It's official! I'm planning to race Ironman Arizona on November 20th! The more I thought about doing 1 more race in 2011 the more excited I got about going to Arizona. I took 2 weeks off after Ironman Wisconsin and then began training last Monday. I wanted to see how my body would respond to training before I made my mind up about another race for this year. I began the week with very tight upper hamstrings...the same thing that plagued me in the month leading up to Ironman Wisconsin. I backed off my training a lot that month with a fear that if it got worse I would not be able to race. With nothing to lose last week I decided to push the training a bit to see how they responded. Early in the week I had my doubts but I continued to train knowing I needed to give myself at least 10-14 days to make the decision. The big turning point came when I visted Kaminski Pain and Performance Care last Thursday. Waking up Thursday after 4 miles of tempo running on Wednesday I felt like an 80 year old climbing out of bed. My hamstrings had not bothered me while working out but every morning I had some serious tightness. Following my visit with Dr. Lake at Kaminski P&P Care I felt awesome. On Friday my hamstrings felt less tight than they have in over 6 weeks. I completed the week with 21.5 hours of training time. I ran 50 miles, biked 140 miles, swam 13,000 yards, lifted weights twice, did speed drills, strides, lunges, and jump rope all three times, plyometrics twice, and core work 14 times. After seeing Dr. Kaminski yesterday I felt no tightness at all today. We ran the staff mile this afternoon after our inservice. I ran it in 4:47 which isn't a great time but I had a ball-busting interval workout on the bike last night and my training over the past 3 days was over 11 hours so I wasn't disappointed knowing I am still getting back into shape and I am broken down. The exciting part was that nothing hurt and I recovered really well within a couple hours of cooling down. I chose Ironman Arizona over Ironman Florida for a couple reasons. The flights to Arizona are much cheeper. I just booked my flight for 65.00 direct from Moline to Phoenix via Allegiant Air. They really rape you with the extra fees but the total still came out to 212.00 for both Jen and I so almost 100.00 each. That is tough to beat. The bigger reason I chose Arizona is because it is 2 weeks later than Florida. With a month of low volume before Madison and then a 2 week break I knew it would take me some time to get back into really good shape. From when I started training the race is 8 weeks away. That gives me 7 weeks to work hard and then 1 week to rest up. I really like having 1 race to focus on over this amount of time. It makes every day important. In my first 10 days I've been able to put a "+" in my workout journal which signifies a day of junk free eating. No candy, peanut butter (which is my downfall), ice cream, desserts, chips, pop...etc. I weighed in last Monday at 168 which is 10 lbs. over fighting weight. I lost 2 lbs. in my first week bringing me to 166 which had me excited because based on my previous weight loss patterns it typically takes me 2-3 weeks before my metabolism really speeds up. I'm going to continue posting my weight each week to help hold myself accountable. I hope to be between 156 and 158 at the highest for this race. I was 155 when I went to San Juan last March but sometime after that I lost focus on my eating and the rest of the summer I basically hovered around 160. My training schedule is pretty much set. I'll be on 19 workouts/week. I am running 6 days, biking 6 days, swimming 5 days, and lifting 2 days each week. Most of the bike workouts will be indoors on the trainer because they will be done at night after the kids go to bed. I despise spending long hours on the trainer so I will focus on quality over quantity. I found out in my month between Racine 70.3 and Steelhead 70.3 that I can get a lot stronger on the bike by doing quality interval workouts on my Cycleops Powerbeam Pro trainer without spending endless hours on it. I am able to program the wattage levels which force me to work really hard. I'll do outdoor rides on Saturdays (long ride) and Sundays (medium ride with some intervals). For running I will do 1 interval session each week on Wednesday, a tempo run on Friday, and a long run on Sunday. The rest of the miles will be base miles. For swimming I will do longer and more difficult workouts on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays with Monday being a short swim focusing on drills and technique and Sunday being a lower yardage day with longer paddle swims and some technique work but not a lot of hard swimming. Mondays and Fridays are my lifting days. M,W,F are also days when I jump rope, do lunges, speed drills, and strides. Plyometrics are Mondays and Fridays. Push-ups are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Core work is every day. It's been going well so far. I've always felt it takes about 10 days to start feeling the benefits of the workouts. Last week I was sore and tight. This week I'm feeling fresher every day. My goal for this race is pretty simple...take as much time off my 10 hr. 6 min. PR from Wisconsin as possible. The field in Arizona will be completely loaded with a lot of guys racing this one coming off the world championships in Hawaii. I am not focusing at all on the other guys or my placing. I am focusing on having a better race so I can get a PR I am satisfied with. Next year may be my last year with this kind of devoted training and I really want to focus more on the 1/2 Ironman distance so I want to get 1 good full in so I have the option of not doing one next year. I don't want to end this journey with a 10 hr. PR. I am much more fit than that and I would like to show it. Arizona is a very fast course which can be slowed a bit if it gets windy but even last year it was windy and about 20 guys went under 9 hours.
This week I'll be thinking a lot about my training buddy Adam Bohach who is in Hawaii for the World Championship. I rode, ran, and swam with Adam last weekend for the final time in 2011. He is in awesome shape. I can't wait to see how he does. He is going to be great!! Thanks for reading. As go the famous words in Monty Python and the Holy Grail..."I'm not dead yet!"...although I wonder sometimes if I need to visit the psychiatrist when I think back to last month in Madison when I was swearing I would never do an Ironman again! DREAM BIG!!