Back to Spain

Mostly packed already and with contact lenses this time. Back off for a second weekend’s training in Spain where the weather is supposed to be sunny and a warm 25C. Not that it’s been so bad here lately, bit wet at times, but finally warming up. I’ll get to try it out with a 2 hour run over lunch.

Trying out a new mapping tool, my third now and so far so good. That’s my easy run from my bike-run-bike workout last night. The mapping software handily follows the roads which makes it much easier to have a reasonable estimate of distances done, that said if that’s really a 7K loop then I have to wonder how long the Cambridge Duathlon run actually is, my time last night was close to the time for the supposed 7.5K of that course. The brick session last night was all done at easy intensity, the bike portions on the rollers and the run at whatever felt comfortable. I’ve spent most of this week with a sore left leg, muscles tightening up from the race and the ITB tightness I get really flaring up. Lots of stretching has been in order and some very painful massage too. So it was good that things seem to have improved.

So mission statements for the next year or two… I recently read 7 Habits which is why I’m talking of my plans in terms of a mission statement. I’d not actually recommend the book that much, for me there was a lot I was already familiar with at least in terms of personal behaviours and processes. Perhaps there’s more use from the perspective of business and working with others in that environment, but it seemed less relevant to me. Also the endless examples from his life are just a little too perfect and frankly, sickening. That said the ideas it expresses in terms of what is necessary for success, concepts like being Principle Centred seem sound to me. I’ve tended to think of them in terms of objectives and motivations up till now, knowing these makes it much easier to make choices to support them.

I don’t have a mission statement yet, it’s going to take a while to come up with a precise one. I certainly have ideas on objectives and motivations and ultimately I’m really looking at tidying these up into a coherent statement. Some of these have been brought to the forefront of my mind recently by a race I saw online, The North Face 100, 100km trail run in the Blue Mountains. It would be fair to say that whilst I’ve thought of this kind of racing in the future I’ve never put anything into my plan yet, it was always after Ironman. Reading the website I was keen to give that sort of race a go whilst I’m in Oz, I’ll have the time available to prepare, but the issue is how does it distract from other objectives?

I have an objective to get my Ironman time down to the 9 hour region, let’s be honest, to go sub-9 in a race. My year (or more) of dedicated training time was one of my main contributors to this goal, no distractions of work and commuting to prevent me doing the training, recovery or rest required. If I’m going to get that fast, then this coming year will be the time to do it. So with that in mind when I look at a 100k trail run, or a marathon how does that impact my ability to complete that objective? Obviously I can’t know for certain, but the potential is it negatively impacts upon this. Based on that likely effect I have to consider do I postpone one objective, or the other, or possibly extend the time frame for the sub-9 hour goal?

Well, I’ve spent a few days puzzling over this, not willing to give up on one or the other entirely, though if pushed I would have to admit that rationally the ultramarathon should go. This is where motivation comes in though, why did I decide that I was willing to commit time and money to a year of training and no income? What did I ultimately want to come out of this? As important as triathlon has become to me and as much as I get from it I’ve always considered my ultimate focus to be endurance in general. At its broadest my objectives for the year are to improve myself as an endurance athlete, not specifically a triathlete. Triathlon is the tool I primarily use to do this because I enjoy each of the 3 sports.

Clearly motivations and objectives overlap and have varying scopes (I guess that the computer programmer in me), my broadest objective is to become an extremely fit endurance athlete. Within that I have objectives like qualifying for the Hawaii Ironman, a sub-9 Ironman, racing as an elite in an Ironman! Running ultramarathons and ultra-distance events, the list could go on. It’s unrealistic to think you can be successful in all of these specific objectives at the same time, clearly where the route to achieving objectives overlap you can work towards more than one. However any work towards the specific goals is work towards the broader goal and ultimately that’s the main thing.

Where does this rambling train of though lead? Well I can do the 100k trail run if I want, it will contribute to my broadest goal, but the reality is it may impact specific Ironman goals. My choice comes down to whether I’m willing to add an element of risk into my ability to achieve those goals and probably extend the timeline require to complete them. Whilst training for an ultramarathon might contribute to my Ironman goal in the sense they both involve running, it’s not specific to it and will likely make the sub-9 goal much harder. So have I actually made a decision? Nope. I don’t need to yet I’m going to wait and see how training and racing goes later this year. How I hold up under the higher training loads and more long distance racing. Plus entry isn’t even open for next year anyway, they have to run this year’s event first.

Ok, there you go – in conclusion I break down stuff into objectives and motivations, try to work out what mine are, think about it a lot and then don’t come to a firm conclusion on anything. I will also have a lot more time to do this when I’m in Oz. Aside from this, I have to learn to stop putting things off, pissing it down outside now, hopefully it’ll pass soon enough and I can go do the run I’m supposed to.