22 September 2008

Changing Plans ~ IM Wisconsin 2009

Earlier this year, I had great, glorious, and grand intentions of signing up for Ironman Wisconsin 2009. My friend Sherry was planning on signing up and I told her I would as well, especially since the IM is why I decided to start doing triathlons. I had plans to volunteer at Madison this year and then to wait in line to get a slot for next year's event. Towards the end of the summer, when I was struggling with motivation and not doing very well with my training, I started to think long and hard about training for an IM next year. I know that doing IM distance triathlons is what I want to do, but I also know that I need to have the fitness and mental strength to be able to carry out the training.

This year, I learned and realized that training for a 1/2IM is hard and time demanding. Training for an event that is twice the distance has to be at least twice as hard and knowing this contributed to alot of thought regarding the decision to commit to IM Wisconsin. As the season went on and the date for making the decision got cloers, I really started to weigh the pros and cons.

During all of this thinking, several things crossed my mind. I discovered that it is really difficult to commit to an even like the IM, especially if you have an idea of what the training involves, a year before the race. I realized that I wasn't 100% sure about the race and that I didn't feel good about spending $525 (yes, that's how much it costs to register) on a race that I may not be 100% committed to. I also wasn't sure I was ready to be completely exhausted all summer. There were many other things I thought about and I was even losing sleep over the decision.

After the Railsplitter Triathlon in August, I was wiped out and spent most of the next day sleeping which was kind of a surprise. This made me think about how tired I would be after a 1/2IM, and then, extrapolate that to a race twice as long. Was I going to be able to do the Great Illini 1/2 and then spend the day volunteering in Madison? I just wasn't sure if I was physically, emotionally, or mentally prepared. So, I was still debating what to do...

At some point, I started asking for advice. I mentioned my dilemma to my friend Sherry and she reminded me that I still have lots of time left to do an IM and that there is no reason to rush. I asked my mom what she thought and shared some of my thoughts about trying to make the decision. She gave me a very good piece of advice. She said that maybe I should focus on enjoying my races and progress and not pushing myself through the events so fast that I forget to have fun in the process. One of the things I struggle with in life is that I push myself very hard to achieve my goals and that I forget to enjoy the process.

After a couple more days of doing some thinking, I decided to not sign up for an IM in 2009 and I have to say it was a big relief. I want to spend the winter working on my base fitness and I want to do a couple of 1/2 IM tris this summer. I want to nail down my run and keep tweaking my bike, swim, and nutrition. So, those are my reasons for not signing up for IM Wisconsin. I'm not sure if they're valid or good reasons, but they work for me and I'm pretty sure that's all that really matters.


Sarah said...

Sounds great to me too. You really worked through this decision and made a choice you feel good about. What could be better? Way to go. You'll achieve your goals no matter what--now or later is insignificant. The important thing is that you are always moving forward.

Barb said...

Hey, AJ, it's sure OK with me for you not to join. By golly, you need to enjoy what are doing! I puff and pant just reading of the things you already do! There'll be lots of others for you to join.

Tinkerbell said...

Good for you AJ! So many people sign up even though they're not completely sure. They end up getting burned out and injured along the way and completely wipe out their future tri careers in the process. When I was trying to make the decision to do my first IM I asked my DH if he would be OK with it. He gave me 3 guidelines and said that he wanted the right to pull the plug if I violated any of them: (1) Have fun and enjoy the training and racing, (2) keep our life in balance and (3) stay injury free. Even though I handed over the power to him, it turned out to be the three most important parts of training and racing and I appreciate that he was smart enough to realize that.