I find myself in a difficult place right now. That being totally out of race shape form. I can not recall being this slow before in all my life. This year so far has been very bad for me from an athletic standpoint. The question is why? Injuries from this year? Diet? One year older? Lack of training? Lack of racing? To much yoga?
While I have not been racing as much as I used to, I have been training. One thing I have noticed is all my "bench mark" workouts have resulted in much slower times. The effort is the same, but output is much less. Again why?
One event in particular that I actually trained well for was the Wakarusa Off-Road Challenge. My goal going into the event was a top 3 overall. My normal run/cycle times were well within range to run/cycle with the leaders. I knew I would be slower on the kayak leg, but figured I would be far enough ahead after the bike to still be able to step up on the box. Well I was wrong. Wrong about my form and terribly wrong about my kayaking ability - who knew there were sand bars and current on the Kansas River???
Here is a short summary of how my day at the Lawrence River Trails went.....my trusty Ford Ranger (w/298,267 miles on her) did not make it to the event. Darn front tire just about came off and we had to hitch a ride with Sean.....I line up at the front of the 150+ racer field and proceed to just have my ego crushed as nearly 1/2 the field passes me on the first 2.2 mile run. I am running my butt off, but I am not going very fast....Bile leg one was actually good and I passed dozens of people to work my way up to top 10 with a 31 min lap. Second lap on bike was a different story. Still o.k., but I could not hold my pace and ended up being 4 minutes slower on the second lap. Just no energy.....I hit the 4.2 mile kayak leg in about 5 overall. I did know that my kayak would not be one of the fastest boats on the KAW that day, but I did not know it would be one of the slowest. I was a dog in the water and got passed by dozens of boats. The saddest part was running up on a sand bar and having to get out of my boat. One guy in one of those speedy racing kayaks comes by and informs me that "you might want to stay off the sand bars and get in the current with the rest of us" No shit......The final 4.4 mile run was one of my slowest ever. I tried to run, but could not get my legs to turn over. I questioned myself for a long time trying to figure out why my energy level is so low.
What to do next? I am kind of a simple man and the only thing I can think of doing is try to race myself into form. So I head over to Hermann, MO for the start of the 2011 cyclocross season and the Dog Fish Cross.
I was fortunate enough to hitch a ride over with JP Brocket. During the trip over, we talked a lot about diet and the type of foods that I eat. I try to eat well and have even lost about 15 pounds over the last 3 months by watching the foods I consume. Could it just be what I eat?
Day 1 of the Dog Fish Cross can best be summarized by the picture on the right. JP beat me one handed. One of my worst outings in a cross race ever. Enough said about that event.
Day 2 brought in some rain and a much better course for me. Still did not have much power in the legs, but at least I could keep pace better and actually raced earning a podium spot.
I still have to try and find a way to improve. Can I race myself into form or is it time to quit?