The toughest part of training is the taper week. What is a taper week you may ask? “Taper” means to back off training and rest appropriately in preparation for race day. It allows the body to take a break physically and emotionally. In traditional programs it may last close to 3weeks, however in our programming it usually only pushes about one week. The taper is as important for the body as the mind too. The Cremator taper has been quite different than many of my previous races.
Roughly three weeks ago I busted my ankle on a curb and had to end my final time trial run with a ride home from Michael Baroni (AKA CTF Badass). That night, I couldn’t put any pressure on the ankle and had to resort to going out to dinner on crutches. It was scary. It was the beginning of a lot of emotions and questions regarding my ability to execute on Cremator day. Questions that I typically never ask myself. Doubt that set into my head and sucked my optimism. Thankfully enough the symptoms got better and better and the foot seemed to be healing quite steadily. I Coached with a limp and stayed off the foot completely for about 8 days (besides crushing work at CTF). Voodoo flossing like no other and self myo-fasical release sessions lasting 45+ minutes a day above and below seemed to do the trick. It was then that I did something completely out of character. Something that makes you think. I Raced at the expense of my Coaches advice… Have you ever gone against your Coach?
Yippee a 1st overall age group finish and typical CSTS sprint triathlon time, but what about the ankle? It wasn’t fabulous and about a mile in feeling slight pain I shouldn’t have been out there. I even went so far to sit down in Transition 2 and wrap it with an ankle brace. My Coach told me multiple times not to race even when I asked. That’s how bad I needed to race. Sick isn’t it? Dude there’s a 50miler coming up are you serious?
The decision was made. Why was I asking?
It didn’t feel like there were any crazy effects to running it just wasn’t good. Maybe it did halt my recovery, yet wouldn’t you know four days later I accidentally re-rolled the ankle stepping weird out coaching endurance. Do you believe in Karma? Maybe its not the right word, but that feeling of telling your Coach you won’t and the going against his advice is terrible. It’s like this dull ache in the pit of your stomach that nags you all they way up to between your ear lobes. I’ve had athlete’s do this to me and inside my head I’m furious. How could I even think to make this decision? It wasn’t very empathetic. It was self serving. It happened for a reason.
Everything happens for a reason. That’s why we live in this world…
Now here in the final hours about to go to sleep, I’m blocking out anything that has to do with my ankle and more importantly knowing that my Coach still has my back. He’ll always have my back. Even with a bad decision made at the expense of his advice. This is how solid Coaches operate. They shake it off, but make sure you learn. I know this because I believe I am solid Coach. I also understand that one decision an athlete makes does not dictate who that athlete is. Its where they go with it. As long as you care about the person in front of you, you’ll be a great Coach. As long as you learn from your decisions you make, you’ll be a great person.
I’m someone who goes after new goals like its my job. I believe it’s something I’m addicted too and good at, yet that decision I made provided a reality a check. That maybe it’s time for a little break after this one? Everyone needs breaks. No matter what you’re training for it gets grueling. All your focus goes into that one day and the intensity placed towards racing your best is insane. The more you want it the more insane it gets. Its all you think about. Emotions are high. It’s easy to forget about the bigger picture, but maybe sometimes you’re just too drained? Maybe it’s gone past the fun and the short term picture looks better? Who knows.
What I do know right now is that tomorrow is going to be an unforgettable day. A day I’ll never be able to recreate because I have the opportunity to tackle 50miles for the first time. We’ve raised over $6,500 for Livia’s Michigan surgery in as little as three weeks of fundraising. My ankle has recovered incredibly quick even after last Thursday’s re-roll. Despite heeling not being 100% I know I’m ready. My mind is 100% and that’s the most important part. The people closest to me have supported me throughout training and in these final weeks too a degree outside my wildest imagination. That said, the game plan is set. All the hard work is in the barn. Tomorrow comes down to having fun, remaining positive and thinking about all the wonderful people in my life throughout the journey. Tomorrow I run 50 Miles with the CTF Army behind me, 50 miles for Livia…