This year has seemed like a big roller coaster ride and I’m betting a lot of people feel the same with the anticipation of what climb or descent is next. Here I will share my recent ride which has been full of ups and downs and what I’m doing to charge forward.
One of my identities, the athlete, took a major hit as I’ve chronicled in previously blogs including, A Real Pain in the Butt. Since the end of March I’ve been working on an injury with my butt that has been extremely frustrating. I’ve worked with Dr. Gerard Bogin and I’ve done my homework including a full shutdown, home exercises, continued visits and the introduction of bike and run back into training in recent weeks. When I was shutdown I struggled in a significant way to keep my mind and body healthy.
As I slowly introduced the bike and run back in I found the bike was progressing well while the run was still producing discomfort at different times and intensities but still better than when I was first injured. I got to a point last Sunday where I did a short run on the beach after a ride and the discomfort was significant enough to shut running down once again until I feel a bit of relief or when I see Dr. Bogin which is later this week. Since my next big race isn’t on the calendar until September my plan has and continues to be to take my time and get this right to avoid a long continued nuisance to manage.
So this part of the roller coaster ride was a pretty good fall with a gradual climb and another dip. As I came out of last Sunday a bit deflated about the run aspect I was encouraged with how the butt and the rest of my body was responding to the bike progression in miles and intensity. After deciding to shut running down I determined to double down on the cycling. For each time I would run on my schedule I would replace it with a ride. That played out in a great way.
By the time yesterday came around to end my week of training I felt a difference in my strength and endurance. This concluded 14 straight days on the bike with the last feeling the best. Now some of the rides were simply active recovery allowing my legs to repair for the next day but I felt fresh and strong on the final day of a week in which I logged my most miles ever.
My two biggest races of the year were still on the calendar going into the week. These included the ITU Duathlon World Championships (Standard/Olympic Distance) in September via the Netherlands and the ITU Duathlon World Championships (Middle Distance) in October via Denmark. Now with COVID-19 and other races postponed and canceled I knew these were extremely vulnerable to the same fate but I was holding out hope.
On Thursday afternoon I received an email the World Championships in the Netherlands were canceled…not postponed but canceled for the year. Even though I knew this was a great possibility it took the wind out of my sails. I thought to myself that Denmark could be next but it was scheduled a month later so maybe they would hold on making a determination for another several weeks…holding out hope once again. That evaporated in about five minutes when I received the next email canceling the championship as well. Both of my races were gone…
Now if you know me I’m a glass half full, positive thinking guy. This pushed the glass over the table…for the moment. I do have what I call a midnight rule. When I have a bad day in whatever manner I have a rule that when midnight strikes the next day is a new day and I better figure it out and start out right. I knew this rule would not apply for this double whammy and I would need maybe a 72 hour extension and be ok with that. Just process and figure it out over a few days.
I went to yoga that evening and I swear it seemed like the instructor knew exactly what had just transpired. Her messaging to set intention for the session put me in the proper mindset to focus on my body and mind in that one hour without distraction. Her message to end the session hit me in a spectacular way as well. With all of the struggles we are facing with COVID-19 and now unrest and riots breaking out across the country she asked us to focus on giving to others…and that hit the spot!
I left the session better in my head than when I entered. I was still disappointed about the development of my races but I did agree to focus on what I could do to give more. When I/we focus on giving to others we make ourselves and others better. That gave me a bit of a spark… Wow, maybe the 72 hour extension was being released in someway already… I love everything about yoga that is for sure…
Friday came around and I had a great day, connecting and giving (coaching, advocating, cheering, etc.) with several people throughout the day and then, an email from USA Triathlon announcing the Duathlon National Championships for Sprint and Standard/Olympic distance was back on. The championships scheduled for May 30-31 were postponed indefinitely. The announcement stated they were scheduled for October 16-17 but instead of being in Tuscaloosa, AL they would now be in Lake Havasu City, Arizona…between Phoenix and Las Vegas.
Woah!!! I have a new target!!!
Within 30 hours I was at the bottom of one of the roller coaster drops and then back ascending. Even without the new announcement I was already working on my alternate plans. I targeted 2-3 things I would set my eyes on to work towards and that gave me purpose already. Those 2-3 things were ideas…no details but something I would set my mind on to pursue and I’m excited about them as well.
Friday concluded in a great way and then the giving and purpose continued Saturday morning. We had a huge group come out to our group run in Safety Harbor. I got to see some faces I hadn’t seen in a while, celebrated a huge milestone for one of our runners, helped someone struggling in brutal conditions and then hung out sharing life with a few at Karma Juice Bar & Eatery. I left there at noon feeling pretty darn good about my situation even with a double World Championship cancelation and a butt injury taking my running away again (for just a bit…). I surround myself with incredible people that give me life.
I then had a quiet Saturday afternoon catching up on things and finished the day fantastically setting myself up for an active Sunday. Since some of our team was not racing at the Duathlon National Championships that were originally scheduled for the weekend, Coach Celia Dubey, sent an email to wear our Team USA kits on Sunday for our ride. It was fun and prideful to wear the kit. I cannot wait to represent the USA next year at the World Championships.
We rode throughout Tarpon and when we got to the point where we would start are hard effort interval I got one mile in and had a flat tire. I pulled off and was initially frustrated this happened right as we were starting the effort. I quickly reset and thought to myself with everything going on in the world and in my life right now this was nothing to get too upset about…get over it giraffe! The could-be extremely irritating loss of time changing the tire just transitioned to fixing the tire while listening to my tunes.
I hopped back on and got in a great, but shorter interval. After the group ride was complete, Celia and I continued on as I wanted to hit a mileage target and she was fantastic as always and offered to ride with me. We rode through neighborhoods at a moderate pace and discussed life. I have such a great friend here…totally uplifting ride. Whenever you are around Celia you leave the interaction a better person. Since we were in Tarpon Springs and not close to a bridge I left Celia and drove to Clearwater’s Coachman Park where I completed a few bridge climbs to hit my goal for the week. After all the miles logged for the week and the morning effort with the team, I felt on top of the world doing those final bridge climbs. I felt healthy in more ways than one and appreciative to be out there doing my thing and with a new target on the horizon…
I closed the weekend recharging as I love to do, in my place decompressing, chilling, doing coaching homework and a few other things including reflecting about life. In just a short period of time the ups and downs on this roller coaster ride have been significant to me in so many ways but no matter where I am I want to keep the big picture in mind and always be thinking of that next climb.
I hope this helps in some way to relate to issues we are all facing right now.
– Add Health to Your Life
Featured Blog Photo:
- Upper Left – Friday night sunset via Sand Key Beach (Clearwater)…spectacular!
- Upper Right – Team photo Sunday morning prior to ride
- Middle Left – Team photo Saturday morning prior to run
- Middle Right – Celia and I at Fred Howard Park nearing the end of our ride
- Bottom Left – Finished my bridge climbs at Clearwater Memorial Causeway Sunday afternoon
- Bottom Right – I was not the only one who had a flat Sunday morning. This was at the end of the interval…how many teammates does it take to fix a flat?!?! Bob and I getting a chuckle out of this…ha!