As I've mentioned, after IMC I spent a full month doing no real endurance training. Any swim, bike or run was purely for enjoyment and it usually was spent with someone else. It was refreshing to have a month of unstructured, laid-back SBRs. That said, with less SBR and with IMC fatigue fading, I started hitting strength training hard again and am loving it (more an that in another blog soon).
But I won't lie, I've missed having an endurance race on the calendar. I've been planning potential races for 2012, and I'm pretty sure I know what I want to do (read on), but I also am not done with 2011. So... I signed up for something! The Xterra Crystal Cove 17k Trail Race, which is probably in my top-3 of all-time favorite races! So excited! However, I hadn't run the trail in a loooong time, so I needed that butt-kicking wake-up call to see what I got myself into. Sunday I ventured out, and, I swear, I think the trail (hills in particular) got more difficult, lol. I definitely had to walk parts of some of the hills. I was expecting my time to be 10-20 min slower than my fastest time ever, but turns out I guess I still have some IMC training in my legs as well as a strong body tough enough to handle that terrain, as I ran a 1:28 and change for the full loop, about 4 minutes off my PR there.
I might do some more run-only races this year (1 or 2), and maybe a short tri if I get the bug, but, really, I'll be OK if IMC ends up being the last tri I do for '11.... because in 2012, the tentative plan is to do several 70.3s, the first two being ones I've wanted to do the last few years but haven't been able to due to school obligations/mayhem....
Wildflower Long Course
...and maybe one more late-season 70.3, as well as a handful of shorter, local, "fun" races throughout the year.
Yup, no full Ironmans on that list! After a lot of thinking and debating, and some major self-introspection, I decided that it's more important for me to focus on my career/business next year rather than train for another IM. Being that my business is in the health & fitness industry, that means there's a lot of activity involved, and that in itself is tiring. I can manage 70.3 training into my schedule easily, but I know IM training is on another level and takes a toll. It's about prioritizing, and for 2012, my priorities lie in my career as a triathlon coach and personal trainer/strength and conditioning specialist (as well as writer, podcaster, etc). I'm willing to invest more time into that than into my own personal endeavors in SBR.
It's also all about patience. I'm only 26, I don't see any rush to be doing full IMs every year, especially if I plan on being in this sport as long as possible. Ironmans will always be there, and you better believe I plan on doing plenty more in my life, but I don't want to run myself into the ground before I'm 30 by trying to do it all. I have long-term goals, and those require patience. It's also important, in my opinion, to have the ability to live in the moment each day and not always be focused on something outlying.
So that's the plan, so far! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go stretch and foam roll... this morning's strength sesh and trail run did me in, yikes!