Oh my...the last post here, Super Bowl Sunday! My how my life has changed since then! I've had a lot of random thoughts running through my head for the past few months but finding the time to write them down has been difficult. So...here we go:
Post Kona Hangover
With Kona just a few weeks away, the excitement is starting to bubble again. I would be lying if I said that I didn't miss Ironman, in some way, this year. I had several buddies competing...I even trained my first Ironman athlete for IM Wisconsin this year too! It was a blast and he did unbelievable. 11 hours in his FIRST IM!
What I didn't miss at all was the loooooong bikes! Sometimes, it's hard to see just how time consuming it is when you are in the middle of it...but taking a step back this year was GREAT. I did a lot more intensity and most of my workouts were done in 3 hours or under. That was amazing.
What I missed was my "Triathlete Identity." I'm an Ironman. I do it pretty well. So to get out of my comfort zone and try to get after the short course, it felt like something was missing. I think in the long run, this year away will do me a lot of good though.
So as the World Championships draw closer and the inspiration of Ironman Wisconsin lingers...I'm super excited to be back at it next year! I am officially signed up for Ironman Chattanooga. Another assault on Kona? I guess we will see.....
One of the biggest changes this year was the birth of my daughter, Lyla. What a blessing she has been. Life has a whole other level of meaning now. Being a father is the most rewarding thing I've ever experienced in my life. She is wonderful and I couldn't ask for a better daughter or wife (Love you Ana!)
From an athletic standpoint, Lyla is going to CRUSH it. She won her first "race." In the delivery room, our doctor said there was a lady in the next room delivering baby #4. No way we were going to "beat" her. Well...not only did we beat her...Lyla came out 15 minutes before the baby next door! TAKE THAT WORLD! She came to RACE....and to WIN!
People can tell you how hard it will be to train when you have kids, but until you experience it for yourself you just can't understand. It was TOUGH. Long nights....recovery time is a third of what it used to be. My "couch" time was quickly replaced with diapers, feedings, cleaning an endless supply of BOTTLES, and trying to pitch in wherever possible to help Ana. Oh...and I still had to go to work too.
But I got it in. My race season (to date) was a little bit of a disappointment if I were to be honest. I didn't have many bad races, I just never found the "race gear" that I have come accustomed to in the past. It was rough. I felt like I was at 85% all year. What I'm most proud of...I didn't hang it up. I made the effort and sacrifice and made ZERO excuses when I had the opportunity to train. I will be forever proud of the effort I put in...the results will come again. And truthfully, Lyla doesn't care how fast I go. She will only care that I have a smile on my face and I'm safe. At the end of the day, that is what matters...not a podium. Don't mistake that as me giving in....I will get back to the podium too :)
Short Course Experiment
So with Lyla being born, this was going to be the year of the "short course." If I just dialed it back and concentrated on speed, I would be fast right? WRONG. Looking back, if you want to do short course right...it takes YEARS of commitment. To "redline" for 2+ HOURS is a whole other animal. In the past, I've described myself as able to deal with moderate pain for a LONG time...well, MASSIVE pain for a short time SUCKS. In the end, it was a fun experiment and I look forward to building on this in years to come. Some regular sleep will help for sure.
I dealt with all kinds of issues in the races this year. Leon's I was totally flat. It was a good race, but not great. Pleasant Prairie was AWESOME...because I left the watch and power meter at home and just raced on feel. It was so cool to get back to the "basics" in that race. It was a good race, but not great. Racine was a total trainwreck on the run. The swim and bike were spot on....I started cramping in the legs on mile #1 of the run. Running 13.1 miles with legs cramps is perhaps the worst feeling in the world. Looking back, I messed up my nutrition on the bike. Didn't drink enough. Idiot. Racine was humbling. Nationals was fun! The leg cramps came back on the run...not sure why this time. It was a blast of a race...it was a good race, but not great.
So as the Tri season wrapped up, I was ready to move on from 2013. I didn't want to bike anymore...I needed a break from swimming...and I needed to put all the leg cramps behind me. It was a tough year...racing full on at 85% is hard. But like I said before, I'm proud of my year. I gave it 100% and still did pretty good. I can't ask for much more as a new "Triathlete Dad."
So what's going on now? I'm running the marathon in a few weeks! This has been such a refreshing change from the Triathlon training. Lots of miles...lots of HARD miles as well. I was very worried that I wasn't going to hit my goal pacing because it felt like DEATH in training for quite some time. Were my legs fried out? Did this year take too much out of me? NO. The heat and humidity we had lately SUCKED. It made it hard to hit the intervals...but I stayed the course.
The last two weekends I've done 20mi runs and crushed them. A little break in the weather and low and behold....my fitness has been here the entire time! I still carry the inspiration from Madison IM and the mental toughness I saw on the course by my friends. These two factors have unlocked my run. I feel light and snappy. I ran the fastest 20mi training run in my life today and couldn't be more excited about the race. As with most marathons, if you have done the work, the rest is up to Mother Nature...let's see what she gives on race day.
Another inspiration for my Marathon has been the fundraiser that I helped to set up for my Sister and Brother-in-Law. The outpouring of support has been unreal. I am humbled by what I have witnessed. I am sincerely honored to be running "For a Miracle Baby." It makes it so much more special to run for something bigger than a mile split or place in the age group.
If you have time...check out the fundraiser page...a true inspiration!
Well, the marathon obviously. An Ironman next September (I'm super excited because Ana's family is finally going to see me race. I really look forward to making them proud!).
Most importantly, to continue to set an example for my daughter on how to live an active lifestyle. How to push for your dreams. How to follow through on commitments. How to never give up and never make excuses. How to be humble with your accomplishments. How to genuinely care for others accomplishments. And how to give your best 100% of the time...no matter what circumstances you came to the race with.
I hope everyone has had a wonderful year. I plan on following up on this blog with more. Mental toughness....that will be the next one. I learned a TON watching IM Wisconsin a few weeks ago. I look forward to sharing that with everyone.
Thank you as always for taking the time to read. This is a very cool medium for me to express some feelings. I have had a lot of positive feedback from previous posts, so I hope my next blog isn't 7 months from now :)
Dedication, Passion, Results