If you're looking at my workouts last week and thinking God, she only made about half of them, you're right. And if you're guessing that most of this was my fault, you're also right. (Well, locking my keys in my car and drinking wine on Friday were my fault, but the bad crab on Saturday, my roommate not coming home in time the night of said locked keys, and the rain and lightning the day of my OW swim were out of my control.)
Still, compared to last season, I am completely ahead of the game.
Last season, I barely trained for my first race (Subaru Women's Tri in March - which isn't coming back to St. Pete this year) because of my injuries and illnesses. Then I had to cancel, postpone and drop out of several other races. I even had a DNF. This year, I've had my share of setbacks (like I said, mostly my fault - some not), but I'm already deep into my training schedule, and my training distances are already where they were last June, when I was training to go Olympic by August. I attribute this to two things: attitude and my coach, who knows virtually everything about me. (The poor woman.) Last season, during bad weeks, I used to make only one of my workouts, some times two. This year, I still make 3-5 workouts, no matter what happens. Part of that's because I know completing a 70.3 is no joke. Part of it is because, no matter how bad I feel, I know that working out will make me feel better.
It's not just my attitude that has changed, though: my body has changed. No, I'm not leaner - I'm actually fatter, despite my efforts and despite the fact that, just 2 months ago, I was 13 pounds away from being too thin to race Athena. (How the crap that happened is another story altogether.) But, while I may be fatter, I'm actually fitter. Here are the stats: last year, during my August race, I cycled an Olympic-distance course in just over 2 hours; this year, my Olympic-distance training rides are done in just under 2 hours. (Last year's warmup pace of 9-12mph at 80+RPM and workout pace of 11-13mph at 70+RPM vs. this year's warmup pace of 11-14 at 90+RPM and workout pace of 14-17 at 90+RPM.) Last year, I could swim 1km or 1000yds in around 45 minutes. This year, I can swim 1500yds or around 1.5km in that same time. Last year, my first few runs of the season were 1-milers or 20-minute jogs. This year, they're close to 3 miles and they're 40-minute stride runs.
I've discovered a two-part key to unlocking the athletic success of which I know I am capable: nutrition and consistency. As far as nutrition goes, I realized that my caloric intake is perfectly fine, but I get way too much fat. Well, duh - of COURSE that's going to slow me down. My body would much rather have carbs and protein before and after a two- or three-hour workout!! As far as consistency goes, that applies to training and diet: it's not necessarily nailing every single workout or eating every meal perfectly. I can miss my plan two or even three times a week and still race well - as long as I am hitting the majority of my workouts the majority of the time, and eating well the majority of the time. Yeah, I know - I've known all of this all my life. But some times it doesn't really become clear until quantifiable results begin to appear.
I'm sure I'll have more to add later. There is much more unlocking needed.