Where have you been, James?
To say the last few months have been interesting would be an understatement. With that, I took some time to focus on priorities other than blogging about what was happening in my world of triathlon. Thankfully, my time has been productive and I was able to obtain my master's degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Toledo by successfully defending my thesis entitled "The Effects of Compression Recovery Pants on Cycling Performance." To finish a project that has been two years in the making was a huge weight off my shoulders and it is safe to say the feeling of freedom has been very welcome. It has also allowed me to tend to the minor details of training and preparing to start my season.
After a long break with a torn gastrocnemius, my body is starting to feel good heading into the northern summer. Given my inability to run and ride for long periods, I spent my time in the pool working on my obvious weakness. Following countless laps and some stern words from my masters coach, I saw some real progress, and after swimming some good 200 and 400y times, I have the confidence that I am headed in the right direction if I want to be a successful ITU athlete.
Although my calf still bothers me at times following sessions, it is feeling 100% during run and ride workouts. The relief of being able to train pain free without analyzing every stride and pedal stroke is something that is hard to explain. Given the need to ease my way back into training I have spent the last 6 weeks running and riding aerobically (fairly easily) in what Brian termed "increasing the area under the curve." Thankfully my body has responded quite well to the training and my power numbers on the bike are much higher than I expected at this point in the year.
With a degree in my back pocket and a few weeks of consistent training under my belt it is almost time for me to head over to Europe and start my season. Selling everything that I own outside of 2 bags and my bikes has been an interesting task but I am extremely thankful to my friends that have been a huge help in getting it accomplished. Six years ago I came to the States with one bag of clothes and my tennis racquets. Traveling again with only the bare essentials brings a sense of deja vu. Having said that, I am proud of the life I have created for myself in the U.S. and I am excited to see what Europe has in store for me.
I am sure to have some ups and downs during my travels but I look forward to sharing them all with you.