Friday, October 26, 2012

Season's End 2012: Mehhh

It's now been close to three weeks since my last race of the season, my double weekend at Giant Acorn.  I'm going to spare my readers, especially my German readers who have evidently outnumbered my U.S. readers in the past month. I'm not sure how the hell that's possible, unless my mom is secretly using a VPN through Germany and hits refresh every 30 seconds...or I'm just that damn popular because I have the same color hair and eyes as Steffen Justus (and nearly every other German and Swede). Anyway, I'll go with more of a progression of things from race to race.
I started out the season running better than ever and making huge gains in my swim.  I was pumped.  Then Clermont happened, and man was that a wakeup call.  I did not exactly go into Clermont thinking I would be able to finish in the top few people, but I didn't expect to finish in the bottom half of the race, feeling like I was going to die the whole time.  That was certainly a humbling experience, made worse by my blow-up at Collegiate Nationals.
Following those, I went through my insane race constantly phase, which was an absolute blast.  Along the way, I met some great people (one in particular), and took my first trip out to Colorado (does that make me officially a legit triathlete now?) All the while, I was starting my real adult life, including moving down to my new home in Virginia Beach, starting my job in Norfolk.
It took a little while to get myself adjusted to actually getting a proper night's sleep, something I'd learned how not to do when I was still at the Academy.  On the other hand though, I finally started to learn why "adults" would complain about lack of time to train.  While it's true that as a student, specifically a cadet, I had a lot of stuff to do outside of class, but I also wasn't locked out of training for the bulk of the day.  Instead, now I started to learn that I have to get my workouts in before and after work, which means from 7:30 am to 4:00ish pm, I don't have that time to work out typically, save maybe a lunchtime quick run or yoga session if my flow of work permits.  Contrast that with my time at the Academy, where as a government major I frequently had two and three hour blocks of no class.  Rather than try to squeeze two workouts in the afternoon/evening, I could do one in my morning off from classes then another after classes were over.  I miss that luxury greatly with training.  This also means that beginning in mid-September, I had all but lost my ability to ride outside during the week.  I insist on swimming most of the time with a masters group, so I'm not getting home until 7 or 8 most nights...at which time it was wayyyy too dark.  Running is one thing (as long as I don't go near the sketchy parts of Va Beach), but I'm not riding in this area in the dark. It's dangerous enough on a bright sunny day.
Anyway, the second part of my racing season focused up on Age Group Nationals.  Here I was really looking forward to seeing how a new schedule of training would pan out.  I didn't really get my shot due to a flat, but my run and swim weren't exactly the best either.  I've had some nagging mostly-mental issues particularly with running all season though, and they have only begun to sort themselves out in the last few weeks.
I was really hoping this would be a breakout season of sorts, with even the outside chance of earning a pro license.  I came wayyyy short of that on so many accounts, but that doesn't mean I don't think I can do it.  I honestly believe the fitness, the skill are at or nearly at the level they need to be; I just need to execute, which is something I just couldn't seem to do this year.  If you look at my offseason schedule, it's a lot more unusual, cyclocross and trail run sort of stuff.  The goal for this is to get me to just go hard and forget about conventional pacing, etc.  That's the sort of stuff a real racer is made of, and I need to find that again within myself.
One absolute positive I do have about the season is I am very proud of the tradition that's carried on with my former team.  I mentioned this in my Age Group Nationals post that I accidentally deleted, but I ran into them up there, and they seemed far better organized and closer-knit than I ever got them.  I'd like to think I got them to that point along with my best friend and co-captain Jonas, but a lot of the credit goes to their current "mom" (as opposed to me, who was occasionally referred to as "dad." I think that reflects on our demeanor with them) David.  He was able to do what I never could, which is to get solid team practices.  Early my freshman year we had "let's meet up" type workouts nearly every day, but by my sophomore year it devolved into Jonas and me working out together occasionally.  By my senior year we got those meetup type workouts back a few times a week, but David has restored and strengthened the team dynamic, which is what I always thought was so special about collegiate triathlon.
Now I see why my parents come visit me: it's nice to see your all-grown-up children doing well for themselves.

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