“Dreaming Season”…it’s the time of year when we, as athletes, start to think of all the ways that we may go further, race smarter, and be better in the coming year. To kick off the dreaming season, November is all about YOU. We’ll be asking about YOUR dreams, sharing YOUR stories, and celebrating the possibility of what YOU could achieve in 2014.
I’ve been at this endurance sports thing (1 hour or longer events) for a few years now and next year feels like it will be my senior year in the my endurance training education. Through those years I have definitely seen some grade A performances but there have been some F’s and everything in between. Reflecting back, I think I have finally come close to defining the training formula, that allows work/life balance along with injury prevention. The tips in this post come out of all of my collected mental notes from the past few years. This guide is not a one size fits all, but a blue print I have found that works and that you can tailor for yourself.
Every year around this time, I find myself in a struggle trying to balance the need to rest after a long competition season and wanting to maintain a good fitness base until the next year starts. The hardest part is trying to maintain the motivation in light of not having any races on the calendar and the dropping temperatures outside. The thought of just writing off the day and sleeping in, becomes more and more appealing. Each year, I have tried to define a training plan for maintaining a minimum fitness standard but have often found that the busy nature of the holidays, work, and overall training fatigue, blows up those plans. Last year in particular, was pretty bad. I did almost nothing, notching some of my lowest performance totals in years, see below.
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12 weeks of training came down to one long day on Sunday, September 8th. We can finally say that we have done it. Angela, myself and a couple of other friends, completed a 70.3 mile half Ironman triathlon race. I read somewhere that the percentage of the population who have completed that distance is 1% or less. Therefore, we are officially in a fringe group of endurance junkies. I am very proud to be a member of such a unique and intense group of folks. Also, given that we recovered so well from the race in the first 24 hours, I am pretty sure we will be doing many more long course triathlons in the future. I decided to share a complete race breakdown, leg by leg, with you below, so that you know not only how things went in detail for us but also how the Big Kahuna itself was run.
In a way, I am glad I waited to post this update until today because I can throw a shout out to Diana Nyad for completing a 35 year old dream. For those who don’t know, becoming the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage or swim fins, swimming from Havana to Key West over the holiday weekend.
2013 has truly been an interesting year for my relationship with water and the plans aren’t getting any smaller for next year either. I really hope to take my swimming to a competitive level next year.
The only real interesting update I can provide is that were going to spend this next week focusing very heavily watching our diet. We plan on investing in a Withings WiFi Scale to take more regular weight measurements, analyze body fat and body mass index. Just being overall healthier is part of our reasoning and the other is to make sure that everything is clicking and in sync as we get closer to race day. One other piece of motivation is the picture below. I discovered it last week on the Triathlon facebook page and it has really motivated me a lot this past week. It embodies everything I love about fitness and healthy living. The sheer power to transform oneself into something else through raw effort and discipline. I don’t know the couple pictured, but I am happy for them and wish anyone else chasing the same goals the best of luck.
Maybe more than any other race I have ever done, except my first marathon, the waiting for this race was killing me. I really wanted to well in my first ocean water swim triathlon and the first at Olympic distance. It seemed like the hours never ended and every smell, sound and sight seemed to be at level 10. Walking around downtown Santa Cruz never appeared crazier. I just wanted to get to the race and get into it. I had a lot to prove to myself and trying to stay patient was not easy to do. I literally walked around counting to 200 over and over in my head as a rehearsal for the counting drill I would do at the start of my swim wave.