Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Positives and Negatives

My training has kind of been all over the place this summer. After my April marathon I knew that I would be drastically cutting back on my running so I could focus on cycling and swimming more, in the hopes I'd get up the nerve to sign up for another triathlon. Last summer was very rough on me and I knew I needed to do something different.

It's been good and bad.

First....the positives....

I have really enjoyed my Saturday bike rides with my triathlon group. Sometimes I stick to the group, sometimes I branch off with one or two others, sometimes I end up solo. But it's been fun and challenging and a really nice break from the difficulty of running in the summer weather. I don't typically have too much trouble cycling for two or three hours in the heat. I've noticed that I've gained a lot of strength and comfort with my cycling over the course of the past few months.

As for swimming, I was very reluctant to get back in the pool. I just wasn't a great swimmer last year, although I improved dramatically over the summer. My first few swim workouts this year were pretty mediocre and it was a bit frustrating to me. But the last few weeks have been completely different. It's like something just clicked in the pool and I now feel like a real swimmer. I've gotten compliments on my form and ability, and that just makes me feel very good about my progress. I felt strong and comfortable during my first triathlon last week, and I'm feeling confident going into my next one at the end of September.

I loved competing in my first triathlon and can't wait to see how I do during a full triathlon season next year. I haven't picked my races yet, but I do plan to do several throughout the season. I want to be a real local competitor in the sport.

But there have been negatives....

My running. It kinda sucks. I'm battling plantar fasciitis and that is discouraging, but it has improved in the last couple weeks. I am struggling greatly in the heat and humidity, but I'm thankful this summer has been much better than the past few years. Except for August. August has been atrocious. Some workouts have gone very well, but my "long" runs have not gone well at all. The longest run I've had since April is 7 miles, which was my choice and I don't regret that choice at all, but I do think it's putting me at a disadvantage going into marathon training. I'm going to suck it up and keep increasing my mileage slowly, and know that with the cooler temps around the corner I'll be feeling much better.

I have two marathon in the coming season, Houston on January 18 and San Luis Obispo on April 26. These are the same marathons I ran this year and I'm looking forward to improving upon my times in 2015. Both are awesome races, but they're completely different from each other and involve very different racing strategies. Also, with them 3 months apart, I have a long training cycle...37 weeks. But I did it this year, and ran my two fastest marathons so far, so I'm confident I can hang in there and hopefully be just as successful. Most importantly, I want to enjoy the whole journey!

I'm trying to focus more on the positives. My marathon training group starts up on Saturday and for the fifth year I'll be coaching. It's always better for me to be surrounded by inspiring athletes every Saturday morning. One step at a time...I'll get my running mojo back!

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