Saturday, August 30, 2008

IM Louisville

It’s currently 7:15pm, the night before Ironman Louisville, and I’m sitting in my hotel room watching Wheel of Fortune. I’m very excited for my race tomorrow. I’ve been training since February 4th for this particular race, and if I’m not ready now, I won’t be any more ready in the morning. This year’s training went slightly differently than last year’s training, because I joined a cycling team and raced on the road quite a few weekends that last year I was doing centuries or solo long rides. But I got the race experience, and still got in a couple long rides. They weren’t necessarily at the speed I would have liked, but we’ll see how it all plays out tomorrow.

As far as running goes, I did twice as many marathons last year than this year, but I feel more prepared for the run this year than I did last year. I’m not sure why that is, but I know that my 13-miler a couple weeks ago felt so good and was at just the pace I was hoping for. Tomorrow I’m aiming for a sub-4 marathon, and will even have the tattoo on my arm so that I can look at it and make sure I’m on schedule.

My plan for tomorrow is to swim in 1:10, ride in 5:59, and run in 3:59 or 4:15. Ideally, I’d finish under 12 hours but closer to 11:30 and qualify for Kona.

This morning at breakfast, I talked to Luis A., 46, who has done 55 IMs since 1991. One time he did 10 in one year! Yikes! He said that he did Madison last year, and that this course is faster than that one. The swim starts in a channel and then turns into the current of the Ohio River. It won’t be wetsuit-legal, but I should be OK due to the pull. The bike is a false flat on the way out, a decent hill 20 or so miles in (which I rode in May and, if I remember right, it was similar to Lynnwood way if not shorter), and some rollers for the two loops out in La Grange. Then the ride back in is down the false flat, so it should be slightly faster. I have my electrolyte tabs, meat, almonds, and water all ready for the ride. The run is 2 miles out across a bridge, then a 2-loop out and back. That will be ideal, because it will be about 6 miles out, 6 miles back, then repeat. That’s a little less than an hour each time, and it will be with the rest of the field, so I’ll get to see a bunch of people and won’t be alone.

One bad thing is that it is a time-trial start, so I won’t know who’s in my age group, who started before me, who started with me, or who started before more. There might be as much as 45 minutes between first start and the last. I’m not going to make the same mistake I did in McMinnville, where I didn’t push myself because no one was ahead or behind me (and I missed out on 3rd overall by 3 minutes); however, I’m not going to run someone else’s race just because they are ahead of me. That’s why I’ll have the tattoo, so I can pace myself there.

I won’t be wearing my heart rate monitor or GPS. Last year, the GPS didn’t work until a few miles in and the battery died before the finish, so I ditched it with my grandparents. I don’t have anyone here supporting me this year, so I won’t be worrying about it.

Luis said that qualifying for HI might be easier here, because the people who might be interested in going would have probably already qualified because this race is so close to October 18. I’m praying I qualify, but most of all that I run my race, do my best, and don’t DQ or DNF for any reason. Nutrition, hydration, and smarts will be on my mind the whole time.

After watching and reading about the Olympics this year, I decided that I want to make it to the 2016 Olympics. I will be just 33 then, and hopefully peaking that year if I do things right (especially because now I know that’s what I want to do). I’ve already made the first step, which is making the goal. Some other steps along the way include making changes in the way I’m eating, keeping the desire to race, and doing my best while training and racing. I also need to get a coach.

My desire is to work with Will R. for at least a year, maybe two, to build a good strength and speed base. Will, the hockey player. But, he’s a great trainer and knows what it takes to win and succeed. He also knows me and my attitude. His concern is that it may not work with him in AZ (or possibly CO or CA) and me in TN. We’ll talk this weekend and see what he thinks. I’ve written out a few things that I’m looking for in a coach and what I want out of a coach/trainer.

If he doesn’t think it will work, I have a few other ideas.

Plan B: I could move. I have a lease on my apartment until June 30 and a job, but I could leave after my lease is up and possibly find another job. Ideally, I’d take some time to draw up a proposal/plan to talk to John R., John O., Amy H., and Lisa S. that would allow me to work for Boson from wherever I end up. Also, Lisa mentioned that John R. is very generous and might consider sponsoring me if I had a good plan. I like making and presenting plans, and I like them best when they work! In addition, it would be great to have a sponsor pay for race entry fees if nothing else. I’ve already talked to Kelson L. about designing a Boson kit for me if that happens. How cool would that be!

Plan C: I could stay here and hire an actual tri coach around here. This would be my last choice for a number of reasons. 1: I know Will and know he can help me succeed. 2: I like working with Will. 3: A tri coach around here will likely be more expensive. However, hiring an actual tri coach from the outset might help me achieve my goals sooner rather than later. But with an 8-year goal, I’d have a little time to build a base and then go from there. And more time to get known around here.

I guess we’ll see what Will says. I can’t forget to pray about this too, because it’s a huge move. I know that God’s given me the ability to run and race (thanks to Joel W. for the needed reminder), and want to thank Him continually for everything He’s done. And I can’t forget to thank Him even if I get injured.

That reminds me: I only met Will because he was injured and couldn’t play hockey for a while. God is really amazing. Not only did He send His Son to die on the cross for our sins, He did it because He loves us so much and wants us to glorify Him in everything we do. Thank you, Lord, for everything! I’m sure I’m more grateful on this issue than Will is.

I’d like to continue racing bikes. Criteriums are my favorite, because I have a good sprint, and road races are often my toughest, because I get dropped on the hills. However, due to the successful season I had this year, I’ll be catting up to Cat III and hopefully getting a little recognition around the area. My teammate, Lisa S., and I are hoping that her coach will be starting a new team and that we’ll be asked to be on the team. It would be a good team, handpicked, and would allow us to ride with women who have been racing for a while and men who would be able to push us and make us better. I also now have to defend a tiara, which I won for conquering the women’s crit series, so no pressure there!

Well, Jeopardy is now over so it’s time to go to sleep to be rested for tomorrow. I’m well-hydrated (at the weigh-in yesterday, she said my hydration was 56% and that they recommend 55% of over for women), well-fed (thanks to the hamburgers, steak, and veggies I brought from home), ready (thanks to the last 7 months of training), going to do my best tomorrow, and aiming for Hawaii in the process. Pray for no rain, cool temps, me to race my best and a smart race, and a fun day all around!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Coaching Wants and Personal Goals

What I want from a coach:
  • Someone who knows what he's doing
  • Someone who knows how to motivate
  • Someone who has a good rapport among other athletes
  • Someone with whom I get along
  • Someone who does what he tells me to do
  • Someone who knows how to help me improve
  • Someone who has the drive to succeed
  • Someone who serves Christ
  • Someone who is in the shape I want to be in
  • Olympic triathlete: 2016
  • - Olympic distance
  • - Draft legal
  • - Check times from 2008
  • Ironman Kona qualifier: ASAP
  • - Iron distance
  • - Check times: between 10h and 11:30
My strengths as an athlete:
  • sprinter
  • can maintain same pace
  • self-motivated
  • desire to succeed
  • drive to win
My weaknesses as an athlete:
  • Not fast at endurance distance
  • Not fast-paced in general
  • Probably heavier (and with a different body type) than most other athletes
  • (All the above CAN be overcome!)
My needs--how I should be improving:
  • Increase speed on run
  • Climb hills better on bike (don't get dropped)
  • Swim faster (if I'm not out of the water with the lead group, I won't ever catch up, especially in draft-legal races)