Ah, it’s the most wonderful time of the year… race season! Spring has sprung, or is springing, or even returning to winter depending on who you ask.
I have been racing the tri-scene since ’07, back when I was young, foolish, and barely into my 20’s. Now, for the second time, I will be changing age groups (the five year buckets that athletes are placed into so that they more accurately race their peers). Surprisingly, people only get faster the older they get in the sport. Well, let me rephrase – the hardcore and dedicated get faster. Many others makes excuses for aching knees or tweaked hips.
True, the faster-as-you-get-older phenomenon seems a bit odd, but endurance is a sport of accumulation. You amass swim, bike, and run miles year after year, and theoretically, year after year you either get faster, stronger, or can endure more. In 2011, I spent a monstrous amount of time preparing for a race that was 70.3 miles. In 2014, I trained for two such races in my free time, but that was all in preparation for a race that was twice as long. It didn’t make those half races exactly easy, but it wasn’t nearly as taxing as it was three years prior. You learn and apply those lessons to the next season. A season without improvements, mental or physical, is like letting a day go by without learning something new.
Like muscle memory, the body seems to remember the demands of different race distances. In 2007 I would have passed out thinking about biking 30 miles, and now I can crush 75 without batting an eye. The human body continues to remain one of the most fascinating things on the planet, and its adaptability is truly mind-blowing. Just watch the Olympics sometime and see how many different physiological builds there are and how each is an expert at their own tasks. A power lifter doesn’t look anything like a gymnast or swimmer or ice skater, but they all excel in their own arenas.
This year’s schedule isn’t quite the ordeal that it was back in 2014, when I was at the peak of my training regime, but this year will provide plenty of challenges to keep me laser focused all the way through Colorado in August. It’s going to be a great year, regardless of what happens across these six events.
- ICE Breaker – April 16th
- River Run Half Marathon – May 1st
- Folsom Olympic – May 7th
- Auburn Half – May 15th
- Donner Lake – July 24th
- IRONMAN Boulder – August 7th
Our minds are just like our bodies. Something to train, to push, to challenge, and to never let grow stagnant. We are the stewards of our minds and the older I get, the more we need to be aware of what we don’t know. Just like I’m responsible for staying in tune with the rigors of training, we must all be responsible for developing and tending to our gray matter. Being able to acknowledge what you don’t know is a far greater feat (feet, heh) than running a 40:00 10k… After all, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.
Take time this weekend to tend to your body, your mind, and your soul. It’s a time of remembering life conquering death, and it is the greatest holiday of the year. And no, I’m not talking about the flippin’ Easter bunny…