What If I Forget How to Win?

Here is a list of some things that have happened since the end of the last triathlon season:

  • I had that EP Study and procedure done to figure out what’s wrong with my heart
  • I then had a bad reaction to it and started having atrial flutter episodes, like, all the time, which (in case you were wondering) suck
  • I spent December depressed and contemplating if I was going to have to quit everything
  • Once I started training again, I got insanely bad food poisoning and threw up for 12 hours
  • Also, I passed out from the throwing up and gave myself a concussion
  • I got it together and then a couple days before the 50K Snoop Lion scratched me and I needed two stitches
  • The heavy antibiotics they put me on also messed up all my bacteria and I went on some more meds
  • Oh, and now it turns out I’ve had a cracked tooth since the beginning of January, ever since I got a filling done that went badly

And somewhere in there Tupac got sick twice and had to go to the emergency vet, and the car broke down on my way to work. And, honestly, it all starts to feel like a lot, you know?

At the end of last year, I said I wanted to have more fun and do some more random stuff this winter. And even with everything, I kind of have. I bought one of those class packs for the Crossfit “box” here (and everyone needs to stop violently hating on Crossfit — like, whatever, don’t be stupid about it and it’s perfectly fun in the off-season and can even be useful). I finished the 50K. I raced a half-marathon without really being in any way prepared for it. And then this past weekend I did a cross-country ski race because Steve was doing the longer more competitive race and he convinced me to do the one-lap 15K.

It was not amazing. Turns out I don’t really know how to skate ski that well, since I’ve only ever taken one lesson. I can sort of muscle my way through, but I don’t actually know what I’m doing. And after a bit over an hour I lost even the minor ski ability that I have. I started falling and then I was essentially hiking. With skis on.

The thing is though, with everything that’s gone wrong and with all these random “races,” it’s really easy to sort of give yourself an out. You can still be trying really really hard, but honestly what’s the point in going that extra bit to completely kill yourself for the difference between last and second-to-last in something you don’t even care about. And now I’ve entertained so many random whims I’m starting to worry I’ve dulled any killer edge I once had.

What if I forget how to win?

I know this sounds like one of those pseudo-intellectual wisdom nuggets people are always dropping on Twitter, but it’s a real thing. You have to remember how to tap the well, dig deep, whatever your phrase of choice is. And, for me, remembering not to give up can be hard.

So, anyway. I’m concerned. It’s all been a lot. And I’ve been dragging ass emotionally. But I also know there’s nothing to really do about it but the work and if you do the work then you’ll be ready and eventually it’ll come around. And I always do the work, whatever Hillary puts on the schedule. And the swimming and biking have started to come back around. So we’ll see. First triathlon is Escape Surf City at the end of April to get ready for…WILDFLOWER!

Oh, and I’m racing a Spartan Race this weekend. Naturally. But I promise to try my hardest, or at least the hardest I can try without the risk of breaking a leg being too high.

So I Ran 31 Miles

Last weekend I ran my first ultra, the Way Too Cool 50K, and I was going to write up a short blog post but then I wrote about the two lessons I learned for Wednesday’s newsletter instead, and then I thought I’d just like add some stuff here when photos come out, and then they didn’t come out and I had other stuff going on like work. So, anyway. Here’s the nitty-gritty if you want it.

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Year 2, Week 9: Time to Run Really Far

I’ve decided I probably won’t keep doing these weekly recaps of my life. Not that I won’t continue to tell you all the excruciating details of my life; it’ll just be with less scheduled regularity. With the Wednesday newsletter and Friday podcast — even if those are more about triathlon stuff — that really feels like as much of a weekly dose of Kelly as anyone needs. So if you just aren’t completely fulfilled and scintillated by my Twitter or Instagram, you should probably sign up for the newsletter or re-read all my weekly training recaps from the last year. Or, just wait a little while, because I’ll still blog plenty (just not every Monday).

This Saturday is the Way Too Cool 50K. This is currently the forecast:

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 7.23.00 PM

I had basically settled on all my gear and shoe and clothes and food choices. Was set and ready to go (as much as one can be ready to go). Those choices, however, were based on what the weather’s been like all winter — ie. 60-70 degrees and sunny. Now, I’m having to slightly re-plan, well, everything. The only upside, as far as I can tell, is 1. at least in the scheme of all people I have more cold rainy trail running experience than most, and 2. Steve thinks it’ll be interesting now.

