For those of you Kona-addicts, and I know there are some of you out there, you might be wondering if the Kona/Florida or Kona/Arizona or Kona/Cozumel doubles are a good idea. There are two prevailing camps on this: 1) It's a good way to carry over Kona fitness into a slot for the following year.
2) You crazy
This will be the second year in a row that I have done a Kona/xxx double and I thought I would jot down some of my feelings, since feelings tend to wear off.
When I think back to last year I think to myself...what a great idea it was to do IM Arizona, especially since CV had a good plan with how to rest me properly from Kona and then sharpen me back up just before race day. It worked out pretty well last year. Not flawless, but pretty well.
I woke up on race day with a cold, but I was still ready to work as hard as ever. I'm starting to wonder is this just me? Other than the swim, my sore throat didn't bother me too much. It did completely pummel me after the race though, I was sick for 7 days, like didn't leave the couch kind of sick. Also, at AZ with 10K to go I was out of a slot in 4th place, and then 10K later I was running for my life winning the age group. I always felt a little bit like I nabbed it by the skin of my teeth. But in retrospect my feelings were "That was awesome."
So I signed up for Cozumel this year. After all, if it isn't broke, don't fix it. I thought of the things I would do different this year. Mainly a little more focus on productive rest (not the margarita kind), and some immunity strengthening precautions so I didn't end up sick on race day.
You know, what I failed to take into account? All the things I had last year that I don't have this year that helped make the double a success (and fun). I thought I would just fix what didn't work, and I didn't pay any attention to putting in place the things that DID work last time. So what worked last time? I had Michelle and Chuckie and Angela to train with all the way up until race day, that majorly worked! It was Michelle's first IM and I was so excited for her, another thing that "worked."
I don't have that this year. As much as people have offered to "train with me" and help me out with some company, it's nearly impossible. People may not be done training for the year but they are done training hard for the year. All I'm doing is training hard. They call to ask what they can join in on and I say..."Sweet, can you meet me at the track at 12:20, warm up with me and then run 8 miles at 7:20 pace around in circles, not talking, or altering your heart rate by more than 3 beats?" You can imagine what the answer is to that. Hey, training partner, wanna join me for a 6000 meter swim workout...most of which is going to be as fast as we possibly can go on a very tight interval? No...why not?
See, it's just the nature of the time of year, it's everyones off season, and when off season comes, most people are more than ready for it. Michelle said to me, Hey, I can join you for some of your easier stuff. Umm great...I'll see you in December... !
So, the Kona/Arizona double with friends, and excitement, and good times...hell yea! The Kona/Cozumel double alone with a winter storm every 5 days...not so much fun.
Unless I absolutely fall in love with Cozumel and I want to go back very very badly, I most likely won't do the Kona/Cozumel double next year. Having made that decision I'm not really sure where that leaves me for 2012. A lot of it depends on if I qualify for Kona at Cozumel. Like I said, last year it was something that came together in the last 10K, if I had faltered then, I would have had to change my season around.
I will say that if you desire to test your motivation, to see if you really love training for and racing Ironman, if you want to test your ability to be self motivated, then this is a great choice. Go train for an Ironman when everyone else is done training, that will make you hard like Iron. I think parts of this have been good for me. There will come a time when I am going to be on my own more than I have been, like a lot of you all already train, and I need to have structures in place to keep motivated week after week of training alone. This is a good skill to have whether you have access to great training partners or not.
It's common to hear people say "You have to race on your own" but that is so not true. Race day is full of outside stimulus, and that's what I miss about training alone...in my basement...or on the treadmill...or in an empty pool in the middle of the day. There is very little to distract, and thus you must be skilled at keeping your focus where it belongs.
17 days remain until Ironman Cozumel. We fly to the island on Thanksgiving day (not my favorite holiday so I am happy about this) and we are there for a week. I can tell you that the 4 days after Cozumel is going to involve a ton of thinking, planning, figuring. There are so many balls in the air right now that I'm ready more than anything to have some things tied down and decided upon.