Wednesday, October 28, 2009

One Month Later - What Did I Learn?

Just 30 short days ago, I completed what has been one of the most amazing events in my life. Ironman 70.3 Augusta. Amazing because the whole journey was just beyond anything I had ever, physically and mentally, experienced.

On my last post I described as best as I could how the day went. Those thoughts were better captured when the event was still clear in my mind. During these past four weeks I have had the opportunity to mull over the whole experience.

So, what have I learned?

I learned that the sometime physical pain and often mental anguish was totally worth it.
I learned that I can push myself to do things never thought possible.
I learned that without the help and support of my family, this would have been impossible.

And hopefully I have learned from mistakes or rather, the experience.

Here are some things I need to fix:

SWIM: Of all three disciplines, the swim is the one I have concluded I was most pleased with. Funny I should say this, but its true. I do need to work on a little speed and direction; need to keep it straight.

BIKE: I killed my overall time and damaged my run in the bike. My goal was to finish the bike in 3 hrs and 30 minutes. I finished in 3:32:37. So how was this wrong? Let me explain.

I set my sights on individual event times. So much for swim, so much for bike, so much for run. After seeing that I had crushed (crushed by my standards) my swim time, I thought if I kept my bike time in check, I would surpass my finishing goal time. This was the big mistake.

I started off on the bike at a pace that exceed 18mph for the first 4-5 miles and tried to keep it up for as long as possible. Towards the last quarter of the course, as expected the pace had dropped to somewhat over 16 mph but I was still on target. The course was hilly and the wind was strong. I had to work hard to keep up this pace, but I found within me strength to do just that. I finished the bike with a pace just a smidgen over 16 mph which gave me a time well within the margin of error from my goal time. Like I said, this was the big mistake.

I killed my legs; there was very little left for the run.

RUN: Mile one of 13.1 was the only mile without pain. I understand now, why. This I can fix.

So, what will I do different next time?

I will concentrate and work towards an "overall" finishing time, not individual event times, understanding that sacrificing a little bit here, a little bit there, I will come out ahead in the long run.

I will also ride pre-race day, if possible, the bike course. At least I will drive it. There cannot be any surprises.

One question that has been asked often is if I will attempt an Ironman? The answer today is a definite... Maybe!

I have to solve three issues before seriously considering such a task. First, I have to learn to swim straight. Second, I have to answer the cramping questions and third, I have to upgrade my bike. When all these are resolved, I will possibly, most likely, almost definitely go for 140.6!