You would think I could manage another month. A final push to the last race of the season, then ease back and regroup. It sounds simple, but after the last six weeks I just can’t. Part physical, part psychological – with one major race to go, I am done. I will go to Vegas and I will race, but I cannot give it the focus it deserves.
Since returning from the Alps I’ve struggled to train. The season ended there. Thoughts of next year preoccupy me and the remaining races have been obstacles to those goals. The training I need to do is not the training I want to do. Actually, until now I didn’t want to train! The month before Challenge Henley looked more like an off season than a peak; I’d gone too far and needed to recover.
Two weeks on I’m ready to do something. I have five weeks until ITU Long Distance Worlds, in the past that would have been enough. In the past I would turn my fitness round in a month – train relentlessly, briefly taper, then race. A lot has changed. My calendar is full, I’ve a job to do and a life outside triathlon too. Before I even begin to make excuses – truth is I still don’t want to do the training I need.
This season has been a disappointment. Better to move on and prepare for the next. No rush, just enjoy training and put myself back on track. The idea of building up for one more race holds no appeal; I would rather go to Vegas and enjoy it without pressure. I’ll come back in November, put the year behind me and look towards a better 2012.
Six weeks has given me time to reflect. Specifically to examine what I take from triathlon and where my goals lie. This year has been a transition from obsessive full-time athlete to a more balanced lifestyle. There is much more to achieve beyond faster Ironman times. I’m not stopping chasing, but putting the pursuit in the context of a broader set of goals. A long time ago I wrote about creating a sustainable triathlon lifestyle; I’ve done it, it just isn’t what I imagined.
So my season is over with one race to go. I’ll go to Vegas and have fun, but in the meantime I’m laying the groundwork for 2012. It’s going to be a busy year both as an athlete and a coach.