The offseason is slowly coming to a close. I have one more week before I begin training for the 2012 season. I'm pretty excited to begin. I have gotten myself in the worst shape I've been in for quite some time which is exactly what I planned. I had a long year in 2011. Adding Ironman Arizona meant my season lasted 57 weeks. I knew I was due for a long rest to let my body recover and adapt to a year of training. I'm a little afraid to face the scale next week but I'm also really excited to begin chipping away at the number I see as I prep for my best year yet. I've always been a believer in the importance of getting out of shape at the end of a year before trying to get in better shape the following year. I've done the out of shape part. I have only run 10 minutes over the past 4 weeks...1o minutes total. I have biked 4 times...just easy rides. I have swam about the same number of times with our high school kids. Following my race in Arizona I gave some thought about going back to amateur racing but I knew my heart was telling me to race professionally for one more year. I feel my best racing is yet to be reached and I really want to see if I can continue to move up in the pro race standings. Outside of my first pro race in San Juan I finished in the middle third of every pro race I entered except for Racine 70.3 when I finished just inside the top third with a 6th place finish amongst 18 pros. My schedule for 2012 will include 3 professional 1/2 Ironman races and one full Ironman. I've had more success at the 1/2 distance so that is where my focus will be. However, after missing the 9 hour mark by only 5 minutes I want to go back to Arizona with a single goal of breaking 9 hours. I loved the venue, the spectators, and the level of competition in Arizona. I do not have any big spring races so I'm not worried about beginning my training nearly 2 months later than I did a year ago. I want to be in great shape by early June and know that I have plenty of time to get there.
3 weeks ago Jen and I volunteered at the Turkey Trot 5 mile run in Davenport. The race fell with both of us on training breaks so we thought it would be a great chance for us to give back at a race. We brought both of our kids with us andour 3 year old daughter Payton asked us if there was a kids run she could do. The only option was a mile and I explained to her that a mile was twice as far as she had ever run so she could not do it. She emphatically insisted to me that she could run a mile but I thought it was a bad idea. Jen said we should let her try but I was convinced she would hate running by the time she was half way in and she would never want to run again. Jen won the argument of course and we signed Payton up for the 1 mile run. She was excited to know she would get some GU Chomps to help power her through the run...those are her favorite training snack! Payton shocked Jen and I by running the entire mile without stopping. I was reminded of the power that positive thinking has on athletic achievements. While she was running she kept saying, "I'm sure I can do this." It was quite comical listening to her say this while she was running...but the positive thoughts worked out well for her. She finished in 13:31 and mom and dad were both extremely proud that she convinced herself she could do the mile and then did it without walking. Afterwards she said, "That was easy." She keeps asking us to share her video with anyone who will watch. Unfortunately I didn't realize my ipod camera was sideways...I guess because the screen you look through adjusts automatically so I never knew I was filming her sideways. Thinking positive during a race can make a huge difference in the outcome. Next time I'm hurting at mile 20 of an Ironman I hope I can recall Payton's line..."I'm sure I can do this." I can't wait for midnight madness next Sunday night at 12:00 when the journey will resume. Have an awesome holiday season. DREAM BIG!!