Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In the Zone

I arrived to Texas ashamed of how I had let myself slip in terms of "professionalism" toward my sport. How could I ever expect to be "pro", lacking the natural talent of countless competitors, without doing EVERYTHING under my control as PERFECT as possible? It was the start of a downward spiral to a plateau of performance and a pool of negative emtions.

So, since I stepped foot off the airplane I've been committed to going at this full throttle. We're nearing the end of April, and it's been almost a month, with one more to go before Honu. How's it goin'? Amaaazzziiinnnngggg!

Cliche as it sounds, I've "found myself". That inner tiger, the instinctive voice that brought me home, has been unleashed and it feels great. To wake up every morning with fiery motivation is priceless. Aiding that is my brother's inspiring drive to kick some ass at the State track meet in Austin mid May. Over the years we've gone back and forth motivating each other athletically- he did the first triathlon, Teen to Tot in 2002, then I picked it up in 2006, and reeled him back. He went to watch me race Hawaii in 2007, and then I've seen him progress in swimming, tri's, and especially running (xc & track) to the point that it's contagious to want to get fast. Watching a meet the other day it hit me. We're blood. I have speed. I should be fast, I will be fast.

Helping each other out with nutrition, ways to recover, ways to approach workouts, etc has been awesome. We've made a pact. We will see him top 3 at State and win Nationals in triathlon this year. We also will see me win my AG at every REMAINING race this year- including Worlds 70.3 Vegas and defending my IM Hawaii title, as well as get amateur at Honu & Vineman.

I make bold statements like this because I fully believe that if you cannot see and feel yourself winning then how the hell are you going to win?!

When I first started racing this is the kind of attitude that I had and it's what got me to Kona right away. My first half in Honu 2007, I had zero doubt that I would qualify for the World Champs. I got in the water that morning already a champion inside; and when I went on to train for October, I was training to win not to participate.

One of my favorite quotes is "what would you do if you knew you would not fail?"

To that dreaded word "balance"- I appologize. I have found a new meaning for it. It is not anything that counters an OCD approach to triathlon. Rather it is attaining a level of satisfaction in other things in life which ALLOW you to have that very anal approach to sport. In other words, being home and able to be with my family and physically go into an office for work (work which I cannot be handed when I am out of state), makes me not feel like I am a waste in the "real world".

Believe it or not, one of the most irritating things to me is the bashing I receive for "not working". I am tired of explaining myself. My immigration issues are not a joke. But in short, the part time job that I have when in CA takes me minutes a day. Thus other work that I could be doing, such as helping the HR department as I am now, is only possible when I'm physically present. It is a gutting void that makes me feel useless. All of my life I took pride in excelling academically and had aspirations of holding a respectable and challenging career (not sport!).

Anyway, having that void filled right now, however so small the drippings, is immensely satisfying.


Onto the training here in TX. My plan is to get to Hawaii and be cold. As it is, I will be. Getting on the trainer when it's humid beyond words under 90 degree sun for anything more than 30min does wonders.

Certain runs I've been doing in the heat of the day as well. I had never really monitored my sweat loss (weighing before and after) but it has proved very useful.

My biggest obstacle is having my stomach cooperate at the intensity I need to race at if I plan to achieve my goals (I am still kicking myself about Galveston!!). So knowing exactly how much salt, calories, and water I need to take at certain HRs and legs of the race is crucial.

I've also acclimated quite well to swimming in warm pool water. It dehydrates you more than you think. I am now very thankful to aquajoggers and old ladies that vote for those temps at my gym. For Hawaii, this matters.

That awesome 2000m swim race in Austin this Sunday will have to be scratched off my calendar :( I didn't see the crazy $115 entry fee!! But I love an excuse to go to Austin so I figured I might as well run around Town Lake and swim on my own at the Quarry to get some more open water. I love Boerne Lake because it's 20min from home but it's quite big and though they removed the gator last year, it's still very eery.

Plans to go watch IMTX have also been slashed. My mom and stepdad will be out of the country so I'm my brother's driver that weekend and I've decided to race a sprint in New Braunfels. It'll be cool as the swim is in the Guadalupe River and I haven't been there since my dad and I used to go Kayaking nearly every weekend up until I was in high school :)

** a little side note...I caved and went into Slowtwitch yesterday and read some thread on IMTX. Some dude had said that it will likely be a little cooler and less humid than Hawaii and that you don't ever see a bitching thread on Hawaii's conditions because likely its participants are more hardcore. My take: I've raced Hawaii 3 times, Honu 3 times, that makes six plus 2 training camps. 2009 Honu was the hottest I've experienced it and that's because we're running in the heat of the day in the part of the island that never gets rain/shade. The Texas 90-100F and the wretched humidity of Houston make Kona absolutely mild. To all those that think Kona is a hot race: No. The bike is hot I'll give you that. The humidity is mediocre and by the time the bulk of the age groupers are running on the Queen K the cloud cover has already cooled it down dramatically.

Just sayin'...I think anyone that does well in this inaugural event deserves some major kudos and their worries about the weather are understandable.***

Anywhoooo.....We're roughly 6 weeks out of my favorite race on planet Earth and I'm reaching the first peak of 2011 that I knew was possible.

I look fowrard to having an absolute blast the rest of the season.