Off-season Vortex

Posted 3/6/2014 by Holly Dye

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What do New Zealand, Indianapolis, Key West, Los Angeles, Austin, and Vienna, Va., have in common? They were all racing and training destinations for CT3 athletes during the off-season—or, as we prefer to call it: “winter racing and training season.” Some endurance athletes who are fond of swimming, biking, and running spend winter locking out the cold and snow, and seeking respite for their tired bodies by increasing rest days, decreasing training miles, updating their iTunes library, and binging on Netflix. (And maybe drinking milkshakes. Maybe.) Some of us—and you know who you are—use the dreary mid-Atlantic winter as inspiration to dream up all of the places we’d rather be racing and training. Of course, being the “take no prisoners” people that endurance athletes tend to be, it didn’t take much time for CT3ers to turn those cubicle daydreams into reality.

We’ll start with a shout out for the least exotic, albeit no less entertaining, locale of Vienna, Virginia. Those of us not lucky enough to be where it was warm outside, took to training fun inside by dusting off our bike trainers—and in some cases, our bikes—to engage in some indoor team spin and strength training sessions led by Coach T and Andrew. Those one-legged spin drills and TRX planks were enough to wish we were…well, actually racing. The good news is that some of us were:

First, and not ever least, Ben toughed out some cold bricks to trade subfreezing windburn for some tropical sunburn as he crushed his first-ever 70.3 in Bone Island, Florida, in January. That’s right. The DC winter, which seems to have started in November, has caused even the most physically and mentally prepared athletes to forget that the sun shines bright and strong in places where we’re not lucky enough to be living from November to February, and evidently March. Ben did forget he needed sunscreen and got sunburned, but he also got a strong finish that’ll carry him through the thaw.

At least Ben started the destination race trend in CT3, so we could leave behind the de-icing agents and find those warm spots (instead of avoiding them during a swim start). A few weeks later, Rachel also sought refuge in the Florida Keys during a Ragnar Relay; Holly D. took on balmy temps in Austin, Texas for a marathon; Linda G. encountered 70-degree temps in her 2nd place age-group 13.1 finish only to return to 6 inches of snow; and Greg and Jen decided to dig out their shades from the bottom of their race-gear boxes to train up for the LA marathon on March 9th (go Greg and Jen!). Marci went to Indianapolis. Not sure about the “warm” there, but it fits with the spirit of the memo anyway. Perhaps the podium finishes for going the most far afield should go to Chelle and Victoria, who ventured to bring the race juju the shores of New Zealand.

Some will say that this winter has been cold, snowy, brutal, and unrelenting. Whatever others will call it, CT3 athletes are sure to call it productive.