Heather Jackson ranks right at the top of my favorite triathletes, male or female, to watch and root for. I put her up there with Mirinda Carfrae and Caroline Steffen. I think that my rooting interest is in the fact that all of these ladies are tremendous runners off the bike and that is the facet of triathlon that I am most inspired by. Running a marathon is hard. Running a marathon after a 112 mile bike is hard. Running a marathon at the pace that they are running off the bike is incredible to watch. These ladies, and triathletes in general, did not get there by hoping and wishing. They got there through hard work.
Yesterday I was reminded of the hard work it takes to be successful at this sport. As I was scrolling through Instagram I came across a picture of Heather Jackson riding the trainer and looking completely spent. Sweat everywhere and mouth agape as if to say: this is so f*cking hard but I will survive and I will get stronger. That left a lasting impression on me and reinforced in me that in order to achieve the goals I am laying out for myself.
I do not have my goals laid out specifically for this year as of yet but I am thinking of the following for the big races in 2014:
- 10:00 at Rocky Raccoon 50 in February.
- 5:00-5:15 at 70.3 Galveston in April.
- 5:40-5:45 at 70.3 Buffalo Springs in June.
- 11:00-11:30 at Ironman Chattanooga in September.
Knowing that these are all much faster than my previous times I have to be understanding of the hard work that is going to go into these training cycles. I need to focus my mind on the knowledge that there will be rest/recovery days and that I need to take advantage of those days but simultaneously knowing that on training days there is a purpose. Do not waste energy and time on the ‘junk’ miles and put the hard work in that is required to achieve these goals. I use the word goals because dreams are goals without a plan. I will have a plan and I will execute that plan to the best of my ability.
Heather Jackson putting in the hard work in the middle of December for races that she will compete at in the Spring resonated wildly with me. Here is an athlete that has accomplished a lot in her career and could sit back and say: I did that and won that. Instead she is pushing her body and her mind knowing that her competition is out there potentially doing the same. This past week I finished my fourth week of ultra trail run training and legs felt beat up while I was under the weather. It would be very easy for me to say to myself that I hurt and its Christmas and what would another slice of pizza or piece of chocolate do? That is just not going to happen though. I have to remain committed to my goals and take every possible step to accomplish them regardless of how hard it is. I may not be racing to win, but I am racing to be better than myself.
This week will be harder than the previous 4 weeks as the mileage climbs past the 60s for the week but there is a recovery week starting on Sunday after that long run. There will be 3 weeks after that recovery week where the mileage will go be in mid-60s up to the 70s. Those weeks will be hard and I will be able to look back at this week and say that was easy. It is all in perspective.
This week I also made the decision that I will start to see my chiropractor twice per week over those 3 overload weeks. I want to take care of my body to get through them injury free and that starts by doing the hard things like taking 30 minutes out of your day to get your body back into alignment rather than heading straight home and flopping on the couch. There is a lot of hard work left to do before I get to the start line of Rocky Raccoon 50 and thanks to Heather Jackson and her picture a fire has been lit under my butt to make sure that the extra cookie is not consumed and that the ‘Five More Minutes’ on the alarm clock are not asked for.