It took an 11hr plane ride to Brazil to finally sit down and catch up on my blog. So here is the short version of my summer racing and training since the end of the qualification period and in the lead up to the Olympic games.
Belgian Championships (sprint distance): 12 June
A few triathlete friends recently asked for my advice about buying a triathlon watch with heart rate monitor. One thing is clear, whether you are a beginner or advanced triathlete, a waterproof fitness tracker equipped for swimming, biking and running is an indispensable training tool for you and your coach to track progress. While I have my own experience using fitness watches, I've asked guest blogger Jason Oh, who follows the trends and news on upcoming fitness wearable technologies, to answer the question for us. Since he doesn't represent any brands, here below are his unbiased recommendations:
It may come as no surprise to anyone who followed the results that I was very disappointed with my performances in the first two races this season: the World Triathlon Series (WTS) Abu Dhabi on March 5 and the World Cup in Mooloolaba one week later. I apologize for the delayed blog, and the truth is, I didn’t feel like writing about it. But, this blog is about sharing the journey and process – the good, the bad and the ugly. Nonetheless, I’m not one for excuses, nor dwelling on the negative, so I’ll keep this brief:
The conclusion of this two-week training camp in Mallorca marks the close of the winter preparation period and thus the beginning of the triathlon season! I was fortunate enough to win a tombola for a free week for two at Hotel Viva Blue in Playa de Muro and this location is truly ideal for triathlon. There is a 25m heated outdoor pool in the hotel and the beach is just across the street for open water swims. The cycling roads are in good condition and offer a variety of flat, hills or roller terrain. There is a bike center in the hotel fully equipped with cleaning stations, mechanics, a small bike shop and even free water and cyclist picnics. There are a few running trails not too far, a fully equipped gym, a spa with hot and cold tubs and sports massage treatments available. Most of all, the buffet was hands-down one of the best I've every had in a hotel; healthy, tasty, with a wide variety of dishes and completely adapted for athletes including vegetarian, gluten-free and lactose-free options.
It's that time of year when suddenly you have to wait in line to use the machine at the gym and fight to weigh your fruits and veggies in the produce aisle. Yup, the New Year's "I'm going to diet, exercise, budget, learn a language, take cooking classes, read a book a week, learn to tango and so on" resolution craze is in full swing...for about a month. If you've ever made resolutions it may come as no surprise that, according to various studies, 81-92% of New Year's resolutions fail. I've also fallen into this category of setting so many goals and endless lists that I could never check off completely, thus making my perfectionist-self never fully satisfied. I, like many other resolutioners, was setting myself up for failure. There are countless articles, studies and books on self-discipline and how to create habits that stick, but this blog is simply about the 3 things sports has taught me about resolutions, finding balance and happiness.
Discipline is like a muscle: it can flex, but it will reach a point of exhaustion
Since training takes up the majority of my day, it's no surprise that I spend most of my time in workout clothes. However, this is not always the most flattering. Awkward true story: one time I arrived at the meeting point for my club’s weekly Saturday bike ride and while I was looking down to fix my brakes, a teammate asked the rider next to me: “Oh did you bring your son with you to ride today?” (To be fair I was in a helmet and sunglasses, and if the person who asked if I was a boy is reading this, don’t worry I didn’t take this personally at all and we laughed it off).
Although the travel, jetlag and back-to-back racing were far from ideal, I did not regret my last minute decision to add the Tongyeong World Cup to my racing schedule. No matter the outcome, I knew I needed to go to avoid feeling any regret later on if I ended up a few points shy of qualifying for the Olympics.
It’s been a while since my last blog, so thanks to a long plane ride here are two race reports for the price of one.
World Cup Cozumel: Getting back on track
After a difficult race in Chicago at the Grand Final, it was time for a bounce-back race. Cozumel was a sprint distance and will host next year’s Grand Final, so I was excited to race there this year.
Race morning was very hot and humid and the rolling waves of the 29-degree water made for an interesting balancing act on the start pontoon. I exited the swim with the main pack, but our chase peloton neither gained nor lost much time on the leaders throughout the four-lap bike course, coming in about 30 seconds behind the first group. Despite a poor transition, with the running shoes on I just focused on catching as many girls as possible. Although only 5km, the heat affected everyone, but I was still able to finish 9th with my first top ten finish in a while and earning valuable Olympic qualifying points.
More than just the points, I was very happy to feel fully healthy while racing. After a season mired by injuries, accidents and slow recovery processes, this was the glimmer of hope reminding me that I can still do this. I left Cozumel energized and motivated to race deciding to add the World Cup in Tongyeong, South Korea to my race schedule.