Friday, March 15, 2013

Laying plans

Getting on things a bit earlier than last year, I've finally got 'round to building myself a racing season! Things get going next weekend (ack!) with Steaming Nostril on March 24th as a warm-up (irony: it's likely to be damn cold and the trail may be snow-covered) for Paris to Ancaster three weeks later on April 14th. This is mostly about the tri season, though, so breathe deeply and soldier forth.

I've known for some time now that I'd be doing the Half Iron distance triathlon at Welland as my A-race this year, as I'm sure I can improve on my 2011 result if I can just manage to avoid another crippling (and entirely self-inflicted) sacroiliac joint injury. 6:25:56 is the time to beat, and I think running the Mississauga Half-Marathon 7 weeks beforehand will set me up for success much better than the Waterloo (full) Marathon did in 2011 - I had an additional week in between, but recovery from a road marathon (into which I went undertrained; surprise, surprise) took for bloody ever and I was only just starting to feel myself again come race day for the half iron. I've been getting really consistent running mileage in for the last couple of months (broke 500km for the year last night), so hopefully this will translate into an improvement on my one-and-only half marathon time of 2:09:24 and a quicker half iron run leg.

All the sooner into the canal!

When I raced the Welland Half in 2011, it was my first tri of the year and I had an abysmal swim. I've been putting in some decent yardage at the pool and am swimming much faster overall than I was then, but I've also made the decision to go back to one of my favourite race venues for an early season warm-up: Woodstock doesn't have the 750m-30k-7.5k distance I did last year anymore, so I'll actually get to try the standard sprint distance (750m-20k-5k) for the first time! It's exactly half of an Olympic tri, and will basically be a speed workout and dress rehearsal 4 weeks ahead of the half.

Everything after Welland is more or less gravy, as we're going touring on the motorcycles come the July 1st weekend - I learned early in my racing career that you don't schedule anything for which performance is required after a week of road food, minimal (if any) training and casual boozing. That being said, we'll return to reality on July 8th with a whole 12 days to whip ourselves into shape for the Belwood sprint relay! Hopefully this year I won't let Tanker down with the worst swim pace I've ever recorded (like 2011 - I seriously swam slower than I did in my first 2 races back in 2009!), and will actually be able to get through the whole 7.5km run without collapsing into a wheezing heap of greasy ooze. Ok, there was no collapsing in 2011, but spending a week camping and drinking right before the race was certainly not the best idea we've ever had...or maybe it was!

No, probably not.

August is usually occupied with Mine Over Matter, which I had every intention of doing again this year (despite previous .500 record for completion and associated damages) until they announced it would be moved from the last weekend of August to July 7th, at which point I won't even be home from our moto camping expedition. I thought about racing the Toronto Island sprint, but Tanker balked at the idea of having to be at the ferry docks by 05:30 - the words "logistical nightmare" kept escaping his usually un-protesting lips, and I couldn't honestly argue with that. Given that the 750m-30k-7.5k distance has been eliminated in favour of the shorter, standard sprint for this race as well, I was having a hard time convincing myself that it was worth over 4 hours of travel for a scant 90mins on course. I gave brief thought to trying the other Element race (Muskoka Grind on Aug. 18th), but decided against another out-of-town race for this year. The plan instead is to pack the bikes up and go camp somewhere for a few days instead - I'm going to give my sweet husband and wonder sherpa a whole summer month race-free!

September brings the end of tri season in Ontario, and I had a tough time deciding which of two great Olympic-distance races I'd be using to close out the year. I've done Lakeside the last two years (including while broken last year - whee!), and I do love the venue and its convenience - take off before dawn, but home by 2pm! Wasaga involves a little more planning - when I did it 2010, we stayed Friday and Saturday night in Collingwood, and that was a really comfortable way to go as it gave us a lovely weekend away after the Saturday morning race. As terrible as the pavement on the bike course is, I've chosen to return to the frigid waters of Georgian Bay again this year for a few reasons: the run course has got to be one of the most beautiful in Ontario, it will give Tanker and I a lovely excuse for a weekend together, and it's also the one triathlon at which my Dad came to see me race. That alone is enough to make the venue special to me, and one I'd like to re-visit.

By the end I thought I could fly.

One other advantage to Wasaga is that it's a week earlier in September (the 7th as opposed to the 15th), as I'm having some very stupid thoughts about trying to run my first 50k trail race at Vulture Bait on October 19th. If I do, I'll need the extra time in between for some recovery and last couple of long runs/doubles before setting out for 6+ hours of pain...and then possibly running another 6 hours a week later at Horror Hill?

So, the plans are more or less laid, and I've actually managed to say "no" to a race for once. All that's left now is to stay healthy and keep the training consistent! If the end of the season shapes up as described above, I may also need to start making sacrifices to a few deities..

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