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.)

Continue reading “Week 4: Throwing up in Bermuda”

Year 2, Week 1: Just Don’t Ask What’s Next

This came in the mail a few weeks ago and I was going to call that week one of year two of being a professional triathlete, but I still wasn’t training and was just doing the waiting to see if I got better thing, which meant sometimes instead of swimming I would end up drinking margaritas and feeling bad about myself, so it didn’t exactly feel like week one of anything.

Only now it’s 2018 and yesterday everyone posted their inspirational well-filtered photo declarations of how this year will be different and better and more. AND. I’m back on an actual training schedule now, albeit a light one. So let’s go ahead and call this week one.

Did you know I trained 640 hours this past year? Even with the fact that the last two months have been minimal at best. That’s a lot of hours.

Generally, I’ve done year in review posts about what I achieved, what I raced, where I went, what I did good and what I did bad. But Dec. 31 is sort of arbitrary. It feels delayed, behind the actual race season we care about. I already looked back at my first year as a pro. It happened. There were some things learned, some successes. The best thing about the year? And this will sound hokey as fuck, but still. I made a lot of friends. I think I only paid for a hotel at one race, because friends put me up and homestays let me crash and teammates gave me their extra bedrooms. I saw the same people over and over, and we went through the same things, and then we saw each other again at the next race. Who knew there really is a community in pro triathlon? At least a little bit. And thank you to Smashfest Queen and Dimond Bikes and Freeplay. This year was the first time I felt like a real sponsored athlete and actually knew the individual people who were behind the companies. It was like they were invested in me as much I was invested in them.

I went to L.A. and San Diego and Arizona and Seattle. Canada, of course, but Victoria and Mont-Tremblant/Montreal this year. I got to go to Costa Rica and visit New York for the first time in well over a decade. I don’t know how much traveling all over Northern California counts, Tahoe and Santa Cruz and Monterey, and wine country is basically every one of my long rides. Then there were a couple weeks in Chicago and Kentucky. Things happened.

My best race: Santa Cruz 70.3
My favorite race: IM Mont-Tremblant
My nuttiest race: Costa Rica 70.3 or maybe the Dipsea
My race I’m pretending didn’t happen: IM Louisville

I made a concerted effort this year to focus on triathlon, which meant a lot of the time I felt like I wasn’t doing as good a job in the other half of my career. Freelancing is defined by cycles of crises, and the cycles came so frequently this year I almost learned to just let them wash over me. But in between, I actually did some work I liked. And a lot of that had to do with finally doing more work in and about triathlon, almost as if I have some sort of expertise in the sport and industry.

People keep asking what my plans are for this upcoming year, what races I’m signed up for, where am I going, what am I doing?

I don’t know. I don’t know because four weeks ago I didn’t even know if I’d be racing at all. I don’t know because even though I’m back to training and starting to half-form plans, I still need to take it day by day. I don’t know because I’m really not *that* Type A.

I’ve gone a month now with no heart issues. I’m back on a training plan. Three weeks ago, it felt like I was exercising and working overtime just to go backwards, to still lose fitness. Now I’m actually starting to see efforts and times I sometimes normally see. I’m signed up for Way Too Cool 50K in March. I’m planning to do it, if everything goes according to plan. It’ll be my first 50K. My first real race back will be Wildflower, though. Everyone is doing Wildflower. It’ll be awesome and the start of my triathlon season. After that? Who knows. I’ll probably do Santa Rosa, possibly some other random stuff in there. I have a vague idea I’m going to race later into December after such a late start to the season, do a half or two down in S. America. I want to do Swimrun, and one of the races that sounds crazy and fun, maybe IM Wales, maybe Challenge Roth, maybe Super League, maybe something else.

No one really knows what’ll happen in the next 365 days, even if they say they do. I’m just being honest about it.

Week 18: Just One Lesson

Read all my weekly recaps of being a pro. This week’s brought to you from the Liberia Airport in Costa Rica. 

If you missed the bonus blog post earlier this week, take the triathlon quiz and earn money to be donated to Exceeding Expectations.

(Photo: Wagner Araujo via IM Costa Rica 70.3)

There’s a lot to say about Costa Rica and the country’s first Ironman brand race. At least, I hope there’s a lot to say because I have to write a story about the trip and you’ll have to read most of the details when it publishes.

