Sometimes, things don’t always go as planned. The important thing is to not dwell on this, and instead, adjust and roll.
I wanted to use September as a big month of running that would take me to a point where running a 6 minute mile for 2.5 hours would feel right. My plan was to build my weekly volume up and work in one tempo session and one interval session each week. I shut down the bike training and was ready to focus exclusively on running. The month began with the Labor Day road race in New Haven where I had back issues. No worries though, I’d put this race behind me and move on. Shortly thereafter, I began feeling very tired and then, sure enough, it hit me – one hell of a virus. It started with my daughter and progressed to Lisa and myself. I shut down the training for 5 days. Still quite stuffed up, I started back up again and the energy just wasn’t there. I trained for three days, then feeling wiped out still, took three more days off. For the rest of September, this seemed to be the pattern.
So I find myself now, on October 1st, way behind were I anticipated being in terms of my training for the NYC marathon one month away. I’m not going to beat myself up over September. Shit happens. At the same time I can’t help but wonder why this hit me so hard. And as much as I’d love to search and find a reason that is easy on my psyche, the fact is that when it comes right down to it, I’m a triathlete. What I mean by this is that had I been training for Hawaii or another big triathlon like Clearwater last year, this wouldn’t have hit me so hard. I know that it’s easy to call bullshit on this. “You just got sick, don’t over-read it.” But I let my defenses get so low. I have been extremely busy with all these different projects I’m involved in and my nutrition hasn’t been picture perfect as well. I wasn’t trying to sabotage my marathon. I still had big goals for race day. Yet, when training for big triathlons in the past, I’d never let my guard down as I did in September. I wasn’t as focused as I should have been.
I’m still excited to run NYC and experience it. I’ve readjusted my goals a bit. I’m not giving myself an out – I just want to be realistic. Originally, I was aiming for a sub 2:40 race, and now I’ll be content with a sub 2:55. I still know that I’m capable of a sub 2:40. Maybe that’ll have to wait until Boston. At the moment, I want to get back to feeling good on my runs and feeling healthy again, not feeling like I need to stop 15 minutes into a 40 minute commute and take a nap.
What I have realized is that I do love the triathlon lifestyle. I enjoy cross training and I feel much more well rounded when I am doing more than just one of the disciplines. And I definitely feel more stimulated mentally. This time of year reminds me of preparing for Hawaii. It reminds me of overdressing for autumn training. Of riding in beautiful foliage while most are hanging up their road machines for the season. As much as I love reminiscing about these great times, I know I’m at a point where my focus needs to be more balanced and that’s all right. I’ll be racing an Ironman again in the future. Right now though, it’s time to shift priorities and that’s cool as well.