Thursday, March 31, 2005
Now, dont tell anyone but I have secretly been using the guest bathroom to store my morning training clothes. After years of using pen lights and tiptoeing through the master bedroom looking for the right shoes or pants, I just put it all in the guest bathroom and then do everything in there. Mistress Carol even mentioned that I am quieter in the morning.
My new phone booth is complete with towel racks for drying out sweaty clothes, hooks for hanging camelbacks and head lamps, it even has an accountablity mirror so I can see how little progress I have made in muscle tone (okay I promised myself I would stop putting myself down). Hey it even comes with a multi-purpose seat!
So what do you use as your phone booth ala Superman's changing place?
Or what is the most unique way you stash your gear around the house based on either having lots of space or having none? (for example-I once stored dining room chairs by hanging them from the ceiling in the storage room)
Yesterday I was talking to a trainer at my gym who is getting back into running. She said she is only jogging right now and we started a conversation about my recent races and training, like running up 'A' Mountain on the ASU campus. Another person in the group asked, "What's the difference between running and jogging, I mean do you just run full out all the time or slow down at all?" I responded from an old advertisement I remembered from a magazine, "The only difference between a runner and jogger is a blank entry form."
It got a few laughs but in thinking about the whole conversation later I realized that really the difference between a jogger and a runner (or triathlete) is being dedicated to the dream. Pastor Tommy Barnett says, "If someone holds onto a dream for five years it will become a reality, but most can't hold onto a dream for five minutes."
My point is not that it takes five years to train for a race but it can take a year, or several months and several thousand minutes of training. It always, no matter what, comes down to having an iron will. Many people would like to do a half ironman or run a marathon or just run a 5k, yet with all the desire and dreaming that goes into that thought it is gone by the next time their offered dessert or a night out with the gang, or simply given the mental task of getting out of a warm bed an hour early.
So I want all of you reading this to think about your dream 'thing' for a minute, that 'thing' that more than anything you want to do. Now ask yourself these two questions;
1. Is it bigger than you? Us puny humans love to put constraints on our abiilties, if your goal or dream is bigger than you, it comes from God and he wanted us to be the biggest dreamers of them all. We just like to muck it up with pyscho-babble and victimization. When its big, it takes all your effort plus some of His to accomplish.
2. Can you let it go? Dreams are illusive, they can get away from you and thats when doubter's begin to eat away at your resolve. Conversely, when you start to become successful in your dream (losing weight but eat salads instead of burgers, making more money but work more hours), your success changes you and you rise up from those around you. The doubter's will try to pull you back, looking for ways to pull you down. The herd mentality is afraid of success because success is not common, this is the point where people mock you or tempt you. If you can hold on to that dream and keep it in your focus than you will overcome the obstacles and reach your dream. If you can't shake the fact that you missed a training session and have to make it up before you go to bed or double up the next day, you can't let it go.
Someone else said that, if you can do something for 21 days it will become a habit, for good or bad. Good advise. Cutting out bad food, increasing your training in small increments, getting support from your family (buy in from your spouse, honestly if you need buy in from someone you date, you need to think better of yourself) and maybe a coach or trainer and before you know it your hooked into your 'Dream Matrix.' My terminology thank you very much, for being plugged into your new reality, not the false world of Common Man Syndrome.
Do you think you have a dream bigger than yourself? Are you commited to it, regardless of friends you lose or obstacle you confront? Of the changes that you create in yourself? Are you prepared to be successful? Do you get? Now go do it!
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
"Blood doping" refers to any illicit method of boosting an athlete's red blood-cell supply in advance of competition. The typical adult male's hematocrit—the percentage of his blood that is composed of red blood cells—hovers around 45. Since red blood cells carry oxygen through the bloodstream, increasing the number of them allows an athlete's blood to deliver oxygen to muscles more efficiently, reducing fatigue and giving the athlete an edge. Endurance athletes often train at high altitude for precisely this reason. The lower air pressure and diminished atmospheric oxygen at altitude spur the body to generate extra red blood cells, and can bump the hematocrit up two or three (non-illicit) percentage points.As technology advanced the archaic method of removing and storing large amounts of your own blood gave way to EPO's.
EPO is a genetically-engineered version of a natural hormone made by the kidney that stimulates bone marrow to make red blood cells. synthetic EPO is sold as a rescue medicine for treating anemia in end-stage kidney disease, when production of EPO declines..Because red blood cells carry oxygen to the muscles, and because bikers (runners and triathletes: added by blogger) need a huge amount of oxygen during their arduous sport, raising the number of red blood cells can -- theoretically -- improve performance.. Since EPO is a naturally occurring hormone, testing for it would detect anyone, not very helpful for identifying doped athletes. Unable to measure EPO itself, the mandarins of international cycling at Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) rely on a surrogate test that measures the density of cells in the blood. Blood, as you'll recall, is composed of cells -- mainly red, but also white -- and serum and other liquids that help the cells flow. A study from the 1980s, before synthetic EPO, showed that bike racers' blood averaged a cellular content of 43 percent, so the UCI decreed that anybody with a level above 50 percent would be disqualified for taking EPO.The use of blood doping or EPO's is for short term success, its affects last for a very short period of time.
