I have not had much to write about lately. It has been coach, train, eat, sleep and repeat. Routine is fine with me so it has not been an unhappy time, just busy. I have had week break from coaching which has been nice. While I love coaching, I definitely needed a break to re-energize for the last 8 weeks of the season. It is amazing to think we only have 2 months to go before our championship meet. Time is certainly flying. We all leave on Friday for our training trip in Ft. Lauderdale and I am looking forward to some outdoor riding while down there. Of course, it will be flat and along A1A (I'll be singing Ice Ice Baby--"A1A, beachfront avenue") but it's outside and not the rollers and computrainer in my living room.
Speaking of the trainer, I have been spending quite a bit of time on it lately. The last few weeks have been a "bike focus" time which is always a bit challenging when there is no hope of going outside. However, I have remained focused and endured all the training. My legs are coming around and I am starting to feel more fit. It certainly can be tedious but I find that if I keep my goals in the forefront of my thoughts while cycling indoors I can find the motivation to keep myself working hard. I have also just switched to the ISM Adamo saddle and it has helped tremendously as well. I am able to stay in aero for longer than 2 minutes while riding on the CT which is great. It took a bit for my sit bones to get used to the increased pressure but I can't imagine it any other way now.
As far as the 2010 season goes I think I have finally nailed down the first few races I am going to do. I was quite indecisive for about a month but after I buckled down in training I started focus in on things and the races I wanted to do became more clear. As of right now I am going to start with Oceanside March 27 and then Wildflower on May 2. Oceanside will be cold but I have done the race twice so I think I will know what to expect. I had considered doing an Olympic distance race to get rid of the cobwebs but after thinking about it a shorter race might be more painful after a long winter training indoors and doing a lot of longer type miles. I think I will probably be a little rusty and not quite as sharp and if I am not on top of my game I will get left behind in an Olympic distance race. So, I'll go to Oceanside with the goal of having the best race I can after training indoors for four months. I might be a little underdone or I might be firing on all cylinders, the first race of the season is always a hard one to figure out. I just want to go, race hard and see where I am on March 27. Then I can re-evaluate and focus in on the rest of the spring.
Last year at Oceanside I expected I would do better because of the great winter of training I had done. It was definitely more than I had ever done and I thought I would be way ahead of what I had done in 2007 at the same race. How much better was I in 2009? 20 seconds. Of course, things are different year to year---wind, temperature, etc. but I was somewhat disappointed. At the same time, my race in 2009 hurt a lot more than my race in 2007 so I knew that I just had one of the good days in 2007. As I continued to think about it I realized that "expecting" to do well because you had put in the work was the wrong mindset too. When I go to yoga I never expect anything when I go into the poses; I am just in present and working with what is there in the moment. I forgot to do that in Oceanside last year. I needed to work with what I had that day and not worry about where I thought should be. It was a good lesson to start of the 2009 season. I needed that because one of my goals was to work on the mental game of racing. I knew that I had done some great training and while I did not see it in the Oceanside result I was confident that it would show itself later on during the 2009 season.
In fact, my next race in St. Croix was an exercise in the mental side of racing more than any other race I had ever done. I had to go into that race with absolutely no expectations and the goal to just be present. I spent the ten days before the St. Croix race sicker than I had been in years with a fever and upper respiratory infection. Once we got to St. Croix I started to feel better but I had not been on my bike in a week and had only managed to splash around in the pool a few times. All I wanted to do was race. I did not care if it took my 7 hours to finish the race, I just wanted to experience it. I loved everything about that race and I did not want to miss it. As the week went on the congestion in my chest started to ease and I began to feel better. I managed to swim the course a few times and do a couple easy rides and runs. I reasoned that I was going to be very rested. Andy asked me the day before the race as I was hacking while lounging by the pool in our rented house (named the Blue Iguana--loved it) if it was a good idea that I raced the following day. I looked at him like he was crazy and said "I am starting the race, no matter what I can make it through the swim and will evaluate from there." I told him I would stop if I was sick but I was not going to stop if I was going slow due to being sick the week before, no matter how long it took, if I was healthy I would finish. He looked at me, smiled and said "I don't think it will take you 7 hours." The next day I raced, enjoyed the experience, stayed in the present with absolutely no expectations and took 25 minutes off my time from the year before. The remainder of the year I worked on recreating the mindset from that race.
I was smiling like that in every picture.
So, as I get ready for the 2010 season I am getting ready for the entire experience and approaching it with passion, commitment and a SMILE. There will be challenges, setbacks and goals achieved this year and I can't wait. Now I have to go ride on the trainer (AGAIN!). Happy New Year!