For those who have been reading this blog for the past few months, you are sure to remember my insane plan to compete in a 1/2 ironman race this year. I am happy to say that I have picked a race and I am on track in my training. My day of reckoning is October 23, 2011 where I will complete the ironman 70.3 in Austin, Texas. That means I will have 8.5 hours to swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles and run 13.1 miles.
My goals are actually pretty simple. I want to finish and enjoy the experience (AKA be alive at the end), so I am taking steps to improve my chances of meeting these goals.
First off, I have gotten more organized in my training. In May I started working with Jen Rulon, a triathlon coach at Tribalance. Jen has been a great help in organizing my workouts and keeping me honest about the effort I am putting into training (it is harder to cheat when you have to account to someone at the end of the week). Her first act as my coach was to dramatically increase the the number of weekly workouts I was doing (it went from 6 to 9 workouts every week). I vaguely remember her mentioning something about recovery weeks, but I find that her “recovery weeks” are more than the heavy weeks I was doing before. I am currently training around 8 hours a week. Take my word for it, that is a lot. In June, for example, my workouts included:
- 182.6 miles of biking.
- 47.5 miles of running.
- 13.2 miles of swimming.
Second, I have tried to keep it fun. The truth is that endurance training is long, tedious work. If you don’t want to burn out, you have to find ways to mix things up on occasion. Towards this end, I have tried a few different things. When we travel, I have gotten in my workouts, even if things were a little different. When we went to South Padre Island, Noemi and I did a long run along the beach. At Lake Placid (the one in Texas), I did my 40 minute swim in a canal off the Guadalupe River. Everyone seemed convinced that I was going to get eaten by snakes, but the reality is that open water swims can be a lot of fun. My upcoming visit to Salt Lake City will probably find me on a mountain bike trail somewhere.
Noemi has also helped to keep me motivated by signing me up for local races. Thinking that a 5k fun run might be a little too easy, she decided that we needed to run in the Chupacabra nighttime trail race. There is nothing quite like running in the dark along a dirt trail trail with 1,200 strangers to give yourself a challenge. Actually, the race was a lot of fun. I finished in 1:06:42, beating Noemi by a good 6 minutes. This is a good thing because in a normal road race, she leaves me in the dust. I have to take my victories where I can find them.
What does all this have to do with photography? On the surface, nothing. Yet setting long goals is a necessary step in becoming a better photographer. Personal fitness also directly impacts our ability to get out there and photograph. The big kick in the butt that got me on the road to fitness was how difficult I found climbing the hillside stairs at Kigongoni lodge. I admit those stairs are long and steep, but climbing them shouldn’t have required a 10 minute recovery.
We don’t get good at something overnight, at least not anything worth becoming good at. Skills are developed through time and effort. So, no matter what you chose to do, set your goals, work hard, and do everything you can to achieve your results.