Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A 30 year odyssey to Kona

How time passes...

It was about 258 or so days ago when I started this real attempt at my quest for Kona. Sure I had talked and planned about this since I was about 13 or 14 years old when triathlon was a brand new thing. I'm not sure if it was a 1981 ABC sports special or the fact I was in Hawaii just after Ironman moved to Kona or the fact my grandparents showed me how the course went in front of their condo on Alii Dr. Either way a dream began. In 1983 I convinced my grade 10 Phys Ed teacher to have a school triathlon, she organized it and I won my debut race which was 800m swim, 17 km bike and 5 km run. She quit teaching the next year and went pro as a triathlete and I switched schools.

Afterwards I got more involved doing a winter tri the next year consisting of xc skiing, skating and running in Banff and in my new school convinced them to have a tri in my grade 12 year, which I also won. After that over the next 24 years to now I did Ironman Canada in 1989, and 4 more Ironmans, and many Half-IM and Olympic and sprint tris later here I am.

It's not that I haven't trained, but never this hard. My previous 20 triathlons never saw me really be consistent. I've either skipped multiple whole years from racing or just plodded along doing Ironman on less than 6 hours a week average training.

So this journey starts to come full circle as the passion I now have burns as fiercely as it did 30 years ago. Over the last 258 days I've focused all on a few basic principles.

1. Build a base worthy of a real attempt to get to worlds.
2. Strengthen my body so I can put in the absolute strongest 21 day peak cycle I've ever done in my life.
3. Develop power on the bike that changes my bike from a weakness to a strength.
4. Learn to run fatigued so I can run an Ironman without walk breaks.

In a mere 39 days Ironman St. George will be history. The last 258 are what they are, and the next 18 days of hard work and 21 days of taper is all the is left in my control. No regrets over the last 7 months. I lost less than 5 training days due to illness and skipped less than 7 days without a rationale reason to not train. Every other day was intentional and planned.

It would be easy to change my goal to just having a best time. I've earned that but there needs to be no mental doubt going to St. George. I'm going there to get a world champs qualifying spot. I need to be strategic and focused and use every tool and technique at my disposal to finish this journey.

So what was the last week like? I took four days off from Thursday to Sunday to recover from the months of effort and to prepare for the final stretch. Monday I was eager to resume, the energy and focus and my knee felt great for the first time in months, perhaps since September. I started the 21 day load with an easy spin at lunch for 30 minutes with a 10 min cardio core rotation of 100 crunches, 25 tricep dips and 40 pushups. Then after work was the second last long run I will do until the race. I ran 23 miles knee pain free at 140 average heart rate and did 8 min mile pace over my mock St George course plus 0.5%. That was so awesome to see my knee hold out. I ran it in my tri suit to ensure I could be comfortable enough to run in it at the race for that long. Then on Tuesday night I did a moderate 3 hour ride focusing the last hour on impeccable profile position. I need to make sure now I am riding technically clean so it's all habit race day. Today was a split day with early morning water run, lunch swim ( did a solid 20 x 50 m set averaging 41 secs on a 1 minute cycle) and a post work spin and blogging session.

Goal is to get 21 hours this week.

So in a nutshell the first 3 days of the key 21 are solid and on May 7 at dinner I will celebrate with some chocolate ice cream my Kona qualification.

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