After I healed from a 5 month injury (1 month prior to Kona and 4 months afterwards) in 2007-2008 I never thought I would be back at my best fitness. The fitness that got me to the Boston marathon and to the Ironman World Championships was gone and I was an emotional mess. I was trying to lose the x-lbs that I gained from stress, minimal walking and too many tears from not being able to exercise. But after patience and a very slow walk...jog...run recovery, I was able to run again. I put my HR in a drawer and didn't pull it out for the entire summer. Lucky to be able to run again, I focused more on quality workouts based on my effort, perceived exertion and pain level.
I remember doing Ironman Florida 70.3 in May (2007) and I was smiling from ear to ear just knowing that I was able to swim-bike-run again. I didn't register for many races in 2008 because I was never sure if I was 100% healed from my un-diagnosed hip/groin/inner thigh injury. I was just so happy that I was able to do what I love to do and that was being outside, exercising and getting in a good sweat.
My training in 2008 was ok. I wouldn't say that I pushed myself to my limits but I was slowly seeing myself getting stronger. Nothing to where I was pre-kona but I couldn't complain. I was just grateful that I had two working legs and a healthy heart and I was able to do what others aspire to do.
2008 was also the year that I started my distance dietetic program. As most people know, my 3rd priority in life is my career. There is no need to rank my close friends, family and Karel because those are all givens as my number one priorities. 2nd priority is my health because I have one life and I want to live a good life.
The last year has been filled with lots of stress, hours at school (both online and on campus) and a higher appreciation for all of the registered dietitians out there. Hard work getting that RD! But through it all, I've managed to exercise and train. Not to mention that for the past 10 months I've had Ironman Kentucky on my mind.
I am inspired by my training buddies, Karel, bloggers and Pros. I love hearing about races and I enjoy hearing about the ups and downs of training and racing. We all have them and its nice to talk about them.
For the past 2 months, I've seen myself grow as an athlete. I feel like I am getting stronger (not sure if I'm getting faster) and I feel like each training session is a quality workout. Even though my strength is far from sprinting, I am really enjoying squeezing in a tri or two into my busy and career-focused life.
The most amazing part about my training (and hopefully I am not the only one that feels this way) is that I find myself proving to myself that I can do it.
A few months ago, I made excuses. It was just ok to not go any faster or push any harder. Now, however, I am proving to myself that I can be the athlete that I once was.
In the end, I do triathlons because it is my lifestyle. If I was not allowed to race ever again, I would still swim-bike-run every day of the week.
This morning was one of those Prove it days. Ok Marni-Prove that you can do this.
I drove to Katrine's and headed out for a quick warm-up 6 mile spin before we left her place at 6:30. Same group ride as last week but a different route.
As we made our 7 mile ride to the group, we both expressed how tired we felt. Not incredibly sore from the race + 8 mile run but just tired. I'm sure you know the feeling.
We came up with about 4 different scenarios for the ride this morning. Since we were toasted after the ride last weekend, we knew there was no way we could survive a ride like that this morning. Maybe cause Karel was there last weekend to bring up the pace, but even without Karel, we are riding with a strong group of guys.
I had a 4:30 ride + 30 min run on the schedule for this morning. I was really excited for this workout because I really want to prove to myself that I can do these longer workouts.
We met the group and there were 10 guys...and Katrine and me. Lovely..lots of testosterone and fast legs.
The ride this morning was the 5-bridges ride. The plan was to ride 75-80ish miles, starting in Nocatee, going to Jax beach, along A1A, to St. Augustine, through st. johns county and back home. Oh and go over 5 bridges along the way.
Katrine and I planned on riding with the group for 2 hours and then heading back on our own but with a constant pace of 22-23 mph (rotating every few miles) we decided it would be better to do more miles at a faster pace than a 4 1/2 hour ride with less miles.
I was feeling good for the beginning of the ride. I felt like I drafted well, climbed the bridges well and most of all, I was enjoying being on my bike. I actually didn't want to get off! That has NEVER happened before. I wanted to retire from cycling last sunday!
Towards the end of the ride I noticed there were 5 of us (me and 4 guys) rotating at 23mph but in crazy wind. The pace was tough for me, especially with my not-so-good drafting skills but I managed to hang on for the final stretch of the ride.
When Katrine and I got back to the road by her place, I ended up with 95 miles! A little less than 5 hours (haven't downloaded my power tap yet) but I proved to myself that I can do this! I can ride my bike and hang on!
I only get these fantastic, amazing, incredible workouts every now and then. It isn't like I am feeling 100%, 100% of the time. But, this time, I was feeling it.
I was a little worried for my run because it seems as though 1 quality workout is my only quality workout. If I bike tired, I run fast. So, I thought my run would be slow and painful but it ended up being fast and effortless. It was 11:30am, at least 90 degrees and I was hot, hot, hot.
I started running and noticed that my garmin told me I was under 8 min pace. I planned to do 3 x 1 miles at whatever pace I could do and walk 1 min after each mile. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could run off the bike fast. Not fast like I try to do in a sprint (would love to see 21 min. off the bike in a sprint) but fast enough to feel good off the bike for say, an Ironman???
Here are my splits:
mile 1: 7:50
mile 2: 7:39
mile 3: 7:41
average pace 7;46 min/mile
What a morning. I will remember this workout for a long time.
I didn't write this post just to talk about my life as a triathlete. I feel that no matter what you want to do in life, whether it is get faster in a sport, lose weight, get a degree, excel in a project, learn something new, etc. you should never underestimate your ability to excel. Every now and then, just believe in yourself and prove it to yourself that you can do it.
As for tomorrow, I will enjoy Monday OFF from training and hit the books :)