Sept. 30 – Oct. 6

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.

Continue reading “Sept. 30 – Oct. 6”

Oceanside, Peru, and St. George

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.

Continue reading “Oceanside, Peru, and St. George”

Time to go?

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.

Continue reading “Time to go?”

I’ve Decided Not to Quit

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)

A Sorta Wildflower Race Report That’s Really a Life Report

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.

Continue reading “A Sorta Wildflower Race Report That’s Really a Life Report”

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. 

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.