I was going to write a blog post about the first swim of the North Shore Swim Series... but never got around to it. In a nutshell, was a fun swim! There were some decent sized waves to navigate- I navigated those wrong, which was a bit of a bummer when I saw my finish time/place but whatever... Live and learn... Next time I'll make a different choice! Love this picture though- it's not me but I felt like I took a wave like this at the end of the race... Was so exhilarating! Normally I'd never be brave enough to body surf shore break like this, but given the race situation I did and it was so fun! I had a goofy grin on my face for the rest of the day because of the wave I body surfed in.
After that race it was on to Ironman training... Marilyn and I had some good discussions about how things went down at Honu and how my training could be tweaked going forward. Essentially, I begged her to put my on the high volume plan because based on past experience I just 100% believe that's what works best for me... and she agreed. Super! So my Training Peaks calendar showed a good meaty week... like the kind of week that was a bit scary even to me... The kind of week that really made me think "Wow if I get through all this I'm going to be tired." Truth be told, those are my favorite weeks.
That Sunday I rode ~5.5 hours with Lectie and Michelle and Gary. Really should say that I got my ass kicked for 5.5 hours but however frustrating that was, it was certainly a step in the right direction toward the goal of fixing this gaping hole in my fitness so I was happy to have that done. The next day I rode a solid 56 miles alone, mostly in my aero bars and holding ~Ironman power steady throughout, and that felt stronger than I expected it to so that was super. Then the next day bike week continued with bunch of hill reps... so off I went to Tantalus to climb climb climb.
Unfortunately I didn't make it very far into this workout before I ended up with a broken helmet.
I was descending Round Top Dr, thinking about how (since this was the 3rd time in 7 days I'd been on this mountain) how much more confident I felt about descending it... I wasn't really trying to go fast or anything, but I was less cautious and more relaxed than I had been in the past. I actually took that as a good sign (progress!), until I hit a big pothole and both my hands popped off my bars and I lost control and landed on my head.
My first thought after I hit the pavement was that I need to go see Dr Zen. He's our local chiropractor and he's awesome and I knew my back/neck were going to be a mess after taking such a hit. My next thought was that I needed to get back on my bike right away.
So here's the thing. Last month two of our TeamBSC athletes went down on their bikes (one of Krista's athletes and one of mine). My advice to each of those guys, after a bit of sympathetic yes bike crashes suck, was that riding a bike can be a risky endeavor and it's a risk we all accept every time we go out to ride... And after you crash the best thing you can do it suck it up and get back out there on your bike again as soon as you can.
This kind of tough love may sound a bit harsh, but I picked it up from Hillary Biscay when I went to her Tucson SmashFest camp in 2012. On the last day of that camp, she took us out on some rocky trails where several of us fell and ended up a bit bloody. To be honest, I was sort of shocked at her response when I fell... She gave me like a minute to collect myself and rub some of the blood away and then we were back off and running again... Just like yep falls happen out here its no big deal. I remembered that because I think I expected her to baby me a bit more. But the fact that she didn't baby me was actually quite empowering. It was as if her perception of me was that I was tough enough to not let a silly fall like that interrupt the rest of my run session, and I rose to meet that expectation and in the end was really proud of myself. So that was a good lesson and for the most part going forward, it's one I've applied not only to myself but also to my athletes in many cases as well.
So given that just weeks prior I'd pretty much told those athletes to buck up, I knew that following my own advice was my only option. In good news, my bike was scratched up but functional, so I got back on it and continued down the mountain. I actually considered trying to finish the hill repeat session, but after 1x10' climb I knew for sure that was a dumb idea. Mostly b/c I couldn't take a deep breath without some real pain and I sort of wondered if maybe I'd broken a rib? I rolled back to my car and called Dr Zen who, because he is awesome like that, agreed to see me over his lunch break. While he couldn't take away all of my pain, I do believe that seeing him so quickly was a big part of how quickly I recovered on the whole.
I spent the next 3 days grunting and groaning and gritting my teeth through every deep breath. In good news, I didn't break any bones... Just had some sore muscles around my shoulders/back/neck and maybe some bruised ribs and spasming intercostal muscles? Whatever it was, it was getting better every day, and by Saturday I felt like I might be okay to go ride my bike again. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have any fear- of course I had some fear getting back on my bike. But I reminded myself that I've been riding for 20 years now and only fallen off 4x. That statistic was pretty favorable toward me being able to get through a short ride that morning without crashing again, so I pretty much banked on that! And toward the end of that ride, once I was able to relax, I felt joy... Like Yes! I love riding my bike. I think that joy needs to be there at some level, and if it's not, why bother being a triathlete? Sometimes I hear athletes complaining about riding their bikes and that just makes me wonder why they bother with a sport that doesn't bring them joy? There are too many other options out there to waste our time forcing ourselves to do something that doesn't bring us joy. In the end, I think that crash was good for me in that it reminded me of how much I really like riding my bike. When it was taken away, even if only very temporarily, it became crystal clear to me how much I wanted it back. So maybe that's the silver lining.
Anyway, check out this spiffy new helmet I got! It's the Smith Overtake. I'd been wanting this helmet for a while but couldn't really justify it since I had a perfectly good functioning helmet... But this one is the bomb. It's light and airy and fits my head really snug.