Back to the Ironman

Last year I took all of December off from training and then restarted on Jan. 1, 2013, with an eight-week block focused on swimming.

I came back focused on the goal of finishing my first full Ironman in Wisconsin in September. That worked, more or less, in that I did finish.

This year has been a little different. I didn’t really stop training after the Ironman but I quit adhering to a strict schedule. I did what I wanted. If it was nice out - I ran. I did a lot of cyclocross riding and racing. That was a lot of fun. Since the snow hit, I’ve been riding the trainer inside. 

I’ve been lifting weights to build muscle around some key joints, build stamina and try and prevent injury.

I quit tracking every piece of nutrition I put in my body.

And I haven’t been in the pool for weeks and weeks. (That’s due in part to the fact that the Y is getting rid of its pool in the remodel. It just makes it harder.)

The results are fairly predictable.

As of today, I’m a full 10 pounds heavier than my racing weight in September. I had to pull out an old pair of jeans with an extra inch on the waist on Christmas Day.

That means Jan. 1 is again a significant date in my training life.

It all starts again. The planning. The nutrition logging. The early mornings. Long runs. Bike trainer. Hello pool. Goodbye beer.

It’s a state of mind more than anything, a focus on the goal.

This year the goal is sub-12 hour Ironman. This year’s race is in Boulder on Aug. 3.

The goal is reachable. I finished in roughly 12:30 at Madison. There’s a little bit to make up in the swim, but not more than a few minutes. I was 1:22 and I think I can hit 1:15.

The bike should be better just based on terrain. You wouldn’t think that Boulder could be less hill than Wisconsin but that route around Madison is pretty brutal in terms of climbing. Boulder will have climbs but in Wisconsin there are many shorter, steeper pulls that make it harder, particularly on a TT bike. So I’m hoping to get back a little there, maybe 15 minutes or so. I was 6:06 at IMWI.

But the real opportunity for improvement is on the run. I’m sure everybody says that but I cracked hard on the second half of the run with some serious abdominal distress. I’m working on that area in several ways. One is core strength but perhaps more important is nutrition. I’ve switched a liquid base for the majority of the nutrient on the bike so that I’m not pounding clif blocks all day. I think that was a big problem.

I ran/walked a 4:45. That’s a really long time. I know I can get a lot closer to 4 hours. How close? Hard to tell but my goal is at least 4:15. That would put me under the 12 hours with some room to spare.

So, that’s going to be my year.

Sure hope to be better at this the second time around.

I’ll see you out there.