Richie Caiazza

Richie Caiazza

My journey into the unkown

I think it's time for a change!

For 2012, I decided to make the headfirst plunge into the multisport lifestyle.  As I mentioned in the previous post, My goal for this year is a challenging one.  One that might not happen... But you never reach the finish line if you don't enter the race... So here I am.  In December of last year, I hired a tri coach.  Best decision I had made for the season.  I had allt he equipment, (and then some) I had the technical knowledge of the sport, and a basic nutrtion regimen that I have been working on for quite some time.  But the road map was still a little fuzzy.  I needed formal guidance.  

     The Ironman 70.3 World championships... Much like the any other 70.3 event goes as follows.  1.2 mile swim, immediately followed by a 56 mile bike, and again followed by a 13.1 mile half marathon.  In between each of these events, is a "transition" in which you are timed on as well.  Your overall time is determined by how fast you complete each of the events, as well as each of the transitions.  What makes this event in Las Vegas, Nevada special, is what it takes to get there.  While anyone with around $250 can enter all other half ironman events, This race you have to qualify for.  It is one of the few opportunities for us mere mortals to try and do something that you can not do unless you are a professional athlete.  Only golf can an amateur be givent he opportunity to line up next to the most elite superstars of their respective sport.  It is the world series...the super bowl of triathlon.  In order to qualify... one must be at the top 2% basically of their respective age group.  There are usually only 3-4 qualifying spots per age group at each qualifying race... meaning if you one win, place or show at a 70.3 qualifying race... you're not makin it Jack!  A tall order indeed.

     To help me accomplish this goal, as I said before, I hired a tri specific coach.  This coach, plans workouts, and follows the data.  By tracking the workouts, your coach adjusts your training accordingly.   But How do we know we are makign the right choices.  How do we know that our coach has our best interest at heart, or that they have all the tools necessary to take you to the promise land.  Now... It's not all on your coach if you fall short.  They can only provide you with a game plan.  Each coaches philosophy is different on how to get to where you need to be.  If you don't follow the map, then you only have yourself to blame.  But how much of that is true.  Do you not follow the map because you are lazy? Because you physically can not do it?  Or are the directions not clearly spelled out.  What if you don't have that connection with your coach? does that play into it?  If you don't trust him, will you do the workouts 100% like you would if you were doing it by yourself of for a coach that you do trust.  Alost sabotaging yourself.  These are the questions I was asking myself.  My coach was awesome.  One of the nicest people i have met on this journey yet.  He opened my eyes to different opportunites that I wouldn't have seen, and introduced me to people that will absolutely be life long friends.  His work ethic is second to none, and no doubt a great coach... to someone else.   I have been contemplating making a change for a little while now.  The reasons, are really not important, but a coach athlete relationship is a challenging one to say the least.  As the coach, you are not only there to prescribe workouts, but you are a psychologist, and friend as well.  As an athlete, you have to trust your coach 110% that they are giving you all that your body can handle, but not much more.  You have to be able to confide with him, and tell him things that you probably wouldn't tell many other people.  as your mental state can greatly effect your training ability.  You have to listen to your body, and communicate that you them as well so they know how to alter your workouts if need be.  The responsibility falls solely on the coach to manage all of this.. all for a few bucks a month. 

      I made my change.  I think for the better, but I suppose only time will tell.  I would love to say that my season rests on his shoulders... but really, at the end of the day, it falls on my own. 

     The 2012 season is a heavy one for me.  basically kicking off with 4 races back to back.  4/13 Eisenhower park mini mighty man, 5/6 NYC ironman half marathon training run, 5/13 Carl Hart Mothers Day Duathlon, and then the big one.  5/20 Ironman 70.3 Florida.  I will be testing my strength agains some of the best triathletes around.  Being in northern florida, it is home to some of the best in the country, and I wil be racing against them.  If I somehow manage to finish in the top of my age group... it will be a major accomplishment.  A dream come true.  I am confident that I will get there.. maybe not in florida, but at another half that I am doing this season.  Then a whole new set of problems arise... but we will cross that bridge when I get to it. 

     This sport take's a lot out of you.  Thats why they call it a lifestyle.  You aren't just working out to look good on the beach, or hitting the driving range with your buddies to lower your handicap to look good on sunday... You are conditioning your body to go through some of the most grueling tests of ability ont he planet.  Whether you are training for a sprint, or an Ultraman.  Your experience is the same.  If you are 300lbs, and are trying to just finish a race this year.  Maybe it's your first 5k, or a duathlon, or sprint triathlon.  Remember... Everyone of us had a first race... A "I just want to finish" moment.  That feeling of accomplishment when you cross that finish line is what makes you come back.  It's what makes you want to try it again.  Forget about the pain, and keep training.  Because you only have one first time.  After that, you'll want to beat the last one. Or maybe you won't.  Maybe you checked it off your bucket list, and on to the next one.  Either way.  You'll always have that finish line photo!  SO smile for the camera!

      I know this one wasn't as juicy as the last...  But it is what I am going through now. Wish me luck this season, as I am going to need it!  And if you do decide to enter in a race... remember that you are already faster than everyone else who didn't.  It takes guts to go out there... Be proud of yourself for taking the step! 

Happy training!  And thanks for reading!

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