Taped to the cover of my weekly goals checklist book I have a quotation from 3x Ironman world champion Craig Alexander that goes like this..."But as far as the race goes, I'll just try to do what I always do, which is control what I can control-my training- and I think a lot of the fun is just getting in great shape."
I have always felt the same way. I sometimes think I love the process of getting ready for a race more than the race itself. I love the feeling of working towards a single goal every day over a period of time much like a boxer prepares to enter the ring for a big fight. For Ironman Chattanooga I set my sights on a 9 week build period which was my longest ever for a single race. I had just finished Challenge Atlantic City and despite not training for the Ironman distance race I missed a professional award by 2 spots. I vowed that my next Ironman would be one that I was prepared for. I started this big 9 week build just 2 weeks after Challenge Atlantic City. My body felt a bit worn down and lacking recovery when I began. I reminded myself of something our varsity girls basketball coach Jennifer Goetz often says to her athletes..."Trust the Process."
My planned out process was to emphasize a number of things which included...
1. Long bike rides of 100+ miles
2. Long runs of 20+ miles
3. Lower my body weight and body fat %
4. Emphasize improved biking by alternating weeks of 300+ miles with still solid bike weeks of 220+ bike miles
5. Keep time swimming low until the last 4 weeks. This is the one I sacrifice to be home more with 2 young kids, a wife, and a full-time job. I planned to swim 2 days/week until the last 4 weeks.
As I began the training process I was initially extremely fatigued. "Trust the process." My first 2 bike weeks were 340 and 240. My long rides were 116, and 120. I knew I needed to build my long run a bit before getting to 20 so my first 2 long runs were 15 and 18 miles. After I started to 10 week build weighing 166 lbs. After 2 weeks I was only 165..."Trust the process." In weeks 3 and 4 I biked 350 and 217 miles. My long run was 20 on week 3 and I had a race in week 4 and didn't run long. I weighed in at 163...4 weeks in and I had only lost 3 lbs..."Trust the process." Week 5 I biked 325 miles and week 6 was 200. My long rides were 130 and 104. My long runs were 20 and 20.5. That took me to August 23rd. I weighed in the morning of the 24th at 162...6 weeks of high training and I had only lost 4 lbs..."Trust the process" I reminded myself. Week 7 I biked 325 miles and week 8 was 215. My long rides were 140 miles and 115 miles. My long run week 7 was 22 miles at 6:40 pace...starting to feel more fit..."Trust the process." Week 8's long ride was the last 50 miles at my Ironman bike wattage goal of 235-240 watts right into a 10 mile run that was supposed to be 6:30 pace comfortable. I ran 6:17 pace comfortable..."Trust the process." I weighed 164 as I started week 8. This is when I really buckled down with eating clean. I didn't run long during week 8 because of the test workout. Week 9 I biked 300 miles with a long ride of 121. My long run that week was 20 miles. This put me 2 weeks out from the race. I also weighed 156 at the end of the week which was a positive sign. Today I stepped on the scale and was 152...my lowest weight in 2 years. Nearly all of this weight came off in the past 3 weeks. I had a body fat % test today and I am carrying 16 lbs. of fat which was 11% body fat. At my first test this year in April I was carrying 26 lbs. of body fat. In the past few weeks I'd begun to see the signs that the body fat was finally coming off...I only have 1 pair of shorts that fit without a belt and that is a pair I normally can't fit in. While swimming I've almost lost my ring from it sliding off my finger. I take it off or switch it to a fatter finger to keep it on. I was running and my watch was flopping around and had to tighten it to the last hole in the strap which I've never had to do. I have swam my highest 3 yardage weeks in the last 3 and have swam 12 of the last 14 days. My swimming is the best it's been all year. "Trust the process."
The pro field in Chattanooga is going to be VERY large. 47 guys were on the start list and IM Lake Tahoe was cancelled last week with a wild fire in the area and now some of those guys will be coming. Top 10 is probably setting too high of a goal. Realistically I'd like to be in the top 1/2 of the pro field...let's say top 20. I'd love to break 9 hours which will be tough with a bike course of 116 miles rather than the normal 112. That will add 11 minutes. If we get a nice current on the down river swim it's still possible...or if I have a magical run. I'd like to average between 235 and 240 watts on the bike. This would give me a nice bike split of around 5 hrs. flat and leave me with good run legs. For the run I'd like to run a new PR by at least 5 minutes with a 3 hr. 3 minute split in the marathon. This would certainly move me up in the field. More than anything I want to celebrate the fitness I've gained and the shape I've gotten myself into these past now almost 11 weeks. I've controlled what I can control...my training. I've enjoyed the process so much. Now it's just about doing what I've trained my body to do which is race fast and race smart. What I worry about most is what I cannot control...things like flat tires, water temps...etc. If you'd like to follow along you can track the race at www.ironman.com Then click on races and there will be an athlete tracking page. You can filter pros to see what place I'm in after the swim/bike/run. They should also have a live video stream of the finish. We start at 7:40 TN time which is 6:40 Midwest time. I'd expect to be done around 3:40 Midwest time give or take 15 minutes each way. Thanks for reading..."Trust the process"...DREAM BIG!!