Friday, January 17, 2014

My 2014 Season Plan

Let me start off with a note about this post, specifically that I started it back in October and I'm only now getting around to finishing and posting it.  As an interesting exercise in how my mindset has changed, I've left in all of the original post, marking out what needs to be deleted and I've added my updates/changes in red. I hope yo enjoy the read.  Oh, also keep in mind that even four full months later, parts of my schedule are still up in the air...

This is the first time that I've gone through the process of building out a season plan and it's proven to be quite the exercise in mental gymnastics. I knew for sure that I wanted to do another full Iron distance race, so that was a starting point.  I also knew that I'm out of commission for most of August 2014 due to other commitments.

With that in mind, I set out to build a viable schedule.  Much of the process that I followed was my own, but I did follow the advice I found in a couple of DC Rainmaker posts that you can read here and also here.

The one fixed point on my 2014 schedule is IronMan Arizona.  I signed up to volunteer for the 2013 race and I've already booked my travel. Hopefully this will This did earn me a spot in the 2014 version of the race as this is my A+ race for next year.  Volunteering was really cool and it's something that I highly recommend if you want to get a small dose of the IronMan experience without actually entering the race.

The other race that I'm treating as an A B race, at least from a scheduling perspective, is the 50K version of the Laurel Highlands Ultra.  This is in early June and it has been a sellout in each of the past couple of seasons. I was part of a relay team for this race back in June of this year and it looked like fun.  Plus it's a new distance for me, so I'm making it an A B race for next year. I did actually get in to this one, so it's confirmed and on my schedule!

The reason that the 50K has shifted to a B priority is that I've decided to do IMTX again!  I was up in the air about this for a while but I finally decided that it's the best way to start my season. I did IMTX last year (2013) and then I was able to maintain that fitness level out into October before my world sort of fell apart. Hopefully fall of 2014 is better than 2013, but that's another story.  The plan is to use Texas as motivation for the early part of the season and then build on that for Arizona in the fall.  We'll see how it turns out!

Starting from these two three races and my August hiatus, I worked out the following season plan.

  • Volunteering at IMAZ in November 2013 - Done!
  • Snowboarding and off-season strength training in December and January and February
  • Pittsburgh Marathon - May - I'm treating this as a C race, basically a long structured workout in preparation for the 50K in June. Sorry, too close to IMTX to stay on the schedule
  • IronMan Texas - May 17th - This is an A race.
  • Laurel Highlands Ultra 50K - June 14th - This is an A B race.
  • Pittsburgh Triathlon (International Distance) - July 27 - This is an A race.
  • Rev3 Cedar Point or MoraineMan - early to mid September - One of these will be a B race to help prepare for IMAZ.
  • Waterman's Half - mid October - This could be a C race, essentially a long structured workout in preparation for IMAZ.
  • IMAZ - November 16th - A+ race and the main focus of my 2014 season.

So there you have it, my 2014 season in black and white!

I hope your season planning is going well!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Powerful Sorrow

It's been a while since I've posted here, it seems that my real life has taken me away from my online life (rude).  I've had a lot going on, both good things and bad, and somewhere in the midst of everything I lost my voice.  This is about the 10th time I've started this post so clearly I'm still searching, for the right words, the proper message, the silver lining...

With that, I need to just cut to the chase and tell you that my dad died in October.

His was not a sudden death, he was originally diagnosed with prostrate cancer in 1994!  He lived a full life, touching more lives than even I knew. Like anyone who fought an extended battle with cancer he had good times and bad, but he always seemed to stay optimistic about things and he managed to keep living regardless of what was happening otherwise.  That said, his decline through this summer and into the fall was quite severe and came as a shock to me and everyone else who knew him.

I'm lucky: my dad was a significant and positive presence in my life. I learned many things from him and I see him in myself everyday.  Although we did not have the, "talk to you tomorrow" sort of relationship that mothers and daughters often have, we always enjoyed and benefited from spending time together.

Things were not always easy.  My father was married 25 years, twice, and those two lives sometimes conflicted in hard and meaningful ways. At the time that my parents split, I was out of the house and thus, less directly dependent on my them than my brother and sister. I'm sure that shaped my feelings about the divorce and his new relationship.

My father was a creative and optimistic person who would give the shirt off of his back to a complete stranger. He was also somewhat of a stranger to me, someone that I knew of but maybe did not really know. Someone who would tell things to a total stranger that he wouldn't tell to his own children.

My father loved me and was proud of me, I know this because he regularly told me so.  This is something that I need to focus on in my own life, it's something that I don't do enough. I love my kids, each in their own ways and I am extremely proud of the amazing women that they have become.

I would like to say that I'm back, that I've found my voice and my motivation and that things are, once again, approaching normal, but I don't feel that way just yet. I'm excited for 2014 and my schedule is full of challenges that I expect will help me find my way home but that journey is not yet complete.

OK, now go call your dad and tell him you love him. No, really, I mean it, call him and tell him, you'll be happy that you did.

I love you dad and I miss you more than I can find the words to express.