Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Training the "Choose Your Own Adventure" Way-And The Gold at the End of the Rainbow

2008 has been of a choose-your-own-adventure kind of year.

Here was the original plan as of February 2008: Hagg Lake 4K Swim, Granite Man, Blue Lake Olympic, Pacific Crest Olympic, Xterra Vashon Island, TBD at Descutes Dash. Rest up for a few weeks, get ass in gear for cross.

The best laid plans coincided with reality like a bug on a semi windshield.

Here how this year has actually gone down: Sign up for Blue Lake Sprint after discovering potential scheduling conflict with Emily's going-away party. Decide to run Wildwood 20K at last minute. Wipe out and damage shoulder on a recovery run after Wildwood 20K. Skip Hagg Lake 4K swim because unable to secure back-fastening bra without pain, much less swim. Compete at Granite Man, but without the swim portion. Set Granite Man triathlon course record despite not actually competing the triathlon. Convince AA sports to let me switch from Blue Lake Sprint Tri to Olympic Relay. Come down with the plague two days before Blue Lake, unable to do anything but watch from the sidelines.

After Blue Lake came and went, I gave in. This season is, for all practical purposes, a bust as far as "competition" is concerned. I am hoping to swim at Xterra Vashon Island, but that might be the only 800 meters that I swim all summer--and it might be a side stroke. I am completely uninterested in developing a chronic shoulder condition.

I have also completely lost interest in foregoing recreation for training on my summer weekends. I was on the loaner mountain bike out at Hood River yesterday with Sarah Tingey. Yesterday's mountain bike ride was so much fun--and really frigging hard. I don't have the conditioning for sustained trail climbing and the bike handling was a full body workout. Sarah and I pushed our bikes uphill a lot, and laughed about it afterwards over beers and burgers as we sat in the sun at Full Sail. Quite possibly a perfect day on and off the bike.

The unexpected joy is that after that ride yesterday, I am finally motivated to do something, but that something has nothing to do with triathlon. I really just want to be on trails as much as possible for the rest of the summer. I want to conquer my fears and become a competent mountain biker. I think I just needed a new challenge in order to find my fire again. Short track starts tonight (!!!!!) and the new bike should be here before we leave for Pacific Crest.

And speaking of Pacific Crest: I will be racing the Kuota for only the second time this year. Those 24 miles will be a very interesting experience for my hamstrings. But riding fast will be a good change up from mountain biking--one that I'm sure my body and psyche will appreciate.

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