‘A’ race is what we train days and weeks and months for. We sweat and bleed for this A race. We pour over data from our power meter and Garmin watch. We watch every last calorie until that late night head in the pantry binge that you discount because you rode the trainer for 2 hours that morning and have a 1 hour run the next day so those calories don’t count. Our whole sense of being is focused on that A race and once we toe the line (do you really toe a line in triathlon?) and the cannon goes off we swim, bike and run as hard as we can. All of those hours of training are being put to good use right at that moment. After you cross the finish line you race to the food tent and eat everything in sight. Three chocolate chip cookies, 2 slices of pizza, a gallon of water, maybe some beer and then you sit around going over war stories with your buddies.
You may race to your blog to type your blog post about the race. You don’t want to leave out any detail, like your pinkie toe rubbing against a rock in the 17th mile of the race and having to stop to remove that pesky little rock. People need to know this stuff don’t they? Your race recap covers a week’s worth of posts because you keep thinking of things and keep adding to it. Finally Race Recap: The War And Peace version is done and the high-fives no longer are coming your way. You longingly stare at your medal and you can’t wait for the race photos to show up. When they do you pour over them and remember every last moment of the race. You decide to not spend money on the race pics because none of them makes you look like Chrissie Wellington or Pete Jacobs. Fortunately for you there will be PLENTY of more opportunities to purchase these photos because you will be reminded monthly for the next two years that it is the last chance you have to buy said photos.
When the pomp and circumstance dies down and your training becomes nothing what do you do then? This is the situation I find myself in right now. It has been nearly 2 months since I finished my 3rd Ironman and while I have been getting in regular swims, bikes and runs in there is something missing. That competitive drive to be better today than I was yesterday isn’t there because what am I training for? For example, this week I jumped in the pool with the idea of swimming 1,500 yards with a structured set that included 2×400 negative split swims. I barely got through the warm-up when I cut the 1,500 to 1,000 and instead of 2×400 it became 300 and 200 negative splits with a 100 yard cool down.
I know that there is another Ironman in my future and most likely will be Ironman Texas 2014 but because that is close to a year away the fire that burns is more of a smolder than it is an inferno. In order to keep that spark going I am literally inventing competitions with myself. I am talking about stupid things. Things that nobody in their right mind would think of and all because my A race took place in May and that leaves me the entire Spring, Summer and Fall to think about training in the winter for an early spring race. Heaven forbid I decide not to race Ironman Texas and instead want to travel to Boulder in August or Florida in November. My goodness may the world have mercy on Karen if that happens.
Anyway, back to these ridiculous contests that I have created over the past month or so. They are to the point that I am making them up on the fly and creating rules along the way. Want to see what some of them are? Here you go:
A Race Substitutions
- Run for 30 minutes with heart rate between 127 and 140. Anytime out of that zone gets added onto the end in the form of walking. GASP! Walking.
- Riding my normal route on the weekend and having to get to the typically 30 minute mark in less than 30 minutes or have to plank for the amount of time difference when the ride is done.
- This week because we are moving has formed an almost necessary contest: Breakfast for every meal for the week. Really? WTF?
- Seeing how many straight hours HGTV can be on the television with the sound on before I lose my mind. I call this mental strength training.
As you can see it is only going to be a matter of time before Karen loses her mind with me and these ridiculous contests but this is what happens when the A race comes and goes and there is an open void on your schedule. I have plans to race 70.3 Redman and 70.3 Oilman later in the year but I haven’t registered for either. I do have the Hotter N’ Hell 100 in late August that I will be riding with Jeff and Bob. That right now is the fuel for my fire but truth be told it is a 100 mile supported ride that if I get tired or bored I can just stop and refuel with all the chocolate and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I can stuff in my face. Now, there is a contest I should start!