Tuesday, August 9, 2011

handing it over

One of the first things I did after registering for Coeur d'Alene was make a giant list called "things to buy & do."  The goal was to figure out all the expenses so I could budget them over the next 11 months instead of getting hit hard in one month.  It included things like: a wetsuit (I'll actually need this for Poconos), hotel reservations, a neoprene swim cap, etc.  "TT bike" with lots of question marks next to it.  And a coach.


I've been running on and off with Capital Area Runners for about the last 9 months.  I'd never done any group training before I started running with this group, but I love it.  Motivation, support, camaraderie, and no stressed-out hidden feelings of competition, which is excellent when you are generally the caboose of any given workout.  You are where you are, and you work hard to try and get better, and that's that.  And George, the coach, is fantastic.  He's reasonable and conservative and understanding and supportive, and I've really enjoyed working with him.  But as much as I'd like to train with CAR and coach the other two disciplines myself through an IM training cycle, it's just not the intelligent thing to do.  I need to be working with someone who can balance all three disciplines in a way that keeps me healthy, especially cycling, where I tend to have only one gear: hammer hard.  So over the past few weeks, I've started looking for an IM coach, because these things take time, and also because the race is actually not that far away.  


I started with a recommendation from a friend of a friend.  I also did quite a bit of searching through various forums (DC Tri, Slowtwitch, etc.).  I decided it was important to have someone local.  I decided I didn't care if it was a male or a female.  I decided that it was essential to find someone who would be understanding and careful about my history of disaster injury.  I drafted an email - "here are all the things that are wrong with me!" - and started emailing various coaches I found.  Those emails inevitably led to phone conversations, and after dozens of emails and talking to about 6 people I found the right one, and with it, the first big decision.  I told him that I was signed up for Poconos, and as it turns out, he is too.  So the question became - do we want to start working together now, or in November after this race?  After talking it through with quite a few friends, I decided to start now.  That way he can blow up my training and I can be cranky about it and get over it and by the time we start actual IM training, we won't have to go through all of that.


I was very aware of the fact that he was probably going to completely set fire to my entire training life, and it was making me anxious but needed to be done.  We had a long phone conversation on Sunday about the next two months, and the one thing I didn't think about was the fact that I am signed up for a bunch of events between now and Poconos.  All of which he wants to take off my schedule, which honestly breaks my heart.  After talking about it, he offered again to let me continue on with my own training and pick up with him in November,  but he said that if I do all of these things which he is strongly discouraging me from doing, he doesn't want to coach me through them.  Reston, the big one that I've been training for all summer, hurt the most.  His logic - which is absolutely logical - is not that I shouldn't ride 100 miles ever, but that I can't afford to lose the training that would be lost by recovering from riding a tough and hilly 100 miles, and since I'm only training for a 70.3, there's no good reason to put my body through all of that.  His reasoning is the same for the Philly Half, because it's only 2 weeks out from Poconos, although when I asked if I could still run it if I swore up and down to not race it but instead just do it as a training run, he said, "We'll see."  But Reston hurts more.  I've had a score to settle with that ride since the moment I got off my bike last summer.  He might okay me still doing the metric, but that's not at all what I wanted.  And I got off the phone and cried.


I know that he is right about all of this.  His priority is to get me to the starting line of my A race as healthy and prepared as I can be, and beating up my body with unnecessary mileage is not the way to do that.  My track record has certainly proven that training myself more often than not leads to injury.  But it still hurts.  However, I can't deny the logic of it, and logic is always the way to convince me to do anything.  So I'll sulk for a while and stare bitterly at the 100-milers as they head out from the rest stop to their different-than-the-metric loop, and I'll be cranky and stabby all day (who wants to ride with me!?) and then I'll be over it.  And when I cross the finish line at Poconos, and many months later at Coeur d'Alene, I'll know that I've done everything I can to have a great race.  I think it'll be enough.

27 comments:

  1. Sometimes being smart and mature and logical...sucks. But I just have this nagging suspicion that you're going to train your heart out and rock the big races up ahead. You're sort of my hero.

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  2. It does suck, but that's why you've hired a coach. He can make the hard decisions and get you to your very best rather than making the fun decisions and getting you to pretty good.

    I'll ride Reston with you. You can be grumpy about doing 65 miles. I'll be grumpy about busting my ass to not-quite keep up with you. It'll be fun.

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  3. I'd like a video to follow you and Beth on the metric. Maybe like a helmet cam?

    You know my opinion on this. It's sad to give up those races but absolutely crushing Poconos and CdA will make it all worth it. I'm really excited for you!

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  4. Congrats on the new coach, new training, new adventure! Smart, mature, and awesome. That's you.

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  5. You know, when you stop thinking about races as revenge and start seeing how things are simply milestones in a progression toward larger goals, you become highly reasonable.

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  6. It is tough to switch gears once you already have your heart set on particular races. But when you have a major A race, you end up putting all your eggs in one basket for a HUGE payoff. I think it's outstanding that you found a coach and that you're going about this IM in such a smart way.

