Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Back in action!

So much has happened over the past few weeks that I feel like I could write a novel. Don't worry, I'm not going to, but to say that my summer is going well would be an understatement at this point.

Change in plans:
After sustaining the deep bone bruise that left me unable to compete at Grandma's, I instead went up to Wisconsin to spend time with Ryan and watch him demolish the field at the Rev3Dells race (half Ironman). I wrote this blog while I was there, since I wasn't at Grandma's where I so badly wanted to be.

 Winner by 15+ minutes. AMAZING!

Just a few days prior, I decided to make a big change in coaching. I put a lot of thought into things, and realized that my bone bruise was simply a test to see how badly I want to run a marathon in hopes of an Olympic Trials Qualifier (OTQ). 

Because (a) who doesn't like Steve Jobs? and (b) it seemed fitting

Because an OTQ was still in my mind, but just pushed toward the back, I felt I needed to have a change in coaching. Coach Dave was actually recommended to me by Jen Harrison, a local (awesome) triathlete. To ask her about coaching me so that my transition back to Dave would be seamless just seemed to make sense. This way, Dave could still have input on my run workouts while training for Kona and Jen could adjust my training to allow for bike/swim improvements to occur while still running enough to attempt an OTQ this year.

It was definitely hard to leave Coach Bill. Not only did he obviously make me into a better runner and triathlete, but his training schedule allowed Ryan and I to do many workouts together. [We have two computrainers, so Ryan is working just as hard as I am during the workout.] I really missed training with Ryan when I was training for the marathon, but I also know that having Coach Dave in the background is what is going to most benefit me when I choose to chase that OTQ dream again.

Back to running:
Just as I had remembered from the previous time I sustained a deep bone bruise on my right knee cap, it took 12 full days for it to heal. I worked with Physical Therapist Earl, and he even had me go on the AlterG (so I was only running at 75% of my body weight to see if that made a difference on the knee) the Wednesday before Grandma's just to test things out. As figured, the pain continued to show up until literally the 12th day.

Luckily, Coach Jen had me biking and swimming again since neither of those caused any pain. To say I enjoyed getting back into triathlon training would have been a lie during the first week back. I am just now, almost 3 weeks later, starting to feel good on the bike and better in the pool. 

Jen had me do a power test on the bike, and I was happy to see that I hadn't lost much fitness from when I was a few weeks out of Cabo. The swim...that was a different story. Luckily, friends joining me during these painfully slow workouts really helped.

First Race Back:
Ironically, the 4th of July last year was my first race back after another unplanned break (semi-literally, when I almost broke my face last year after crashing on my bike). Let's just say this year's 4th of July was WAY better than last year's.

Ryan and I went back to an 8k that we had done for quite some time on the 4th. I had only done one "workout" leading up to this, and even though it was really awesome, I was unsure of what I could do.

After warming up, the race director announced that there were two Elites joining us this year. I had already noticed the girl, so was not surprised by that announcement as I had already decided at this point to go HARD since I was finally able to and just see what would happen.

The gun went off and so did we. My breathing was much more labored than I thought it would be, and we were only 1/2 of a mile in. Myself, Andrea (the Elite) and Shannon (running friend) stuck together as we weaved along the bike path.

5:42. Umm, did I just potentially jeopardize my entire race?

The second mile was a little frustrating since I was on the outside and had to continuously tuck in so as to not run into the runners/bikers on the opposite side of the bike path. By the time we hit mile 2, I had enough and decided to take off.

5:49. I'm gettin' outta here!

I gave myself a, "this is what I'll write in my blog" thought, telling myself at mile 2, I took off and never looked back. I kept urging myself to push on so that I could write that in my blog (sometimes, you find the weirdest things to tell yourself in a race, but if it works--who really cares?)

We hit the turnaround--a 180 degree turn around two cones--and I could see Andrea and Shannon were not giving up. A fellow runner kept encouraging me, which was nice to have since I was not about to turn around and see how close they were!

5:50. Over halfway done, just maintain and you're golden!

I did the math and realized that I ran a sub-18 minute 5k and was pretty excited with that. I immediately wished that this race was a 5k so I could have PR'd since that's how good I was feeling. Dang.

5:51. Less than a mile! You could break 29 minutes! Holy cow!

Being the nerdy math teacher I am, calculations were going on in my head and I was getting more excited as the race went on. Don't get me wrong, I was also fatiguing, but I knew breaking 29 was within my reach if I finished strong.

5:42. Who finishes a race with the same split that they started the race with?!?! (side note: the last 1/2 mile is a slow, annoying incline, so I really was pretty beside myself that I ran this split)
28:57.....5:49 pace (5:46 pace according to my watch that said it was 5 miles...I like that better!)

I seriously could not believe that I was able to pull of what I just did. After 12 days of no running, to come back this strong was incredibly encouraging.

Looking forward:
Naturally, after having a good race, we look for what's next so that we can again push our limits. For me, as appealing as competing in a running race would be, I really knew I needed to get back into a triathlon. I have planned on doing Steelhead 70.3 in August, but I want that one to go REALLY well (like HUGE PR, perfectly executed kind of well), so to have a tri prior to that would be ideal.

Ryan just happens to be working Muncie 70.3, Coach Jen just happens to be racing...so it just seems kind of meant to be that I should race it as well. I am beyond excited to compete in a triathlon again. 

Thank you again to everyone for the support and kind words during my "break." Those will be with me on Saturday as I dive back into the amazing world of triathlon!

No comments: