Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Long Road Back to Iron...Begins Now

I decided it was time for some changes to my blog. A new name, a new look (still a work in progress) and a new focus. I debated about starting entirely fresh, with a whole new page, but decided that wasn't necessary.

For some time, I have been trying to think up a new blog name and twitter handle. My original blog name North Georgia Triaflete came from a lack of a creative name and the fact that I hadn't done my first tri yet. Just over six years ago, this blog was born. A month later, I did my first triathlon in 2007 for my 30th birthday. Since then I have done many triathlons, including several half ironmans and attempted a full iron distance race at Beach 2 Battleship in 2009.

Unfortunately as my long term readers know, I did not succeed in my first attempt. 20 miles into the run with 90 minutes left until the cutoff, my legs screamed mercy. Since then, injuries and scheduling conflicts have kept me away from the ironman.

2013 so far has been a pretty impressive year for me. After my 2nd or 3rd calf strain, back in October, I recovered strong and within a few months, I ran my first 100 mile month ever. I ran my first marathon (not counting the attempt B2B) in January, another in February, and became a Marathon Maniac by completing 31.93 miles as part of  12 hour race in March. I backed off my mileage in May and June to keep my legs fresh.

By July, I was back to running 100 mile months. At the same time, my pace was increasing while maintaining the same Zone 2 effort level. I knew high volume, low intensity was working for me, but got a little greedy when I saw hints of getting close to a half marathon PR. Towards mid July, I decided to begin phasing in tempo workouts. The first few weeks went well. Around the 3rd week of tempo runs, I hit a snag.

I was 2 weeks out from my next scheduled race, the Alien Half Marathon. I decided to go run my 10-12 miler on the course at near race effort. My goal was to see how it felt to run at PR pace and determine if I had it in me. The first 5 miles felt great, but just after mile 5, I felt a sharp pain in my hamstring just above the knee. I tried to stretch it and to walk it off, but the pain never went away. After researching my symptoms, I determined I had a minor hamstring strain.

Fast forward to race week. I had zero pain in my leg, but my confidence level was low that I could do the race. I should have just scrapped it there. Over 4 days, I progressed from 2 miles up to 5. Two days before the race, I decided if I made it through 6 miles, I would do the race. One mile into the run, I knew it was not to be. I reaggrivated my strain.

That was over two weeks ago. This week I am beginning a new rehab training run/walk program. My goal is to take it slow, but consistent enough so I can make it through (slowly) my next half in October. From there I need to rebuild any endurance I lost in the last month so I can complete the Goofy Challenge in January.

I have come to a realization with me that speed and I just don't mix. I can think back to several times where I would be approaching a PR, got greedy and ended up injured. I was getting faster without any speed work. I cannot keep repeating this cycle. Especially given my goals for 2014....to go back to Beach 2 Battleship, and not just finish it this time, but finish it strong with no doubt at all that I will finish.

The Road to Ironman is a long road, filled with many bumps and potholes. You may face detours and u-turns, but in the end, the destination is worth the effort.  I will reach my destination in 2014. I will cross that finish line. I will be an Ironman

My journey begins now. I will regain my running strength, become a stronger cyclist then I have ever been, and rebuild my swimming speed to that which I haven't seen since HS swim team. It will take over a year to reach my destination, but in the end the results will justify this journey

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