Last Thursday marked the end of the all my hard training for this triathlon season. It has been, by far, the most difficult season of triathlon. Being my second year of professional racing, I had more expectations of myself. I had expectations that this season would go better than the first, that I could work harder and smarter, because I had learned so much from the 2012 season. This was definitely naive thinking, as 2013 brought on a whole new set of obstacles to overcome.
It started with a horrible flu in January that prevented me from attending a training camp in California and I took two weeks to recover from. This set back my training enough that I had to post-pone the start of my race season. I eagerly followed the results of the early season races and saw my competitors all doing well. I was anxious to get back into it. Then, my first race of the season, I lost 2 minutes, because someone had racked their bike on top of mine in transition! Things finally seemed to be going well for me when I had my best race ever in Florida. The momentum didn't last long, though, and a bike crash and DNF followed in Italy, then a broken elbow and a DNF due to a flat tire in August. I ended up missing out on 5 of my planned 9 races. The end result: a lot of training and not a lot of racing! It's tough to put in the work and not get the results you are working towards.
I moved to Utah 6 weeks ago. I needed a little change of scenery. A fresh start. And something new to train for...not another 70.3 distance event, but an Ironman. Up until 6 weeks ago I had not run more than 32km in 4 years, or biked over 165km or done any training sessions longer than 5 hours, since a 7hr ride in January. My hard training started in earnest on the 4th of October and ended on the 7th of November. So I had basically 5 weeks to build up the endurance I would need to complete an Ironman. So what did it take to get me ready for the start line in 5 weeks? A total of 21 hours of swimming, 50 hours of cycling and 23 hours of running. I don't know how this compares to what other Pros are doing. Could be less, but, because this was my first time tackling longer distances I had to be careful not to over do the training. It's always that delicate balance between training too much and not enough. Without a huge base from which to build my training, I had to be careful. My longest session was 7.5hrs and involved a 195km bike ride (power increasing from low to high zone 2 throughout the ride) followed by a 10km run at Ironman run pace, my longest run was a brick run of 37.5km with the last 12.5km at a 3:10 marathon pace and my most favourite workout was a 60km ride with Charity that involved low cadence/high power intervals around the desert, at the base of the red mountains.
So, now, all the hard training is done. Was it enough to tackle the Ironman? We will see. Regardless, Ironman will be an experience...a chance to tackle that distance, without the pressure of wanting to place well and to just to race to the best of my ability. I know that I am going to aim to swim at the front of the chase pack, to bike within a pre-determined zone regardless of what the rest of the field is doing, and to run by feel. If I can do this, stick to my nutrition plan and finish the race with nothing more to give, then I will consider the experience a success.
My next post will be a re-cap of the race (no doubt I will learn a lot!) and then I will be taking a little bit of time off training and triathlon...to mentally recharge, welcome my niece into the world, get caught up on life outside triathlon, and get ready for 2014. I learned a lot about training and racing last year, but I learned a lot more about myself this year. No doubt the learning will continue as I continue in the sport. Thank you for reading.
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Some more pictures from Utah: