Feeling a Little Different

August 10, 2009

Clearly having fun

Yesterday I did a small-town sprint tri and chased after the still-elusive win.  My cousin-in-law was also racing and it was his first tri, so there was no shortage of family support, making for a really fun race.

It was the first triathlon I’ve ever done that had a pool swim.  Interesting, to say the least.  We ranked ourselves for heat assignments and then had to decide amongst our randomly-assigned lanemates who should lead and who should follow.  You can imagine how those conversations went.  So…are you fast?  nope.  you? nope.

Anyway, my two lanemates and I got it figured out pretty well and the swim ended up being fairly painless.  I have to say, I am so at home in a pool that I wanted the swim portion to go on and on.  Sadly, it only lasted 500m and then I was off into anaerobic hell for an hour.  I had forgotten how different sprint racing is than Olympic distance.

I had a solid ride and in spite of three close calls, made it back to T2 safely.  I did get schooled in a big way on the bike by the woman who won the race.  I had a decent lead out of the pool, but I was no match for her on the bike.  She blew by me at lightning speed and it was only a few minutes before I couldn’t tell her apart from the mailboxes in the distance.

Although my run was not shockingly fast, I’m really pleased with how it went.  I have put a lot of mental and physical energy into my run this season and I have felt a real shift of late.  I really feel like I take the run on aggressively now rather than just enduring it and hanging on.  I felt strong and fast and was actually enjoying myself on the run yesterday which is an enormous deal for me.  All those workouts on the black track in the mid-day heat with no shade – those are what I remembered when I was on the run.  Those are the workouts I have in the bank that bolster me when the pain sets in.

Slowly, slowly, I am getting there.  I am turning into the triathlete I want to become.  Lots of days it feels like nothing has changed: I do the workouts, I eat the food, I dream about how things will be.  But days like yesterday remind me that I am actually there.  This is the stuff – it’s the consistent, often not-especially-exciting training that is moving me in the right direction.  The richness comes from doing the little things consistently and well.  Winning would be fun, but nothing is better than the feeling that I am improving and growing as an athlete and a person.  Except maybe the feeling of GB smiling and screaming at me from the side of the road while all the pieces of my training come together in a race.

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