Ya’all I am burned out.
Not so much physically, but mentally. I am growing tired of doing the same things day in and day out and constantly worrying about and checking my weekly mileage. I definitely put the pressure on myself, but I HAVE to be at 70+ miles every week. If I’m not I freak out and instantly start thinking that I’m “under trained”. I know…. I’m ridiculous.
Who knows maybe I’m supposed to have a “melt down” during my 24-weeks of training. Maybe I’m supposed to burn out to get to a better mental place afterwards. Who knows?! All I do know is that I’m mentally exhausted and that I’m at a low point in my training after a rough day last Friday…
I decided to do Emeraldman, which is a full day of Ironman training for Cleveland Triathlon Club. It takes place the Friday before 4th of July weekend and I was really looking forward to it because I was going to be able to train with other people. I do most of my training alone, so anytime I get to train with CTC I am happy.
The training started with a swim at Columbia Beach Park and then everyone headed over to the Rocky River Reservation afterwards for the bike and run. It was an out and back course so whenever you wanted to turn around you could. I was so pumped for the day! I couldn’t wait to take the day off from work to train with other triathletes. I set everything up like a race the night before and I was both nervous and excited when I pulled into the parking lot. I didn’t technically know anyone, but that was OK. The Club is super welcoming and everyone is always very nice.
I got to the beach and put my wet suit on. I made small talk with a few people around me and felt pretty good. The sun was rising and it was warm, but not too hot. Half of the group went out to do a 1.8-mile swim while a smaller group stayed parallel with the shore, which I opted to do. I wanted to swim about a mile.
The group of swimmers I was with were faster than me, but I didn’t mind. I just swam along behind them doing my thing… Then about five minutes into the swim I suddenly found that I couldn’t take a deep breath in. My wet suit seemed too tight and my lungs were irritated. I began to cough. (Mind you — I have sports-induced asthma, which I think is a load of crap, but that’s another story for anther day. The point is when I start to cough it lingers because of my asthma.) Despite my cough, I kept swimming and tried my best to ignore it, but it just kept getting worse. I couldn’t find any sort of rhythm in my stroke and I found that I could only go a few moments without having to stop to cough. I tried blowing bubbles into the water and I flipped over onto my back to try to gather myself repeatedly. I did backstroke for a few moments and then a giant rush of water went up my noise, causing me to spit and start coughing even harder. I continued to cough very hard the remainder of the swim and I was trailing pretty far behind everyone by now. The thing is I didn’t even mind that I was last, but I was MISERABLE. I couldn’t stop coughing or catch my breath and I freaked out every time I put my face in the water. What was wrong with me?!
The rest of the swimmers were going to swim one more time across the shore, but I announced I was heading in. I was panicking just to touch the sand again and as soon as I did I ripped off my wet suit and fought back tears. What was wrong with me?! Why had I just acted as if that was the first open water swim in my life?! I was making rookie mistakes like allowing my panic to skyrocket to the point where I couldn’t bring it back. My breath was short and harsh and my arms and legs thrashed through the water like a lunatic. All of these things do NOTHING to stop open water anxiety and I KNEW this, yet I kept doing it. Even now, days later I still get a pit in my stomach thinking about that swim. What was my problem? Am I even ready? I have an Olympic distance triathlon this Saturday and I have been dreading it because of my performance at Emeraldman.
To make the Emeraldman training day even more terrible for me – I coughed for the next several hours and never really felt like I could take a deep breathe in (even with my rescue inhaler). Then it started to pour as soon as we were about to get on our bikes… And I’m talking tsunami level pouring rain. I was like a wet cat. Riding my bike completely miserable and hating everything triathlon related. I had to convince myself not to turn around instantly. I went back and forth in my head over when was a decent time to turn around and I decided 15 would do. That way I could get in a solid 30-miles, but my original plan and hope was that I could get in 56 (the full 70.3 bike distance.) Of course this was another bitter disappointment of the day for me. I honestly couldn’t wait to get off the bike, sit down in my car and just be by myself. I was miserable, cold, wet, disappointed, mad, and still coughing up a lung.
Emeraldman has haunted me all week and even this morning in the pool, I felt slight twinges of panic in the water because of my awful experience last Friday. I was able to contact my doctor and get a refill for a steroid inhaler, which should help with the lung irritation I have been feeling. I am still beyond nervous for my race this weekend. I don’t get why I was so freaked out. Maybe I didn’t warm up enough or maybe my wet suit wasn’t on right. Maybe I just didn’t mentally prepare myself enough for the OWS. Whatever it was, I need to do 300 times better on Saturday. It stinks because it shattered my confidence in swimming and of course it happened the week before a race. I can’t let this get me down though. I have to keep fighting and pushing through and believe that I can do the swim correctly and strong.
Despite how awful Emeraldman was for me (and honestly it was a great event, I just had a terrible, lousy performance), I still had a decent week of training. I managed to get in 81 miles while also traveling to New York City for the long weekend. I used the immaculate hotel gym and also got to bike through Central Park.
It was an awesome trip and it was out first time in NYC. What an amazing city! Now it’s time to buckle down and get mentally tough for my race. Triathlon is a mental mind game, especially the open water swim. It’s all in what you tell yourself and how cool, calm and collected you stay in the water.