Training for an IM that may not happen...
Time to just talk training. Not that training is all I think about, in fact, that is the issue. Who is thinking about racing with all that is happening in our world? I am sure many hungry younger athletes ARE extremely frustrated over the lack of races, but as a supposedly mature woman over 60, I should be so OVER racing. And I pretty much am. Although I am training and REALLY enjoying getting fit again after last summer’s life on crutches, prepping for an IM this summer is SO weird. There are no triathlons; no real reason to work out in the way that builds race speed. To just jump in Lake Menona and start swimming hard for a couple of miles, then bike harder for 112 miles and finish it out with 26 miles of running, seems a bit harsh after a summer of mushy workouts.
The facts for my triathlon summer of 2020:
Due to my bike crash early last May, Ironman Wisconsin rolled my race over ‘one’ year, to 2020. As of now, Ironman Wisconsin has not cancelled… yet. My few friends who have registered for this year’s race are holding bets as to when the event might (will?) be called off. I am thinkin’, four days before the event?
I hired an IM coach for accountability, especially when I cannot race into shape. I push myself at work so it’s fun clicking on Training Peaks each week anticipating the workouts someone else planned for me. I had big goals last year to incorporate the training technology we (Gear West) sells, into my workouts, but I still have not coordinated my power meter, with my heart rate monitor, with my Garmin. Just remembering to charge my Garmin, and to turn it off when I stop is a ‘win’. My brain asks, “Why change now? What’s the point? You’re too old! Just go hard when you can!” So, I tally my workouts as “hard, medium or easy” like I have done for the past 37 years of racing and I keep pushing forward.
I am thankful for the xc skiing which rehabbed my hip, knee, and ankle into shape (with a much help from a few great physical therapists and chiropractors). I directly experienced the slow and necessary step by step process of rebuilding strength and flexibility back into my patellar tendon and glute of which had not born weight for three months. XC skiing was gentle on my joints yet demanded specific strength from each leg. The upshot is I can run again, and I am so grateful. I am slower with a year off running and a year into my 60’s. Not quite sure which stole the minute or two per mile. Biking challenges me more. The circular pedal stroke tightens the fascia below knee where the screws are in place and it hurts! Am slowly working thru that. Swimming (in lakes) restores mobility and transports me to that ‘up north’ feeling, despite those dang weeds.
August IM tri training might offer another story. This is the month where the distance builds and I must give up most of my free time to train if I want to race my best. Meanwhile my surf ski beckons, the boundary water loons are calling, and I am yearning for an adventure that offers more excitement than slogging thru 100 mile training rides. I also have a pile of books to read. So, we will see what happens next in this summer of cancelled tri’s. Lack of races allows me to focus more intently on the Gear West weekend business and I get jazzed meeting the myriad of bike enthusiast customers who are enjoying their bikes and coming into Gear West for support. Mechanically or otherwise.
When I still feel that the gains from hard work are worth the effort, I know I am not ready for retirement, in sport or business. I love feeling strong and fit from IM training. I am also appreciative of overseeing a thriving business in this time of Covid. Striving for success in both, challenge and energizes
me. Much is an unknown these days, but we can either embrace and step into the headwind with purpose or we can be blown back into a couch and wait for others. I want to make the most of this life, and my recommendation to all that feel the same way, is to prioritize working out. It seems a bit selfish and I am sure others will tell you so, but gosh, the energy that stems from feeling as fit as your age will allow, will make you a much happier person.