Since arriving back in Boulder almost 3 weeks ago, all of us, including Luna and Blue, have been extremely happy to be back in our home in Boulder. We love Austin and we love spending our winters there, however, this past spring felt a bit different. We arrived in TX almost 6 weeks later than we usually do. And almost immediately after arriving, Michael and I thought that our move may have been a mistake this year.

The vibe was different…it felt off. We felt off.

The first sign that things were just “off” is when Blue (our 13year old whippet) arrived in Austin a bit sick from surgery from a dog bite in January. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the problem was. And we spent lots of time walking him several times a day so that he would not get sick in our tiny apartment. After finding an excellent vet in Austin, and after spending a few thousand dollars getting ultrasounds, ruling out cancer, and everything else under the sun, it turned out that he was extremely sick from the anitbiotics that he was on after the dog bite/surgery. Apparently, Blue has an extremely weak GI and the antibiotics wreaked havoc on him. We are so thankful that Blue is back to his old self. There were a few days in March that we though we were going lose him and it was extremely emotional for me. Blue and I have been companions for over 13 years (longer than I have known Michael!). I know the day will eventually come…when Blue will leave me for a better place…but I just wasn’t ready this past spring for that to happen.

It just seemed like the shit was just hitting the fan while we were in Austin. For example, while driving to the airport for a race, our car was hit by an illegal alien with no insurance and no drivers license. Our only car was in the shop for over two weeks. We were lucky enough to NOT get hurt…thank you Jesus! And were very happy to have been provided rental. But things were just not going smoothly!

During this time of Blue getting/being sick and car wrecks, ML had a weird calf injury thing happen during 70.3 Galveston. It set his training for IM TX back a couple of weeks. But just when he started to feel good again, he caught a minor cold from me. Just when he got over that cold, he was stung by a wasp the week of IMTX and had a severe allergic reaction to it.  Too afraid to get a prednisone shot from the emergency room for fear of drug testing at IMTX, he suffered through it only to have a race that was not at all indictative of what he is capable of having. In hindsight, I’m not sure if it was a good or a bad deision to race, because he did, after all, get 800 WTC points for being 15th place at Nationals. If he had opted out of IM TX to race IM CDA, he would have had to be 2nd place to get the 800 points. In any case, he had a bunch of bad luck happen within 6 weeks of racing an Ironman.

During this time, while I am dealing with a very sick dog, a broken husband, and a wrecked car, my own training in Austin was only average to good. My paces, watts, times, etc. all seemed good to be excellent. I did struggle a bit with the Masters program. I had worked very hard in January while in Boulder to keep my swimming up, but seemed to have lost a bit with the swim – not triathlon – focused masters. While my training seemed to be going well, my racing, however, has been going really, really badly. In fact, I have not had a good race since getting extremely ill right before the 70.3 Championships in Clearwater. It is a bit drepressing as I feel like I have not raced to my fitness or potential yet this year. However, after spending a lot of time (and money) at Memorial Hermann in Houston with a specialist, I am feeling a lot more confident about my upcoming races.

I have to give a lot of credit to my coach based out of Austin, Derick Williamson, for bringing me back from the dead this winter. Like I said previously, I was very, very sick in November and December with a horrible virus. There were times that I thought that I may have to retire from triathlon. However, Derick (and Michael) have been the epitome of positivity. This past winter, Derick taught me a different approach to training. I did a lot of intensity with very low volume…which is something that this former 1500meter runner excels at.

One of the aspects of training that I did not enjoy, however, was training alone for 4 months. Finding healthy and/or willing training partners was difficult. ML was kind enough to train with me when it suited him, but those days were few and far between. I found solo training day after day depressing. My final two weeks in Austin, I found my old steady run/bike partner, Stefan. Training with him saved my unsettling feelings of not enjoying my training.

In hindsight, while I was coming back from the dark depths of sickness and unhealthiness,  I probably should have not raced as early as I did (Costa Rica and Puerto Rico in February and March). I found it difficult emotionally to have one bad race after another. Sadly, I got used to having bad races. I stopped being surprised at the shocking outcomes. It has taken me a long time to feel good again.

Finally, now that I am back in Boulder (with the entire Lovato familia) I am thriving. In fact, we are ALL thriving. First of all, Blue dog and I are both healthy! Blue dog is finally off all of his medication and he acts like a little puppy in this much cooler weather. It just warms my heart…  For me,I am back on the medication that I stopped taking after getting sick this past winter. It turns out, that I need it… go figure.  Secondly, I am not training alone anymore as I found that this is NOT my style. I am training with good friends, including Super G$, grasshopper (AKA Jaz Oeinck), and of course, my bff ML.  I am doing workouts that give me confidence and I am training better than ever. More than anything, I am the happiest (and healthiest) that I have been in over 8 months…and there is a lot to be said about that!

The next race for Team Lovato is one of our favorites: Buffalo Springs 70.3…  2 week later, you will find us at the REV3 half in Portland If you are racing, we will see you there! If not, keep us in your good luck thoughts! After this past Spring, we could use a little good luck! ;)