The Return Of The Recovery Week

No one has recovery dialed like that cat.

I mentioned in my posts about my Cozumel plan that I want to focus more on recovery, then I said my new plan isn't going to have any recovery weeks.  My goal was to go with a more moderate build and include more rest within the weeks.

I picked up the new issue of Triathlete Magazine and there was a qualify for Kona 7-week training plan.  I looked it over, but couldn't quite get a handle on how hard it was.  It looked like there were a lot of big days, but big days aren't necessarily hard days if the intensity isn't high.  

I decided to open up the spreadsheet I said was getting shut down for the next 3 months.  (That didn't last long)

I plugged in an estimated training stress for each workout in that plan so I could see the training load per week.  Then I graphed it...

Triathlete Magazine Kona Plan TSS Per Week
Two big weeks, one recovery week, two big weeks and a taper.  Then I wondered how that compared to what I did in 2010.  I feel like I really nailed that taper/race...

Triathlete Magazine Plan compared to my IMWI 2010 build/taper.

Interesting.  I didn't expect them to line up so closely.  This got me thinking.  What does 2012 look like compare to these two....

Triathlete Magazine plan compared to 2010 and 2012 build/taper.

Again, a similar shape, but the big difference is that easy week one month out.  Volume that week drops off a bit in 2012, but not nearly as much.  There's also a dip in training stress in 2012 in week 5 but that wasn't planned.  That was fatigue forcing me to cut my long run really short that week.  Otherwise it would have a similar shape to the taper.

I couldn't resist and plugged in my TSS for my Cozumel plan to see how that compared...

Triathlete Magazine, 2010 & 2012 IMWI and Cozumel Plan
The chart starts to get busy, but you can see my Cozumel plan is very flat.  No really big weeks, but no recovery week.  

The wheels kept spinning....how important is that recovery week one month out?  Or recovery weeks in general?

I started digging through my old training logs looking for patterns.  I've done this before, looking for a repeatable, predictable pattern that led to great workouts and avoided bad workouts.  I always focused on how quickly my training load was ramping up each week, but this time I took a different approach and looked at the training load per week and for the first time I started to see some patterns.

I have historically had some of my best workouts in the first two weeks after a recovery week.  Week 3 is a little more hit or miss and anything beyond that gets sketchy.  A lower training load and I can sustain it longer, but there's still a point where workouts suffer.  I started to see what appeared to a be a grey zone in terms of training load per week. You always read about grey zones in regards to intensity, but not much on weekly training loads.  
It seems like there's a zone where I'm not really doing enough to build fitness, yet I'm doing too much to truly recover.  Some of my best workouts have come during big training blocks that were separated by a very easy week.  Training blocks that came after recovery weeks that fell into that grey zone weren't as good.  Even blocks that were all in the grey zone but had no big weeks eventually fell flat.  It just took a little longer.

It appears, at least for me, that the recovery week really does serve a purpose.  I think it becomes especially important close to an Ironman when you have some big days/weeks. Earlier in the year when volume is more manageable, I think you can go longer before stepping it back. 

So I decided to bring back the recovery week.  I tweaked my plan a bit and now have a 3-week build, a recovery week, two big weeks and a taper...

New Cozumel plan compared to Triathlete Magazine plan and IMWI 2010.
I'm also working on building more recovery into each week.  One big change is my running program.  I'm basing my training on Jack Daniel's book this time and I'm doing a lot more short 30 minute runs.  The past two years my short runs have been 45 minutes, but slower than my 30 minute runs are going to be.  I also ran 5 times per week and now I'm going to run 6.  I'll also be focusing on improving my run cadence.

Another change is my recovery rides.  They've been getting too long and I don't think they're serving their purpose.  They're too long to truly let me recover, but not hard enough to build fitness.  So now they're very short and very easy.  

