New Goals (2013)

Posted: November 24, 2012 in In Transition
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Now that Mission: Ironman has been successfully accomplished I’m feeling a little dubious about what my next objectives should be in the next year.  I know I want to compete in more races and events in the coming 2013 season as most of my time this year has been spent building my endurance base over long, lonely and often painful training days.  Unfortunately, I learned that Sprint and Olympic distance events did not necessarily lend themselves well to overall Ironman conditioning, nor am I independently wealthy enough to register for, travel to and compete in multiple Half Iron events.  So, as a result, I spent the majority of the time out pounding the pavement all on my lonesome, or out on the bike in the middle of nowhere or at the local YMCA pool in the morning.  Hey, it just is what it is.  I don’t regret any of this time, mind you, but, I also realize that I missed the whole social aspect of the sport by competing with my friends and peers.  Cheering from the sidelines was not always a happy or tolerable substitute.  I wanted to be in the thick of it.

I WILL do another Ironman in the future, and officially qualifying for Kona is still firmly embedded in my life’s bucket list…but just not in 2013.  I want a little time to indulge in the multiple events hosted locally as well as spend a little more time with my new family instead of getting back out on the road right away.  But now that I have this great endurance base, I also don’t want to lose this conditioning either.  No, becoming a couch potato is certainly not an option.  So what should I focus on in the meantime?  Well, I have some ideas rattling around in my brain pan somewhere as potential possibilities.

These are my tentative plans so far for the New Year:

1.  “Go fast young man!” – After competing in the Toronto Triathlon Festival last year, I realized that I really like this particular distance, if for anything else, the opportunity to go uncharacteristically fast.  Three years ago, I jumped from the Sprint distance events immediately into the Half Iron distances, by-passing Olympic distance events altogether and I haven’t looked back.  This year was the Ironman, so most of my training time in the last three years has been about establishing and maintaining a steady long-distance pace.  Now I’m feeling the urge to reestablish a faster “race pace”.  As it happens, there are lots of great and inviting Olympic distance events both locally as well as within an easy days’ drive from my home, so this is going to be a focus of mine next season.  This means, of course, that I will be committing myself to more speed and tempo workouts as I want to improve my run splits considerably.  I’m already comfortable with the 10-15k  distances, but I want to be a more consistent contender in my age group by bettering my run skills.  To do so, I want to begin specifically focusing on lowering my 10k  run times (off the bike).  Likewise, I’m also still interested in trying to beat my Half Marathon time of 1:39:00  that I set last February at the Chilly Half Marathon and, hey, if I can better my Welland Half Ironman time (5:03:00) as well, so much the better.  As of right now, it is still up in the air if I will decide to take another crack at bettering my Around the Bay time (2:34:13) from last year.

2. Tour du Lac – Something I’m particularly excited about this year, is that Kelly has expressed an interest in cycling, specifically, participating in the Tour du Lac cycling event in support of building and equipping the ‘Heart Investigation Unit’  at the new local Walker Family Cancer Center.  The tour comprises of a fully supported bike ride around Lake Ontario, covering nearly a thousand kilometers over seven days.  Quite the opportunity indeed!  Training and preparing for this event is going to be absolutely epic for her and I feel extremely fortunate that this is going to create more ‘together’ time this year as I assist her in doing so.  I love my bike, so I’m also really looking forward to participating in this ride come July.  It’s also going to give me a good chance at improving on my long distance bike chops anticipating another crack at the Ironman some day.

3. Aquatic Marathons – I’ve spent a considerable amount in the pool and out in the open water this year.  In fact, my swim has become my strength of the three disciplines as I typically cover more than 10-12k in any given week.  I’ve focused hard on developing my swim kick this year and even plan on further improving it to add some overall strength to that new form in 2013.  Where I do not always enjoy the long runs, I am learning to appreciate the virtues and challenges of the long swim and now that open-water swimming is gaining in popularity lately, there are lots of events to consider participating in including both 5k  and 10k  events nearby…hmmm.  Again, might be good training for future Ironman competitions.  There is also a great opportunity to take part in a relay swim crossing of Lake Ontario this summer as well, so that’s definitely something on my radar as doing something totally crazy like attempting a solo crossing, or maybe even participating in the Key West Open Water event (or, really, any of these cool events for that matter – click HERE) is a potential future interest, so this opportunity will be a welcome and amazing opportunity.

4. Great Lakes 100 Mile Triathlon  – Yes, it’s true, my love lays with the long distance and although that may not be my focus this year, I’d still like to compete in one or two long distance events, albeit not necessarily an Iron distance event.  I almost certainly will compete in the Welland Half Iron event again in an attempt to finally beat the five hour mark, but I’m also strongly considering a new event as well – the Great Lakes 100 Mile Triathlon.  It’s relatively close by, non-costly, comes at a good time (early October) and promises to be scenic.  Since the Musselman triathlon three years ago, I have learned to appreciate the smaller, more family-friendly events and this race seems to be right up that alley.  Oh, and they’re giving participants free jars of apple butter.  How awesome is that?  However, if this doesn’t pan out other possibilities may include: the Timberman (New Hampshire), the Steelhead (Michigan), Muskoka (Muskoka, Ontario), and the Pocono Mountains (Pennsylvania).  Whatever I choose, it will inevitably be an event to end the season as well as serve as a decent mini family vacation.  The other bonus is that I will not necessary have to worry about the added expense or hassle of shipping Lucille back and forth either.  Perfect.

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