Friday, November 25, 2011

IM AZ, Thanksgiving, and the Off Season

This past triathlon season has gone by faster than any other year that I’ve been in the sport. It’s the first year that I haven’t traveled outside the US, but I’ve probably spent just as much time on the road.

I came back from Kona in October, and being the sun seeker that I am, took off for Phoenix a week later to continue my build up for IM Arizona. I have some awesome training partners in Phoenix, and with the temps in San Diego cooling down, it seemed the best place to do my four week build up before IM. I also needed to continue getting some PT on my ankle injury which I could do at Endurance Rehab in between my long desert training days.

I had some of the best swim and bike training I’ve ever had in the few weeks leading up to IM AZ, and my run kept building up week by week. Everything was going great, but I knew in the back of my head that I was rushing to get the run miles in my legs to run a marathon on just four weeks of running since my two month lay off. So the discussion I had with my coach a few days before the race left me with a decision to make. Either run the marathon with my ankle still not quite 100%, risk re-injury and accept that I might be forced with another two month lay off. Or only do part/none of the run, continue my build up for next year, and make this the first off season ever that I’d be uninjured and running before January, leading into the kind of running base that I needed to make 2012 a great year. In the end, we both agreed – any pain running through transition and I would not head out on the run.

The swim and bike at IM AZ were both close to what I expected. The water was a frigid 61 degrees, but I swam close to my usual IM swim time, 55 minutes. It was 53 degrees at the start of the bike, and it took me a little longer than usual to warm up, but eventually I got going and with each of the three 60km bike laps, my times got faster. I finished the bike in 5:06, my fastest IM bike split, and now had a decision to make about the run. Running through transition barefoot, my ankle was feeling ok, but not great. I had a flashback to IM Louisville at the end of August when I was in a similar situation, took a chance because I had a run base in my legs and could place well, but spent the next two months injured. In the end, I made the decision not to run, thinking about 2012 and the opportunities that lay ahead. So although I was disappointed not to finish, I’m also excited that for the first time ever, I’ll be running in November and December, laying down a base for next year and for some early spring races.

I drove home from AZ earlier this week, and had a quick 48 hour turn-around of unpacking summer clothes, re-packing winter clothes, and pulling off a quick Thanksgiving dinner thanks to Whole Foods down the street. I’m now officially on an off season break, aboard a plane to visit my brother and his family in Nova Scotia, with my parents flying over from Newfoundland for a mini family reunion/early Christmas/late Thanksgiving ten day vacation.

A big THANK YOU to my family, friends, coach and sponsors for all of their support through out the year. Looking forward to a great 2012!