Hey. Hi. How have things been? Oh me? Not great. You know.
If you follow me on the social medias or get the newsletter or listen to the podcast, then you know Oceanside went pretty bad and then I quit the sport during Peru 70.3. If you just want the simple version, stick with that, don’t read farther here. If you want, like, more details than you care about, here they are.
Caveat: This isn’t positive or cheerful or trying not to sound like I’m making excuses or whatever. It’s my blog, so too bad.
Oceanside: I swam meh, getting through the break terrified me, then I got on the bike and had nothing. For reference, I usually bike around 175-180W. This time, I was biking like 160W? At best. From the beginning. It was ugly and slow and the only reason I finished is because I figured I needed to bank the first bad one of the year in order to do better at Peru. Oh well. Take the mulligan and cry a little.
What happened? First off, if you ever text me that after a race, I will not respond. What happened? Things went badly, that’s what happened.
But actually what happened is a few things probably: It was, in retrospect, likely a hormonal issue. I had missed a birth control pill on the trip and took two at the same time late the day before, which probably had a fucked up effect, given what we know about hormones. (And everyone who is about to tell me I should just get off birth control can, you know, go fuck yourself because I’m sick of this one-size-fits-all dogma being shoved down my throat. I’ve read the studies; I’ve tried it for myself, twice, went off for many months, and it had no effect; I’ve accepted that I don’t see any big changes or patterns despite tracking, because *not everyone does.* So, you know, we’re all individuals or whatever.) I also was testing out a new nutrition plan the first two races, with a lot fewer calories, and I knew it might go badly. Mostly, though, probably, I’ve been struggling with a lot of life stress. I’m not going to hash out other people’s things they’re dealing with, because it’s not my place, but a good number of people in my life have been going through stuff and I’ve just been a little strung out. Which I don’t often perform well off of.
Peru: OK, fine, Oceanside was just a warm-up anyway. I was in L.A. for a few days in between, then to Lima. Thought I’d be more ready to go, but I wasn’t. I swam decent; I biked not great. I thought it was OK while I was out there and then I got off the bike and realized I was really far back and I actually had biked really slowly. And then by mile 4 of the run I decided to quit triathlon. I stopped and walked the three miles back.
I know we often “quit” the sport while we’re out there. The thought passes us by frequently during races. So it’s hard to explain exactly how thoroughly I had decided I was done. I did a complete analysis of my life and concluded: If this is as good as I’m going to be, then it’s time to be done; what’s the point in getting another 6th or 8th place. That’s it. I’m tired and I can do other things and I’m sick of not knowing what’s going on and waiting in a holding pattern and what’s the point of this anyway. And that was that. (See above: Life stress and questions.)
What happened? I didn’t eat enough. Probably first and foremost. Not just during, but mostly before. As Sara said, if she’d only had 500 calories by mile 4 of the run, she’d also not care about anything anymore. Having eaten a lot since then, I can also say confidently: It’s a lot easier to get through things when you have more calories to draw on. And anyway, I wasn’t in a great place mentally, emotionally, going in. I felt like I was. Or, rather, I felt like I was doing the best I could and I was going to do better than at Oceanside. But ask the other girls there and they’ll tell you I was pretty down and out. There was a moment when I was sitting on the patio of the restaurant at the hotel in Lima a few nights before, drinking a glass of wine, and the waterfall was washing down the wall and I thought, ‘This is it. Maybe this is as good as it gets, and whatever happens, at least I’ve been places and done things.’
It was enough of an emotional wreckage that it wasn’t the kind of thing you bounce back from quickly or easily. Maybe you don’t at all. I don’t know yet.
St. George: But you don’t go from running a PR 1:23 half-marathon to just not being able to do things overnight. That’s not how it works. So, I figured I should at least give my fitness a fair test without fucking up all the little things in between — mostly the eating and not being able to get food down before. St. George was an easier travel race to do too; Steve was coming with me. Still not sure about life choices and the need to get my head straight, but that doesn’t mean I can’t just race hard.
I raced fine. Swam in a group, probably swam too easy but my primarily goal was to get out of the water with people and then bike with them. Achieved the first half of that goal, but not the second. Still biked like an idiot. But it wasn’t just nothing/dead from the start; it simply sort of deteriorated later. I also did a pretty terrible job of applying the effort well on the hills. I maybe got distracted and wasn’t focused enough. Mostly, I was too focused on my stomach after throwing up a lot and peeing a lot. I was convinced I was going to have to do the whole run sprinting from port-a-potty to port-a-potty. So I got off the bike and tried to enjoy myself. Push the effort, but manage the effort. I finished fine; it was a decent race. But just between you and me, it wasn’t anything close to what I’m capable of. If we’re being honest, I probably raced conservatively, half-knowing I needed to bank one decent one, that I couldn’t afford another massive fuck-up. And that’s what happened.
So. I feel confident I’m a lot faster than this. I know I am. The evidence is there to support that fact. I will be racing Victoria 70.3 in four week and ideally be demonstrating that belief. I also know, however, there are other goals I have in life that are not necessarily conducive with being faster. You can only focus on so many things at a time. This isn’t just a hour-four wallow; it’s a reality. So, we’ll see. I’ve been waiting for inspiration, for something to click again, for me to know ‘this, this is the thing I want to do.’ In the meantime, I will race to my fitness at Victoria and then I will run the Dipsea and then I’ll go to Australia for a vacation, race Santa Rosa 70.3, SwimRun Casco Bay with Leslie, and then something in the fall. We’ll see.
I gotta say thanks to Nuun and Smash for all the support even while I’ve been sucking. And Dan at Premier Bikes is the nicest, most helpful guy. I promise to ride the bike as fast in a race as I have been in training, sometime soon. Thanks to Xterra and Clif too. And to all the people — and there have been a lot of people — who have yelled at me. If you see me in Victoria, yell at me to go faster for fuck’s sake.