This is the week – 6 days from now, I’ll be done with my first triathlon of the year. I’m targeting this one as my A race for the first half of the year because the weather is perfect, I’m pretty specifically trained for it, and I feel primed and ready. It’s weird doing that with a few other races on the horizon before I go gently into the good summer off-season, but whatevs. This year is an experiment.
I’ve definitely beaten the dead horse about talking about my training accomplishments, but I do well drawing from recent past successes. So, I’m going to list them here for myself to remember.
- Biggest volume week (over 10km), and largest pool swim ever (over 4k yards)
- Longer swims. 1 hour+ and 2500m+ became the norm, not the exception.
- Three wetsuit swims in the lake within the last week and a half
- Have swam in the chop and the cold this year – so I can handle if the day throws me that.
Expectations: I’m looking at the swim as a warmup. Of course I’d like to do well but this is definitely my least improved section of the tri in 2014 – I just haven’t focused on it. I have zero expectations beyond keeping my effort honest.
- Besides last weekend’s ride of blergh, I’ve had some pretty decent outdoor riding. Most notably 16.3 mph for a fairly easy-pace metric in March (the same one that I rode at 13.6 mph last year), and a 25 miler two weekends ago that was close to 17 mph in traffic.
- Actually making an effort to ride hard on the trainer. Endurance Ride videos, Sufferfests, just pushing myself on my own – I feel better prepared only having done a handful of rides outdoors.
- My triple brick bike pace from last year improved by 1.5 – 2 mph. Love that – I can see straight improvement there – doing the same workout on the same settings at the same time of day as last year.
- On top of this I’ve maintained a better bike volume for the race miles I’m doing (about 80% of the time I trained on average from the 5 months before Kerrville, and 40 miles is about 70% of 56 miles). I considered last year a BIG bike build year, so this is pretty good. I also counted the time, not miles, because trainer miles lie.
Expectations: This is a big question mark. I’ve done exactly zero outdoor rides really pushing myself in any significant way, so we’ll see. Also, the course is always going up or down. Nothing looks super bad, just “Texas hills” (which outside of Austin means speed bumps, usually), but we’ll see if those “hills” equate to the feeling of false flats that I’m really good at, or feel like actual climbing which I’m not.
- Night and day, this went from my weakest link to my strongest link in the tri. My attitude has changed from feeling weaker as the tri goes on to feeling stronger.
- I run like a rockstar off the bike lately – two 7:43 miles after triple bricks. My absolute best triple brick 3-mile average was 8:45 per mile. This year, it was 7:53 for the 3 miles. Almost a full minute better.
- Looks like everything’s about 1 minute per mile better as well. Last year I had a few runs in the 10s, most runs in the 11s, and some in the 12s. This year, I physically cannot run in the 12s. It pains me. My feet no longer are willing to go that slow. 11s are reserved for recovery runs. A lot of times my first mile or so will be there but it’s hard for me to stay there unless we’re truly prancing and chatting and frolicking. 10s are my homies. 9s are good days.
- I ran 3 double digit races this year sub-10 min miles. One with a pretty hilly profile. I came within 45 seconds of my 13.1 PR and smashed my 10 mile by almost 3 minutes.
- 12 out of the first 16 weeks of the year, I ran 20-25 miles. Hells yeah, consistency. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s helping me stay injury free, I think, and improving my pace.
Expectations: I am going to dominate this run. I’ve run in the cold, I’ve run in the heat, I’ve run hills, I’ve run on flats, I’ve run on trails, I’ve run on concrete, I’ve ran off hard bikes, I’ve ran after swims. I do like my run this year, I do, I do, Quix I am. Fuck yeah!
And, a less type-A approach…
Overall, the last month, I’ve been working on a little more of an intrinsic, intuitive approach to everything. I seem to be a little burned out on being so type A with the food tracking and the diet quality and the stats and reports and quantification. I typically love that shit, so when it started being a chore instead of a challenge, I kinda decided to pitch it for a while.
I haven’t tracked my food quality or my calories in weeks. I’m tracking my workouts, because I still enjoy that, but some have been sans garmin, or at least without a care to what it says (just using it for mileage tracking). Last week, I weighed in at 175.2, which matches my low weight for the year, and my workouts still seem to be quality, so I’m just going to go with it.
I guess, what I’m trying to say, is I’m working on reaching inside, and really asking myself things like:
1. What level of effort am I at right now? Where should I be?
2. Is what you really need a bag of pretzels? (post workout Saturday, the answer was 10000 times yes)
And let the scale, the metrics, and the paces sort themselves out.
And… I have written… and rewritten… and rewritten this post. For some reason, this one is difficult. I put on time goals, and removed time goals. I talked a lot about process, then deleted it. I tried to justify why I will go garminless, then decided to wear it, and now I’m not sure.
However, at the end of the day, while I have tapered for this race, and more importantly, I’ll be giving myself a light week next week to recover so I can really break myself out there if I want, I’m going to do the same thing I’ve done all year.
1. Show up.
2. See what happens.
That’s all you can really do, right?