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Where do you spend the winter months training?
Unpredictable Weather, Unpredicatable Schedule
It’s the first week in April in Blacksburg, Va. After a full day of classes and working with participants for my research study, I was low on energy and motivation. Dropping off my TT bike yesterday, I was lucky enough to borrow another TT from our local bike shop, East Coasters. I checked the weather and when I saw snowflakes starting their slow spiral down from a cloudy sky I thought “NO!” in frustration. This winter has been dragged out long enough, and we weren’t even supposed to get snow. Hours spent on the trainer and several brick workouts in the snow/wind already; I had put in the training time in winter and was ready for spring. Didn’t Mother Nature know I had my final double brick before Collegiate Nationals? It was still cold, my beloved bike was gone, and I had a long night of data entry ahead of me.
Most triathletes would agree with me that we are a very Type-A personality, and like to have control in our lives, training and environment around us. Since becoming a graduate student at Virginia Tech, I have learned to be able to better handle what life throws at you. Even though I choked on a few snowflakes, fell on my butt twice (soft landing on the second one), I survived the double brick through the unpredictable weather of Blacksburg, which ended up with 4-6 inches of snow.
As a triathlete, you are held to your own highest standards when you’re racing. You learn more about yourself in the moments when you’re hurting and feeling like it would be easier to just give up. Transferring to Virginia Tech in 2009, my triathlon training has dramatically progressed, in part due to my coach, Jim McGehee with One-On-One Endurance Coaching. Coach McGehee has given me structure where I would have struggled without. He really knows what to say to motivate (and he also has the best kids ever to babysit!).
Another unpredictability of the coming year is my professional endeavors. I received my B.S in Dietetics at Virginia Tech last year and now wait to find out if I get matched to a Dietetic Internship which will allow me to become a Registered Dietitian once I pass the exam. The national average for getting matched to a dietetic internship is about 50-52 percent. I worried about applying to places where I had never been. Would I still be able enjoy the same freedom of training in the beautiful Blacksburg area?
Learning to balance anywhere from 10-16 hours a week of swimming, biking, and running can be challenging at times with course work demands and work. Especially finding that balance between being a Graduate Teaching Assistant for Communicating with Foods (yes…yum) and Professional Dietetics courses and research. Another unpredictability of this year has been my own health. In February, I came down with acute bronchitis that wrecked havoc on my lungs. We had a local sprint triathlon this Sunday (April 7) that was more than 30 degrees warmer from this past Thursday. The TriAdventure race consisted of a 300m pool swim, 13-mile bike and 5k run. We had a great showing with my team at this race! I came in second overall, but still could feel the inability to take a full, deep breath.
I might not be able to have complete control over everything around me, but I do love to plan out my next meal or shopping trip. In addition to my passion for triathlons, and being on the Tech Triathlon team, I LOVE FOOD. Being a student-triathlete, your bike is most likely nicer than your car (if you have one) and your kitchen cupboards might be bare. In the case of the kitchen cupboards, I try my hardest to keep them fully stocked while on a budget. My motto for fueling a very active lifestyle: eat whole foods first, eat all foods in moderation (I love chocolate, which I have every day), and eat frequently from plants.
Lots of times I will prepare a crock pot recipe the night before; then when I leave in the morning I know it will be ready when I come back 9-12 hours later. I also love sweet potatoes! You can’t beat eating some sweet potato curry soup, sweet potato fried egg avocado hash, sweet potato pancakes (freeze leftovers for breakfast on the go) or sweet potato quinoa. Gotta get your Beta-carotene on! Now with the sprint triathlon tune-up done, the next big step to reaching Collegiate Nationals in Tempe, Arizona, is to board the plane. Until then, I hope you will be fueling happily and hydrating well.
Follow the action from the 2013 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships, set for April 12-13, on the event coverage page.