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Week 8: Running is Dumb

I had this idea this past week that I’d do this week’s post as a running diary throughout the week (which I’ve done before). Usually, when I do this, I just write it in notes on my phone over the week and then press publish at the end.

Well, here is as far as I got, before I promptly fell asleep and completely forgot:

Monday

9:02 a.m.

OK, OK, guys, I’m awake, stop meowing.

9:14 a.m.

God, I’m tired. I guess I really should get out of bed. I guess. I really do have things I need to do.

10:11 a.m.

Oh, look, the Olympics are on.

11:52 a.m.

I have put away all my stuff from L.A. organized my schedule and notes for the week, redone my calendar, sent some emails, and can’t delay getting started on these workouts any longer. How slowly can I gather my gear?

12:45 p.m.

Weighted backpack stair repeats. This is really a lot of days of ultra-training in a row. I am tired. On the plus side: zone out and put on a podcast. On the downside: my legs and brain hurt.

2:11 p.m.

Easy swimming post-stairs really shouldn’t be this hard. It’s just easy. Why does this sound impossible? Why am I sitting in the car about to cry? I am legitimately about to cry. I think I might be tired. Or hungry. Or both.

2:16 p.m.

Eat a Reeses to get the job done. #protip

2:44 p.m.

Everyone sucks. Everything is stupid. I should just quit everything.

2:48 p.m.

I might still be hungry. And tired. I should probably not make any life decisions right now.

3:05 p.m.

Or I should make all my life decisions because fuck it.

3:21 p.m.

The swim got done.

6:55 p.m.

I was about to get up and make dinner but now Tupac the Cat is sleeping on me. This has not been a wildly successful day.

__

It’s not that the fatigue is a surprise. You could have fairly easily looked at my schedule and known that right now I’d be at the end of the three week block of miles I’d need to put in to be 50K ready on March 3. Coming off the almost nothing of November/December, it was just a reality that I’d be constantly at the edge of my fitness and also the edge of how quickly I could really build that fitness.

But something can both be 100% predictable and logical, and still not be easy.

I haven’t really hit this kind of training wear and tear since…September? I remember that it happens. I know that it happens. Doesn’t mean I’m awake enough to care or to be polite to some random guy who wants to monologue at me about how he’s a really big deal at Stanford and here’s a list of all the renovations he’s done on his home and what he paid. And, anyway, when the majority of your volume is coming from running it’s The Worst.

Add to that the emotional seesaw of the Olympics and this morning I was glued to the TV for well over an hour of ski jumping, just because I couldn’t motivate myself to stand up and there was something strangely mesmerizing about them going down the hill and take off and land, over and over. That they get “style” points is bullshit though. Don’t argue with me about it, not this week.

 

Week 7: In L.A.

This will be short. I am tired. Have I mentioned I’m racing my first 50K in three weeks? And we’re in the ‘you really need to run a lot’ period of training.

I went to L.A. this weekend on a whirlwind 52-hour tour to visit some friends. That meant I wasn’t exactly “plugged in” so to speak. I sort of zoned out, instead, ate a lot of cookies, did some running. Friday afternoon, after I met a friend for lunch, I rolled over to the Coliseum pool (relic of the Olympics, now a $3.50 public pool, L.A. for the win). And I could not figure out what length this goddamn pool was, why they had put the bulkhead in somewhere weird. The lifeguard said “it’s 25” and I said, “no, it’s not.” I can close my eyes and swim 25 yards. This was not that. This wasn’t even 25 meters, I was positive. It was something weird.

Turned out it was 27.5m. But my workout and intervals and times were all set for 25y, so I had to swim almost 20% more on everything. Ugh. I can not even express to you how much this sucked. I could tell you “it sucked but I got it done and it was a total slog.” Except, seriously. I almost got out of the pool and gave up. And then when I didn’t get out, I felt like I was swimming in place. And then I got it done eventually. Not amazingly. I had to burn a lot more matches, though, than I wanted to burn on a random middle-of-the-road workout day.

And then on Saturday I ran 16 miles from my friend’s house to meet her for a hike in Temescal Canyon. It was a classic L.A. beach run, down the beach bike path all through Venice, Santa Monica, almost to Malibu. It was also a bit of a slog. I actually got the iPod out, that’s how slog-y it was. I’m sure there are people who love running along the beach. Or, rather, I think there are people who think they like running along the beach. But in reality it’s a mindfuck and the cement path just pounds your legs and everything hurts and it never ends. Trust me. I’ve done a lot of beach path running. It’s not as awesome as it sounds.

