Saturday, April 4, 2015

It's Not the Gear - It's the Machine

I must have said it a "hundred bajillion" times to athletes and friends, "It's not the fancy gear you own or wear.  It's the way you train and the engine inside you."  Yep.  I've said it.  I've believed it - as the owner of a 1998 Quintana Roo Kilo (aluminum and steel frame) - I have pretty much lived the saying.  But, until today I didn't ever feel that I had fallen prey to the saying.

Yes.  I was given/gifted/permanently loaned a tri bike in 2008ish (maybe 2010ish) that I have loved and cherished and ridden in ever triathlon since then.  For Christmas this past year, my ever supportive and #SuperSherpaSpouse gave me a BRAND NEW CARBON FRAME Quintana Roo Dulce.  I LOVE her!  She is my #PinkPanther and I truly enjoy riding her.  Flash forward from Christmas, through three what-I-thought-were-good-productive training months to the season opener:  Red Hills Sprint Triathlon.

Top:  1998 Kilo - Bottom:  2014 Dulce

Unlike last year, I actually swam in the off season (like about 20 times in the month of December), but only 5 times and two open water swims in the last few weeks leading up to race day.  This year I swam in a sleeveless wet suit and I am pleased with my decision.  The water was just a tad warmer than last year, and I really did feel better prepared.  I should, however, maybe have started a bit further up in the pack so as to not swim over/around so many people.  Net time difference:  18 seconds slower over the 1/3 mile swim course.  I'm okay with that.  T1 - 19 seconds FASTER this year.  Yippee!  Now for the bike...

We added a CycleOps PowerBeam Pro to our training pain cave in January and I have used it for every trainer ride since.  I have previously trained based on perceived effort, heart rate, and cadence with solid results.  So, being honest, I have used the PowerBeam with the power meter engaged about 1/3 of the time.  The ride FELT GREAT!  I felt strong, and fast, and ready to throw down when I got to T2.  Hold on there, Skippy!  Reality check:  for all that great feeling and perceived fastness:  I was 2:29 slower this year.  What!  Whaaaaat?  Brand new carbon bike?  Kit that fits like a lambskin glove, and I'm SLOWER?  Dang it... 

Into T2... and out the gate in 12 seconds less than 2014.  Okay.  Things are looking up again.  I might be able to pull off a run time that I can be pleased with.

Run:  UP hill out of T2 (and T1 by the way).  I'm feeling pretty good, not great, but good.  When I am huffing and puffing in that darn asthmatic manner that only I can produce.  Yay!  Stop and walk and use the inhaler.  Suck it all in and move on.  The run is hilly and just over one half is trails - which for those of us with weak and cranky ankles is NO FUN!  But, methodical picking of one's path can lead to an injury free run.  This year's run was 2:35 slower (again with the slow) and I have no explanation except that breathing is a good thing to do when running.  That's it.  My training runs had been super, and even my "shake up" brick the day before with my son was faster but felt relaxed and smooth.

Now for the take-away:  I am in my late forties (not looking for pity), and I came to this sport truly only 7ish years ago, and only approached it seriously in the last 3 years. I am an asthmatic with allergies that are not always predictable.  I work full time, have two part-time jobs, in addition to being married for nearly 25 years and the mother of two high energy, top competitors in their own age groups.  I am BLESSED to be able to get up each morning and CHOOSE to train and have a family to love and an employment situation with all the benefits.  I have friends and colleagues with whom to share experiences and ideas, and athletes to assist and guide through their own journey to success.  It is apparent that there is work to be done, and be done it will.  I am nothing if not determined once I see what is required to meet the chosen goal(s).

For all of my negative "self speak" and down-playing of what I may or may not have accomplished, today was a wonderful day on Easter Weekend to be outside doing one, okay three, of the things I truly love best with friends, family, and people from my home town.  I can't be any happier than to pack my things up out of Transition and put my #PinkPanther in the car and go home to the family who loves me.

Happy Easter!  HE is Risen!

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Mac's "SwimSTRONG" Foundation

Mac's "SwimSTRONG" Foundation
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