Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Yellow Belt

If there were a belt ranking system in triathlons, I would say that I am now a Yellow Belt. That is, I've learned and had a chance to practice, not master, most of the basic triathlon skills.

In May 2006, I completed my second triathlon, a half ironman. The conditions were relatively good (calm water, low wind) except for 90+ degree temperatures late in the race and the fact that I was ill on race day. My only real goal was to finish, which I did in 6:39:51, though it wasn't pretty (I was coming down with the flu during race week, unable to carbo load properly or eat/drink much during the bike, hit the wall early on during the run). Like my Yellow Belt karate test, it gave me some confidence in my abilities but it also humbled me, revealing many areas that needed much further work, not to mention my inexperience.

So now I'm in my second phase of ironman training and things are much more serious. Unlike a half ironman, an ironman is significantly longer than any other event I've ever done before. I cannot rely simply on my endurance and determination to get through it.

No. I've gone back to working on some fundamentals, spending more time on my swimming and cycling form to hopefully become more efficient at doing both. I'm only running 25-30 MPW now (quite low compared to when I'm training for marathons) and doing short, relatively easy "transition runs" after my long bike rides as opposed to bricks which usually involve much harder effort running after riding. I'm also continuing to work on refining my race day nutrition plan.

I have 6.5 weeks left until IMFL ...

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