For the past 2 months I have been living and training in Santa Monica, California. After spending a few weeks training in Tucson with my coach Cliff English, I came out here in early March to escape the New York winter and spend some quality time in the pool and in the mountains. Unfortunately, when I arrived, after a 5 day drive across the country, I realized I had a pain in my hip that wouldn't go away. The pain lingered for 6 weeks! I tried to run and do my workouts but it was just ugly. It wasn't until my friend and and star physical therapist, Allison Lind, came to visit that I got a good diagnosis and was told it was nothing to be worried about. Meanwhile, I had to cancel my early season racing plans (Miami, San Diego, St. Anthony's). Having to miss some of my favorite races was a huge bummer. BUT, I am still taking steps forward - maybe not as fast - and working towards getting back to the top of the podium. Just last week my hip started feeling better and I got in a week of consistent running. I had really been missing the running part of my training - and I honestly started to think I had become slow. Bec kept reminding me to try to improve a little each workout, just as she is doing with her comeback. It's a much better method than trying too hard, getting frustrated and making everything worse!
So, with that in mind, I decided to start my racing season on a bit of a smaller scale. I kicked things off this past weekend with a swim meet on Saturday and a sprint triathlon on Sunday.
Since arriving in LA, I've been swimming 5-6 times a week, mostly with the Tower 26 squad. This is the most swimming I've done since I "retired" from swimming after my last meet for George Washington University. The goal is for this focus on swimming to translate to making the front bike packs more consistently. Back in February I set a mini goal for myself of breaking 1:00 in the 100 freestyle. Swimmers, don't laugh! Of course, this is nowhere near a good swimming time, or even my personal best, but I thought it was something to shoot for. I sort of thought I wouldn't get near it...until I started getting 1:00s in practice. Well, after Saturday's meet - it's time for a new goal. I snuck into the 58s! I also swam the 1000 yard freestyle which was an event I did at every dual meet at GWU. For that one, I negative split for an 11:09 - a bit off what I thought I'd do, but a lot better than what I would have done last year!
On Sunday, I drove out to Loma Linda (75 miles east of LA) for a sprint triathlon. After I signed up I realized that the race goes in reverse order and the swim was a 150 yard snake-style pool swim. The race was put on by PossAbilities, an organization that helps people rehabilitate and get active after sustaining disabilities. We started the run amongst the wheelchair racers which was very inspiring. They also had a heartfelt tribute to the Boston Marathon victims and one of the best pre-race national anthems I've ever experienced - a 9 year old boy who whipped a mini American flag out of his pocket on "free" and held it over his head.
As for my race?? I bolted out to the lead on the 5k - feeling great in my new racing flats. I was caught by Julie Swail-Ertel who ended up winning, but I managed to run a decent split and nothing hurt! I was a bit tired on the bike and was passed by Charisa Wernick who was 2nd and by the time we hit the pool it was just really a splash. So, it was more of a duathlon, but such a fun race and a great way to get start off the season.
Next up, is a late addition to the schedule - the Wildflower Triathlon, which is near San Luis Obispo, CA.