Since finishing Mont Tremblant, and not being signed up for another race until next May, I have had a lot of time to digest how the race went, what I did differently this season, and what I want to do in this sport going forward.
I still see the race as a success. Now that I think about how I felt on those final two hills of the run, I question whether I ran hard enough? I recall my legs being REALLY pissed off at me in the final 5K, so I also think had I gone like 10-15 secs/mile faster overall, would I have even run the final 5K because I would have been cooked? We will never know. But I guess this speaks one thing: I want to run my next Ironman Marathon even faster. Perhaps another 27 min PR for that distance is in order? HA!
As for what I did differently this season, I told my coach back in January when he asked about my goals for the season, I put "I want to become a monster on the bike this season." This happened. I broke 2:30 in a 70.3, and went 25 mins faster at IMMT vs Placid. I didn't even feel like I rode as much this season vs 2011, yet I was just stronger overall on the bike.
A fundamental thing I did differently this season was leg strengthening. My knee injury from a year ago was probably the best thing that could have happened to me in this sport. Sounds fucked up right? But to rehab myself from that injury, I did leg strengthening 3X a week for a solid 12 weeks. And then I continued with it 1-2X a week.
What I noticed from this was quick recovery times from tough races. I was running faster! I was breaking the 7 min pace mark in a lot of shorter running races all of a sudden, and immediately after coming back from an injury. It also helped support and sustain my endurance in longer races. I could hold that faster pace for longer. I am convinced strengthening my legs that much changed me as an athlete this season.
Going forward I will do another Ironman. I really really really hated the distance this season. I did NOT want to do IMMT this season. I don't know what was up with me or when I suddenly didn't want to do the race, but those 5+ hour rides all sucked except for a few. I dreaded those long 2.5 hour runs. I just wasn't in the mood to do an Ironman this season!
But I made a commitment and when I realized that I did NOT want to do this race this season, I told myself to get through it and to take a break from the distance for awhile after completing IMMT. And I am doing this. NO Ironman in 2013! Just 70.3's or shorter.
Now, I am VERY happy that I followed through with doing the race. I had an absolute blast doing the race with an exceptional group of just awesome people. YOU guys made the race fun!
I also realized something this season, especially when my coach told me on the beach at the Pat Griskus Olympic, "Jon, you are racing now! Not going for a PR, but RACING!"
And because Griskus was a super hilly course, I knew I wouldn't be able to PR the bike course as easily just because it was hilly! My realization is that PR's are starting to become overrated. I am racing now.
I now want to race to place. And not just in the small races, but in the bigger races. I was 11 mins away from a Vegas slot @ IMMT 70.3. 11 minutes!!! Had I ran a 1:36 or faster, a slot would have been mine! And I KNOW I can run a 1:36 in a 70.3. My standalone is a 1:32:xx.
So next season, I am not going to make it a goal to get a Vegas slot, but I think it would be fun (and motivating!!) to get as close to one as possible.
This Fall I am doing two things: Getting strong and getting lean. I have been craving strength training and eating healthy. My diet the last 4-5 months has been ATROCIOUS! I didn't cook a healthy dinner for myself once during that period. In the last two weeks alone, I have cooked almost every night, and cooked a ton of healthy things. I refuse to processed anything. If it isn't whole food, then I don't eat it.
FYI: Beer is whole food. Don't argue. It just is! ;)
Over and out!