On the eve of me signing up for my 12th Ironman I wanted to write a bit about what has been happening recently. For the last 10-12 weeks I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my previous race seasons and my career.
2018 will be about me focusing on my career, my family (son, friends & camp), and fully dedicating myself to triathlon.
I started training for the 2017 season on October 11th, 10 days after IMMD in 2016. I realized over the past two years I wasn’t dedicating enough time to training. I was going through the motions. Their was multiple factors in this. I fell out of love with the bike, I got injured in August of ’15, and I put on 10-12 pounds from not focusing on my diet.
The last time I considered myself ‘fast’ was the fall of 2014. I had come off a season of doing a lot of running races and my race weight was in check. Until 2015 my race weight was 167 pounds. Just lean enough to be able to run 7:15’s for up to about 15 miles without to much suffering. In 2014 I was doing a lot of weekend long runs and just racing in general. I missed qualifying for Boston in the fall of 2014 at the Loco Marathon by about 15 minutes. I ran a 3:30 and I needed a 3:15. I should have run a 3:20 had I not fallen at mile 26 and had to walk the last mile.
Part of this reflection I have been doing is I missed racing. I was a bit to focused on triathlon training. When I got injured in late August 2015 after hiking Mount Washington in 2 hours up and 1:30 down. To put this in perspective I hiked with a friend a few weeks ago and it took 3:45 to get up there and 3:15 to get down. This hike in ’15 triggered a tear of my labrum on the right side. It wasn’t until I was on a 20 mile run the following weekend that I believe it completely tore. I was 5 miles into a very hot and humid day. I thought because of the weather I was slowing down. When I got home I could barely walk. About 10 days later I went and ran a half marathon. This was the dumbest thing I could do. I thought It was just tight. I ran 1:32 half marathon in complete pain. After the race was over I could barely walk. It took over 6 months to heal and doing 3 Ironmen races in 2016 didn’t help me with the healing either.
This year I completely dedicated myself to the bike. I biked just about 5,000 miles from Oct ’16- July ’17. Near the end of January I re-injured my hip to the point I hard a time walking. This was in the front of my hip and caused me to miss about 10 weeks of training. I was able to get back to training and put in a solid 10 weeks of hard training in time for the Patriot half. I was able to PR there help me get ready for Lake Placid. During this time I never ran more than a 7-8 miles for my long run. This was because I was concerned about my hip.
Ironman Lake Placid was supposed to be my coming out party from all of the hard training. The hard training paid off on the bike but not on the run. At about mile 90 of the bike I bonked for about 5 miles. I essentially grabbed a wheel (meaning let someone pace me) while I ate and stayed with him on the hills. Once I recovered I finished off the bike. The problem was I never got enough calories to have a healthy run. That was mistake number 1. While in transition from the bike to the run my calves seized and my legs were cramping really bad. I needed real calories at this point.
When I got out of T2 I saw my family and Ray’s daughter. I asked where Ray was and she said way up the road. Mistake number 2. I just put the hammer down. Remember rule number one of Ironman is the race doesn’t start until mile 18 of the run. You have to hold back and just stay relaxed. For the first 5 miles I was averaging sub 9’s. This is without food in my system and just going to catch up to Ray and hopefully Denny. I caught Ray and from then on my day was over. I think I caught up about mile 6 or 7. To stay with tradition I threw up at mile 8. Up until this point out of the 9 Full IM’s I have done I have throw up at mile on 8. The only one I didn’t was IMCHOO and that was PR race.
Ray stayed with me the rest of the day. If it wasn’t for him I am not sure I would have finished. I owe Ray IM number 9. Thanks Ray.
I had my second Ironman less than a month later in Canada. Mont Tremblant is by far the best Ironman village I have ever been to. I have done IMTX, IMLOU, IMLP, IMMD, & IMCHOO and IMMT was just beautiful.
My race strategy was simple. Just enjoy the day. I had come into this race fairly well rested because I had been working so much and didn’t have a chance to do another block of training. Just maintenance miles really. I had put on about 5 pounds for race day.
My swim was a bit slower than I had hoped. The last 1/4 I was tired and chop was bothering me. The bike was similar to IMLP but it had a few more ups and downs. On lap two of the bike I had a pop tart that my mother had me put in my bike special needs bag. This saved me from bonking those last 12 miles like I did at IMLP.
My run strategy was to walk out of T2 getting real calories in me and easing into the run. I planned to stop and walk every few miles so I get real food in me. This went according to plan. I held back a lot. At this point I haven’t run a full marathon without walking since 2014. So I wasn’t sure what to expect. In my head I thought I could break 5 hours for a marathon. By about mile 9 I was finding my groove. I stayed within myself. I wanted to run sub 12 minute miles and just have my heartrate very relaxed. I was able to average 10:35’s. My Marathon time was 4:35. About a one minute PR for my best Ironman marathon race.
For these last several weeks I continue to think how much I missed racing. Something I will change next year. I will post a schedule in the coming weeks but I plan to do a lot more local races next spring to prepare for the 2018 triathlon season.
My main focus for 2018 is to hold myself accountable and reach the goals that I have set out to do. My weight is currently at 180 pounds. I will get to 160 pounds in time for Lake Placid in July. I plan to post my weight monthly starting in January as I make this transition.
My coach- Todd Gothberg
Todd will be coaching me next year and hopefully beyond. He is old school in his training. Meaning it’s about doing the work and a bit less about interval work. Todd’s strength is on the swim and the run but his way of training will help me to achieve a sub 6 for a bike at Ironman. He and I will sit down in the next few weeks to go over my 2018 race schedule and he will help me to achieve the goals I should have been attaining all along. Our main focus will be up my training hours, get very lean, and race a lot more. Todd gives me that fire that I want to continue and be the best that I can be.
We may even try a late season BQ attempt depending on where my times are.
Here is to a healthy training season!