Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Final Couple Weeks before the Big Day

12 more days till my big race. Tic. Tac. Tic. Tac. After all the training in the last 5.5 months, I am really looking forward to the Ironman.

On one hand I am a bit worried. Worried about the swim, especially the first 500 meters or so. I've heard enough horror stories about people being kicked, elbowed, swam over, etc. Worried that the water will be too cold. Worried about going out too hard in the first half of the bike ride. Worried about blowing up on the run. Worried about not getting enough calories. Worried about consuming too many calories...

On the other hand, just like before a big test at school, I won't get any more prepared and fit for this event than I am now, so I just want it over with so that I can stop worrying about all that stuff.

Here's what I've invested into this endeavour so far this year:
  • swam 175,000 yards, which is almost twice the distance I swam in 2008

  • biked 2,600 miles, which is as much as in 2008

  • ran a little over 400 miles, which is less than I'd like... lots of injuries this year :(

Most of my training weeks were between 14 and 17 hours of training. My biggest week in the cycle was about 20 hours of swimming/biking/running including a weekend training camp in Coeur D'Alene when I covered the full Ironman distance over the course of 3 days and felt really strong doing it. Feels like that was a long time ago now. I hope I am still as fit as I felt that weekend.

I am now officially "tapering", which means I am only training about 6-8 hours a week during these last couple weeks. I am not doing any long or intense workouts either. I feel a bit like a slacker for not doing my 2 workouts a day and not putting in monstrous workouts on the weekends. The idea is that I let my body completely recover, catch up on sleep, rebuild my muscles and replenish my energy supplies. I want to hit that start line very fit, rested and healthy.

If I manage not to screw anything up in these last few days or get sick, hopefully I'll be able to hit some or all of my goals. I always have multi-level goals so that I can feel accomplished and happy even if I don't meet the most ambitious ones, e.g.:

  1. First and foremost, finish strong and healthy

  2. Finish under 12 hours (1h:20m swim, 6h:30m bike, 4h run)

  3. Finish under 11.5 hours if I feel really speedy (1h:15m swim, 6h:20m bike, 3h:45m run)

Unlike my usual summers (when I have all the races planned out for the season), I am intentionally not signed up for any other events this year after the Ironman. There is a good chance I will be too tired of structured triathlon training after this and ready for some spontaneous hiking/trail running/cycling somewhere far and pretty/rock climbing - you name it :-) The risk is that I may not feel motivated to do anything at all if I am not committed, but I'll worry about that once I am done with the Ironman.

Wish me luck and please help me reach my fundraising goal of $2000 for Doctors Without Borders by donating at http://januscharitychallenge.kintera.org/cda09/golilia

Thank you so much to those of you who have already donated! Your support makes it possible for people in emergency situations around the world to receive much needed urgent medical care.

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