Friday, October 19, 2012

Locoman 70.3

The past few weeks have been filled with lots of hours training (and plenty more at work).  I've complete my longest workouts of my Ironman training (and my life): two 100+ mile rides (1 with my Uncle), a handful more that were 90+, swims over 2 miles, and several 15+ mile runs including a near 21-miler. 

Through the peak of my training I've stayed strong both physically and mentally but I suspect few make it through this kind of training volume without any minor discomfort. The challenge is identifying the difference between injury and normal wear and tear; my body is looking forward to the taper and I'm confident that come November 18 I'll be ready to bring it to Arizona.

Before I can get tapering I've got one more hurdle to clear.  Tomorrow I'll tackle my second 1/2 Ironman; I'll be racing solo in New York, but 1100 miles away will be ten of the Miami Tri Locos joining me in the two-state inaugural Locoman 70.3.  The Locoman is our homegrown, $0 race fee, half-ironman. 

I'll begin my day with a 1.2 mile dip in the edge of the Long Island Sound, continue a 4-loop (to avoid traffic lights) bike course, and concluded with a 2-loop run.  Transition area will be based in the beach parking lot where I will create my own aid/refueling station.  The loops will allow me to swing through transition for additional hydration or nutrition.  The race course I've laid out is pretty scenic but it's got a few serious hills and a handful of small rollers.  Over the 56-mile ride I suspect I'll cover somewhere between 2-3K feet of elevation (my Garmin will be the judge of that) which is totally different than what I'll encounter in Arizona. 

It's been almost a full-year since my first 1/2 Iron and there's no doubt I am a much stronger athlete than I was when I took on Miami 70.3.  I've put in a lot of hard work to make it to this point and tomorrow will be a good test of where I stand.  I'm doing everything I can to simulate race conditions including my pre-race meal and preparation.  I'll treat the morning as a race morning with an early wake-up and typically race-day breakfast.  That said, it's time for some rest so I can race hard tomorrow.

I know it's going to be lonely out there tomorrow but I'll channel the strength I've built up in the last year and think of my fellow Locos down south.  I know that Locoman 70.3 will serve me well in Arizona.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Who Am I?

Son. Husband. Grandson. Brother. Brother-in-law. Cousin. Uncle.  Nephew. Friend. Coworker.  Triathlete. Tri Loco.

Five weeks from today, I'll hear Mike Reilly say:  Andrew Zitofsky, you are an IRONMAN!

There are times I struggle with the fact that triathlon and being a triathlete have become such a big part of my identity. More often though I am proud of what the sport has helped me accomplish both physically and mentally.  Triathlon has helped me shed about 20lbs and I am undoubtedly in the best shape of my life.  I have more energy than ever (even after most long workouts) and I feel like my motor is always running.  Mentally triathlon has helped increase my focus and provided me with a level of discipline I've never had before.  The discipline was born from staying on track with my training, but it's spilled over into the rest of my life as well.  At work I am more organized and on top of things than I can ever remember being.  Triathlon has truly made me a better all around person.

There's a lot of time for soul searching when you are out training for hours on end (many of them alone).  Five years ago I don't think I could have handled all the solo hours; though I can't deny that sometimes it gets lonely out there, I generally find myself to be pretty good company.  My training gives me a lot of time to think (about anything and everything) and I've become increasingly productive during my long workouts.  Of course I focus on the goal of each workout but I also take the time to be mindful about other aspects of my life. 

Triathlon also brings me a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment.  Whether it's crossing a finish line or simply completing a hard workout, I've accomplished something that day.  Even if I struggled through my run, fought every pedal cycle on a ride, or labored through each stroke in the water, I didn't quit.  Triathlon has taught me that the only limits we have are those which we place on ourselves.
 I'm grateful to be a triathlete and look forward to being able to call myself an Ironman.