Saturday, August 11, 2012

Focus on the Positives

I have high expectations for myself in the world of triathlon. And I had very high expectations for this year's Ironman Lake Placid.  But unfortunately the nagging hip injury was not cooperating and I was forced to make a very tough decision.  I would pull out of Placid and take a (gasp) mid season break.  I wanted to cry and stomp my feet and feel bad for myself.  How was I going to deal with not being able to reach one of my biggest goals of the season?  How could I deal with NOT racing and even worse being forced to REST for a few weeks?

The answer was to learn from my mistakes and try and grow as an athlete. I did indeed pout for awhile but I also took the time to take a critical look at my diet and training and recovery protocols and learn from the mistakes I had made.  Too much intensity during a training run, not enough calcium in the diet and forgetting that recovery days are when you get stronger.  Everything happens for a reason and sometimes you have to take a step back and realize it's all about the process.

I am back in full training mode now and I actually got to race the Top Notch Triathlon as my first race back.  The rest period proved helpful as I felt rested and absolutely raring to go on the start line.  I was 100% mentally ready swim/bike/run myself into the deepest darkest depths of the pain cave.  Not to mention the race takes place in Franconia, NH - one of the most beautiful places in the state.  It was just a wonderful, beautiful, adventurous day.

I say adventurous because this triathlon includes a mountain bike portion.  And mountain biking is NOT this little ballerina's forte. The day starts with the bike - 3 miles on the road and 3 miles on a twisty, rocky, muddy trail. Gasp! I did this race back in 2007 and I couldn't mountain bike then and despite putting a little practice in on the old mountain bike nothing has changed.  I'll save you the sad sorry details but will say I survived the mountain bike (i.e. only face planted a few times). After I disengaged myself from my muddy mess of a bike the race for the course record started. I knew it was going to be close.  I plunged into Echo Lake for a quick 1/2 mile swim to the base of Cannon Mountain.  The run portion of this race goes directly up mountain.  I traded my swim cap for my Speedy Zoot race shoes and off I went! There were parts of the run were I kept doubting myself. Was I breathing so hard because I was out of run shape or was I breathing so hard because I'm running straight up a vertical? :) When my mind began to wander I tried to re-focus on the positives. I reminded myself that I am finally racing and that I do love uphill running.  Danny was hiking up and cheering on and as I passed him he told me good job and gave me an update of the runners ahead of me.  Just as I thought my quads were going to explode from a steady stream of lactic acid I saw the finish clock and crossed the line proud to have gotten the female course record. I was even more proud of one of my friends, Ryan Kelly, for winning the race overall!
We are so hungry after the race that our medals looked tasty

Link to the race article - Page 20

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