I'm also focusing on losing some weight, improving my day-to-day nutrition and coming up with a better nutrition/hydration plan for race day.  Mine works now, but I want to simplify it a bit so it's easier to remember.  I do really well sticking to the plan in training but tend to wing it a bit on race day.

So now with all my Cozumel training plan posts, I'm sure I have everyone so confused they have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.  Fortunately for me, it's all in Training Peaks and a spreadsheet or I'd probably be just as confused. :)


Looking For Power Files

I enjoy digging through power files and analyzing them, so I thought I'd throw this out there....

If anyone has a power file from a race and you don't mind sharing it, I'd love to get some files to dig through and post my analysis of them on my blog.  You could remain anonymous if you want, or I could post a link to your results from the race and a link to your blog if you have one.  Either way works for me.

I'd prefer Ironman files, although halfs would probably be good too.  Analyzing short races gets tough because pacing isn't as big of an issue. I'm not asking for any money, just some files. It will be a learning opportunity for me, and you'll get another perspective on your race.

If you're interested, shoot me an email at mdwolfgram146 at gmail dot com.  



Applying The "Basic Month"

I apologize if you find these posts about my training plan long and boring.  I have to put the plan together so I figured why not do it on my blog (which I've largely ignored all year) and just throw it out there for everyone to see. 

To apply my new "Basic Month," I started by working backwards from race day.  Wisconsin and Cozumel are 11 weeks apart so it's just short of 3 full months. I want my key workout 3 weeks out from race day, and I think it fits best in week 4 of the "Basic Month" so that's where I'm starting from.  I place week 4, then add in race week, taper week (two week taper) and fill in the rest.  It now looks like this:

After Placing Key Workout and Taper

Now that I have that established, I need to chop some of it off to allow for recovery from IMWI. 

Adding Recovery from IMWI
Next I apply the "Basic Month" and make a few tweaks to it (mainly adding in recovery from IMWI and here's what I have so far (the first Monday on this is the day after IMWI):

The First 5 Weeks

The Final 6 Weeks

That's my basic outline right now.  For my key workout 3 weeks out from race day, I decided to cut out an intensity day and put the key brick on Saturday.  Sunday will be an easy day, perhaps a good day to ride with some friends and grab a cup of coffee somewhere.  One of the mistakes I made with my IMWI build was not giving myself enough easy days before and after my key workouts.  For 2010 my structure looked a lot like this and that worked well. 

My final hard bike on the Saturday before the race will be a threshold test plus a some additional suffering.  The StravaJava team is getting geared up to try and reclaim our title at the 24-hour indoor TT that weekend.  My plan will be to try and talk the team into giving me an early morning slot that day.  I'll hammer out an hour and then hop on the trainer and do some time at IM power.  It should be hot and humid in there, perfect training for Cozumel.  I did a similar workout a few weeks before IMWI 2010 that included the 40K State TT Championships followed by several 30K "TTs" at IM power.  It was a great workout. 


I didn't do this exercise for my 2012 IMWI plan. I mapped it out in my fancy schmancy CTL spreadsheet.  It wasn't this colorful. It was a lot of numbers.  Seeing the plan laid out in color like this is kind of nice.  I see a fair amount of blue.  I suspect if I were to go back and convert my IMWI plan to something like this I would see tons of orange and green, some blue, some purple and no red.  I haven't done much high intensity the past few years.  I've done tons of long, hard workouts.

My next step is to set some benchmarks I'd like to hit before the race.  Then I need to dig in and add the details, the specifics, the workouts.  That's time consuming, but not that difficult.  I keep it simple.  I'll come up with a small handful of workouts and repeat them over and over and over.  I keep my workouts pretty simple too.  To quote Joel Filliol, "Variety is for the weak-minded, and interferes with the learning process." 


I think I'll probably go through an exercise like this for next year's plan. Courtney laughs at me and thinks I'm just dazzled by all the puuuuurty colors, which may be true, but seeing it visually instead of numerically is giving me a better grasp of the overall plan - where the intensity is and isn't and where the fatigue is likely to be.  The numbers are supposed to be good for that, but you can't turn Ironman training into a math problem...as much as I'd like to.


