Work Hard, Race Hard, Play Hard

Work Hard, Race Hard, Play Hard

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ironman Whistler - Pre race thoughts

So I had every intention of posting an update from Whistler, and I actually started writing one but… oops I never finished or posted.   So I am going to start off with these pre race thoughts and then follow up with the dirty deets of race day!

Pre- Race thoughts:

If you have been following along, you know I had a slow start to my season with a very long off season (6 months to be exact).  After Kona last year, I really had no idea if I would race AT ALL this year, but after taking some time off I did miss it, and slowly started getting back into training in March.  In April, I started working with my new coach Brian and began slowly getting myself back into shape.  However, since I had no plan after last season, this also meant I was not signed up for any races. This is a challenging predicament since races sell out a year in advance!  When the new Ironman Canada in Whistler was announced, I knew this was a race I wanted to do in the future, however at the time of sign up I just wasn’t able to commit myself to any races for 2013. Fast forward to early 2013 I started thinking that maybe I would like to do an Ironman later in the year and I also thought at this point that I had no intention of (even if I qualified) racing at either 70.3 World Champs or Kona. After Kona last year, I felt strongly that I didn’t want to attempt either of those races again until I had more time to dedicate to training so that I felt ready to compete at the level I know I am capable of.  So, I thought ok great year to do Whistler because I  didn’t have to worry about trying to Kona qualify earlier in the year.  Thankfully I landed myself an entry to Ironman Whistler and an Ironman on the calendar! 

I arrived in Whistler very nervous and excited to race.  While I was very nervous, it was a good emotion.  It's an emotion I haven’t felt pre race since before Ironman Cozumel in 2011 (hmm.. wouldn’t mind if this race resembles those race results).   I really felt like I had done the best I could fitting in training with the hours available to me and juggling my crazy job! 

There were a few main things that had been running through my head the weeks leading into race day, so I am going to break them out individually to help me keep this organized

1.  Is this sport passing me by?
     This is something I had been struggling with so much last year.
 2.  Sunday I will race my race.  If it’s not enough to get me on the podium or Kona.....I am ok with that.  I know I did all I could do for this race given my limited training time/work schedule.  Ok maybe I skipped a few swims, but besides that…
3. Thankful and appreciating the opportunity to race in this amazing place
4. There is no better compliment than hearing you inspire other people.
5.  Loving it again

Is this sport passing me by?
While I feel I did a good job most of the time just focusing on all that I could do in training and not on the things that I couldn’t do, I have to admit I still struggled at times with wondering how I could possibly stay relevant and competitive in this sport, as it seems the majority of the girls I am lining up against are able to train 20+ hours a week. Something that I just 100% do not have the ability to do even if I wanted to. With so many people going pro or simply training like a pro, how can I compete with my lame 10-12 hours a week.  Even though I trained similarly when I won the Amateur title at IMCoz in 2011 in 9:57, I still would get down on myself and often feel as if I wasn't doing enough! I tried to block this out and focus on just getting the work done day in and day out.  But it’s not always easy to do that.  For inquiring minds, this is what a typical training week looks like for me:

Monday – swim or day off ( I most always skip the swim and take the day off)
Tuesday – 1 hour computrainer workout
Wed -  interval or tempo run
Thurs.  – 1 hour computrainer workout
Friday -  easy run/swim.  ( I most often skip these workouts, and if I’m not skipping I’ll opt for easy run, except 3 weeks out from the race I will swim)
Sat – long bike…sometimes run off bike
Sunday – long run

There you have it folks…my 10/12 hours of Ironman training! 

Ironically, one day that this sort of seemed to be weighing heavily on my mind, I received an email from a coach/friend with a link to an article that he thought I may be interested in.  The article was about Purplepatch athlete Sam Iinkinen….a lot of you may already know his story…but I didn’t….when I read this article I had an “AHA” moment.  It was as if I was reading about myself  (with the exception of the sub 9 hour Ironman Hawaii time J ) …here was a guy who worked similar hours and trained similar hours to me and has been able to race competitively.

What also struck me was how similar our training schedules are:

Sam’s training schedule:

       Monday:  Rest (or 30 min easy swim)
       Tuesday:   Bike intervals on trainer (60-90 minutes)
       Wednesday:  Run intervals on trails (60-70 mins)
       Thurs ( Bike intervals on trainer (60-90 mins)
       Friday: Rest/Swim (40-60 mins)/easy run
      Saturday:  Bike long
      Sunday  Run long

This article really helped to shift my attitude and I realized that maybe my biggest limiter has been my inconsistency in training and not my lack of training hours. My issue has also been the months and months I have taken off, instead of just plugging away day in and day out. I let my frustration of not being able to “do more” get the best of me.   So I have made a pact with myself to just “keep on keepin on” and just focus on maintaining consistency post Ironman Whistler.  Thank you to Earl for sharing this article. And thanks to Sam, I don’t know you, but you are my inspiration!

On race day  I will race my race.  If its not enough to get me on the podium or Kona…I am ok with that.  I know I did all I could do for this race given my limited training time/work schedule.    Ok maybe I skipped a few swims, but besides that…

I was prepared to go out there and give 100%, but at the end of the day this race was for me and was not about winning my AG or qualifying for Kona. It was about regaining belief in myself and reigniting my passion for this sport.  So while I am extremely competitive and always have a desire to win, my main goal was to execute a great race and stomp out all the demons of last year in my head!

Thankful and appreciating the opportunity to race in this amazing place

I am filled with gratitude to be able to travel to amazing places to race.  And to arrive in Whistler healthy and ready to race is not something I take for granted.  Whistler is an amazing venue for Ironman and I fell in love with it immediately! Highly recommend!

There is no better compliment than hearing you inspire other people.
I have been so honored recently to have quite a few people reach out to me just to tell me that I inspire them.  I realized that being able to inspire just a few people to work hard, chase dreams, dig deep, and never give up….means more to me than winning any race.  So thank you to all who reached out, you picked me up when I needed it and I raced with all of you in my mind on race day.

Loving it again
And lastly….although this doesn’t need much explanation…I am so happy to have reignited my passion for triathlon. I have been a competitive athlete my whole life, and I’m so happy I didn’t throw in the towel at 35 J  Thank you to everyone who helped me this year find my love of this sport again. 

I’ll be back soon with an update on race day.

Thanks for reading!