Looking for Answers
Less than five weeks. It's not exactly a novel sentiment, surprise that time can pass with such speed. Still, I'm aghast that this little project, begun five months ago, is in the home stretch, that so few days remain. Just one or two (maybe three) triple-figure-mile bike rides, a 20-mile run and a 4,000-meter open water swim—plus shorter workouts as buffers between those big ones—to go before I cruise into my modified three-week taper. Like all hobby athletes I'm peppered now and again by my own accusations that I could have done so much more (and eaten so much less that was not of highest nutritional value): more long rides; more swimming coaching; and, well, interestingly, nothing more in the running category. I do and will always do as much there as my body will allow, no less.
It's too early for a full-fledged assessment of where this training has taken me, but I felt a need to write something about the general state of affairs heading into the final month. I think that's because I am growing a little crazy to know whether I've gotten myself into shape to improve on last year's race. I suspect I have. There's a scattering of evidence. I had that half-marathon PR back in early April with no taper. I've been more focused on the cycling and my bike splits are faster. In the pool, well, maybe I've done enough to pick up a minute or two there. But everything is shrouded in the mystery of imperfect memory and imprecise self-understanding. I can't conjure exactly how I felt last year at this time and amid the tiredness and soreness of training, I don't really know how fit I am now. Today's eight-mile run at an 8:30 pace was more difficult than it ought to have been, but it was miles atop miles atop miles, not a race. It doesn't tell me anything. Neither did the 10x200 swim with improved by still-aching ribs this afternoon.
Tomorrow I'll ride 60 or 80, depending on how the day unfolds. More miles. Miles upon miles. I love the training but I'm eager to race because I love the racing more. The racing answers all the questions.