A New Training Plan

Sorry, but this post is a long one.  If you don't enjoy reading about training plans, you'll probably want to skip this one.  

In my last post, I said I'd share a new monthly training structure I'm working on.  I decided to work through this on my blog, so I apologize if this doesn't come off as very organized.  I'm just putting my thoughts out there and using my blog as a bit of a white board to work through things.

The problem with my recent training is that I've gotten too focused on things like CTL, KJ per week, TSS per week, ramp rates, TSB, etc.  I wasn't chasing specific numbers, but I was getting too focused on those things.

With training, the more you do, the more you can do.  This is good.  The fitter you are, the more volume you can do and not get beat down.

But when you start getting obsessed with the numbers that statement gets flipped around a bit:  The more you do, the more you HAVE to do.  If your CTL is 100, you have to do more this week than last week to build that number.  Then more again, and again, and again. You get the picture.

It reminds of the song Mr. Brownstone by GnR:  I used to do a little but a little wouldn't do it so the little got more and more. I just keep trying to get a little better, said a little better than before.

The funny thing is, if I were coaching someone I never would have had them do what I did my final 4 weeks before tapering.  That's the tough thing about being self-coached.  You're emotionally attached to the training plan, and greed gets in the way of common sense sometimes.  You start thinking, "if I can do just a little more...."

My fancy schmancy CTL spreadsheet is getting shut down for the next 3 months.  I'll still watch the metrics in WKO+ because I do think there's a lot of value in them, but I won't be planning my IMCOZ training based on TSS per week.

My focus will be on hitting benchmarks and making sure I never let myself get too tired.  I was good about that a few years ago.  I didn't force things and I took rest when needed.  I didn't put pressure on myself.

This new plan is a mix of my old and recent training. 

Some things from my old training:
 - Short, intense rides (group rides, maybe cyclocross practices since it's fall)
 - More short rides/runs
 - Easy days are embarrassingly easy
 - The "easy weekend"
 - Biking to work
 - Hard days are really freaking hard, easy days are really freaking easy

Some things from my recent training:
 - No more recovery weeks
 - The ridiculously hard long ride
 - Hard bike earlier in week than hard run 
           (hard running hurts my cycling more than hard cycling hurts my running)
 - Long Sweet Spot rides
 - Benchmarks

I know some of the things I'm taking from my recent training probably sound like the things that created all my fatigue, but they're not.  It was the not letting up between those things that beat me down.  It was also the big days.  I did way too many big days -  metric Ironmans, broken Ironmans, training camps....  This new plan has fewer big days, and maybe a little more consistency to it.  The big days can hurt your consistency.

To start, I divided the weeks into blocks:

IM Cozumel Plan

Recovery from WI is a pretty big block, which will allow me to fully recover and build back into training mode.  Week one is more or less a week off.  Week 2 is really easy,  Week 3 is moderate and Week 4 will have a little bit of intensity but still be pretty easy.  Then it's a 3-week build block, 2 weeks with some key workouts and a taper.  5.5 weeks of heat training.  This will allow me to build into the heat training a little more than I have in the past.

Here's the basic monthly structure I came up with (just focusing on bike and run right now):

"Basic Month"

A few notes about the Basic Month:

- Intensity on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Volume on the weekends.

- No official rest week, although the cycle ends with an easy 4-day block that includes a complete rest day.  If you manage fatigue, you shouldn't need a full week of recovery.  The difference here between what I do now is that the easy block falls on a weekend rather than during the week.  It's the return of the...

- "Easy weekend."  I think I've been doing too much on the weekends lately and it can be physically and mentally exhausting. 

- Two full rest days.  Monday workouts are optional so there's potential for 4 full rest days.

