Coach Gerry has been one of my favorite people and mentors for several years. I spent a summer photographing ocean swim shenanigans at Lifeguard Tower 26 in Santa Monica (the actual tower for which the club is named), and have enjoyed seeing my pictures used in various publications throughout the triathlon community. Here’s a cool interview Coach Gerry did with Triathlon Magazine that uses one of my photos:
For anyone who followed my Tahoe saga, you can imagine how crazy this whole weekend was for me. In 2014 I spent the majority of the summer training for a race that I just wanted to get over with, and then had it cancelled moments before the start. It sucked. I signed up for some rebound races that I quickly lost interest in and bailed on. I took time off. I wrote a novel. I danced on stage with Bono. I traveled the country and took pictures during the 2016 election. I kept swimming and running when I felt like it, but let my bike collect dust. Then, for some reason I decided to get back into it and finish what I had started.
This was a nice way to throw myself back into racing and smooth out all of the kinks I had been worried about. None of my LA training partners had heard of the Big Rock Triathlon, and from what I’ve been able to learn, the event has lost some of its popularity over the last few years, but it was still an amazing experience.
I’m a couple days away from my first triathlon in just under three years. My last tri event was the Santa Barbara Triathlon way back in 2014. I came into that race overtrained and undermotivated and managed to slog through the distance. This time around, I’m much more excited, but of course, much more nervous.
I’m writing this now because I remember years ago desperately searching the interwebs for some kind of written material that would provide more insight on this mysterious and half crazy phenomenon known as “cycling on the Pacific Coast Highway.” I found a couple of sites with good info, but nothing with the sort of detail I wanted. Putting this out there so that the SEO gods may guide it into the browser of whichever new lost soul is seeking answers.
This might seem a little extreme for a blog post but I promise I have a good reason. Working with two coaches this season has resulted in a suddenly very noticeable increase in both volume and intensity over the past few months (as well as, you know, training for a half Ironman!). I’ve been working with Coach Gerry for years, but Coach Jim is a very recent addition. What’s great about working with the two of them together is the way that the workouts tend to work in tandem––Coach Jim is also a disciple of Gerry’s (along with several other high performing professional athletes), so he has insight into the full scope of my training. And with Jim to push me along now, I’m putting in much more volume than I have before, and making gains in ways I hadn’t expect to make them.
I’m freaking out. I’ve got about 5 weeks to go until the first large scale test of my athletic abilities (Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa!). Too many thoughts are going through my mind. Do I remember how to transition? Should I go back to gels? I haven’t climbed enough. I need to climb more. How good is my run, really? My hydration system sucks.
If you’re a close friend or family member, then I apologize for having blown up your phone at some point over the past couple days with my freak out texts. Strangely enough, I remember a similar period of freaking out ahead of Tahoe, but by then I was so burned out on training that I just wanted it to be over. This time, I don’t want it to be over. I want a time machine.
This weekend I did something that I’ve only done once before. I woke up early, loaded up the car and took a pre-dawn drive down to Oceanside to watch my fellow Tower 26 teammates race in the Oceanside 70.3 Ironman.
As paradoxical as it seems, recovery can sometimes be just as hard as training.
I’m slogging my way through the middle of a recovery week, forcing my heart rate into unfamiliar zones, embracing my pull buoy, and spinning out my miles. It’s the most boring thing ever. What keeps me coming back to training is the challenge of a new day––what can I do now that I couldn’t before? What can I do again even better than last time? I can be an intense person, so the adrenaline filled, fast twitch, heart-racing action is what keeps me entertained.
But training can’t always be about going fast and I’m realizing how important it is to learn how to go slow.
It’s hard to be consistent. This is true for training, working, and anything else worth doing in life, which is why I’m only just now getting back to writing. 2017 is shaping up to be a bigger year than I anticipated, not that I didn’t see it coming. In fact, it should have been obvious the moment I scribbled my digital signature over the registration iPad in Arizona, standing just a few steps away from what had been the finish line only hours earlier. But I had a year then. Now I’ve got just over seven months.