Wildflower Leftovers

* I want to do another triathlon now. NownownownowNOW. This isn’t anything new for me after races (see also: registering for Miami right after Nike, almost registering for three separate marathons within 48 hours of finishing my first half), but it’s more intense this time. There’s something about the actual experience of racing a triathlon that I love — as opposed to running, where I love the training but am so-so on racing — and I’m still trying to put my finger on why it’s different, especially because neither Wildflower nor Ice Breaker were perfect races. Partly, it’s just new and shiny, and I was able to go in with no time or performance expectations. But I think there’s something about the actual structure of the event itself that works for me. With running, if something doesn’t go well within the first few miles of a race, it’s harder for me to be mentally present. With triathlons, it seems like there’s always something new to do, some way to make up ground or at least find peace with the performance. Again, now that I have a better handle on what I can expect from myself, maybe that will change, but I hope not.

OK, I’m stealing this one photo, because: look how happy I look! There’s actually a good running one, too, but hat = I look like I’m running with my eyes closed.

* I’d been semi-planning on doing another Olympic tri the first weekend of June, but it’s not exactly compatible with my pre-Berlin-training running break. I could do it as an unofficial aquabike, but that’s a lot to pay and a long way to drive for what’s essentially a DNF (though I would get to go outlet shopping after). I know some people can balance marathon training and triathlon training, but I suspect I’m not one of them. I have my eye on a couple of late-season races that are technically within driving distance (Marin in November? Palm Springs in December?) and I assume they’d be doable as long as I keep my biking and swimming volume where I intend to keep it during marathon training, but I have no idea what I’ll want to do this fall (and I still have my eye on a half PR), so I’m staying away from any registration screens for now. Being responsible sucks.

* There is, however, a swim-run event that could fit rather nicely with the early part of my marathon training … if I could train myself to swim two miles in five weeks. Is that even possible? As far as I can tell from dailymile, my longest swim to date is just over 2600 yards. Getting the training time in my stupid 30-minute-limit pool might be the hardest part, but I’ve been thinking about switching pools anyway, and it would certainly help with the whole 50K in May (er, as many K as I can manage in May) effort … hmm.

* When this triathlon adventure started, I clearly had no shortage of anxiety about training with a group. On top of my regular social awkwardness, I was afraid to be the worst. I’m also a control freak who likes setting her own schedule and doing workouts that start outside her front door versus 45 minutes north. Training with a group was a big adjustment, and it was a source of a fair amount of stress during the first 2/3 of training — the constant travel, the inflexible calendar and inability to just swap a workout time or day if the weather wasn’t cooperating, the constant awareness of where I was in the group no matter how hard I resolved not to be competitive. But after Wildflower, I can say this with certainty: Training with a group — and with this group — was absolutely the right thing for me. There were at least 1,800 athletes on the Wildflower Olympic course, and fewer than 50 trained with my group, and yet it felt like we were everywhere. Especially the women — I’m sure I saw at least 10 women I knew on the bike course and another five on the run. Having people to cheer for, and to cheer for me, and to find and debrief with and hug and swap pasta salad for pretzels with after the race — that was huge. And Neil — it took me a long time to get used to being coached, to understand Neil’s style, to know when to admit he was right and when to push back. But to take more than 40 rookies and turn us into Olympic course finishers at Wildflower in 10 freaking weeks? I have a ton of respect for that, and I’ll train with him again.

* I’m shocked at how quickly I felt back to normal after Sunday. I thought I’d be sore and stiff enough that my grand plans of Nothing would feel like sweet relief, but by Tuesday morning I was ready to swim and ride again rightnow, thankyou. I am, however, completely exhausted — as in, I was thrilled about going to the dentist this week because it meant I could lie down for an hour. I’m going to hold firm to Nothing-ness at least through the weekend in Palm Springs, where it’s currently forecast to be 107 — yes, that’s one hundred and seven — degrees and I think moving from pool chair to bar will be plenty of exertion.

* One thing I really want to work on between this year and next is getting faster on (relative) flats on the bike (relative because I’m not sure there are real flats in San Francisco. The Embarcadero, I guess, maybe?). I can climb, and while I know I could also get more efficient at it, I’m confident that my climbing isn’t holding me back. I’m a terrible descender, but I think comfort there will come with time and practice. So speed on anything that isn’t a huge hill seems like the place where I have the most room to grow. How, though? I’m guessing the answer is “ride more” — and I plan to, in the hopes that if I can handle Wildflower I can also roll with whatever the Marin Headlands or Sonoma County can throw at me. But what else? My natural cadence is fast, but it doesn’t come with any oomph.

* Now that I don’t need to worry about getting my hair into a swim cap, under a bike helmet, and through a run without moving or changing anything, I desperately need a haircut. It’s been more than six months and that suited me fine, but now I’ve reached a tipping point where every day I don’t get a haircut is pure torture.

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3 thoughts on “Wildflower Leftovers

  1. Linda says:

    Great picture! Love the smile. And love your commitment to doing more. Congrats!

  2. Kelly says:

    Congrats on your race! What an awesome accomplishment! And, it sounds like you’re totally and completely hooked on tris! 🙂

  3. Kristina says:

    What a great photo! Final reflections are always good, especially when something has been such a ‘process’, but it’s even better that you had such a great experience.
    I definitely understand the ‘getting hooked’ feeling. Last year, I made myself wait at least a week before signing up for a new race, but there really is so much excitement about tri’s.
    I do hope that you enjoy the weeks of “nothingness”, if those happen!

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