Commitment+ Signing up for Ironman Syracuse 70.3

Posted: April 18, 2012 in Running, Syracuse Ironman 70.3, Triathlons
Tags: , , ,

Prior to the big day of signing up for the 2012 Syracuse event that fall of 2011, I spent most of the summer building up my run fitness. Finishing the Boilermaker 15K was a nice milestone. I ran it as a training run, and enjoyed it much more so. I have ran it 8 or 9 times over the years, and remains as one of my favorite races. It was my slowest finish ever, but I crossed the finish line, and felt better for doing it. In August I did the Chiro 5k in Cortland, running with our weimeraners Jake & Abby. During that race, I stepped into a hole along the dirt path the wrong way and twisted my ankle. That took a month to feel good enough to run on again. Typical me, I had started to get big ideas again on doing another marathon.

The following became very clear:

  • At 52, I needed more time for recovery from workouts
  • I needed something other than seat of the pants ideas I had from 18 years ago about training.
  • Focusing on just running was not enough for my weight goals, and I wanted more overall fitness gains.

While I was healing up, I began to research training resources, and decided to revisit multisports once again. In the car and sometimes at work, I would listen to podcasts from Age Grouper, Garden Variety Triathlon, and Endurance Nation. Initially I signed up with beginnertriathlete.com to gain access to a lot of different training plans. As I started to put all this together I became very interested in the Syracuse race, but was fearful of attempting a 70.3 race 18 years later since competing in a race of this magnitude. I recalled doing a sprint triathlon at Jamesville back in the early nineties, and I do like the area the course covers. Even so, 0 to 70.3 is an overwhelming idea for a fat old guy like me.

As I continued with my search for what I was going to do next, I looked into Endurance Nation a little further and realized that they had what I needed not only to build up proper fitness, but how to well execute a long course event, and an overwhelming assortment of tools to empower the athlete. I will dive more into Endurance Nation in another blog soon, but it was an essential key to take the plunge and commit.

At the end of October I decided to go big and put my money were my mouth was. I signed up for Ironman Syracuse. Signing up for an Ironman event is not a casual decision. One does not just go out, and say, “Nothing on the calendar in June, think I’ll do an ironman………………………………………..”

Making my big leap was the conclusion of the following Positives and Negatives:

  • + Super huge milestone, requiring huge commitment, and synergistic with my health goals
  • + Lee, (my wife) is very supportive of me doing positive things, and keeping myself healthy.
  • + Cross training hopefully lessens the chance of overuse injuries
  • + My General Practitioner (doctor), is also a triathlete, and can guide me if needed.
  • + As my weight drops, some of the drudgery of slugging around my big butt over the distances should get a little easier.
  • + Being the techie engineer type, I get to enjoy updating my gear.
  • – Finding additional time to meet my commitment
  • – overcoming self-doubts in meeting a big milestone, as well as keeping up with weight loss.
  • – cost of doing all this (outweighed by value of much improved health)

After signing up, I began looking into cycling gear, as I had not upgraded my cannondales since 1995. Looking for tri gear in November and December is much more economical than waiting until spring. Other essentials added was a membership at the Cortland YMCA to get in some pool time, and a cyclops fluid trainer for indoor winter biking.

At the end of January I made the switch to Endurance Nation as a team member. Per their protocol, I laid out what races were important to me, and ranked their priority. Syracuse was my “A” race, at least until mid -summer. They loaded up their Out Season plan for me to start on for 8 weeks to build my fitness base, and add speed. My gains became apparent in just a few short weeks, as well as improved recovery. Along the way to where I am today, I completed Lake effect 1/2 Marathon, and the Dallas Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon four weeks later. In those four weeks I dropped 12 minutes from my finishing time. Huge gains. One of the 2 hour rides I did as the bottom half of the Syracuse bike course. Over the remaining weeks until race day, I plan to do some of my training workouts on the bike and run course either in their entirety or in sections. Living only 5 miles from the south west corner of the bike course makes it easy to get to. Having the luxury of training on the actual race course is priceless.

Having completed the 8 weeks of out season training, I walked away with considerable gains in fitness, improving my VDOT from 33 to 38. During my vacation in Texas, I transitioned to the Endurance Nation Half Iron Man plan to finish the week of Ironman Syracuse. Currently the challenge is to schedule the additional hours (11-13 a week), and for my body to adapt in the uptake in volume. Keeping in my mind the training protocol still has specific workouts for speed as well as endurance.

This brings the  chain of events up to the middle of 9-1/2 weeks to go til race day. Aside from random thoughts, and side topics, I will update several times a week, and likely more in June. Thanks in advance for reading along with me during my journey!

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