WARNING!! It’s a long one! Lot’s of pictures at the end though 🙂
This past week has been quite a learning experience for me. I did something pretty stupid. After my race last Saturday in Layton, UT where I took first overall female and third overall. I guess I felt invincible and even though I still had 5 races in the next 7 weeks (all out of town) I though that it would be a good idea to go wake boarding when I was out boating with some friends.
I completely threw out my lower back.
Like straight Grandma status. I couldn’t get out of bed, out of a chair, touch my toes or even put on my darn pants. I was so devastated, I couldn’t stop beating myself up about it. As soon as I could I got in to see my chiropractor Dr. Tom Fletcher (Wasatch Health Solutions) and my massage therapist Josh King (Lostris Massage). I bugged those guys every day till I left for Milwaukee. Thanks to their collaborative expertise I was able to get back on my feet and on my way back my normal bendy back.
I tried not to dwell on the fact that my week’s training consisted of one swim on Wednesday, a short bike ride Thursday and less than an hour of pre-race workouts on Friday. What I had to rely on was the fact that I have been consistently consistent with my training since the beginning of last November with my coach Wesley Johnson (Balanced Art Multisport). Even though I was panicking he was totally confident that I would race well in the Super Sprint that Saturday afternoon after the Olympic distance race at Age Group Nationals.
I had to trust him. Last year I barely finished the 6 races I competed in…this year Saturday was my 14th race!! and I have run faster every single race this season. That’s right I have set a PR every single race! That is so incredible considering this time last year my 10k time had crept up to a 46min 10k and just a few weeks ago in my international debut at the Toronto ITU Continental Cup I ran my personal best time of 38:57. So like I said, I had to trust my coach. He knew I could do it, I just had to convince myself I could do it.
As many athletes know the mental part of the race is often the real battle. I decided I was going to have a killer race while respecting my body’s limits and my back. The format for the race was F1 Format, swim, bike, run, swim, bike, run. The first swim was alright, came out of the water 4th, slipped all the way to 7th on the bike and then came the run. I was not in a good place mentally. My mantra was survival, I kept telling myself “don’t give up, don’t give up”. I realized what I was doing and it’s just like my cycling coach, Jeff Sherrod, tells me: You have to look ahead where you want to go, because if you are looking at what you are trying to avoid…like a curb…or a pothole, that’s where you’ll end up.
I had to switch my thinking, I wasn’t in this to survive!! I was in this thing to race! I switched my mantra to “I’m a runner, I’m a runner” and focused on picking up my cadence and eating up that pavement between me and the next girl. The closer I got the faster I started running and suddenly I remembered why I was out there with legs and lungs burning, sweat dripping into my eyes… I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! The speed, the competition, the challenge, the sheer exhilaration of racing. By the second lap of the first round of swim, bike, run I was on #3 and #4’s heels. I passed them on the little uphill part of the course through transition and just kept telling myself, “I’m a runner, I’m a runner.”
I made it through the 2nd swim, which let me tell you going from run to swim is pretty painful, you feel like you are dragging lead behind you instead of legs. The fourth girl caught back up to me on the bike and made it out of transition a little quicker, but I just picked my running mantra back up in my head and passed her before we’d even finished a quarter of the second run. Third place was mine and I was not going to let it go. I ended up with the fastest run split for the second run and made it on the podium with winner Sara McLarty!
The takeaways from the last week are; 1.) Don’t do anything even questionably stupid when going into your season finale races (I know, I know, DUH ZARA! and if you are going to be an idiot anyways make sure you have a great chiropractor and massage therapist.) and 2.) A positive attitude was the difference in 6th place and another podium finish consecutive weekends.
Don’t worry, I have pledged to keep all extracurricular activities till the conclusion of my season limited to walking or sitting. Even my secret passion, country swing dancing, will have to wait till the end of September, because I have quite a few more races this season.
Next up, ITU Kelowna, Canada next Saturday.
I’ll report back next week and until then I solemnly swear… NO WAKE BOARDING!