Friday, July 15, 2011

Calibrating for Vineman

Here I sit, two weeks from race day, excited and ready. I feel freakishly good right now and taper isn't even in full swing yet. But as we move closer and closer to the event, I have to remember to keep my goals in mind and make sure I've got the right perspective.

Vineman is not as fast a course as Western Australia.
I've been reviewing past results and I've noticed two things: either the field at Vineman is not nearly as competitive as IMWA, or the course is considerably slower. I think it's a little bit of both. Why do I say this?
  1. My IMWA time of 10:07 would have put me second in my age group at last year's Vineman race and fifth overall (versus something like 25th/160th)!
  2. The winner of IMWA finished the race in under 8:20. It doesn't look like anyone has ever finished the Full Vineman course in under nine hours.
Knowing this, I can't really expect to post a better time at Vineman than I did in Australia - it just doesn't seem like a realistic goal. I have to adjust and re-calibrate my goals, targets and predictions to account for the course's increased difficulty. If the average competitive time at Vineman is a full hour slower than the average competitive time at IMWA, I will be thrilled just to break the eleven hour mark on race day.

I just want to do what I set out to do in the beginning.
Months ago, I wrote about my goals for this year. I wanted to do a few things differently and see how they'd play out. In that respect, I may have already won. In December, I felt like a guy playing at triathlon. Today, I feel like a triathlete. I feel stronger than I did in Australia, and I'm training a bit less. Intervals throughout the year have helped - I feel great on the bike. I'm also learning to run smarter, faster and longer, while staying (relatively) injury-free. I've even lost weight!

In January or February, I said that all I want to do is finish strong. That holds true. I want to finish this race with a solid run, and I want to come out of Vineman without feeling like the victim of a bullfight gone wrong. I'm going to take all of the learnings, the fitness, the strategies and the experience from this race and build on this for next year's big one.

I want to put on a good show.
Perspective aside, I want to put on a good show for everyone who's coming out to support me in two weeks. Just because the course is a little slower doesn't mean it won't be a close race! I've trained long and hard for this one, and my friends and family (and especially Kristine) have suffered through another five months of my complaints and early bedtimes. I owe it to them to make the race worth their while!

Edit 7:12 PM - Oh yeah, and HAVE FUN.
I forget about fun sometimes, but I'd like to have some at Vineman. And I think I'm primed to do just that. So... no pressure, no a whole lot of expectation. I'm just going to go out and have myself a good time!

Speaking of having fun and putting on a good show: let's say I do run well and I do come to the finish feeling strong. Touchdown dance down the final 100 meters? Maybe I should I cartwheel over the line? Hmm! I suppose there are a few fun possibilities - time for a brainstorm!