I've been hesitant to write and post this blog because I risk coming across as a bit whiny and "oh woe is me," but this is also the reality of [my training] life right now so why not share the truth. It's not always "omg, things are sooooo great"... haha....I think this blog has a nice ending though :)
So.... Vineman, take 3, here we go! I wish I could say I am feeling 100 percent ready and confident going into this half, my 11th time toeing the line at a 70.3, but sadly that's not the case. That set back with the wrist and a couple other things in May/June really affected things, particularly my swim. It's been a real struggle to find my mojo in the water again, and unfortunately I haven't been able to live in the pool/ocean to get it back. It's decent for me, but nowhere near what I wanted by July of this year. If I had been pounding out 15k+ swim weeks since the wrist healed, ya sure, I bet things would be better. But I haven't. Partly my fault, partly victim of circumstance. It's a choice, I get it.
Originally I was looking at Vineman to be that race where I finally aim to break 5 hours in a half (current PR is 5:01, which I've done twice). I'm not going to be a negative Nancy and say "waa waa" that'll never happen this Sunday, but looking at the training that's been done and what I know of my body, let's just say it will be a magical day if I go sub-5. I think at best I can break my time from last year, and that's really what I have my sights set on. And if it happens to be a non-wetsuit swim, well, I'll just try to keep it under 40 minutes because that would be a success for me, seriously ;)
Before most 70.3s I usually have that feeling of being super content with the training I've put in. This time, there are just a few key days/a couple weeks here and there that I look back on with satisfaction; on the other hand there are a lot of question marks and gaps in the training. Those question marks and the feeling that training has sucked was starting to eat away at me -- shocking: I am hard on myself -- to the point where there were tears, a couple times in fact. But I think after a good cry or two -- one in particular that happened during an open water swim last week! -- and looking at the bigger picture I was able to gain perspective and find contentment.
Most importantly, I'll be racing Vineman for me, and not for everyone else (that is a big one). Don't get me wrong, I always race for me because I love this sport with all my heart, but I do let the idea of what others think get into my head. Yuck. So this go around, I had to dig deep and find a way to let go of what others may, or may not, think about my race(s) and my time(s)... that is not easy being that I do have some presence in the sport, have some sponsors, I take triathlon seriously and I'm a competitive person who gives a sh*t.
But I also made a decision with myself a while back that I'm not going to sacrifice living a "normal" life in order to pretend living like a pro. I do this sport because it enhances my quality of life. I know I'm good at triathlon and could maybe even be better, but I like the rest of my life too -- that's where it gets tricky. I work very hard at my job(s) and enjoy them, I choose to partake in social invites and not live like a hermit, my diet isn't always perfect (despite the photos and recipes I post haha), I make health a priority and don't let my endurance training get to an unhealthy level... It's true, sometimes you need to sacrifice health in order to pursue better performance. Basically, I try to keep balance, sometimes at the sacrifice of better training/performance.
Here's the bottom line... Despite all that emotional and physical clutter in the paragraphs above, I am totally ok and in good spot right now -- no, a great spot! I can't imagine my life without triathlon!!! And I am DANG excited to get my butt up to Sonoma and be at Vineman. I absolutely LOVE this race and the whole vibe. Even if I were to go 6+ hours, I'm just grateful to be making the journey into another half, functional and able. Heck if my wrist break had been worse, surgery may have been required, then Vineman surely would have been out. I am lucky. Not to mention, John and I had an absolutely amazing trip up to this race last year, topped off with a couple indulgent days in Napa post-race, and this year we have the same plan. Lucky.
This sport may get me F'd up in my head sometimes, but I'll say it again: I can't imagine my life without triathlon. Literally. I don't know where I would be right now without it... for one, I wouldn't have the boyfriend I have now.