On the 25th of last month, I did the half Ironman in Coeur d’Alene, for the second time.
I’m finally ready to decide how I feel about it.
Here’s the deal – last year, I had a fair swim, a pretty good ride, and not-a-good run. So I spent the winter and spring working on my swimming and running, and letting my bike slide a bit. You know – work on your weak points. Heck, there were a couple of months where I barely saw the pool or the trainer – I was in a “running block”.
Three weeks before the race, I was swimming better than I had ever imagined swimming, and I was consistently running over a minute per mile faster than I was running the year before in the period leading up to the race.
I figured I’d lose something in the bike, but I’d more than make it up in the swim and run.
Then the taper started, and I started doing a lot more open water swims. Suddenly my legs turned to wood, and I couldn’t swim but 100 yards or so at a time, and then I’d have to take a break – this after doing a full Half-IM swim every Saturday morning, before my long bike ride.
Okay, okay, it’s taper jitters – it’ll pass.
Hah. On race day, I had to keep stopping about each buoy on the way out – I could swim all the way back, but the damage was done; my swim was four minutes slower.
And the run was hot, sure, but it was hard to believe that I ran slower this year than last year – when I looked at my training log, it was just not possible. But it happened.
Meanwhile, my bike was TEN MINUTES FASTER. (Here’s the Garmin file from just the bike portion.) Everything on the bike was easier – I was passing people for three hours, and passing on both the uphills and the downhills. I was out of my mind on the bike.
So the things that I prepared for, trained for, and was ready for, went straight to heck – while the discipline in which I had slacked off and taken it easy in order to work on the other stuff is where the day shined.
I just don’t know anything at all about anything, and nothing that I do goes the way that I think it will 🙂
This would be a great time to quit triathlon – I mean, what’s a fellow to do, when his efforts result in the exact opposite of the any reasonably expected result?!? 🙂
But instead, I’m now in full training for Ironman Arizona, in November, and getting ready to sign up for IM Hawai’i 70.3 next June.
See,here’s the way these things work – the fact that nothing ever works the way that you think it will does NOT stop one from thinking. So the poor brain steps back and says to itself “Okay, then, if I had done THIS, then THAT would have happened”. And the brain goes right ahead and, next time, does THIS – but THAT, that should have happened, doesn’t happen.
Pirsig pointed out in “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” that the scientific method – while pretty good, and the best thing we’ve come up with so far – has an obvious, but overlooked, flaw; the more information you get, the MORE hypotheses you can produce, instead of LESS. So what we do is we pick one hypothesis, and go with it, and ignore everything else that’s yelling at us from the edge of our consciousness.
I have no real idea why the things that I tried didn’t work – but the fact is that, unlike the scientific method, I can’t “keep everything else the same and change one variable”. All of my variables are changing, all the time, and all I can do is try to steer a course that makes sense, while having to admit that it isn’t going to work the way I expect it to – but it might work someway.
So how do I feel about IMCdA/2?
Whimsical. All I’m left with, in all honesty, is shaking-my-head whimsy, a crooked smile and rolling eyes.
And an entry blank for the next race 🙂