Friday, October 28, 2011

Catching up a bit

I haven't written since Cozumel was nearly ten weeks away. Now, it's a mere four weeks away. And I'm a bit tired.

It still seems very far off, primarily because I have several workouts between now and then. Specifically, I have a long brick this weekend, a 20-mile run next weekend, and a 22-mile run the weekend after that. In addition, the dissertation that I completed this semester and mailed out TODAY will be defended by then. By the time I race in Mexico, I may well be finished with the Ph.D. that I've been working to complete for the last EIGHT YEARS. So yeah, there are still several big things that need to happen between now and the whole "George Darden, you are an Ironman!" thing.

Nonetheless, I am starting to get excited. I've been thinking a lot about the race and my goals. Goal #1, of course, is the starting line. I've struggled with injury in the past, and while this has been a fairly injury-free training cycle--KNOCK ON WOOD!--there is still enough time for some little thing to turn into a big thing. Let's hope not. Goal #2, of course, is the finish line. I've never doubted that I would be able to finish an Ironman, and my training has bolstered my confidence. However, on race day, I feel like anything is possible. It's such a long day, and there are so many things that could go . . . not quite right. Particularly since this is my first Ironman, I think it would be unwise to have any other goals as my primary goals besides the two I have listed above. Goal #3, Goal #4, and Goal #5 are all family secrets.

I'm probably most confident about the run. My running has been going well, and I feel as if I will be able to cobble together a strong run. In addition, I feel like I'm pretty good at running off the bike. In fact, I kinda prefer it; I don't have to worry about warming up. :-)

The bike . . . maybe a little bit less so. I have no doubt that I can finish, but I do worry that I might ride too hard or too slow. Or both. I did a century a couple of weeks ago that was harder than it should have been. I also quit a workout in the middle of it last week, and I have only done that once or twice ever. I chalked it up to mental exhaustion, which I in turn chalked up to riding my tri bike too much. On my tri bike, whether I'm on the trainer or on the road, I'm pretty much staring at the stem. It's also more intense to ride the tri bike; I figure that it's tantamount to riding in the drops all the time. That wasn't fun. I like it when I'm racing; I enjoy the intensity then. For day-in and day-out training, though, it was overwhelming. I've gone back to my road bike a bit in the last couple of weeks, and that has been nice. I'm sure that I'll be fine.

The swim . . . well, I'm not confident about that at all. I'll feel better by the time it arrives, though, and I don't have to do anything beforehand. And, as a friend who is a good swimmer but a weaker cyclist and runner recently told me, it will help me to pass people all day. On the other hand, that friend gets passed from the moment the bike starts. That would indeed suck.

On a related note, in the four triathlons I've done so far, I haven't yet been passed from the time I exited the water. I've decided that I won't really consider myself a triathlete until the three sports are a little more balanced. And I probably won't consider them to be balanced until someone passes me on the bike or run.

The last push is coming. I hope to write a bit more since the dissertation is off my desk for a little while. Send me good, healthy thoughts!

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