Monday, June 18, 2012

Pulling a Season out of the Ashes

All systems are GO for it
Since my last post, more disasters are brewing, but I refuse to go down for the count. Procrastination and general malaise contributed to my next failure - to register for the USAT Age Group National Championship in Burlington, Vermont. And, wouldn't you know it? The race sold out this year (earlier than ever before). I had the option to do one of three things: drop back 15 yards and punt, find another means to qualify, or sign up on a waiting list (and pray - ok, that's a fourth thing).

This decision was much more difficult than you might think...

In addition to illness, my current racing slump, and overall funk, there were other reasons I waited so long to register for Burlington. Last year - well before deciding on Ironman St. George again - I registered for that other Ironman the last weekend in August: Ironman Louisville.

But by mid-winter, Ironman St. George entered into my plan after noticing Louisville was only two weeks prior to the IM 70.3 World Championship in Vegas. With that "one-two," I couldn't possibly expect good performances in both races. So I added St. George as an early-season and best-potential Kona qualifier (having done well there in 2011), with Louisville as the back-up.

But now - unless I change my 2012 goals - Louisville has taken center-stage, and Vegas (where I'll be the returning champ in my age group) is beginning to look like the sacrificial lamb. The only positive spin I can find is that training for Ironman has always made doing a 70.3 seem easy. And in all seriousness, I fully expect to be faced with a difficult decision while I'm in the midst of Ironman Louisville - to choose which race is more important.

If this weren't enough to deal with, another question loomed: what about Age Group Nationals?

Yes, with my ever-present lack-of-foresight, a few months ago I realized the following two things:
  1. The 2013 ITU Age Group World Championship will be held in one of my favorite cities on earth and a place where I have many friends - LONDON! And the way to qualify for it is.... 
  2. The USAT Age Group Nationals in Burlington, scheduled to take place the weeked before IM Louisville.
I was really screwed. If I wanted to go to London (which I do, perhaps even more than Kona), I would have to race in Burlington (and do well). Did it even matter that it was only eight days before Louisville?

And so what did I do when Burlington sold out? Isn't it obvious?

I maximized my chances of getting in.

I added myself to the waiting list (duh!), AND, after pondering the situation for more than a week and hearing nothing from USAT re: the waiting list, I made a desperation registration - a special qualifier next weekend in Michigan - the South Beach Triathlon. It's an Olympic-distance race in South Haven, Michigan, that qualifies the top five in each age group to race in Burlington. It was the only qualifier even remotely within driving distance from my house (just over five hours).

Then, wouldn't you guess? Only a few hours after I registered for South Beach, I received an email from USAT that I was no longer on the waiting list, and I had, indeed, been officially registered for Burlington as well.

It figures.

Then the reality of it hit me: I'm now looking down the barrel at my three most important races of the season - three races of vastly different distances and training requirements - all within four weeks of one another.

OK, I'm game. I'll give it a go. I'll be forced to do speed work and it will make me really strong. And if nothing else, it will be a learning experience. Besides, can it get much worse after two DNF's already this year?

Wish me luck. Or just pray (with me). If you remember, that was an option in the list too.

1 comment:

  1. Well, at least you have options !! You've had times when your only options were 'rest' and 'heal'.

    Your training may help to pare down the list a bit - do what makes sense !! Quality always trumps Quantity.