For now, I’ll skip over the vacation parts of vacation.
Spoiler: it involved SO MANY TURTLES!!!
Believe me, it was epic, and I posted some tales on Instagram when my phone decided that it would hold a charge and also connect to wifi (which was rare). My soul feels very recharged after a week under the water and in the sun, and the amount of pictures I have to process and edit is both daunting and exciting and I can’t wait to share them.
The transition was quick. Sunday at 1pm I was hanging out in a hot tub in Mexico. Monday at 9am I was back in the office. Monday at 6pm, I was in the gym throwing around kettlebells. Less than 48 hours after my plane landed, I was (barely) holding race power on the bike and trying to shake the sludge out of my legs with some faster running. If I’m going to race Waco, there’s no rest for this triathlete. Y’know, besides that week where I had a very heavy training load (10+ hours underwater, more weight training hauling tanks and gear) but absolutely no specificity. And actually, not pushing too too much because that would be counter-productive. Let’s just say, back to a (sane) training schedule I went!
I’ve never raced two long races this close back to back, so this is a new, fun experiment of ONE (ok TWO since my husband is also doing these crazy things with me) that could fail miserably or perhaps produce race day magic. Considering my success with a lot of back to back racing weekends earlier this year, I’m hoping for the latter!
This Tuesday was a lot different than last Tuesday.
Here’s where I’m at right now:
- Officially, I should be back in taper. I had planned to do a little more last week, but it actually worked out to be about 6.5 hours. This is fine. I’m a little cranky I skipped my wetsuit swim but everything else went well.
- Back in June when I laid out the full season’s training plan, I set October 13th to be a CONFIDENCE BUILDING workout. I knew I’d have ONE shot to rectify whatever was the biggest chink in my armor at Cozumel, and I’d tailor the workout to that. Two weeks out, I’m not going to be building much endurance, so the purpose of Saturday’s workout was 100% mental. That workout was a 1 hour trainer ride at race power (result was a little low but also my power meter kept dropping out :P), and then a 2 hour run at race pace (a shade under 10:30/mile for eleven and a half in conditions not dissimilar to Cozumel – hot and muggy with a few sprinkles). I haven’t done any longer runs off the bike and that may be part of what broke me on race day (and, also, the ridiculous heat, but let’s focus on the things I can control).
- How I feel right now at this moment: a little sludgy, both mentally and physically. I definitely feel like I just raced and gave it a lot but it’s coming around. I’m confident I’ve got what I need under there, but I’m just not SHARP right now like I was before Cozumel. Maybe that’s good. I expended a LOT of nervous mental and physical energy that I had in excess over the three weeks of taper last time, maybe this cycle I’m destined to be calmer and have things come together at just the right time.
Here’s what I feel like I could improve from the last race (and what I’m doing to fix it):
This is the last wetsuit pic I have… from 2016. I own 3 and I don’t like any of them, really…
I had too much time on my feet before the race. We had originally planned to get to Waco Saturday morning, but now, we’re taking a quarter day off work on Friday and plan to get there in time to hit packet pickup, mayyyybe athlete briefing, and set up the camper the day before the day before. In theory, all I should need to do on Saturday now is drop off my bike and do a practice swim, and the rest of the day is lounging in and around the camper. Pefect!
I will get up early enough race morning to not be rushing to the swim start in the back of the line. I swim about 40 minutes for this race, that’s where I need to seed myself.
This swim will likely be a wetsuit swim, and I take a little bit to get used to swimming in my sausage casing. I will be hitting a lake at least THREE times before race day (even if I have to swim in 50-something degrees air temperatures).
The elevation change for Waco is about 1k feet over the 56 mile bike. Still very flat, but not quite pancake like Cozumel. I need to work out a schedule to have some forced intervals in there (with easier sections) so my legs don’t get stale. Maybe 1 minute 200+ power, 1 minute ~100 power every 15? I also plan to go out a little more conservatively – every training ride I would start at lower power and build over the three hours. I’m going to make that my goal (build to 130W hour 1, 140W hour 2, 150 or as close as I can hour 3 or something like that) instead of heading out of transition like a rabid squirrel on speed.
The run is a little hillier – double the elevation gain of Cozumel – though it’s hard to be as flat as FLAT. There are two longer hills. My goal is to NOT WALK ON THESE HILLS. If I want to walk, it’s gotta be on the downhills. And I feel stupid walking downhill, so perhaps with this mentality and some luck with the weather, I can goad myself into running the whole damn thing finally. There will be a lot of people I know at this race, and I plan to ask them to literally BERATE AND YELL AT ME if they see me walking. I don’t want encouragement or kind words, I want to be told to SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP and GET A FUCKING MOVE ON. I doubt I’ll get that because most people are really nice, but hopefully the FEAR of it will motivate me.
A week back from Cozumel and I feel like I’ve lost most, if not all, of the crappy inflammation and water weight. I think, somehow, it all came off during Saturday’s run (I felt the extra weight hauling up some of those hills for sure), because since then I’m *about* back to where I was before I left (168-170). Two more weeks of tracking calories and Snap Kitchen mainly and hopefully I can race Waco slightly lighter than Cozumel. I’m super excited that my race prep will be 100% my own food cooked from the camper grill, that should help things immensely!
While I wish two days of carb gluttony before the race helped me, because it’s SUPER FUN, I’ve never seen any sort of success with it, so I’m planning just to eat like a normal human with a few extra snacks (fruit, crackers, almonds, etc) the day before. I think any benefit I get with slightly-more topped off carb stores, I lose with a super gross sloshy stomach and extra weight on race day. I may look back on this in 3 years and do this…
…but it’s my current strategy. So I’m documenting it. I work differently than other humans, and I’ve accepted this. My best 70.3 previous to Cozumel (2014), my only carb sources for the season were corn and potatoes the day before and I didn’t eat to excess. I’ve found I tolerate some whole wheat now as well, and brown rice is back to being a homie, but I don’t plan on going crazy, just my normal sprint plan (normal breakfast, turkey sandwich on wheat for lunch, grilled chicken with potato and salad for dinner) plus extra snacks to be like 2000-ish calories vs 1500.
So, this week, I has plans.
- Two weights sessions (today and Wed)
- Four trainer rides practicing the progression to race power (today, tomorrow, Wednesday, Saturday) 30-60+ mins
- One pool swim (tomorrow), one lake swim (Saturday)
- 8 mile run race pace (Thursday), 5k brick run off the bike faster than race pace (Saturday).
- Stretch or roll every day.
- Track food – 1500 calories most days with 2-3 slightly higher (due to workout load).
The unicorns and Wattage Cottage sock doping will get me through. I hope.
Two more weeks of triathlon season. While I’m not itching to be a lazy slob and sit on my butt, I am really excited for a few months of the plan pretty much saying “lift weights and do whatever else you feel like for the cardios” for a while. Just 13 more days of holidng it together and being good, and then one more massive, herculean effort at another 70.3 PR to go!