Last weekend was Nationals.
I have never had more fun over a weekend than I did last weekend.
Liz had 13 athletes at Nationals. I don't know how many other athletes were there from the other coaches.
MSM had a pretty big showing. I was the self-proclaimed Party Coordinator for race day.
Here are the highlights:
1.) Racing an oly and a sprint on back to back days is physically and mentally exhausting. Prior to the race I had a conversation with Dina about my week leading up to the race and how to fuel & recovery between races. It was the best thing I could have done. Because of the stress of threshold racing on back to back days (versus one really long day at Z2-Z3), she gave me pointers that I hadn't thought of.
2.)I have never been more prepared for a race of this level. For weeks, I had been exhausted. Then a day or two into taper, I started to feel like I could take over the world.
In 2015, I did the oly at Nationals. I came in 119. This year, I came in 46th. That's a huge jump. Although the courses really can't be compared, this was a non wetsuit swim. In 2015, the water temp was low 60's.
Oly swim: An unusally slow swim for me, even without a wetsuit.
Bike: Fastest oly bike. I averaged 92% FTP for the race.
Run: RUN PR!!! BY 2 MINUTES!!! I don't think I've ever been more excited about a 2 minute PR.
For the morning of the sprint, it was pouring rain. Sadly, that morning, in transition, I sliced open my foot and had to go to medical. They medic said that I could race, but that it would be painful. He was pretty sure the bandage would hold up, though.
The swim: Unusually slow.
My bandage came off.
I limped up to transition and sat there for awhile debating whether I should continue. I had brought socks with me. I thought, "I've trained too hard for this. If I can get my sock on, I need to get on my bike".
If you know me, the worse conditions are.....the better I will do. I slowly put my sock on and squeezed my foot into my shoe.
I hopped on the bike. Because there's no pressure on your foot (cycling comes from your legs not your feet), I felt really good on the bike. It was raining for my swim, and it was still raining when I got on the bike. Mud and rain is splashing up.
I avoided puddles. I avoided the paint.
I KILLED THE BIKE. I held 95%FTP the day after riding hard for the oly.
When I got to transition, I made the decision that I was going to finish the race.
Getting my running shoes on was brutal. I was soaking wet. My socks were wet.
Along the entire run, I cheered for everyone and anyone. If someone had a Team USA kit on I yelled for them. I cheered for my team mates. I cheer for local athletes that I knew.
At the halfway marked, I looked down at my shoe, it was covered in blood.
When I crossed the finish line, I knew I hadn't blown away any of my times (except on the bike). I limped over to get my gear bag. All I wanted to do was get my shoes off.
Later that morning, I ran into Chris (Liz's husband). He came in 4th in the 40-44. I also talked to Jen Harrison.....who completely dominated the women's 45-49 (both days). (Chris raced both days, also, but I can't remember where he finished).
It was so nice to talk to both of them. Even though, they were podium finishers, and I came in 46th on one day and (maybe) 30thish on the 2nd day....our bodies had felt the same. We all woke up with our backs screaming at us. We all thought, "How am I going to do this"? We all thought, "Maybe once I get moving, I'll feel better"?
Once we got to the swim, we all felt pretty damn good.
I have another story. One of the MSM athletes name is Nick. He ran passed me on the oly. I yelled at him and he gave me a smile.
When he ran passed, I thought, "OMG. He's running a sub 6 mile. He doesn't even look like he hurts".
He ran a 5:30 pace for the 10k. I know he was hurting.
It doesn't matter if you run a 5:30 or an 11:30.....the pain is the same. That's what makes this sport so much fun and the athletes so supportive.
The week after Nationals, I have been doing hardcore recovering. I'm recovering this week and (basically) tapering next week because I have another race in 2 weeks.
Liz is giving me a whole new level of "recovery workouts". I have been eating really well. Today, I woke up feeling pretty good.
My foot is healing up just fine.
Liz and I talked about my weekend. We talked briefly about my ongoing goals. Briefly. I was so wiped out after the weekend, I didn't even want to THINK about triathlon. I wanted to lay on the couch and never move again.
Anyway, Liz said something that stuck with me. She made a comment about the next time I go to Nationals. My first thought was, "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME"?
A couple of days later, I was feeling better. I realized that she (only) stated my own personal super secret goal. It was a goal that I had never told anyone. I thought, "She knows me better than anyone". She knows my abilities better than anyone. By sharing her thoughts, she was showing me that she believes in me and my goals. I thanked her for her vote of confidence. Sometimes it's hard to see ourselves for who we actually are when we are going through training like that.
I sat down and drew up a plan. It was a general plan for next year.
If I have a goal and if my coach believes I can get there......isn't it worth working for?
My plan for next year was to focus on the 70.3.
On Tuesday, I found out that I qualified for Nationals next year.
It was almost like a sign to keep going, keep chasing that dream.