I posted all of these resolutions in an attempt to publicly shame myself into keeping them. It's a great precommitment method, but it's also a good way to fall on your ass in front of a lot of people. Three blog posts a month? Yeah, I'm a little behind there. But this is the one that leaves me feeling like I came away with ripped shorts and my ass hanging out:
This year, I finished my first half in 5:34. I think I can get it under five and a half hours simply by doing better in the transitions. I took a lot of time transitioning at Vineman, because it was my first time out and I more or less used them as breaks. But one area where I can certainly shave some time this year at Wildflower is my swim. I'm a crummy swimmer. Which leads me to:
That was a totally obtainable goal for me. I began the year training harder than ever. I even took a swimming lesson, which made a tremendous difference in my form. I was running somewhat faster, swimming much faster, and holding steady on the bike. I was ready. But then, everything collapsed. Rather, I collapsed, and pretty much quit training in April.
I can blame a lot of things, but the fault is mine. I just didn't feel like putting the hours in and so I didn't. It was the pool, in particular, that filled me with a sense of dread. Despite my gains (or maybe because of my gains, which entailed a lot of time in the water) I was sick of swimming this year. Correction: I was sick of swimming in a pool. And swimming in the Bay, which I love, is too much of a hassle for me to pull off three days a week.
And more than any one event, I was sick of training plans and periodization schedules and watching what I eat and staying hydrated. I think some of that's because I was tri-training nine months out of the year last year, and the three intervening months off just weren't enough. But whatever the reason, I fell off. I would typically still do some long, hard activity on the weekend, just for fun, but I wasn't getting up every morning and heading to the pool, or the track, or for a spin on the trainer, or all three.
And so I dropped out of Wildflower Long Course, and had them swap me into the Olympic Distance. Even that seemed a little daunting, given how little I trained over the last month (perhaps 3 hours a week, down from a high of 12 the month before.) It was ridiculous.
But I drove down to Lake San Antonio, camped with friends, drank a lot of beer, didn't worry about a thing, and... had a blast. My time was pretty crummy--my worst ever in fact at 3:07--but I didn't really care. I was just there to have a good time, and I did, which I suppose is as it should be. But quite honestly, I often have a hard time having fun doing the thing I love to do.
Right now I'm running and biking for kicks, again, not time. I'm overhauling my mountain bike--putting on an entirely new drive train and bottom bracket--and I'm sure when I finish I'm going to want to be on trails not roads. I'm enjoying going out and running or biking without a set distance or time or pace.
This sounds counter-intuitive, but I think I failed because I tried too hard. I was so focused on getting fitter and faster that I forgot about enjoying what I was doing. So that's what I'm doing now. I still plan to run a marathon this year, and Harper and I have a mountain bike trip planned in October in Bend, Oregon with so much long distance climbing that it's probably going to make my teeth fall out. And while I may do a few sprint distance events over the next 18 months, I think 2010 is largely going to be a tri-free year for me. It's definitely going to be a training plan free year.
I mean, unless I get into Alcatraz again.