2015 was a year of adjusting. Adjusting to the ever changing landscape of the professional races left in the United States. Adjusting to increased depth and size of professional fields. And adjusting to not having a race schedule written in stone. Over all, I think I handled all of these new things fairly well. The back half of the season was a little better than the first half, partially due to a better bike position that Brian Grasky helped me achieve (even while separated by 1700+ miles). My bike times were faster and it helped me gain a little more confidence in my abilities. I also got a new 70.3 personal best by about 5 minutes this year under Brian’s guidance. So improvement has been made… and that is a great way to measure success.
Originally, I had one more race planned for the 2015 season before hanging it up for the season. Challenge Florida. After Ironman Chattanooga, where I took a gamble on the bike and paid for it on the run, I took about a week off from training and then started picking it back up again to gear up for Challenge Florida. However, something was missing. My mind. My head. Neither of them were really in the right setting to go to Florida to race hard. My motivation to get up early before work 3 days a week for a training session was gone. I kept telling myself, “just push this… the race will be here soon and then I can take some time off and rest the body and mind.” I managed to go through the motions for about 3 weeks. And today I decided to pull the plug on the last race of the season for a few reasons:
1. Anniversary trip – Leslie and I are going to Sarasota, FL for our anniversary. Originally, the plan was to go there the week before the race and vacation. I would get in a solid taper and do Challenge Florida to round up the season. However, as the trip drew closer, I dreaded “missing out on vacation” due to earlier than desired bedtimes, getting up early-ish to get in some training so I wouldn’t leave leslie by the pool and on the beach by herself for hours a day. I decided (on my own, I might add) to pull the plug to spend better quality time with my wife during our anniversary and be in a better position to celebrate our 2 years of marriage. Leslie is a great wife, supporter, and cheerleader. She was totally on board for me to do the race. She was okay with spending time by herself a few hours a day to let me chase my dreams and goals. When I told her today that I was not racing and gave her the list of why I wouldn’t be packing all my triathlon gear with me for our vacation, she tried talking me back into race. She didn’t want to be the reason for not doing the race. I just felt like any amount of money I could win at Challenge Florida wasn’t worth missing out on memories we could make together in Florida.
2. Physically beat up – I’ve started to get a lot of little injuries and aches/pains that weren’t around the rest of the season. My left hip was acting up for about two weeks. I had to take about 2 weeks off from running after IM Chattanooga. Once that healed up, I felt like I was getting shin splints in my right shin. I also just felt fatigued all the time.
3. Mentally zapped – I’ve basically been in focused training for a year now. I picked up my training the day we got back from our 1st anniversary trip last year by leading spin classes at VO2 Multisport. Since then, I’ve trained, on average, 22-27 hours a week. This kind of training requires a lot of mental discipline. When I wasn’t training, I was thinking about the next training session. Or, I planned how to most efficiently navigate my way through my patient load/visits for home health to get off in time to make it swim practice with the Lakeside SeaHawks, or make it to a group bike ride for the evening. Or even how to manage training while on being on call for a week straight. I also thought about how to make long training sessions work around other life events, such as family events/vacations, hanging out with friends, etc. After 52 weeks of this kind of focus, I need to “unfocus!” I need to let the brain/mind relax and just not be “on” all the time.
4. Sickness – This was what finally broke me today. Upon everything else this little set back I felt was a sign to just hang it up for the year. Monday evening, I started feeling a little off. By yesterday, the cold had gotten worse. I tried riding my bike on the computrainer yesterday at a tempo interval for a couple hours. It felt much harder than it should have for that effort. I was coughing up stuff, blowing my nose, and my body just felt lethargic. I’ve raced sick this year once already at Challenge Knoxville and it went horrible. I had a slight case of atypical pneumonia before the race. After putting my body through all that stress (to have the worst race of recent 70.3 racing history), I came down with pneumonia so bad I couldn’t even walk without getting short of breath. I didn’t feel like going through that again.
I always get to the point of burn out at the end of the season. However, usually I time my last race and mental burn out pretty well. This year, I tried starting my season a month earlier and going about 2 months longer than I have before. It was just too much. I ignored my mind telling me it needed a break for about a month now and I need a break more than ever.
All that being said, I am happy with the way the season played out this year. I had fun traveling the eastern half of the USA and Puerto Rico. I was able to win a little bit of prize money along the way and had a blast doing it. I met some really awesome people through homestays for races. I am doing exactly what I want to be doing with my life… helping people/contributing to society through nursing, helping others achieve their athletic goals through my coaching services (Progressive Endurance), and continuing to travel and compete against some of the best in the world while on a great team, Maverick Multisport.
As of right now, 2016 training will most likely start off with a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. Until then, I plan on relaxing for a week and not do a thing. After that, I’ll probably do group exercise classes at the Northeast YMCA in Louisville. They have some of the best classes I’ve been too (totally un-sponsored plug for the NE YMCA).
Thanks to Vibra Healthcare and Duro-last Roofing, Inc. for believing in me enough to support me financially this year. And thanks to all the Maverick Multisport team sponsors for the support this year by supplying the best equipment to help me get the most out of every session: Argon 18, Enve Composites, JayBird, BlueSeventy, Infinit Nutrition, Cobb Cycling, Rotor Bike Components, Sugoi Apparel, BSX Athletics, VO2 Multisport , Swiftwick, Primal Sport Mud, Occupational Kinetics, Lakeside Seahawks