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2014 is a year of firsts for me.  Health permitting, I’ll be completing two half Ironman races for the first time, not to mention an Ironman at altitude – one that’s being billed as the toughest course on the circuit.  I’m training with coaches, attending track workouts, and cutting my sugar/candy intake (two truths and a lie).  To top it off, I’m now kind of registered for a second Ironman distance event – albeit one that will take place over two days.  I’ve just registered for Vineman Aqua Bike on July 27 – a 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike ride the day before the San Francisco Marathon.

Happy to be done with the Ironman marathon

Happy to be done with the Ironman marathon

Vineman AquaBike is a very unique event in that it represents a full Ironman minus the marathon.  I’ll swim and bike the same course as the Full Vineman participants, but by the time my legs turn to lead, I’ll be sipping a relaxing smoothie instead of racking my bike and lacing up my running shoes.  My training group is using this as a benchmark for not only our swim and bike fitness, but also our nutrition plans.  The group is also planning to do a 15-20 mile long run the following day, and I’ll be running San Francisco Marathon with Ambassador Taylor and going for an unprecedented two-finisher-medal-weekend instead.

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Although it will be an extremely challenging weekend, I’m starting my mental preparations months in advance.  As I’ve mentioned several times now – races are the new long run.  Treating either of these events as race is simply not feasible under the circumstances: Vineman 70.3 falls two weeks earlier and I won’t be fully recovered.  Racing any of the distances individually would put a dent in my final push toward Ironman Lake Tahoe, so I’m going to try my best to keep my heart rate down and spirits up.  My peak weekend before Ironman Lake Placid consisted of a 90 mile bike ride and half marathon, so this will undoubtedly serve as a better indicator of my race readiness – especially considering that it falls 8 weeks before Lake Tahoe.  If you’re running San Francisco Marathon and want to congratulate me on the long weekend, please make your donations in the form of post-race beer tickets.