Saturday, September 12, 2009

Racing for Fun and Other Thoughts

I can't believe it's closing in on a year since I did the Silverman Half.

I'm in such a different place now than last year it's almost incomprehensible to me. Staggering. Crazy.

After the Utah Half my training became sporadic and inconsistent, much like my posting frequency here. I could say it's been hard but the truth is I've enjoyed taking a break. It is so0000 refreshing to not judge myself so harshly for everything I do. Working on that has taken some significant energy but I have to say I'm very proud and happy about where I am right now.

My business is blasting forward and that has "upset" my life balance a bit. Upset isn't the right word really but it's the first one that came to mind. I'm not working long hours killing myself as an entrepreneur (seriously I did that in a job I'm not putting up with that being in business for myself -- life's too short) but the time and energy I'm spending is specifically targeted and deliberate, so that I'm growing my business without killing myself or becoming resentful.


So I've allowed training to take a temporary back seat. It's not permanent and it's not something I'm ashamed of or something I'll regret. Ever. Taking the B2B half off my calendar was SUCH the right thing to do. Although part of me is still bummed that I won't be there, the overreaching theme is that I can do B2B another year!!! YEAH!

So, my race this weekend!!!! Las Vegas Triathlon, Sprint.

It had been three years since I'd done a sprint triathlon. WOW how much fun are they!!!! Originally the plan was to go to Tempe with some friends to do the Nathan's Sprint. Those plans fell through so I got into the LV Tri and raced here at home on the same day! Serendipitous, simple, and really really fun!

This is the first race that I've rolled out of bed for feeling absolutely NO pressure. So another way of saying this is that doing this race was KEY to my well being in and love for the sport. I do love the level of discipline and dedication needed to train for and execute a half iron. LOVE IT!! THAT is what got me to this point!!!!! After Utah, though I needed to take the lid off of the pressure cooker! I was not expecting this to happen so it took me by surprise. Fortunately, I trust myself enough to make adjustments.

Though it was in the back of my mind, I truly did not worry about the fact that my training was not up to the level that it usually is before a race, any race.

Coach wrote some fun, short and speedy workouts for me. I treated most of those as "optional." Instead I got there, knowing I could do the distance (oh yeah) just looking for a good time.

Swim (750 meters)

The water was PERFECT!!! Flat, calm and the perfect temperature. No wetsuit for me! The conditions were just too perfect.

I'm not used to being in the largest starting wave. Here locally the sprints draw the most athletes and yesterday all the women started at once. Since I'm typically either doing a half or an Olympic distance the starting waves are pretty small. This wave was larger than I am used to but very tame. Quite a few of the girls were doing side stroke, back stroke, or breast stroke.

My stroke is getting an overhaul from the folks at Swim Las Vegas! I continue to improve in the water and my new stroke felt pretty good! I swam at a moderate pace just really enjoying the water.

Swim time -- 21:47

The run up to transition was ridiculously long -- the longest I've ever seen. Leslie, Kym and Donny were there cheering for me as I got out. LOVE that!

You can sort of see how long it is here and I still have quite a way to jog yet!!

Nothing like those gorgeous just out of the water shots -- waving to all of my fans (lol)!

T1 -- Pretty uneventful and longer than normal.

Finishing the ride!

Bike (12.4 miles)

Ah this was where the fun was -- and I'm not even being sarcastic! After Utah I needed a ride that I was at least semi happy with and this one filled the bill.

No more had I gotten into my rhythm when we were hitting the turnaround.


Seriously it felt like I had just taken a couple of breaths and there it was!

It was the familiar hilly course I'm used to but I had not ridden these hills in months! The last one is always brutal and as I made my way up I just kept repeating: Silverman -- Strong, Silverman -- Strong over and over as I listened to the clip clop of a couple athletes walking their bikes up . . . SILVERMAN . . . okay I was at the top. Time to descend to transition. Yeah!!!!!

