It has been a number of months since my last report and honestly I have been dreading putting my thoughts down. This is actually the 3 rewrites and every time I think I am ready hit post there is a certain hesitation and call to finish it later. I know that in a few years looking back at my 2017 tri season, I will be happy that I wrote this and see where I have improved.
I have to say that these last few months since my last race in the Poconos which resulted in a DNF have been difficult. More so mentally than physically. As many of my teammates and friends continued to push hard and have great fall tri and racing seasons, I decided to hang up the shoes for the season. The fear of missing out aka FOMO was ever present, and I found myself on several occasions nearly signing-up for races even though I hadn’t been doing any structured training or workouts just to get back out there and a chance to redeem myself.
The truth is that I’ve been fighting with a bad case of Burnout in all facets of my life since late Spring. My mind kept telling me ‘I want to do it all…take those weekend trips, dinner dates with Tori, HH with friends, family visits, intense training blocks, getting up early to volunteer several times per week, achieving crazy work deadlines, road trips and vacation!’ I think my summer was the busiest and the most intense tri schedule I have ever laid out for myself. Looking back, it was definitely a mistake: I was not able to achieve any of my goals, the sub 2hr Olympic and Half Iron PR results I had dreamed of in 2017 just faded into continued disappointment.
I had really had high expectation for myself this year after a great finish to 2016 and a solid early season Half Iron in Florida where unfortunately I didn’t stick to my game plan and got beat off the podium going from 1st to 4th in the final 5K of the half marathon run. Things definitely started unraveling after our 10 day road trip to the Smoky Mountain and my Columbia Duathlon victory. I think I perhaps came back more tired, things at work picked-up as well as the training load and I just continued to dread the training with little excitement to even race. My Invicta Racing Teammates all kept me motivated and helped me get through some very hard sessions so I am thankful for their company and encouragements.
After following intently 70.3 and Kona Ironman Worlds, and SuperLeague this fall, I’ve read a number of Pro Triathlete and a few friends’ blog and race recaps and they have definitely helped give me perspective. I know above all that I need to continue to follow in the process. I believe also that I did not give myself a goal that I could achieve given how much I had stacked on my plate this year. Not to mention hoping to go under the 2hr mark in an Olympic also isn’t going to happen when you are overworked the entire week prior to an A race getting very little sleep or when the swim is canceled multiple times during your season.
Moving on post Philly Tri, I had originally set out to race 2 races prior to REV3 Pocono Half: the Coney Island Aquathlon Long and the Maryland Duathlon. Coney Island would a good chance to work on my OWS skills in ocean with some fairly big swells and a chance to push the run. I was happy to take 2nd Overall with fastest run on the day. I then decided to not do the Maryland Duathlon to focus on the training for the remainder of July.
The weeks leading up to the Pocono race, I slowly kept drifting further and further into mental and physical exhaustion. I just told myself to that it was part of the training and take the recovery seriously and just go out to have fun. This race was not meant to be unfortunately as I posted after dropping out in T2 after some nutritional difficulties which just didn't give the will the continue the race:
‘As much as pains me to DNF, the run was not in the cards for me today. After a solid swim(28min ish), I hit the bike course enjoying every bit riding the Pocono Raceway and the rolling Pocono mountain roads on pace for a 2h26 bike. Unfortunately I realized, after the last aid station, that my second carb bottle had somehow been dropped earlier and my last solo 15miles would be a fight to keep my legs alive for a challenging run and prevent cramps from taking over. With no fluid or food I just focused on getting back to T2. I stood in transition for a good 5 min trying to loosen up to find gels and liquids to refuel but I was mentally absent from the race already and so I pulled myself out. I do believe it was the right call on this day. Things don't always go according to plan, this week's lesson for sure. As always a big thanks to My Lovely Tori for keeping a big smile on my face!!’
Even though I found myself extremely disappointed to end my season, without either of my goals achieved, I was certainly very happy during the taper week. I did see a bright smiling light at the end of the tunnel as I had decided one morning to Propose to Tori during an easy early morning run where she had said ‘Yes’ in bewilderment. I am so incredibly lucky to have her, she has been so supportive this whole year when I wasn't the most pleasant to be around and I couldn't have made it to the start line on a couple of occasions without unwavering Love. I don't take any of it for granted and will continue to do everything I can to Love and cherish her as we start a new chapter in our lives together.
Things were still very busy for both of us but we have enjoyed the remainder of August together and have been taking the Fall very easy emptying many beer bottles and boxes of Cheez-It’s along the way. I have not yet decided the extent of my racing schedule for next year, but I know I will not take a page out of this year's playbook and overload the schedule to hopefully keep my mind and body fresh. I incredible thankful to have stayed mostly injury free and I am incredibly greatful for that. Thank You for the support and interest from all, it really means a lot. I'm still learning many things about myself and racing and as I head into a tougher and older age group next year. I just hope to come back hungrier than ever in 2018!