But it also got done. And my legs never really felt worse. Actually, they felt OK, and I felt OK. And then I ran “fast” on Sunday and weighted backpack stair’d today.

A lot of days I don’t really know how to explain what I do or what I want to do or anything about my life. A lot of days it feels like I’m just sort of dicking around and like I should PULL IT TOGETHER ALREADY. But then sometimes I tell myself if you just do the workouts, it doesn’t matter how you feel about them. Just keep logging the work, the days, getting it done. Eventually it’ll click. I hope.

You can read all my weekly recaps of being a second year pro triathlete. 

Week 6: A Race Report-ish – Kaiser Half-Marathon

Thursday I had my final (sorta) follow-up appointment at Stanford. It was the shortest appointment ever. My doctor basically said, “Well, if you haven’t had any more heart episodes since early December, then I guess it’s back to normal. We still don’t know exactly why it came on so intensely, but fingers crossed it stays away and I don’t see you again for many years.”

Fingers crossed is always the official medical diagnosis you want to hear.

Continue reading “Week 6: A Race Report-ish – Kaiser Half-Marathon”

Year 2, Week 5: #sopro

Here are some things that happened this week:

  • I got home from Bermuda at 1:30 a.m. Sunday night/Monday morning before working fill-in at the station on Monday
  • I wrote four stories, and missed the deadline on another one
  • I filled in half-time for an editor who’s in Thailand
  • My head and stomach still hurt, which required a lot of sleeping
  • Tupac had to go to the emergency vet for 24 hours
  • Plus, I somehow trained 15.5 hours, so at least starting to get back to normal

It was quite a week.

Oh, also, I signed some real contracts with sponsors this week, almost like I’m a real professional athlete who’s really getting ready for a real season. It’s sort of exciting. In case you didn’t pick up from the social medias, of course I’m still going to be working with Smashfest Queen and Dimond Bikes. We all know once I find a bike I like I never give it up. And if you need any cute tri or cycling gear (or running stuff and tank tops) let me know, because I own them all. I’m also adding two companies I’m working with this year: Clif Bar, since I eat a stupid amount (like, maybe, actually a dumb amount) of chocolate mint Clif bars, and Xterra, since I wore all my favorite Xterra wetsuits into disintegration and then lent my incredibly old one to a friend and never got it back because they also loved it too much.

So I guess you could say the year is really getting started now. I’m having my usual ‘how the hell does this all fit into the same amount of time’ breakdown. Last year, when I told Hillary at one point in the spring that I couldn’t get it all done, she told me: Well, just get through this week, and then know this is the new normal. So there you go.

Also. I have started to make a race plan. First one of the year, a half-marathon, this weekend. We’ll see.

P.S. Tupac is OK. He just has this thing where his urethra gets blocked sometimes, and he had to get the blockage removed. We’re working on a long-term solution too, a prescription diet and stuff.

Week 4: Throwing up in Bermuda

This week, I went to Bermuda for basically a long weekend. Four days really. A work reporting trip that was supposed to include a lot of triathlon-ing.

And then I got really sick. Maybe five hours after I landed, around 4 a.m. Really, really sick.

Sometime around the start of the 12 hours of throwing up, I passed out and hit my head on the shower stall. At least, that’s what I assume happened because I came to in the act of vomiting on myself, laying in blood on the floor of the shower. (When I told the PR staff for the trip that I was too sick to do anything and probably wouldn’t be leaving the hotel room, I downplayed this part. People sort of freak out when you say things like “passed out and hit my head.” But #realtalk guys, it was bad.)

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Week 3: It gets better

There was a day, during the bad period in December, when I was doing a short walk/jog and there was an older larger man also walk/jogging around the neighborhood in his basketball shorts for his health. And I was not gaining on him.

Which is fine, except that the whole time I was taking walk breaks, I kept thinking to myself: YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL AT THIS. (I talk to myself in the second person, or maybe that’s the third. Whatever.)

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Week 2: Sparkles and Sick Cats

We’re in year two of this pro triathlon thing. More or less. You can read all my weekly recaps.

When we got our new cat Snoop, poor Tupac got so stressed out he made himself sick. At first he seemed fine, then he developed some kind of urinary tract infection and blockage and had to have a mini-surgery. This is, apparently, a thing that happens with male cats: they stress themselves out so much they get sick. After he recovered, he was mostly fine again. The two of them were getting along, except for the fact that Snoop is insane and tries to break everything in the house.

Continue reading “Week 2: Sparkles and Sick Cats”