Bike Time: 54:45

Run (5k)

Well it seems like there is a less than happy place for me in each race this season and this time it was the run. Not that it was so bad but by this time my body was starting to feel the effects of the sporadic inconsistent training as well as the less than stellar eating habits that have been a part of my routine lately.

Let's just say the run was slow and it started to get hot and leave it at that. It was still fun being out there and encouraging and being encouraged by others.

Run Time: 39:54

My friends had to leave before I finished but they got this shot of Tony finishing. Tony kicked my ass in this race by more than 11 minutes. He was waiting for me and removed my chip when I crossed the line then he gave me a big hug. He did double duty at this race as a volunteer and a participant. Tony has seen me at my best and at my worst and he is always there ready to train with me.

Thanks Tony.

So this year has been full of learning experiences, and I set some huge PRs!!!! GREAT season for me.

If I had to address one nagging thing though it's this: I never pushed myself as hard as I could, or, more importantly, as hard as I wanted to, this season. I know there is some speed in my body, at least enough to put me up in the middle of the pack. I know this as surely as I'm sitting here typing. Or at least I'm as sure as I can be having not cracked mid pack yet.

So the question becomes, what do I really want? Getting to mid pack (if I really do want that for a compelling enough reason) may take time, what with me having no background in swimming, biking or running. I just don't know right now and that's OK.

I felt like I lost my edge after Utah and immediately realized that I had to take things down a notch. I HAD to do the LV sprint tri just for fun to keep my finger on the many reasons why I do the sport.

So next season should be interesting. After doing the Ragnar Relay in two weeks I will be officially (as opposed to unofficially as I have been doing) "off" until November 1 and then I will let the inspired ideas about next season come to me. They are there as one has surfaced already.

For now I will blog more frequently even if it's not all about training as I've missed blogging, and the interaction that comes with it. Facebook is great but it's not blogging!

Take care everyone!


Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

I don't think you should second guess yourself for not pushing your self as hard as you could. You had a great race, a fun time, and that's really what it's all about. :-)

Nicely done!

Wes said...

I empathize with your need to cut back. I only did 4 tris this year and two road races, and I think I should have cut back more. Those races that you just go out and do for fun a lot of times end up being just as special as the race where you accomplished some fantastic goal.

I am re-evaluating my goals for next year as well. There's always more work to be done, but I never want to lose sight of why I do this in the first place: health and fun.

Thanks for that Steph!! I am so delighted that you are in such a good place in your life and triathlon. You so deserve it!


Alisa said...

I think everyone needs a break. I've heard from friends who have done their "a" races early in the season that they feel lackluster for a little while. I think you can totally become a mid-packer! Absolutely!

I'm hoping to see Barb's race on your calendar for 2010!

Kelly said...

I'm so glad to see your post! And glad you had a great, fun race :-).
Enjoy your soon to be official time off, get re-energized and re-focused and see where that leads you.

And it was H.O.T. this weekend...aren't you glad you where done before the heat really kicked in ;-)

Calyx Meredith said...

Woo hoo! You look so relaxed and happy in your pix. Fun is good for you. Love it! What a fantastic season you've had - on all levels. I hear you about wanting to push yourself in a different way and I can't wait to see what that develops into for your next season. Peace!

Kevin said...

I think next year is going to mostly be a break for me. I need the time away from structured race focused training to focus on regaining my running speed, strength, and losing weight. Most importantly, I need to rediscover the fun of it. Some times when we go from training from one race to another and another, we lose focus on why we are doing it in the first place

ShirleyPerly said...

Stef, you have come so far, set some great PRs this year and still want more?

Welcome to the club! :-)

I think that's why the sport keeps us coming back. But it does have to be fun or else it becomes a chore. Even the "fun" of training at high levels can become an unwanted stress. Enjoyed hearing the joy in your sprint tri report and also the things you've realized about yourself in life, work and play. You're right, life is short!