Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pulling out of an Ironman

I've pulled out of the Melbourne Ironman, I'm a DNS. Why?

In hindsight I've discovered that the the real question I should be asking myself isnt "why did I pull out of Melbourne? but rather why did I enter?"

Going back a little. Basically I pulled out of Melbourne because I was totally unprepared. I was unprepared not because of a failure of coaching, Sean - my coach, was doing a brilliant job providing a program, running sessions and providing feedback I simply wasnt doing the training. I wasnt doing the training because I had totally underestimated the effect of the Bussleton Ironman on my body (and spirit to be honest). Oh, I had read all the magazine articles and I had spoken to lots of athletes and I was sure I'd be ok. Do Busso in December, take two weeks off to recover, spend two weeks easing back into training and then 12 weeks of hard stuff to prep for Melbourne in March - that was the plan.

What actually happened was totally different. What actually happened was do Busso, then catch just about every virus going around home or the office - nothing serious but just enough to have me totally wiped out and feeling drained for about 4 weeks. Then I tried to train and I just got sort of sick again - not really sick, just miserable/flat/lethargic 'sort of sick' - so instead of two weeks easing into training it was closer to four. I should also add that during this time an unforessen (and unforeeable) family issue arose that further screwed with everying - we moved from Newcastle to Melbourne to live.

So about 8 weeks out from Melbourne, with essentially no 'real' training since December, still half way through moving the family (we are in Melbourne now but still only in temporary accomodation) there was no way I could race Melbourne in a way I would be satisfied with. I know I actually could have done it and finished. Others suggested that since I'd only get a very small amount of my entry back I may as well turn up, get my goodie bag and perhaps do the swim and ride as a training session. But I didnt want to do either of these.

I took up triathlon as a challenge to myself, it gives me goals to shoot for and a place to test myself. Treating a race, an Ironman, with such disrespect that it would be a training session just felt, I dont know, wrong I suppose. I understand others see it differently, they reset their goals and can say 'in these circumstances I am still rising to a challenge - just a different one'. I get that and can respect it, its just not for me. So I'm out.

Looking back, the truth is I should never had entered Melbourne. I started triathlon (from a base of virtually no fitness) a little over three years ago and while I am undoubtedly fitter and stronger than I have ever been that fitness and strength is still pretty shallow. The Busso race left my tank bone dry. While the decision to move the family really put the decision beyond doubt, frankly it wasnt the basis of the problem. I was never going to recover from Busso and prep for Melbourne within the 15 and a bit weeks I had. If I had asked Sean, Im pretty sure he would have advised me against it.

Thats it. I wont say there's no looking back or no regrets - I think thats a pretty stupid philosophy. Of course I'll look back over the past few months and wonder, and of course when Melbourne IM is underway and I'm cheering on all my MTC and FM mates it will hurt not being out there. But, I'll look back not to wallow, but to learn. How do I organise my calendar better, how does my body respond to races, how do I do better?

Speaking of the calendar, whats the plan I hear you ask. Well right now Im not making any short term tri goals apart from get my family settled and get back into the habit of training. I havent got any mid term goals at all. I do have a long term goal though and I've decided to make it a biggie - Roth 2015, Destination 9:59. So 15 months to prepare for a race and shave a little over 2 hours off my PB. Better strap myself in, this is going to be a tough ride.