November 20, 2012

My Ironman progression (announcement)

I'm gonna drop a bomb in this post, but as normal, I will playcate to suspense and make you work for it.  I'll try to explain my reasoning and rationale, but when it comes down to it, it's truly my decision and what I feel comfortable with at my current point in life, so you can try to convince me not to go this route, but I'm just probably gonna smile at you and enjoy myself.
I've worked hard at this triathlon thing since 2004 when I did my first one in Keuka.  That race has always held a special place in my heart and it always will.  I've gone REALLY fast there (for me), I've gone REALLY slow there (again, for me), I've won there and I've lost there.  Keuka was the first race I ever did under the gentle prodding of my good friend Phil VP and it grew into something fantastic inside me.  I was able to be mediocre at all three disciplines, but be a very decent overall triathlete (I was never the fastest runner or swimmer in college or high school respectively)

In 2005, I kind of jumped right into the swing of endurance athletics by doing 2 half ironmans and one of the hilliest century bike rides in WNY.  Late in that year (as you have to do with most WTC events) I signed up for my first Ironman in Florida for the 2006 season. My rationale was if I was going to cover that crazy distance, I might as well make it as easy as possible.  (I would later learn that IMFL has it's own intracasies in the fact that it is NOT easy to ride areo for 5+ hours, nor is the wind easay down there)

But I loved it, I was hooked and selfishly made some REALLY lofty goals for myself prior to that race (which I missed by a longshot) but they were there to chase for another day.  I trained all winter after a break and went up to the Muskoka long course tri (pre 70.3 up there) and qualified and won a slot to race IMLP the following month (they used to give away slots at other races back in the day)   I registered in Canada and felt good about tackling my 2nd IM in 12 months.  That race was a blast, I was young, but still managed a podium finish and I was chipping away at closer AG placings for that lofty goal that I had set back before starting IM's.

I aged up after that and WHAT a whole new ballgame.  The M25-29 crowd was INTENSE and I got my butt handed to me the following year at Wisconsin, but it was another road trip with dad and fun memories.  It kind of fueled the fire for my 2009 season and I was rip roaring ready to go, until mid race and I ended up in an ambulance after a unfortunate crash on the bike course (55+mph descent will do that to you)

I took the 2010 season off of full IM's, but was still racing half's, from half ironman's to half marathons, I was doing a running year and building fitness.  2011 came and I was hitting some ridiculous hourages in training.  I dialed back the racing to be as focused as I could be and didn't let many distractions in my own little world. I was selfish, but it got the job done.  After a few mishaps on the IMLP course nutrition wise, I was still able to come away with another place higher on the AG placings and hit my goal that I had trained 7 years for

Nothing seemed sweeter and I raced my heart out on the Big Island. It was glorious.  I still get chills looking at photos and it was one of the most amazing racing accomplishments I've done to date.  The following year (2012) I signed up for an iron distance race in Cedar Point.  I had a few foot mishaps prior to launch there, but still managed to squeak out a time that was sub 10 and that was good enough for me. I know I can go faster, but it was another goal checked off the list. 

Prior to Rev3CP, I signed up for IM Couer d'Alene for 2013.  Since CP, my motivation has been really low.  We watched Kona coverage, cheered some friends on virtually and it was a blast, but I think my body is tired.  I've been racing long course (which I LOVE) for the last 8 years.  Next year was to be my 9th year in long course racing and I think I need a break. 

I'm will be pulling out of Ironman CDA for 2013 and taking time off of Ironman for a while. 

Now that's not to say that I'm not going to train and run and swim and ride my bike, but there's going to be no cloud looming over me that I think about in the back of my head where I can't truly relax on a weekday because I'm thinking about that 4 hour ride I have to do tomorrow.  I've been incredibly selfish over the last few years and sacrificed a lot.  A lot of family time, relationships, time with friends and I'm done with that....maybe it took moving away to a different state to realize that, but I've hit those goals I'd wanted to and I'm perfectly fine with letting the one more that I have tucked in the back of my head - to sit for a few years, maybe a a few decades....I don't know.
I want to be able to run the trails again with reckless abandon, stay out late and drink beers with my friends, be able to ride above the prescribed wattages and HR's that I've stuck to for the last few years.  I want to be social and meet people here and if I do the training required to rip off another successful Ironman, I'll be a hermit for another year and I don't want that.  We want to start a family and I'm not going to let a race delay that. I have the medal hanging on my office wall, and I'm not going anywhere, I will still be racing short course if I want to, but I'll be having a blast doing it.  Maybe I'll take a page out of the play book of Joe Meyer and bring a set of bocce balls to a triathlon and get a game rolling afterwards (pun intended...hah!)
I've learned a lot over the years about myself and from friends along the way.  To paraphrase what my racing brother Joe Meyer always told me, "not hitting a goal isn't necessarily a bad thing, you just know that the next day when you wake up, you have something to chase again - and that's worth getting out of bed for."  Now I've hit my goals, but I know I want to eventually get back there again and race on the Big Island once again, but I hold a little bit of solace in knowing that it will always be there to chase down later in life.  And I'm okay with that. 

So, in these next few weeks/months/years, if you ever hear me break plans because I need to "train", it's probably because I just want to go play in the woods, or get out and ride my bike again with my friends.  I'm not giving up the ghost, just telling him to take a backseat for a while as I drive for a bit :o) Get out there and enjoy yourself, friends, go play, get outdoors and I'll see you on the roads and trails.  Cheers.