Monday, March 26, 2012

Mexico & my "aha!" moment

I wish I could write a happy/inspiring report on the 4 day trip/race to Ixtapa, but quite the opposite is true. However, everything everything happens for a reason and this trip made a delusion of mine clear and marked the right direction for me to take in this sport.

Thursday I got in and from then until Sunday, as a trip, I had a great time. I love Ixtapa- the people, the food, the town, the beach. I went by myself even though my dad drove out to watch me race but he stayed at some friend's house. It was enjoyable to cruise around town by myself, see the shops, try some great seafood, and appreciate the places triathlon takes me. Ixtapa has been a part of me from childhood- we used to go every Christmas and other holidays to our condo in Zihuatanejo.

The race- I was feeling great going in. I don't want to write a play by play as I'm really trying to just put the whole thing behind me as a blur of a solid training day for the season/for Galveston. The race basically ended for me on the swim as does any ITU if you don't come out of the water with the pack. Sad thing is I was with the pack until the second boey. Long story short, and stated as a lesson for all: if the person you are drafting cuts a boey, you don't gain anything by being ethical and going around it alone...cut the freakin buoey too!!

After that it was a solo HAMMERFEST on the bike and when I got to the run my legs were trashed. Like I said, great t-run in hot weather as training.

It was paramount that I do this ITU race at the beginning of the year and that it turn out bad, otherwise my stubborn self would've gone to another race in Mexico in May in Huatulco or in October in Cancun.

It was the exact replica of the outcome in 2008 when I also raced the draft legal pro race there. I actually biked faster that year despite all the miles and more fitness this time around- of course I had my super duper SLC SL :) haha....

Anyway, I wanted so bad to give ITU a try- to see it as a long term goal I could indeed with experience and more specific training get in the groove of performance wise especially for 2016. But it's just not my thing. Despite LOVING the raw racing, the intensity and finesse of it, for one I just can't connect with the Mexican athletes- as Mexican as I am, really I am not, ha. I've struggled with that my whole life- not being American, yet not fitting in at all with Mexicans, or in Mexico itself. I am a "gringa" by custom.

With that, I experience the "fish out of water" symptoms that foreigners do when they visit Mexico. I often get stomach problems with the trip, I don't understand the way they carry out/do some things, and on top of that my whole immigration situation makes me nervous to the point of being nauseous every time I go. Yet, I kept going back time after time, race after race. Each trip a little more difficult and a harder slap in the face.

Yesterday was the punch that knocked me out. If the universe throws us "signs" this was not a "sign" it was a detailed, in your face ORDER: "Stop it! Stay HOME!!!".

Despite all those, sadly, negative points, I love my country, appreciate the culture, and have to accept that I'm from there and that for personal/family reasons I was not born in the US, and can only be thankful to have been raised here.

I am proud to still race "for" Mexico in Ironman/70.3 racing, but I'm honestly fed up with trying to please others- and this is not toward my country, the federation, or specific people/friends in the US or there, it is in general. It's time to race for ME. To make MYSELF proud. I'll be honest since around December my self esteem/confidence has been in shambles, and this weekend took it to the gutter because I failed (not by not winning, let's not get stupid, but I knew I could swim that swim). It was just a sh*t race for me out of any Olympic distance ever, same as '08.

So, while my little idea of ITU sounded quite romantic, it will not be. 70.3 and all other DOMESTIC short course, and in future, Ironman races are my gig and clearly my forte.

After Galveston I look forward to putting all of this in a very distant past and just keep forward focus. I'm off to a training camp for over a month starting April 27 and returning after Hawaii 70.3 That will be my initial consistent, purposeful, smart (thanks to those guiding me) training block, for the rest of my season to unfold.

What can I say? I am stubborn, but relentlessly passionate and determined to achieve what I have always known I can achieve in the thing I love most.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Highs & Lows

I've developed more empathy toward menopausal women. The roller coaster of emotions and physical feelings I've experienced the last 2 months had me wondering whether a steady stream of training and confidence would ever make its way back to my life.

4 weeks ago I had one of the best weeks of training ever. I was cranking out swims and runs in PB paces and all the while upping my cycling from the "run block" that took over the start of the year. I was on FIRE. Then suddenly after that weekend going out on my longest brick/long run combo (4.5hr ride Sat, 2hr run Sun), I knew I was digging a big hole on that run Sunday but thought it's all good as long as I take a few easy days.

Enter stupidity: you get a text from a friend to run some intervals the following Tues- you're feeling tired but very fit and go for it.

BOOM interval one 2-3min and that was it the plug was pulled and from that moment it took me two weeks to get back to myself.

I've never had fatigue where I cannot complete a workout- where I am EMPTY. I struggled to find motivation, to get my heart rate up above 120 no matter the perceived effort, and everything resulted in heavy breathing.

Long story short, 2 weeks and I knew I had to do something about it- training in the real sense of the word was not an option. Thankfully I have some people around me that really care and I've surrendered my stubborness to follow their knowledge.

Everything worked out for the best and I am soooooo glad I experienced that "overtraining" because it landed me in the hands of a plan I trust and am excited about.

I didn't do Desert International, and recently Super Seal was a scratch due to the mini storm that hit SD.

So now a week out from Ixtapa I'm 2 weeks into consistent quality training and my body is coming around right when I need it to.

I have no idea what sort of fitness I have, or what performance I am capable of in an Olympic or the 70.3 the week after- primarily because this year has started off entirely different from the last 6 years of racing. It's a bit scary to think I have to be fit in April since in the past I've always focused everything on October and if I wasn't on top of my game in Spring it was totally ok- I'd still place well. But racing pro is a different story- no one wants to go and make an a** of themselves. I'm amazed at those that through the year are either fit, fitter, or fittest. I'm definitely not that type of athlete. My range is more like "30min gym cardio person" to "ATHLETE".

That said, for my goals, and for how I know my body reaches peak fitness, this year is going to play out perfectly so long as I continue just like the past 2 weeks :)

There's nothing to lose in Ixtapa or Galveston, and all the experience and fitness to gain. I've had my pro debut already, had a good race, and have no hype or expectations to live up to (except my own ;)). There's often so much noise surrounding some athletes before they even achieve anything- I'd hate to have to live up to that sort of thing. It feels good to have proven myself last year, and still have a decade before I reach the stereotypical prime age for endurance sports.

Come April- June I look forward to building up a peak for Honu and Lubbock, and from there on continue my season through October with a bunch of Olympics and some more 70.3s. The word season is kind of obsolete now with all the events year round all over the world- it is a long year and if anything I'll only be getting more and more fit.

Hopefully I'll have internet in Mexico and be able to post a race report and some pictures pre/post race.

Can't wait to just put out every ounce of effort both weekends and see a lot of my favorite peeps :)!!!!