Well now that it’s the new year and I’ve blogged thoroughly about what other athletes should be doing as good practices in the new year, I guess its my turn.  I’m back from a two week vacation in sunny Mexico and besides some lingering soreness from riding a Mexican mechanical bull, and some annoying insect bites, I’m refreshed and ready to go for 2013.

I already feel that I’m coming into this year with renewed focus and energy.  The past couple months of training have been unstructured, but valuable mentally and physically in preparing me for the coming season.
As most of you probably already know, my big race for 2013 will be Ironman Canada- Whistler edition.  I’ll compliment this with at least one but probably two half Ironman races and likely a couple of Gran Fondos and half marathons.  I have a pretty good idea of which races those will be, but I haven’t finalized anything just yet so I won’t talk too much about anything other than IMC.
It wasn’t originally my plan to come back to racing the full IM distance quite this soon.  Until late last season I’d thought I would spend 2013 building speed in the Olympic and Half distances.  But when the opportunity to race an entirely new course in Whistler came about there was no way I was going to be able to not race the full distance.
Over the past few years of triathlon I’ve learned a lot about myself as an athlete and gained a much better understanding of the kind of training regime that works for me.  So for 2013 I decided to do something different I’ll be coaching myself this year for the first time since my first season in triathlon.  Putting my money where my mouth is I’ve also started working with a few other athletes getting into the sport.  I’m doing this for no other reason than to recognize the value of sharing sport with others.  I’m not pretending to be a coach, but just trying to help bridge the training gap between an enthusiastic but fresh athlete just contemplating getting into triathlon, and a rookie with a season under their belt.
Helping me along the way in my never ending goal of peer pressuring people into getting involved in running, cycling, and triathlon, I’m remaining on with the awesome people at Lululemon as a run ambassador.  And this year I’ll also be supported by Ridley’s Cycle in Calgary and Trek Bikes.  I’ve got to say, I’m absolutely stoked to be on board with such amazing organizations.  As anyone short of a household name knows, sponsorships and partnerships don’t come busting down your door.  For the vast majority of athletes, sponsorship is more like getting a date with the girl (or guy) you’ve had a crush on for all of junior high, you have to actively pursue the relationship.  And it’s a heck of a lot easier to do that when you really like that person.  So having those long term relationships with Lululemon and Ridleys Cycle-Trek Bikes, is something that I really am very grateful for.  The staff at both Lululemon on 4th and Ridleys Cycle are amazing people that are passionate about what they do and I really encourage people to visit them next time you need a product or are just in the area.
From a training perspective this will be one of my most focused years.  I’ve resolved to seriously improve my swimming and will be in the pool 4-5 days a week for the next few months doing shorter (under an hour) but more frequent sessions.  For cycling, I’ll be going back to basics over the next while with long easy base sessions a couple times a week, augmented by focused VO2 and threshold work like the infamous 2×20 regime every week.  I’m still of the belief that an Ironman is a bike race with a swim warmup and polished off with a brisk run, so I’m sticking to that methodology.  Running is probably the sport where I’m most comfortable with where I’m at already, but I do still hope to shave some time off my PB’s this season.
I’m definitely coming into 2013 with some serious expectations and goals.  There will be some firsts, but a lot of the races I’m coming back to are races that I’ve done before.  Ironman will be unique, its my second full IM and whenever you get to a certain distance you just want to finish, but the second time you always want to see how much you’ve got.  Its exciting, motivating, and nerve racking all at the same time.  The questions in your head change from “Can I do this?”, to “How fast can I do this?”.
I guess I’m about to find out 🙂
Follow me on Twitter here @RafLopez or visit my other blog Keep Calm and Ride On.