Sunday, July 13, 2008


I have been suffering from a psychological syndrome that I am sure many of you Ironmen will recognize: Post Ironman Finish Dementia or PIFD. After Ironman, it is healthy to take a break from structured training, to use your fitness for fun, and to properly recover. If you become truly infected with the Ironman virus, however, the lack of a training plan or an impending "A Race" looming over you in the next six months is very disorienting. Nothing in your life feels quite "right" or organized.

Even though you're ordinarily content to be a slob, this lack of organization and "true north" orientation feels intolerable. You clean your garage, you clean your office, you do dishes, you buy new recycling bins, you develop a reading list, you plan menus, you write down errands on a Saturday and make grocery lists . . .

OK, you actualy type grocery lists on the computer, paying special attention to the aesthetics of font useage, margins and size . . . . not that I would do such a thing. That was purely hypothetical.

At any rate, you feel a bit lost without something written down to tell you what you're doing for the next six months and a physical goal to get you out of bed in the morning.

I only recently started to improve my condition. My next Ironman effort probalby won't occur until November of '09. My last two Ironman races were only 9 months apart. I can't possibly survive the next 16 months without either some goals to challenge and orient me or else anti-psychotic drugs. But what to do? I think the next year looks something like this.

This fall, I'll focus on run training with the goal of lowering my marathon PR in a winter race, potentially the Houston marathon in January. I want to see just how fast I can go, and marathon training is something I can do, even at a relatively high level without taking time away from the family. But if not Houston (where I hold a spot in the sold-out race), then what? What other races in the January-February time frame are cool, flat and fast? I need a reserve race, because I am NOT going to waste a PR effort on a day with bad weather.

But what else? I'd like to work on my pathetic swimming with a coach and become more competent. Can I do that during the fall as well? If so, how? And what lead up races should I do to the marathon? What is everyone else running this fall? What to do, what to doooooo?

Then after the marathon, in the February to mid-April time frame I'll probably do a bike block leading up to the MS150. Here too, I feel like my cycling would benefit from some coaching and having a good road bike. But where/how do I get some bike coaching? And are there other events that I could enter to get faster on the bike? Lord knows the big, organized training rides are not conducive to building power and speed.

And I'd like to build a bike and learn the mechanical stuff, but where/how do I begin to to that? There's a great training course in Colorado Springs that I could take next summer, but that is after the MS150. Is there nowhere in Houston, the 4th or 5th largest metro area in the country, where I can learn how to be a passable bike mechanic?

I could And I can and probasbly should continue to work on my swimming during this time, but how? What to do, what to dooooo?

Then, after the bike block, around about April, it is time to start triathlon/Ironman training in earnest. Since both of the Ironman races I have targetd are flat this time, I'd like to try to really improve, and actually "race" (at least at my own level) rather than just participate. Do I need a coach? Online? In person? Who? How? And what races should I do? I want to race with friends, so where is the party next year? What to do, what to doooooo?

All the non-OCD, non-Ironman folks out there are probably just shaking their heads and saying, "you know, it wouldn't kill you just to be a bit normal, sleep in, eat pizza, do your job, come home, watch TV."


i'm sorry, i did not mean to shout. i can stop any time i want.

I've begun a little bit of a cure. It's amazing how much better I felt when I e-mailed our tri-club running coach on Friday, and he worked out a written marathon training plan for me. Seeing something on paper had remarkable, restorative effects.

And then there was the little, 63 mile, hilly, 90+ degree recovery ride I did with my homie who's training for Ironman Wisconsin.

Uhm. Yeah. Just good clean fun, that.


Spokane Al said...

You mean that what you described isn't normal?

Fe-lady said...

I am sure you will fill your hours and days with challenges, fun, and "have-tos" such as work and family.

Tucson has a marathon in December. (elevation loss in the course).

Phoenix may have something in Jan/Feb.

Weather is usually pretty nice around then.

Good luck!

21stCenturyMom said...


Poor Greyhound.


I definitely think you should go with Houston! You;re ready to rock it!!

Taconite Boy said...

Wow. Tac does not have your problem. New demands just filled the gap where training was.

Lucky (said in Napolean Dynamite voice)

Herself, the GeekGirl said...

Holy cow, can I just copy and paste this into my next post? Except for the homie training for WI, that is. The big difference: my off season will be marathons and ultra running. It's aaallllll good.

Supalinds said...

"Probasbly" YOU'RE GENIUS!!!

Sorry didn't mean to shout, but had to get my point across.

What to do, what to doooo!?!?! I feel ya sweet cheaks. I walk around bewildered 99.8 % of the time. But then again, I chuckled to myself Friday night as I laid my wine ridden head down on the pillow and thought, 'I don't have a long ride tomorrow.' WAHOOO!!

KCWoodhead said...

You stole my monkey picture!!!

Kim said...

great! give me something to look forward to in a week! how about we try to get some of us peeps together for some sort of meet up?

Cass said...

Have you thought about running with Houston Fit ATP?

SingletrackJenny (formerly known as IronJenny) said...

Typing grocery lists in neat fonts???
Dude - go ride your bike!!!!!!!!!!

Iron Krista, "The Dog Mom" said...

Well, I've been calling it BORED - I'm glad to hear there is an actual term for it :-)

Junie B said...

New Orleans Marathon. I believe its February and I know A LOT of people who have qualified for Boston there. Its FLAT AND FAST!!!

Judi said...

I am starting to trail run. Have a 50k trail race planned for OCT.