I'm happy to say I'm finally back in the game. It's been almost 1 year since my last full triathlon after tearing my left calf muscle back in August of last year. While I healed quickly, it's still been a bit of a rocky road as I've continued to struggle with overly tight calf muscles. I'm still trying to figure things out and get back to 100%, but I was definitely happy to be back out racing again.
I tend to not want to race unless I feel like I am 100% prepared which often leads to me never racing since I always know I can be better. What can I say? I'm a perfectionist, but I also realize you can't always be peaking and at the top of your game year round, so I know it's important for me to just get out there for the fun of it regardless of the outcome. If there is one thing I have learned it is that success rarely comes without failure and putting yourself in a position where you can't ever fail also means you will never find success.
The race was a small local Olympic distance triathlon in Sahuarita, AZ, a small town just south of Tucson. Since we were already going to be in Tucson and with my sponsor Trisports.com supporting the race it was a no-brainer that it was time to jump in and dust off the cobwebs.
And cobwebs there were. I was happy to take the overall female win, but know I still have a lot of work to do, both physically and mentally. My first reaction following the race was to sit and critique myself and make a list in my head of everything I need to work on. While it's important to learn from our experiences I also reminded myself to celebrate the small victory. I know there are many people who wish they could be out racing, but cannot be and so I reminded myself to be thankful and proud. Onto the race...
The Swim- 18:37 (this was definitely cut short. I wish I could say I did 1:08 per 100/yd pace, but my Garmin tells me I was closer to 1:27 pace. I wish!!)
Overall I was really happy with my swim as I was the first female out of the water and 3rd overall including the men. This is a huge victory for me as I have no background in swimming and this is something I have worked on for the past 12 years. In fact, I was so terrified of the water as a young child I refused swim lessons and would NEVER put my face or head in or under the water. It wasn't even until high school that I even tried putting my face into the stream of water from the shower. This is no joke my peeps. I had some serious anxiety when it came to water so my swim is something I am very proud of especially since I have had very few swim lessons and am mostly self-taught. For those of you that have a strong fear of the water, you CAN overcome this, but like anything it will take time, patience and a lot of practice.
Onto the Bike- 1:11:39 (~20.9 mph)
It was a VERY windy day that day and we had a fierce headwind on an uphill heading out which then turned into a fierce side-wind once we turned. I was averaging only about 16 mph and knew once I turned to head home I was going to have to give it everything I had to get that number up to where it should be. After about 15 miles of grinding uphill, fighting the wind and being thrown all over the road we finally made the turn to head home and indeed ended up with a massive tailwind, one so big I really needed a bigger chain ring to gain what I needed back in those last 10 miles. No longer being thrown side to side, however, I felt like I was finally able to settle in and just push for home.
Because there were several races going on that day (5k, sprint triathlon and several duathlons) it was hard to know where I was at in the race. I felt confident about my swim and since I did all of the passing on the bike and was not passed by anyone except for one male I knew I had to be in good position. But, another lesson I have learned is that while my goal is always to go for the win I have absolutely no control over my other competitors and need to focus solely on my own race regardless of what place I am in. I have learned from past coaches and from sports psychology books that it is important to focus on the process (both in training and racing) and NOT on the outcome. We have no control over outcomes in life, but we DO have control over the present moment, and how we are handling things so it's important to ask yourself if you are giving it everything you've got and making the most of the situation. Getting complacent in a race because you think you are in good position or getting frustrated because you think you are in a bad position is no way to approach a race or life for that matter.
The Run- 44:39 (~7:08 min/mi pace)
I was probably most nervous about the run going into this race. The run used to be my strong suit and I always felt pretty invincible on the run. But after living in Flagstaff at 7,000 ft elevation for the past 8 years that has changed. I have lost my speed, my turnover and my runner's highs and have been yearning to get them back. Add to that a torn calf muscle and about 2 years of really pulling back to work on my overall health and building back my endurance I have seen almost zero speed work or intensity over the past two years. Not to mention, I haven't done an Olympic distance triathlon since 2010 so my speed was just a wee bit rusty. I was definitely hoping for a little more on the run, but we were dealing with the same strong winds on the run and I gave it all I had which is all I can ask of myself.
From here, my next race will be IM CDA 70.3 at the end of June. I'm still working on figuring out the cause of my overly tight calves (If you've got any ideas I'd love to hear them), but hoping I can still build a little more speed before this next race.
We have decided to stay in Tucson for a little bit so I can see if I can get some of my speed back by staying at a lower elevation for an extended period of time. I know many of you are wondering how in the world Matt and I have so much flexibility to travel and constantly be on the road...
No, I did not win the lottery and no I am not a trust-funder (nor is Matt). Some of you know that Matt and I both quit our full-time jobs as dentists with the goal of pursuing a more fulfilling life. I have hopefully retired from dentistry for life and am pursuing my racing goals while doing some endurance coaching online. Coaching online means I can do it from anywhere which is amazing. Am I making anywhere near what I could make or was making as a dentist? Nope, but that is okay. When we were both working full-time we realized while we had the ability to buy a lot of things, we were incredibly unhappy and unfulfilled. We sold our house, paid off student loans and and are doing our best to simplify. Matt still works part-time in Tucson and Alaska as an endodontist (Yep, the root canal guy), which frees up a lot of time in between work for us to travel and explore.
There are no permanent plans in the works. They seem to change on the daily. For now we are trying to live each day to our best while really trying to spend time looking a little deeper into what we want out of this life as well as finding our purpose in life. I know... that sounds WAY too deep, but it is true.
Matt is currently working on building out our Sprinter van which we will likely try to live out of part-time and maybe eventually full-time. (If you'd like to see some of the progress follow him on IG here).
So far I am really enjoying my time in Tucson. Besides amazing riding, amazing Winter weather (that has now passed) and especially awesome facilities like the pool you see below at the UofA, the people are friendly, there seems to be a great sense of community and I have Trisports.com just down the street from me. What more could a girl ask for?? I am also already feeling the benefits of being at a lower elevation.
That's all for now folks. Hopefully more stories of racing success to come.
"Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome." --- Arthur Ashe