Usually, I’m weighed down by a slight feeling ennui after a race. I don’t think that any one race (regardless of the outcome) can live up to the months put into training. So, rather than spend a few days basking in the glory of having done a thing and having managed to fool those around me into thinking I’m a capable adult (with hobbies!), I tend to shrug and say, “Well… now what?”
Don’t get me wrong—it’s been great to be a “real person” again for a few days. On Sunday morning, I was able to go out for breakfast with Rob because I didn’t have to do a long run or ride before church. We were able to go to his mom’s house last night without me considering what my workout would be the next morning. But as much as I enjoy the physical break (and trust me—I do!), I never quite know how to deal with the mental break. Being someone who has always gained a lot of satisfaction from working towards goals, this post-achievement ennui is familiar territory to me. I first remember the feeling after winning State track my sophomore year. I also felt this way after finishing my thesis, paying off my school loans, and getting a promotion. I suppose this is mostly positive because it helps me continue to take deliberate steps towards bettering myself. I’m pretty sure it also makes me annoying to live with, but you’ll have to get testimonials on that.
Anyway, this love of goals gets me thinking about what I want to do next triathlon-wise very early (despite being a pretty average triathlete). So I’ve got my course plotted for my “pre-Ironman training” training. There are several things I’d like to accomplish before I officially start my training plan in April.
- Climb Big Cottonwood Canyon—I want to spend the rest of the summer really focusing on getting some miles in on the bike. It’s hard to ride in the winter (especially for someone who hates anything resembling a stationary bike), so I want to take advantage of the warm summer and beautiful fall in Salt Lake City. Big Cottonwood Canyon is not the hardest climb around (not by a long shot), but it will be the hardest climb I’ve ever done. I climbed Bogus Basin once when I was still in Boise, but this is longer and has a slightly steeper grade. This will be documented when it happens because I’ve been eyeing this climb for a year.
- Start swimming with a Masters team—I know that there is a Masters group that meets at my pool. I know this because I see them all the time and very often swim a few lanes down from them. I know a lot of them are triathletes because I’ve overhead them chatting with each other while I stand off to the side, awkwardly listening in and wishing I knew how to be social. I suppose this one is a two-pronged goal: start taking swimming more seriously and try to actually maybe even make friends after living in this city for eight months.
- Train for a marathon—This is my loftiest goal. Despite being a “runner,” I am more afraid of the marathon portion of the Ironman than I am the other two legs put together. I’m a very comfortable swimmer (comfortable ≠ fast), and I’ve had no problem doing the few two miles swim workouts I’ve done or swimming fairly long distances in the open water. I know I’ll be able to work up to a respectable, not-too-painful 2.4 miles swim if I just follow my training plan. I’ve done two centuries (100 mile rides) on the bike, so I know that I can bike the 112 miles. But my longest run ever tops out at about 14 miles. That’s still 12 miles short of a marathon distance. So the running leg of the Ironman basically terrifies me. I’ve found what looks like a good training plan online that only has you run three days a week and builds in 2-3 days a week of the cross-training of your choice. Perfect for maintaining swim fitness and fitting in a bike ride on a particularly warm winter day. I don’t plan on running an “official” marathon as a culmination to my training, but I may do a 26.2 mile training run in place of a race, just so I have confidence that I can, in fact, move my slow little legs that entire distance.
Oh, and I realized that a common denominator among those women with perfect post-triathlon hair was that their hair was braided. So I tried that out for myself during my swim today. Somehow, I don’t think the braid-technique has the desired effect on me.