Sunday, March 9, 2014

From Couch to Coach

I think there is a natural progression to this racing thing when starting as an adult.  First you lace up some old tennis shoes and go for a run.  Then you sign-up for a 5k.  After a few of those, you decide to try something different.  A 10k?  Maybe even a half marathon.  Now you've been bit by the running bug.  You try to see what your body can do.  Shoot for a full marathon!?  Sure!

Possibly preparing for the marathon you realize you need some cross training.  Maybe just running isn't enough.  Or you're looking to get more fit in other ways.  So you buy a bike.  Someone then invites you to go swimming. Sounds great!  Will there be beer at the pool too?  Nope, it's hovering above a 25 yard long black line in this pool while trying not to drown.

Might as well sign up for a sprint distance triathlon... then a long course.  Survived that.  Eventually a half ironman enters the picture.  Maybe a full ironman?  Why not!  Let's see what this body can do!

OK.  You've conquered all those distances.  Now what?  Boston?  Kona? 50k? 50 miles?!?!  Trail runs?  Bike Across [Enter State Name Here]?

This is essentially my story.  People ask me why I did an ironman or marathons or the Goofy Challenge.  My stock answer is simply to see if I could.  It's a life challenge for me.  I literally worked my ass off for it and no one can take it away.  So if I've met my goal of an ironman, should I sell my bike?  Throw away the swim jammers?  Tie my running shoes together and throw them over a phone line?  Heck no!

I want to get better. I want to get faster.  I want to push my limits.  I want to run Boston.  Earn a spot to Kona (and TKB wants a vacation to both of these places).  Can I do this on my own?  Very possibly.  Will I do it effectively and injury free?  Who knows.  Could I do it with a generic training plan that's geared toward the "every" person on a forgiving schedule?  Maybe.

So this is the year I hand over the reigns.  I have written about joining Doug Hayden's Masters Swim class.  I'm already seeing some great improvements from it.  I just hope it translates to open water.

You may have noticed in my post about the bike test that I met up with Ken Welsh of Midwest Triathlon Coaching.  Well, I am in fact signed up with Coach Ken.

The conversation started a few months back as he had put out some feelers on Facebook for someone with web developer experience to make some changes for him.  That's right up my alley, so we started the conversation from there and it quickly moved to signing on to his team.  There are a lot of coaching options out there but after a coworker had recommended Ken, I started to seriously consider it.  Even my coworker's husband used to work with Ken as well.

When I initially met up with Ken, I could quickly tell that we had the exact same philosophy about training and racing.  It felt like a good fit.

Ken is helping me finish up the final months to my April marathon for a BQ opportunity (more on that soon).  Then we will focus up on my "A" triathlon race in August (more on that soon).   Then we'll start looking at a big race for 2015 (more on that soon.... uh.. eventually).

It's been a great experience over the last few months.  I've enjoyed the change up in the workouts from the lame "60 minute ride" and "6 mile easy run" to specific drills for swim, bike, and run.  I'm definitely seeing benefit to this new regimen too.  I'm more focused when someone is looking over my shoulder and more likely to get that training session in.

Ken has helped me align my race schedule with my goals as well.  I ended up changing my goal marathon race in April based on his insights and trying to focus on specific races instead of loading it up.

If you want to learn about Ken's coaching business, check him out here!

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