The newest product is HGH, or Human growth hormone which increase Testosterone. It is also difficult to test for this drug not because because of technology but cost. The machines and labor to conduct this type of test are, believe it or not, cost prohibitive to organizations using the lowest bidder medical group.
The benefits of using HGH or more easily testable anabolic steroids is high especially in long sesson sports, like football and baseball. Players will not only recieve tremendous gains in strength and speed but more importantly, in some cases, endurance. Elevated levels of Testosterone speed muscle tissue repair and recovery. It is taxing for a baseball player, for example, to maintain a .280 batting average and play 162+ games a year. The body gets beaten up and broken down, the ability to recover faster than the average player is tremendous when better play equals better pay and endorsements.
Say what you will about its uses and abuses but now you know your stuff.
For all the early mornings and late nights, for all the long runs or longer rides, for all the wet towels and especially for all the gear that accumulates, there is an athlete who thinks their in control but their really not.
Think of the brutal facts. Early morning or late night training involve perhaps a differing sleep pattern than the rest of the house. Long training sessions on weekends are juggled between naps, meals, shopping, you name it. Buying new shorts or shoes or dare say bike takes careful coordination with household financing. The new and ever increasing sprains and strains reverberate in your movement around your house and interaction with your kids, if you have them.
The link in all your training comes down to your support structure. It is so easy to dictate your plans to your 'other' but think about what happens to them. You have regaled them with your wildest dream of competing in an upcoming race and maybe even they have picked up on your enthusiasm and thumbed through your latest magazine left on the couch. Yet it is generally them that get stuck with the wet bag so to speak. They watch the kids solo, or skip the get together with friends so you can get in those neccesary 30 miles on the bike. Those comments about the extra amount of laundry this week, is not just small talk and generally their laundry job satisfaction level does not stay high because just when they think there is no more, they find that plastic bag over there that has the wet clothes from three days ago.
So as you sit at your computer right now or later today as you day dream your perfect workout coming up, take a few moments to recognize who is your close support structure, husband, wife, child, parent, roommate, then call or speak to them and thank them for allowing you to persue your dreams and that you appreciate all the help they give you.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Pam Reed is the first person to break the three hundred mile run mark without sleep. She is a native of Tucson and has raced the Badwater Ultra-Marathon several times, winning it with a new womens record in 2002 and taking it again in 2003. At the 2004 Boston Marathon, Pam started early, ran the course backwards in 3:36 than turned around and turned in a 3:30 negative split running with the packs. At the 2004 Badwater she ran well but lost the overall to Dean Karnazes.
Pam Reed finishes 300 miles.
Last weekend I just finished reading Ultra-Marathon Man by Dean Karnazes. It is a great book about his longest runs. Also how he trains while juggling a family and without letting little things like thirty hour runs interfere with work and family. Dean has been the face of ultramarathons for a few years now with his compulsive late night runs and his flare to race. For example; he enters a 100 mile race by running to the race and timing it for the start gun. Even if you don't want to read the whole book the first chapter alone on his late night pizza run is hilarious. He is not only the ultra runner of the year for 2004, but one of GQ's sexiest men alive for the same year. He has great crossover appeal. Below is a picture of Dean in a heat suit, running Badwater. He found that by running on the white stripes he would not melt his shoes, one pair per hour from the heat.
Congratulations to Pam, she is a native of Tucson. She is a regular feature in local magazines. She has been a silent but powerful runner in the ultra marathon community. Silent only in the fact that she would rather run for the joy of running than to win a race distance that she is so supernaturally suited for. I have never met her but know that she likes to take her time in deciding to race but also makes quick decisions when she is confident in herself and has family support. She dosen't play them out in public.
Monday, March 28, 2005
The picture below is from the mid point of my purification. Its 'A' Mountain on the campus of Arizona State University, or officially the Hayden Butte. It rises 400 feet in a very short distance, a third of a mile at most. It is so steep that I actually had to lean back coming down least I pick up too much speed and barrel into a cactus or hit a rock. I did not stop except for those instances where it was impossible or hazardous to run and scramble.
In true fashion, I swallowed a bug minutes into the run and gagged the rest of the time on it. Then a guy lights up a smoke coming down the mountain and I had to get past him as soon as possible but was stuck on the single track at the top and it took way too long, like 45 seconds of second-hand.
