Thursday, January 20, 2011

Banter to Base Camp

Way back in October, my 2010 season had officially died. There were simply no more races to be had within reasonable driving distance. I could have done duathlons. But without the swim, what's the point? Regular road races are not even close to triathlons. I would love to have more races late in the season but it doesn't seem to be happening. Due to the high specific heat of water, nearby lake temperatures were comfortable even if the air temperature was gradually declining. Still, triathlon in the upper part of the United States gets risky after the direct rays drop into the Southern Hemisphere. Race directors don't seem to want to host a triathlon in the snow, which is not common in October but also not unheard of. Race season, regardless of my wishes, had been shelved.

Despite my love for training, there are times when this love is overshadowed by something easier: utter laziness. I get why 'not-training' is the norm in our society. It gives you time to catch up on all the things you want to do but miss out on while training is happening. These include (if I understand the population correctly): couch sitting, eating, TV watching, bad movie watching, eating, napping, avoiding chores, eating, Facebooking, Tweeting, eating, and simply not moving. Back in October, I decided to try this out. I failed.

During my down time, I hung out on my computer and for some reason did some advanced planning. I could have been more productive with my time by browsing the Net for useless information or typing a marginally comical on-line blog, but I decided that the inactivity was driving me crazy. If I am not going to workout I can at least think about working out. So I opened up Excel and calculated backwards from July 24, 2011. This is my big day, Ironman Lake Placid and most of my focus goes into succeeding at that race. I outlined my schedule for pre-season, base training, build training, race training, and taper. I assigned hours and intensities for each. This took a couple of days (I'm a bit neurotic and since I haven't had the success I want at IMLP, something's gotta change). When it was completed in all its glory,  I saved this document to my desktop. Mind you, I hate stuff on my desktop. I've seen people whose computer screen is littered with pictures, files, folders, and (for lack of a better word) crap. They can't find anything should their lives depend on it. I'm not trying to be judgmental, it's just not for me. Currently, my desktop has one file- my training plan.

I'm also not stupid enough to worship this plan. It's more of an outline and less of a bible. However, there are certain benchmarks to which I should adhere and I have full intention on keeping. Well, according to the plan, Base Training has officially begun.

What's the difference between BT and the rest of the stuff that I've been doing thus far? Good question, thanks for asking. So far, training has been mostly general. Seat time on the trainer. Miles on the ice/ road. Basically, I've been trying to recover from the October laziness and work my way up to about 11 hours per week. Now, according to certain references, I probably should be doing about 13 weekly and maxing out around 19. I am happy with my current state so I won't obsess (much). In BT, I get to start working on my weaknesses.

Weaknesses? How could the Banter have any weaknesses? Well, endurance hasn't been much of a problem. I've been into endurance for quite some time. But, I also hail from Indiana. If you are unfamiliar with the state, let me paint a picture. Think flat. Think farms. Think corn. There's a little bit more to Indiana, but not much. Indiana is at the edge of the Great Plains and had been further flattened by glacial activity no less than 3 separate times during the Pleistocene Era. These large masses of ice carved the Great Lakes and left the rest of the state barren and smooth. The corn showed up on its own and Indians enjoyed the sustenance. Get it? Indians. Indiana. Careful, they now prefer Native Americans, as is my understanding. Later farmers moved into the area during the colonial times to take advantage of the Indians Native Americans who were taking advantage the land. High Fructose Corn Syrup had its path laid out to reap havoc on our diet.

Now, let's think of Lake Placid. LP is nestled in upstate New York and in the mid-Adirondack region. It is a beautiful place which may be the reason it has hosted 2 winter Olympics. LP's geology is mired in collisions between ancient but fused tectonic plates last active in the mid-Proterozoic Eon. To put this in perspective, Indiana's first glaciers hit about 700,000 years ago. Lake Placid's plates hit about 1 billion years ago. The result of this collision was terror beyond imagination as the rocks are distorted, stretched, pulled, and forced up from their hidey-hole beneath the surface into jagged shards of death. Luckily, Mother Nature has had a billion years to polish the tops and remove most of the sharp edges. It's still quite hilly. And that's the real problem, the hills. I pick IMLP due to proximity. It destroys me due to topography.

Therefore, Base Training has become about the hills. Build training will be about the hills. Race training will be about the hills. Training on the trainer will be about the hills. Biking will be about the hills. Running will be about the hills. Swimming will be about the hills (okay, I made that last one up, just to see if you were paying attention). Pre-season is about time. BT is about structure and focus. And, since I did all of that planning back in October, I might as well give it a try. So, happy first week of base training. I hope to post/ comment on how things are going if for no other reason than I think somebody else might hold me accountable on those weeks when I'm pansying out of training for useless reasons. Keep me honest.


  1. thought.... Pick a flatter IM course....

  2. I agree. But, since the family gets a vote and they'd prefer 5 hour commute over 14 (to IM Lousiville), I get to tackle the hills. IMKY is still a consideration.

  3. I'm there for you if you choose it.

  4. I agree...seriously, Lake Placid and Louisville are it? That's a stinker. It's summer. Pick a fun place at which the fam will enjoy vacationing.

    And I know the desktop crack was about me. You are going DOWN.