Now Watt?: Twirling Toward 2013

It’s Sunday. I’ve tried to make sitting down and writing my “job” on Sundays. I love writing, but what toooooootally sucks is having nothing to write about. So I guess this is my blog about nothing.

Maybe not “nothing” so much as not knowing what’s watt’s next. Tis the off-season and I haven’t come up with a plan for next year, yet. Earlier this week, the 13th, marked exactly 31 days since that thing I did. While I feel it’s time to get back on the horse, I also want to give my mind and body a break, heal up any injuries, and make sure I’m ready to commit.

I’ve always taken a ton of time off after my season ends:

a)       I’m highly effective at talking myself out of proactivity.

b)       I’m a natural couch potato. My ass is perfectly accustomed to sitting in cars, chairs, and planes. Any cushion I’ve ever plopped in has a shorter-than-tested double rub count and develops a sizeable dent. Actually, this also helps explain how I’ve worn through so many saddles in my relatively short tri-life.

c)       I’m super wary of burnout. Feeling obligated to follow a training plan when my upcoming season isn’t even outlined yet doesn’t feel good. I don’t necessarily need a big A-race to shoot for (though the fear of failure certainly helps motivate me…): it’s enough just to know that I plan to race a bunch next year, want to do well, and could/should maintain some fitness for it.

During the season, I looked at showing up to swim practice with the team my “job,” getting enough rest as my “job,” filling in my calendar with a completed workout was my “job.” Well, now I’m basically unemployed. Is fixing myself/having fun/reconnecting with the world at large my “job” now? Even that sounds haaaaaaaaaard and I don’t wanna work anymooooreeeee. Just let me sleeeeeep.

See how good I am at talking myself out of accomplishing anything? Yup! Usually, I sit and I wait until I totally hate myself and the wad of melted wax my body has become before I start training again. Nothing productive happens in the meantime. Although triathletes have a reputation for being “type-A” (the polite way of saying “douchebags” or “borderline schizophrenic personalities with OCD and psychopathic tendencies”), some of us are just fucking LAZY. I’m not going to make a judgment on whether my brand of off-season sloth is good or bad, because it works for me in some respects.

Having a goal is important, though, even if it’s just “I’m going to nail the next X-number weeks of workouts so that on Y-date I can start my season with Z-omg fitness.” I’m just not ready yet. Namely, I tend to wait until my schedule is totally clear of interruptions, and, well, the holidays are coming up, I’m planning a semi-cathartic solo road trip, and more change is coming my way soon. Aaaaand, excuses, excuses, etc., etc., QMB.

I AM starting to chew on next season, though. My idea is to lock in on the half iron distance and learn how to really race it. I had good and bad luck with this season. I love the balance between mind and body in long course triathlon. You have to have the power, but you can’t turn off your brain and skimp on nutrition, pacing, and strategy. I’ll probably throw in some Olympic distance races too, because that is really my Achilles’ heel for almost the opposite reason: I conserve too much for fear of blowing up. I let my mind get in the way.

This is exactly what I tell my short-course friends when they’re like “Ironmerg, ermahgerd!” I personally find speed WAY more daunting than distance.

Of course, I also tell people that spectating an Ironman is harder than doing one. It doesn’t make sense to some, but I believe it.

So, now what?

I was recently introduced to this concept of Vision, Priorities, and Alignment. That’s PowerPoint talk for setting a goal, prioritizing actions to help reach that goal, and evaluating how each action* is helping you reach that goal. Or something like that.

*Within reason. All RELATED actions, maybe, though it’s pretty life-encompassing when it comes to health and performance.

Ugh, what was that about not wanting to work? OK, I’m just thinking aloud here. Chime in if I’m being dumb. Here are my PowerPoints for 2013:

Vision: continuing to improve. 2013 will be my 7th (? WOAH!) season of triathlon and I haven’t had a setback yet.

Priorities (not prioritized, yet):

  • I need to run faster. Right now I can basically only-barely hold onto whatever advantage I build in the swim, and I can’t excel past that. I lose it on the run and race results become too close for comfort (like the girl at Kansas 70.3who ran more than 12 minutes faster than I to finish within about 2 minutes of me? Yeah, like that). This means:
    • Working on my form.
    • More mileage, as long as I don’t get injured (still nursing a stupid calf issue).
  • I need to bike faster, too.
    • This might require more consistency than I was able to have this last season, meaning, in part, a trainer at home, which I haven’t had.
    • More intensity work, bumping my “roof” to raise my “ceiling.”
  • Weighing less = faster. I cut *some* weight a few seasons ago, and again about this time last year, but did horrible things to my body this summer and gained it all back (see bloated marshmallow pics from Kona). Ugh. This is going to be hard.
    • Sorry, Traveling Triathlete, who once asked how I did it, it involves obsessively counting calories. I don’t go in for the denying your cravings—dafuqs the point of that? Luckily, I find that calorie counting is the gateway to making better decisions in general, and is way easier than any periodized plan where you can only have so many mgs of magnesium within 3 hours of waking up or whateverthefuck. So short of adopting a crazy diet of denial (NO grains/white food/gluten/dairy/alcohol/JOY), just count.
    • Maybe I’ll adopt a higher-protein diet, says the girl eating a package of gnocchi right now, with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in the freezer for later.
  • SHIiiiiiiT. All of this is adding up to “strength.” I basically have to get stronger, and that means doing more strength work. If speed is my one Achilles’ heel, I’m going to have to say that not having the patience, discipline, or attention span to do strength workouts would be the other (you get to have two Achilles’ heels, right? Bilateral symmetry and whatnot?)

Alignment: ummm. Figure out what’s going to get me there? I guess? Maybe it’s time to switch up the plan. Swim like a swimmer, bike like a biker, run like a runner, and do strength… well, I’ll still be a triathlete there. Only functional work, please! La de da!

This is the part I’m still trying to figure out.

Good thing I’ve got a little time before the semi-arbitrary deadlines of my birthday and the New Year come. (Arbitrary deadlines are also motivators.)

Now if you’ll excuse me, my ass has worn a dent into this chair. I need to go take a nap.

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