Friday, August 10, 2012

nine weeks and counting...

Hawaii is nine weeks away. I guess I should get started in my training. The truth is, my training has been going well. Training for your first Ironman is filled with emotion. It’s exciting, draining, fun, painful, educating, tiresome, and new. As I mention to all my athletes who sign up for their first Ironman, you are entering unchartered waters. Enjoy the naivety and newness. When you train for your second one, you remember the pain of the first more than the elation in that training. The excitement is still there because you are anxious now to see what you have learned and what you can do better, yet the darkness of your first race day still haunts. Then, you feel you need to keep racing more Ironman, because this is now what you do and where else, challenge wise, do you go? But the excitement get’s dulled with each additional one that we do, and we begin to question what we are doing this for. This will be my 11th time towing the IM line, ninth in Hawaii. To be honest, during the month of July, I wasn’t excited about racing another IM again, especially in humid 100 degree temperatures. I never take for granted the privilege of racing in Kona, but I’d be lying if I tried to convince myself I was really looking forward to the race. But, strangely, I was/am enjoying the training process once again. Not only am I not dreading the long rides and runs like I have in previous IM builds, I look forward to them?. I’ve asked myself “why” often when I’m out there alone training and solving the world’s problems – “why is my motivation different this time?” What I have concluded is the following: • I haven’t raced an IM since Hawaii in 2009, so I’ve had a few years without the IM pressure and stress of fitting everything in to a busy life schedule. • I’m doing different things. Different training, different routes, … I often see athletes who are doing the same training now that they did 15 years ago, because if it worked back then … Not only is this approach boring as hell, but it’s a sure way to set yourself up for a lackluster race day. I won’t go into the physiological details since this would get lengthy, but trust me in that we need change. • I’m training mainly alone. This has changed - I used to love training with others. This year, I’m enjoying my alone time. Often times, because I coach, athletes that I train with feel a need to show me how strong they are. You don’t need to, or want to, race every time you train. • I have a lot of newbie athletes this season that I’m working with, some training for their first IM, many training for their first sprint. Their new enthusiasm refreshes my crotchety attitude towards the compression wearing egos that you see walking around Ironman expo’s. • I’m reaching that age where your fastest performances should be a thing of the past, and maybe they are. Maybe I’m kidding myself. But I feel like I still have some speed in me. • There’s nothing quite like the empowering feeling of “shape” or condition that IM training brings. This, I’m sure, is one reason why we all keep signing up for “one more”. Sure, there is also the fact that I feel like I could fall asleep anywhere, except at 2am when I’m trying to fall asleep. Nonetheless, I’m enjoying the training at the moment and hopefully this will continue through the next six weeks, until its taper time. I don’t feel ready to race right now, and I shouldn’t, I still have nine weeks to go. As I get more fit though, my motivation to race rises. Cheers, EH

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