Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wild Wild West

So now I have the bug!

I think my trip out to Colorado for a little "pre-season assessment" was more of a clever marketing ploy used by my coach to convince me that I need to be living out West. Tricky, coach! You're a pretty smart guy.
I'll be the first to admit. It worked! Colorado (Littleton, specifically, where I stayed) is BEAUTIFUL. I'm surprised I didn't crash my cousin's SUV driving (up and down, and up and down - I swear I didn't drive, bike or run on one flat road) to the training facility each morning. On the horizon, right in front of me were gorgeous snow-caps, I swear it looked like someone set a backdrop of the most heavenly and enticing mountains one could image. I had to keep refocusing on *driving* and getting myself psyched for some *triathlon training* - when all my mind kept tellling me was to follow the signs to the ski resorts.

The air is so clear and clean. And the weather was perfect! I packed like I was going to the North Pole, little did I know, every day was above 50 degrees by noon. On Sunday, I ran in shorts! AND in the mountains no less. (So far my favorite run of 2010)
yup, those are the mountains I ran 13 miles in!

In addition to the beautiful scenery, I got to spend time with some beautiful people. I stayed and hung out with my cousins and their 3 adorable (soon to be beautiful;) girls. We had so much fun and they couldn't have made my stay more comfortable and easy. Coming home from a full day of training and sitting down for a game of crazy dominoes (a lil different from the regular domino game) or a heated fencing competition on the Wii was a blast! And finishing off the nights with some tivo'ed Cake Boss episodes (I credit my cousins with introducing me to my NEW favorite reality t.v shoe-- and it's not even on Bravo! (yes, I'm addicted to Bravo)) made for 100% fun-filled days and nights.
jen, john, and catie

julia, me and maren

Sadly, the time flew by, and since then I can't stop dreaming, day and night, about ways to get back.
My conclusion: keep working hard! Training, training, and more training until I reach the level I know I am capable of.

February is going to be tough. I know this, thanks to coach. He told me today, "Ashley, weeks 2-4 in February will be tough." Awesome!

I am definitely scared, yes. But I am definitely more motivated than ever because this intense training block is designed specifically to get me ready for when I go back out WEST! This time it will be Tucson. But I am more psyched than ever to see yet another part of the country that I never dreamed I'd have the opportunity to explore.

But before this whirlwind begins, back on the East coast, I am looking forward to next week (with a very special motivating force headed my way right when I need him) and a build up to get me ready.

Then the first of MANY tests.

The beauty is, to get me through each and every test, all I have to do is picture those snowcaps. All I have to do is picture the ability to open my windows and breath the fresh air every morning. Think about how wonderful it will be to train and live where training facilities, terrain, training partners and motivation are abundant and contagious. I hear the chiropractic practices out there are Wonderful as well! ;)

So, coach, Vitella's, Crazy!(you know who you are), and all of the magnificent friends I made out there in the Wild West, I hope to see you all again very soon! And for all my East Coast peps! I am --- and forever will be--- a Jersey girl (but Never referred to by any non-sense name like "Snookie" or "The Situation") . I can learn to pump gas, but if Bon Jovi starts to play I might pump my fist - be ware! (and hopefully I'll have a side-kick pumping his right there with me)

And fam, the Vitella's and I will do our best to move you all out there with us too. Part of our family has moved south as a unit, we can expand west-ward. right?
please say yes!

xo - A.O

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's here!

2010 is here!

The year that I talked about in so many previous posts has arrived. And it seems, somehow, to be flying by. I don't know how, but we're already half way through the first month. And, for me, that means one thing - my first official trip out to Colorado for "pre-season assessment."

This trip has provoked a roller coaster of emotions.  First, (back in December) I was SCARED, but with good reason, as I have been fighting with a rotator issue for a good two months now. The pain was bad enough to make me stop running (yes, that bad) for a good 6 weeks, in an effort to let it heal. When that wasn't happening, I began to get anxious, angry, discouraged... you name it. Every negative emotion that could creep into my head, was. And, in the back of my head, the clock was ticking. I knew I had/have very BIG goals for this year and I need each and every week of workouts to be effective in getting me closer to the level of competition I dream of being at.

I already blew coach's plan of starting the pre-season with a swim-run block (changed to swim/bike). But I fought with myself daily to make the most of the swim and bike sessions I was assigned. Like I said, the negativity was (self-induced, yes, but) a major challenge. I just wanted to feel GOOD! And RUN!

I am proud to announce, I made it through the running hiatus, it is now officially 2010, and feel GREAT today - after my second day of 10 + mile workouts!--- running, yes!

Now, don't get me wrong. I didn't go from 6 weeks of zero to 10 miles and more in a day (or even a week). And the loss of running fitness, from that break, was noticeable and alarming at first (another bout of negativity).

But getting back to this past week of a little "build" and a lot more running... I'm on a high.

My hands are in the air and I'm smiling ear to ear on this roller coaster.

Tomorrow I might be screaming and scared again (on my way down), because as excited as I am about going out west and hanging out with Coach for the weekend ;) , I'm scared too. I want my effort to show, I want to be able to hang in workouts with some very talented athletes out there, but I'm afraid that I won't. I know that I am not at my best right now (in terms of fitness). I also know that most triathletes, at this point in the season, aren't either. It could be detrimental, in fact, if they were. We need to be at our best in 4 months from now and maintain that ultra-high level for the 4-5 months after that. It is unknown (to me) where I should be right now. How fit, is fit enough? Where do I need to be right now? The unknown, to me, is the scariest.

But my goal right now, is to not let fear get the best of me. Rather I will use it to motivate me. It will be the crank, or the engine (not sure about the mechanics of a rollercoaster, haha) that gets me back to the top of the peak and smiling again. Ready to throw myself into a new (possibly scary) challenge.

And knowing the valley will always be there, I'll use them and the lessons learned down there to power me back up.

Cheers to what's bound to be a fun ride - 2010!