Friday, September 19, 2014

Racing, lessons learned & next year

So....ummm...did you guys know I have a race this weekend? I sure do. I know. I've kind of kept it under wraps. 

Race week means I had to send my race plan to Liz. 

I present you with My Race Plan. (Please read in a dramatic voice)

I would like to make it my "What the hell" race, go out there and take some risks. If I go out too hard on the run, who cares? I'd love to try to "go too hard on the bike". I haven't even hit threshold in a sprint. There's no reason for that. So do it. Try to blow the fuck up, Tea. It's a sprint.

I have a better understanding of racing short distances now that I've been training for the 70.3. 

I'd love to finish the year knowing that (it might have taken me 9 months to get here) that I gave it everything I had for the last 2 races of the year.

Swim: HARD, REALLY HARD, leave nothing out there.

Bike: Push the comfort zone. Get OUT of my comfort zone. I know what comfort is now. I'm training for a half. THAT's comfort. I need to want to cry or grunt or make otherwise lady-like noises.

Run: Go hard and hold on. See what happens. So I run out of transition at a 9:00 pace. Maybe I can hold that for a 5k. Maybe I can't but I won't know until I try.

I just want to go out there and have a blast. 

Of course, this is the short version.

Of course, Liz LOVED IT.

Of course, WRITING a race plan is the easy part. 

I still have to implement that bitch.

In other news, I have been thinking a lot about next year. I think it's been pretty obvious that this year was a transition year. Liz did a great job setting up & spacing my races. I told her what I wanted for A races, and she told me how to backfill with other races. (That's why I'm doing this sprint this weekend).

Still, it's been a huge learning curve for me. Ideally, I would prefer to start with shorter distances with a new coach. “It's not about the cards you're dealt, but how you play the hand.” With that in mind, we both worked through all the issues (mostly on my side).

I've learned a lot this year. At times, it was overwhelming.

I think I've become a better athlete to coach. Liz is very open and honest. At first, I had a hard time saying things to her. Now, I feel like I can let loose. It's been a lot of fun because we both have a sort of twisted, dry sense of humor. On a more serious note, I had to do a lot of self-analysis of sorts, to get there. I needed to look at my previous coaching relationship. I needed to look at where I was as a person and athlete. I had to look at what I was willing to go through and commit to as an athlete. Over time, months and months, those pieces started to fall into place.

Now, I'm getting toward the end of my season, and I feel like I'm JUST STARTING to GET IT's the off season soon. SIGH. 

On the other hand, I'm going into the off season with a new found confidence that I will accomplish my goals next year. This year, one of the things I had to learn was goal setting. I know. That sounds pretty basic. In the past, my goals were always time-based or I felt like I was under a lot of pressure to podium or beat someone else. (This was the result of the people who were in my life at that time. I let them get into my head.)

As a person, that's not who I am. It caused a lot of internal conflict. 

This year, I moved away from that. I moved away from any type of time goals. My goals are strategic now. FOLLOW THE PLAN and the time will follow.

The result was a podium at every sprint race I did this year. I had one 1st place, 2 2nd places and a 3rd place. (ALL unexpected because NONE of them were A races.)

SO NEXT YEAR.  I'm focusing on the OLY. That doesn't mean I'm ONLY doing that distance. It just means that at least one of my A races will be an OLY. The 2nd race is yet to be determined, but I have one in mind that I'd like to do. More importantly, Mr. Tea supports it.

It's so hard for me to keep quiet, but I want to get through this season, take my time off and talk to Liz. I respect her opinions and value her recommendations on how to set up a racing schedule.

Why the Oly?
It's hard. It's really hard. And dammit, I want to be good at it. The training for the Oly was hands down the sickest, hardest training that I've ever done.....and I LOVED IT. (5x bike/run, anyone?) I want to feel like I gave my best at the OLY. I've gotten very close on the sprint this year, but I was *off* with the OLY. It took us time to figure out what I needed to be successful with the Oly. By the time I *got* it, I was done with my last Oly of the year. Now that I've put in time with the 70.3, I feel confident that I can reach my goals next year. 

I plan on doing a number of races out of nearby states, so I can race different venues. Go up against new competition. 

And ultimately....qualify for Nationals. 

That's just step one.