Saturday, November 12, 2011

IMFL: Next Steps

It is said that you learn a lot about yourself while training and competing in endurance events and I agree with this statement. My experiences for IMFL2012 showed me parts of myself that I was proud of and parts of me that I was not. Overall I am glad that I attempted this quest and that I was able to succeed.

Is there another Ironman in my future? My wife had a tee shirt made for the event that read "140.6 miles, Now can I have my husband back?" While she said it was tongue in cheek, I'm sure there is some fact in it. The heavy training volume the last few months has been intrusive to our family. While they are proud of me for my accomplishment, I am proud of them for the sacrifices that they made to allow me to do this.

Immediately after the race I told them that there were three things that needed to happen for me to do another Iron distance race (and I doubt it would be a return to Panama City):

  1. I need to be able to run effectively. This was my biggest limiter in both training and racing. I kept getting injured. I don't need to run a stand alone marathon to prove this to myself but I need to be confident in my ability to train and race. I don't expect to instantly be a fast runner (those days were over 30 years ago) but I can't be targeting a 6:30 or so marathon, miss even that by a lot, and have a bike split faster than my run split (at my current bike speed). During my race I had a lot of time to do a mental debate on would it count getting it done just up against the time limit (the answer was yes) and the anger I felt when I realized I should have been done (but was not and had miles to go).
  2. I need to get my body composition under control. I think that point #1 is directly caused by this. Even now when I look at pictures of "real" triathletes with me, I look like I'm the answer to what doesn't belong and why. I'm down a lot of weight from my heaviest but I need to still drop a serious amount of poundage. Additionally I need to actually do some strength work (that again might help #1)
  3. I need to have the support of my family. We didn't really know what we were in for while training for an Ironman. Yes, we had some beliefs but reality is sometimes better than the beliefs but sometimes worse. While not an expert after doing one Ironman, we are a little smarter as to what it will impact. I don't expect the family demands on my time being reduced for some time as college visits are on the horizon and other miscellany will come up (it always does).

So what's next? I hear there are things called football games on a thing called a TV during the weekend and there is a beverage called a beer. I've been told that my "honey do" list is quite extensive. I do not have any events that I have signed up for in the future and I can't remember the last time that happened. I was asked if I was signing up for a local winter run series that I've done in the past and I said no. My friends are pushing for IMLP2013 but I don't know if I can get the things done that I need to before then or if it will fit in with the family activities. I expect to do some events in 2012, perhaps some cycling events and a tri or two (or 4 perhaps) with maybe one HIM in the fall. I might do a marathon, I might not. I might do El Tour de Tucson again as I like that race but haven't done it in a while. I don't know if I'm going to do any TNT events. My wife has already told me that my level of sarcasm raises inversely to my training load so there needs to be some balance to retain household sanity.

I am having some issues walking still but I expect that will heal within the next few weeks. My plan is to take the rest of November off from training, start unstructured training in December, and re-engage my coach once I figure out the event goals for the 2012. I have to decide if I want to recertify my USAT/L1 coaching certificate or to let it lapse. I'm on the fence there as I do not anticipate formally coaching beyond charity or volunteer opportunities.

There were many people that I couldn't have done this without besides my family. My coach Mike who I probably drove nuts from time to time and made him think of too many odd what if situations. Danielle who focused my swim the right way. My EagleCrew - the six of us who got together with this silly idea of us doing a half ironman in 2009 and now 4 of us have completed the 140.6 distance. Other friends who helped me train like Mr26point2, KathyK, the TNT faithful, and many of the folks in the social media world who kept me accountable. It is odd that I haven't met many of you but some know parts of me well and care so much. The few I've met personally have revalidated that thought as well.

The slow journey continues......Now back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

PS: I didn't get the tattoo and don't expect to. It might be the right thing for some people but I'm not a tattoo type of guy. The memories I'll have forever and that's enough for me.


Caratunk Girl said...

I needed a good. LONG break after my IM. I am JUST getting interested in training again.

I love your wife's shirt. Hilarious.

Enjoy your accomplishment! I still can't believe the jellyfish. I am out for IMFL for sure based on that!

TriMOEngr said...

I'm sure everyone will enjoy having the "regular" Joe back in their lives for a while. I think your introspection on it all is fantastic. Heal up and then let the new year bring what it may. Congrats again and thanks for sharing.

Ewa said...

What a thoughtful post. Loved it.
Only one comment - ditch the TV :) you have no idea how liberating that is. Do not under any circumstances ditch beer though. ;-)
Good luck with your recovery, both mental and physical.

joyRuN said...

It's a huge reason why I'm not willing to commit to an IM, or even HIM - I don't have the kind of setup at home right now to pull off the training.

Enjoy enjoy enjoy the recovery & normalcy for now :)

Mr26point2 said...

Congratulations on IM. I'm sure after you spend more time debriefing yourself, you won't be able to stay away from the game. Get item 2 where you want it, and the rest will fall into place. The tri world cannot afford to be without the (IRON) ROCKSTAR

Jason said...

Great reflections. This is why you'll be successful in whatever you choose to do. It is not a gut reaction but a well thought out plan.

Congrats again on your is incredible!

Unknown said...

It seems to me that you nee to understand why you got blisters and how to prevent them. I don't recall you mentioning this problem during training. Maybe you have a hypothesis in the race report that I missed, but still...

Enjoy the down time. And congrats again!!

adena said...

Way to go! I loved reading this..

Unknown said...

These are really good reflections. It's good to see a totally honest post about the toll training takes and what you need to make the decision again.

Rest is vital, and you have earned some of it!