Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Are you strong enough...?"

If there's one lesson I'll take away from this training season, it's the absolute criticality of having people around you to support and stand by you through seemingly insurmountable challenges, like Ironman Hawaii.  Without my family and close friends, I could not even imagine making it through the past 4 months... their consistent and steadfast support has been nothing but amazing, and I'm extremely lucky to have that.  4 months ago, I would not have expected to be at the point where I'm at today.   I started this season with a 7 month "off-season"... really tho, I'd call that more of a "hiatus".   Of course this was due to grad school, so I don't regret any of it... but it was very intimidating to see Ironman Hawaii 4 months away, and my fitness level being ridiculously close to zero.  Now... I've worked my ass off day-to-day and month-to-month, I can say that I'm in the best shape of my life (again!  ...since I said this for IMFL as well), and every ounce of me just can't wait to jump in Kailua Bay and hear that cannon fire!!

In all reality tho, the support around you can only get you so far... it all comes down to your preparedness, tenacity, and focus to be ready for such a challenge as Kona.  Though these are all qualities that are left to the athlete himself/herself, there is still the simple and crucial element of a training plan!  You can be as determined as the world champion next to you, but if you don't know how you're going to accomplish your goal, then what good is your determination doing you??  I chose Endurance Planner to put together my training plan for this season, and I really couldn't be any happier with the results.  I've had some amazing short distance races this season, and have placed in my AG (age group) in some really big races, which I really didn't expect to do!  One of the unique elements of Endurance Planner is the manner in which it allows you to work alongside the co-owner and coach, Kevin Cutjar.  I've been emailing and Skyping with Kevin for the past few months about training progress, training plans, general triathlon questions, race pacing, race nutrition, what to expect in Kona, and this list can seriously go on and on and on!!!  The Endurance Planner system is unique because of how it is structured around the athlete rather than the coach or program... its sole purpose is to provide a wealth of information and assistance to every one of their athletes, elite pro and common age-grouper alike!  I've learned so much through reading the EP forum, chatting with Kevin, and looking through the Coach's corner on the EP website. 
In my most recent Skype with Kevin, we talked for a good 1.5 hours or so about everything I should expect in Kona and how the remaining weeks of training will flow before the race.  I can't even begin to mention everything we talked about because this would end up being a novel, but I do want to share one thing that I wrote down when he said it.  We were discussing my Kona pacing strategy and how it will feel when I'm actually in the race.  Kev said that endurance pacing comes down to one simple question... "Are you strong enough to go easy enough?".  And though my Ironman experience is rather limited, that was the best "one-liner" piece of advice that I have heard so far!  Once you nail down a nutrition and pacing plan, and you've trained your ass off for the past few months causing you to basically put life on hold, everything that you've done and planned comes down to EXECUTION! 

I don't know how well I will perform in Kona or how fast I'll be... and to be honest, I've come to the point where I don't really fret over it.  I want to go to Kona healthy and ready (mentally and physically), and I want to execute my race exactly how I've planned.  If I can finish the race and say that I executed my race plan well, then I can say it was a perfect race!  And I will owe it to everyone of you who have supported me along the way... THANK YOU!!!

Stay tuned for more information on the race and, if I have time, my pacing/nutrition strategy.  Also, I'll be posting a competition for YOU soon... all of you will take a guess at my Kona finishing time, the winner will get some fun sponsor swag and something(s) from Kona and the race

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