What's been going through my head? Lots.
I had lots of goals at the beginning of the summer. Speed goals. Transition goals. Time goals for individual events.
All of those went out the window. My goal became finish, alive.
Yes, I was pretty undertrained for this race. The swimming was good- in the end, it was the battle of nerves that did me in, not the physical toll. I need to learn to warm up better and to shake off the jitters more quickly.
The bike was great. I was solid on the bike, though I torched my legs. Could I have saved some energy? I don't know. I think my trouble on the bike (and the resulting speed drop and questioning whether life was worth living while on that mile 40 hill) was largely due to nutrition.
The run... well, this is where I was most seriously undertrained. I just didn't put in the mileage that one needs for a run like that. The main obstacle was life stress. My brain was just not there in the run training.
I had been having GI troubles for a long time. The problems peaked after my e-Coli-in-Mexico incident, and never resolved. I started seeing a doctor in May about the issues, but she was a lousy doctor. It wasn't until July and a new doctor that the diagnosis of a dairy allergy was handed down, so from May through July, my life was all about the experimentation of what I could eat and trying to completely change my diet. The new doctor had a long talk with me and gave me some excellent guidance that has helped tremendously. Since starting with him, most of my GI, sinus, and joint issues have cleared up. I feel so normal, at last.
So it's all about learning to eat in a new way.
I used to get protein balance from things like milk and yogurt and cheese. After some trial and error, and plenty of reliance on No Meat Athlete and the Thrive book, we have ended up in a Paleo-esque vegetarian sort of plan. I get the eMeals Paleo plan, and sub out the meat for vegetarian protein sources like tofu and rice and beans. At every meal, I consciously add a protein source. The numbers balance out again, and this seems to be working pretty well.
In particular, I am convinced that the Thrive salad dressings are magical unicorn food. And the energy bar formula off No Meat Athlete- dude posts that for free. I'd have paid for that. It's delish.
The flip side? Well, I would never, never, never recommend that anyone change their diet so drastically mid-season, let alone within a month of race day. Some nutritionists believe that it takes your body anywhere from 3 weeks to 4 months to adjust to a new way of eating.
I guess major dietary changes are almost like an injury. I had to throw some goals like speed out the window, because I had to focus on learning what to eat without getting sick.
Coaches and teams:
I really missed my team this year. The tri club changed owners. So I missed out on group workouts and bitch-and-moan sessions with teammates, and on all the advice I used to glean from a seasoned athlete/coach.
Next time I do one of these, I'm definitely going to get proper coaching.
Ultimately, I think this was my major factor in this race. Life stress is sort of out of control right now, with M's ongoing job hunt, uncertainty, financial stress, work stress, and even simple things like not getting to adopt the sweet dog we rescued (she was deemed too big for our apartment and given to someone else).
I don't know if people who have had these major stressors are choosing the worst time possible to do an Ironman, or if it just adds to our badass factor. Basically, I survived a major endurance event, and I wasn't last, and I did it despite everything else. Bring it on, life, I win?
People are already asking when I'm doing my next one. Ironman has been sending me emails for months to get me to sign up for another one! Back off, little doggy, back off. Yes, I think I'll do another... but I can't plan for it right now.
I think that right now, I need to take some stress off. It means I need to not train for events and just do things for fun. I need to ride for just myself for a while. I need to ride to enjoy the scenery and to have adventures without caring about my speed or my time or my splits. I need to ride without guilt that riding means slacking on something else. I need to ride for the joy and for no other goal. I'm putting away the race watch for a while.
As for this blog... well, I am now a race director myself! My work has decided to sponsor a Trees for Tilori 5K in the fall, and I am in charge! So this blog will now start to focus on all the trials and travails of organizing a race. The spreadsheets will be epic. I don't plan to run this race as I'll be running logistics, but if you are in Oregon, I hope that you will come! It'll be Nov. 9, 10AM-noon, and I guarantee it will be fun!