Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Fool's Goal

The off season features the return of a commodity that many age group triathletes find themselves in short supply.

Time.

Along with greater amounts of time comes greater amounts of reflection.

You guys knew you were in trouble. Right? :-)

Basically, what it boils down to, is this. My failure to meet my sub-6 goal at Augusta stems from three sources. Two of which should be fairly obvious. The other one, not so obvious. Let's go through each one of them. I know. You can't wait.

Back before the High Falls Olympic, I was hitting the strength training pretty hard. I was only going once, maybe twice a week, but I was pushing some pretty heavy weights. I had discussed this with my coach. She had scheduled me for strength maintenance on my plan. In my foolishness, I hit the weights hard. I felt the burn in my muscles.

At High Falls Olympic, I caught myself. I told coach that I was not doing anymore strength training because it was causing my muscles to cramp. What led me to this decision? I was cramping in my thighs. I haven't cramped in my thighs since the West Point Olympic back in my first year of triathlon.

The second foolish decision was really two and three together. Coach sez to take two salt tabs per hour when its hot and you are racing and training, and we all the axiom, "Nothing new on race day!" Well, I never ever trained with salt tabs. I tried them last year, and I did not care for them. They upset my stomach a bit. I decided to go with PowerGel Electrolyte water for Ironman Florida last year, and it worked out OK. I finished. This year, at Augusta, I left my PowerGel packets at home. They are not easy to find. Dani was kind enough to give me some of her Propel packets, and I used that to fuel my water.

When I ride my bike, I alternate between Gatorade Tiger and enhanced water. I like the taste of Tiger. Not too sweet. Not too salty. I can drink it for an Iron distance event. Unfortunately, when I got to the Propel, I hated it. It tasted nasty, and I forced myself to drink the first bottle. The second bottle of Tiger didn't go down so well after that. Rather than drink my fourth bottle (the one with Propel), I opted to pick up a bottle of Gatorade at the bottle exchange and managed to sip that into transition.

If you read my race report, you know that less than a half mile in, I cramped up on the run, in my thighs. The rest is history.

So lessons learned... Moving on... and all that jazz. Liz tells me not to beat myself up. She knows. Of course, she knows. She sees it all the time in her athletes. We are all different, yet we do the same shiz. It's just, and here's the kicker, from my perspective, it takes a certain amount of effort, and commitment, to train an athlete and train for a half Ironman distance race. That deserves a healthy amount of respect. More, evidently, than I was willing to give.

That, in a nutshell, is why I am not doing Ironman next year. I am going to take next year and put into practice everything that I have been taught and do it over and over again until I get it right. For me, its no longer about going the distance. It's about, going the distance well, and who knows. Somewhere, along that line, off in the distance, there just might be a sub-6 half iron performance...

19 comments:

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

FIRST :)

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

Second :))

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

ok... I will stop. You are smart in making that decision. It will make your next Full Ironman that much better.

No doubt that you will hit you sub 6hr half ironman goal. My money is on you.

Lauren said...

I'm not sure if I'm second or fourth :) :)

I think we all know you have a sub 6 in you. It's a matter of you working out the kinks in your execution.

LBTEPA said...

sounds like a plan, darl ((hugs))

Kim said...

wes, it's sooo important to find out what went wrong and to fix it for next time. you have a TON of next times, and i cant wait to follow your sub-6 journey (although i wont take that long - next one you meet you will take it down, i have faith friend)

Karen said...

Wes - good solid reflection me thinks. For me this year, cracking the nutrition did it. When I went sub 6 I had the nutritional side buttoned down and it worked - but it does take a while to get that balance.

You certainly can go sub 6, you know why you didn't this year (and let's face it you were CLOSE).... select your course wisely and go for it.

GOOD LUCK!

Steph Bachman said...

Wes, you can easily go sub-6. Doug and I were just talking about how I didn't respect the distance enough and that is why I went over 6 this year (after going 5:48 last year).

In fact, I think that you could easily go sub-6 AND also do an ironman next year. If you don't want to do IM next year, don't, but I don't think your cramping at this year's race means that you aren't capable of going the distance well again.

Steph Bachman said...

Wes, you can easily go sub-6. Doug and I were just talking about how I didn't respect the distance enough and that is why I went over 6 this year (after going 5:48 last year).

In fact, I think that you could easily go sub-6 AND also do an ironman next year. If you don't want to do IM next year, don't, but I don't think your cramping at this year's race means that you aren't capable of going the distance well again.

Jess said...

Good insights Wes. I think you're smart to take some time to get things absolutely right before you tackle IronMan again!

Jess said...

You are very wise Wes to take the next year off from another IM attempt in the quest for becoming a better athlete first. We could all follow your lead.

And...I will now call you "Wise Wes"!

Joe said...

I like your drive, Wes, and clarity of purpose. that means a lot.

Nice analysis.

Darrell said...

You'll know when you are ready for another stab at sub 6:00. Do what ya gotta to do get there. In the mean time, keep at it.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

great post. great decisions. great plan.

Carolina John said...

come on, you know you want to do ironman florida again in 2010. i'm thinking about it.

play it smart and you'll be happy. funny how that always seems to work out.

Michelle said...

100% you can sub 6 in a 70.3 Look how fancy I am saying it that way instead of half. Your awesome Wes and I love how you take your training so seriously. Good for you!!!!

Have a good 2010 but don't stress out. You will get where you need to be!!!

Scott Keeps Running said...

"There's no such thing as a foolish decision -- only a fool making a decision." - My HS coach

Ryan said...

C'mon...No IM! Pfft!

I get my practice from racing IM's. Sure I basically shit myself during the first one...but now look at me. Sign up, train hard, and be happy with what you get. Or just be happy, it is too big of a commitment to be bullied into

Missy said...

Yep, I'm with ya. IM was great, done it, will do it again..just not next year or maybe even the next. Someday! How about that for vague?