A new year brings with it a relatively clean slate in a number of ways. First of all, after a brief break from training after the Palm Springs half triathlon, I am back at full volume training leading up to Ironman Cabo. As a matter of fact, my training began again on Christmas Eve, and not a moment too soon. I was actually kind of climbing the walls to get back to a routine. I couldn't have imagined how much a couple weeks of break could affect fitness, but it most certainly did.
I have to admit that during the Christmas break I let my ego get the best of me a little bit. I thought that after a solid performance in Palm Springs, and a couple weeks off, I would return to training flying on fresh legs. I couldn't be more wrong. It turns out this was an example of my persistent naivete concerning the effects of training and racing. As I tend to think in other facets of life, "when you have it, you keep it", but I couldn't be more wrong. I felt like I was starting over. Once again my effort seemed very easy, I was going very slow, and my heart rate would fire up at the first hint of a hill. Too much indulgence over the holidays, perhaps? Did I really let myself go over the course of 2 weeks?
What I would learn from talking with my coaches is that it is a natural and normal flow of fitness over the course of a training cycle to see periodic losses of fitness like this. Leading up to a race, you "peak" your fitness, and then you taper (reduce your training leading up to a race), and then you give one last hard effort (the race itself). After that, in addition to a couple recovery weeks, the fitness begins to revert a bit, but it's not prolonged.
Once again I am amazed by the lesson learned, along with the lesson's context in the rest of "real life", which is to say that no matter how strong we may have become, we are often presented with moments of weakness or challenge which test our capacity to be humble. But I would further argue that strength is found in those who are able to consistently practice humility, especially when it is a challenge to do so. Now, I know that I am pole vaulting over potholes with this example. So I slowed down a little. So what? I understand that there are far worse things in the world than that, but I just wanted to demonstrate that point. We are all (myself especially) susceptible to infections of pride and ego, regardless of the situation.
So in short, I am kind of glad that I am starting from scratch in some ways. It helps me to be reminded of my limitations, and practice acceptance, patience, and humility - three things which I have been grateful to learn from this process, but which have unfortunately taken a back seat in recent weeks since I was performing well. Now it's back to work; mind, body, and soul.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to the fundraisers on this website. It has been my goal for the last many months to raise $1,000 for each one, and I am proud to say that we have accomplished that goal and then some! That is because of the generosity and support of those that contributed. I am especially thankful for my parents, who made a sizable donation to each one putting us over the top. To you all, I express my deep gratitude. Compassion, Alex's Lemonade Stand, and Feeding America are all great causes doing real good in the world. Because of your generosity, they are able to do just a little more good.
Even though we've passed our goal, these fundraisers will remain open until the race on March 30, 2014, so there is still time to donate. Thank you again for your support!