Well the last two weeks have been rather crazy both in my professional life as well as in triathlon. It seems as though my work as a process improvement facilitator is drawing to an unexpected end. I guess that is one of the joys of being a contractor to the military. The only difference that I have found so far is that fact that I could ‘quit’ if I wanted to. And I do, but I can’t. Why? Because in this economy I am happy to just have a job. Trust me I have been looking for a new place for myself, professionally but as I said, and I think we all know, times are tough. So what does this mean for me? Well originally it meant that I would be interviewing for a new and exciting job that included travel, working some nights and learning a new skill set. What does it mean now? It means that I am being forced by the company that I work for to accept a position that I absolutely do not want, and as a matter of fact, I had already turned down. Is the job horrible? No, but it’s doing the same work that I did while I was in the military and one of the main reason I moved on from the military was because I needed to find something new to do, to grow and learn. While taking this position I will do none of those things. After expressing these views to my boss he told me my two options. He says to me this is what I can do for you. “You can either take this position, do the best you can and move up there or you can find a new employer. I will give you a week to think about it.” I of course told him that there was no need, that I would take the position. That has left a very sour taste in my mouth towards him and the company that I work for. So, yes I am searching for a new employer.
My life as a triathlete has been great, in comparison, the last two weeks. My training has been going so well except I am having difficulties with my swim. It seems that I only have one speed in the water. Slowish. Speed work is just very hard for me to get through right now. I don’t know it’s the combination of volume and intensity of my swims or maybe I am just not ready to be pushing as hard as my coach, Darcy, would like. In any case I have voiced my concerns to her and we will see what she comes up with to keep me moving forward.
Last Sunday I competed in the Triathlon Club of San Diego's monthly club race. Darcy and I had talked about me doing this a race as a tune up for my race this coming weekend, the Mission Bay Triathlon, which will sadly be my final race of the season. So together, Darcy and I decided that while I would go out hard at the club race; I would not actually race it. That is always hard for me to hear as I am a little bit of an all or nothing kind of person when it comes to racing. There was a huge turn out for the race, which was awesome! When everyone lined up for the start it seemed as though the mass of triathletes must have numbered near two hundred.
We were sent off on our way as the race started, without warming up any. It took a little while for me to find my stroke but by the 300m mark I felt things starting to come together, 9 strokes and then sight, 9 strokes and then sight. As I came out of the water I was pleased to see that I was towards the front of the mid pack. This isn’t unusual for me but since it took so long for me to get into a grove I thought that I may have been further behind. T1 was fast for me. I believe less than two minutes. I would be able to tell you much more accurately but I had forgotten to start my Garmin at the beginning of the race. So, at this point I decided to do the entire race with out it. I throw on my aero helmet and bike shoes and head out of T1.
Five laps around the southern end of Fiesta Island; no problem! I start hammering away and then realized that the game plan was to go out hard but not all out. Giving my body a quick once over I decided to keep hammering away. I felt good, my legs were turning over quickly and I was pushing a big gear. The laps flew by and on occasion I would look down at my computer and I would see 22, 23 and some times even 26-27mph flash on the screen. I was moving! I came cruising into T2, already out of my bike shoes at the dismount line; I was off the bike running. After a short distance back to rack my bike, I slipped on my running shoes and grabbed my sunglasses and headed off on the four’ish mile run.
Now if you know me you know that the run is not my strong suit and it wasn’t very long before I started seeing the people that I had passed on the bike slip by me on the run and start to fade into the distance. This feeling, I think, is one of the worst in triathlon. Knowing that you have a lead on a person or group of people and seeing it slip away is frustrating. All I could do is keep telling myself that I wasn’t racing, I was tuning! Keeping my turn over quick and my stride small I made my way around the two loops of the northern part of Fiesta Island. The minutes seemed to creep by, no music to distract me, no Garmin to tell me if I was on pace, all I could do was keep an I on the runners ahead of me and try and hold on to them with out pushing to hard. With about ½ a mile to go I decided I could no longer sit on my laurels. I needed to pick it up, so I decided that I would reel in the two of the three women that had passed me. After all I still had my manhood to defend. Right? And with less than a ¼ of a mile to go I pulled a head with no one close by a head or behind me. I cruised across the finish line in 1:24:12, a full 5+ minutes faster than the last time I had raced the same course back in March. Was I happy? Oh yes.
This week has been full of pre race jitters. I really would like to race for a podium spot as a Clydesdale or an AG spot in the top 15. I got some good training in at the beginning of the week and now it’s all about keeping fresh for Sunday. After that it’s time to go into the off season (AKA. Get your run legs about you and race some half marathons and one marathon). So with me luck peep’s. I am going to need it.