Tuesday, April 13, 2010

18 days from Smith Mountain Lake

The semester has gotten very busy as we gear up for Earth Week and the culmination of student projects that began last fall. We created public service announcement podcasts, will have Earth Day displays, and are creating a self-published book about our work. We're also on the brink of installing our wind turbine, a project that began a year ago. Did I mention I have a conference presentation on Monday that I haven't even begun? The reason this is relevant to this blog is that it's been hard to turn my attention to the fact that in 18 days I have my first triathlon of the season, my second ever, with the first being last August. I've been training consistently, swimming and biking at least twice weekly (plus running) since that August race and am excited to kick off this race season, but I want to do it with sufficient focus and go into it rested and ready to push hard. I got us a cabin at the race site for the weekend of the race so I also need to think about packing up and organizing the whole family for that trip. LOTS to do in the next two weeks. It's important to me that I head into that race rested and mentally primed.

This morning I had a time trial swim, 400 and 200m timed swims to compare with my times from last January.

January: 6:52 (1:43) for the 400 and 3:17 (1:38.5) for the 200.
April 13: 7:02 for the 400 and 3:18 for the 200.

Ooops. Not the improvement I had wanted and expected to see. I was surprised because my swimming continues to improve and feel better. Granted I slept horribly last night but it I gave it my all and came up short. What are you gonna do? This is what I wrote to Coach Jim:

I took my hour to be miffed about my swim and have moved on (mostly!). What bothers me is I know my crazy busy life and job are probably not helping matters, but on the other hand I guess it's all that stuff that lets me do this stuff so it's just a package deal. Logically, I get that progress is never linear, it flatlines, steps back, and then jumps when you least expect it. And yes, even trickier trying to balance the three sports plus lifting. I just come back to (1) I know I bring my BEST to every workout, whatever "best" is for that day and those conditions and (2) I have faith that every workout is contributing in some way to long-term overall progress and fitness.

I shared this experience with the kids today and tried to explain how most everything is like this...two steps forward, one back (or maybe three), then steady-state for a while, and eventually a big leap. Keeping the faith and a long-term view is what matters.

And I do know that when I get to the start of that race, I will take with me a lot of confidence knowing that I've done the work in the gym, on the roads, in the pool, on the track, and even in the kitchen! I need to address the rest and mental prep part a bit more, but I'll get there!