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  7. He sounds like a good coach. Sometimes it sucks to have to listen to one.

    If he does decide to let you run the Philly Half, you can come run with me. My "pushing it" pace should line up nicely with you running easy.

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  8. I know it's hard -- I went through something similar when I joined CAR. Thing is (and I remind myself of this constantly), coaching only works when you commit 100% to the coach's program. Even when it makes no sense to you, or you disagree, or it breaks your heart.

    If you don't, you just sabotage the plan. And that's a waste of time and money and emotional investment.

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  9. Bummer that you might need to give us Reston. Have you done a century before? Could you do one after Poconos?

    Trust me, ur gonna be doing a LOT of centuries (and more!) next season for CDA!

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  10. i must admit to loving logic as well. with this dumb shin thing i may not get to run the 1/2 mary next month the way i want to but to get to my A race it'll be worth it. and losing Reston will do the same for you. us type A's want too much too fast and it's hard to juggle it all. i'm with u sister. go with the coach though. he is looking at your best interest and we all want you to do great at that IM!

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  11. So yes, on one hand, skipping some races you were looking forward to is sad because it means missed fun (in our twisted definition of "fun"). On the other hand, skipping those races underscores the thing that makes IronMan contenders and finishers brave—the fact that you put SO MANY EGGS in one basket, choosing to rely on faith that you'll finish rather than fear that you'll repeat past "disaster." Own your bravery, and head out for the shorter bike course knowing you're actually choosing the tougher—and gutsier—path!

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  12. I think it was a good thing that you hired a coach and I know that in the end it will pay off. I know it sucks to miss out on races that you really had your heart on, but hopefully when you cross the finish line at your 70.3 and your full ironman you will know you made the right decision.

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  13. The good thing is that Reston will still be there next summer and the summer after that so you can still get your revenge.

    I think it will be such a great learning experience to work with a coach and to find out all of those things that you've done not quite right in the past (I'm know a lot would be pointed out to me!). And you'll certainly get to the start line of your A race as prepared as you could possibly be.

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  14. I revolted too and look where it landed me - in a shitload of injuries this and last year....listen to the coach - that's what they r paid to do....honestly this post is making me finally see that yes, he was right! But it is okay to sulk haha I do!

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  15. good for you for hiring a coach. sucks that he put an ixnay on your race plans, but he knows what he's doing...those fancy letters behind his name prove so!

    i totally cannot wait to watch your journey to IM, its going to be amazing!

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  16. I'm sad you won't be doing Reston, because I know you would have made it your bitch. But I also know it is more important to you to make your upcoming A races your bitch. So I guess coach knows best.

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  17. hmm, does this mean the National Half will be on the chopping block, too?

    definitely a bummer. Doesnt adulthood and "mature" decisions stink sometime?!

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  18. Here goes what everyone else is saying, "You're doing the right thing."

    I would bitch and complain too, but just think, you're going to be a mother frickin' ironman so it will all be worth it :)

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  19. You will not believe how much your training and overall fitness will improve once you've handed over the reign's to a professional! Good luck chica!!!

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  20. It's funny how something that is still basically for fun and personal satisfaction still starts to have levels of "real" and "discipline" in them, huh?

    Like if I built model airplanes no one would care how many I did in any given month.

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  21. Congrats on hiring a coach! I'm sorry that alot of the races on your calendar (especially Reston) are now likely kaput... BUT everyone else is totally right that it will be worth it in the end at your big "A" races. It's all about training smart and picking out a race schedule that's smart and sets you up for success. Boring, perhaps, but worth it! Let me know if you ever want to bike together - my IM training is done and all I have left are 70.3s on my schedule - YIPEEEEE!!

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  22. Who ever said that revenge must occur the next year? Why not the following year? Still the same race still the same sweet revenge and you'll be better prepared b/c you will have been riding centuries in training for CdA.

    You are doing the smart thing.

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  23. May be a hard decision, but for what its worth I think you're being really smart about this (i.e. the coach is logical - as we've established!). A few people I've met here have suggested I get a coach at some point - just to "reach potential", and I've let it reel in my head for a while. In your case, it's a great way to make sure you get to those A-races ready to rock it, rather than just ready to finish it! Reston will be there next year - and you know you can go ride 100 miles any day ;)

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  24. Whatever you do, you will be making the right choice for YOU. So excited to follow your progress over the next year Katie!

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  25. Man, I need you to get me organized for my big run next year. I am so impressed with your diligence! My goal is to do my first 100 miler next year...and I need someone to tell me when to train and what I'll need. ;)

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  26. If he is the right coach for you, you already know this in your heart. And if he isn't you know it too. And if it breaks your heart not to race Reston, then I have to be honest and go against the grain here...I would still do it. But I am not a coach, nor have I ever done or trained for an IM.

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  27. So awesome you hired a coach!! Especially for something insane like an IM it will be so nice not to have to think so much and just be told what to do :)

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