The hardest part of training for an early Spring Ironman is the cold mornings.
One should not be jumping into a pool before the sun comes up in February.
And yet I will.
Some mornings--this is really hard.
But that's part of the process.
Ironman is not supposed to be easy.
And that's why we do it.
This weekend's weather did not make for friendly road riding. It rained throughout the night. The roads were wet. The weather was cold.
So Felix and I did what any (in)sane person would do when faced with having to get a long workout in bad weather.
We went mountain biking.
We started out at Sycamore Canyon, one of my favorite mountain rides. The terrain, the landscape, and the trails all lead to wonderful mountain biking. Plus, I have fond memories of doing the ride in the rain.
The ride did not disappoint. Sometimes it is easy to get wrapped in the quantity of the workout instead of the quality. I really wanted to get 90 miles out on the road yesterday. Instead, we only covered 20 miles in 4 hours. Still, it was a hard 4 hours requiring us to grind uphills, fight muddy trails, push bikes uphill that were so caked in mud that our wheels did not move.
In the end, it was a very tough 4 hours.
But more importantly, I had fun.
Part of the challenge of training for an Ironman is keeping each workout fresh and exciting. After 9 weeks of the same routine, workouts can become dry and uninspiring. You can only swim in the same pool and count the same laps so many times. You can only ride up and down the same path so many times as well. And I won't even begin to talk about running around in a track.
So I mixed up my run today as well. With Amy and Stuart out of town, I had a chance to do a solo run today. I picked a new path and headed out for a 10-mile adventure. 3.75 hours later, I finished a hard and fun workout.
And to think that last year I spent a weekend indoors on a training and a treadmill so that I could get in a workout when it rained.
When in doubt, add some spice to your workout.
Today’s marathon did not go according to plan.
The biggest piece of advice I can give regarding endurance events is to allow more time than expected—for the arrival to the event. Even the best laid plans can fall through with closed lots and traffic jams.
As a result, we arrived late to the starting line, almost an hour late. The timing mats were reset for the 5k and we were given the option of running the course—unofficially.
Suddenly, the race seemed pointless.
Keep in mind that we were not racing. This marathon was about setting course records or winning, but rather finishing. And while we were given the option of running the course, the unofficial status did not please me.
A friend of one once mentioned that he saw no point in paying for an event. If he wanted to do a 50-mile ride, he would do one and time it. Why pay for an event if you could just do it yourself?
And we could have run the 26.2 mile course, taken advantage of the fluids and support crew, and finished the course. But it would have been our clocks, not theirs.
For me, the thrill and drive of the marathon faded instantly.
So I offered up a compromise. Amy’s
true desire was to do the L.A. Marathon. The only reason she showed up to Huntington Beach with me was because I was not able to do Los Angeles. The L.A. Marathon falls on March 19th, right during week three of my Ironman taper. Running 26.2 miles 3 weeks before an Ironman is not advisable.
The compromise was simple. We would do an unofficial half-marathon, and I would help Amy do Los Angeles. She felt that it was a good idea and we were off.
By the second mile, it was clear that our hearts were not into this event. The miles were passing us far too slowly. I tried to find some sense of motivation, but I had none to pull from
In the end, I treated the run as a training run. It gave me a chance to reconsidering my hydration strategy and my pacing. It also helped me realize that there are several running elements I need to work on between now and the Ironman.
At the end of the day, I accepted the fact that my first marathon will be at the Ironman. But I am comfortable with that fact. I will continue to train and work on speed and hills. I will strengthen my legs and my body for the marathon at the end of the Ironman.
Like I said the other said, today’s run is merely part of the journey to the Ironman.
After much debate and time, I finally started working on a new version of this site.
There will be many more entries to come.
But for the moment, welcome to the new site.