As the cliche saying goes, where has this year gone?
It seems like just yesterday we were training through the extended winter and preparing for the Boston Marathon, but it was almost 2.5 months ago now. The spring triathlon season has come and gone, and summer appears to finally be here.
I figured I would take the opportunity, now that we're into July, to provide a little mid season report.
The first half of the year has been challenging, and certainly hasn't gone quite as I had expected. Personal life aside, I really didn't feel good about any of the big races I did. The best I had felt was at Club Challenge, where I took :30 out of my 2008 time just on mileage. After CC, I began throwing in a few workouts. I was not swimming or riding that much, instead choosing to focus more on being well prepared for Boston.
And we all know how that went.
I was pleased with my transition into triathlon season, the first of which was Kinetic, where I was marginally faster than 2008 but had the same finish position. I had a slow run, but that could be a result of being less than two weeks off Boston. The thing I was most disappointed with - it was the nicest day I've ever raced on. Wish I had taken advantage!
Columbia followed and was a typical dreary, rainy, windy Columbia day. All in all I was just about 2.5 minutes slower than 2008 but I expected it, and was more concerned with training through to Eagleman.
I went into Eagleman not feeling as fit or as fast as last year, but I felt much better prepared. With a little divine intervention came some cloud cover for at least part of the race, which didn't hurt. The result was the best long distance race I've had (of only a handful).
Came out of Eagleman feeling pretty good. I took a few days off that week, bringing my 2009 days off total to 10 now. Not bad through half a year. It doesn't really matter, in my opinion, because at some point you have to listen to your body and realize that you can't be a hero everyday. I've been trying to train with more purpose lately. If I'm tired, and that extra workout is going to make me more tired - I don't do it. It keeps the workouts you do focused, and decreases the "junk" mileage/yardage, etc.
My plan following EM was to take it easy for a week, then get after it for two, then bring it down the week leading up to Providence. Last week was moderate, but wasn't huge. I've been having some decent runs lately, which is promising, but neglected doing the things on the bike I needed to do. This week started off the same, but I do have a solid 4 day block planned.
The only real problem I've been having is an insane level of tiredness. I can't explain it. Not sleeping well has been a big part, and there are many reasons behind that. I swear I've been eating well; at least better than I normally do. I need to get some additional rest in these next 10 days.
Providence was a race I did on a whim last year after the abortion clinic of Eagleman. I knew I was fit, and needed to show it. Looking back at the training log, it seemed pretty light through June and looks like this year was much stronger. I'd expect, based purely on how I did at EM, to go a little better at Providence. If I can get into the 4:15 range it would be a great success.
I'm also starting to finally consider Ironman training. I plan on taking the two weeks following Providence pretty easy - not worry about intensity or volume for the time but just get out there to get out there. A small mini-brain break before a period of high volume arrives. Ha, period of high volume.
It's summer and there are definitely days you just want to hang out. Go to the beach. Go visit NJ. Just take a day off. And if I feel it will be in my best interest to do that, I will. One day doesn't make or break your season, but you do have to be consistent. Staying uninjured is also a big part of it. I'm extending my season out to November 22 this year, which is 3 weeks longer than I usually would, and more significantly I am usually done riding my bike by early October, same with swimming. I use October and November as easy months. Not this year.
For now the plan is to start IM training on August 1, and that should work well as it's 15 weeks of training. If I were starting from scratch I wouldn't be comfortable with it, but I've got a lot under my belt already. Biggest changes are going to be swimming more per session and long bricks. Saturdays and Sundays are going to be tough days. There will be a move from anaerobic intensity to aerobic endurance. I don't foresee myself touching too many 6:xx miles during the IM.
I'm also big on identifying goals, so for right now I've got my best case/anticipated/worst case goals for Ironman Arizona:
Swim: 1:00/1:02/1:05. An hour swim would be very good. In fact it would be better than I've swam for the half distance, twice. I know I can get there but without diligence, it won't happen. 1:02 is probably a little more realistic, and I don't foresee swimming slower than 1:05.
Bike: 4:50/5:00/5:10. 4:50 equates to something like 23.x miles per hour. Very ambitious, but last year at Providence I rode 2:23 and couldn't have been riding easier. The thing I have to work on is getting used to pedaling for that long, because much like EM, I don't think AZ has a ton of ups and downs to give you a break. 5 hours is more likely, and if I rode any slower than that I'll probably be pretty pissed.
Run: 3:05/3:12/3:20. I'm the first person that will tell you: anything can happen in a marathon. Particularly a marathon following 112 miles on the bike and a 2.4 mile swim. I've seen great runners run over 3:20, and people I felt would have trouble making it through the distance go under 3:20. Oh and let's not forget, as of right now I've still yet to run an OPEN marathon under 3:10. So yeah, I've got a lot of work to do. But it's about pacing, and clearly part of my problem has been improper pacing in the open race.
I'll re-evaluate after Providence. It's a hard run course, and if I could be below 1:25, I'd feel good about being about to double a 1:35. I'm either going to do Augusta 70.3 or a half in Raleigh at the end of September, which will be another good chance to get a good longer race in. I may also look to do a marathon in October.
Interesting to note: I've heard now that IM CDA is still open to general registration, a week after it opened. This never happens. Clearly more people are evaluating their need to sign up for races right away based on economic woes. This has also been reflected in the Hawaii and Clearwater slots - they're rolling down a lot further than normal. Doesn't really help me, my age group seems largely unaffected at the half distance, but at IM it's possible for some additional slots.
Anyway it's all just talk until I actually do it, so with those goals in mind I will build and focus my training.
But first, this weekend is the return of the immensely popular and terribly unsafe HUBS OF FURY, a bike tour of the bars of Baltimore.