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If I had to choose an overarching theme for the past 30 days, it would undoubtedly be change. Between leaving my old job, starting another, reevaluating my tried and true training approach and putting a revised plan into action, my blowup at Wildflower last month feels like a distant memory. I posted about my plan to turn my weaknesses exposed at Wildflower into strengths in the eight weeks preceding Vineman 70.3 – here are some of the key highlights now that I’m at the halfway point:

Ready to roll: all smiles before IMLP 2012

Ready to roll: all smiles before IMLP 2012

Loosen up. I haven’t been stretching nearly enough this year. My volume is quite high, and unlike my last Ironman training cycle, weight lifting has become an integral part of my plan this time around. Lifting and training have made my muscles tighter and shorter; I need to work on making them longer and looser if I’m to regain top form and approach 5:30 at Vineman 70.3.

Stretching has become an integral part of our routines. Taylor and I have made it a point to stretch daily – whether it’s after our morning workouts or before bed. I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my flexibility – I don’t plan on taking up the uneven bars anytime soon, but the stretching is paying dividends.

Moo-ve over dairy. I’m fortunate to not have any serious allergies other than lactose intolerance. Whether it’s the not so occasional froyo, travel, overnight oats (Taylor’s breakfast of choice) or post workout pizza, I’ve been consuming entirely too much dairy recently. I’ve made a concerted effort to once again eliminate dairy from my diet in the past week and the results have been staggering – I’m going to stay away indefinitely.

My weight has held steady in the high 160s since I cut out dairy a month ago; I raced Wildflower at 182. Coupled with stretching, I’ve noticed significant improvements in my uphill biking, cycling, and power to weight ratio.

Happy to be done with the Ironman marathon

Strong reaction to the rumors of pizza at the finish line

Turn up the heat. If I’m going to race in hot weather this summer, I need to train in hot weather. I’m going to spend more time running and riding outside of San Francisco where I can experience the elements and fuel accordingly.

Although I’ve been on several rides in Marin in 75-80 degree weather, I still haven’t trained in oppressive heat. I’ll catch some at Vineman Monte Rio this weekend (high of 90) and a bit more when I ride the Vineman 70.3 course in three weeks, but a recent cold front in the Bay has made this challenging.

Get back out there and race again. I was on the fence about adding an Olympic onto my schedule before Vineman, but my performance at Wildflower sealed the deal. I’m going to race Vineman Monte Rio on June 8 – a course that’s indicative of Vineman 70.3 only weeks before the big day. I’m hoping to use this race as an opportunity to push the pace on the bike, follow up with a very strong run, and reset mentally before my next 70.3.

Horseshoe Lake was a huge success, but Monte Rio will be the true test this weekend. I’ve been putting in enough mileage to justify pushing hard for most of the race without being reckless, and I plan to do just that.

Stay positive. It’d be unrealistic to think that my times would consistently improve in every discipline without a setback. I’m determined to bounce back stronger than ever at Monte Rio next month and go after the PR that I know I’m capable of achieving.

Next month is now this Sunday, and I haven’t felt this good – training, racing, or otherwise, in a long time. Game on.