It's interesting, going through this Kona build the second time around. First off, I am really grateful that I have the support, resources, and guidance to head back to the island for a second time in a row, I am truely quite blessed. Second, I'm a tad bit scared and excited that only 14 weeks remain between me and the starting cannon on the Kona pier. That doesn't seem like such a long time. I'm watching the Tour de France right now and one of the quotes I heard today about some of the guys who have been through many tours was "You can't be here this many times unless you really love to ride your bike." That really struck a chord with me. You can't do this stuff year after year unless you really love the process, really love to swim and bike and run. And it's true for me, I really love the lifestyle. At this time of the year I essentially disappear off the face of the earth unless you are Troy, Annie, Chuckie, Michelle, Angela, or Josh at Tri-Massage. If you have read Maccas book you know that he is a big proponent of a "small circle." I have to agree that while I love to death all my friends and family, when it comes to these crunch weeks I tend to close up my circle a little bit. It's just something that allows me to focus on what needs attention. Some of those things aren't so fun, like grocery shopping for healthy food, getting in that last flop for the day, or laying around with your legs up on a wall. Not prime social engagements!
The thing is, I really enjoy this time of my life. I have other times where I can be more social, but this is a time of the year that I reserve for my own goals. There are times for "balance" in the more general sense of the word, but that time is not now. Read any successful athletes autobiographies and you will see that when it is crunch time, balance simply includes, family time, training, eating, sleeping, and coaching. I know I'm not a PRO, but I have goals and a lot of people around me support those goals. It's in everyones best interest for me to buckle down and focus. Pair that with the fact that it's what I love to do, and you end up with the way things are right now.
There isn't much to write about. Unless you want to hear about 28 hour training weeks, 3 days a week of double swim days, all out efforts where I almost fall off my bike, and track workouts that last 12...13...14...15 miles long. It's a lot of work and the bottom line is that Chuckie has told you all how to do it if you read his blog and you are so inclined. You don't need me to repeat it here.
What I will talk a little bit about is something that is different this year. Last year, things were new being coached by Chuckie. The workouts were new, many times I was just concerned with completing them as they were written, or intended. This year I am familiar with the work and this has allowed us to delve deeper. It has allowed me to become a more active participant in the process. I know what each workout will take out of me, I know how to pace it, and I know when something is "off" or "on". This has been the big surprise of the year. Chuckie gives us a lot of freedom. He teaches us how to know when we are "on" and when we aren't. We have guidelines to follow in these situations. I try to impart this on the athletes I guide as well. It's not cut and dry, you have to make game day decisions.
Last year I was more into doing the work, this year I am more into following the guidelines. Last year I waited on pins and needles to get my schedule every Sunday evening. This year I don't really care much. I know I am going to wake up, and train. I am going to train as much as I can fit into my schedule in a nonstressful way. I'm not going to force square pegs into round holes, I'm going to move aside obligations to create open spaces to train stress free. As long as Chuckie gives me a guideline of what the day should include, I'm golden.
When I get into the training session, I'm going to have a "best case scenario" in my head that Chuckie has communicated with me. I'm going to warm up slowly, and gently, and I'm going to get into the "work." All along the way I'm going to see how I'm feeling but without judgement. Based on that I make decisions on where the work will head. Again, I have a framework, and some best case scenarios, but I also have the flexability to capitalize on great days, and successfully downgrade the days where it's not happening.
That has been the surprise of the year. It's like one layer deeper that we have reached in the Coach/Athlete relationship. These things take time and I am just now realizing that for the first time. I can't thank Chuckie enough for being patient through the process and letting our relationship build through the months. It's a cool feeling to know how supported I am.
So, this is the point of the year where I am getting excited. I'm starting to see some fitness shine through. I'm starting to see my pace get faster at MAF and those watts start to rise. I'm able to really nail the work day in and day out with little rest. I'm sleeping like a log (nothing new there) and getting up in the morning ready for the days training. Things are coming together.