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This year the Galena Triathlon was another race I wanted to my race calendar. It is just 2 hours from my house and one of my sorority sisters has a cute and quaint home there. I have done Galena 7-8x and while it is super hilly and hard; I love it. Many local athletes and friends of mine are out there – it is a the official Kick-Off to the triathlon season.
I drove out with Karen and Elizabeth. I had invited Elizabeth later once I realized she was, in fact, going to race. Poor Karen…she is used to me, but add in Elizabeth and we talk non stop about a TON of random things back and forth. And, we bitch and moan about not being at race weight and then eat a LARGE Blizzard after the race and figure out why we “only” won on AG at this race. I am sure Karen was DONE with us when we got home.
Galena has 2 different transitions, so we are all bused to the start of the race early in the AM. Honestly, the bus ride was the best time ever. Elizabeth, Jenny Garrison (who had just given birth 10 weeks ago and won her AG too – amazing) laughing like school girls on the bumpy and erratic drive to the lake!
I will say that I had fun. It is like a mini- Chicago National Championships. Many are there fast and fit and ready to win. I like the competitiveness of this race. The only thing I do not like is that there is NO Elite wave. There really should be – just purely from a safety standpoint. And, of course, my wave is last because it always is. So, not only did I go last but had to ride the course (which was open to traffic coming the OTHER WAY!!) with everyone riding 4-5 abreast on the road. Made for a dangerous race! But, that is racing and I just did my best not crash or plow into anyone.
I was first out of the water and first out of T2…I had not seen anyone in my AG all day. And, that is the hard part…you “THINK” you are going hard and working because you are passing hundreds of people and are leading the AG, but it really is never fast enough in that kind of mix of waves!
Anyway, it was 90F and humid and I LOVE that weather but it went from 50F to 90F in typical format – 1 day – so that hurt badly. I led out of T2 and heard footsteps…and thought, “WHO is that?” Then, I see this gal as we are crawling up the first big hill and she passes me. HOLY hell. Well, isn’t that a kick in the ass? I could not respond. I was already maxed out and knew it was going to be a long run in that heat. She put 20 meters on me right away.
I could see her and I did NOT let her go. I carried a small flask of my EFS because this course only has 1-2 water stations (this is the first year it has ever been hot there) with just water. In these temperatures, I needed more. The run was 4.3 miles of rolling and hilly terrain.
Then, I saw her mistake. She probably thought there were more aide stations – but I knew and warned everyone there was 1 for sure and maybe 2. She blew thru it…and if she did take something she did not drink anything (poured it over her head)….I took and poured over my head and drank! Well, around mile 2 I was gaining on her. And, by mile 2.5 I was on her shoulder and had my legs back and was now running much stronger than she was. She was melting in that heat!!
Then, came a place in the race where we go down into this little valley and out. There was water at the top of this in and out. She was dying for water and then I made the strategic decision to blow thru that water station and drink from my flask. At this point, it was mile 3 + and I only had just over 1.5 miles left and fluid to drink. I surged hard and knew that if I did not do it then, I would never catch her because after this aide station the race is downhill. She did not respond! I was so happy because not only did I win the AG, but I never gave up. It is SO easy in races that are that hot and hilly (when we are not used to that terrain) to feel sorry for yourself and not really suffer….but I would have none of that. While I want to have fun – I want to win just as bad.
And, nothing beats a head to head sufferfest while racing! It is my favorite!
Yesterday I really had to do some soul searching. I realize this may sound so lame to a lot of you who read this blog..but for some of you who really know me and know the dynamics of a race like this will understand where I am coming from. I had told myself I wanted to have “FUN” this year…and I am! But, what does that really mean? I think I thought if I trained hard and did the work then I would show up and always be in the mix of things…and for the most part, that is true. But, after the overall finish on Saturday I realized I cannot have it all.
If I want to train and have fun then I MUST attach the end result to that attitude. You can’t have it all.
Gone are the days where I can piss around and show up and expect to win anything. GONE GONE GONE!
