Friday, September 30, 2011

My Path to Kona: Part 1

30 Sep 11-

As I sit here and get ready to fly out of S. Korea over to Hawaii, I wanted to take a minute and start the blogs that will lead up to the Kona Pre Race Blog.  A lot of people dream about getting to Kona and attempt year after year to get to the "Big Dance".  I wouldn't say I "dreamed" about getting to Kona, until I made it a goal of mine.  I walked into this sport a little over 3 years ago now not even knowing what an IRONMAN was or what the difference between a triathlon bike or road bike was.  I came into the sport with no knowledge of anything and looked for guidance from many people.   I couldn't tell you who Chrisse Wellington was or who Team TBB was.  I couldn't even tell you how far a marathon was, but somehow 4 months later I was running one.  I showed up to my first sprint tri and a guy showed up on a Felt DA (tri bike) with a disc wheel, deep front Zipp and an aero helmet.  Me and my buddy were laughing at this guy wondering who the heck he thought he was.  10 months later I was rooming with this said guy at China 70.3, picking his brain on everything and he has become a great mentor.  Step back and looking at myself I am a spitting image of that guy, and I am sure there whispers at the small on base tris when I show up with people saying the same thing.

The path that I took to get to Kona is unique in my opinion, as is everybody's.  Some people are realistic and know what it takes to get to Kona, they lay out a plan that will work for THEM.  Others don't have a clue what it takes and they think they "know" what they need to do.  I have seen and read about these people and they wonder why year after year they don't reach their goal of getting to Hawaii.  I by no means knew what it took to get to Kona, but I was surrounded by people that know what it takes.  I was surrounded by mentors that have led me down the path to success.   I used those resources to make sure that the goal I wanted to achieve was attainable and I laid out a plan to achieve that goal.

I am fortunate enough to be in Asia, which means IM China was not going to cost me a fortune to get to (IM China was my original plan of my first IM, until it was canceled).  I then switched it up to IM Korea.  When you have a goal that is thought to be the top of the sport, people will think you are crazy when you tell them on your first IM you are gunning for a Kona slot.  If you pick the right race, in the right location, that suits you, anything is possible.  To make things even better, the cancellation of IM China brought a total of 75 Kona slots to IM Korea,  that is a very very BIG number.  So that was step 1, choosing a race that suited me.  Why did China and/or Korea suit me?  The races are known to have small fields which mean a higher chance of qualifying.  Some may call this cherry picking but when you are aiming for a goal that has so many variables in it, you take control of the things you can control, the race selection being one of them.

The other thing that had to be done, was I needed to hire a coach.  There was no way I was going into my first IM with ambitions of qualifying for Kona and coaching myself.  I lack the knowledge and experience in the sport to coach myself, and even the best coaches still need to be coached.  I had been following Team TBB for quite sometime, well since China 70.3 in April of 2009.  There had been talk that they would be doing online coaching and it was something that I kept my eye on.  I frequented there forum regularly looking for all the "free" advice that I could and just taking it all in.  When I made the decision to do the IM and they launched there online coaching I knew that is who I was going to put my trust in.  There are a lot of people out there who go out and get a coach, just to have a coach.  They don't do their homework, they don't know the history of the people and they just assume because they are a pro they are a good coach.  Team TBB has a proven track record and I liked the coaching model that they laid out, where their online coaches had the capability to seek advice from their head coach if need be.  The only way a coach/athlete relationship works is if you fully trust your coach and don't second guess his thought process and training plan.  What is the point to pay for a coach and then not even believe in what he is providing you?

The last big thing that I did was get a powermeter.  I got a wired SRM and really started focusing on power on the bike.  It has been the second best investment I have made in triathlon other than my coach.  Training by power is a great way to measure your fitness and track your progress.  I use WKO+ and it is something that I have enjoyed studying and watching over the course of the season.

Lastly, the thing that is out of everyone's control is the athletes you are surrounded by.  I say athletes, because you can't control the caliber of people you are surrounded by in terms of athletics, but you can control the other people you surround yourself with.  Being on a military installation where a majority of the base is on a 1 year tour, it is completely out of my control.  However, I have been very fortunate to have some great people to train with.  They know who they are, they are the guys that road in the freezing cold weather or came over on Xmas and put in a 3 hour trainer ride or anyone who just put in time in the pool, on the bike or on the run with me.  If you weren't there to hold me accountable I could of just blown off the workout, or I may not of been pushed as hard.  It is because of the people in my life that have led me to where I am at today.  It is not necessarily because of all the positive people, although they have a huge effect on it, the negative people are important as well.  The people that question what you do or the goals you aim for, thinking you are just flat out crazy.  Those are the people that push you to do better and reach higher each time.

I can't thank everyone that I have been surrounded by for the past 3 years and especially those that have been around these past couple of months leading into Kona.  You have been a crucial part to my training environment and have pushed me to where I am today.  And then as always if it wasn't for the great family members that I am surrounded by that continue to support me, I would not be on this plane to the big dance.  The Love and support they have for me is incredible and I am not sure if they will ever know how appreciative I am of it, words can't describe what they have done and what they continue to do for me.

In Part 2 I plan on talking about the lifestyle I lived this past year and the financial obligation that an IM has on someone.

Not really sure what picture to put to this blog, but since it is about the Path to Kona, here is a look back from January 2010, probably around 170-175lbs........

1 comment:

David Temple said...

Looks like Florida was playing that day.