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2011/10/04 - Newsletter

Successes? Goals?

What now?

Welcome again to the tri-strides newsletter.
I finished the Östringer Fitnesslauf Half Marathon yesterday, in the heat and over a lot of very much rolling hills - and that now concludes my 2011 season. This does not mean that I am done racing, but I'll take 6 weeks off, then re-start for my training for IM Regensburg and in between there will be 5-10k races in my life. Just to get speed - and to have fun with them.
You'll also see that all those races happen in Germany while the ones before mostly were US-races. I have moved - and that's why (I apologize!!!) there were no newsletters between last May and now.

I have had some goals I did not reach this year (e.g. an half ironman race under 6 hours) but I PR'd quite a number of times, even made first age group at a Las Vegas 4th of July race. For the first time since being a kid I crashed on my bike - on a wet road covered with maple seeds, and still carry the scars on arm and leg - just because I lost focus for a split second. So, with all this, what defines a successful season and what's the plan for next year?

For me success of the season is,

  • That I essentially managed to not walk in all the half marathons I did. That includes hilly Cary, Ettlingen, and Östringen.
  • That I managed only to walk through - and a bit beyond - aid stations in my half iron races
  • That my stomach wasn't as uncooperative in the halfs and in the full distance races. Candied ginger is going to be in my race packages in the future. And I won't obsess with eating without being hungry.
  • In this context: finishing Coeur d'Alene
  • A couple of times I actually placed - that's quite some success for the person always coming in second last at school gym races.
  • That I stayed injury free over the year. OK, a little tweak here and there, but who doesn't feel that, especially during tapering
  • Stepping out a bit farther, success also means that my triathlon team, all of whom just started in February, was quite ready to tri in May. And that they all appeared despite of the 40F, windy, rainy mess of a weather.

My plan and my goals for the next year are

  • Finally to break those 6 hours in an half ironman race (6:15 would be nice already - the course when I managed this was not quite right with too short a swim)
  • To break 15h in an ironman. Regensburg is already on the calendar.
  • To get rid of my back pain. Coeur d'Alene was a super fun race but all that driving for getting there took its toll. I'll plan more strength/core exercises.
  • My other races aren't planned but I would like to do two halfs and Regensburg, plus one or two sprints. I'd love to repeat my sub-5h marathon, maybe in Hamburg which is a day before my birthday, in that way early enough for good recovery for Regensburg.
  • For I am racing in Germany now, I am hoping for no DNFs with the shorter cut-off times they have here.
  • Being able to smile during all the races I'll do, even when my boys will call me Barracuda (They did when my pic appeared as an ad for the Chicago Triathlon two years ago in the Competitor magazine - me sitting on the bike, happily smiling and riding)


And what do my goals and successes help you for, once you read that far? You might have noticed that I do not have too many exact times listed. My success is defined by something I want to achieve, but that something can be a change in anything bothering me during the last season(s). I'm still working on my nutrition but CDA and Racine both were a big step forward. If I defined success only by beating a certain time, or reaching a certain place, I'd have had seasons without success. Weather and other environmental aspects could for example totally prevent me from seeing any success. That could be kind of discouraging; I have to consider the small improvements, too. Even when this small improvement is a 5k personal best - which means I get my speed under control.

Same for the goals. Yes, I'd love to cut the 6h/15h marks, but if not I'll be happy with being injury-free and with increasing my time running (instead of walking) I always have a Plan B goal (and a plan C, D,...) That doesn't keep me from pursuing Plan A, though.

So, I hope this insight in my goals and successes and how I manage them helps you in some way. There never is exactly one way to success - sometimes it goes in circles or zig zag lines. With a bit of patience these zig zag pathways will lead you toward your goals.

Happy training!
Stay tuned for the next issue of this monthly newsletter.

Greetings from your coach's desk
Dr. Sylvia Zinser
USAT Certified triathlon coach, USA Cycling Certified coach