Puerto Rico is one of my favorite race venues. I raced there back in 2013, was just recovering from a nasty cold and had a very subpar race. But despite feeling crappy the whole race, the course was so beautiful and vibe so fun that I managed to enjoy myself. I knew I wanted to come back and have another go at the course but it’s hard to squeeze this race in since it’s so early in the season. I decided to give it a go this year, despite knowing I would finish QT2’s 17day Clermont PRO camp only 2 weeks prior. This camp is infamous for it’s difficulty, both in intensity and volume, so I knew it would be a stretch. But, we all get that such a great fitness boost from camp that it’s worth taking full advantage of (provided you can pull off the recovery). Camp definitely didn’t let any of us down in it’s challenge. I managed to hang in there until the last day when I got pulled from the run workout. In the words of Coach Jesse, I “looked like a drunken sailor” while attempting to run an 800m repeat. Pretty pathetic, but a good sign I had given camp my all. Then the recovery race began. The focus of the next 2 weeks was on doing the workouts on feel rather than nailing exact numbers and spending as much time as possible on recovery. Just as I was starting to get REALLY concerned that my elderly body was not going to be able to managed this turnaround time, I managed to pull off a few solid sessions toward the end of week 2 and go into Puerto Rico with a little hope.
The island vibe is definitely my cup of tea when it comes to racing. I was a little disappointed to not make the main pack of girls in the swim but I did manage to keep the damage down to only 2 minutes. I surprised myself with great bike-a top 5 bike split but we were all within a few seconds of each other (except for Alicia Kaye who annihilated everyone on the bike) and pulled off a fairly solid run. That run course is SO tough it's a bit hard to judge. I had to stop looking at my run splits because despite feeling pretty decent, the splits were so slow it was discouraging. I had hoped for a little faster run, and I’m never satisfied with a 9th place finish, but it was an overall solid race (and I was over 10min faster than 2013 😜). Oh, and the post-race pool-side margaritas were pretty darn good too!
Once home from PR though it was quickly back not the recovery rollarcoaster as I (probably foolishly) decided on another quick turnaround-2 weeks to get ready for Galveston 70.3. Not sure if it’s going to be easier or harder to recover from Puerto Rico than it was from camp but... I’m about to find out if this was a genius or utterly stupid idea!
With that said, here is what I've been doing for my recovery.
1) Getting as much sleep as possible. An obvious one I know. It’s so key though it's worth re-iterating. There were even a couple days where I opted to skip a workout in order to get more sleep. It’s a hard thing to do but right before a race is not the time to chose pushing your body over rest. It’s better to show up on race day refreshed and rested than tired, no matter where your fitness level is. I also switched some of my workouts to later in the day so I could sleep in a bit more. Anyone that knows me knows I’m not at all a morning person as is (you’ll rarely will find me up at 5AM to get a workout in) but I still like to get my workouts in before I get going with the rest of my day. In these 2 weeks though, I ended up choosing to get an extra hour or so of sleep and doing a workout in the afternoon instead. If I was napper, I would have thrown some afternoon naps in my routine but I hate napping....(it's a good idea to do though!)
2) Overfueling/hydrating during workouts. When I’m really run down from training or have come off a big block of training my body is VERY sensitive. In the pre season or when I’m more fresh, I can get away with being a little light on the calories or short on the hydration and not really feel the consequences. But not so at this point. If I missed a gel or got just slightly dehydrated, I paid for it. Sometimes it just made the efforts harder but often it was much more dramatic as in epic blow ups. And those are no fun. Sometimes it’s is a challenged to keep up because my metabolism is in high gear but the consequences are so not fun. So, I basically overcompensate taking in a few extra gels and drinking as much as possible. Plus, the more underfueled and underhydrated you are during the workouts, the harder it is to recover AFTER and that is the opposite of what I am trying to achieve!
3) Eating lots of good healthy food. Taking all my vitamens and supplements religiously. I normally eat pretty healthy anyway but I definitely added in lots more dark leafy greens, berries and made sure to get in enough protien. My beet juice consumption went way up. I made lots of smoothies and salads. Snacked more than normal. Took my fish oil and BCAA’s regularly.
4) I made sure to foam roll after each workout. Normally I only roll out after “key” sessions or when I really feel like I need it but I spent at least 5 minutes (sometimes it was closer to 45min if I could spare the time!!!) after each session rolling out. For me it was all about the quads and calves but everyone has their "areas" that get beat up more than normal. A massage would've been a good addition too but I didn't get to that this time around.
5) Normatecing. This was probably the easiest one (and is a great tool for anyone who is too busy to spend a lot of time on recovery). Since I was trying to rest as much as possible anyway and you can pretty much normatec while doing anything that requires prolonged sitting I could always fit this in. Who doesn’t need to do an hour of computer work or want to watch an hour of TV at night? I normatec pretty regularly anyway but I even did it on easy days and rest days. 60mins/day.
Fingers crossed for another successful recovery path. Galveston 70.3 here I come!