Where do you really start when something you planned to conquer 18 months prior got pushed out and pushed out…and then finally happened?
If you allow me to rewind a few years, I pulled out my first triathlon “goal” sheet from 2016. This was my first experience with setting goals for something I wasn’t good at – I’d set goals loads of times for swimming where I knew what was reasonable.
The Russian River is an amazing place. The past two winters, while California struggled in a long drought, rainstorms upstream turned Guerneville (former home of the swim start for the Vineman) and Monte Rio into Atlantis – that is, they were momentarily underwater. These towns are used to the river overflowing its banks, however, and are resilient. Monte Rio was quiet as ever (though overrun by a bunch of triathletes) as I prepped for my second Olympic distance race.
USAP’s Half Moon Bay triathlons are a great season opener. Dust off the cobwebs, get out the creaks and cracks, and remind your body how to move fast.
For me, HMB was my first race after the first off-season filled with consistent training in my life. I started working with Mitchell Reiss and ETPA last fall and pushed to relearn how to run over the winter. By April, I wasn’t expecting miracles but I also wasn’t quite sure how to set a goal for the race – especially when it came to my weakest leg, the run.
I have procrastinated massively in writing this up. It isn’t short. I’d like to say I’ve moved past this, but I can’t lie – I haven’t. I’ve had ten flats in less than two months, and now every time I ride I feel the anxiety pit in my stomach: will I flat again? Will I be stranded in the hills? Will I be forced to walk to my destination?
It’s been a little rough.
I’m going to attempt to get what I need out of this, and still enjoy looking back.
First of all, the Monte Rio Triathlon holds a special place in my heart. This was the first triathlon I ever raced (…a whole year ago). It also is the first race I’ve ever repeated – raced more than once – so far. The course is beautiful, Monte Rio is a quaint and quintessential California vacation destination, and the organizers are pros (ran/run Ironman Vineman 70.3 and [independent] Vineman 140.6, now both Ironman races). Despite what seemed like perfect conditions, my day did not go as expected. If you look at race results, I’ve got a super strange (..slow) bike split – and that’s due to my first-ever flat (and first-ever flat change under pressure).
Second of all, I hate to fall on ‘excuses’ for why a race didn’t go the way I pictured it. Unfortunately, a flat derails anyone’s race – from beginner to professionals – and I’m learning that it’s how you react that makes it into an ‘excuse’ or ‘race day condition.’
Last year, this race required you to pick up your timing chip in the morning at the parking lot (four miles away from the start) – they fixed that for this year. Packet pick up was just as easy, timing chip included, as last year. I scoped out the swim, and my teammate confirmed what I’d been hearing: there was most definitely a current in the Russian River, but it was also much deeper than last year!
And then… I wandered over to the finish line.
I knew it existed, and I really didn’t want to remember that it existed. Especially after my body’s reaction to a finish line sprint at Half Moon Bay.
I’m thrilled to have started a new job this week! It’s been a little crazy, especially considering that I am also moving on Wednesday of next week.
Sunday, January 31 Long run, 6 miles (check, most excellent) // Monday, February 1 Master’s swim in the morning (we’ll see how this goes) // Tuesday, February 2 Pace run, 4 miles – looking for a 9:45 min/mile pace // Wednesday, February 3 Short run, 2 miles – love having a foundation route literally around the block // Thursday, February 4 Pace run, 4 miles, and hopefully a master’s swim in the morning or evening // Friday, February 5 Rest day! // Saturday, February 6 Master’s swim and a chill run afterwards
Sunday, January 24 Long run, 5 miles (yuuupp) // Monday, January 25 Master’s swim in the morning (nooooope) // Tuesday, January 26 Pace run, 4 miles – looking for a 9:45 min/mile pace (noooope) // Wednesday, January 27 Short run, 2 miles (nooope) // Thursday, January 28 Pace run, 4 miles (not quite) // Friday, January 29 Rest day! (psh got it) // Saturday, January 30 Master’s and bike (Noope)
First day back to Master’s practices? Check. New (huge) opportunity tomorrow? Double check. Let’s make this happen.
Sunday, January 24 Long run, 5 miles // Monday, January 25 Master’s swim in the morning // Tuesday, January 26 Pace run, 4 miles – looking for a 9:45 min/mile pace // Wednesday, January 27 Short run, 2 miles – love having a foundation route literally around the block // Thursday, January 28 Pace run, 4 miles, and hopefully a master’s swim in the morning or evening // Friday, January 29 Rest day! // Saturday, January 30 Probably going to Master’s and bike (weather-dependent). May throw a run in too. DO ALL THE THINGS.
Sunday, January 17Long run, 4 miles Nope, friend was in town. // Monday, January 18 Long run, 4 miles and recover after a friend weekend // Tuesday, January 19 Rest day partly because I’m exhausted, partly because my apartment flooded, and partly because I am lazy // Wednesday, January 20Pace run, 3.5 miles at 9:45 min/miles still dealing with flooding, just had to go home and wait it out // Thursday, January 21Swim in the morning and pace run, 3.5 miles at 9:55 min/mile; core strength training – ran with Sports Basement Berkeley and attended a foot strengthening clinic – so far, very painful but helpful // Friday, January 22Easy 2 miler Last day of old job, needed to just decompress // Saturday, January 23 Mixing it up with swimming, headed back to Cal Aquatic Masters!!!! So excited. Ran a 2 mile brick after for good measure!
Sorry sorry sorry sorry!! My best friend was in town this weekend so I was a little all over the place. Two days late…grr. I’m the worst.
Sunday, January 17 Long run, 4 miles // Monday, January 18 Long run, 4 miles + Streeeetccchhhh and recover after a friend weekend // Tuesday, January 19 Rest day partly because I’m exhausted, partly because my apartment flooded, and partly because I am lazy // Wednesday, January 20 Pace run, 3.5 miles at 9:45 min/miles // Thursday, January 21 Swim in the morning and pace run, 3.5 miles at 9:55 min/mile; core strength training // Friday, January 22 Easy 2 miler // Saturday, January 23 Mixing it up with swimming, headed back to Cal Aquatic Masters!!!! So excited.
Sunday, January 10 Long run, 4 miles; rolling session (run was miserable, and the rolling didn’t really happen…whoops) // Monday, January 11 Stretching session, swim // Tuesday, January 12 Rescheduled for Wednesday: Pace run, 3.5 miles at 9:45 min/mile // Wednesday, January 13 Pace run + Massage (heavenly) // Thursday, January 14 Short run, 2 miles // Friday, January 15 Pace run, 3.5 miles at 9:55 min/mile; bodyweight strength training // Saturday, January 16Bike day, at least an hour Ran instead and then my BFF came to town!