- On weeks I do a medium length/medium intensity ride or run (orange) during the week, I go long and easy for that discipline on the weekend. Short/Intense (red) is coupled with med/med on the weekend.  This is done in hopes of managing fatigue.  We'll see if it works.  
- No more long/hard workouts for both running and cycling on the same weekend.  It beats me down too much. It's one or the other.

- Two long/hard rides on the weekend (orange) and one long/hard run (orange) per month.  You recover quicker from riding than running, so I think this makes sense.

When you add in a hard swim session on Wednesday, my "basic week" looks like this:

"Basic Week"

So there you have it.  A new basic structure.  Not a lot different from what I do now, but enough that I think it's an improvement.  

In my next post, I'm going to take this one step further. 


Moving on...

I was disappointed in how my race went and kept thinking about the race and my training.  I started a thread on Slowtwitch about breaking through this plateau I'm at and got some good advice.  Friends sent some great emails and FB messages that also had some great advice, but more than that it showed that I have some great support. To everyone: I really appreciate it. 

This is from an email a friend sent, and this paragraph really hit home:

Mentally, you do have some self doubt and I've seen it in your comments.  You also remember too much about past performance.  You need to have a short memory and move on - you are way too hard on yourself.  I saw it in your face after the swim, you were already discouraged but 1) still had a PR swim and 2) it wasn't going to hurt you going forward.  The swim wasn't helping but you weren't necessarily behind at that point.  You are incredibly talented, you need to believe that and be confident - that is a fact  

Although no one said it in these words, the underlying messages were:  You're upset about a 10:11?  Get over it.

And you know what?  They're right.  

I set a PR in the swim, a PR on the run and an overall PR.  I've often said, "all you can do is keep making progress."  That's exactly what I did.  I made some progress.  Not as much as I wanted, but progress is progress.  And I think I learned a lot.

What now?  Move on. 

I've come to a few conclusions: 

- I got greedy with my training and did [way] too much and couldn't fully recover by race day
- I need to have more confidence, especially in my ability to run well - this will help my         cycling because I've gotten too conservative on the bike
- I need to stop dwelling on past mistakes, let downs, whatever...
- I need to have the confidence to rest/recover more
- I need to have the courage to completely blow up
- I need to train a little more like I used to
       - It's time to bring back the intensity
       - It's time to bring back "the easy weekend"
       - It's time to bring back the fun
- Coke is magic

In my next post I'm going to share a basic monthly training structure I'm thinking about trying.  It's a lot more like what I used to do, but incorporates some of the things I've learned the past couple of years.  It's taking elements from my early days of training, my recent training, everything.  I tried to take all the good stuff and leave the crap behind.  I think it looks good on paper, but I'll have to give it a shot to see how it goes.  What looks good on paper doesn't always work out in the real world. 



Race Report: Ironman Wisconsin 2012

I was surprisingly calm race morning. Nervous, of course, as usual, but not nearly as nervous as IMWI 2010 or Kona last year. 

The morning went quickly like it typically does, and I soon found myself crossing the timing mat and heading into the water.  Swimming out to the start, my goggles leaked.  *sigh*

The Swim:  1:04:27

As I got close to the inside buoy where I wanted to start I heard someone call my name.  It was a friend of mine, Matt, so we hung out and waited for the swim start while I tried to get the water out of my goggles and get them to seal properly.  Before the start I saw another familiar face, Summer.  I swam with her one or two times at an SBR Coaching swim.  I knew she'd be targeting an hour.  She was also the only pink cap in the group and has a straight arm recovery so I thought she'd be easy to keep track of.  As I squeezed in front of Matt, he gave me a funny look.  "She's my rabbit."  "Oh... you're my rabbit."  So we got in line - Summer, me, Matt - although I'm pretty sure Summer was oblivious to all of this.

We didn't do a good job chasing our rabbits because I finished 4 minutes behind Summer and Matt finished 4 minutes behind me.  I lost track of my rabbit immediately.

