It has been a while since I have written anything- I just wanted to drop in and catch everyone up on the ending of 2015 and the beginning of a new year!
After Vineman 70.3, I had about 6 weeks off of racing. Until that point I had done a fair share of traveling/racing and was feeling a little run down.
In August, I went to the Canadian Rockies for a week to spend some time with my mom and step dad (who go hiking for a month each summer). I flew into Calgary and we stayed at the Lake Louise campground for the week. The first day it rained, we had to wait until the 2nd day to start hiking.
The first adventure was to the top of Devils Thumb. Since it had rained the day before there was a lot of snow on the trail. Near the top there were a few tricky sections. I had read the day before it wasn't very safe to do this hike if there was snow because the scramble at the top of the mountain would be more slick... they were right. I was a little aprehensive about going to the very top, but my step dad gave me a "speech of encouragement" and I kept climbing. I slipped a couple times and I'm not going to lie, this was the most scared I had ever been on a mountain! Once we got to the top I could hardly enjoy it because I had no idea how I was getting down. The views from the top of the mountain were incredible. Somehow I got down without a helicopter having to come rescue me! It took a very long time to descend (see pictures above).
The next day we decided to tackle Bow Peak, it was an all day hike so we started early. It started off crossing Bow River which had very cold water coming from the glaciers. The river was a few feet deep at the crossing and by the time you were across your feet were numb. The first few miles were a little uphill through the forest, then it opened up, above the tree line you could start to see all the mountains. It was beautiful. There were a couple lakes and a few climbs before the one mile scramble to the top. This hike wasn't as scary as the previous days climb. There wasn't much snow and there were more rocks which gave us better footing. This was one of my favorite hikes. The views from the top were unbelievable. I could see the lakes below from where we started and we were surrounded by snow covered mountains. If you are ever in the area and are looking for a spectacular hike, I would suggest this one! (see pictures below)
Unfortunately, there were some forest fires in the area and on our way down the mountain I could see the smoke settling in. It made everything look very hazy. We had plans to do another big hike the next day, but when we got up in the morning, the smoke was so bad we knew we wouldn't be able to see anything from any mountain if we did another climb.
I got in a decent amount of running while I was in Canada and enjoyed every minute of it! I went on a 15 mile run from the campground to around Lake Louise. It was early in the morning and a little smokey, the moon was still out and the sun was rising. They were both very orange (caused by the smoke). The orange was reflecting on the blue lake through the smoke. It was a brilliant view. One of the times I wished I brought a camera, but I thought the bear spray was much more important!
When I finally returned home I tried to get back into the swing of things and wanted to put in a good block of training before 3-4 more races I had planned in September, October and November. When I got home I was sick. The cold weather, traveling, staying very active all caught up to me. There was a 100 mile bike ride I had planned on doing the weekend I got back and since I had not been on my bike for close to 10 days, I pushed myself to do the ride, which only made me sicker. I continued training but felt worse. My body was tired. For weeks it continued. I had a race mid September in Miami (Escape From Miami Olympic) I was starting to feel better by then, but my legs felt very heavy, running had not gone well for a few weeks prior to this race and I felt like I wasn't recovering very quickly from my workouts. I was hoping I could find my race mode. Unfortunately, I felt sluggish in the swim, put everything I had into the bike ride and when I started running it got even worse. I had no energy, my shins were hurting, the back of my heel (peronial tendon) was starting to give me some problems and I knew I was doing more damage then good if I finished the race.
I thought the actual race was very well organized and unique since, it started by jumping off the ferry and swimming back to shore. The bike went back and forth over some bridges/causeway in Key Biscayne and I couldn't tell you where the run went!
After not finishing this race I took a week off of any structured workouts. I felt over trained. I wanted to race, but my body was tired. I had to limit my running since my peronial tendon would swell up after I ran. I couldnt run on uneven surfaces, hills and even speed work irritated it. I was very frustrated, but within a few weeks of focusing on rest I began to feel alive again.
I had planned on doing a sprint triathlon in October the week before Miami 70.3. I was still undecided on if I would race Miami. I didn't know if I felt recovered enough for that long of a race plus the run goes over the bridge a few times and if my foot wasn't much better I would make it worse. I decided to do a local Olympic triathlon the week before Miami, see how I felt, then decide if I would race the following week. The morning of Longleaf Olympic triathlon I was feeling much better. I put together a solid swim, bike and run, which got me the W. My foot was still irritated and I decided not to do Miami 70.3 but focus on Challenge Florida half in November. I've been told it takes a good 3 months for peronial tendinitis to get better and that was about right. It was much better but not 100% by Florida Challenge. The day of that race felt like a mid August day - it was really hot. I didn't have a great race, finished 7th after struggling through the run. That was the end of my 2015 season. I can look back and learn a lot from last season - I have made a few changes going into 2016.
I competed in HITS Naples (Olympic) in January to see where I was at after some down time. I had a little bit of training going into that race, but I didn't feel like I had much speed on the run, which did cost me the win. It was dissapointing to get passed right before the finish line, but I put my best effort out there. I can use that loss as motivation when I feel like slowing down on some of my training runs!
I have been working on my running since HITS, my coach has been doing some tempo runs with me which always pushes me to go faster when someone else is running with me. Two weeks ago I ran the Best Damn Race half marathon right here in my backyard. I finished in 2nd place (1:26:57) which wasn't my best time for a half, but close and seeing progress with where I am right now. Feeling stronger every week!
I'm excited to be with Xterra Wetsuits and Epix Gear for another season. I will be continuing to be a part of Tribal Multi-sport and I will be working again with Girls on The Run through More Than Sport this year.
I'll be riding my Felt this season - thanks to Joel at Flying Fish bikes for fixing a few things on it and getting it ready to roll along with some new Zipp wheels.
On a side note, I moved at the end of 2015, I have new places to train (which I love) AND the highlight of the year was getting engaged! I couldn't be happier and am very lucky to have found such a great guy who also is very supportive of my sport - and even trains with me sometimes!:)
I'm really looking forward to this season - see ya'll out there at the races!