A year ago I was approaching Ironman Racine 70.3 and thought I was in the best shape of my life. After a disastrous race I went into what I would call a triathlon depression. I wasn't sure I wanted to continue racing with the amount of devoted training that I had put in. I wasn't sure I wanted to continue racing as a professional in the sport. I lacked motivation to train and was just not enjoying the sport like I had for the few years prior to Racine. Nearly a year later I reflect back on that time and I'm sure glad I hung in there and took a long break after the season was over. I have scaled back the amount of time I'm training. As the kids get older things at home get busier and I once thought it wouldn't be possible to train at a high level when things got busier. I'm learning that is not true. I begin the 2nd half of 2013 with a very positive attitude and outlook. I'm excited by how I raced on much less training. I'm excited about having earned over $1,700.00 racing so far this year for iHope, the foundation we started in March to raise funds to buy iPads or other unmet needs for low-income students who possess great character and work habits. My season goal was to raise $1,500.00 and now I think I can double that goal. One thing that I lacked during the triathlon depression that I was consumed by prior to Racine 70.3 is visualization. Before Racine I visualized success in the sport on a daily basis. During the long workouts I almost always pictured myself racing alongside the best in the sport. I think the race in Racine badly damaged my inner confidence and made me stop "dreaming BIG" for quite awhile. Lately...without even thinking about it, I've found myself visualizing success once again. I've found myself playing out Pigman Long Course and Beach 2 Battleship in my mind. It's just one of the many things that has me really excited about the 2nd half of 2013. Also exciting is that my wife Jen is starting to train for triathlons. Everything she has done in her few races in the past is on run training and Cross-Fit. Now she's actually swimming and biking and that excites me to see how she does. Most of the races I'm doing she will also be doing with me.
Last week I essentially took the entire week off. I rode the bike twice. I didn't run, swim, or lift weights. It was the perfect time to let my body heal and equally important allow my body to adapt to the training and racing I've done over the last 20 weeks. Am I in worse shape this week? Definitely. Is that a good thing...definitely! I talk to too many athletes who train year round without ever taking good long breaks. Swimmers are the worst at this. They train like crazy, taper and peak for a big race, and then they get back in the pool after a "couple" days off. The next season starts within a week and they struggle to drop times. Many of them don't realize the real benefit of swimming all the long and hard yards comes after you give the body time to rest completely...2-4 weeks at a minimum. I've always been a big believer that to get in better shape you first have to get out of shape. It's been easy for me to remind others of this but the hardest part has been reminding myself of this. I read the book Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald a couple years ago and one thing I remember is that he recommends athletes gain up to 10% of their body weight in the off-season. I have never had a problem doing this. In my 1 week off I gained about 5% of my body weight. Now I'll begin the process of leaning that back down knowing that my body is rested and able to begin a new training cycle stronger than before. I am already sore from my workouts yesterday which is a good sign that I got out of shape and now I get to tear the body down a bit and let it adapt to this new training cycle. I don't have a race for 5 weeks so this is a perfect opportunity to get in good training without having to worry about being tired. My first big race is 7 weeks away so I hope to be back into great shape...better than I was in the 1st half before that one. My big focus is to be in the best shape of my life on October 26th for Beach 2 Battleship so I can chase one of my goals of breaking 9 hours for the Ironman Distance.
I was really excited to get word of anonymous $250.00 donation to iHope this week. That single donation will provide 1/2 of an iPad gift and could have a life-changing impact on the child that receives it. We are nearly half way to endowing the foundation which would mean for eternity the interest will provide a $500.00 gift. Over time I'm sure that iPads may be irrelevant. Right now they are great tools that help students with school but some day they may be provided to all of our students. What I do know is that there will always be a need to help close the door between the have-nots and the haves. The key to iHope is that the students who receive the gifts MUST show a desire to want success through their character and work traits. The students who receive the iHope gifts are tremendous individuals that simply don't have much...they have had a lot of doors closed that we aim to open for them. If you would like to help the foundation by making a tax deductible contribution you can click here. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!!