With the season done, I have had some time to decipher my 2011 triathlon life...there are a few things that I would have definitely done differently, to say the least. My year started with 2 big running events...PF Changs Marathon, and Ragnar Relay Del Sol Ultra Team. This year, neither is on the race schedule. I think hammering away at 2 long distance running events (Ragnar Relay: I ran 23 miles, then had to pull out at the final exchange---I thought I had torn my calf muscle---literally popped and I couldn't even step without 10+ pain...thanks again to Bill Jones for finishing it up, but not before he was led off course, thus putting his mileage at 40+ miles in a 24 hour period). The biggest "lesson learned" this year was tied to this, and was all related to recovery and fatigue; I think these two events put a fair share of fatigue deep into my legs early in the season. Fast forward to IMAZ, and my legs were overdone.
After those two events I think I recognized some warning signs...at Marquee 70.3 turned duathlon, I felt less than athletic, and survived on sheer willpower to complete the run. I recovered a bit after that, but it was hard to tell as my next races were Olympic Distance. The big test of the fall season was Mountain Man 70.3 in Flagstaff, and although the result (due to a poor run) was not indicative, I was feeling good and led the race from the gun until mile 30 on the bike...I actually ended up running with the leader half way through the run (Ryan McGuigan of Team Trisports.com), but my nutrition plan seemed to backfire on me, leading to a 5th place finish. I left this race leaving no questions about where my swim was...I had the fastest swim split of the day (my crowning achievement of the year...kind of). My bike was solid, but not anything to celebrate, and my run suffered---I'll reference that early season block of running races to blame. Next up was Nathan's Olympic, and I was feeling very good there...2 weeks out from Kona, and all things were great, which is what we wanted of course with the two "A Races" of the year coming.
Andrew was born Sept 18th, I was off to Kona on Sept 28...I was feeling great going into Kona---how could I not?! Taper for Kona was absolutely perfect--my legs felt perfect, my swim was feeling lightning fast. Now that I know, I lined up wrong on the swim (NEVER line up on the inside, 2nd row regardless of how fast you are...you will get crushed all the way out), but was still loving every minute. Bike went well, but then came the intercostal cramps on the run that just shut me down---it was the only issue in Kona, but it was enough, and brought me to a sudden walk/run pace that at least allowed me to squeak under 10 hours---again happy, but I trained and felt like I had a much better day in me IF those cramps didn't come my way. A huge IF to figure out though. Salt? Too much? Not enough? PERFORM messing me up??? When that day comes again, so race simulation may be needed to see if it happens again. When I started back into the sport a year and a half ago, and choosing to jump right into Ironman racing, I always knew that nutrition was considered the "fourth discipline" in IM...now with 3 of them under my belt, I have learned that it is the most important. I think it is manageable when you think of calories in and hydration, but the salt issue is where the confusion is. I know if I stick to just First Endurance products, there is never an issue (and hence my solution); I should leave it at that, use my special needs to keep those products flowing...it is that simple. I wish I could say that PERFORM works for me, but it just doesn't. I think I will dive into this in the off season---probably dedicate a post to finding out just what is the difference and why the problem arises for me and so many others...
|So, do you think it's better to line up on the buoy line? Or how about anywhere else other than the buoy line! Next time ;-)|
With Kona done, 6 weeks came and went, and IMAZ was here....the training in between was tough, but didn't faze me...I wonder if anything would have fazed me after the "year in training" that I had put in. Taper for IMAZ did NOT go as my previous 2 Ironmans, and my result, while a 9:42 is nothing to shake a stick at, was pretty much the worse possibility for the day. 20/20 is always hindsight, and I really have come to an agreement that the consistent (meaning: NO BREAK) training of the past 18 months finally was catching up to me and affecting me in obvious ways. Bryan Dunn told me a few times I should have called it a season after IMAZ, but I am not one to back down just because I not feeling on top of my game--it was a great lesson to go through IMAZ feeling the way I did, and to know not to take anything for granted. Enjoying the races with my family in Kona (without Jenny, Sophia, and Andrew), and at IMAZ (with Jenny, Sophia, Andrew and my mom) was huge...and motivates me to conquer higher mountains. 6 minutes is what separates me from saying IMAZ was a good to great race...(the Q time for 35-39).
It's really hard to self-diagnose how your training is going---Chris has told me many times that you just get used to "what normal is"....normal can be a sluggish Heart Rate, tender to the touch muscles, suppressed diet, poor sleeping, elevated resting Heart Rate, etc. Ironman training pushes the limit of all these signs, and having them on a short term basis is actually normal from what I have come to expect. Right now it is easy to self diagnose though. While I want to keep some sort of activity going, my legs are still trashed deep inside. My goal is to keep it easy until I get that fire, that ability to just "let er rip" and truly have the legs firing on all cylinders. Its that base training time of year anyways, so that should help. Add in no early season races to get "up" for, and I am heading in the right direction. Looking back again, maybe that camping trip to Payson in July should have been a break from training all together---a refresh, re-evaluate, relight the fire....I was just too focused on wanting to train as much as I could---I just love to train. Even right now, 9 days after IMAZ, and my legs are still a bit trashed (of course they should be after an IM)---I'm erring on the side of rest until I feel fully recovered. Workouts are a "go with what you feel like doing" approach through the end of the year.