Since November 2009, a big part of my life has been ruled by an email appearing in my Gmail inbox: My Training Peaks scheduled workout. My coach, Gerardo Barrios, dutifully updated my schedule each week and sometimes two or three weeks in advance. I planned my work day, outings with Stephanie and our friends and family, and my own "free" time around whatever my Training Peaks update left room for.
But since the conclusion of Ironman Coeur d'Alene, my update has read the same: "Ryan Schneider: You have no upcoming workouts."
It's taken all of one week since IMCDA to become sick of seeing that statement. Sure, I've swam a bit and spun on my trainer. But it's just not the same. Strangely, now I feel guilty with all my free time -- though I'm savoring every minute. I've gotten so much done around the house, spent a LOT of quality time with Steph the past few days, caught up with friends, finished my next Lava Magazine column and am finally present with all my outstanding work-related emails.
Still, deep inside, I can feel my fitness slipping away. All the work I did to become a bonafide Ironman triathlete is dissipating. And that's frustrating. I didn't work this hard to become a slouch.
What am I going to do about it?
This is my plan, for the moment. Plans can change, as I've learned all too well from this sport.
- For the next two months I'm focusing heavily on all things wedding. The Big Day is less than two months away and there's still much to do. Steph has been phenomenal shouldering such a heavy load, and I'm going to ease that burden significantly. The countdown for the wedding is becoming just as exciting as any athletic event, and I think it will surpass anything I've felt before come Wedding Day.
- While Steph and I are focused on The Best Wedding Ever, I plan to swim a couple times a week, either with Fortius or on my own. I also plan to learn what I can to significantly improve my swim technique. I don't know if that means Total Immersion swimming or improving upon my existing mechanics. I'm undecided here, so any advice would be super appreciated! I won't participate in a triathlon until at least October (though I did flirt with showing up last-minute to Strawberry Fields Triathlon in Oxnard on July 16), so I have plenty of time to see how I can break major new ground in the water.
- Next, I'm planning to purchase either a Computrainer indoor computer trainer system OR a power meter to measure power output on the bike. If I want to make big leaps on the bike without spending more time training then either one of these tools are going to become quite important. I'm still trying to decide which tool represents the better investment. Please let me know if you have an opinion. In the meantime, I'm going to spin on my trainer a couple times a week while watching the Tour de France, possibly going on a few-hour ride one day during the weekend. If anyone reading this wants to go riding for a few hours, let me know! (Brennan, I'm looking at you!)
- While I'm training simply to maintain a basic form of fitness, I'm planning to thoroughly read Joe Friel's "Your Best Triathlon" book. I need to find a way to train within the 10-15 hours a week range, with few exceptions. I figure more focused, more intense training spread out over more recovery might help. That's why I'm leaning towards purchasing the Computrainer, as it immediately cuts down on commute time, gives me all sorts of data to analyze and lets me ride simulation courses from most Ironman or 70.3-distance events. From what I'm reading, 70 miles on a trainer equals 100 miles on the road. I like that, if I can grind it out mentally.
- That's everything on the training front. I still need to find better balance with my writing. I've got some plans to turn the Ironmadman blog into a book project and self-publish through Kindle. This is a long-term goal though I'm starting to work towards it now -- thinking of an outline is the first step and is officially under way as of today. Next, I'm considering an offer from the LA Tri Club to be its official blogger. I'd write one post per week on pretty much anything I want. However, time is going to be slim for this so I may have to opt out.
Where does this leave my blogging?
I don't know, to be honest.
I don't know if I can continue to blog every day, especially without any races coming up. There's simply not a lot of "interesting" triathlon related news that's going to come from me. I do owe people more info from my Chris McCormack interview, and I haven't forgotten about that. Otherwise, I think we're winding down on the Ironmadman daily blog for the time being. I'll continue to post, just not nearly as often.
Of course, last time I wrote that I went back to heavy frequency. Perhaps this whole writing thing is more a part of me than I realize!
I do plan to write a somewhat temporary/unofficial "farewell" post in the coming days. Something to wrap up what I consider to be two huge chapters in my triathlon journey -- completing my first Ironman and taking the lessons learned to complete a second within seven months. There are lots of people to thank and acknowledge, and I'd like to write a letter to my future children (NO, none are on the way any time soon mom!) so they can have some real context to what I hope this blog can teach them one day.
Just because I don't have any upcoming workouts on my schedule doesn't mean I'm going to stay idle.
I hope I'm just warmed up now.