There's not a whole lot to say about the swim other than my goggles leaked immediately so I swam the whole way with water in my eyes which is quite annoying.  Also, people really need to learn how to pace themselves.  This is not a 500-yard swim race, although you'd never know it by the way people start the swim.

Coming out of the water about to head up the helix.

The Bike:  5:23:17

*sigh*  The bike sucked. I never felt like I got moving.  My power was low and my legs felt a little heavy. Ironman power felt like work.  

Fifteen minutes into the ride I reached down for some maltodextrin and my bottle was gone.  So I started doing the math on how many gels and Perform I would need to grab on the course throughout the ride and when I should eat those.  I did the best I could, but math is fuzzy at best in a race.  I was aiming for about 1400 calories and as I look back I can only account for 700 calories.  I may have had more, but I came up well short of the 1400 I've been training with.

I knew Courtney and the Fam would be on Timber Lane. Here I am looking for them as they stand right next to me cheering (white coat, brown coat, blue coat, my dad is blocked by me).

Gnorman the Gnome came out to cheer.

I finished the bike 6 minutes slower than 2010.  All the time I made up on the swim was gone.  

The Run:  3:34:07

The run was weird and all over the place.  I came out of T2 and saw 6:37 on the race clock, the exact same time I started the run in 2010.  I was aiming for 6:20ish this year so I was way off pace.  I felt weak as I started the run.  My hands were a little shaky.  I ran around the capitol and hit State Street and that's when it hit me. I am starving.  The pizza smelled amazing. I saw a guy biting into a piece of pizza and I nearly quit the race right there so I could eat.  I still think about that piece of pizza.

Aid station one and two were ridiculous.  The volunteers laughed at me as I grabbed Perform, pretzels, cookies, grapes and a gel.  I've never taken more than water and a sponge at an aid station.  I must have eaten 500 calories in the first couple of miles.

I wanted a sub 3:30 run so I started at an 8 minute pace.  I faded quickly from there.  By mile 10 I was running an 8:25 pace and averaging 8:15 overall.  Then I got passed by someone in my AG and I got frustrated and discouraged.  This wasn't going how I'd hoped it would.  I've never taken Coke in a race, but people seem to love it.  I wonder what will happen if I start slamming Coke.

Every aid station was 2 or 3 at a time.  By the halfway turnaround, I felt great.  The next hour I ran a 7:46 pace and caught and passed the guy in my AG.  Maybe sub 3:30 is still in the cards.  My overall average was now down to 8:05.  But I got sloppy and started neglecting my nutrition.  I missed some gels and stopped slamming Coke.  I hit a huge wall about mile 20 and was soon struggling to hold an 8:45 pace.  

I told myself to start slamming Coke again, but I got to an aid station and took a sip of one Coke and moved on.  Not sure why.  With about 2.5 miles to go I got passed by someone in my AG.  Just keep him in sight and maybe you'll feel better soon, I told myself.  Then someone else in my AG passed me, the guy I passed earlier.  No, I said.  I got a little pissed, a lot stubborn.  I immediately passed him back.  He tried to repass.  NO!

The race was on.  He pushed.  I pushed.  The next 18 minutes we averaged a 7:37 pace and finished off the race with a minute at a 6 minute pace.  I beat him by 10s.

Where the hell did that come from?  Why was I able to step up the pace so much toward the end?  I was no longer high on Coke (never written that before).  There is a mental side to this game I need to figure out.

I didn't get my sub 3:30 marathon but I did set a PR on the run and an overall PR for the race.

Gnorman the Gnome waiting at the finish line.

The finish.

Overall Time:  10:11:42   13th in my AG (no Kona) and 63rd OA. 

I won't lie, I'm disappointed in my race.  I realize 10:11 is a good time, but it's not what I was after.  I've got some things I need to figure out before I begin training for Cozumel.  I've been working on that already, and have 4 more blog posts written and scheduled to publish in the next week or so.  It's time to change things up.



What is it going to take to qualify?

