Remember when you were a kid heading into spring? For some of us, myself included, elementary school was a LONG time ago. I remember around spring my mind would wander towards thoughts of summer - maybe it was the change in season, maybe it was because I'd been in school for too long and was getting fidgety. I just remember thinking I can't wait to just wake up to warm sunshine and go!
This year I vow to put some fun back into my fitness and racing. Doing 4 Ironman in the last 2 years proved to be a mistake. I ended up exhausted, burnt out and 4 unsatisfying results. At the end of last year I decided to take significant time off and let my body reset. I did largely nothing for 6 weeks post Ironman Florida which then transitioned to Christmas and New Years so an additional 2 weeks of rest were added. I did not worry about gaining a few pounds and that worked out to a 14lb gain in weight - as it turns out the extra "insulation" has come in handy for this year's winter deep freeze!
As I entered 2015 I had thoughts of doing the Around the Bay 30K run which takes place at the end of March. As I got back into training I, very innocently, put my low back into spasm. I was lifting an empty box out of my truck - pretty heavy stuff. This, combined with a cold run that put my back further into spasm, and I found myself with limited training in January. Add to that the unseasonably cold temperatures we have had and the Bay race was out. On some level I was relieved - I've done the Bay many times and I find it doesn't excite me anymore. I may learn to like it again but, for now, I'm just not into it.
Early into February my back issues eased up which was good timing as my prep for Ironman Mont Tremblant officially began February 15th (6 months out). I used the first two weeks of Feb to ease the body back into training. These past 2 weeks have been structured and so far the plan has been working nicely. I have been more swim and bike focused than years past - mostly as a result of doing more treadmill running than before. I am slower than usual but that's okay. I'm beginning to feel signs of gaining strength while losing a few pounds in the process. The speed will come eventually but I don't feel like I need to force it.
All of this leads up to my summer plans. At the top of the page is some guy on a SUP. One of my resolutions this year was to be more adventurous and try new things. I wanted to take up surfing (I have done it previously and loved it). The problem though is that the best waves tend to be in the Fall and Winter - a significant challenge for someone who hates the cold. I've decided to get into stand up paddling instead. It's logistically easier - conditions don't have to be perfect, Lake Ontario/Erie is close and I also have the lake at Binbrook conservation area just up the road. It's also a great core workout while enjoying nature - awesome! The only problem is Sara may want to clobber me for thinking about yet another "toy" to play with. Personally I think she would love it!
My options on my summer season of adventure may include some of the following events: first up - the Sulphur Springs Trail Run. I've done a 20k relay leg over a 100 mile race there in the past and loved it. They have a open 25k run on its own (I believe) and it's at the end of May which works nicely for my work schedule which is a little busy in June - I have 4 day meetings June 1-5 and 27-30.
I'd also like to get a half Ironman done in June. I've decided my options are Syracuse 70.3, Tupper Lake Tinman or the Welland Half Ironman. All 3 are scheduled late June to the end of June. In the case of the Tupper Lake race, my meeting at the end of June is in Ottawa so it would fit nicely - I could do the race, drive the 2.5 hours to Ottawa from there and be settled before the meeting start on the 28th. Plus I could use the meeting as recovery from the race (meetings are tough to fit in training).
Back to trail running. There is a North Face Trail Series Run at Blue Mountain mid-July. It's great because they have tons of distances from 10k to a 50 miler. My thinking is to do a long hilly training run on trails with no time or pace goals - long slow distance would be the focus. It would also be a cool scenic environment as well. One day I'd like to try an ultra. I'm thinking in the next couple of years to take on a 50k trail run then maybe (or maybe not depending on how the 50k would go) taking on a 50 miler. We will see...
Finally it will be on to Tremblant for Ironman. This will mark my 11th Ironman race and I'm happy to do it somewhere new. I've been to Tremblant before - it's beautiful and only 7 hours drive away. Plus being in Canada we will avoid the US exchange issue. Big Rob is doing the race plus a couple of new tri-friends for Burlington so it should be fun.
Finally after a couple of months of chillaxing post Ironman maybe Sara and I will do the Run for the Toad 25k again. We did this a few years ago. We did the whole race together, did not worry about pace and had a blast. They also have cool gifts and the BEST post race meal - catered and delicious!
I'm hoping to get this all in - some may be substituted for other races given the changes that my work schedule seems to provide but the goal remains the same - be adventurous, have fun and then grab a beer!