What Are Your Limits?

[caption id="attachment_3532" align="alignright" width="272" caption="The Road Doesn't Have To Have An End"]limitless_boundaries_expectations[/caption] I have been doing a lot of questioning of my ability lately, in a good way but also in an inquisitive way.  It was not all that long ago that I wondered if swimming had become my 2nd best discipline that I trotted out a 20+ mph bike at Disco Triathlon.  I then followed that up with a near 19.5 mph ride on the 70.3 Longhorn course and I feel like the bike has jumped back into 2nd place. Now I know that with training I will be focusing on different segments more than others.  If I tell Coach C that I think I need to improve in being more cautious off the bike and not burn out then she will set up a training week or two where my goal is to be in Z2 for the first 3 miles off the bike just to practice pulling back.  All of the training sessions will hopefully come together on race day and that is where the question of my limits come in. I have been training and racing for about 1.5 years with Coach C.  Each race has resulted in a PR and not by 30 seconds or 1 minute but by 7 or 8 minutes.  My marathon from November 2009 to December 2010 improved by 50 minutes.  This is where the question of my limits comes in.  How long will I continue to PR by such a large margin or PR at all?  What is the limit to my abilities?  Am I asking this question so that when the race hits that I don't PR I am not overly disappointed and am just cushioning the blow? These thoughts have been bouncing around in my head when I had a conversation with my boy Juanito.  He and I were discussing what I think he can do at Longhorn and what my goal is.  I told him that it seemed aggressive but I think I am more than capable because of my training times.  I expressed to him that my runs off the bike and runs in general have been very slow and that led to a discussion about Chris Lieto. [caption id="attachment_3535" align="alignright" width="290" caption="Lieto being passed by Bozzone at Mile 11 of 70.3 Texas"]lieto_bozzone_ironman_texas[/caption] If you follow triathlon you know that Lieto is probably the best cyclist on the tour and yet he almost always gets run down in the marathon.  I watched Kona again yesterday and the broadcast mentioned that he had never run a sub-3 hour marathon in an Ironman (this was as of last year and I don't know if he has done it this year.)  I have always thought to myself:  How can this always happen?  Do his coaches not know this and work with him to get better in the run and improve there?  Change their game plan on the bike from pure all out hammering to a pace that can help him improve on the run and not get caught from behind. It was at this point that Juan said maybe his marathon time is his limit.  Maybe he can't improve and the only way for him to try to win is to kill the bike and try to hang on for the run.  What if that is true?  Does he know that or does he think that?  Is he able to push through that limit? I tend to think that I have no limits but I am also realistic enough to know that time will take its toll eventually.  Regardless of how clean you eat, and how much you take care of your body there is the natural aging progression that will slow you down.  Would it make sense to then compare myself to the others around me in my age group?  I don't do that now as I only compare myself to myself and see how I am improving but at some point there will be, at least I think, a point where improvement can no longer be measured against ones own times but against the others in the field. My goal is to someday make it to Las Vegas for the 70.3 World Championships and Kona for the Ironman World Championships, and lets not stop there.  I want to qualify for Boston (maybe end world hunger too but that is for another blog post) so you can see I don't set limits on myself and I wonder if and when time does set those limits how I will react. I am competitive so will I push myself to continue to get better from a time perspective or will better just mean that I am maintaining a bike split or run split that is above average in my age group.  Only time will tell.

Do You Push Yourself Past Your Current Limits?

Do You Consider Your Future Limits?

Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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