I am fortunate to have three strong role models in this sport. The first is my buddy Rob. The originator. A fancy lawyer, a husband to a beautiful doctor wife, the father of two hilarious twin boys, and the man still has time to train to a sub-11 hour Ironman. Rob, for me, stands for consistency and an easy training style that I have yet to be able to replicate. The second, my dear friend Tammy. An originating member of Team Unicorn Sparkle Adventure, the only reason Tammy isn't featured more promenantly on this site is because she hasn't yet made the jump to the full 140.6, notwithstanding that she keeps herself in the kind of shape where she could probably finish one tomorrow. Tammy, for me, brings the fun. She always smiles. Hell, she has this annoying habit of trying to engage people in hilarious conversation as she runs by them in races. Why is that annoying? Because no one should be able to have a conversation with you when you're at mile 25 of a marathon (love you Tammy....).
The third, and I'm never going to live this down, the third is my teammate Brandon. Yes, I said it, Brandon. Brandon I hate you you smug bastard. But seriously, Brandon has turned what was a barroom bet one year ago into a serious, dedicated, inspirational training regime. I am so proud of him and of his progress. If you haven't done so yet please read his March Madness Progress updated (I can wait): Progress Update: March Madness
Okay, now that you've read Brandon's progress (and honestly I hope it's inspired you some), here is my hard reality.
March, as a training month, really didn't go well for me. And I'm honestly a bit bummed about it.
Excuses are excuses (and I don't like those), but obstacles are different and can be very real. And I've had a doozy of a month when it comes to those:
- I had the pleasure of dealing with two close family members admitted to hospital for very serious issues, both requiring a degree of long term care;
- I had a family member fall victim to a criminal fraud;
- I injured, then re-injured, then re-injured again my calf, seeing my running and cycling miles tank and my spirits with it;
- I lost my most important relationship in years solely as a result of my own pigheadedness, weakness and fear; a relationship that only in its wake am I starting to realize its importance;
- I was saddled with a travel schedule that was largely unexpected and out of my control and frankly has left me totally exhausted.
And so it should come as no surprise when my training data shows this:
I like to call it "The Crater", because damn did I crater.....
I figure that all told I'm about 3 weeks behind on my training plan, which probably equates to 6 weeks behind in my fitness level. I'm also still nursing a calf injury. And my diet sucks. So here's the plan to get back on track:
- No Run Month: This scares me, but having tweaked my calf three times in three weeks I think I need more rest from running than even my chiropractor suggests. So I think I need 4 solid weeks away from the pavement.
- Revise the Schedule: No I'm not going to "start back where I left off". That would be stupid. I'm 6 weeks down on fitness, I can't just jump back in. Instead I'll back up my training program about 4 weeks, and modify for No Run Month. That means my "peak" phase before my Half-Ironman will be shorter, for example, but the goal is to get their injury free.
- Up the Cycling: I can cycle, and I was actually pretty good at getting on the bike through all this (short efforts, but consistent ones). Accordingly, April is cycling month. Cycling doesn't hurt my calf, will increase my fitness, and will help my run get back to shape faster when I eventually start running again.
- Add Stability Training: For the calf, for the joints, for everything. With the free time I'll have from not running I will incorporate lateral stability, core strength and flexibility movements to my training plan.
- Adjust My Expectations: I will not be able to run a marathon May 1 like I planned. I also probably will not be able to set a significantly better time in the Half-Ironman in Victoria in June. If I can adjust those expectations now, I can prepare for the disappointment and train through it. A set back is not a loss unless you treat it as one.
- Just Get Back On Track: How do you start an exercise program? You don't wait until "Monday", you do it now. So tonight, I'm on the bike, and it all begins again.
Now other than 5, all of that above is physical stuff. And the reality is my head needs some work. I haven't quite sorted that part out yet. Fortunately, tonight I have a long overdue trainer session that will give me lots of time to think (hopefully about more than just how much my ass hurts being back on the trainer)....