It is finally time to emerge from a brutal winter in upstate New York and get the 2014 race season started. My first race of the year will be Ironman 70.3 San Juan. I’m excited to test my legs and see how the winter training has paid off. I really focused on my swimming and running more this winter than ever before, and I’m hoping to see the results of all that work in this race. There has been a lot of time in the pool with Joel McFarland, making changes in my swim stroke and trying to improve efficiency and speed. In March I had three 50+ mile run weeks in a row, which was exhausting but definitely good for me. I was running more during that build phase than I ran in preparation for Ironman Florida last year. It was nice to have Mike Hoffman keep me company for a lot of those miles as he prepares for the Boston Marathon. Will the extra miles translate into speed on a hot, hilly run course in Puerto Rico? Time will tell.
It’s always nice to share the course with friends, and I’m excited that Joel is racing in Puerto Rico too. It’s a pretty safe bet that he is going to crush the swim, but I’m most excited to see how well he runs in this race. I know he’s been racking up the miles this winter and it’s time for him to see all the fruits of his labor as well.
I have a few concerns/unknowns going into this race that help increase the already torturous pre-race anxiety that I inflict on myself. 1) I have ridden outside a total of 65 miles this calendar year. With the winter being as cold as it was and with all the snow we got, I wasn’t able to get outside nearly as much as I did the last two years. We were spoiled with two mild winters in a row and this year made up for that. 2) Acclimating to the heat will be tough. Coming from 30 degree weather to race in 80 degree weather is no easy task. I’ve done my best to prepare for it by leaving the fan turned off for my trainer rides and letting the sweat flow freely. Maybe I’ll get lucky and we will have some cloud cover… 3) Starting in the back. I’m the very last wave to go off on Sunday (minus the relays), which I’m really not a fan of. Hopefully the roads won’t be too crowded and people will ride to the right so it doesn’t get too congested. At the end of the day though, I have things I can control and things I can’t. I’ll do my best to focus on what I can control and maximize those things and not waste energy worrying about the rest.
Despite those things, I have had some really great training sessions during the past several weeks. My coach, Doug Bush, has pushed me and given me better structure than I’ve ever had before. Having seen the results he has produced in other athletes, it was easy to put my faith in him and simply do what workouts he gave me. The accountability factor definitely pushed me to not quit on any session and to hit my target numbers on big workouts. As I come into prime taper time these last few days before the race and I definitely feel the “springiness” coming back to my legs and my body is starting to feel fresh and rested. I’m excited to see what this race and the rest of the season have in store.