Thursday, September 23, 2010

Feeling Strong, Feeling Ready

I got to spend some time this week getting to know JulieJulie from the Chubby Mommy Running Club (from whom I've shamelessly stolen this photo). She's an energetic mom, social media expert, blogger, organizer and only semi-reluctant runner who is currently considering possibly giving some thought to maybe doing a triathlon next year.... and even letting me coach her through the process!  Whenever I meet with a new athlete, the first thing I start formulating in my mind is a plan that works for them. That means thinking about what might motivate them, how a plan will fit with their life, and what things might detract from being able to complete their plan.

As self-coached athletes, how many of us fail to have a plan? I know I've spent many years doing just that. You all know I'm married to an ex-Army sergeant right? And they have this saying about " "Failure to plan is planning to fail." I'm not sure I would categorize any of my years in the sport or my triathlons as "failures" per say because I love it too much to think about it in such narrow terms. But I do know that for many years I did not perform according to my potential. Now in my mid-40's, my potential may come to a point where it's limited more by age than by training, but at least I know that with better planning I'm reaching closer to that potential than ever. At least I hope so.

This year I think I've done everything right. My nutrition has been great, I've been sleeping 7 - 8 hours most nights, I built strength through the winter and even persevered through a broken bone and injured joint to come out strong on the other side. I created a training plan for my half-Iron and although my crazy life with kids, dogs, chickens, robotics, homeschooling, teaching, coaching, etc. has inevitably gotten in the way more than once, I've stuck to the plan reasonably well. Now I've tapered, am packing my bags, and tomorrow I'll drive to Washington for the 3rd time's a charm try at the Black Diamond Half Ironman distance race. Last year was marred by an experimental training plan gone badly awry. Although my race performance was still reasonable, it didn't feel optimal. Two years before that, I felt terrific until I missed taking my nutrition on the run course and gave myself the Bonk from Hell.  All lessons taken to heart.

My goals this year:
- Sub-30:00 swim: Might it be possible, given my strong swim performances in all races this year, despite broken arm recovery?
- 2:51 or better on the bike: This would be 2 minutes faster than last year, a reasonable improvement.
- 2:05 on the run: This is the biggest stretch of all, it would mean a 5-minute PR on the HIM run. I've put in some good long runs on hills and trails this season. Will it pay off? Pacing is key here.
- 30 seconds off of my total T1 + T2. I have always changed socks in T2, I think I'm going to give that a miss this time and see what happens.

if I can do all of that, I can come in sub 5:39, which is my post-kids PR time. If I can really nail all of it, I can hopefully close in on a sub-5:30 time which is a goal I'd like to hit.

So what can I do this year? Stay tuned and find out!


cherelli said...

Good luck - have a spectacularly good race!

Becky said...

Robin, do you have both a road bike and a tri bike? I started with a great road bike and now have the opportunity to get a good tri bike used (an athlete friend is jumping sponsorships). I don't know enough to make the decision!

Can't wait to hear about your race!

Robin said...

I only have a tri bike, it's nothing too fancy. I would like to get a road bike eventually to do more group rides and longer road/touring stuff. If you have the opportunity, that sounds like a good deal!