Had I written this update a week ago, I think that it would have been vastly different from the "report" that I'll make tonight. It's not that SO much in my life has changed in the course of a week, rather a few things have shifted, but the shift has made quite a difference.
I'll back up, however, and say that up until last week, I had a solid 'base' training cycle. Despite feeling a bit ambivalent about training (yes, I want this, no, I just want to stay in bed), the vast majority of my Training Peaks boxes were green for January and February - success! I was completing my workouts with more consistency than last year, and, even better, I felt that the workouts were high quality, especially in the pool and running.
I will admit that the bike has been something of an issue this year, despite the Bat (who HAS been getting plenty of love, but a lot of it on the trainer). Last year, I really prioritized getting in solid, long rides, and woke up early every Saturday, committing myself to some good saddle time. This year, I'll be honest and recognize that I have not dedicated enough time to biking as I really need. While I love the Cervelo - it is a wonderful ride, I still don't feel as confident on it as I do on the Trek, probably because I still think that it's TOO nice a bike for me and I get nervous on it. Or something idiotic like that. The other issue, before I blame it on a complicated love/hate relationship with my bike, is that, as we make these major life changes, triathlon/training is not first priority. I want to spend time and connect with friends, something that I could sacrifice a bit last year but am very reluctant to do so this at this point. While running and swimming seem more forgiving in terms of a time-commitment, biking is less so, and that has been an issue this year. Because of that, I made my peace with a few long "rides" on the trainer which were good and painful! Last weekend, I finally got in a great ride along PCH and felt pretty strong, especially in my new Vanderkitten kit (of which I have zero photos - sad face; I'm the worst so-called "ambassador" ever). The extra bonus on the ride - we saw whales swimming south! It was so fun to look for their spouts - and to spy them.
As I said, cycling aside, running and swimming had felt good. While I had plenty of swims and runs that felt slow, overall, I saw gains from last year (in the pool) and enjoyed being healthy for my runs. The only issue was niggling back pain while swimming, which probably started in January or at the beginning of February, but didn't really slow me down elsewhere. Well, last weekend, after a long swim and a long trainer ride on Saturday and a long run on Sunday, the pain wasn't severe but I had to admit that it was more than just a minor issue that I could ignore. So, at this point, I am trying to figure out what is going on with my back, not just scouring the Google, but also seeing a pain specialist and going from there. What's interesting about the back pain is that running and cycling don't seem to be an issue, and I suspect that it is related to tight hips/glutes and other imbalances rather than something more major (or that's my hope!). However, I'd rather err on the side of caution rather than try to push through the pain. What is a challenge is that I've never had back pain before (unlike the array of leg/foot maladies that have plagued me), so I don't know how serious it is. The optimist in me is confident that it's a strain that just needs time to fully heal, but I have concerns that it is more serious. Either way, it's frustrating to not know, and I hope to have answers soon!
Obviously, I hope that this won't sideline me for the next few months, especially, my plans for Boulder IM. I have questioned the decision to commit to another Ironman with everything else going on in our lives, but I also know that it wasn't a flighty decision. It's a goal that I'll continue to work towards, despite some challenges that life and my body have decided to present along the way. But, training for this second IM has been harder. Again, I recognize that there are a lot of life things going on that I have to prioritize, and maybe some of the excitement that comes from the new and unknown has worn off. I do have hopes, goals, expectations for this second race, but I'm also more stressed about moving, finding a job, saying good-bye, and figuring out my life. Small details, I know!
So, a bit of a rough go at this point, but I'm trying to trust the fact that I *do* have a good base to work from. Also, I've (knock on wood) stayed healthy in other ways and am grateful for that. I really hope to have answers to the back issue soon, and get back to some solid training!