Sep 16, 2009

Nationals Part 1: Survivng the Taper

Today is Wednesday, 3 days before the race. So at this point, I can accurately say that I survived my only real taper of the year. My season started nearly 6 months ago when I showed up in New Orleans to test my bike trainer fitness, or lack thereof. It has been a long year, but a fairly eventful one. This year has brought me many good memories, some new friends, and a new respect for the sport of triathlon. A ton have people have stepped up and helped me on my journey and for them, I am truly thankful. Jim LaMastra, a local triathlon god ;) has been there for me everyday this year. He has hammered me on the bike, given me guidance, and believed in me when I didn't even believe in myself. He is the kind of person that everyone should strive to be more like.

I had set many goals for myself this year, and some of those goals remain unaccomplished. There were certain races I wanted to win, and certain times I wanted to nail. But looking back, not winning a race wasn't what defined my season. The work an athlete puts in, when no one is watching, truly defines that athlete. The race is just how the athlete is remembered. Regardless of how I am remembered this year, I have done the work and am a better athlete and person because of it.

After my 3 week streak of Olympic distance racing, I needed a break. I was 2nd OA at Pittsburgh, 4th OA at Cleveland, and 3rd OA at Greater Cleveland. It was a solid racing block, but I needed to step away from racing to really redefine my goals. After a much needed recovery week, I started my build for nationals. I tried to be as disciplined as possible during these few weeks, but my mind wandered. It has been hard juggling a relationship and racing season. I was being pulled in two directions for weeks, even months. Even though she didn't mean to, that person was stealing away my passion for triathlon. She was making me compromise my goals and even my dreams. She made me feel like I wasn't normal for wanting so much out of a pretty basic sport. I may not be normal, but I sure don't need someone pointing that out. As I approached my 2 week taper, my life started to fall apart at the seams. Even though my relationship had fallen apart a while ago, I felt the need to address it at the worst possible time. I should have been concentrating on triathlon, but it was the last thing on my mind. Failing at a relationship can be viewed in many different ways. I wanted to blame triathlon at first. That would have been easier. It does consume a huge portion of my life. But, my passion for triathlon didn't ruin this relationship. We were just two people who had much less in common than we thought. If we both would have been more upfront about our lifestyles in the beginning, that relationship would have never begun. But I guess that is what relationships are for, to learn from. I am happy that situation was finally sorted out because my mind in finally at ease and I can move on with my life. As for the taper, I survived. I feel fit and fast. I am healthy and willing to put my heart on the line again. It is what I live for and when I cross that line on Saturday, this whole year will be worth it. I may have gotten sidetracked, but I sit here 3 days away with a second chance. When that moment comes, the one where you truly have to dig deeper than you thought was possible, I hope I have the courage. For one day, can be remembered for the rest of my life.

1 comment:

  1. Very thoughtful post. Best of luck to you at Nationals!