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...