January 9, 2013

How Much Time Does it Really Take to Train for an Ironman?

Once again I've been quiet for a week and it's because I've been tired. Not necessarily from the 6 hours I spent training (because we all know if I hadn't surfed the couch for a year, 6 hours would be a piece of cake), but from the overwhelming re-introduction to the life of an Ironman.

I'm talking about the little things that don't end up on your training log: packing up bags, planning and making special meals, packing up said meals for on-the-go access, studying your training plan, learning new workouts, laundry, walking to and from the gym 1.3 miles away, setting up the trainer, taking down the trainer, more laundry, foam rolling, stretching, soaking in Epsom salts (ok, maybe that's just me)... you get the point. For that 6 hours of training I had at least another 3 hours of "other stuff" that made it feel like so much more.

When I was a pre-burnout training machine I didn't notice these things as much. I was so used to being tired and stretched thin that it felt normal. Now that I'm accustomed to 9 hours of sleep and leisurely morning coffee it's rather shocking. Luckily I have a flexible work schedule so once I get back into a rhythm I know it will be easier.

On the training front, let's just say it's going to take some time. I am the definition of "letting yourself go" and can't expect to leap up from the ashes and suddenly be a long-distance triathlete again. I have 20 pounds to lose and a lot of fitness to regain, and I'm going to have to fight for every last bit. I haven't started swimming yet, for obvious reasons if you know me at all, but I did 3 solid bike workouts, 3 runs and 2 strength training sessions. I'm determined to keep up the strength even though I felt as though I'd been beaten with hammers from head to toe. In the long run I'll be thankful for it.

January 1, 2013

2012 in Review: The Year of 0.0

I barely blogged in 2012 for so many reasons. I was burned out and lost on the athletic front, so I withdrew from Ironman Mont Tremblant and declared 2012 as my year of 0.0. While I was taking the year off, I still attempted to maintain a base level of activity and participate in some races for fun.

Rock n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon, with Chrissie Wellington!

Celebrating Heroes Sprint, with my sister and her husband (his first triathlon!)
Steelhead 70.3 Relay (swim & run), racing where I grew up 

 Rock n' Roll Brooklyn 10k, part of my epic marathon week

Army 10 Miler, an annual tradition

NY Runners for Staten Island volunteering when NYC Marathon was canceled

So while it wasn't technically a year of 0.0, the obligation of training and racing was lifted and everything I did was strictly for fun. I raced for joy, not a good performance. I trained for the marathon because I wanted to, not because I felt I had to. And when it was canceled, I immediately shifted my energy to helping Sandy-affected New Yorkers. It felt good to do what my heart told me to do.

A year off has taken a toll on my fitness and I'm starting the new season with an extra 15 pounds to lose, which is never easy. But taking a year off was the right decision and I don't regret it for a moment. It has allowed me to miss the sport and actually look forward to the discipline of training again. This year will be the year of my 5th Ironman and with new focus and new goals, you may be hearing a bit more from me. Happy New Year!


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