Friday, July 31, 2015

A week out from USAT Age Group Nationals

This summer is FLYING by. And speaking of Thursday I fly to Milwaukee for USAT Sprint and Olympic Age Group Nationals and the boys start school the following week on August 11th. ACK!

Last week we squished in a short beach trip to Duck, NC on the Outer Banks. Years past I would have been anxious about taking a vacation during a more critical period of training, but really I think the late July timing was perfect. We needed the break and change of scenery. Annnnd...I still got in two quality runs and two quality swims during the three days we were there.

I will admit the saltwater lap pool just might have helped the Sanderling Resort make my short list of destinations. But I let the family make the final choice.

This will be my fifth consecutive USAT Age Group Nationals and I will again do both races - the Olympic on Saturday and Sprint on Sunday. I am 48 in the 45-49'ers so I am nearing the top of the age group, and in terms of competing for a spot for Team USA in Mexico in 2016, I will be competing AT the top of the age group with the age-ups (since I will be 49 in 2016). So let's just say I will be racing hard, but I am also going into this Nationals without any expectations other than to just have a good smart race and enjoy competing against the best of the best. I also view it as good training for ITU Age Group Worlds, which will follow 5-1/2 weeks later.

It would be an understatement to say I am getting very excited for the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final and World Championships. Having that here in the US, and being part of such an amazing week of racing that includes top age groupers, paratriathlon, Elite Men and Women, the U23 Championship, and the open age group race will be incredible. I enjoyed my experiences in Auckland and London so much, so to be a part of that again right here in the US will be awesome. There is just nothing like the Grand Final when triathletes from countries across the world take over a city!

I found out last week that I did get a roll-down slot for the Olympic distance race in Chicago so I will race both the Sprint on Thursday, September 17, and the Olympic on Saturday, September 19. If I am going all that way, I might as well do both, and it's nice to have a rest day between.

I am feeling like I am right where I need to be leading into these races. I have some accumulated fatigue that I expect to shed this week, but I am otherwise feeling strong, fit, and sound. My training has been highly structured with a lot of tough efforts. Several of my recent runs have ended like this:

So lucky to have this shallow creek right where most of my runs and bikes start as the heat has been a killer for me this year. I am glad for the quick cool-down.

My swimming and biking feels strong, consistent, and dialed-in, with my running a little less so, but that's how it goes with the sport. It's hard to have all three feeling awesome at the same time (unless you are Gwen Jorgenson!) When my running is on, it's decent, so my real challenge is going to be staying mentally tough in the races, particularly for the 10ks. All I can do is get the most out of myself without judgement.

I'm starting to taper a bit - both training AND life/work/mental stress so that I can arrive in Milwaukee fresh and hungry for speed.

With that - I'm off for a run before it gets too too hot out.

Have a great weekend!!