Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 Ford Ironman World Championship on NBC



Well I got to watch the Ironman World Championship on NBC this past Saturday. After watching it, I still can't believe I was a part of it all. And yes, at 6:07 minutes that is me. I remember this moment. I was sitting on the stairs watching as the pro's get ready to start. I wanted to be close to the water so I could be one of the first swimmers on the line. I am not sure if that was a great strategy as I found it exhausting to maintain position for the 30 minutes between the pro start and the age group start. Luckily a surf boarder would let us hang on his board for a break before the cannon went off. But just imagine for a second 1800 people treading water vertically that suddenly move into a horizontal position. It was a brutal experience. I was hammered, kicked, and elbowed until I was able to make a break away at the turn around and then I succeeded in only leading and providing a draft to the finish for the same group of people who were hell bent on making me miserable during the swim. As an aside here, I believe it is the swim where you can see a person's true character. The truth of the matter is that we are all miserable, we all hate to be touched, and we are all flailing like dying fish but some people take the cloak of the water to very purposely punch and/or elbow you. People don't typically behaved that way on the run or the bike. Can you imagine watching the race and catch a glimpse of a runner throwing an elbow into the side of another runner? People would gasp and spectators would call a foul. I cannot tell you how many non-accidental blows I saw during the swim. No matter how frustrated I get I will never throw an elbow. It is unsportsmanlike like but most of all it is unnecessary. I will have to think harder about a strategy for next time. Yes, there will be a next time.

It was amazing to watch the event as both a participant and a spectator. I can't believe I saw and recognize these same people out on the course pounding the pavement just like I did. It is still a wonder. Just watching this 8 minute segment alone put butterflies in my stomach. I love Chrissie Wellington's interview around 4:18 minutes into this segment. I saw Chrissie out training and wished her luck. She pulled the earphones out of her ears and asked me if I was racing. I said yes but I was thinking in my head who cares about my race when you standing next to a legend - we are doing the same race but we are soooooooo not doing the same race if you know what I mean. She kindly wished me luck. Normann Stadler just winked at me . . . but that's ok with me and perfectly appropriate :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

This is the first day of my life . . .



So today I decided to breakout Conor Oberst. I love this song but I love the video more. Yes, I recognize this is a love song and I know you are wondering what this song has to do with triathlon. Well it is my prerogative to say it has nothing to do with triathlon and it is just a song I really like. But this song did get me thinking about my some of my training partners. There are people you train with and then there are your training partners. I do not know what else to call them but a training partner is someone you meet and just click with. Overtime you create this bond of loyalty and complete understanding. You are out on the road with this person and you know they would do anything to protect you from other riders, cars, dangerous obstacles, etc and it turn you would do the same. A training partner understands and appreciates what motivates you, your strengths and weaknesses, and your goals for the future. A training partner feels the same sense of success when you have a break through race, even if it is detrimental to his/her place and/or standing. I have been lucky to have some great training partners that have not only made an impact on my life athletically but personally too. I am encouraged today that I will meet more of these wonderful people and when I do it will be the first day of my life . . .

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Struggle

Motivating article about a true struggle - Matt Miller a triathlete out of Virginia

I have been thinking about my next post for some time now . . . um since last post, I guess. I wanted to take a sec a share thought about struggle. I called a very good friend of mine this morning to wish him a happy birthday. As we both are getting older and have December birthdays our conversation eventually turned to the topic of struggle. Struggle is an inevitable outcome we all face but Buddhism teaches that we begin to struggle when we find we are no longer meeting our expectations and desires. When I first heard this I was taken back by the simplicity and strength of the statement. I guess this hit me because I feel like I have been struggling a bit these past few weeks. I am torn between my expectations for the future in training and racing in triathlons and where I am right now. Right now, I am in a place where I am not training for anything, where my workouts are haphazard, and even though I should have more time than ever I find I am still busier than ever. I haven't been happy with it. I wasn’t happy with it until I was driving home from another lack luster swim practice and I saw this guy on the sidewalk. The guy was in a wheel chair, rolling down the sidewalk, not using his hands but propelling himself forward with his feet. It was cold out so I am assuming he was trying to reach his destination and stay warm at the same time. At the moment he caught my eye I was thinking all of the following thoughts:

- what's wrong with my swimming, how am I ever going to get faster?
- I am never going to be a good triathlete if I continue to run like I am carrying a 50 lb brick?
- why are there no good gyms in Charlotte, I don't want to go to the Y?
- maybe I will be a lot faster if I could just obtain my peak racing weight by losing 10 lbs?
- how am I going to pay for the $1000 worth of race fees I need to do all of my 2011 races?
Then suddenly my mind went quiet and I understood with the utmost gratitude how lucky I am to be able to compete in this sport, no only at an elite level, but at all. I am fortunate to have the capacity to not just swim or bike or run but to do all three in a row on any given day. So I had to ask myself, why do I feel like I am struggling? I can only link my sense of struggle to my desire to be a better athlete and to the lack of satisfaction I feel for my current state of fitness. I recognize as a competitive athlete that I will always have desire to be better. So what can I do to change my mind set, to “turn that frown upside down”? First of all, I can take time to appreciate the abilities I have and give thanks to the journey that has lead me through many great races and introduced me to many many great people. Secondly, I need to recognize that I am only as good as my workout and my workout is only as good as the effort I put into it. If I give my workouts 100% of my focus and ability then I have met my expectations for the workout. So, anyone up for a run later today?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

First post-Kona race

Yes this is pirated picture of me in my first race since Kona. I ran in Charlotte's 8K turkey trot Thanksgiving morning after a pretty good swim workout. My swim buddy, Famous Amos, talked me into it. He turned 30 the day before and was looking for a new challenge. He had never run in a road race before even though he is an awesome athlete. I think he had so much fun that we are going to do the Thunder road 5K in a couple of weeks as well. Running? Game on!


I surprised myself with a pretty good run, a sprint finish to take down pinkie in the picture (we had been going back and forth the entire race), and a 3rd place podium slot. Nevermind that I got spanked by girl 1 and 2 by two minutes . . . cheers for the small victories! How can two minutes go by and not a single girl in my age group beat me? Maybe pinkie was in my age group. I didn't bother to check. I had no expectations for this race, in fact I was going back and forth trying to decide if I was going to give it a good faith effort or run it with Famous Amos. Call me Scottish but I decided the only way to get my $28's worth was to run it, at least try to be competitive. It made for a fun morning. I ran into some of my other tri buddies. Text -my tri buddy that I only really text to- was not happy with his run. He winded up walking 10 secs during the run. He said he has never stopped before and could not for the life of him figure out why he felt compelled to stop now. Text just got off a long tri season ending with a place on the USA team competing in long distance Nationals in Las Vegas next year. Call me Crazy Pete but I think that speaks for itself. One thing I am realizing is you have to give your body and mind a break. You have to. I know you don't want to lose the fitness you gained, I know you don't want to pack on the pounds, I know you don't want that injury to get in the way of runner you are but training is a series of steps. As long as you don't jump of the staircase completely your fitness is always going to be a little better than it once was. Taking a break just to maintain is not only healthy, it is sane.