This triathlon season was by far the toughest one I’ve faced since I took upon training and racing for triathlons. When I began tri-ing 3 years back I pretty much enjoyed of a steady and encouraging development finishing races and even placing/winning my AG.
As any out of shape person I experienced fast fitness gains just by the fact that I was exercising again, although I think all those years that I played soccer in my teen years helped me develop a better aerobic base that served me well for triathlons. Within a year I finish a number of short course triathlons and a few marathons and in the next couple of years with the help of my coach Kurt Perham, I began structured training and achieving other milestones such as meeting the elite card requirements for the Mexican Triathlon Federation.
Towards the end of last year, I was very enthusiastic and motivated to work even harder through the winter and shoot to make 2007 my breakthrough year. That meant to become competitive at any race I would show up and break the 4:15 hrs barrier for the half-ironman distance.
But by October of 2006 I came down with respiratory illnesses and for 3 and half months I was unable to do any training since I was unable to breathe properly and had asthma like symtpoms. During that time I spent it visiting MDs and getting testing done to determine what would be the cause of my sudden illness. Needless to say those months not only took a big hit in my fitness (which basically disappeared) but also mentally it was very tough and disconcerting as every week I would visit a different specialist or get some testing done just to find out a few days later nothing wrong, yet I was still feeling sick.
By the 1st week of December I finally was diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux which required me to drastically change my diet, take medication, etc. Within a few weeks I began to feel like my normal self and by January 1st I was back on the training horse. It was a humbling experience to go through all that and still realized I had to work hard to get may old fitness level back, but within a few months I was back to my old shape and feeling strong. 5 months later of training I got to FL 70.3 feeling ready for a solid performance but I was looking at it as a stepping stone in the road towards good races at Timberman and Cancun.
but everything changed in a matter of seconds; while running into the water at the beach swim start I misstep in the water and hyper extended my knee causing a fracture on my tibia. At the moment I didn’t know that happen hence I went onto finishing the race (very stupid move) and managed to qualify for the 70.3 Championship, but a few days later I learned I wasn’t going to be running for at least 6 weeks. That was very discouraging but somehow a managed to focus on my swim and bike. I also managed to get back to running sooner than expected and I managed to get my self in decent shape to compete and complete Timberman 70.3.
After a decent race although far from my, I faced another challenge; in my fool attempt to get my running speed up for the race I did the classical “too much too fast” training mistake and developed plantar tendonitis. That kept me away from running for another month which added just more inconsistency to my year. This time I began fighting motivational issues because I didn’t want to race again to be just ‘good enough’. Still, I kept on doing some training and raced at Cancun 70.3 posting a decent result, but again far from the kind performance I could accomplish with consistent training.
It was time to focus on Clearwater but my motivation wasn’t all there and I struggled to stay focus again. It was difficult to accept I wasn’t going to be any where close to compete for the AG top places. Moving forward, I made a point to race lose, enjoy every second of the day and just go for it regardless of my fitness level. I didn’t accomplish my 4:15 hrs goal but I was within a few minutes and ended up the season in a good note. That was good enough to motivate me again to continue on my journey for a breakthrough year! (Watch out 2008!)
· Consistent training is the key for good performances. Forget about training approach, specific sessions, special training tools, etc. what matters is to train day after day after, and the sum of all will ultimately make you fitter and faster.
· Never break your own rules, i.e. run too much too fast
· Fitness goes away very fast, but it can come back as fast with hard work
FL 70.3 – 4:28 hrs, 34th OA, 5th AG
Timberman 70.3 – 4:37 hrs, 38th OA, 11th AG
Cancun 70.3 - 4:30, 27th OA, 3rd AG
Clearwater 70.3 – 4:17, 137th OA, 16th AG