Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Looking Ahead - Pondering Future Races

It's been 2 1/2 weeks since the big race.  As much as I'd love to just sit and re-read my race report over and over again, the idea of just living off my past successes sounds pretty lame.  It's time to look forward.  

Over the last week, I've gotten back into a groove again with training.  I'm not doing anywhere near the time or mileage that I was this summer, but it feels good to move and to have fresh legs.  Basically, I'm on an every-other-day type of routine.  I'll take one day to work out, and the next day to catch up on all the home projects that I put off during the summer.  The homestead was starting to get a little white trash-y.  It's nice to have a clean garage and trimmed shrubs again. 

On the training side of things, I've spent a very small amount of time in the pool.  Maybe it's the lingering flu symptoms, but pool workouts just feel weird.  After getting used to all those open water swims leading up to the Ironman, the pool just feels too dang warm.

I've only done one bike ride.  That was last weekend.  It was nice to get around town again and enjoy some gorgeous weather.  But, since the days are getting shorter, there just isn't enough daylight left on a weekday to get a good ride in.  I have a feeling that I'll be hitting the trainer before too long.  Blech.

Running has actually been going pretty well.  When I was training for the Ironman, I depended on my heart rate monitor to dictate my pace for the runs.  Anything over 165 beats-per-minute meant that I should slow down.  I have since ditched the heart rate monitor, at least for now, and have been focusing more on pace.  Since the run has always been my weakest discipline, I want to learn how to run fast.  I should probably mention that a year ago my workouts averaged about 11:00 per mile.  Now I'm down in the 9:20 range - so I know I'm going in the right direction.   But it sure would be nice to keep pushing those numbers down.

I think that my biggest problem is that, in order to stay motivated, I need to have a goal.  Some people can just train and train and train, just for the heck of it.  Not me.  Without a goal, I get lazy. 

So, now the big question is: what do I do next?  The Minnesota Tri season is done.  Shoot.  In a month, there could even be snow on the ground.  It's happened before.  There are a few indoor tris sprinkled throughout the winter, but for the most part the calendar is dominated by running events.  I haven't done a running-only race since high school, and those were all 5Ks. 

I kind of like the idea of trying out some middle-distance races.  You know, anything from a 10K to a 1/2 marathon.  5Ks are all fine and good, but sometimes it takes me that long on a training run just to get my legs warmed up. 

There are a couple cool races on the horizon that I'm considering.  Team Ortho has the Monster Dash at the end of October - there are options for a 5K, 10-mile and 1/2 Marathon.   Plus there are all kinds of races around Thanksgiving.  I've got my eye on the Drumstick Dash 10K over at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. 

I'll see how the next week or two go with running training.  I'll try to do a longer distance run over the weekend and a couple interval workouts during the week.  If things go well, I'll probably bite on one or both of those races.

Now, when I look waaaaaaay ahead into next year, things get a little more dicey.  There's no Ironman to look forward to - that is unless I can convince The Wife to let me sign up for Ironman Florida.  Her dad lives down there, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a November, 2011 race.  If the Ironman isn't a go, then I'll probably focus on doing more smaller local races.  Of course, I'd love to do the Liberty 1/2 Ironman and the Chaska Tri again.  I love those races. But there are also plenty of other popular races out there that I'd love to take a stab at.  Ahh, decisions, decisions.

Granted, I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to AFFORD all of this fun.  When I add to all this the fact that I'd like to invest in a real honest-to-goodness tri bike, rather than my mutant Trek,  I start to get the feeling I'll be checking the black market soon to sell some of my redundant organs (anybody wanna buy a slightly-used kidney?).

Ah well.  I'll keep you posted as the plans come together.  If anyone has some recommendations for quality running events in the Twin Cities through the fall and winter, by all means, drop me a note in the Comments section.

Later gators. 

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