So I have spent 2011 relieved that I have don’t have an Ironman on my schedule for the first time in 2 years. Having done 3 Iron distance races and 5 half distance races in about 15 months, it goes without saying that the the break was much needed! This year has been a ton of fun in terms of working on my speed and being able to focus on my coaching, but for one reason or another, I’m starting to get the Ironman itch again.
After a “good” race (results-wise)
in Knoxville. One of the hardest
runs ever! Suffer-fest
I think my urge is partially due to an extremely disappointing DNF (at mile 137.5) at Louisville in August after 7-8 months of intense, serious training. Post Louisville, I felt deflated and like I failed….but I was also determined to prove to myself I was able to complete a second Ironman. I spent September and October doing “normal” training volume – one 2-hour run and two long rides included – but for the most part, shorter distance workouts. I signed up for B2B to simply complete the race. I had worked so hard to build my fitness pre-Lousivlle and I thought I could still have a decent race despite the lower training volume..and I did!
I’m still left feeling unsatisfied. Given I hardly trained for B2B, I still feel like I have some “unfinished” Ironman business. I think I have a sub 11-hour Ironman in me. I had a great race at Arizona in 2009 (11:08), but it was also my first Ironman (and not to mention my 5th triathlon) and I trained un-coached. I was off my bike in 7:18 in Louisville despite puking for over 5 hours and think I could have turned in a 3:40 marathon, maybe. That part I’ll never know, which has kept me up at night more times than I care to admit since that race. Then I thought for sure B2B would be my sub 11-hour race given the “blazing fast current” in the water and “80+ mile tailwind” on the bike course. However, said “screaming fast” course ended up being the most head-windy, against-the-current, absolutely most freezing race of my life and I turned in a 11:14.
Herein lies dilemma #1.
Ironman events fill up, for the most part, 364 days in advance (the day after the previous years race). This means time is running out to decide and sign up for a race in 2012 if that’s what I am going to do. There are a select few races after August so I’ll need to decide soon! I think a later season race is what I’d be leaning towards anyway so the bulk of my training is in the end of summer/early fall, but which race!?!
Herein lies dilemma #2.
The races I know I should to do in order to compete well in my age group are the ones with the uber hard bike courses (St. George, Placid, Wisconsin, Quebec to name a few). These don’t coincide with the races I’d need to do in order to go for my coveted sub-11 hour race (Cozumel, Arizona, Florida, to name a few). Though I’m a strong cyclist and can climb hills well, I actually enjoy the screaming fast, flat, in-your-aero-bars kind of courses. I enjoy a stand alone, bury yourself ride in the mountains, but let’s be honest, they hurt! The thought of running a marathon thereafter is, well, somewhat nauseating.
To date, as soon as the thought process has gotten this far, I’ve pushed it to the back of my mind and focused on something else…until now. It’s time to decide. It’s time to have a long, detailed discussion with Stacey and set my race goals for next year and thereafter. It’s time to have a serious conversation with Marianne and Robin and see where I can take my bike racing, if anywhere. It’s time to talk it over again with my sister cause she always gives such solid, honest advice. It’s just time!
I mostly know it’s time because the thought of hitting that “register” button on the Ironman website excites me again…it doesn’t make me want to cry!
Stayed tuned!! Off to get some rest for my dreaded exciting 2-mile test set tomorrow!