January 2019 Monthly Recap
Where Your Feet Take You started out as a blog to share my own journey going from a beginner triathlete who had no clue what she was doing, lacked any for of confidence, didn’t believe in herself, and had a lack of passion for really anything to an advance elite triathlete who not only gained a lot of confidence in the sport and herself but found a passion that she could chase whole hardheartedly not only as an athlete but as a coach as well (long time dream of mine). During that process I feel that the Where Your Feet Take You blog has morphed more into an educational piece rather than a journey, and this is more than OK as one of my goals as a coach is to provide as much education to you so that you feel empowered as an athlete. However, I don’t want the essence of Where Your Feet Take You, a journey towards finding passion, faith, and strength in oneself through triathlon and running, to disappear because no matter how far I have come over the last 5-ish years I am still always chasing the goal of improving my own passion, faith, and strength in myself just as I believe we should all always be.
With that moving forward in 2019 I am going to share a bit more of the journey that started all of this, the journey of an age group triathlete doing everything she can to be great, with you all through monthly recaps regarding my own training. In these recaps I’ll chat all things triathlon that happened during the run, share the good and the bad, anything I learned, a high level idea of what I did for the month and every once in a while favorite workout for each of the disciplines. I hope that you enjoy these, and that maybe the journey will not only provide you with some education yourself and maybe inspire you to go after your own crazy journey.
January started out in a great fashion with training back in full swing as the build to the first race of the year was going to come up really really quick. Truth, it shocked my system a lot not from like causing any injuries, or getting sick, or anything super drastic but realizing that I had been a bit lazy in November and January and my fitness was just not there. Don’t get me wrong I know that the lower structure, the flexibility I gave myself the previous two months, and the grace to just move things around if needed was very necessary however it was brutal come January when I needed to get down and dirty with the training. I couldn’t hit paces, I couldn’t hit watts, I was exhausted, everything hurt, and I honestly questioned many many times whether or not I would be ready to race come April.
I had never really felt the way I felt during those first two to two and half weeks of January where I seriously questioned whether or not I could be ready for something. While I have felt I could be more ready for a race I have always felt fit enough to hang tough in a race, but during these past two weeks of January this year I did not believe I would even be able to hang on for a race. It was very different for me. After some serious negative moments I came to the realization I just had to give myself a little breathing room and stop trying to be “number one” from day one and that this was just part of the journey for this year, and I needed to focus on me at this moment not where I wanted to be four or six months from now because I still had four to six months to get there. So I stopped focusing on whether or not I was crushing workouts but rather that I was just doing them, I focused on consistency rather than nailing. The goal of each day was just to do the work, no matter what it looked like for I knew that if I did the work eventually my body would catch up.
After Kona this year when I ended up three spots away from my goal of top five this year I turned to both my husband and my coach and told them I wanted more, get me more :) (very selfish yes) but to get more we knew we needed to really focus on my swim. I needed to stop coming out ten minutes behind the top swimmers and spending the entire race playing catch up. So to work we went on the swim with some swim sets that honestly I straight up hated. We had so many pieces that I needed to change when it came to my swimming technique;
1. The timing of my stroke
I was starting my catch before my other hand was totally finished with the stroke resulting in a horrendous windmill affect that resulted in me basically going nowhere in the water.
2. How I breathed
My head was basically coming out of the water when I took a breath
3. My kick
Due to the timing of my stroke I was scissor kicking and had one foot that was pretty much coming out of the water when I kicked
4. Taughtness of my body
basically I was a wet noodle in the water who was just using her arms to propel her forward .
