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Friday, June 1, 2012

How do you measure a year?

  Wow...so, somehow a month has slipped past without me getting a chance to update this thing!  Life, well, got in the way, as work, a couple of presentations, training, and the nastiness of the yard all demanded my attention, and everything else fell by the wayside.  I found myself in sort of an Ironman training funk, as well; enough work has been done that I've been feeling the effects, yet the heaviest training still remains, something that seemed especially daunting as I came off my last recovery week still just generally tired.  Plus, I'd just generally plateaued, I was just constantly tired and hungry, and somehow was managing to gain weight.  The breaking point came a week and a half ago, when I was sitting on the bike with a board placed precariously across the aerobars, trying to write up evals while recovery riding, all while trying to protect the sore palm and elbow that I had fallen onto while trying to u-turn on a too narrow street while biking two days beforehand.  I stopped the ride and tried to recollect myself.  Mary had the good sense to shut me down for the next day, and reassured me that the Ironman funk was perfectly normal.  I slowly began to dig myself out of the self-imposed hole I'd created.  I left some frustration out on the track.  My pool times (finally) began to nudge themselves downward, ever so slightly.  And my biking, well, remained the same.  But, now I've found myself within days of my next conquest-the Mooseman 70.3.

   Although Mooseman is taking a back seat to Placid this year, I'd be lying if I denied that the race holds a bit more significance for me than my previous 70.3s this season.  One year ago, this race set into motion the chain of events that has brought me to where I am today.  I had a single goal: the Vegas slot.  I just wanted to get there; I had no inkling whatsoever that I possessed the capability to eventually win the age group and earn the pro card.  I headed into Mooseman absolutely terrified because of that reason, and also because I feared the bike course.  One big climb, done twice, followed by a fast, technical downhill.  I'd still never actually even ridden with both arms down in aero.  Looking back in my logs, I can count on one hand the number of times I'd ridden over 2.5 hours in the three months heading into that race.  Only two of those rides were outdoors, too.  One of them was on totally flat terrain.  On the other one, I had to stop while trying to climb Bopple hill, and then had tipped over onto the pavement trying to clip back in on the climb.  Once at the top, I noticed that I still has a couple of gears left that I could have shifted down into.  Yes, although it may be hard to believe, my bike skills were once far worse than what they are today.  Yet, when race day arrived, I somehow managed to swim, well, not horrifically for me, make it up and down that hill twice on two wheels, and work my way to the front of the age group on the run.  I remember watching the pro women start, with a twinge of envy almost, just hoping that some day, I'd make it into that wave.

  Fast forward a year, and it's back to the scene of the original crime.  Obviously, much has changed in that time, while much has somehow remained the same.  I'm still in search of the elusive sub-33 swim split (I know time isn't always relevant for swims, but...come on.  It's about time to speed up).  I'm still fearing that downhill to some (somewhat large, especially given the forecasted rain) degree-I know myself well enough to know that I'll be up out of aero, riding the brakes, maxing out at maybe 35mph, and praying a bit on my way down.  And I'm still just hoping that come race day, my body will figure out what it's supposed to do, and allow me to do it.  But, at the same time, several things have changed, which leave me with some optimism.  I have coaches now; there's no guessing game on my part this time.  Obviously, I've ridden much more.  I can ride in aero, even if I still pop out the second the road starts to slope downwards.  And, we've been climbing.  As soon as New Orleans was over, Dave and I began to travel down to the Finger Lakes area for some, as I termed it, "big girl" riding.  The time to suck it up a bit had arrived; I couldn't use the "my next race is flat" caveat anymore.  A couple of the climbs on our long rides were similar in distance and grade to Mooseman's hills.  Yes, they sucked; no, it hasn't gotten a whole ton easier; and yes, I've had a few of those "oh crap, I'm not going to make it up this" moments that I fear will come about on Sunday, but, bottom line is...I made it up (to this point).  And, of course, I'll be starting a few waves earlier, with far fewer women, in the wave I'd watched take of with admiration last year.  All things considered, despite the quasi-taper I've been freaking out over to some degree, I should consider myself better prepared.  But, only race day will tell.

  So, that's where I stand.  The nerves are lesser at this point, and, in a way, the stakes are also a bit lower.  My usual fears of finishing at the back of the pro field are there, of course, but if it happens, it happens-it wouldn't be the end of the world.  I'll take the race as what it is-a good test of my progress in the past year, some more good experience in the pro field, and hopefully some solid prep for Placid.  Whatever will be, will be!

2 comments:

  1. I giggle a little every time you talk about the bike... we might be long lost sisters!! I'm calling a dynamite bike for you at Mooseman (in a good way, not in a blown-up-by-the-side-of-the-road way). I'll be thinking of you as I ride around flat Florida! Good luck!

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  2. Your raw hoensty about your bike skills and race day jitters are warming. It's nice to know the Pro's are human too! You have had a BLESSED year. Team Hatfield will be cheering you on from Keuka! Rock that shit and kick ass Hansen!

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