Monday, August 27, 2012

Augusta on the Horizon.

Getting ready for the day to come

And so the time is quickly approaching. Only a month until Ironman Augusta is here. Besides meaning that I'm at that point in my training where one day I feel like superman and the next day I can barely get up and get my running shoes on, it means that it's that time where I start looking to get my mind focused on race day and performing to the best of my abilities.

To those who know me (enough to hear me whine) it's no secret that last year in Augusta was a bit of a whirlwind of good and bad. My tri season leading up to it had been fairly, well, sh*tty, after DNF'ing both Amica (going off course on the run) and Rev3. (Blowing a sidewall) It was the first year I had trained under David (Savoie)'s eye (as coach) and I was somewhat disappointed that I had such a run of it. I was ready to perform!

A little too ready. In the two weeks leading up to the race (the taper period where training volume is dropped but most intensity is retained for those who aren't "in the know") I managed to pull my hamstring. Not so bad as to keep me from running/biking, (at the time, although the end of 2011 and 1st quarter of 2012 I ran a total of about 20 miles hoping for it to heal) but bad enough that it caused pain at anything over a jog. Not exactly the way you want to go into your "A" race : /

Regardless, I raced, and although my run was nothing to be overly proud of, I did beat my goal of 5 hours pretty handily. That said, The fast guys in my AG were much closer to 4:30 than 5... Immediately I knew what I wanted to do for 2012. Go 4:30 or under!

 We can rebuild him better than he was before. Better, Stronger, Faster.

Well, there's the rub you see. That was well within the realm of possibility with another year of solid run volume, (running being what I am fairly weak at of the 3 sports) but the doctor (yeah, I went to the doctor AFTER racing instead of before... do as I say not as I do) put me off running. From September 2011 to around April of 2012 I did almost no running and minimal biking. My swim of course improved significantly over that course of time, but in an event like triathlon, gaining a few seconds per hundred swimming is not a good trade with losing mph on the bike and seconds of your min/mile running. There's also the mental aspect, knowing in your mind that the days are counting down and at some point it'll be too late to make it back to race shape.

Finally, slowly, I started running again. Not pain free, but at more of a standoff with the pain. It didn't get any worse when I ran than when I sat on the couch, so I figured I might has well be running. I've had a decent tri season leading up to this point. Although I didnt' race Rev3 (opting to go on vacation instead) and finished 4th in my AG in Amica, I can see that my times are closing in on where they were last year.

And that in itself is both relieving and disheartening. Can I knock upwards of 15 minutes off my time with similar fitness to last year? My leg no longer hurts when I run, my swim is much improved, and I'll be infinitely wiser on the brutally hot Augusta course, but will it be enough? The arrogant side of me is flippant in a way that every athlete must be to some extent, that air of confidence that shouts indeed, 4:30 is nothing but a quick dip, short ride and jog on a warm sunny day away... but can arrogance and confidence be enough? Or will they be hollow boasts in my ears when the promise of stopping the pain if I just slow down comes ringing in my head? If I want to realize my goals, they will have to be.

And so my year is at this point. I will go forward with all confidence in my coach, in my training and in myself. September 30th will be my day to do what I love, and anyone not planning to go under 4:30 had damn well best get out of my way. 

Also, they better get out of my way to get to the massage tent and post race food binge as well!

I'll have... one of everything. And a Gallon of Water!

A link to my 2011 Augusta Race Report if you are interested.

- Christopher Morelock

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