In all seriousness though, while I have been notably challenged by my training as of lately I have been reminding myself often of my committment to my goals and the importance of consistency (and that I'm getting exactly what I asked for :) Looking back, it amazes me to see that I completed 100% of my workouts in March, despite the intensity of the training and maintaining a busy work schedule. I've had PLENTY of excuses and days when I would've rather stayed in bed or on the couch, but I did the work anyways. With the extra challenge has also come the acceptance that it's a process and it's NOT going to be a perfect one at that. There will be good workouts and bad workouts, days that I LOVE the training and days where I have to make it happen, times where I feel fresh and wonderful and times where my entire body aches with fatigue and soreness (as I'm standing on the treadmill about to start a hard interval workout...)
I'm feeling like last October's Beach 2 Battleship being a "suck it up, toughin' up" kind of day was only a preview of what's to come this season (and if my gut instinct is right, I'm guessing March was "just a warm-up" compared to the work I'll be putting in later this season). All comes with the territory of pushing limits and right now I'm learning how to mentally and physically adapt to it, trust the process and take care of the little things that will keep my body and mind healthy and happy in the long term. Putting in the work, one swim, bike, run or strength workout at a time (and praying for a break in the madness, which I am getting next week, hallelujah, AMEN)
^^Loving this quote from Twitter!
Speaking of staying healthy, it was exactly a year ago this weekend that I failed to complete (start) my final long run for Boston, and eventually came to the realization that I was VERY much injured and NOT ok. So to be training as hard as I am and feeling as strong and healthy as I am (aside from being understandably tired) is a huge victory for me and one I am not taking for granted. I know much of that is the result of focusing more energy into taking care of my body through what I hear interchangeably as the "4th discipline of triathlon": Nutrition, rest, strength training. I've been putting in a conscious extra effort to ensure I'm fueling adequately and optimally to support my training, aiming to get more sleep at night (most nights...and I nap when I can because naps are amazing!) and have stayed consistent in my strength routine to ensure my body remains strong and balanced enough to handle the training. It all has taken extra effort to keep up, and again has been far from perfect, but certainly still well worth the time and energy. Speaking of fueling, below are a few of my favorite meals and snacks as of lately:
In other news, here are a few training tidbits that are new and different:
Zwift - Admittedly, I was a skeptic at first but it only took one ZWIFT session to change my mind. It totally is a game changer for riding indoors! Having something to stimulate my brain while working hard on the trainer is a huge help for me. A few weeks ago I did a 3 hr ride that (A) I was more motivated to ride indoors vs. out (whaaaat?) and (B) didn't get off the bike ONCE (that never happens). I was not too excited when they came out with their new long mountain climb but just tried it this week and it was not so bad. Even more importantly, I finally figured out how to update the look of my avatar person. She seems to be a bit taller than me so I will live vicariously through her in that respect!
Bike fit - I made some major bike fit adjustments to my tri bike in early February with the help of Kirby Walke of Independent Velo. I'm not sure how I managed to ride 112 miles in my previous position last October because I'm was HURTING riding on the trainer in early February. Anyway, it's still a work in progress and I definitely need a new saddle before making more adjustments, but I'm happy to be working on it now versus later in the season.
FTP test - I did my first FTP test in early March and it sorta kind sucked (read: it was the closest I've come to crying over a workout in quite some time because it HURT a lot and I was majorly disappointed by the result) Power on the bike is not a strength, which I already sort of knew and also makes sense since my main cycling focus has been endurance and efficiency. Still, it was a major bummer and definitely leaves plenty of room for improvement. I am over it now, but that doesn't change the fact that I have some major work to do (which we also already knew).
New Watch - After 3.5 years of the Garmin 310xT, which was no longer working reliably and causing a TON of frustration, I have finally upgraded to the Garmin 920XT !! I am LOVING it, especially the automatic upload function, that it counts my swim laps and that it's a reasonable enough size to wear on my wrist all day. I'm getting used to the notifications as I still jump sometimes when it randomly vibrates. One things I am NOT loving: the reminders to "MOVE!"... but mainly when it tells me to do so 15 minutes after finishing a hard workout (ummmm, negative... I will be staying on the floor thank you very much).
Trail Running - So I'm doing this 50k run thing in three weeks which involves some pretty major climbing. That said, I've been spending more time out of the trails and learning how to climb mountains again. It has been a nice change of pace and mostly a lot of fun, except when I attempt to run up said mountains the day after trying a new leg routine at the gym (highly not recommended, take my word on it). Last weekend I also had the opportunity to watch 4 of our friends kick-butt in their 100 mile trail race down in Umstead, NC. I'm glad I hang around such friends who do a great job in making me feel much more sane :) Really though, they ROCKED OUT AND I'M SUPER PROUD OF YOU GUYS!!
In 3 weeks I run the Promise Land 50k for the 2nd time. The first time (2012) was a bit of a disaster, so I'm looking forward to getting back out there for some redemption on that course. The next two weekends involve training runs on the course itself, so I will have a great reminder of the fun that is to come on race day.
Mid-May we head out west for some sort of fun run at the Grand Canyon. More on that later... if I survive :)
My first triathlon is not until Bath County Sprint in mid-June. I like to hold out for warmer water... just sayin!!
As for the rest of the season?? Who knows what surprises and adventures are in store?!?
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and triathlete residing in southwest Virginia with her husband and dogs. Follow along as she shares favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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