So I’ll just say this one thing now about the race:

Continue reading “Week 18: Just One Lesson”

Three Articles All Over My Internet

1. Challenge Roth is instituting a ‘run loop of shame’ for drafters: Look, that’s cool and funny. And certainly part of why people draft is because the cost isn’t high enough to outweigh the risk. But as with ANYTHING where that is the case, that’s only part of why people do it. The second half of why drafting is so bad at big races is because there are so many people the same speed with nowhere to go. For me, and most women my speed, the biggest problem isn’t women drafting in packs, it’s trying to get through crowds of men who are slow or trying not to get caught up in men who pass you and then slow down. The problem isn’t that we need to be shamed, it’s that we need somewhere to go where these men aren’t in the way (or the men need somewhere to go). And anyone who’s been in a crowded short-course race, like Alcatraz, knows that there literally isn’t enough space to stretch all the participants from end to end with enough space between each to meet drafting rules. It would be longer than the entire course. So when you have courses and conditions that literally can not comply with the rules, shaming people for breaking the rules only solves part of the problem…

2. Serena Williams has muscles: Yeah, duh. But it’s actually a totally legitimate point that women have to balance body image with what they need to be the best as an athlete. Ridiculing the New York Times for pointing that out doesn’t make it not true.

3. Seriously, you need to sleep more: Like, for real. Like, science suggests that even moderately not getting enough sleep has massive effects on your health. Look I’m not super observant about myself. There is a reason by the time anyone realized, when I was 8-years-old, that I needed glasses, I was almost legally blind. It had never occurred to me that wasn’t how everyone else saw the world and that I didn’t just need to deal with it. Ask Steve about how bad I am at paying attention to details in training. (“I just thought I must be going slow?” When, no, actually my bike wheel had popped out slightly and I was dragging it behind me against the inside of my frame, so hard that I was wearing a hole in the fork. Didn’t even notice!). So, I don’t really notice how I feel most of the time. But I really notice when I don’t sleep enough. Even just two or three days of six hours of sleep makes me start to feel dull and slow. How do people not notice the effects of sleeping more (or less)?

I Just Can’t Even Anymore

I was trying to explain the other day how my mentality has shifted a little bit, just a little bit, in racing. I’m trying to just do my thing and whatever about the rest. And it’s sort of working, even to the extent that I haven’t cared much about results after my last few races. Because I knew I had raced as hard as I could and however that stacked up was how that stacked up.

This is sort of bleeding over into life too. Sort of. Or maybe it’s bleeding from life the other direction. I don’t know. All I know is I can’t even anymore with caring about the bullshit.

Not to be all ‘now that I’m 30, I’m too old to care what anyone else thinks about me,’ because those people are annoying. But I just am tired of caring what anyone else thinks about me.

I know this is going to be funny to lots of you. You all think I didn’t care before, but it’s a lie. Reporters, sponsored athletes, some combination of the two, we are always worried someone is going to not pay us, someone is going to drop us, someone is going to get offended. Maybe I need to put more exclamation points in my emails. Maybe I need to post filtered motivational pictures to build my brand. Maybe if I say online that I think the Second Amendment was designed for a citizen militia, but not for you to carry a handgun, then I won’t get hired for a job even after multiple interviews. Oh, wait, that happened. So, yes, it gets old when everyone treats you like a novelty that says wacky things, but you aren’t even saying the wackiest stuff that actually comes into your head. You’re actually trying to be “normal.”

The other day on Slowtwitch someone told me I was turning people off my “cause” because I made a sarcastic joke. The cause, apparently, being “women.” And I just couldn’t with that. I hadn’t even cared that much about the mansplaining, eye-rolling-ness of the original discussion. (I mean I just finished a journalism Masters fellowship with a cohort of all women; it’s not like I’m super eager to talk more about media representations and diversity.) But, fine, fine, you think that was me turning you off, just watch. Then I was all kinds of bitchy and I turned off reply notifications and I haven’t gone back since to see what names he probably called me. Because I just can’t even anymore.

I’m trying to figure out what this means for my life. How do I turn being me into a career? Isn’t that the dream? What do I want to do now? Besides train a lot, write some stuff, and finally sleep…