Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Off to Idaho

I can't believe the day is almost here. As usual I stopped posting things and indeed took other measures in my training over two months ago to handle the anxiety I typical feel in the final build up. I'm prone to a constant over-analysis of my conditioning followed by the inevitable "Am I faster than 2yrs ago?" My big fear in taking 2yrs off from Ironman racing was getting into things again only to discover that in the interim my body had aged beyond the point where I could post a PR and maybe even crack 10hrs. As I sit here I have a strange feeling of calm where my fitness is concerned. I have a feeling I've never been better prepared. It's like I've got the raw strength I had in early June 2009, combined with the relaxed and confident "Watch me go!" attitude I had in 2008. And I'm a more complete athlete. While I may well post the usual 1:06 on the swim, it won't be because I'm a slower swimmer. I know I'm faster, or maybe more durable is a better way to put it. My swim has joined my bike and run in that "I don't really slow down" category, unless of course I'm trying to hold Doug's or Diane's feet and then I pop! Even then I am finally able to settle myself, relax and recover while continuing to move. That bodes a little better for what I hope is a reasonably clean start (knock on wood!).

I've also managed to avoid illness since the winter of 2010. As much as anything this is a reflection of the reduction of stress in my life, both at home and at work. During the build up in 2009 I was sick a lot. As a result I've been training without unplanned interruption since the winter of 2010. Volume still has never been huge, but for those of you who think it's all about the volume, I'm here to demonstrate that consistency and restoration are greater...with a little bit of fun thrown in! The Mayflower sprint and Pumpkinman 1/2 that I did last year were hands down the most fun I've had racing in a long time. It felt like the "old days". I saw my friends. We talked some trash. And I ran all but one of them down and took home hardware at both! ;)

Of course none of this would be possible without the support of a great number of people, but special mention goes to two. The first is my boss Katie, who for some reason puts up with a prima donna has-been athlete on a daily basis. The funny thing is she didn't even hire me! Had I stayed with the person who had, this story would likely have a different tone. And of course there is my number one supporter Leanna, who puts up with me 24x7! I absolutely mean it when I say there is no "me" without her.

Where's Tim you say? Oh, he's there. That aspect of the training was a bit different this year. Rather than one-on-one we worked with what QT2 calls the "Mission Plan." It's a very detailed plan put together and customized for me, but at the end of the day it's the athlete driving the success or failure of the training, not the coach. It was a good fit for me because at 45 it was time to take what I've learned and put my big boy pants on.

So in a few hours I set off on the journey to Idaho. The travel will take a while and I've still got some packing to do, but when this day ends I'll be in Coeur D'Alene. My thoughts go out to everyone who helped me get there.

(And to Alexandra and Dylan: I love the two of you so very very much. Daddy plans to swim, bike, and run fast so I can get home to you sooner!)