Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Things to Avoid with 8 Weeks to Ironman

With two months to go in my training schedule and in the midst of feeling successful in accomplishing some of the hardest training of my life, things still threaten to sideline me. I should be thinking about my Ironman all the time and focusing on avoiding disasters, but sometimes, being weary from training has the opposite effect.

Yesterday at work, I walked right into a wooden post while carrying my lunch. This morning while running, I tripped on a sidewalk irregularity and fell. Yes, it could have been worse, and I still don't know how bad it is, but I cannot afford to lose focus on the run again. The proverbial "momentary lapse of reason" could be the avoidable thing that ends my Ironman quest. There was a lot of blood (still wondering why no one stopped to help me when it was hard to miss that I was injured), and although my knee was severely damaged, I could still run. The scarier thing was landing on my hand and potentially breaking my wrist. I did two stupid things: I ran tired, and I tried to avoid landing on my new iPod Nano. From now on, I must get more sleep so that I'm alert while running (and not dragging my feet). And I must never run with my iPod Nano again. If the shuffle is not charged when I get up in the morning, it'll be a no-music run. I mean, there's no need to raise the probability factor on the disaster magnet.

Some of my "live-and-learn" techniques on how to avert training and racing disasters:
1. Don't run or ride without adequate sleep.
2. Swim on the good-weather days even if you're tired and want to put it off until the next day.
3. Do NOT run with unilateral leg pain (a stress fracture waiting to happen)
4. Bring a map.
5. Do not joke about the color of your bike being "run-me-over black."
6. Do not leap over snow banks if you don't know what's on the other side.
7. Do not decide to run when you have already committed to taking the day off (this is inevitably a corollary of Murphy's Law)
8. Never do a race where the swim is in Utah Lake
9. Don't carry a camera over your shoulder while holding a second camera if there's a possibility of black ice.
10. Avoid strenuous work of ANY kind during your taper (I can't stress this enough).
11. Don't run the first few miles of a marathon more than 10 seconds per mile faster than you plan to average for the entire race.
12. Never stay overnight in Gary, Indiana on a race road trip.

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