Lessons in climbing brick walls

It has been a long time since my last post. Quite honestly I felt as if nothing significant enough had happened in my training to post. I mean…how do I compete with crashing my bike, ripping my leg open, and loosing my memory? I know. I know.  it’s not a competition, but everything else seems so much less exciting to write about!

I officially started training again 8 weeks ago. Base building for 8 weeks can get pretty repetitive, but I was more than grateful to be able to be on the road to competing again. Mary Eggers (my coach) and I chose Galveston Texas 70.3 and Syracuse 70.3, with the goal to qualify for the Championship in Las Vegas. My base of Endurance was starting lower than I had the first go around because of the crash, and I had some muscle imbalances to work out during this time. Physical Therapy has been amazing. They keep telling me how much they love “kicking my butt” when I come in. Glad I can keep them entertained! These past 8 weeks have proved to be crucial and extremely beneficial in my training this season. I have felt significant gains in my bike and swim in the recent weeks. It’s amazing to me how the most seemingly small change can make such a significant difference. The biggest gain being in my swim recently. After a video analysis with Mary, we realized how deep my entry is. I was loosing half of my pull and not realizing it. Since making the adjustments to my form, I’ve been able to shed a lot of time…and my arms and lungs are thanking me too!

I used to feel a disconnect with the bike. Not MY bike…I love my bike. But biking in general. Maybe this contributed to my loss of control in the crash. Who knows. But my last outdoor ride something just clicked. 2 hours into my ride, my legs felt as if they were part of the bike, like I was one with the bike. I couldn’t believe how much faster and more efficiently I was peddling! FINALLY the “Ah hah” moment I had been waiting for!

This past Sunday I had a time trial 5k on the schedule. I usually don’t get very nervous for a race. Anxious…oh yeah, but nervous? NO. But I was so nervous for this race! I kept thinking….I haven’t broken Zone 1 in months…more than that! Probably since the crash! Did my lungs have it ? Did my legs have it? I was coming off of a nasty flu bug that swept the state of California. All I knew was that Mary said “run your heart out”. So I did. My first mile felt great. I was holding 5:50 and felt totally comfortable. Halfway through the second mile…still felt great. I thought for sure I would be able to hold this pace no problem. Just before I hit the 2 mile mark, my legs started feeling heavy. Not even necessarily that burning I can’t hold it, but just HEAVY. My lungs felt totally fun, but I had done the calculations in my head and knew the pace I had to hold. Too bad I did my math wrong! Note to self…do the math BEFORE the gun goes off! I was trying to be in the 18’s, but unfortunately my body and my heart were fighting each other on Sunday. My legs were wondering what they were doing and my mind was like your fine just go! I’ve never had that happen to me before. Usually my lungs would give out before my body. I finished fairly frustrated with my performance, but then it hit me. Katie…6 months ago you weren’t walking. You were laying on the side of the road wondering if you broke your nose or neck. You were wondering if you had torn something in your knee. And here I am holding 5:50 miles and feeling “comfortable”. I placed 2nd over all. But my time was all I was focusing on at that point in time.  The only words I can use to describe the feelings I have right now are a grateful heart, with a realistic view of where I am at, a determined heart to know where I want to go, and the dedication and fire to keep me going after it. Every. Single.Day.  Because in the words of Aristotle:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then,  is not an act, but a habit.”