"I like you. I'll gladly sit down and have dinner with you after the race. But when the gun goes off, I pretty much hate you, and I want to stomp your guts out. That's racing." -J Rapp

"the best night of my life.....
...in the most beautiful place on earth"

"It's just one, long, tedious conversation with yourself" -Paula Newby Fraser

"Have faith- trust in the plan - the breakthrough will come. I promise. " Woo

"You can keep going and your legs might hurt for a week or you can quit and your mind will hurt for a lifetime.” -Mark Allen

“The only time you can be brave is when you’re afraid.”

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Off Season and Reflecting on IMAZ...

Off season for most triathletes usually means its snowing/raining/dark/cloudy outside, which makes it easy to sit on the couch and let your body heal from the punishment you have put it through over the past 10 months or longer season.  They bundle up, go see SkyFall, put up Christmas lights, hit up the coffee shops; some even participate in their "other" hobbies like building replicas of Star Trek ships.  For me, this is my first "off" season in 3 years...and at least I can say that Christmas lights are up.  For those living in AZ though, off season means 80 degrees, sunny skies---perfect SBR weather.  We finally get to breath fresh air after being pummeled by the heat all summer long.  It makes me think back to my days in the Bay Area when I could ride all day in the middle of the summer and not have to think about where my next water stop would be just after leaving the last water stop.  Climbing Tam and actually feeling cool, up into the fog, then down to Stinson, back over to Mill Valley, then back across the Bridge to the Marina---ahhhhhhh!!!!  I can dream, can't I?!  But in all that, we finally have "riding weather" here, and we are supposed to back off...it is bass ackwards.  So, off season this year has already included two 60 mile rides.  One goal I am succeeding at is keeping to one swim, one bike, one run workout a week...but I don't know how long that will be able to hold me.
One of the reasons why I love IMAZ so much is simply the weather pattern here that you get through the training.  If you are starting ~16 weeks out, you are starting in 105+ heat.  But as race day approaches and you are getting extremely fit while dealing with the heat, all of the sudden the temps let up, and your body starts absorbing rather than surviving.  I went from riding in a Tri Top one weekend  and getting told "its too hot out here, how do you ride in this?" to arm/knee warmers, full gloves the next weekend.  When the crappy weather is starting to hit everywhere else, our situation becomes ideal...finally.  The final 3-4 weeks of prep for IMAZ, and just as the weather is settling down and the training load lessens, your body is ready to crush every shorter but faster workout.  You head into the race having suffered, recovered, and full of energy finally able to pee clear ;-) (<<<my fascination with not being dehydrated ALL THE TIME).
We will see what the rest of "off season" will become in my camp---the shorter daylight hours are a bugger for sure.  I'm looking for all sorts of fun stuff to break up this transition from full-fledged IM training to short, fast, and fun training and racing, that's for sure.

So with the "down time" (but in reality filled with all sorts of issues that needs resolution), I have thought a bit about IMAZ 2012.  Ironman races tend to stay with me for a lot longer than the soreness and wasted feeling in my body subsides.  They give you a chance to see what you are made of, and sometimes (or 4 out of 5 times in my case), you walk away feeling somewhat like you underperformed, didn't dig deep enough, or just stopped fighting the good fight.  But at the same time you have to give the race the credit it deserves---you can't just say, "oh I planned on a much better day than I had" blindly.  Well, last night while sitting on the couch, I decided to look at my IMAZ training log, and had an "ah ha" moment.....here's the numbers I saw:


Those represent the time per week over the 8 weeks before race day...the 12:33 was the week I got my slot into IMAZ and went from "this season is over" to "I'm going to give it one more go" to put the IM Texas crash behind me.  8 weeks to prep for an IM seemed right with the understanding I had a large base to count on, and (to review from previous posts) we decided that a "let's see how little I can do to get me to the start line" approach was the only way I could pull this off.  Looking at the above...yeah, I accomplished the "how little" part.  The 17:26 week is the anomoly...12,700 yards in the pool, 202 miles on the bike, 26 miles running.  Three days in that week were "swim only." Two runs just over 1:30:00 each.  Three rides:  90 minutes of intervals, 110+ miles steady aerobic, and 60 miles EZish.  Jumping to what that translated into on race day, and my impression of my result has completely changed.  I was irritated a bit by the 9:50...but REALLY irritated at the 3:45 marathon.  Now, and noting that those two ~1:30:00 runs were the longest two of my training for IMAZ, I am stoked---REALLY stoked.  I felt completely in control the entire swim/bike at IMAZ, other than not trusting my fitness on the bike and turning in the lowest wattage split of any IM to date (even though my testing 5 days prior to raceday told me to not wimp out like I did).  Take out the idiocy of the penalty as well, and I cannot be any happier . I sat home almost every sunday while others racing IMAZ posted their long sunday runs on Facebook (yes, it was tough to sit home, but I was loving the family time).  All of my weekday training was done after work, which was probably the biggest mistake---no matter how much I cut back, the afternoon only training ate heavily into home time.  If I could get it out of the way before work....hmm.
I'm always looking for a takeaway, and for this one,  the base I have is carrying me through less then great training loads---and it also points to less being more when you have a foundation with which to build from.  I think I said it in my Race Report, that there is the big "IF" I had done a few LSD runs...I now know those were needed and probably made a huge impact on that 3:45.  I am not the type that wants the perfect situation for every race...I like the variety my training over the past 3 years has taken.  I was just as excited about IMAZ 2012 as I was for 2010, but for some many different reasons.  Rookie to veteran...the unknown to completely aware.  The 16 week build does prepare you the best, but what fun is it doing the same thing the same way, especially when the "other" ways offer new challenges personally rather than just a time on a clock.  BUT, it would be nice to accomplish both...
Until then, I'm gonna stay healthy, eat right (need to stop the Peanut M&M habit though), and enjoy life!