Yesterday I picked up my packet.  No lines, no waiting.  It was nice.....then I got stuck in rush hour traffic. 

I'm number 1850 so if you go to www.ironman.com on Sunday and click on the athlete tracker at the top of the page, you can track my progress if you want.

The Numbers Are In:

Last night I did my last real workout before the race.  I swam easy at lunch and after work I did a brick.  I biked 90 minutes easy with 3x10' at ironman power.  Then I ran 20 minutes starting out slow building to ironman pace.  My legs still felt heavy and sluggish, except when doing ironman power or pace.  That was the only time I felt good.  Strange.  I don't know what that means.  Today is a rest day.  Tomorrow is a short swim, bike, run.  The whole workout will take about an hour.  Then I'll do some final prep, rack my bike and go out for dinner and try to get some sleep before race day.

Since signing up for IMWI last September, here are the numbers:

Total - 733 hours (2h ave per day)

Swim - 563,736 yards (320 miles)
Bike - 7,309 miles
Run - 1,265 miles

What Is It Going To Take To Qualify?

My best guess - 5th place.  In 2010 my AG got 8 Kona slots, but since then IMWI has lost some slots with the addition of new Ironman races.  I'm guessing my AG will get 5 slots, maybe 6.  I'm only counting on 5.

My AG is absolutely stacked this year with 3 guys who have gone sub 9:40 and been to Kona.  Then there's a multi-time USAT AG champ that hasn't done an IM in a few years, but definitely has potential to go sub 9:40 if he has a good race.  I suspect he'll be racing for overall amateur along with another guy from my AG.

So assuming those 4 show up and have a good day, that's 4 slots right there (assuming they all take the slot and don't let them roll down).  That leaves one slot and about 10-15 guys with sub-10 potential fighting for that one slot.  Including me, there are 7 guys in my AG that are either signed up for Kona or have been to Kona (that I know of - and that doesn't include the USAT AG champ).  That means that some people who have already been to the big island in my AG will not be getting another ticket.  

It's going to take a good day.  

For 2010, I didn't focus on the competition so much as the time I thought it would take.  I estimated I needed to go no slower than 10:15.  It turns out I went 10:15 exactly and got the final slot.  It was via rolldown, but that approach worked.

Here's what 5th place looks like over the past few years:

5th Place Times the Past 6 Years

So the finishing range is 9:49-10:04.  With a tough field, I think you absolutely need to break 10 hours if you want a shot.  In fact, you may need to break 9:50, but history shows that if you can go 9:50 you're in line for 5th. I think you'll need to break 10 hours for a shot at a roll down.

The swim range is 1:02-1:04 so that's what I'm targeting.  It's interesting that 5th place has never broken an hour.  My solo 2.4 mile swims at Devil's Lake this year have been in this range, with my best being 1:00:50 so I feel confident I can hit this number.  I'm hoping for 1:02 because I swam 1:12 in 2010 so that will knock 10 minutes off my time right there.  Based on these numbers, you absolutely need to break 1:05.  If I don't, I'm switching to "just have fun" mode and going to hammer the bike and see what happens because I've always wanted to do that and at that point I won't have anything to lose...it's already lost.

I should be on the fast end of the bike, if not faster than those numbers.  I rode a 5:17 in 2010 and have made some good gains on the bike since then, mainly due to my nagging run injury.  My power will be 10-25 watts higher than 2010 (will most likely shoot for the middle of that range) so I'm hoping to break 5:10, but that all depends on conditions.  If I repeat my time from 2010, history shows I'm still in it.

The run is where things get tough for me.  If I run well, I'll still be on the slow end of that scale.  I ran a 3:37 in 2010.  I think I've improved since then, but it's hard to say for sure since my running has been a little off and on with my injury.  It's good now, but did interrupt my training at times over the past two years.  My goal is to run sub 3:30.  I believe I can do it.  We'll see.

So....if I swim 1:02, bike 5:10 and run 3:30 and add 9 minutes for transitions that puts me 9:51.  Historically, if I can do that, I'm fighting for 5th.  

