Friday, August 19, 2011

The Great Adventure Challenge Triathlon--Part 1, Training

So tomorrow is the much anticipated Great Adventure Challenge Triathlon. Much anticipated by me, of course.

This isn't your every day tri we're talking about here. The GAC includes 2.5 miles of open-water kayaking, followed by 14+ miles of mountain biking, and finishes up with a run up and down Shawnee Peak (GAC). Last year was the first year I did the GAC and was actually the first tri I've ever done. I went in to last year's event with the mindset that all I wanted to do was finish. Needless to say that I blew my own expectations away with a 2nd place finish in my age group and a new course record on the run up and down Shawnee. They even gave me a trophy!

I left last year's tri with the determination that I was going to do it again in 2011 and do it to win it. I was behind the winner by 9 minutes and 18 seconds, which is quite a gap to cover in essentially only two events (the kayak and bike portion because I won the run). 

Fast forward to May 2011. Training begins. This is the time of year to really build a base for an event that takes place in late August. Running outside becomes easier (and warmer). Mountain biking is actually pretty fun because of the crazy amount of mud on the trails. Kayaking isn't quite feasible yet--for me anyway-- but stabilization and core exercises start becoming a whole lot more routine.

Training through the summer months is pretty easy if you focus. But it's when the two-a-days start in early August that you might start questioning your own sanity. Bike in the morning, run at night. Lift in the morning, bike at night. Kayak in the morning, run at night. You get the idea. Brutal through the dog days of summer but absolutely essential if you want to succeed. This past week has been a taper week, meaning the two-a-days are over and it's time for a recovery and lots of pasta!

I've had a little outside help to try and speed up last year's time. Two good friends of mine have coached me up (one in kayaking, one in mountain biking) and even let me borrow some of their gear. Anything to help shave off those 9 minutes and 18 seconds...

...but who really knows what tomorrow will bring. It doesn't take much to derail months of hard training--a flat tire, someone falling in front of you, falling yourself, tipping over in the kayak...anything! With a little bit of luck and some knocking on wood and a focused plan, none of those things will happen and I should be sprinting down Shawnee in one piece, wondering where my trophy is.

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