I have been contemplating for quite awhile now my plans for the Longhorn Tri at the end of the summer. I talked about it with some girlfriends as marathon season was ending, and a bunch of us thought we'd sign up for the tri training with Rogue. There was also some discussion of doing the Texas Tri Series. We all thought, "Wouldn't it be fun to do those races?" Plus, signing up for the training meant we had to do all but one of the events in the series. Definitely a packed summer schedule.
But things change. One person got injured at AT&T. Another decided she was going back to school with the ultimate goal of starting her own business. And others just couldn't fit it into their schedules. Then, Rogue scaled down the second phase of the tri training program and consolidated the groups.
When I first met with my coach, Panther, I told him that my only goal for completing the Longhorn half-iron was to finish without a trip to the medic tent. As the summer progressed and races were completed I got stronger, and I discovered that not only do I like the feeling of racing, but I also like doing well (as opposed to simply finishing). There's also a lot of peer pressure in training groups, where you are almost constantly asked, "How did you do?" It really doesn't matter what you say, because as soon as race results are posted online, everyone looks up your times. For the most part, everyone is supportive, but it still adds a lot of pressure.
Our coach has said that our bodies peak at different times (i.e., you're never "on" all the time), and it's best to pick just a small number of "A" races to really go after - constant training and racing isn't really a good idea if you want to do well. I also know that my mindset from a month ago is very different than it is now. Where I used to get excited and plan my entire week around my bike rides and runs, squeezing my swims in where I could, etc., I now almost dread it. September is definitely here, and this is the time of year when I am just burned out.
So, as part of my final "evaluation" on what to do with this race looming just less than a month from now, I participated in a "distance simulation" this morning. The idea is that we would ride 50+ miles and then run about 13 miles to see what happens. Considering that the larger group only biked 56 miles once before back in April (the second longest distance was 47 in July), and I haven't run 13 consecutive miles all summer (the most was 10), this certainly was a tall order. We started at 7:30am, rode 53 miles, and then took off on the run. WHAM. We started the run at 12:50pm in the blazing sun and heat, and it just wasn't meant to be. In fact, no one finished the 13 miles.
I can't comment on anyone else's performance today, but I know that I simply did not want to finish. I had a great ride, and felt pretty good. But running right now HURTS (note: this is not merely a complaint, it's fact). I've been nursing an injury for a few weeks now that really needs to heal. I have no desire to try and complete the full race in October, especially if I want to run all three of the Motive, 3M and AT&T half-marathons. I am simply tired, and my body is ready for a break.
I learned a long time ago that it's good to set goals. It's also good to monitor your progress towards those goals and make adjustments to both your efforts AND goals along the way. But it's also okay to change your mind. Just as it did for those women who were going to sign up for the tri training and race series - circumstances change. This doesn't mean I'm a quitter, although I'm sure some folks might suggest that's the case. The bottom line is that I'm tremendously relieved that I at least have made this decision: I will not race the Longhorn Tri half-iron distance.
Now, that doesn't mean that I won't sign up for the Aquabike division (the swim/bike portions only). Although I reserve the right to change my mind about that, too.