What Really Creates Success...For Me (IM CDA Race Report)

I don't think that I need to say that Ironman Coeur d'Alene didn't go how I planned this last weekend.

I think that a lot of times we look in the wrong places for success. I think that instead of admitting we need to change something within the big picture, we'd rather place blame on something that is out of our control and not our judgement, choices and patterns.

The training that I executed going in left me with life best numbers across the board.  4k swims in 50minutes, 112mi rides under 4:50 and 20mi runs under 2:05.  All were very common in the last 6 weeks of training going into the race... So no excuses as to whether or not I was fit. 

Mentally I was up and down heading into the race.  My last training block threw me under the bus big time.  Not because of the training that I had completed, but because I underestimated the amount of recovery needed from the sessions I was completing. It's one thing to plan training for someone else, it's another to integrate it into our own training.

A summary of this race is easy.  I was tired going into it and felt it from the gun. In addition, I didn't have the mental capacity to make up the difference when things got really tough. Though hard to admit, it was the truth...


If i look back on my "better" Ironman performances, this is what I see in relation to my training. Keep in mind that this is over 10 years and 23 Ironman starts.  

The next statement comes from something I read a few months ago and basically it said this:

"When looking for success through comparing, we tend to look at differences.  Instead of doing this, try looking at similarities.  You will have much better results doing this."

What do all my "better" Ironman races have in common?  I had someone giving me guidance and coaching...

IMWI 2003 
Following Gordo Byrn closely and using his ideas as my guide. 10:35 got to Kona as an age grouper in my first real try.

IMWI 2007 
Mark Allen Online lead by Luis Vargas. 9:38 and 57minute PR on this course.

IMCDA 2008
Switched to the power/pace based training with Kurt Perham at Personal Best Multisport Pro Coaching  and finished 10th in 9:26

IMWI 2010
Completed my own training, but used Bobby McGee as a sports psychologist.  Finished 5th in 8:55

I ultimately believed after each one of these races that I could take what I had learned and integrated it on my own...  So why didn't it work? Hard to put it on any one thing, but here what having a coach kept me from doing or gave me.

#1 - Kept me from getting into my own head when things were not going well.

#2 - Trying to beat the training.

#3 - Having an objective eye to keep me from doing too much or not recovering enough.

Having an analytical mind is a great thing...except for me when it comes to my own training.  Carly gave me a great quote when I asked about why she thinks she succeeded at the level that she did.  Here is what she told me:

" I didn't think, I just did..." 

In other words, the coach is there to coach you.  Whether it's as a psychologist or someone writing training, they have a job to do and it's in our best interest to let them do it and do what they say.  I believe that many of us could benefit from taking a page out of this book.

So long story short...instead of being reactive from this race, I am moving forward being proactive for the next one and my future. I'll be moving back to getting a coach...and back on track!

Sometimes admitting we can't do something ourselves and making changes is just what we need to be able to do it...


On a separate note relating to this race. I want to thank everyone who gives me support, especially Carly. Supporting, spectating, doing it "with me" is not an easy task!

Thank you to The Fletcher's for a great homestay, as well as my athletes, friends and family who sent me a hundred (literally) messages. 

Also thank you to my sponsors of Trek Stores of Madison, KSwiss, Saris, Powerbar and TYR.

See you all soon...


A said…
Rest a lot more. It always seems like you train too much.

With a lot more rest, you'd consistently be sub 9 hrs at all IM events.
JV said…
I am glad you are my coach!

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