Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Getting Back on the Horse

I was recently reminded by my friend and TRIgirl teammate, Ashby, that I had not written a blog post in a while.  I knew I was past due on posting, but I had been unsure on how to properly articulate the rollercoaster of emotions that I have dealt with after my DNF at Monticelloman.  So let me apologize now if this post is not too cohesive.  And Ashby, I promise to be more consistent with my blog posts!

The first couple of days after Monticelloman were really tough for me.  Self-doubt engulfed me.  Even though I was being flooded with positive messages through Facebook and email, I was still allowing myself to be in a funk.  All I wanted to do was have my pity party.  I resorted back to eating junk food as a coping mechanism.  I remember being full and still stuffing my face.  I didn’t want to think about what I saw as a huge failure.  My self-doubt made me question if I should continue doing triathlons.  I even found myself mad at the race director for making the time cut-off 50 minutes instead of the usual 1 hour.  My mind was just all over the place.  The reality was that I had to accept that my best that day was not good enough, and that was a hard pill to swallow.         

I finally decided that my pity party had to end and it was time to get back to work.  I was not the first person to DNF and I would not be the last.  Furthermore, what I initially saw as a failure was actually an accomplishment.  My swim coach had started me from scratch back at the end of February.  During the first five weeks of working with her I suffered from panic attacks.  Once I was able to get them under control with the assistance of my doctor, my swimming begin to improve immensely.  So in 10 weeks I went from barely being able to swim 50 meters to attempting a 1500 meter swim in which I missed the cut-off by only100 yards.  And honestly, I knew before the race I would be cutting it close.  I had just been hoping that I could have made the cut-off.  Oh well… goes on.

My next race was the Ground Force IT Sprint.  Fortunately this was a pool swim and was recommended as a good beginner’s race.  I didn’t want to place too much pressure on myself, but I wanted to do well so I could begin the rebuilding of my self-confidence.  Overall the race went well, but I did become a little overwhelmed during the swim portion.  Pool swims during a triathlon can be very chaotic.  There are legs and arms everywhere!  I was so glad to get out the pool that I couldn’t but help but smile as I headed toward transition.  I finished the race strong and was able to take 8 minutes off my sprint tri time.  I was on my way back!

I have been preparing for the Tavern Tri which is this weekend.  This is an open water swim in the “lovely” James River.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t have any concerns about the swim.  The James River can be unpredictable and the swim course for the race has not been determined.  I am glad the distance for the swim is only 650 meters and I will have my own Swim Angel to escort me.  I timed myself and was able to swim 650 meters in under 30 minutes, which is the swim cut-off.  Even though I have been recovering from a bout of tendonitis caused by running a very hilly 10K course in Madison, WI, I have been consistent with my training.  I am hitting the pool 4 days a week, which includes swimming once a week in the 50 meter GRAP pool, increasing the intensity on my bike rides, and incorporating the Jeff Galloway run/walk system. 

I feel pretty good about the race, but there is some self-doubt lingering in the back of my mind.  I don’t want to DNF again.  I want to get into the James River, handle my business, and come out of the river with a smile on my face.  I can only do my best; I just hope on Sunday my best is good enough.