Friday, February 10, 2017

Is there still time to be my best?

As I've mentioned before, the days where I could spend my time training, eating, sleeping, recovery are well behind me. In 2011, I quit my full time job as a research associate at Sick Kids Hospital to pursue triathlon coaching and compete as a professional triathlete. I was lucky to be living with my parents at the time, and they were very happy to support my triathlon endeavours. I got to live a *relatively* low stress existence, with the bulk of my stress being the physical kind that comes with hard training. Winters were spent in the southwest US, springs and summers were spent racing in the northeastern US. And I was fast! I qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in 2013 as a Pro, finished Ironman in 9:38 and was among the top female triathletes in Canada.

Fast forward to now. It's 2017, I'm very happy, but life is more stressful. I'm post-knee surgery, working over 40 hours a week, a business owner, a part-time step mum of 3, dealing with the stress of ongoing legal issues and trying to keep up the same level of fitness. I'd like to think it can be done, I'd like to think that my best triathlon days are ahead of me, I'd like to think that a spot in Kona is mine for the taking. Is it? Are these realistic expectations? This, I don't know. But I won't give up that dream without a fight. I will train as hard, as smart and as effectively as I can. The next couple of years will determine whether I have it in me. The following elaborates a bit on my current training and my training for the rest of the season.

So far, 2017 seems promising. My swimming stays about the same from year to year. My CSS is between 1:21 to 1:23/100m and has been for the past 3 years. When I trained with the U of T swim team, my CSS was closer to 1:16 - but I'm quite content with where things are at right now. On the bike, I've seen some of the highest top end power ever, so I hope that means my long sustained power can also go up. On a recent 5hr ride I held ~150W NP (only 17W lower than Ironman in 2013) so that's a good sign. I continue to struggle with my running. Pre-surgery I could run a 4:30/km over 12 to 30km quite easily. Now, the pace for the same effort is closer to a 4:55/km. I keep telling myself that running is all about, I will continue to just keep putting in the miles and hope for the best.

This trip to California has been a nice escape from the physical stress of daily life and has allowed me to up my training accordingly. The goal here is volume. A little bit of quality, too, as it's impossible to climb the Santa Monica mountains only in Zone 2 :) So far, things are going well. In the past 3 days I have completed 45 minutes of strength based work, 3 hours of swimming (8100m), 11.5 hours of biking (265km) and 2hrs (24km) of running. Tomorrow I will have a shorter day with a swim and then a short bike before travelling to San Francisco for the rest of the day and Sunday to visit a friend. The short break will allow me to adapt to the training I've done here so far and finish my solo camp off strong on Monday to Wednesday.

When I get back to Toronto, I will take a short rest to recover and absorb the training. The problem is that I will have to do this while catching up on all the work I've missed while being away! When I feel fresh again I will start another short and hard training block that will end at March break. Then it's Florida time with Adam and the kids and without my bike! So, I will use this time to build my run volume. (Special thanks in advance to my parents for helping out with the kids while Adam and I exercise :) ) Then, I will push hard on the bike in April with intensity, while I put in my biggest volume month on the run. May will see an increase in bike volume and a decrease in run volume, but an increase in run intensity. Then race season starts in June!

So, that is how this full time working pro-triathlete (who still believes her best performances can be ahead of her) is planning her upcoming training. Stay tuned - as nothing ever goes to plan. Or maybe it will this time?