I feel like screaming. I feel like throwing my hands up and saying "FORGET IT! I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE!" The more I read and learn, the more I discover how much the sport of triathlon is so scientific, every aspect so well-studied, that the idea of just going out and 'doing it' seems, at this point, moot. Only amateurs 'just do it.' If you're going to WIN, then you have to have truly TRAINED (not merely 'worked out'), you have to have good equipment, you have to properly taper, and you'd better know your nutrition like the back of your hand.
During a discussion about nutrition the other night, one of my teammates asked me "So how many calories per hour are you consuming on the bike?" I looked back at him with a blank stare. "Um. I generally eat a Clif Bar over the course of a 4 hour ride. Probably about half a Clif Bar over a 2 hour ride." His immediate response: "see, you should be able to respond immediately what your calorie per hour consumption is."
He went on to describe the importance of eating two hours before my morning workouts ("So does that mean I have to wake up at FOUR A.M.?!" I countered), and 'topping off' the night before with good carbs if I couldn't get up a full two hours before. He talked about race-day nutrition, how to practice for it, how my standard peanut butter & jelly standby is all wrong, and how many more calories I need to take in on the bike.
Couple that with further reading in The Triathlete's Training Bible about intensity workouts, as well as an article on how to taper effectively four weeks before your first race, and you have a girl who is overloaded with too much information.
Not to mention that as I did the math, I got scared sh**less at the fact that I realized Wildflower is a mere nine weeks away. The taper article discussed beginning the taper 4 weeks prior to your first race...which leaves me 5 weeks of build phase. 5 weeks where I will be gone for about two of those next five for work. I've got to do more hill repeats on the bike. I've got to do more speed work on the run. The only thing I'm truly confident about right now is the swim. Well whoop-de-doo. Where does that get me? Eh, maybe 2 minutes faster. If I'm not prepared enough on the bike then that 2 minutes doesn't mean jack rabbit! I've got to do more planning so that I can create workouts for myself that will combine the proper amount of intensity with aerobic workouts, but how can I do that when I don't even know exactly what my lactate threshold EVEN IS? How about this: I feel just fine when my heart rate is at 170. What does that MEAN? So sometime I've got to find time to do some lactate threshold testing and VO2 max testing, as well as finding time to read more about how to properly PLAN the next nine weeks. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
*breathe, Sarah, BREATHE!*
I sound insane, I know. At the end of the day, most people DO just go out and do it. That's what I did the last two seasons. I worked out a lot, did some good track workouts, used spinning class as a good time to get some high-intensity workouts in, and kept my commitment to swimming. And as I've seen, it worked out alright. My nutrition, as described earlier, was a combination of what I know about GENERAL nutrition (as in, what's good for you, how to maintain weight, etc.) and just doing what I thought was right and what felt good. It all seemed to come together and for the most part, I got through races just fantastically, had a few races where it especially came together well and I kicked some serious butt. The not-so-good races I learned from: Wildflower last year - don't go so hard on the bike and REMEMBER TO DRINK YOUR NUTRITION; Donner Lake - bring your own fuel on the run; Alcatraz - don't put aerobars on your bike so soon before the race. I mean, those were the first three races and I learned from all three, and the Half-Ironman and Santa Barbara were two of my best races EVER. I felt amazing!
So why worry?
Because I know if I could do it all piece-meal like that, then I can do even better. I can take on the top women at Wildflower. I can kick even more butt at Vineman this year. I can perform at a higher level that I don't think I ever thought would be possible. Given that I seem to have a natural ability with this sport, it would be nice to train the way the elites do and see what Sarah Trejo can do.
We'll see what happens...