So, while I worked through my thoughts yesterday and poor Elizabeth and Jerome had to listen to my ramblings (thank you!) I realized that I need to pull my head out of my A$$ and get after it. So, I changed my mind. I was taking the year “low key” because the house is on the market and I was FRIED last year after training and racing IM AZ on my injury…..BUT the house is not selling and my Achilles is GOOD…so what the HECK AM I DOING?
I want to race and do well. I am in good shape, just need some fine tuning and a kick in the butt on some structure. So, here I go. Funny how you think you want one thing…but clearly, you want another. The good news is that we are allowed to change our minds! And, we are allowed to take risks and as long as our expectations and END results are in line with our training and commitment then it all works out nicely.
I thought I could just “have fun”….but I realize I do not roll that way. At all.
In keeping with my theme this year: “FUN”….I am having a great time..but I am finding myself wanting to go longer and do more. I think part of the problem is that we are having the BEST weather ever. You know, 60s and 70s and dry (unheard of here)…and sunny! It just makes you want to train and not work.
I was out on my bike today and my ride was super short..and I thought, “that is all!” I am so used to training for the Ironman that anything under 3 hours seems silly. Of course now I am doing harder intervals and harder overall rides, but I am having fun on the bike…and that was the first thing I wanted to throw away after IM.
AND, the open water is basically open now. Another sign summer is here. I am dying to get into the water – I wanted to go last week but I could not get any takers (boo)! And, I will not swim OW solo…you know, the water monsters will get me.
Now it is May 15th and I am starting to race a lot. I am so happy to race all short stuff…I am racing Galena this weekend…one of my all time favorite races: hilly and competitive! I have done it like 7-8x but it is still one of my favs. Then, I am doing a 10 mile run race over the Holiday weekend…then I am racing Leon’s…which is a VERY competitive OLY race in Indiana…I actually did the original ones (before Leon stopped doing the race – and re-started it) in the mid 90s.
Then, I am racing a little local Sprint the weekend of June 10th. I usually race Eagleman 70.3 that weekend. And, for those who have known me, know it is my all time favorite race. But, we cannot go this year. In my theme of “low key” it was not making the cut…and the final straw was it is Morgan’s dance recital that weekend. So, no EM for me (sniff boo)….
Then, the last weekend in June I am doing another local sprint. I am NOT sure who I think I am doing these Sprints. Gasp….And, then a 1/2 Ironman in July up in Wisconsin.
Then, I am at a loss. See, my fitness is actually very good for May because I am coming off the massive training I did last year and then I rested and now feel GREAT. So, strike when the iron is hot is my motto! And, as long as I have the desire to race, I gotta go with it.
The last race I have planned is my 1/2 Ironman in July…22nd weekend. Well, that leaves August and the fall to do some more things. My favorite distance is the 1/2 IM, so that is what I am thinking I should do…I do not want to do run races (not like a marathon or anything). I have thrown around the idea of SC Nats or LC Nationals, but that takes away my “FUN” theme….and while I am fit enough to race there, not sure I want to…travel.
So, that is what is running through my mind these weeks. I am training like I am doing Nationals….I am training like I normally do. In fact, I was on the track yesterday and FINALLY after 6 weeks of speed work I am seeing some times that I should be doing on the track. BEST workout ever. HONEST and hard. Most athletes run too easy and too much on the track. Get on the roads for that stuff. The track is for hard running and pace work. Every time I go to the track, I am nauseous with fear and anticipation. And, I know what I can do on the track pretty clearly. And, yesterday was a great breakthrough for me coming off this damn achilles injury from last fall.
Anyway, now I am rambling…but all I have to figure out is what I should do after July 22nd. And, NO IM please…remember, I said NO already to Hawaii…and I don’t regret that decision at all.
Oh and irony of this? We took an easy year b/c we put our house up on the market and wanted to start to build our new house? WELL our house is not going anywhere…we have had NO bites in 10 weeks. It is a horribly tough market out there …and while I knew it would be TOUGH, I had no idea this rough….so there is NO building anything until this house sells.
I am open to your racing thoughts – throw them out!!