Five weeks from yesterday I will arrive in Galveston, and I can already feel the sun on my back as I ride that bike course. I can already see the ocean surround me. I can already feel the hugs of friends I haven’t seen in so long.
I can already feel some of those starting line butterflies. What a gift. Before I stepped away from the sport that feeling, those butterflies, they had vanished. The butterflies mean I care. As my Dad always told me as an age group swimmer, we put the butterflies into formation, and we let them fly.
My preparation for this race has gone well. I have no delusions of smashing some insane time out of the gate, and to be very honest, my care about how a finishing time and placing is of no matter to me right now. The process is what I am craving and the preparation is what I am enjoying. The outcome will take care of itself, and it will be what it will be. I want to feel all of it again.
I used to be hyper-obsessed with training volume. These days I couldn’t even tell you what my weekly volume is. When I started working with Jen and Liz my vow to myself and to them was trust. I know both of them, and that made it so much easier to hand myself to them and say, have at it.
I only focus on what I have to do each day. As I said I don’t look at the weekly volume. Hell I don’t even look at Friday until Thursday. If I am missing something, they tell me. If I need to dial something in, they tell me. All I need to do is focus on the sessions for each day, and my bigger job is the recovery, which is where I lacked so badly before this chapter.
I used to be the queen of little sleep and pressing the pedal to the metal 100% of the time. These days, sleep is the first thing that is scheduled into my week. Other recovery modalities such as naps, recovery boots, functional movement sessions, that’s next into the schedule. Then training. I’ve paid the deep price for depriving myself of recovery and I swore I would never do it again.
It’s not as easy as it sounds, it’s required stopping myself, turning most social media off, and maintaining a lot of tunnel vision. Anyone can post a pretty photo of a bike session on social media, but I am interested in what happens on the race course.
I have always been an athlete. When I transitioned from college swimming to adult life multisport drew me in (thank god) while hanging up speedos became the norm for others. I never stopped being an athlete. I found family and love here in the multisport world. I don’t have an inspiring “I lost 200 pounds” or “I quit smoking” story. I have stepped away from my sport as a competitor due to drilling myself into the ground, but I remained as a coach and commentator. This has always been my home and I suspect it always will be.
My peer group….. athletes. When I travel it’s typically to a race or for a race. I don’t know what it is like to have close friends who wouldn’t think twice about a hundred mile ride on any given Saturday.
I have been truly blessed. I don’t have to explain all of this to anyone. I don’t have to justify it. It’s my life and as I look back…. holy hell what a beautiful ride it has been. And now to have the incredible fortune to get to look ahead and create new chapters of it, I have to pinch myself.
As I put in the work to begin the season I have welcomed every trainer session done in the garage. I have embraced every pool session and loved every opportunity to run. I have loved this journey with my coaches thus far, and I have loved the feeling of being back in the game again. Not every day is sunshine and balloons. In fact, most days are not. But I find the joy in those moments. I truly do. I know that when I am busting my ass and just missing those intervals by a mile, that it’s all going to be worth it.
The other day when my swimming was just so off, it was comical. I told my husband “It isn’t important that it shows up today, it’s important July 22nd”. Because that’s true.
Don’t personalize every damn interval. Don’t let the good days or bad days shake you either way. They are all part of such an incredible process. Let the process be the process. Control the controllables. Learn to lean into it. Learn to trust your team and most importantly, learn to trust yourself.
Five weeks. #SuperG….. it’s almost GO TIME!