Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Taper Time

I can’t believe I’m already 12 days away from Ironman Arizona.

This week and next week, the main focus will be on keeping myself healthy, eating well and tapering my workouts. Instead of going for a 10-mile run, for example, I’ll go for a 5-mile run at a faster pace to increase the intensity. Swimming continues to be a problem because the ocean has been so rough lately, but I’ve managed to go in the ocean with my wetsuit on. In the Ironman, you only use a wetsuit if the water is below 78 degrees, so you really never know if you’re going to use a wetsuit. That’s why I love the Ironman – you never know what to expect!

I’m currently in Las Vegas, which has temperatures similar to Arizona, and even though it’s 54 degrees, it feels like 35 – and windy. The cooler temperatures should actually help my performance, except for in the water. If you come out of the water and are riding your bike wet, your body temperature can go down too much. Your muscles can cramp more and it can slow down your progress. But every temperature extreme comes with its own set of problems.

The whole experience has been a lot of fun, and I realize that triathlons are something I’m going to be doing for a long time. Going in, I had no expectations. I began living by the motto of, “Just do it.” I am very, very excited to be going. My son and I have been talking about what to bring and what to wear, what to carry, different types of fluids we can use to replenish our bodies. That’s the thing: A lot has changed in the last 26 years. The modern technology is wonderful, especially bicycle technology. Being aerodynamic on the bike makes it so much easier. You’re able to ride a bike for 100 miles, then get off and go for a run. Nutrition technology has changed, too. We now use different fuels, not just water, and know more about when to eat and how to combine carbs and proteins.

I’ll be going to Arizona next Monday, because it’s always good to get there 4 or 5 days ahead of time. I didn’t even rent a car because I’m going to take time to go on the course and see what it’s like, and hopefully swim in the lake a bit. I’m really thrilled that I got to this place, and want to continue to remind others to set goals, big or small, throughout your life. It’s a critical factor in the way you feel about life in general. You may even surprise yourself.