Why did it all turn out like this for me? I had so much promise. I was personable. I was bright. Oh, maybe not academically speaking, but I was perceptive. I always know when someone’s uncomfortable at a party. It all became very clear to me sitting out there today, that every decision I’ve ever made in my entire life has been wrong. My life is the complete opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have in every aspect of life, be it something to wear, something to eat… It’s often wrong.
In the time since my last post I’ve come to believe that I’ve been approaching this all wrong. After the Triple T, and Lake Mills, I had high hopes for the Rochesterfest Triathlon a few weeks ago. I felt that as long as some fast Minnesotan – David Thompson – didn’t show up, I would be able to easily be in the running for the win – and as long as I wasn’t dumb should be able to walk home with a fairly major race win. Despite never racing in Minnesota before, this is what my athlinks/google stalking of what I was able to deduce the usual suspects of SE MN tri scene to be – and their past results at this race and other races this year. The glimpses I had seen from racing and training, combined with physics told me that I should dominate the dojo.
Confident? Cocky? Aggressive? Absolutely. Realistic? After my season thus far, I felt so.
Not being able to put faces to my internet research I intended to start the swim conservatively and locate the swimmers as things unfolded. A couple hundred meters into the swim, I located the fast guys 10 to 20 meters in front of me. Not wanting to swim by myself, I decided to put in a strong effort to either close the gap, or make it such that a good run on the beach between loops would put me on their feet. I was able to pull that off flawlessly, I spent the second 750 meters of the swim drafting like a champ. I came out of the water 4th, and was out onto the bike second.
I spent the first few minutes getting situated, settling my head, and assessing the situation. There was one guy in front of me, and another shortly behind gaining quickly. “Fine, I’m going to let him come around and then let him set the pace for a bit, and I will make a move once I see how I feel.”
As he pulled around, I let him open up the 10 meters, then I went to punch the gas to stay there. 265 watts. I took my foot off the gas for a second, and put the pedal through the floor – 280 watts. “WTF.” is all I could come up with. I had swam perfectly, no signs of over-swimming as I moved through T1 – I was with it, not dazed, not breathing hard, but here I was and my red-line was only 280 watts?
The run? More of the same. Based on the context of my season up to that point, I would have considered the pace I mustered the bottom end of an acceptable half-iron.
I’ll spare you the blow by blow details of the race. I managed to win the hard fight for 4th place (by mere seconds). However, much of the time of the race (and drive home) was spent in thought and then in conversation with Mary – about what happened, what went wrong, if this was the start of a repeat of 2009.
I was really, really perplexed. Training under Mike had gone well, training after mike had gone well – but *hard*. I had been gradually that hitting my run intervals was getting tougher. I was managing on the bike, but those workouts were no cake walk either.
I also looked at a bit more historic basis and noticed trends of being able to really nail threshold intervals – crushing them at times, and at other times failing my threshold intervals or finding them horrible rather than merely uncomfortable.
Datapoints such as my highest 60 minute power ever being in January and other tidbits like my entire 2009 season, pigman, and other fantastic flameouts in training or racing floated through my thoughts, Steve Johnson’s IMCDA race report – 4x runs a week and a 3:03 IM marathon!
Between my thoughts, feedback from Mary, some smart people I poked and prodded, friends – primarily Matt and Eric – I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve pretty much spent a lot of my triathlon career under-recovered. I won’t use the word overtrained – as that implies a pretty serious state – that requires focused, long term recovery. I practiced the more is more approach, but failed to apply the full approach: More is more, unless it is to much. Then, less is more.
Coming to that conclusion was exciting, terrifying, embarrassing, and rewarding all at once.
Exciting: This could be the “secret” training key that I have been searching for!
Terrifying: I have to train less/easier – OMG!!!
Embarrassing: My freak-out prior to the triple t was probably unwarranted – and Mike *was* most likely sending me on the right path, and introduced a lot of stress into my life and the lives of others – needlessly.
Rewarding: If this proves to be right, the act of finally figuring out the next piece in the puzzle is HUGE!
Time will tell if this line of thought is right, and if I have the discipline to see it through – it’s going to be scary – the instinct part of me is already screaming bloody murder.
Time to see if this rabbit hole leads anywhere.