Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dare to believe?

How about a little talk about dreams.

I finished Rev3 Cedar Point (140.6 Full Rev) in 12:19:xx at the end of 2010.  It was my first, and to date only full distance race. Finishing a 140.6 means a lot of things to a lot of people. To me, it was a mellow accomplishment. I crossed the finish line feeling... well... tired. Not terribly excited, and not sure if I would ever return to the distance. Like most people, I had big dreams of Kona one day, but 12:xx isn't about to put a guy my age into contention for a slot for the next couple of decades.  And so, I moved on to other races and distances. At almost no point did I have any interest in revisiting a 140.6.

Fast forward to the last month or so. I won't say that my training has felt stagnant because that is not the right terminology... I suppose the only way to describe it is to say that, when getting up for 4a.m. swim sessions (which kills my social life the day before and the day of) and 2 a days even on the weekends I am already "giving up" (I think the term giving up would imply that there is something I feel I'm "missing" to do that... which I don't... but you get the gist of what I'm saying) a lot of "social" time, but I'm not actually training all that many hours per week.

So the question comes to... what does it matter if I'm biking an hour or two hours? My night is spent biking either way. Does it matter if I swim 4-5k instead of 3k at 4 in the morning? I'm still getting up at the buttcrack of dawn.

So what I'm trying to say is...

I want to do another full distance race.

Not only do I want to do another one, I want to KQ while I'm there.

Take a moment to laugh. It's fine, that's kind of how I felt when I first started to consider it. Then I thought a little more.

In case you think I've lost my mind and / or haven't ran the numbers... you're wrong. I have.

At IMLou (where I'll almost certainly make my bid) I need to be sub 9:40:xx (and more likely closer to 9:3x:xx) to have a shot. That means finishing in the top 30 or so... OVERALL. It means having a year and 3 months (I'll be shooting for 2014) to get into the shape to play with the big boys. It not only means having a perfect day, but also staying healthy (a problem I seem to have) and able to arrive on race day ready... All of that said... I think it's possible and so do some people who's opinion I trust.

The problems
I have no idea where the hell I am in this picture
1.) Swimming
I need to swim at worst a 1:06. Anything below that I can make happen would be a boon. IMLou is supposedly a fairly lax swim, albeit not wetsuit legal generally. It's also not in salt water... a bridge I'll still have to cross if I expect to race Kona... but one problem at a time. I think this one is well within my ability with a little bit of work and some added volume.
Something I'm going to have to do... HTFU for real
2.) Bike
First, I will have to re-accustom myself to my fairly extreme position. This one is easy to do, albeit it'll take some time to stay comfy(ish) over 112 miles. I'll also need to do many more *long* training days at race pace. Of course raising my power across the board is of importance too, but I believe I'm currently at the level to ride the 112 in the low 5 hour range... which leads us to the real hurdle.
My laughable 4:57 run at Rev3 certainly isn't going to do it
3.) Run
I have to be able to run a comfortable marathon AFTER that low 5 hour bike ride. That means I need to be running in the low 3:20's. With a 1:31 half mary being my last long(er) open running race... well I'm going to need some pretty serious volume increases to have a shot.

All this in some of the most unfavorable (there is a reason IMLou doesn't fill up very fast) conditions you can ask for on the IM circuit.

And so, when faced with that... you might be asking me the same thing I asked myself. "What chance do you have?" And to that I can only say...

I'm good at suffering.
At least I finished... right?

Physically and Mentally. I can suffer better than just about anyone I know. That may not be the kind of credentials that most people think would be useful for a KQ hopeful, but then again...what do they know.

The other option is to delay until 2015. This will give me another year to build a solid running base. Of course that also means adding another year to the plan. While I'm not exactly an "instant gratification" type of guy, I do understand that planning something two years out leaves a lot of room for "life" to get in the way. Nonetheless, I want to make sure I weigh my options carefully. Certainly another year, on paper, looks like the way to go to make things more of a "sure thing." Of course we're talking about a 140.6... I know enough to know that nothing is a "sure thing" when that's the distance we're talking about covering. My last race (what there was of it) has also reminded me quite vividly that I am not some unstoppable force..

And so, here I sit, at the crossroads. Time isn't on my side... my choice has to be made in the near future. Do I dare to believe it's possible? Am I just buying in to all the motivational posters and Nike advertising? Can a guy who spent the first 25 years of his life doing everything in his power to avoid any kind of aerobic activity (to speak nothing of the other things I put my body though) really expect to compete with the big dogs.  12:19 to 9:35? Seems like a hell of a mountain.

Normally, here at the end of my post, I'd quote something terribly moving and motivating about what I'm going to do and how I'm going to do it. Well I won't. I don't know what's going to come to pass, if I can do it or not... hell, I don't even know if I'm GOING to do it or not. I suppose the good news is that IMLou doesn't fill up overly fast, so I have some time to bail out if things go south. Even if I don't race it, a year of volume training probably can't hurt my longer racing... 1/2 IM Worlds has still evaded me as well, so even if things go south, perhaps there's hope to salvage something.
Sorry if this one is all over the place. Just putting my thoughts down on "paper" helps me out a lot of the time.
Thanks for reading, I appreciate it greatly!
- Christopher Morelock


  1. 2014 is definitely obtainable Chris! Just knowing you from here and BT, I would safely bet on you making it to Kona if that it truly your goal!

  2. You know the key to the age group race in iron distance it to basically "out suffer" the others in your age group. You have shown you have the ability to dig deep into the pain cave and bring it! You know your strengths and weakness and have a plan on addressing them for the big day, so go for it! I must say, since I am doing IMLou this year wish you were racing this year's edition as well!