The off season is time for goal setting, but technically I'm not in my off season yet. I'm aiming for one more running race (with another one thrown in beforehand more as a training exercise). But as I read other triathletes' blogs and reflect back on my own season, I can't help but start thinking about next year. I have some goals forming in my mind, but for now I thought I'd post what I'll call goal-lets: little goals. You could also call them "goalkins," or "goalitas." Or not.
1) Perfect the shoeless bike mount: This year I learned to get my feet out of my shoes on the bike. I have practiced the reverse, getting them into the shoes on the bike, and I'm reasonable at it. But I haven't developed enough confidence in my mount to do this in a race yet--all my practices (and by the end of the season I started every ride this way) consist of stopping, making sure the shoe is in exactly the right position, then mounting. I want to get that down (without the stopping part) so I can do it in races. This will just require oodles of practice--I am not the most coordinated person, and I have what I like to think of as a rational fear of falling.
2) Learn a reasonable beach start: When a swim starts off with us on the beach, my approach is to saunter in behind the first line of swimmers in my wave, wait for a spot to open up, then sort of flop into the water. I sense something a little more aggressive might help me here. Again, I'll need some practice, and I'll need to round up other people to practice this with. So if you're a local and reading this, get ready when the ice thaws. You know, like the middle of May.
3) Don't cut corners on swim workouts: I am a total rule follower, and as I discussed in my last post, I follow my coach's orders kind of like an automaton. But sometimes (I'd say about half the time) on swim workouts, I don't have time to finish--I'm squeezing it in between meetings, so to make my meeting I cut 100 or 200 yards off the workout. This is lame. Or, as Kara Goucher would say, "Sha-lame." So this year, I'm planning better, getting my a** to the pool when I say I'm going to and not 15 minutes later because I stopped to answer an email, and I'm doing the whole workout.
4) Know the race course: One of my larger goals for this season is to do a better job of identifying ahead of time which are my A races. But once I've done that, I'm not doing an A race without having previewed the bike course. My best bike last season--arguably my only good bike last season--was at Pumpkinman, where I drove the bike course the night before. (I actually rode one other bike course a lot before that race, but although I see that USAT thinks this other, local race was a better one for me than Pumpkinman, I rode part of that bike with my rear brake rubbing on the wheel, so I'm leaving that out of any analysis of relative bike performance. Except that I get a pretty low mark there for careful pre-race mechanical examination of the bike.) Most of my races are within an hour of so of home, so there's really no excuse not to take a short trip on some weekend before and actually bike the course. Besides, my husband is training for an Ironman, so what's he going to say, "No, you can't be gone that long for a workout?"
5) Do more time trials: My cycling club runs a weekly time trial. I always intend to do lots, and this year I did 3. That's lame. I want to do every time trial that's not right before an A race (or when I'm out of town), and if I need to switch up the rest of my training schedule to accommodate this, I think I just should. I think my biggest limiter on the bike right now (OK, other than the fact that my maximum sustainable power is frighteningly close to my weight) is that I'm inexperienced at biking hard for a long time. I felt like I finally got it right at Pumpkinman, but I need to get it right before September next year. So more time trials.
6) Race in a tri suit that doesn't make me look like a cow: OK, I know that's a slight exaggeration. Also, by designing myself a cow-spotted swimsuit that says "MOO" on the a**, perhaps I've lost some credibility here. But I've said it to a couple teammates, and now I'm putting it in writing: next year's tri suit needs to not have the light color on the outside of the hips. Here's exhibit A:
I understand that guys don't want to have anything but a dark color on the inside part of the shorts. But honestly, spend 5 minutes with any fashion magazine, and you'll learn that this colorblocking scheme is quite the opposite of slimming. Or just look at a few of us on the team who have actual hips. Which are easy to spot, because they're highlighted in light blue. So this is a plea to the 110-pound men who apparently design our club kit: how about navy shorts and a mostly-light-blue top? Thanks!