It has taken me way too many years to understand the recovery is where we get faster. This year with 2 different instances of cracked/bruised ribs and chest contusions has taught me that pushing the redline always comes at a price especially with my most recent trail running injury. This is year is slightly different since I am self-coached and need to re-evaluate on a daily basis the balance of stress and recovery I have placed on my body.
The other important part of this post is the story. About 2 years ago I was racing in a local cross race with my friend Amy Dombroski. She was using gift certificates from her massage therapist, Ed Westhead as prizes for the race. I remember an amazing race where I fought really hard with a then Chloe Forsman and even made Amy look over her shoulder in one switchback:) Chloe really brought out all the fight that I had that day and I finished with some great memories and a great effort under my belt...besides some new friends:) As we know, Amy was hit and killed by a truck while training in Belgium last September and many of us in the cross world and her world will remember her forever. I was actually hit by a car about 6 days before Amy was when commuting to work and the news of her death was so unsettling to me based upon my recent experience that I can soundly say it changed the way I looked at racing, life, and everything important to me. I still believe in a way she is with us, looking over our shoulder on training rides and races...telling us to go harder and dig deeper and making us remember why we do the things that we do.
Ed was touched by Amy like so many of us were and I think when I emailed him about a month ago asking if I could use the gift certificate, it brought back some memories of an amazing girl and racer with a huge heart. Since then Ed has been working with me through massage on ways to reduce injury and improve recovery. I have noticed my ITB is no longer as painful or tight as it normally is this time of year and that my running form has improved since am not carrying all the stiffness and soreness around from my regular training load. Before I write more all I can say is thank you Amy and thank you Ed. Both amazing people that I am so happy I have gotten to know.
Trail running has proven to be a bigger adversary then I thought. At first it took me in and welcomed me. My pace decreased day by day. I found a local track group and local trail running group. Nothing is more exciting then meeting new people and running in new places....especially new trails! I love the primal feeling of picking my way across hogbacks on the front range and feeling the crunch of fresh snow under me feet after we have been blanketed. But, about 2 weeks ago I had my first major crash ever.....off the bike. I didn't think you could get hurt off 2 wheels. After a flying superman on the trails of the hogback, I feel like all the memories of my rib fracture after nationals came flying back. My pace was slow, I couldn't complete a track workout, my chest hurt to move my arm and breath, and all of a sudden I was waiting for minutes to pass so I could get better. I have gotten better but everything takes time and I have once again realized that racing is not only about hard work and training but luck and timing. It requires us to be humble and confident at the same time and never, ever take anything for granted.
Learning to Swim
It has been one year to date since I decided to learn how to swim. This has been a little disjointed with a UCI cyclo cross season thrown in (pool time seems to be hard to find in the middle of the schedule) and 2 separate time instances of broken or bruised ribs with the last only a little over 2 weeks ago. I have definitely proven to myself that I can learn anything that I want no matter what age I am and be better at everything I know as well. One person told me I would always struggle with swimming but I would rather say it is adventure of learning and focus to see what works for you and how amazing those moments are when you develop the feel of the water. After deciding to pursue XTERRA racing as a professional this year and started the season off with a bang at Las Vegas West Coast Championship (a little humbling to be honest), I have come miles in my form and strength as a swimmer. With the help of my local swim coach, Jim Murphy, Lakewood's Green Mountain Master's swimming sessions, and SwimLabs out of Highlands Ranch, I have become an open water swimmer in one year.