This past week was chaos with extremely stressful and busy work, resulting in my standard freakout about focusing on training and what am I doing with my life. Realized if I drink less (but not too much less) and sleep more, it helps.
This week ended up being a bit of a surprise rest week. In that, *surprise*, I swapped the 4-5 easy days planned for next week to this week.
It was actually probably a good choice, since I can still get in another 9-10 days of work from here and then call it. And all indicators are that I needed the slight rest from Monday-Thursday or so. But it also always feels harder to break after you’ve just been head down, banging it out — like when you slow down in a race and suddenly it all falls apart; it would have been easier to just keep going hard. In some ways.
I’ve decided to start “blogging” again, but I also decided I’m not going to spend too much time on it. Sorry/not sorry. I already write the weekly newsletter and record the podcast if you really want triathlon news, and I post on Instagram fairly regularly. (I’m not as much on the other socials right now, because it started to feel like I should get paid for the amount of time and energy people were demanding. And I’m really not into working for free at the moment.)
But, for a number of reasons, it still seemed worth it to log my own personal training and life more on the regular. So I have a record. So it exists. So that’s all this is going to be. At least for now. At least until some other things get sorted out. Mini-recaps of my weeks, just about me, not about any bigger societal issues. And you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to. My blog, my life. That’s it.
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.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
When I was a freshman in high school, I started out running track during the winter just to stay in shape for soccer. I was decent, OK. I won some stuff, but they were small races. Then we had our very first big outdoor track meet, with lots of fast schools and faster runners. We were going to get our asses kicked.
Except I didn’t know that. I didn’t know I was supposed to lose now. The gun went off for the 800m at this big invitational and I took off. I came through the first lap leading and people were going nuts. Who the hell was this freshman? Shockingly, I couldn’t quite hold on to it and I ended up getting nipped in the last turn. I also ended up with the school record and a huge PR and the realization I could maybe be pretty fast at this.
But here’s the part you’ve probably heard before: I never ran as fast again the entire rest of high school.
So what now? What’s next?
I didn’t really feel like saying anything more after Ironman Lake Placid because it sucked. I talked about why it sucked on the podcast, but if you lay out any more of the details of the sucking it starts to sound like you’re just making excuses and no one cares anyway. So. Let’s sum up: I was very calorie deficient going in; I was stupid and didn’t deal with that quickly or sufficiently enough once I realized; I handled the crazy rainstorm badly (even as I told myself I was handling it great and everyone else was going to blow themselves up); things just kept going sort of wrong and mediocre on the bike; and when I finally tried to pound calories on the run, they came back up and they kept coming back up for about two hours. I walked and I jogged and eventually I finished.
The only thing I feel bad about (still) is that maybe half of the pro women *also* walked at some point on that run and threw up at some point, but most of them managed to rally. And I didn’t. And it’s impossible not to acknowledge that on some level I didn’t rally because at some point I gave up just a little. One of the other girls, Jennie Hansen, yelled at me when I first started walking around mile 16 or so, after another bout of full-body heaving. She yelled, ‘Keep fighting, Kelly.’ And I did, I promise, but then I had to pull over to the side of the road again and then I might have stopped fighting, not completely but a little, because I just couldn’t handle the head-to-toe retching anymore. My abs were sore for days.
I kept thinking the race would come around, even when it sucked well before it *really* sucked. But it didn’t. And I kept thinking I just need to finish this, it’ll be fine. But when I finally, fuck finally, hit the oval and could see the end, it actually hit me how much I had screwed up and this is what that looked like:
There’s been this ongoing debate for the last few months about what the hell I’m doing, if I should get a “real” job. I mean, I have a real job, I make a full-time income (to be clear, mom), but obviously I could utilize some of my non-triathlon skills more, right? I could make more money, right? I could be high-powered something-or-other? So I’ve been browsing job sites and weighing options, but it turns out there are only a handful of jobs I really want and none of those are available or hiring me right now. And, in the mean time, I’ve been half-assing this being fast thing.
It’s not been my best year. There was a solid 5-6 months of one goddamn thing after another. And then I was in my head for a long time after that, waiting for something else to go wrong. But I’m done, fyi, in case you’re keeping track. I’m done having one foot halfway out the door.
Pro athletes’ blogs are littered with proclamations like this. It sounds dumb. And there’s not really anything different about my declaring it to be so.
I disappeared for a little while after Placid. I did Swimrun with Sara — “raced” feels like a strong word for what we did. And I started training again. I have some ideas about plans for late-season. But mostly I stopped looking at job boards.
Thursday I had my first really hard workout again, and Hillary had given me some numbers that were, uh, optimistic. If you know me, you know I will kill myself to hit my workout numbers, fully wreck my body, but I still thought this seemed unlikely. And then I thought about being faster now, about who I want to be racing, about taking that kind of focus out of training and onto the race course. And I hit the numbers (mostly).
And that’s what’s next for now. Being a pro triathlete.
(Photo at top: Payton Ruddock)
Maybe the light is different in Europe. Maybe it’s the bathroom mirrors. But at one point during the two weeks in Finland and Sweden, during the blur of hotels and Airbnbs and rooms, I looked up and thought, “Man, I aged. I looked older.”
That’s not a metaphor. That actually happened.
After Wildflower I was going to write something about my race and how I had a therapy session for myself out on the run course, but then it was hard to explain and long and I never quite got to it and I started it and then I didn’t finish and now it’s ages ago and who even cared in the first place anyway. So. This is sort of that story, but sorta something else. And it’s self-involved and diary-ish. But you know, whatever, if you don’t like it there are other parts of the internet I’m sure you’ll enjoy instead.
Well, this was an interesting experiment. Hope you got to see what a week looks like for me more or less, at least an easy(ish) week — though the workouts got tough again at the end. Already, this upcoming week is busier: in the office one day, filling-in part-time on social three days, three stories due, plus some other things in the works, and the podcast and newsletter. And then it’s off to camp the week after and we get into full-in triathlon season. So maybe I’ll come back in June when we’re in a really nutty time, though of course when things are busy you don’t have 30-45’/day to do this.
9:22 a.m. Get up. Tired. Eat a chocolate mint Clif bar and drink some Gatorade. Browse my phone to see if there’s anything that needs responding. Not really responding to stuff this weekend. Feed boys and empty their litter box. We empty dishwasher. Watch some TV. Take my time getting ready to run. Not excited.
10:54 a.m. Finally out the door running. Workout: jog down to high school track, 21 x 800 at 3:15/200 jog. Except for an emergency bathroom break and a gel, it is continuous. More or less. The 200 jog recoveries turn into shuffling by the end and I fall off pace the last five. But I finish and not *that* far off pace. Jog most of the way home so slowly, and then decide to walk the last three-quarters of a mile.