Perpetual motion

Can't stop learning…

I never had light in my eyes anyway

So I’ve got three topics/post that I can write about, and I’m not really sure which one to write first. Training philosophy gets back to something I wrote to my coach a week after IMC and gets at what I see for myself going forward, then there’s a whole slew of ideas and opinions I have about tracking software/packages, and finally there’s one about my growth as a human being (if there’s been any). A lot of these ideas have been rattling around upstairs in the void for a while as I got settled into my new place, visited my family and had a slight change of scenery at work.

I have to say first and foremost I picked pretty good parents. Genetically, I think it’s a testament to them that given my athletic background I’ve been able to compete as well as I have. I mean, if you look at my athletic history, it’s been pretty unfocused and until I started doing triathlons, it was dormant for years. Sports I played as a kid: baseball (through 7th grade), basketball (through 4th grade, or maybe 6th… I think until we moved I played rec league), soccer (through 2nd grade maybe?), hockey (6th-freshman year of high school), swimming (through 5th grade), rowing (freshman year through senior fall of high school), golf (recreationally to the point that I got down to a 7 handicap at one point). In college, I played one week of lightweight football, and one year of rugby. Aside from that, I drank competitively. By the end of college, it really showed (I looked for pictures, I couldn’t find any online. I know there are… somewhere). I had gone from doing an olympic triathlon in September 2003 to probably weighing 200 lbs by June 2004, and looking it. Then graduation came and for 2.5 years I did nothing (except for maintain weight).

So that’s my athletic history. In spite of that, I’m a front middle of the pack (or back front of the pack) triathlete. I know there are others out there who are more athletically gifted and have a similar background and do much better. But I know that I am quite lucky to have the genetics I have.

So how does this tie to a training philosophy? Suffice it to say that the only background I had in triathlon was swimming, and those skills, while very useful, were a bit rusty. But here I am competing against people transitioning from competitive running (former collegiate runners, etc) and swimming and (less so) cycling, and the longest run I had before my first Ironman was a half-marathon. I’m competing against people who easily run sub-38 minute 10Ks. A lot of these guys have had years of coaching in one single discipline, years of competition. I’m not complaining at all. I may not have been good enough to run collegiately (I never tried). I may not have been good enough to run in high school (I never tried).

It’s probably best to discuss my goals for this upcoming season before I go on:
1. I live 8 miles (give or take) from work. I’d like to start running to work (getting some quality work in in the morning), and then running home (easy pace). I’d like to start running with a group regularly (let’s face it, I need to meet people). Basically, I’d like to up the mileage pretty significantly and see what my body can handle.
2. I have this vague idea that I can run a 17:XX 5K. After 3 weeks of no/light training, I think it’s possible to get stuff started up again and start crushing things. I think it’s doable. It’ll be hard, but, I think, doable.
3. I think for this year, I’ll pass on full IM distace racing. It’s a lot of time commitment, and while I think it is worth it, I think the ROI on doing a full ironman is much lower than doing 3-4 triathlons (olympic and half iron distance) in its place. That ROI is my own, of course. For instance, with each ironman, I get one datapoint of what works and what doesn’t. So I get one datapoint a year, and next year would be a third datapoint (now I know people are successful doing this and do a lot more races leading up to their ironman races than I do, but that’s not my plan).

In any case, I want to accumulate experience with different pacing, different race strategies, different tapering techniques, etc. Any coach you talk to should (and most will) say that what works for one person doesn’t always work for another person. Things happen and go upside down at a race that you can’t control, and I want to go from where that’s something I have to real with and adjust to and be surprised by to having the experience that tells me “hey, I know what’s happening and why and here’s how I deal with it.” Given my lack of racing experience since forever, I think taking a year off from doing long distance racing (and the amount of training entailed), will allow me to accumulate metric tons of experience and new abilities that I would be able to take to longer distances.

Ultimately, I love triathlon. I’ll do more. I’ll continue to try and qualify for Kona. Not next year though. But I also want to explore other opportunities to pu[ni]sh my body. See how far it can go till it breaks, and then see how well it works when it does. All within reason.

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