I’ve been on a bit of a literary hiatus for more than four months, as you may (or quite frankly may not) have noticed. I wish I could say that I’ve been away from my keyboard because I spent the past several months celebrating my personal victories over the rather aggressive 2013 goals that I set for myself. Well – that was not indeed the case. While I achieved several of the goals that I set for myself – finishing my first triathlon, running a few marathons – I came up short on most of them.
- I did manage to drop my weight to just about 200 pounds – but a lack of consistent discipline on a prolonged basis was my downfall. I never closed in on the number I truly wanted, which was 180 pounds.
- A lack of consistent discipline, coupled with poor focus on my daily dietary intake resulted in falling way short of my goal of a four hour marathon.
- Lack of consistent dedication to my daily mileage resulted in me falling way short of my goal of running 2,013 miles in 2013.
Notice anything about those three bullet points? A lack of consistency resulted in my failure to achieve my goals. There were no significant injuries to blame for my poor performance. There were no other sizeable life issues which caused me to lose my focus on my 2013 targets. No excuses.
In short: I did not heed my own advice. This is a simple example of “do as I say, not as I do”. I always recommend to anyone looking to begin training for an event that the number one thing you can do to give yourself the best chance of success is develop a plan and then stick to it. Well, my plan was fragmented and poorly thought out…and even then I did not stick to whatever daily goals I set for myself. The fact that I knew what to do and I didn’t get it done resulted in a feeling of substantial disappointment in myself. As Christmas turned into New Year’s Day and 2014 began, I made a New Year’s resolution of giving myself a bit of time to think about what my next goals would be, develop a detailed plan of attack to ensure success, and then re-dedicate myself to my training. I rolled into 2014 with a personal motto of “you can out swim me, out bike me and out run me – but from now on you won’t out WORK me”.
After the January 2014 Dopey Challenge, the next huge event on my athletic calendar was the 2014 Ironman Texas in mid-May. The Ironman consists of a 2.4 mile swim which is required to be completed within 2 hours and 20 minutes, followed by a 112 mile bike which needs to be completed by no later than 5:30pm on race day (which usually results in athletics having approximately 8 hours to pedal the distance), and then a full marathon which needs to be completed by no later than 11:59pm on race day. 17 hours to complete 140.6 miles. It’s a significant athletic test – one that requires a real lifestyle change in order to conquer. After my 48.6 mile, 4 day jaunt through the most magical place on Earth, I began to dedicate myself to triathlon training. Swim. Bike. Run. Lift weights. Train with a personal trainer. Enhancements to my diet. I was off and running – so to speak.
As March gave way to April, however, I realized that the level of training I was doing – although an improvement over my late 2013 escapades – still lacked the overall 110% dedication to the Ironman lifestyle change that the sport requires. I would not be ready for 140.6 miles in mid-May, after all. So this week I had to make the disappointing decision to withdraw from the Texas Ironman and change over to Ironman Maryland, scheduled for September 20th 2014. This strategic change will allow me to train on my bike, outside, all through the summer. It will also give me time to drop more weight, get into better overall physical condition and give myself the best chance to finish.
Between Ironman Maryland, the 2014 Dopey Challenge, The TCS New York City Marathon, the San Francisco Marathon, possibly the Chicago Marathon and the Philadelphia Marathon, I’m setting myself up for a very full dance card this year.
While 2013 included some disappointments, as I described above, there was a huge bright spot hatched in the summer and took on a life of its own as the temperature dropped and the snow began to fall….but I’ll get to that in my next installment…..
Until then: remember that if your goals don’t scare you, they are not big enough. So set the bar as high as you can because, as I recall hearing in a motivational video: the words “I fail” are ten times better than the words “what if”. Why? Because “what if?” never went to the arena and competed. “What if” never took a shot. “What if” never had a chance.