So, I’ve been thinking a lot lately. About races. Please, don’t faint dead away with shock. I know it’s a surprising thing.
I really really really enjoyed the Du Loop experience. I only had one week to train for it, but I actually LOVED the run/bike workouts. I suppose that real official people call them bricks. I started searching for more biathlons and while there are some in the area, it’s not a regular thing.
I also started to think about upcoming training for the marathon. I haven’t been doing the long runs like I wanted to – my last long run was the end of February – 14 miles. And it was ROUGH. I haven’t been motivated to take time out of my weekend to do it. As awesome and fun as it sounded to just do some really long slow pace runs every so often to keep my base up – I think I’ve missed the bus. My comfort zone right now is 6-8 miles tops, and I would fear injury doing anything over 10 without working back up to it for a few weeks. Instead of just CONTINUING my half training to what felt like the next logical step, I’m now having to start from ground zero again. Which mean I should really dedicate at least 5 months to it.
Then I started to think about what that meant. Long runs outside during the two hottest months of the year (July/August) in the Texas heat. I started to dread it. I didn’t mind finishing up my half training last year during the beginning of summer in 80+ degree mornings, but I’d be having to get up at like 4am to get that under 85 zone. I like a challenge and all, and I definitely in general prefer cold to hot, but the logistics? Sorta kinda insane. And, every time I started talking about it, Zliten kept whining and calling me crazy and giving me frowny faces.
I don’t like to wuss out. I don’t like to admit that I’m not tough enough to do something. And I’m not saying that. I think I’ve reconciled with myself that this is not saying that I can’t do it. I know if I set the goal and went for it, I’d be crossing the finish line in November as planned. I think I’ve got some sound reasons not to do it though:
1. The training just doesn’t sound like fun right now. I love running, but I’d like to be a little more comfortable and experienced with around 10-13 miles the way I am with 6-8 miles right now. Doing that 14 miler was a wakeup call. I need to do a little more pre-training than I thought.
2. Even running 3 days a week, its a huge time commitment. Every Saturday I’d need to dedicate the majority of my day to it (you long distance runners know – getting up, dressed, ready, warmed up, doing the run, cooling down, stretching, showering, eating, dying on the couch a bit after…there goes your day). It’s about a month for half training, but I can see it would be 4-5 months like that for a marathon.
3. When I set this goal in December, my job duties and responsibilities were completely different than they are now. It’s entirely possible I’d be rolling out of a crazy stressful crunch month of my first big huge deliverable completely in charge without training wheels just to start training hot and heavy. Could I do it? Sure. Do I want to? I’m thinking no.
4. I have yet to have a really good half marathon experience. I like the training, I feel increasingly comfortable after longer distances, but I feel like I want to solidly ROCK one first before I go for more. Don’t get me wrong, I am SUPER PROUD of what I accomplished both times. Finishing my first one drenched with sweat in 85 and humid temps? Epic. Finishing my last one even though I was hacking up a lung and sneezing and had a sore throat? Respectable. However, I think I’d like to work on the distance more. With the right training and the right day, under 2 hours is in my sights and that’s still a goal.
5. Most importantly, Zliten is thinking about doing this with me! Neither of us are strong swimmers or terribly comfortable in open water, so it’s something we can conquer together. We both are pretty novice bicyclists. I am a stronger runner and have a little more endurance overall, but 2 out of the 3 disciplines we can train side by side.
6. This seems also like the kind of training I can do and still keep my appetite in check. I haven’t researched typical training schedules (yet, that’s my next stop), but I’m imagining my new shorter 6 days per week schedule will work well. Bricks (run/bike, run/swim, or bike/swim) 1-2 days a week and then a single discipline + weights 2 days per week, and then just a single discipline the other days. More extrapolation on this to come.
7. Lastly – what sounds better during the long hot Texas summer… “I have to train today. It’s a 16 mile run.” or “Oh, I have to train today, so I’m going camping. I’m going to take my bike on a 20 mile trail ride and then swim half a mile in the lake.”? Yeah, I think you know the answer…
However, y’all know me. I don’t do things little. The swim is daunting, but I think once I get back into it, I think I’m going to acclimate well (I have tons of water experience, just not hardcore open water racing). I’ve done 20+ miles on a bike (admittedly with a break, but still…) and it was not terribly hard. We all know my proficiency with running. A sprint triathlon sounds fun, and sounds like a worthy goal, but it’s just not the epic replacement to my marathon.
So, I’m thinking I want to do one sprint (800m swim, 13 mile bike, 5k run) and then move on up to Olympic distance (1 mile swim, 26 mile bike ride, 10k run). I might change my mind once I do the first one, but that’s the goal.
I’m still scoping races, and hell, the swimming logistics since I do not belong to a gym with a pool or have access to water beyond a 3 dollar drop in fee for open swimming at the neighborhood pool or just jumping in some lakes out there, but I think this would be a fitting kick off race – especially if we can train together. For an olympic distance, I’m thinking possibly Red Licorice if I decide to go for it. Other races that look interesting are the Dirty Du (half marathon and duthalon race on back to back days), and I might just keep my eyes out for a late fall half as well. Maybe not so much with the epic training schedule and paced runs, but to have an excuse to become comfortable with longer runs on a weekly basis and feel confident about being able to whip out a half marathon with a few weeks notice.
Well, whaddya think? Am I a wuss for going back on my marathoner resolution? Still too crazy? Think I should just give it up and graft my ass back to the couch? Any wisdom about tris or marathons you would like to impart on me?