Part of this whole triathlete thing is setting goals at the beginning of the season so one has a purpose behind all the swimbikerun that is done through the course of the year. It raises the motivation level when it comes to getting up early and going to bed early. I think I've mentioned in previous posts that sometimes a time goal isn't always the best thing to set - race courses and conditions can change, slowing down times. But on the other hand, just having the general "get a PR in everything" isn't always the most satisfying. I'd like to set some specific goals that I feel are outside my realm of comfort - and I don't 100% know if I will be able to achieve them. While it's a bit daunting to put pen to paper (or electronically type this out, haha), I feel like I've done better and exceeded my expectations when I go after something that seems a bit out of reach. For example, I stagnated for YEARS in breaking the 5:45 barrier in a half Ironman. YEARS. It wasn't until 2011 when I said THIS will be the year I break 5:45. And it was. And in 2012, when I was tired of my predictable 35:xx half Ironman swim time, I made it my mission to do something - anything - better than 35 minutes.
Lesson learned: you need to scare yourself with your goals. And then believe the impossible is actually the possible.
- Do you know how effing awesome it would be to do a sub-5 hour half Ironman? I believe the proper equation is: 4:59 = (effing awesome) x 1,000,000,000 (if you couldn't tell, math was NOT my forte growing up). Do you know that I hemmed and hawed all day about putting that in writing? That goal has been years in the making. And maybe I should just stick with Break 5:10, but that won't be as satisfying as a 4:59 (or faster, haha).
- Every year, EVERY YEAR, the IMLP course breaks me. Hands me the biggest slice of humble pie known to man, in the form of 18 G.D. Hammer Gels. I'm signed up for my third go at this damn race and I swear, I am going to spend every waking moment this season figuring out how to beat the crap out of that race. While 2011 and 2012 were not horrendous showings on the course (nothing compared to the 2010 implosions that were IM France and Ironman Wisconsin), I was simply dissatisfied with my effort and my mediocre result in 2012 (in 2011, I was happy to have not completely blown up on the run, so I wasn't as pissy about that finish). I have GOT to get my nutrition dialed in. 2012 showed me that an all-gel race plan doesn't work every time, especially when you start gagging by the time you reach the 10th gel and still have 8 more to go. Proper hydration is also key. I'm excited my team, Ignite Endurance, is sponsored by Skratch Labs in 2013. I'd heard about their products, as well as their cookbook The Feed Zone over the past year, from several athletes. The cookbook has several "on the go" training and race nutrition recipes that I'm going to try this season. It will be nice to change it up and see if adding a little variety to my usual gel race day diet will help. Oh, and what do I hope to achieve with all this? A sub-11:30 finish at IMLP this year. I'd give my right arm for that kind of finish time. I want to walk away from the IMLP finish line with a satisfied and euphoric feeling and - unless the day is horrendously bad with downpours a la 2008, hypothermia, or 100 degree temperatures combined with a summer flu - the only way I'm going to walk away feeling thrilled with my race is if I finally break 11:30 (hell, it would be great to break 12:00, but I'm trying to really scare myself with this 11:30 business).
- Sub-4 hour marathon at IMLP. This would just be... amazing. And if I'm not dry-heaving my way along the run course, it could happen. I also need to suck it up and not be a big baby by walking giant segments of the run. You can dry heave while running, no shame.
- Sub 1:43 half marathon in a half Ironman. The 1:45 barrier has NEVER been broken by yours truly - the run has become my nemesis, but I think I'm finally learning how to tame it. Positive self-talk while on the bike to prepare for the third leg: You love to run! You're the best runner out there! Running is your favorite! And also knowing that I'll feel like pooooooo during parts of the run, a fact of life that simply comes with the territory. Accept it and, even more, embrace it.
- And can I get a holla for a sub-6 hour bike at IMLP! Yup, I'm greedy this year and I want that in addition to the sub-4 hour marathon. SO MUCH WORK TO DO.
- Oh, and here are a few other goals to keep me busy in between these time-oriented ones:
1) Do a 10k swim. Jump on the 100x100 bandwagon or go swim across a lake a few times, whatever, I don't care. I just want to do it.
2) Place well in my age group. Make it onto the podium more frequently than not.
3) Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT melt onto the pavement in Vegas. Suck it up princess, it's a race.
4) Race every race - big races, little races, short races, long races, run races, swimbikerun races - each race is an opportunity to learn how to become a better and more competitive athlete. They are all chances to see how to perform under pressure, figure out what makes you tick and how to brush aside any self-defeatist talk in your head as you hear another girl hot on your heels, pushing yourself faster instead of letting her pass you and shrugging well I guess she's simply faster than me. WANT IT MORE.
5) Continue to ride with fast people, swim with fast people, and run with fast people. Chasing makes you better and stronger.
6) Keep up with the strength training routine that has been established. It's actually kind of fun. This will be the year of killer abs if it's the last thing I do.
7) While these aren't actual athletic achievements, they are pretty darn important - MORE sleep and eat well. As much as I tried in 2012 to get myself on track with early to bed and early to rise, I was kind of a failure in that department. And tonight I'm doing myself no favors as I sit here typing this at 10:35pm. I know how important sleep is, and I do love waking up without an alarm because I went to bed at a sensible hour the night before. But there's just so much else I want to DO, so much else to read, to write, to think about and sleep just gets in the way of it all. And the nutrition stuff is a post for another day. Reading and hearing about all of these different ways to eat - Meat is bad, Paleo is good, Grains are terrible, Carbs aren't so bad, Dairy is evil, Cheese is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy - sometimes I don't know what to think anymore. If it isn't florescent orange and I can figure out - and pronounce - the ingredients, can't I just eat it and be OK with it?
8) Would it be terribly vain to set a goal of having some halfway decent race pictures happen in 2013? Right now the bar is set so low that I could be mollified with any photo where I'm not stuffing my face with food or dumping ice cubes down my sports bra. And if we're asking for the moon AND the stars, I'd like to not look like death warmed over (I'd also like my frizzy hair to be airbrushed into something sleek and sassy while you're at it).
So, that's what I want to do with myself in 2013. I'm actually quite excited now that I wrote down these goals and they are staring me in the face. Quite excited indeed.