December 12, 2009

Resolution time

Okay, a few resolutions.  First, resolutions must be accompanied and driven by goals.  Resolutions without goals are empty promises that don't last. Losing weight in of itself is a resolution - but tied to a goal like "I want to fit into that nice suit" helps makes it a resolution you can stick to.  Tangibility.  Plus, it helps to have a reason to have a particular goal - as in, they should probably lead towards a larger goal.  Overall health?  Fitness?  Completing a particularly difficult ultra-race?  Yes.

So, I have goals for 2010:  and in typical public-sector accountability fashion, here goes:

#1)  Goal:  Lose about 15-20 lbs.  This number will vary depending on what my body decides to do with a healthier diet, and less booze.  Yeah, I said it -- less beer.  I am giving myself an occasional "out" in the sense that I will allow myself one beer per sitting, should I deem it worthy and have domes something rewardable.  This way, I don't have this overhanging guilt when I invariably cave in sometime in March.  Like on the 17th.  Better food, more complete food -- not just "getting my points" or "staying within my points"... but making better choices.  Combine this with cross-training - bike?  Yes... but more conditioning.  I managed to drop 40 pounds from February to July in 2009, and then gained back ten of it, slowly, to this writing.  To get to my "fighting weight" of race-day at MV24 of 147 pounds, I need to shed about 20.  I've gotten to a healthy weight, yes - but I need to take it a step further, and then stay there and train on it.  

Primary Objective = the best health of my life prior to reaching age 40.  Deadline, June 2012.
Secondary Objective = see Goal #2

#2)  Goal:  A "finish" at The Texas Time Trials 2010, specifically the Tejas 500 event, 48-hour start time.  If I finish faster than that, so be it - but I am giving myself the maximum allowable time.  There is, as far as I can read, no bonus for finishing after taking the 36-hour start.  RAAM-qualification is not a goal - though it WOULD be nice, and goes in the hopper as a secondary goal.  
Most ultra-racers should have tiered goals like this, which can spur motivation - but can also give leeway, mentally, if the first couple of goals don't come to pass due to whatever:  Example:  Goals, in order:  a) become RAAM-qualified at Tejas by finishing in under 36-hours.  b) Finish in the top 10% of non-RAAM qualified finishers.  c) Finish in 48-hours.  So far, I am only committing to Goal 2,C.

#3)  Maintain my car-free-to-work streak until June 14th, 2010.  That will mark exactly one year of not driving a car to work.  I may well continue the streak after achieving that mark.  In fact, that seems highly likely I'll continue - unless it directly affects the training that will lead to the achievement of Goal #2.

#4)  Quality - not Quantity - training for Goal #2:  be home more, mentally, when I am home.  Ride as much as I need to to accomplish Goal #2, without being gone constantly on some notion that I have to ride 20,000 miles in training.  Not even 10,000 miles... heck, not even 5,000 miles.  Without going into a ton of detail, I don't need to ride all that much to get the chops needed to knock off 500-miles in 48 hours.  What I do need to do is ride with other people.  This gives me something I have not had in 2009, and that's people to talk to, people to chase, people to try and out-climb, and the motivation that comes with community.  I need to visit Longview Lake on Saturday mornings.  I need to visit Bike Source on Saturday mornings.  I need to find the fast group at the spring brevets, and - despite all odds and how ridiculous it might seem - try to stay with them.  It won't always work out, and I will limp the last half of some brevets, but that's how it's done.  The key to my success at MV24 was not a ton of mileage - it was speed, and then taking that speed to distance.  Don't "ride" - TRAIN.  But, don't "only" train - take that bike camping trip, take that trail ride - break up the routine.  Finally, and most importantly:  when I'm home and off the bike, truly be "off the bike" - don't burden the family with it.  No endless planning sessions, no constant "race prep" talk -- don't be one-dimensional.  Yes, it's a big goal -- but don't make it "everything", and don't let it take the place of the truly important:  in no particular order, family, kids, wife, faith.

#5)  Eat faster, and sleep less.  Seems pretty dumb, right?  Well, as ultra-racing goes I will need to take advantage of the early season brevets to re-learn some of my techniques.  I finally have hydration down to second nature now, so I next need to learn to fuel from the saddle more effectively, instead of "picnicking on the sidewalk" at controls.  I tend to be pokey at the dinner table, and it shows on the road.  I can sit at the table and eat for an hour sometimes; meanwhile everyone else is done, cleaned up, and off to other things.  Take this habit to brevets and it's no wonder I always feel rushed at controls, snarfing food to the point of making myself uncomfortable, just so I can stay with the pack that is invariably always helmeted-up and ready to roll before I even open my water-bottles.  I need to watch, take notes, put food in my pockets, and ride.  Further, in "real life" I need to adopt a military style of feeding.  Quality nutrition, into the body, quickly, and then back to the field.  I also need to re-learn the fine art of the power-nap, and figure out how my body responds to it, at least once a week.  Where I faltered at MV24 was lack of sleep deprivation training, which cost me my age group.  I still finished, but I checked off a tiered goal with regrets.  This kind of thing needs to be trained for, also, towards success at Goal #2.  This will be altered if it affects Goal #1, and/or begins to affect the rest periods following training, towards Goal #4.

As you can read, all of these goals tie together, and ought to keep me plenty busy this coming year.  
One, solid goal, that with it brings a couple of lifestyle alterations that should not only yield success - but a fitter, more capable "me".  
There are still two weeks left in the year... but I'm getting this on paper now.  

Stay tuned, and thanks for reading...

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