It's been 9 months since I posted. I have a variety of excuses: I've been busy and haven't had the time is probably at the top of the list. In truth, it is also probably more complicated than that. Shortly after posting the last post back in February, I began training for my fourth Ironman race. It began with the hope that it would carry me forward towards reclaiming my lost fitness. A year before I skipped the race due to general health issues that looked more like burnout. A year before that I finished the race in 14:59 while coming back from serious injury 7 months earlier, which was a success as a comeback despite being much slower than the 13:41 time from the previous year.
The training for Ironman Texas 2015 never quite fulfilled the promise of the hope it had been born from. My weight went back over 200 lbs for the first time in several years and reached 212 lbs before ultimately coming down to the low to mid 190s for the race. Race day came with much hope but ultimately felt like a failure with a finish time of 15:46. Certainly there are those who failed that day who would have been happy to accept that time as their own, but to me it seemed a confirmation that I would never get back to the form of the 13:41 race and beyond--a feeling which seemed confirmed by another local race later that spring and early summer.
In late June I gave a lot of thought to whether or not I should do the Ironman Florida race on November 7, 2015, for which I had previously registered and planned to do with 20-30 local teammates. After giving thought to the prospect of IMFL and discussing with friends and family, I was encouraged to go head and train for the race.
Shortly after the decision to move forward, many distractions came forward related to work activities and it seemed that the training for IMFL was going to resemble the recent IMTX effort. However, I continued forward with the expectation that that I would pursue this as a fun race and be prepared to "retire" from the Ironman distance, and perhaps triathlon, if the race resulted in another long suffering day.
The first month of training was okay, but somewhat haphazard with more missed workouts than I cared for over work issues. In the second month things improved and picked up for me. What I didn't realize for another month after that, is that somehow, things began to come together. By the end of the third month of training, I was noticing the sings of progress that I had not noticed before. Over the weeks that followed I noticed a spring in my step and a sense of confidence was returning to me with respect for the upcoming race. Even with that returning confidence, I could not shake the feeling that I might be about to go through the disappointment of last May again. What I told myself was that my best self assessment was telling me that I should be able to run a sub-14 hour race, and go well under that if all went right, but I still had the nagging fear that this was all an illusion and a 15+ or 16+ hour race was in my immediate future. As race day came close, those two thoughts continued to battle inside my head.
In my next entry I will provide my race report and outline what happened, and tell which school of thought was correct.