Maybe it's because I've been thinking about how short life really is, maybe it's just my competitive nature but lately I've been thinking about how much more I want out of 2014. Although I spent a lot of time thinking about what specific goals I want to chase this year, more than anything I want to take my racing to the next level. This was reinforced when I received this email from USAT about a week ago. Something about racing against the best in the nation makes you want to train even harder.
2014 was supposed to be the year of the half ironman and I'd known this for almost a year and a half. At some point I came up with a longer term plan that included short distance racing in 2013, a half in 2014 and finally a full ironman in 2015. Knowing I would be graduating college in December 2014 and not starting grad school until August 2015 gave me a window of time with little responsibilty and an ideal time to train for an ironman. And although some people can go from zero to ironman, I wanted to do a half before committing to a full before dropping that kind of cash on a race.
For a few months I had thought I qualified for nationals but I never received the email so I assumed I hadn't. Given that nationals are in Milwaukee and I'm in Baltimore my parents weren't too on board with me racing. Knowing that my main goal for the year was doing a half ironman I thought even if I did qualify for nationals I wouldn't ask to go. Qualifying was the hard part, I just wanted the email.
The minute that email landed in my inbox I knew I had to find a way to get myself to Milwaukee. Only once or twice before had I felt such a strong pull towards a race. For one, I didn't know when the next opportunity to go to nationals would be after graduating. The biggest reason was that I knew I couldn't find competition like this anywhere else. I don't expect to be competitive at this caliber race but knowing just how top notch the other athletes are brings my motivation to a whole other level.
Once the initial excitement of this wore off I started panicking about how to structure my training for the year. I was originally planning on making my A races an Olympic distance triathlon in May and the half ironman in September. Throwing nationals into the mix in October changes everything though. I knew I wanted to shift my focus to racing fast in Milwaukee but I felt lost and completely overwhelmed thinking about figuring out training.
Last year I worked with a coach who did all the scheduling for me. As much as I loved working with a coach I'm not sure I want to pay that kind of cash, especially since I will likely get one for ironman training. Lucky for me I found a two week TrainingPeaks premium trial for free. I used the annual training plan and virtual coach functions and now I think I have established some idea of how this year will look training wise. I don't know how long I'll end up sticking with the plan but at least it's a starting point.
And so with that, training for the 2014 season starts today. After 6 weeks of no running and minimal cross training I am both excited nervous and excited to start training again. I am going to spend the next three weeks easing back into training and getting a sense of where my fitness stands before starting base training.
Until next time!