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What’s Next?

July 7, 2015 2 comments

Never give up on your dreams

It’s been over two weeks now since I raced Toronto Triathlon Festival.  A very lazy 2 weeks.  Which isn’t to say I’ve done nothing: I’ve gotten out and ran (lightly) a few times, but it really has been lazy.  And I don’t like that.  It impacts my mood, my sleep, my appetite.  One of the big reasons I race is to motivate myself to train, and one of the big reasons I train is to keep my life (and my health) balanced the way I want it.

Post TTF I’ve really been waffling on where to go next.  There are lots of options, ranging from racing shorter distances, longer distances (or calling it “done” for the summer).  All of these options have pros and cons.  It seems though, without deciding on a direction I’m having trouble writing a training plan.  Without a training plan I’m having trouble kicking my ass out the door to train.  And the less I get out the door, the less I feel like getting out the door.  Lazy begets lazy, and I’m caught in that spin cycle!

On one hand, I want to race long.  I’m really tempted to try to stretch myself out and see if I can tackle the 70.3 distance.  It would be with a goal to finish and an expectation of bringing up the rear in the race (though truthfully, this is what I do in most races anyway).  It would mean a lot of work – a lot of time and commitment to training this summer.  A commitment I was ready to make, until I raced TTF – or more aptly, until I ran in TTF.  The swim and the bike went well enough, but as soon as I set out to run I felt over my head.  I had to talk myself through the first kilometer of the run and barely ran/walked 10k.  How the hell would I have done 21.1k?!?

I remember sitting under a tree with my wife right after I crossed the finish line, a sweaty, tired, and hungry pile of hot mess, and telling her that racing long was off the table for 2015.  She helped me see it from a great perspective: there were many amazing age group racers in their 40s, 50s, 60s (and even older!) kicking ass in this race.  I have a lot of years left ahead of me in racing if I want them, and there’s no reason I need to rush to try the next distance.  I walked away from that happy to back off, enjoy more of my summer on the patio, and stress less about training.  I signed up to race the Wasaga Beach Sprint Triathlon at the end of August.  I wrote myself an 8 week training plan leading up to a Sprint distance race.  I’m looking forward to it, as it’ll then be 5 years from my first ever triathlon, which happened to be this same race 5 years ago.  How awesome is that?!?

Except it doesn’t feel awesome.  Don’t get me wrong – it will be really cool to go back to where it all started 5 years later (and should make for a great “then and now” blog post in about 8 weeks), but it’s not scratching the itch.  There’s still a voice in the back of my head that wants to try a 70.3 race.  I know how bad it felt trying to run the Olympic distance race two weeks ago, and how easy it would be to decide I’m not ready to race longer.  And maybe I’m not.  But it doesn’t sit right with me to make this decision without giving it a shot.

So I’ve chosen a race, the Barrelman, which runs on September 20th.  I’ve written an 11 week training plan and circled a key date on it: Thursday August 6th.  4 weeks away.  That’s the date when the registration price next increases.  Until then I give what I’ve got to this plan, stretch out my distance, and reassess after 4 weeks to see if I’m on track or not.  If I’m not, it’s no loss.  I’ve got lots of time left in this sport.  But at least I’ll make the decision based on trying, not based on it seeming too hard.

Epilogue: Last night, all excited and energized with my new training plan, I went to my cycling group.  My first training session of the new plan called for a group ride, followed by a 4km brick run.  Usually the Monday night route is 43kms long, but the group decided to take an extra turn and lengthen to 50km.  Perfect!  And this group is stronger than me, often dropping me to the chase pack in the first half of the ride.  But this time I kept up with the main pack for at least 80% of the ride.  I rode long, and strong, and I felt great.  Then I got off the bike and tried to run.  What a wobbly shit show that was!  I only managed to run 2.2km (walking at least half of it).  I’ve got a lot of work to do over the next 11 weeks…

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