I distinctly remember beginning 2013 a year ago and my first run of 3 miles was a death march. Every step was difficult. I was in such bad shape I remember thinking I felt like I was at the bottom of Mount Everest staring up to the top wondering how I would climb this mountain by year's end. The view from the bottom of 2014 is much different.
On New Year's Eve I weighed myself and was 183. It was the most I had weighed since I began training seriously for triathlons back in November of 2008. I had not done a single workout since winning Beach 2 Battleship Ironman distance on October 26th and the results showed on the scale. I coach basketball in the winter and purposefully allow myself to get out of shape. I have always been a big believer that to see big gains from one season to the next it is important to allow my body to get out of shape and fully rest before any serious gains can be made. I also realized that 2 months without a workout was long enough. I was realistic in the goals I set on New Year's Eve. I still had almost 6 weeks of basketball in front of me. My goal was to lose weight by beginning to eat healthy, condition with our basketball team, and ride the bike at least 5 hours a week. My weight dropped each week from 183 to 174, 172, 170, 168, 165, 163, and this week 161. I averaged about 6.5 hours a week on the bike and ran sprints with our team while eating much cleaner than I had the past 2 months. Monday night was our last basketball game and the first day of my 2014 season. The base of bike miles, weight drop, and even the sprints put me in a position far ahead of where I was beginning last year. Although I don't believe a quicker start necessarily means faster times through the year I do know it made this first week much easier than my first week a year ago.
For my first week of 2014 my total training time was 16.5 hours. I biked 10 hours on the trainer or what I calculate to 200 miles, ran 27 miles, and attended class at Barre563 three times for my strength training. I was sore after each session at Barre. Attending classes there was a key to my late season success a year ago. I began attending classes at Barre563 in late July and went on to have some of my best races ever following that.
All of my bike miles were easy base miles as I continue towards my goal of trimming the extra fat I gained during hibernation. For running my long run was 55 minutes but I also did 1 interval session of 4x4 minutes hard with 2 minute recovery after each. I did not push terribly hard being my first week back but I was running the 4 minute periods at 5:45/mile pace and it did not feel too difficult. I also ran 2x1.5 mile tempo runs on Thursday and I averaged 6:05/mile and 5:55/mile respectively on each. Neither felt difficult. I'm in the process of planning a race schedule but I'm pretty confident the big race I will try to peak for will be Ironman Chattanooga on September 28th. This is a first time event and one I will be looking forward to. The late September race works out well for me. I should be able to do all my swimming in the lake here before the temperatures are too cold to swim open water in Iowa. I came up about 12 days short for my October 26th race this past year. I will execute a BIG training block from 8 weeks out until 10 days before the race. I will not race during that time but will focus all my energy on being as fit as I've ever been on September 28th.
I have decided I will not begin swimming this year until April. As my kids get older and life gets busier I have to find ways to make this continue to work and one thing I have learned is that I can get in pretty good swim shape in about 4 weeks if I swim consistently. I also found that by swimming open water for nearly all my swims last year leading up to Beach 2 Battleship I was able to swim my best ever.
I am proud to race again in 2014 for the iHope Foundation that provides technology and support for low-income students that display outstanding character and work traits. The iHope Foundation received such incredible support in the first year we were able to endow a scholarship that will go to each student that receives an iPad. Because the scholarship is in an endowment any contributions made by Iowa donors will earn them a 25% tax credit. Recently when I was at Amerifile I was pleased to find out that I earned an extra $1,300.00 on my Iowa tax return just because of the contributions I made from my race winnings last year. The contribution to the scholarship fund is also still a federal tax deduction. To contribute to the iHope scholarship fund click here. If you would like to contribute to the technology portion of iHope click here. Thanks for making a difference to children in need. In March I will be trying to line up local businesses that would like to support me this year by making a contribution to iHope. I'm hoping to add some more iHope business supporters' logos to my 2014 race jersey.
I'm thrilled to have a lot of support for the 2014 journey. I have been blessed to have support local bike shop Healthy Habits and from local ART provider Kaminski Pain and Performance Care. I will do all my strength training at Barre563. I'm also blessed to have support from international companies like GU Energy to keep me fueled through all these workouts and races, Xterra Wetsuits so I can swim new PR's in the Vendetta Sleeveless, and Zipp Speed Weaponry so the wheels under my Specialized Shiv are as fast as anything on a bike. If you are in the market for a new wetsuit you can use Xterra discount code SA-Jeffp to save 60% off products like the Vector Pro or Vortex. If you have questions about sleeveless vs. full suit I'd be happy to help. If you are just embarking on a new fitness journey in 2014 have patience. With continuous commitment you will see progress you are hoping for. It may not happen quickly and there will certainly be difficult days but through hard work, commitment to a goal, and BIG DREAMS you will make it happen. Thanks for the continual support and following this journey. It's hard for me to believe this will be my 6th year of high level commitment to this sport. DREAM BIG!