Upon entering VNSO pool yesterday morning for my 3,200 yard swim, I saw the following sign posted near the dressing room door: "Pool to be closed for maintenance for 3 WEEKS starting May 31."
I had to do a triple-take. No, this can't be happening! Seriously? The final three weeks of IM Coeur d'Alene training? When I'm in the pool for repeated 4,000-yard workouts and then running off to work, then more long-distance training after work?
Yes, there are other pools in the area. But none are quite as convenient as VNSO, which is literally 5 minutes from my condo. I can roll out of bed, put on my swimsuit, grab a banana to eat quickly, fill my water bottle and within 15 minutes I'm swimming laps. It's fast, and most important, conveniently on my way to work.
Now, I'll need to head the opposite direction, to Calabasas, to fit in my morning swims. Then, I'll need to fight traffic to get to work on time. It's a hassle, and really the last thing I need or want at this point in my training. Worse, I'm not sure what Coach Gerardo is going to do about coached swim workouts in the evening or mornings as those require permits. Is it really worth the effort to secure those for three weeks?
This led me yesterday to make up my mind that I was going to go for Ironman St. George. I'm sick of scheduling my life around training! So the best way around that is to A) be done as quick as possible and take a longer break and B) IM St. G is on May 7, so the pool being closed May 31-June 24 won't really matter to me.
My mind was further made up after I spent time talking with Mark Allen, widely considered one of if not THE greatest triathlete of all time. I'm interviewing Mark for my next "Mind Games" column with Lava Magazine Online. I couldn't resist asking him about my "dilemma" at the end of our interview. His advice? Why not do BOTH St. George and IM CDA?
My heart says YES! My body says NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
Marks' feeling was that you should race at the races you want to race at. If St. George is calling to me, which it is and will continue to, then I should do it.
Then, after a second Passover seder last night, I talked with Stephanie about it.
She thinks I likely won't be physically able to complete IM CDA if I do St. George, and if I don't do CDA then I've wasted a huge amount of money. This is true. And the race is largely non-refundable ($150 return for $575 registration, no thanks!). So, in pragmatic terms, I'd be spending close to an extra $1,000 just to satisfy a deep primal urge to be an Ultimate Badass(TM). And, if I tried to do CDA, I'd still need to find a friggin' pool for those three weeks!!!
So, after having some real sense talked into me, I'm back to my original plan. I'm going for IM CDA, with all my might.
I really want to try St. George. If I was made of money right now, didn't have two games shipping this fall, wasn't planning for a wedding and honeymoon or writing for Lava, I just might do it.
Instead, I'll think about St. George for next year, depending on the state of my mind, body and spirit. I know I've said CDA will be my last full-distance Ironman, but St. George is only six hours away! It's so close, whispering to me.
If only Coeur d'Alene was whispering to me as loudly. I think I need to work on that. The Wildflower long-course next Saturday will help.
62 days and counting.