Monday, June 28, 2010

A (sort of) Wake Up Call

My performance at my last two half Ironman races has left me in a state of reflection. You did know that I like to reflect, didn't you? Basically, I have yet to hit my goal of having a STRONG run off the bike. Hills be damned. Heat index of sun-surface like temperatures be damned. Those things just don't matter. They certainly put things into perspective, but I know.

Did I mention, I've been reflecting?

Where did I go wrong? I trained my ass off during the early part of the season. Did I burn myself out? I dialed back the intensity and upped the volume at the appropriate times. Did I not run enough? Is it coached versus self-coached? What?

I came off the run at Eagleman, never wanting to do another 70.3. I asked Dee Dee if I could cancel my Ironman. Never make decisions in the aftermath of battle when emotions run the full spectrum. After I changed up the layout on my blog, and I looked at that picture that is now my header, I smiled, and my heart filled with pride, and the love I have for what I do is still strong, and all was right with the world.

Yet, the questions remain.

After much thought, the answers to my questions lie along the path of starting over, re-inventing who I am as a triathlete. I am going to focus on the basics of nutrition, swimming, cycling, and running, and rebuild my skillset from the ground up.

To begin the process, I changed my diet. I have reduced my calories and cut out my snacks, except on days where I'm absolutely starving. I even totally gave up alcohol. This lasted for about two weeks before I began to have headaches and run fevers in the evening, like I did this past weekend. After a six-pack of Sam Adams, I've been fine. I have no idea what it is in those bottles that my body is craving, but I have to figure it out. I don't like being controlled. My weight has dropped into the high 180s, so I am making progress, but 22% body fat is a lot to carry around, and there is plenty of wiggle room.

Normally, I would have taken today off, but since I am in a transitory phase, I have been pretty much just doing what I want. I ran last Thursday, did an open water swim Saturday, and played soccer with my son all day Sunday. Boy were my legs tired. I went to the pool today to do nothing but stroke work. I spent 35 minutes swimming slower than I ever have before. It was a cathartic experience. I wrapped up the session with a round of swim golf. I swam 50 yards in 49 seconds and then 45 seconds, with 28 and 26 strokes respectively. I must be doing something right. I mean, swimming 50 yards in 45 seconds with 26 strokes is pretty damn good, I guess.

Tomorrow, I run.

It takes fives years to build a strong runner. -- Bobby McGee

That's good to know. I have two more years :-D

Next week, I start taking this shiznit serz :-)



challenges2010 said...

Wish I had the answers for you Wes!
Some day I'd like to be in your position though of wondering what went wrong. That'd mean I didn't put the weight back on this time and kept up with my races :-)

Firefly's Running said...

Wes, it sounds like your body's craving the carbs from the beer and may have been lacking that department. I highly recommend the book, "Racing Weight," which I have started.

Stef said...

So what about IMAZ? Is it still on?

LOVE the new header!!!!!!!!!!!!

Good luck with the nutrition that is always a challenge for me to get right. Even more so than following the training plan!

Kim said...

great new header wes! ugh, i know nothing about nutrition plans, but i know what works for me - let me know if you are looking for some help (per my old team who was super focused on nutrition and treating your body like a well oiled machine. heehee)

um 26 strokes for 50 yards? i was pretty sure that my 17 strokes for 25 yards was pretty damn good. 26 is just plain crazy.

Lisa said...

What I love about this post is that it boils down to this

"I want a strong run off the bike and I'm not giving up 'til that happens!"

You are going to figure it out, Wes, and when it happens, it will be beautiful. :-)

JV said...

Five years to be a strong runner, ugh. 2 more to go. It will come together! Patience,perseverance, faith and confidence. You are doing great!

Julie said...

Oh Wes,
You are such a thinker and love to analyze:) There are just going to be those races where the mojo is not flowing. Believe me, I have had several of those races as of late:( You just wait and see...things will get better and you will have your mojo back soon! Hang in there and keep up the awesome positive attitude!

Jess said...

Wes is doing too much "thinky"; he needs to do more "drinky" ;)

My Life and Running said...

I'd say focus on the small gains web the biggies don't happen as planned.... Like your realizing giving up beer is wicked crazy! Gain! :) That said, I'm 100% buying into nutrition being the 1st discipline of triathlon. Recovery meals, mini-meals, getting in the fruits & veggies have been a big step for me. Keep telling myself the body's a machine. It either runs clean or dirty... I want a clean, efficient machine through this training! :)

Jess said...

Nutrition is always tough for me. I love sweets a bit too much. I'm sure if I never ate them I'd be in awesome racing form, but then I wouldn't be loving life as much. It's all about finding that balance.

Maryland Girl aka Michelle said...

I want that strong run off the bike too.. One day!

Rad Runner said...

With your obvious determination, you will definitely conquer-NO Doubt!

Michelle said...

You will get there, Wes - of that, I have no doubt. You're way too determined and dedicated not to get there!

LBTEPA said...

Well Wes, you are so thoughtful and determined that I know you will find your answers and get where you want to go

Joe said...

reflection is useful.

Even more so when it leads to effective action.

Go well on the follow through, Wes!