It’s safe to say that my build up for the Half Ironman World Championships has not gone as I had hoped. 4 weeks without running and the past 2 spent primarily on the Alter-G treadmill isn’t where I expected to be less than 2 weeks out from this race.
I am very much an “all or nothing” and “stick-to-the-plan” type of person and while that really benefits me at times, it also makes it hard when my only choice is to adjust the plan and push the brakes. With this race looming, it was particularly stressful when a lower leg injury meant pulling the plug on running for a few weeks. When I decided to take the spot I earned at St. George, I took it with big goals and excitement for another chance at a race I have fallen short at twice before. The first 6 weeks of training went perfectly. I felt great, was training more than I have in years and was starting to feel fast on the run again. To go from that to no running was frustrating and disappointing. I struggled to stay motivated as I felt my goals falling out of reach. Negativity and doubt filled every thought in regards to the race. I dreaded 9/10 workouts and training felt like a slog.
But then I finally got to run…
Yesterday morning I set out for my only outdoor run of the week (and my 2nd one in 6 weeks). Just as runs often tend to do, I finished my run feeling like a new Hayley. I was able to get 10 miles in at a decent pace with very little pain. During my run, I thought about where I was 12 months ago. It was this week last year (coincidence?) that I found out I had yet another stress fracture. I could barely walk and was back to no running. Even riding my bike and swimming was extremely painful. 12 months ago, I hadn’t done a triathlon in over 3 years and wasn’t sure I ever would again. At the beginning of this year, I had one goal in regards to my health/training: to get to the start line of a triathlon healthy. I had no performance expectations. I made it to St. George healthy and happy. World Championships? That didn’t even cross my mind until I realized I had qualified. Going to the World Championships this year was way beyond my expectations and yet, in 10 days, I will be on my way. It might not be with the training under my belt that I had hoped for but I will be toeing the line ready to give it whatever I’ve got. I will race with gratitude for a year that has been filled with health (besides a little hiccup), racing, building back up and a lot of happy, successful moments. 12 months ago, I would have given a lot to be in the position I am now.
So my training recap? Well, it hasn’t been great but it has been filled with plenty of good moments like the one above from a race last weekend. Thanks to my run yesterday, I am excited to use this race as another stepping stone in the right direction and a celebration of how far I have already come.