Friday, July 30, 2010

Determining if I'm ready for Ironman

How important is doing an Ironman race to you?

This question was the theme of many questions last weekend. My wife and I discussed this for literally hours prior to watching 2010 IMLP, during IMLP and on the drive home.

In order to for me to toe the starting line of an Ironman race, I need to be physically able to do the training necessary for success. My latest injury finally made me see reality - I'm not ready and I've been avoiding the obvious for some time now. My left hand doesn't work right, my knee still hurts more often than not, my hip hurts from time to time, and while I've lost a lot of weight from the beginning of this journey, I've haven't been successful on optimizing my body composition. I'm nowhere near where I need to be in order to be successful to start train for this distance.

But can I be ready to train? That's the second question that I need to answer.

The first question is how to define what is "ready to train." I believe that my size is my greatest limiter. I feel that if I was significantly lighter I would have fewer or less severe injuries. I realize that face planting off a bike or getting hit by a car doesn't have any correlation to my weight but I believe that my hip and knee issues are at least magnified due to my weight. Sad, but true. My size is a big contributor to my effectiveness (or lack there of) on the bike and run. If I was lighter, I should be faster. The biggest component of being ready, though, is that I need to be injury free. I've been dinged up in some manner for almost a year now. Something hurts, and it isn't always the same something, almost all the time. I need to heal.

I may never get to the point where I am "ready to train" for an Ironman and that's OK. But let's take a leap of faith and hope that I can get to the point when I could be ready to train. Once I get to that point, I need actually to do the work to prepare. Many people think that doing an Ironman is a very personal quest and on one level it is. Another level, though, makes me not necessarily agree with this statement since the impact on my family is hard to predict. I'd be wrong to say it would have no impact, it will. That bothers me some.

Watching IMLP was inspiring and I'd love to be able to race the 2011 version of that race. My family will support me as best they can in this quest but I need to be physically and mentally ready to keep up my end of the bargain. So I've decided on a checkpoint approach. If my body has healed and my body composition is looking good (aka weight under 230) by November 1, I'm going to sign up via a community slot if available. If there are no community slots left, another race. Perhaps IMFL or IMAZ.

If my body composition isn't where it needs to be, I guess Ironman wasn't that important to me.

Since I'm going to focus on healing , I won't race anymore this season unless it is a fun, low pressure event. Syracuse70.3 was in jeopardy since I can't train for it. Ditto for NYC26.2 in November. Taking them off the agenda will help me focus on what is important. Healing and body composition.

Let the off season begin.

Let the body get right sized.

Let the healing begin.

Only then I'll be able to determine if I am ready or not or if it is important to me or not.

PS: I made a hotel room reservation for Placid next year just in case. One's gotta hope.


joyRuN said...

Sounds like you have a very intelligent approach to this, which is great. I tend to get carried away with the excitement of it all, but an Ironman will require a commitment that surpasses just a passing desire.

Good luck.

KovasP said...

Great plan. No sense hurting yourself just to make IM 2011 somewhere. When the time is right it will happen.

Big Clyde said...

Yes, this just seems smart for the long term. Also, low-pressure races for you still seem to be enjoyable and something you train well for. It sounds like you have a good plan for the rest of this year, in preparing for next.

Unknown said...

Smart approach to take! Hey the good thing about Ironman is that it isn't going anywhere. You always have 2012,13,14 ...etc. Get healthy first and then plan the race!

Jon said...

Ironman isn't going anywhere, so when you are ready, one will be waiting for you.

It is really hard to do what you just wrote: being honest and knowing your limitations.

Heal your body. Have you been to a professional to get looked at?

Al's CL Reviews said...

You are such a wise man.

Unknown said...

Good approach. I know it's hard to back away from races you have already planned to heal for something that was unexpected. I understand the desire to do them anyway bc you told yourself you would, but it is best to heal... especially with IM hanging out there. You CAN do this. You CAN get your mind right and follow through with what you know you need to do to get yourself in the space to be ready to prepare for IM. Put all kinds of reminders in areas you will see them.. the Mdot etc! If you truly WANT IT you WILL get it done!

Mark said...

Amen brotha'

No sense injuring yourself, BUT, make it a point to beat that weight homeslice; whether you race IMLP or not. You'll feel better for IMAZ or IMFL if you do.

Great having a family that will support you. It has been almost everything for me to have the support of my family. On days when I do not feel like getting it done, I think, "what the hell am I doing... I've come this far!"

Kathleen said...

Very wise approach to all this.
Certainly no harm in reserving the hotel room. You never know :)

Julie said...

Hi Rock Star,
It sounds like you got it all fingured out! I love your is a good one:) I love that you have a hotel room on hold just in case. Good luck with your training!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

This is the next to impossible question to answer. Can anyone at anytime train for a sprint, yes.

But to tackle something to the magitude of a 140.6 is something that takes much, much more. I mean its not just swim, bike, run when you get to that level, you also have to add nutrition, mental and physical health as the 4th, 5th, and 6th disciplines. We are made to "race" for 17 hours. I am not iron ready, at least not mentally. I hope you get to live out your dream, someday I will