And then it hit me.
I AM a triathlete.
I'm not just training to do a triathlon. I am truly training like a real triathlete.
The ah-ha moment came at our final indoor triathlon on Sunday, February 24th. Ryan and I arrived early to warmup a bit and to cheer on our Multisport Madness youth triathlon team friends. I also had a score to settle with the stupid spin bikes. For whatever reason, the past two triathlons I just could not seem to get my legs to spin fast on the bike. Girls, heck even guys, that I had done better than in outdoor triathlons were crushing me on the bike.
I decided to take out all of my anger on the bike by just spinning as hard as I could for those 20 minutes. I
These indoor tris are basically all out races that consist of a 10minute swim (10minute transition), 20minute bike on a stationary standard "gym" bike (5minute transition) and 15minute run on an indoor track.
The first indoor tri, I swam 22 lengths (0.313mi), biked 7.81miles (I tempo'd a 1/2 marathon the day before) and ran 2.563miles on the indoor track. The second indoor tri, I swam 23 lengths (0.319mi), biked 8.17miles and ran 2.542miles. I was improving on the bike, but still not enough to be competitive with the top three females.
In my defense, Lauren Jensen was one of the three females (and eventual overall winner). She is one of the best bikers in the midwest and completely demolished me two years ago when I participated in this indoor tri series.
I think I realized I was truly training to be a triathlete about 20minutes before the final tri began. Ryan and I had just received our weekly training from Coach Bill and I had responded back to his "good luck today" text with "I'm super nervous, really weird." I only ever get nervous before races when I feel like I can do something big.
Like, in 2009 when I was racing the Chicago Marathon without the support of Ryan (in Dallas for the LifeTime Fitness Tri Championships) or my parents (on a college visit with my sister), when I knew I would break 3 hours for the first time in my life...with my biggest supporters (minus my brother) missing. Or in 2012 when I felt like I would be able to get my revenge on the Milwaukee Marathon (in 2011 I tore my hamstring at this race).
So, to get nervous before this indoor tri was a good sign for me, but I didn't let anyone see it.
I swam 24 lengths (I'll take a 1 length improvement in swimming any day!) in those 10minutes.
I biked 9.03miles in those 20 minutes.
I ran 2.54miles in those 15 minutes.
Despite recording the highest ever distance (11.905miles) in a single indoor triathlon in this series, I still ended up 3rd overall. The second place female was 0.06miles ahead of me, and the winner (Lauren Jensen) was 0.09miles ahead of her.
What does that mean? It means that despite giving my all on that final triathlon, it wasn't enough. Those two in the beginning (the series takes your top two tri's and add the total distances up) I was not working hard enough during. I sure felt like I was working hard, but obviously if I was able to bike 0.8miles further, I had more in the tank.
And perhaps the best thing that came out of this was my realization that I am a triathlete.
Do I still want to get back to marathon training and qualify for the Trials? Absolutely. But am I going to go crazy about making sure I hit x amount of miles on this week and x amount on that week? Not anymore. I am seeing that my body is taking a beating pretty much every day of the week, and if I'm throwing those miles in the mix just to hit a certain amount, it's not healthy. My body won't be able to recover, which means when race time comes, it won't properly react.
This is how our training works:
WEEK 1: hard
WEEK 2: harder
WEEK 3: hardest
WEEK 4: recovery (still logging 14+ hours of working out)
Monday through Friday, I am waking up to get my runs in before school and rushing home to get my bike or swim in after school (and core and lifting in there somewhere too). Saturday is always a long run and Sunday a long bike.
Ryan and I are actually adapting to this training really well and feel the fittest we have in, well, forever. We won't see where we stand really until we race, but the times we are hitting in workouts are extremely encouraging seeing how the weeks are structured.
And the best part? I am LOVING this. And I am loving this more than any kind of training I've ever endured (middle school running socially, high school running, collegiate running, marathon training).
So while this blog started off as a way for me to update my friends and family about my journey to the Olympic Trials for the marathon, I have to say it is now going to be primarily triathlon focused because, time to face it,...
...I am a triathlete.