Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Tuesday Morning Training Club

For the definitive word on this morning's training, see Wil's post. She's more reflective and tons more prompt than I am, and she knows which end of a camera to point at the subject. Just for the record though, I did NOT eat a sandwich while I waited for her. In fact I didn't wait for her at all. And she may have had a wetsuit mis-adventure putting hers on, but you should have seen me trying to take mine off! Several seagulls died laughing.

Today makes the 4th time I've traversed the Steelhead swim in the last 10 days, and it's finally starting to boost my open-water swim confidence. You'd think Lake Michigan would be the last place to go for confidence. It's huge. It has what we in the Midwest refer to as "waves." Sometimes big waves. It's cold enough to shrink Vertical Man's wetsuitless walnuts. But I've discovered that I LOVE Lake Michigan swimming. No weeds, no fish, water clear enough to see the sand ripples 12 feet below, and a gorgeous beach just off to my right if I ever need it. Now if I could just find a way to stop getting motion-sick from the waves roller-coastering me.

Wil and I have decided to devote Tuesday mornings to Steelhead-based training. Next Tuesday, for example, we'll do the 1.2 mile swim, hop on our bikes and ride the 56-mile bike course, then finish out the day's exertions with a 30-minute run. We're facing down the beast and, as we do, I think we're both starting to relax a bit about the race. (Wil, am I right? Please tell me I'm right!!)

I know Steelhead is going to be the challenge of my life, but it's a challenge I accepted - and a journey I began - nearly a year ago, as I accompanied the Tri-Brother to the 2004 Steelhead race expo. I said "I'm gonna be there next year, come hell or high water." August 6th may throw both hell AND high water at me, but at its worst it's still just a signpost marking the way to the ultimate challenge: IMMOO in 2006.

Yet, something funny has happened on the road to Steelhead. I've always pegged 6 hours as my "desired" Steelhead finishing time, figuring under an hour for the swim, under three for the bike and two for the run. With transitions in there somewhere, 6 hours seemed doable if a bit ambitious. Now, thanks to some intensive psychotherapy from Karyn and Intrepid Training Partner (what are trainers and friends for?) the new, relaxed, bottom line is "finish vertical, do your best whatever the course and conditions throw at you, and learn something along the way." Finishing times are important but letting 'em rule your life is counterproductive.

I've gotta trust my training, my body, my strategy and my equipment. Everything else is out of my hands. I've never worried about finishing a race and I'm not gonna start now. So bring it on, Steelhead. I'll kick your ass if it takes me a week.


mipper said...

i like the "new, relaxed bottom line." i think it will only increase your accomplishments. great update. i look forward to following you and wil each tuesday.

tarheeltri said...

That's a great philosophy. Training is where I stress out, but races are always fun!

Shelley said...

Great attitude...I have always found that setting a certain "time" will only make you more stressed..my goal has, and always will be too "just" finish..:-)) So I have no set time for this 1/2 since i've never done one, I figure this will be my first PR..
See ya next Tuesday!!

Wil said...

OK, you understand that you will forever more be harrassed about "walnuts" now, right? This is officially the new inside joke. Oh, just wait until Tuesday my friend.

And you're totally right about the anxiety levels going away, remember how psychotically freaked I was about that swim!? Now, I think I'll barely even need a straight jacket...a few more times up there, and it's in the bag.

A great point you made - we've been talking about times, etc. And hell, it's a damn half Ironman...let's just finish with enough juice left to have a great party!

Vertical Man said...

Hmmm. I would certainly hate to have to mention things like wetsuit malfunctions in my own defense!!!

Wil said...

Ha...ditto that one. I'm bringing the damn PAM next time ;)

Comm's said...

great focus VM. I wish I was getting into some of that training.

I have a two lap F1 tri next weekend and then a week of getting in runs at 11,000 inbetween casts of the fishing pole. Im going native baby!