Andrew Raynor Dover
By Mike Tarrolly for Crushing Iron
I don’t know about you, but I like to aim low. It seems counterintuitive but aiming low means you get into a habit of hitting attainable goals and all that aiming low means you’re aiming high in the long run.
In my nearly 6 years of Ironman training I’ve had a tendency of being unrealistic. I started with limited mountain bike experience, but hadn’t run 2 consecutive miles or swam more than a few continuous laps in my 48 years of life. The goal for my first Ironman? Kona.
I didn’t really talk about it, but in my mind I kept saying, “Why not me?”
I think I’m a good and deserving person, but just being me wasn’t good enough to get to Kona. I did work my ass off, but it wasn’t enough to overcome history. Others had been working harder, for much longer.
I WANT IT NOW
I’ve had a tendency to want things to happen fast. Like, big projects to be done, tomorrow. It doesn’t work that way.
A few years ago a friend asked me if I wanted to help him put together his film, Saving Banksy. They had started the edit and he wanted me to help him clean it up and finish. I thought it would be about a month of work, so I said sure.
It took two years.
Honestly, if I knew it was going to take two years, I probably would have said no. But a funny thing happened after a couple months. I started to feel pride in what we were working on. It wasn’t a “goal” anymore, it was a process of accomplishment and I started looking forward to small gains. I went from wanting it to be done, to wanting it to get better.
I don’t want to say I mastered documentary filmmaking, but I did discover the importance of process, and aiming low. And once that happens with something, you can translate what you learned to anything . . . even triathlon.
If I’ve learned anything about Ironman it’s that a successful run is very difficult after a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike ride. In fact, I’ve pretty much failed each of my five times. I say fail not because I didn’t finish, but because I feel like I didn’t learn and get better.
As I train for my 6th Ironman in as many years, I have taken a step back. With 103 days until the race, I’m aiming low.
In my heart, I’ve known the run was about durability and strength, but for some reason it didn’t click. I need to spend more time on my legs and “build that chassis” as Coach Robbie always says. But, what if you don’t like running that much, or worse, it beats the shit out of you?
You slow down.
Over time I’ve discovered my natural running cadence is about 8:50 – 9:00 minute miles. That’s where I settle-in on easy runs. The problem is (when it relates to Ironman) I cannot hold this pace for more than 8 or 9 miles before my hips, ankles, and soul crumble to pieces. So, I decided slow down, restore the foundation, and build back up.
The problem: running slow is hard for me. So, I created a little game.
I set a 10 minute pace as my floor. If my watch dips below a 10 minute pace, I start walking and hydrate until that pace gets to 17 minutes. For someone as impatient as me, it’s been a Godsend.
In the past, I’d set out on a 7 mile run with “easy pace” expectations, but invariably put down the hammer. I’d be overwhelmed with curiosity about how fast I could do it rather than a stepping stone. It always hurt and usually sucked the life out of my desire to run.
Since I’ve started the 10/17 method, I’ve finished every run with confidence that I could keep going, and more importantly, I’ve often wanted to keep going. I haven’t been nearly as sore, my frequency is through the roof, and my overall pace is not that far off what I’d like to do in Ironman.
THERE’S ALWAYS TIME
How many times do we look back and say, “I wish I would have done this?”
I believe we don’t follow through on things because we are impatient and aim too high.
It becomes a sea of wasted opportunities because we don’t value the little steps. High goals tend to make things seem overwhelming. You don’t live in a mansion because you want to live in one, you live in a mansion because you saved and invested in today a long time ago.
But we see all this overnight success now. A band blows up and all we see is the fame. What we don’t see is the years they sat around in shitty apartments writing lyrics on pizza boxes. It was the early commitment that delivered the spoils.
We see all these people going to Kona, but we don’t see the pain, the struggle, and the effort they’ve put in for years.
And while life moves fast, there is still time. Time to embrace the little things. Time to improve. To learn. To grow. Time to aim low.
We talk a lot about the 10/17 run in our latest podcast “Relaxing For Better Performance”
Coming to a C26 Camp is a great way of aiming low to aim high. The environment is extremely supportive and we have a saying: We start together and end together. You make great friends, challenge your ability, and build confidence. Below are a couple video samples of what you’ll experience at a C26 Triathlon Camp. Camp registration for 2019 is now open at this link.