I suppose I should update for posterity on Kerrville, even if I don’t really wanna. 😛

My lead up was sub-par, and this was the understatement of the year. I swam once on the Wednesday before the race in the lake (after not at all for about 6 weeks), and remembered how just fine, so that checked that box. I intended to ride my race bike outside but didn’t. I ran a few 1-mile tests and my calf kept cramping, so I just rested it and hoped for some race day magic. I had no expectations here. I was just interested in playing triathlon and seeing what the day handed me.

Nothing was notable about the day before, the drive and camper setup and packet pickup went fine, we forgot the sheets again and ended up buying too much crap at Walmart. If anything was out of the ordinary, it was dinner – shrimp risotto spinach salad, which took 2.5 hours because the restaurant was slammed – but it was an excuse to catch up with Matt, the only angst it caused was getting to bed a little later than normal.

Sleep was fine – not the best but not the worst, and after coffee, an english muffin, and poopin’ like 6 times, I felt adequately ready to do this thing.

Predictive picture of the sh!tshow to come

My swim wasn’t fast, but it also was just fine. I ended up starting in the back of my age group and passing a lot of people, and I think I was passed by one person ahead of me. I emerged from the water feeling refreshed and good. Looking at my time and the bikes still in transition, I was in the mix.

The bike was actually pretty great. While I hadn’t been riding much, I spent a crap ton of time on my feet in Europe, which meant my legs felt pretty sturdy and strong if not super trained to hammer a bike. I remembered how to maneuver on DeathStar just fine (mostly…) and though I’m not accustomed to the pain of really racing and I’m def off my form, I finished over 18.5 mph, which was also still in the mix of my age group podium.

The run was an unknown, and likely to be stacked against me at my current weight/level of training, but I was ready to be pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately, I was also surprised by the stupid bottle cage that was on the back of my bike because I hadn’t ridden it outside since May and raked my right inner thigh over it. This produced a very large (and still weeks later very painful) bruise. At the time though, I though “hmmm, that’s going to hurt later”, and took off to see what the run course had for me. I jogged, not feeling great, calves a little tight, but hoped they would loosen up. SPOILER ALERT: they. would. not. First hill, about a quarter mile in, I felt rice crispies happen in my right calf (some sort of snap, crackle or pop). It was very jolting.

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Usually, I take a post-race picture with my medal. This race, I took one of my bruise.

I thought I tore something, but I was also hoping that it would just work itself out. I walked around, I stretched, I asked if there was ice at the aid station (sadly no) and found that running was out of the question and my best speed was about a 30 min/mile limp. If I was in the back half of the race, I might have just finished anyway. However, my pride is not such right now that I was willing to potentially do irreparable damage to finish a friggin’ sprint triathlon I was participating in just “see what I could do”. So, for the first time in 13 years of sport, I walked off a racecourse. I went to medical; they checked me out and ruled out an Achillies rupture and gave me ice.

Fast forward to my chiropractor appointment, there was nothing acutely wrong after she stretched, poked, and prodded. I have a medial quad/hammy imbalance made worse by a month of travel and an angry piriformis. My calves are fine, that is just where the funk is manifesting. Dr’s orders: 3 weeks no walking beyond what I need to do day to day, 4-6 weeks no running, and lots of stretching, rolling, and icing. I need to resume some balance strength work to re-activate the muscles that decided to go to sleep in Europe, I’m encouraged to do all the swimming, and some careful biking (with good form).

I was not a happy camper race weekend as you might imagine, but I think it could possibly have been one of the best outcomes in the grand scheme of things. I have been really cavalier with my health and training since the pandemic. I had to think really damn hard that weekend about whether I still cared about being a triathlete, and the fact that I was REALLY upset when I walked off the course that day means that I do.

I re-read “Calm the F#$% Down” (a sports psychology book) while camping and it set my head straight and reminded me of a few things. My ability to focus is ENTIRELY broken right now and it’s screwing me over in all facets of life. I get stuck on internal/broad (plotting and scheming) way too much. I’m working on alternating between internal/external/broad/narrow with some exercises. Reaching for my phone to log onto work with one eye open first thing in the morning is a bad habit I need to break. Instead, I need to start with some meditation. Yeah, I know, I am side eying myself saying the M word but it’s amazing how much better I feel when I cycle my breath through my body for 5 minutes before I really wake up even if I can’t get my brain to shut up during it and maybe that will come eventually. There are many other things, but these are the ones I can put into practice immediately.

I gave myself the week after the race to be grumpy about it and wallow a bit as an athlete, and I got over it fairly quickly, I’m just ready to do the things to not have that happen ever again. I tend to be the most motivated to make changes when I’m fed up, and hell yes, I’m fed up right now. But, as Joel reminds me as the sanity to my megmaniacalness, I need to make slow, gradual, and deliberate change instead of everything (everywhere?) all at once. So, I’m starting to incorporate 2 good habits per week, until I get back to being a little closer to the 2018-19ish me.

Week 1:

  1. Track my food and work on my consumption not being one of an arsehole
  2. Start meditating again.

Not that any of this was a surprise to anyone but my goldfish brain, but tracking my food reminded me that I’m eating too much for my calorie burn left to my own devices, so I’m endeavoring not to do that anymore. Also, waking up after cycling my breath through my body for 5 minutes makes me feel like a much more amazing human in the morning. Yeah, even if I can’t get my brain to shut up sometimes (or sometimes I fall back asleep during it) and maybe that will come eventually.

Week 2:

  1. Start training (lightly) again
  2. Try to do more of my 9 good habits

In January, I started a to do list with 9 things I’d like to do each day that make me a good sturdy happy human: stretch, roll, ice, boots, meditate, training, do a hobby for 30 mins, play 3 songs on guitar, track food. I’m back to using that to do app and while some days I get 3, and some days I get 9, I’m trying to do most things more days than not. It’s lead me to a nice morning routine where I wake up after meditation, ride the trainer for 30 mins (with some actual gusto!), occasionally pick up some weights, and then do my first hour of work on the couch with my massage boots and icing what needs icing. That hits a few things on that list. I am exclusively biking (either indoors or out) right now because I need to earn the right to run again and swimming takes leaving the house not to go to work, which is not quite in my repertoire of things to do right now, and that’s okay.

This upcoming week, I need to do the scary one (I guess it’s October so it’s spooky season):

  1. Start weighing again (and not hating myself for whatever number is on the scale)
  2. Reunite with the squat witch

I can’t measure progress without metrics, and I need to measure progress to stay motivated. So, it’s time to start the second parameter of this (both input AND output) with the scale. I think I’ve given it enough time to “settle” after travel and the race, and wherever I’m at right now, I’m at, and that’s okay (she says, cavalierly, before actually seeing a number). Also, we have 2 personal trainer appointments scheduled, and I’m ready to have the squat witch wreck/fix my meatbag.

I keep trying to coerce 2022 to be 2018, and it’s just not cooperating yet, but I do have 3 months left for it to move in that direction. Hopefully restarting good habits will be the shove the year needs to get going.