Saturday, September 26, 2009

No Easy Way

Tomorrow I race for the first time in 3 months, a sprint race put on by my favorite crazy people - TCSD. After taking an unplanned sabbatical from training this July, I'm finally getting back to normal. I rode the bike today. It was only 50 miles, but that puts me at 90 for the last 8 weeks - so it was a big deal. The rest of the afternoon I spent re-reading Joe Friel's books, and creating the skeleton of a training plan for the first half of 2010.
I've tried to be positive about it, but the reality is that 2009 has been complete shit as far as my racing and training. 2010 will be about consistency for me. I'm going to create a schedule and stick to it, which is a plan that worked brilliantly for me in 2007. Why I ever went away from that formula I'll never know. Training by feel just doesn't work for me when the other two pillars of my life start demanding more attention. Training with a group worked exceptionally well in 2008 - but it's hard to assemble a group like that. So it's back to structure and discipline and long lonely training days. Not glamorous, but it works.
Five hours until I need to be up, eating my pre-race oatmeal and getting the race jitters out of my spine. I don't expect to be fast. In fact, I'm a little scared about how embarrassing it's going be - I've fallen a long way. But for the first time since July 19th I'll be swimming, biking and running - and that's step 1.

Monday, September 14, 2009

2010 Training

I signed the papers (technically I clicked on a LOT of liability waiver "I agree" buttons, and one "submit") and am scheduled for IM Wisconsin 2010. The date is in my calendar, I have a reservation for Jiminy with TriBike Transport, and I've got airline sites searching for plane tickets. I wish I had been there yesterday, but that's done and over with now - time to move forward. With most of the logistics taken care of for IMWI, at least for the next 10 months or so, moving forward means preparation for the inaugural Ironman St. George.
I've got a lot of ideas about how to prepare for St. George, in the next week or so I'm going to make them gel into an actual training plan. That's right, no more ad-hoc training - I'm going to follow an actual plan with regular workouts and meaningful milestones. That doesn't mean I won't do the occasional 200 mile bike ride to Arizona, just that if I do it there will be some method behind the madness.
For now this means I have a lot of reading to do. I've trained for two years now for Ironman races, so I know enough to get me through. This time however I'm not just going out to finish, hear Mike Riley call my name, smile for the photo and collect my medal. This time I'm going to race.
There's a whole mess of ideas on my whiteboard regarding how I'm going to do that, but it boils down to a few big points:

Nutrition: I'm going to hire a nutritionist to help me improve my diet. I eat poorly, and get away with it because IM training burns a lot of fuel. But if I used better fuel to begin with...

Swim: I need some coaching. I want to get more efficient, turn my 1:08 swim from IMAZ into a sub 1 hour swim, and do it without coming out of the lake exhausted.

Bike: My strong suit, but still plenty of room for improvement. I need to nail down calorie and fluid intake while riding, and improve my power. I'm shooting for a Watt/Kg ratio of 3.0 or higher. Lots of climbing - Utah and Wisconsin aren't flat!

Run: I'm a train wreck in racing flats. This is the area I need the most help with, and unfortunately also the area I have the least clue what to do about. I've read Chi Running, Evolution Running and Pose Method. They're all pretty much the same (good posture, lean forward, lift your heels, midfoot strike, fast turnover) which I guess is good - there's no "magic secret", you just have to do it. I plan on doing more technique work, as well as running with a metronome to help with cadence. There's plenty of time before my next race, so it's quality over quantity with the running.

In addition to the big ideas listed above, I'm also attending a course preview and training camp in St. George Utah this November. The camp is put on by Gordo Byrn's Endurance Corner and should be a great chance to see the course and soak in some interesting lectures from people who know IM well.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I've got a BUG

I'm in sunny San Diego today, but my heart is in Madison WI. Today is my first DNF, and boy is it a doozey. Not only did I not finish, I didn't even make it to the start line - I didn't even make it onto the plane. Tomorrow is registration for the 2010 Ironman Wisconsin, and I'm going to be clicking madly to get my spot. There is one race I need to take care of before I get a second swing at WI, but make no doubt about it - I'll be in Madison next September. I plan on washing this bitter taste out of my mouth with fine Wisconsin cheese curds in the finisher's tent.
Today is a tough day for me, my mind is full of all kinds of things I could - or should - be doing. I've got BUG's galore dancing through my mind - Gordo's Big Unreasonable Goals. I've been a little complacent in my training, partly due to things out of my control, and partly due to my own selfishness. Today I start back down the lonely road that defines being an endurance athlete. Today, my eyes shift focus squarely onto May 1st 2010 - but the back of my mind will be occupied with getting back to Madison - and finishing what I start.