It’s a quiet afternoon in my fav coffee cave which is a bit unusual given the time of day but I’m not gonna complain about that. Sometimes, I wonder where all the people have come from and why they are taking up my space haha
It’s also another day in this long week that is nothing but grey skies and feels perpetually like morning…. all… day… long.
Sometimes it makes it hard to feel like doing anything more than grabbing a blanket, a good book and chilling somewhere.
Instead, I’m going to write and let my thoughts out if you’ll humor me. Writing is often cathartic for me and let’s me examine things more closely through words.
As in… thinking about my first multi sport race this upcoming Sunday. My first duathlon.
Did I mention it’s listed as the toughest in the state? Yeah I don’t start with easy things.
I’ve certainly spent a significant amount of time on the road preparing for it. So much time to think and reflect, to ponder this journey that I’ve taken myself on.
I view myself as somehow a most unlikely candidate to turn into a duathlete.
This journey has been over 2 years in the making. It’s been out there in front of me, sometimes taunting and sometimes a bit illusive as I’ve had to bide my time waiting for the right moment.
You see when I first got the crazy idea I was fully in the mix of an ugly Achilles injury that had me doing no running at all. It’s during this time that cycling came into the picture a bit more. I had thought the following year I’d be up to it but just had things working against me that kept me from fully pursuing it. I remember seeing the cyclist out that year during the race and feeling a bittersweet longing to be able to do what they were doing.
My goal, my wish, began to be “just let me get healthy enough to run the distance required for the duathlon”. which at the time was bookend 5k’s.
All I had to do was run 6.20 miles … in two parts. Was that asking to much ?
I diligently rehabbed myself. Spent a lot of time strength training, learning to row to stay strong with my cardio ( for the record rowing to me has many similar feelings to running), and doing cycling. As I got better I took it back to the road for some strong walking. It just felt good to be out there going through the motions even if I couldn’t all out run yet.
Time moved on, I improved and was able to pick up some running again, albeit, cautiously .
This time… the duathlon seemed more feasible. I continued with slow. easy, short “runs”. I stretched, foam rolled, iced and did whatever I could to keep getting better.
When I saw the promotions start coming up for it this past May I knew it would be something I’d take on in this year.
In June I made the commitment and registered. And I say commitment ’cause when you cough up money to pay for an event, you’ve just invested yourself fully to it.
With that, my “official” training began.
I think back to those first brick sessions I did. ( fyi a brick session refers to back to back activities. For me it was a bike and run session. Eventually it turned into a run/bike/run sessions)
I did only 8-10 miles on the bike and then a 2 mile run. I remember getting off bike, changing shoes, and then taking off on legs that felt like loose spaghetti noodles.
It’s hard work changing gears from one activity to another!
I wondered how long it would take or if I would adapt to getting my body from cycling mode to running.
Months later, it’s definitely still work especially after running and cycling, then running again but I’ve found I’m stronger and have managed some decent mile times… you know… for an old lady 😛
And here I am. Months later with the race staring me down the face.
I’m as ready as I can be. I’ve worked hard and prepared to the best of my abilities. I’ve trained in horrible weather and good weather. Right now the forecast is for a chilly but sunny day and I couldn’t be more thrilled with that!
I’ve practiced riding those crazy hills. I remember the first time I took on one that I thought would eat my lunch, which then fed into a second hill immediately after.
I cried when I topped the second one. I know. I’m such a girl.
Doing hard physical things and accomplishing them brings out strong emotions in me. Maybe it’s a relief that I could do it. Maybe it’s overcoming something I thought might be insurmountable. Or once again realizing I’m stronger than I gave myself credit for.
Spend some time on the road making your body work hard, you begin to see what you’re made of. You begin to see how your mind and body can work together or against each other.
I’ve learned I can push a bit longer and farther. I can dial in and focus on that moment in front of me and set aside anything else so I can keep pressing on to my goal. I’ve learned how to listen to my breathing, to keep it even and steady even when I’m working hard. I listen to my body but try not to let it convince me it wants to quit or back off because it’s getting uncomfortable. ( not injured or hurt, but out of my comfort zone, there’s a difference )
If there’s one thing endurance sports has taught me it’s about discipline, determination, perseverance, and sacrifice.
I’ve learned to deal with hot, warm, humid weather.
As well as those mornings I’ve geared up and headed out into a cold, wet, rainy, or foggy misty morning to train.
Yeah. All I really wanted to do was stay in warm and dry. Yes I considered I might be crazy but there was a deeper thing in me that wouldn’t let me give in or back off from what I had committed to undertake.
If race day dialed up a cold, wet, foggy morning I better be able to handle myself in those conditions.
Of course months of training has leaned me out more, almost a side effect of all my training. I know it’s working when hubby tells me I feel to thin haha
I’ve peaked in my training and with that comes a physique that reflects my work, endurance to do my running and cycling, and improved times doing them.
There is a bittersweet aspect to this as well. I know there will be the inevitable “let down” when it is finished. The thing I’ve focused on will be done, my goal accomplished. It will be time to thing of new goals. I know these feelings go along with the excitement and thrill of doing it.
Now.. it’s almost show time.
With days out I’ll focus on stretching, rolling, eating well, getting rest and of course making sure my gear is ready and I have the coolest clothes to wear 😉
Looking good helps your performance, right ?
One thing I always remind myself of before races… the world doesn’t stop spinning based on my performance. It somehow takes some of the hyper energy off me.
Oh. I didn’t mention that did I? All the hyper energy and edginess counting down to it.. the “taper week”. That energy continues to build till I’m standing on the start line.
As much as I want to do the very best I’m capable of, the fact remains, when I cross that finish line, I’m a winner.
I win because I set out goals and dreams for myself and I worked hard and pursued them and I won’t go through life wondering “if” I could do it.
And nothing will feel better than that.