Really you name it and I had to fix it. It took a lot of patience and dedication to consciously making the change in order to do it because it was brutally boring and brutally exhausting. I did come to the realization part way through January that because my body was muscularly not used to the changes that we were making that I couldn’t do the swim sets we were doing, after about 2,200 yds I was pretty trashed and the last 400-800 yds were a mess. This is my educational piece to you, communicate these things with your coach. After realizing this I went to Heather and asked if we could change things around in that we went back to swimming 4-5 days a week but much shorter swim sets because the long time in the water was trashing me and I didn’t feel like mentally it was making me stronger, if I had not communicated this with her she would have never known. It is not you failing, it is not you disappointing anyone it is you taking charge of your training and your body to ask for these changes. While Heather knows me very well but she is not right next to me in training she is not in my head or there for the swim so how would she know unless I communicate with her.
After making the change it was amazing, I became more into the swims, I was leaving them confident because I wasn’t totally trashed at the end of it and I was able to make the changes I needed to make.
Favorite Swim workout of the month
A form of swim Pyramid:
400 pull with paddles
300 pull with paddles
200 pull with Paddles
This is a great strength workout in the pool and one of my favorites that my coach prescribes, I like pyramid workouts in the pool.
Total Swim Distance: 37,575 yds or 21 miles
Biking is probably what caused the most grief to start the year out. I had made such amazing gains on the bike and pulled out probably my strongest bike in forever at Kona, holding steady watts that I never thought I would be able to hold only to find that I could not hang on at all on the bike any more. I did wonder a bit if my new Cycleops H2 Hammer trainer was a slight cause of this because I really do feel as though it is the most realistic trainer I have been on to the outdoors. Most of the time I can hold much higher watts on the trainer than on the road, and this is fairly standard for a lot of people, however in making the change to the H2 it was a lot harder. Now, this is no excuse or a crutch as I really had lost some fitness, strength, and power on the bike but it was something that I noticed.
It wasn’t until about three weeks into January that I felt as though my legs were starting to come back to me in that I could hold 80% watts for longer periods of times. Those long intervals at 90% and 100% still eluded me, being that I can only hold them for about 2-3 minutes before needing to break off for a minutes before getting back on. Despite my legs starting to come back I was a little apprehensive as to how it would correlate out on the road and I’m glad that I’ve gotten to test it out down here in Arizona.
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that for the past week and a half I have been down in Arizona at my parents house in Buckeye this was a much much needed break from the cold and grey of the Pacific Northwest. S.A.D really hits me hard in January and it is a month that I really struggle, just ask my husband whom I met in January not sure why he still asked me out at that time cause I was a serious negative Nancy. Coming down to the sunshine was an instant mood and energy lifter and I’ve been having some really great workouts here in the sunshine. I did not bring my TT bike down with me mostly because I did not have the energy to try to break it down when I was packing for Arizona and my road bike was already down here. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my legs could, for the most part, hang on out on the roads and it has given me hope that maybe I still have some power in there. I am not as fast on my road bike as I am on the TT but that is totally ok, we are building some really great strength out here in the farm lands at the base of the White Tank mountains.
Total bike miles: 295.9 Zwift Miles and 134.6 outdoor miles
For the most part running has gone very well this January. Even though it has been really damp, cold and grey in Spokane I have been able to get most of my long runs outside rather than on the treadmill and I will always be thankful for that. My speed and gumption in running is still lagging a little bit, I went out for a tough long run here in Arizona and could not totally execute the way that I thought I would (or would have been able to during my Kona 2018 build up) but I’m in a really good starting point and hopefully with a little bit of hard work and dedicated the paces will start to go down. Luckily running is something that I can always turn to, and even when its not going super great it usually comes back fairly quickly.
Total Run Miles: 117.7 miles (yes I am the girl that will stop her watch no matter what the distances says, hence the 0.7 of a mile)
It is really hard to not get so wrapped up in where we want to be six months from now in January. It is something that is a tough balance not only as an athlete but also as a coach too, people (myself included) always want to bounce back and they want results now and that can result in sometimes people peaking way to soon! Trust me you don’t want to peak in January you want to peak months from now whenever your A race is. So be patient and have some grace for yourself.
I hope you all had a great January and welcome to February!!!