4:45 a.m. daily alarms, which means my super early bedtime is also being enforced. My swim and bike workouts felt great this week, but my legs felt less-than-fresh on the run. Tuesday’s outing was especially tough, and that prompted me to take a complete rest day on Saturday.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Thanks to the holiday, I slept in and took the 7 a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind instead of my normal 5:30 a.m. one. We repeated the same ride we’ve done the past two Mondays—lots of tech work with a few tempo blocks, plus four VO2 max blocks at the end. Coming off a 13.1-mile run, I wasn’t sure how my legs would respond to the harder efforts, but after some tough love from my coach, I hit them. “Don’t give up your strengths just because you’re going long.”

Tuesday – a.m. run

I kept this run super easy, but my legs felt the effects of Sunday’s long run and Monday’s CompuTrainer ride.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

The Russian coach subbed this workout, and we logged 3,000m of IM work.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

This hour-long ride centered on tension and cadence work. After a longer warm-up, we tackled three builds that progressed from tempo to threshold to high threshold, and as the effort increased, our cadence decreased (which translated to adding more gear). Following a easy endurance block, we finished the workout with three VO2 max intervals.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Wowza, what a tough swim. A handful of young, fast dudes attended practice (as one of my training buds exclaimed, “who are these 12-year-olds?!”), which affected our normal lane assignments: some folks who normally swim in the fast lane were bumped down to my lane. It’s one thing to see those swimmers doing their thing in the lane next to you, but actually swimming with them? Yikes, they are fast. My goal was not to get lapped during this IM practice, and I was thankfully successful. It was a very humbling and motivating experience because I feel like my swim has come a long way, but then to see how the faster athletes swim … holy cow. After 70 minutes, my body was screaming, and I shut it down with 3,300m logged.

Saturday – off

I realized I haven’t had a rest day in a while and figured taking one would be a good idea.

Sunday – a.m. run

New PDR (personal distance record) alert: I ran 14 miles! There was a half-marathon in Central Park that my running buddy was doing, so we linked up, and I tacked on an extra mile after. All things considered, it went well—although I spent the rest of the day on the couch, ha.

How did your week of workouts go?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 2 (Jan. 9)

Winter came to New York City this week, and spring also paid us a visit on Wednesday.

As seen on Church of the Sunday Long Run

And the cold weather returned in time for today’s long run—woohoo!

General training notes: base building week two is in the books! I’m still getting used to the daily 4:45-5 a.m. alarms (it takes me about two weeks to fully get back on the bandwagon), but other than some sleepiness on Wednesday, I felt great this week. I logged one “quality” workout this week—Thursday’s CompuTrainer ride—and everything else was relatively easy.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

We completed the same technique-based ride as last week: lots of cadence work with some tempo efforts, plus one build from threshold to VO2 max.

Tuesday – a.m. run; p.m. run with Achilles

My running bud is finally back! We met for 5.5 miles in the park before work. That evening, I guided an Achilles athlete for a complete loop (six miles) in the park.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

During this freestyle-heavy practice, we completed a variety of descending blocks (50s, 75s, and 100s) for 3,450m total.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

The toughest ride of the week, this 60-minute workout contained a lot of quality efforts: we faced three, 10-minute blocks, and each contained various intervals at 85-90 percent of our FTP, 90 percent, 92-97 percent, 100-105 percent, and 105-115 percent.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Friday practices tend to be IM-focused (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle), and this one was no exception. Our main set included a 200 IM, plus drill work across the strokes for a total of 3,100m. The coach also gave me a slight, but big pointer for my backstroke (actual swimmers: I want not moving my shoulders enough/at all), and I immediately felt a difference in terms of speed and smoothness. The wannabe swimmer saga continues!

Saturday – a.m. run with Achilles; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Easy loop of Central Park guiding an Achilles athlete in the morning and a monster 4,300m freestyle swim with the Bearcats during the afternoon. Sportz Saturdays are my favorite!

Sunday – a.m. run

An easy two loops of the park plus one around the Reservoir for a total of 13.1 miles

Has the weather affected your workouts?

Reviewed: The 2016 Off-Season

The 2016 off-season has come and gone—and the 2017 is underway—so it’s a good time to recap the past three months and talk about where my training currently stands.

2017 looks pretty good so far.

After my final triathlon of the 2016 campaign in August, I had mixed feelings about shutting things down and heading into the off-season. Physically, I felt like I was only just starting to scratch the surface of months of concentrated work; as the season progressed, I felt stronger and more confident across the disciplines. Mentally, though, I needed a break. Between changing jobs and moving apartments, lots of life stuff happened aside from swimming, biking, and running. I absolutely love the multi-sport lifestyle, but I definitely needed time away from structured training. So as I eased into Sloth Week—the glorious seven days in which I did no physical activity—I told myself once I started up again, I would do whatever I wanted, only.

An epic, homemade, three-tiered snickerdoodle cake from the Bearcat masters holiday party

As I started sweating again, I did some swimming, running, and even some rowing, but absolutely no cycling. For more than three months—sixteen weeks to be exact—I avoided my bike. Honestly, I’m still shocked and surprised this happened, but after my final race of the season, my desire to ride vanished. Instead, I wanted to swim all the meters and run all the miles—and my coach was completely on board. So that’s what we did: logged laps in the pool at Baruch College with my Bearcat buds and ran miles in Central Park. I embraced this identity transformation, fell in love with the process, and found ultimately joy in the water and on the road. No longer did each session seem like something I “had” to do. Rather, each stroke, each footstrike became an opportunity to get the best out of myself. There’s no doubt spending time on my not-as-strong sports will prove beneficial, especially since my “A” race in 2017 is a swim-run stage event. (More on that later.)

Sidewalk wisdom

Spoiler alert:  I did reach the point where I wanted to get back on my bike. That was the plan all along—spend some time away so I’d feel fresh and rejuvenated when it came time to start smashing watts again. It worked because riding brings positivity again:  I love it, and I love being around my Tailwind peeps. We’re slowly ramping it up—cycling twice a week indoors—and I feel like my normal triathlete self. I’m also very at peace with how the off-season transpired. I did what I needed to do to put myself in a position to succeed—both during this season and beyond.

On the bike, I’ve noticed a shift in my mentality. Most of my riding thus far has been in zone two with the goal of building my base. Last year, those easy endurance miles were the bane of my existence. They made me ancy. Give me threshold, give me VO2 max, let me touch the fire and feel the burn. But today, I am perfectly fine with it. Like my swim and run workouts, I no longer view zone two as a place I “have” to spend time, but I want to. It is part of the process, and it completes the process.  Always trust the process.

My race schedule is almost solidified, and it looks a bit different from past years. Improving, maturing, and ultimately becoming faster are still goals, but another component we’re focusing on this year is further developing my race experience portfolio, leaving my comfort zone, and finding happiness in the process.

What are you looking forward to this year?