Today, an Aquathon has me primed for racing again. It feels like a long time since my last event but, actually, I only had one weekend away from racing. Without a race, training picked up. My focus is on the Paris Grand Prix on August 30. A 750m, 20k, 5k triathlon. Calling it a ‘sprint triathlon’ is a misnomer. Ask any swimmer training for anything at or over a 400m or a runner training for a 5k. They will assure you, they are not training for ‘sprinters’ events. The ‘sprint’ triathlon takes an hour (for pros); give or take 5 min depending on the course. Racing for that long takes massive amounts of endurance. Yes, there is power, anaerobic threshold, and sprinting involved but the underlying limiter is endurance. Hence, this last week was my biggest training week ever! I’m in my 6th year doing triathlons and before that swam for a national champion level swim team as a distance swimmer and never have I done 28.5 hours of training in one week. All this, for a ‘sprint’ triathlon. I am 34 years old, yet I feel like I am 18 again.
The journey towards the grand prix race is invigorating. A challenge that keeps me on my toes every step of the way. When 90 accomplished athletes take the starting line, there is no getting away. Javier Gomez came close at Tours winning by 20 seconds. Yet, for the majority of his race it was shoulder to shoulder, tooth and nail, cardio power fighting. Apart, from Gomez, the top 20 all came to the finish within seconds of each other. There, in lies, the true meaning of pushing your limits. Unless you are one of the most dominant triathletes on the planet, you are guaranteed to be pushed to the max, with 5 or 6 guy’s right there with you. Mental clarity, focus & belief become paramount. You will reach your max and then be asked, “Do I have any more?”
Enjoying the process is my theme, whatever the situation; enhancing the moment and accepting it for what it is. Much joy lies in this realm. Riding, running, and swimming for hours a day with always more to do can lead to anticipation of finishing this or that set. But the true power lies in being present. This is something swimming has done for me for years and its one reason I love doing it…no matter the crappy pool or the choppy ocean surf or the super strong currents. Getting in and focusing can actually turn what looks to be a bad workout into the best you’ve had.
Sometimes the most unexpected situations bring on intense tranquil and soothing moments. Many routes out of Saint Jean de Monts are fun for biking but I’m getting hooked on riding to Noirmountier Riding in the rain earlier this week, late in the day and near dusk helped keep me focused. It was a cool, windy and rainy day. It was comforting to just lay in the house and read with my feet up and my body warm and dry. But I had a 3 hour bike ride scheduled. Waiting for as long as possible at 6:30 pm I set off on my ride. The clouds were dark and stormy, the wind was gusty, the sun was signing off on the day and the rain went from slight drizzle to serious down pour. The ride was outstanding. I attribute this to the elements keeping me in tune with my immediate surroundings.
The week has been full of wonderful events and lots of hard training that just feels fun. I’m stunned to have trained so much while feeling so good. It will be fun to move my body over land and sea in a few hours… as fast as I can.
Running for my life…
Here’s to running for yours too…