Optimism Vs. Euphoria

I signed up yesterday for the Club Nationals triathlon that is a part of the Chicago Triathlon.  To say I’m excited about this is a mild understatement.  After ZERO races in 2013… to even be able to THINK about a big race is exciting.  And to feel good enough to be SERIOUS about it is even MORE exciting.  I’m just trying to temper that enthusiasm with some reality, but it’s hard.

Last year as I struggled with physical issues I tried to tell myself that I didn’t need big races as motivation.  That “just training” was good enough.  That big races just put too much pressure on me.  Yet as I looked back at my good years and bad years with fitness, the good ones ALWAYS had an “A” race as a part of them.  But I also looked a little closer at the bad years too.  What it really boils down to is pushing too big a mileage at too heavy a weight.  In 2007 I did a marathon.  I did too many high mileage weeks, had a poor result and ended up with a stress fracture of the pelvis that kept me out for 9 months of 2008.  I was able to get back into it in 2009 and get my weight back under control, had some good races and a lot of fun from ’09-’11, but then made the mistake of bumping my mileages up too much in 2012 trying to get up to half Ironman distances.  I never got there, trained at too heavy a weight, had a poor result and ended up hurting my knees.  Which led to me being out all of last year.  Can you see the pattern?  Too much weight + too much mileage= injury.

So.

Like an idiot.

I signed up for the “Triple Challenge” in Chicago.  See, there are 3 races that weekend.  A “super sprint” on Saturday (375m/10K/2.5K), and then a Sprint (750m/22K/5K) and an Olympic (1.5K/40K/10K) on Sunday.  And if you do the Triple, you do all of them.  On Sunday, you go off in the first wave (6am) and do the sprint, then you run from transition right back out to the water and do the Olympic.

What could possibly go wrong?

So as you can see… I’ve done it again.  I let my optimism about feeling better turn to a cloud of euphoria and when I came out of the haze I was signed up for… what?

I. Regret. NOTHING.

Here is how I look at it.  Even all three races, if done back to back… to back… still don’t equal a half Ironman.  And with one race on Saturday a few of those miles come off the top for Sunday.  I also like how it breaks up the event(s) so that you are not on any one sport for hours.  I’m also starting off the year with a better attitude, base and plan than in years (read: foolish endeavors) past.  None of the mileages scare me and now it’s a matter of getting stronger at each one, not “getting to” each one.

What I have to be careful of is overtraining or over competing.  I need one or two sprints and an olympic between now and August.  I will do some other stuff, but that is really all I “need”.  I also need to focus on weight.  I am VERY close to 190 now (192 by my scale).  Ideally, I should be racing between 165 and 175 (obviously, the lighter the better).  If I shoot for the middle, I have 6 months to lose 20 pounds.  This is a very reachable goal.  I feel pretty confident that (if the snow ever melts) I can do this.

So, for the first time in a couple of years, I have a real goal.  An achievable goal.  And I feel good, all at the same time.  I’m not going to Chicago to win anything (except a club championship!).  I’m going to get my money’s worth and compete though…!

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