But can I go 9:50?  I don't know.  My training indicates those numbers are realistic, but you never know.  Anything can happen out there.  I'm not making any predictions.  I'm only saying what I think it will take to KQ and that I think I stand a fighting chance if things go well.

The Weather:


How about that?  You can't ask for much better than that.

The forecast works for me and against me at the same time.  Cooler temps help.  I feel like I handle the heat pretty well, but as a bigger guy (in the endurance sports world "big" starts at about 165 pounds) the heat can get to me.  The downside to this is that cooler temps mean faster run times which means the runners will run well.  I hope this means I will to.  I believe you need to race your strengths, which means I do the best I can on the swim, bike toward the front of the race and then hang on for dear life on the run.  That's what I'll be doing Sunday, and the runners will be running well.  I'll need to dig deep and push hard and risk blowing up.  

However....winds are forecasted to be from the N or ENE.  Those are the worst winds for fast bike splits.  Winds from the N give you a headwind on the flatter, faster portions of the loop and give you a tailwind when you're climbing.  They also give you a headwind on the way back to T2, but you probably won't have that tailwind on the way out of T1 since winds are typically pretty calm early in the morning.  This works to my advantage.  The tougher, slower the bike, the better I typically do.  The runners will want S winds to speed up the bike and make it a little easier.  I want N winds to do just the opposite.  It will slow my split as well, but that doesn't matter.  It's all relative.

So there you have it.  That's what I think it will take to get a ticket to Kona this year.  My taper is typical, I bounce between confidence and doubt.  Right now I feel pretty calm and have accepted that it is what it is.  There is nothing I can do now about my fitness so I'll just go out there and do the best I can and hope it's good enough.  

If not, there's Cozumel. 



Beyond Wisconsin

It's early Thursday morning on race week.  packet pick up for IMWI opens today.  I've made the mistake of going to packet pick up on my lunch break in the past and I won't be doing that this year.  The lines are way too long.  Instead, I'm going to swim at lunch and pick up my packet on my way home from work.  Then it's a short, easy brick workout tonight and some race prep.  I've gone over my bike so now it's time to start laying things out and making sure I have everything I need.  

I've had a distraction late in my IMWI training that has helped a lot - Ironman Cozumel.  I signed up about six weeks ago.  Courtney has been itching to go to Mexico.  I noticed IM Cozumel was still open and half-jokingly asked if she wanted to go to Cozumel in November.  The next thing I knew I was registered, flights and a hotel were booked and it was a done deal.

Training became a lot more fun after signing up for Cozumel.  I have two races to think about, and an opportunity to mix up my training a little and see what happens.  I'm looking forward to putting my Cozumel training plan together.  I also no longer have all my Kona eggs in one basket, which takes pressure off IMWI.  I can completely screw up WI and have another shot at Kona.   I like that.  I also have the opportunity of getting a slot in WI and racing Cozumel just for fun.  I like that too.

Then there's the best part - IMCOZ is part race, part vacation.  We're flying in late, a little later than I want, but flights were limited.  We'll arrive the day after Thanksgiving, 2 days before race day.  I'll have to hustle that day and get my packet, get to the hotel and get my bike built right away.  It's not ideal, but I think it will work.  We're staying several days after the race so once the racing is done, I'm on vacation.  

In fact, the vacation doesn't end in Cozumel.  I've decided to take two full weeks off training after this race....and that means absolutely no training - no fun rides or runs....nothing but rest for two full weeks.  After that, I'm doing two weeks of whatever I want.  I'll train when I want and however I want....and if I don't feel like it, I won't train for the day.  I've been training hard for a  few years now and I think a break will do me good - physically and mentally.  The timing is perfect for a break since it will be over the holidays and training can be tough to fit in that time of year anyway. 

Tomorrow I'll post what I think it's going to take to qualify in M35-39 and how to track me on race day.