As I sit here and wait VERY impatiently for event organizers to get their collective s&!t together and get their 2011 schedules up, I find myself unusually excited about the upcoming season. Last year at this point I was pensive at best. I had it in my mind that I wanted to do a half ironman distance race yet I didn’t have a bike to race on. I had converted my Kona back to a commuter bike. I had never swam longer than 1 mile continuously and was in poor shape, physically.
The year didn’t go where I wanted to and even though I managed to score a million dollar rocket of a bike (thanks Tom!) my training was a complete failure. I suffered through a crappy season with few highlights, no half ironman and thoughts of quitting. I couldn’t even go to the Club Championships because I had to work. My only highlights were beating 2009’s time at TriZou and completing my first (and second) Olympic distance races.
With all those roses and rainbows behind me, what on earth could possess me to be excited about this year?
I think it’s a change in philosophy, really. I have all the gear, I know how to train and I know what I’m in for. I have spent the “off” season falling back in love with mountain biking and having fun (yes, I said the “f” word) with training. It dawned on me one day on a mountain bike ride that it was absolutely NOT necessary for me to kill myself by pushing the limits just to feel like I could justify my million dollar bike. I think I put that pressure on myself last year as well.
The bottom line is that I have a job and a family and it is not prudent for me to take hours and days and weekends away from them just to prove little to nothing to no one but myself. Great, so I can ride 4 hours at a time. So I have an iron ass… big deal. We knew that already. It’s why I sink when I get in the pool.
What I want is the fun (there is that “f” word again). The thrill of competition and the challenge of going as fast as I can.
So it’s a balance. However, this “epiphany” allowed me to quickly set some 2011 goals. Loads of sprint distance races, an Xterra type race, adventure races (if I can find a team and get in good enough shape to be any help at all) and Kirksville… not because it’s a goal race or a longer challenge, but because it was fun to camp and I like to fish there with my family. Oh… and it’s a fun race…!
So what are my challenges for this year? …besides waiting for the new schedules to come out…?
I run too far… but not fast enough. I’m going to have to change that. I love running long (to a degree) but it’s not the best training. More track nights, hill repeats and intervals… Less L.S.D. 😉
Same thing with the bike leg. I have a good base, but for Xterra I need to be better and faster. I also don’t have MTB endurance yet. My road base is already above what I need for sprint distances. I just need to be faster.
Swim… nuff said.
Actually, I do need to work on speed in the water. My fastest 50 last year was only about 50 seconds. My fastest 400 was 8:30. I need to shorten my distances (no more 2 mile swims) and increase my speed work. And then work on technique, technique, technique. I will be back in the pool after the first of the year for more controlled drowning practice and will probably be swimming alone much of the year.
I got on my road bike on the trainer last night and it felt weird. It’s still just not natural yet. I finally got my bike trainer issues worked out and got one I think will work, so I’m set. Let’s do this…!