Saturday, October 09, 2010

Preseason

Rest time is over. I took exactly 3 full weeks of complete inactivity following Pumpkinman. Early on I had considered racing the Amica 19.7 sprint race near my house (1.5 miles away), but I elected to pass and just try and gain some weight instead. As it turns out I continued my uncanny streak of skipping races that end up having some major issue. The Amica 19.7 race had the swim canceled because they couldn't secure the markers in the surf. Well folks that is the issue trying to do such a short swim in the ocean.

But I digress (I do that a lot if you haven't noticed!). Anyway, by the end of the 3 weeks I think Leanna herself was tying the shoes onto my feet and asking me to please get out of the house and exercise! Drinking beer and eating chocolate cookies in the name of weight gain is fun and all, but I had so much pent up energy by the end that I was bouncing off the walls. However, I did not and have not run, which is my typical off-season activity. No, I have not mounted a bike either, though I will this next week. Instead I went to the pool, 4 times in the last 6 days actually. Yes, I am looking to find and embrace my inner swimmer (stop laughing please)! I am commiting to become a faster swimmer this time around. It's not that I need to be faster than my absolutely predictable 1:06 Ironman swim. I want to be faster, because I know just how my confidence will just soar if I see, say 1:02, on the race clock. 4 minutes, that's the target. Why 4? Well first I think it's very doable if I just apply myself. Second, if I were in possession of a 1:02 Ironman swim instead of a 1:06, I'd have been to Hawaii twice already. Yes I used to rationalize my lack of swim focus because the amount of training time required to drop the 4 minutes was time that could be spent making bigger gains running. That argument held water (ha ha) when my race time was a 10:58 and I only ran 3:50 for the marathon. Then came 2008, QT2 and Coach Tim, and the subsequent 10:21:56 finish with the 3:28:46 marathon. The final M40-44 slot went to Vinu Malik at 10:19:33. And my swim blew that year: 1:10! Then came 2009 with a 10:14, a 3:23 run and back to a 1:06 swim. Well we know how this one ended; 105 seconds short of the last slot. When I looked at the results one thing became apparent: I was playing catch-up from the gun. In fact only Dave Nerrow had a slower swim than me in the top 13 places, but his bike/run combination is flat out devastating.

So that brings me back to this preseason and my new swim focus. 1:02 that's the number, well one of the numbers but the one commanding the most attention right now. If you're curious the other numbers are 5:25 and 3:19. Add in some transition time and you still get the idea: I'm not shooting for the final spot for Hawaii. The goal in fact has nothing to do with Hawaii, because frankly thinking about that might lead me to delude myself, to research other year's results for M45-49 and analyze trends and think about what is "good enough." No, the goal is breaking 10 hrs. He probably doesn't know it, but Pat Wheeler is an inspiration here. He too suffered a painfully narrow miss in getting to Hawaii, only to use that to fuel his training and obliterate the 10hr barrier. I don't have his speed, but when the goal is set as it is above, 1:02/5:25/3:19, it is clear to me that I most definitely have the ability to break 10. Hawaii, might be an outcome, but hear me now...It is NOT the goal!

How determined am I? Well consider I might actually get some formal swim coaching! *gasp* Inconceivable! ("You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.") I have tried to put some weight on for the early blocks of training (mixed results) because when I'm heavier I recover more quickly, which will be important with my increased focus on volume. I can get away with very low volume running, somewhat lower biking, but not swimming. It's not as natural to me. I need the hours to gain the minutes. I feel good, I'm 7lbs or so more than I was at Pumpkinman, and I'm really eager to get going. Reinserting patience is the biggest challenge! I know it will be a bit of a grind on the trainer in the middle of the winter, but this is my time.

I have some experience with finally achieving long held goals. I ran my first marathon in 1995. It was humbling. From that day on I wanted to break 3hrs. I would get as close as 3:04 on a couple of occasions, but never really get there. Then in 2006 I really dialed myself in mentally. I did the long stuff in the winter. I logged every work out. I took care of the little things. Hell, even my Road ID said it. And I did it. I have the same feeling this time around that I had before the 2006 Boston. The feeling like the focus is there, like an approaching tide the inevitable is coming. And the inevitable is me. It's the unmoving object versus the irresitible force.

So come June 2011, it'll be no problem that my Garmin is only supposed to last for 10hrs on a charge. I only plan on using ~9:56 minutes of it!