"When you're a competitive runner in training, you are constantly in a process of ascending. It's not something most human beings would give a moment of consideration to, that it is actually possible to be living for years in a state of constant betterment. To consider that you are better today than you were yesterday or a year ago, and that you will be better still tomorrow or next week. . . . That if you're doing it right, you are an organism constantly evolving toward some agreed-upon approximation of excellence."
-John Parker "Again to Carthage"
Swim: 159842.84 yds
Bike: 4082.61 mi
Run: 660.6 mi
That's it. Those are the numbers. The facts. If you listen to some people you'd think these digits are all that matter. There's something to that, I guess. With Ironman there is no getting around putting the hours in. Problem is, these numbers are severely lacking in context. Context is everything (as is made blatantly apparent by the presidential campaign smear ads that completely ignore context). I guarantee you that much of the competition I will be up against in Kona has much more imressive numbers than these, but that is just one piece of the puzzle. What was the nature of each of the rides that make up the total? How much heart went into each individual workout? Did you take rest days when you needed them? Were you out there simply to add to your numbers or were you having fun doing it? I worked my butt off this year, but I had fun doing it!
All the hard stuff is done, and I've been tapering for about 10 days now. The last couple of seasons, I have taken a slightly different approach to tapering. Before, I think I was too happy just to have made it to taper and backed off too much. Now I keep the intensity at or above IM pace for all of taper expcepting the last week. Instead of reducing intensity, I just cut the volume down each week. I am also a big advocate of staggered tapering. By this I mean I start tapering running first, cycling second and swimming last.
I'm really happy with the way things have been clicking the last two weeks. My last two "long" runs went quite well. I've been doing some mile repeat workouts each week on the track and have been able to run a little under 6 minute miles at what I would call a pretty comfortable pace (these are easier taper workouts mind you). I really gamble with my swimming in that I do very little during pre-season through mid-season. The gamble is that it won't take me too long to bring my swim fitness up to race level. I think the gamble is working, as I've been hitting swim splits I haven't seen in a long time. I swam my best 500 of the season by 20 seconds recently. I'm able to do short sets of 100s on 1:20 and I did a bunch of 50s at or near 30 flat. Good signs! Once again, I've put the vast majority of my time and effor this season into cycling. Probably because of this it took longer for my riding to feel good. Last weekend I did 2.5 hours at IM race intensity and while I wouldn't call it easy, it definitely wasn't that hard either.
So that's that. All systems go. We head out on Saturday morning so that we have almost a full week before the race. I've got two other friends from town that are racing and a really, really awesome support crew from town! Still trying to figure out a good balance between seeing the sites in Kona and resting up for the race.
I should have some internet access while in Kona and will try to post a few updates either here or on the main Evotri website. One or the other or both sites, will also have some race-day updates.
I outlined my goals last year in this post. They are overly ambitious, but I stand by them. When I qualified I decided that I wanted to go and really race as opposed to playing it safe and coming in at about the same time I have in my last 4 Ironman races.
Go big or blow up trying!