Off-season go away, I am making plans for next year!
Ironman Copenhagen, I’m coming
It is November, the typical month to get back into structured training, making plans and setting goals. With races filling up quickly the most important milestones of a season are usually decided upon during the season, but now is the time to define the path and set some goals.
After consulting with friends the basic outline of my 2022 season is already set. It’ll start, maybe, with a mountain bike marathon (119 km, 3000m elevation) that has been rescheduled several times, this time to May 22. If it happens I’ll take it as a day out riding trails, not racing and not preparing for it specifically. Another event which had been rescheduled multiple times is our local half distance triathlon in early June, which I’ll use as a preparation race and maybe as an opportunity to compete for AG state champs. Third stop will be Challenge Roth. Much like everybody else, I couldn’t get an individual slot, but we managed to get a hold of a relay slot. I’ve never done an ironman swim in a race setup and would very much like to have a dress rehearsal before the big event. And if I can do so and hang out the rest of the day at one of the greatest races of the year, it seems like a no-brainer.
All of this builds to my main event on August 22nd when I’ll be toeing the startline at Ironman Copenhagen. Yes, I’ll do another Ironman. Or, according to my buddies, a Ironman, because technically IM Hamburg 2018 wasn’t proper one when they canceled the swim and replaced it with a 6 km warm up run.
All of this after I have stated several times to several people how I don’t want to do a full, because I don’t like long slow distance and frankly didn’t think I could fit a full distance preparation into a life that’s already chock full with a career and family. What has changed? For one, I think the pandemic has changed the way we work in a way that it gives the triathlete more flexibility. Working from home has been a blessing, adding a full hour to my day which would otherwise be wasted as commute. And I can check out during lunch break for a quick swim or run. This adds 3 – 5 additional time windows to my week and I think that is almost enough. To accommodate the long runs and rides I’ve also saved up some vacation days for the next year so I could potentially reduce to a 4-day workweek during most of my build and peak phase. And finally, over the past two seasons I’ve build the confidence that I could actually race an Ironman. Not participate, not „finish and have fun“, but going at it seriously with ambitions and goals that are a bit scary.
It is what I miss from my days racing MTB DH bikes. In gravity racing you have to feel scared a little bit, that’s when you know you’re having fun and pushing your limits. Racing a long distance event and pissing yourself at the thought of leaving T2 seem like the equivalent.
I will not use the K-word, because I am not an idiot. This would be my second ever long distance race and I know there are plenty guys out there ready to kick my ass. But the clock seems like a worthwhile adversary – and looking at the course and what I think I am capable of, a 9:xx:xx seems well within reach. Breaking into the AG top 10 is realistic, but by no means easy thing to achieve. And finally, I believe that on a perfect day, when everything goes to plan after a perfect preparation and a little bit of luck, I could dream of going sub 9. Barely by a hairs breadth and only in a perfect goldilocks scenario, but it should’t be impossible. The thought that I could get within reach of the magical ocho motivates me, it scares me, it gets me super excited to get the work done. And that’s what I will do.
To get me in top condition I’ve hired the same coach who helped me break into the 70.3 AG top ten and qualify for 70.3 words twice. My family is on board, my boss is supportive and I think my team will not mind having me around a bit less for a while. The race is in August, giving me ample time to swim open water and put in the big rides. It’ll give me the time to slowly build a marathon run without injury and really get my swim dialed in.
So the goals ar clear, the path is clear. I have the tools and the support I need. Let’s get to work.