Now this is an accomplishment because I feel I am a compulsive overeater. I love to eat. Which I why I also love to run and do other fitness activities. So going into Easter dinner I felt like I was ahead on runs (three monster weeks of training and racing) and pitching a three hitter on junk food (to use a baseball analogy). Little did I consider that the bottom of the ninth line up was stacked against me.
We went my partners house for a family and friends gathering and his wife is a gourmet chef. All the food was prepared like a five star resturant so it was creamy and spicy and way to tempting to avoid it all. I get through appeitizers with only half a micro brew, a few sips of madras', and a few grilled zucchini's. Then BAM, the blackened salmon and scalloped potatoes hit the table and I lost total objectivity. The potatoes had some French, smelly, white cheese, that tasted delicious but wrecked havoc on my system. The salmon was so perfect but blackened is a quite a few leaps beyond my normal seasoning. Afterwards, I was able to avoid the vino but not the Maduro cigar.
By now I have come to the understanding that my body will not be ready for my 0400 run so I have a piece of homemade apple pie and a piece of homemade pecan pie, Mistress Carol made both. I felt I did good portion wise but two small slices still equal a one full plate.
Last night and this morning my system is still in intestinal distress. I think I eat, for the most part, very healthy. But it doesn't matter if you eat healthy or crappy it all comes down to calories if you want to lose weight and I simply have to constantly battle to not eat too much, even of a good thing.
However when the typical dinner is extra lean meat or chicken with rice and veggies or pasta and then drop rich, creamy and also blackened food into my system, man oh man do I need to eat fruit and veggies today.
I hope that all of you had a good weekend and ate as well as you could. I have looked to this week as the beginning of my second phase in my 2005 training and I am super motivated to hit it hard. My body and mind needed a break after completing a race every weekend this month, but felt that CMS cost me the game last night.
Saturday, March 26, 2005
If you take a common flea, and put him in a five gallon bucket and put the lid on it, the flea will try to escape but will only be able to jump to the height of the lid. After many, many, many attempts the flea begins to get the point that it when it jumps it gets slapped down by the lid.
Once the flea is taken out of the bucket and put back down on the floor, it will jump, but only as high as the lid on a five gallon bucket and has to be retrained to jump what it is capable of doing. Kind of a corny story, but I want to illustrate that while we humans don't have the ability to jump ten feet we are capable of so much more than we think we are, if we allow ourselves to be trained correctly.
Yesterday morning I asked my wife to met me at one of my clubs so we could have a noon date. Its the first time we have done anything outside the house, in a long time, without the LIMBO (Little Infant Must Be Obeyed). She was really excited and wanted to know what I had planned but I was playfully silent. So what devious and adult activity awaited us when we met?
I brought her to the pool area and told her I needed her to teach me how to be a better swimmer. I know I'm pathetic. She was a varsity, A-game bringing, PAC10 swimmer, she did the mile for crying out loud; and done many triathlons in her past. She would start in wave 3 and come out of the water with the wave 1 studs and studettes.
How did it go? Well I am still blogging, so she didn't kill me, but it was a close call for a few minutes. Lets just say it was humbling and inspiring to have Mistress Carol give a schlep like me the help I needed. I am so beneath her ability. It would be like Sheryl Crow getting advise from Lance Armstrong on how to ride a bike better. When you have forgotten more about doing something so 'technically' natural than the person your teaching, its kind of like, "Where I do I start with this guy?"
She did have fun, we had fun together, but I knew I needed more work. I made promises of candy, beer, marriage...wait she's already got some of that from me. I promised her my first born for more lessons...she said I promised that before and once was more than enough... So I pulled out my last plead, I promised her a real date and a movie just the two of us..BAM, right between the eyes...too much english on that last plead, by the fluttering of the eyes I knew I hit that shot to perfect..she quickly said fine..in an attempt to salvage some control I told her no chick flicks...she says, "No guarantees, but maybe I'll bring my suit next week." Thats the sign of a GOOD woman.
Friday, March 25, 2005
Ever been asked if your a glass is half full or half empty? I once responded and have used it ever since, "The glass wasn't built right." I can't remember if I made that up or read it somewhere but it does grab the attitude that you can change your position by acting right towards it. I am not a victim of the glass, so to speak. If I don't like where I am at in my relationships, my work, my fitness program, I can change it all simply be having the the attitude. I begin by not suffering from Common Man Syndrome.
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company ... a church ... a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude ...
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you ... we are in charge of our Attitudes.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Questions in the quest for the perfect split come from all sides;
Is my program the right one?
Do I train enough?
Should I do this today or that?
Should my legs/back/arms/head have this kind of pain associated with it?
Do I train for 3 hours or play with kids and speak to my spouse while the sun is up?
Ultimately as the final day approaches, "Should I really do this?"
All these questions are gut checks and perfectly normal. I think of how many wasted hours I have had lying in bed rolling the question or situation over in my mind. Do I do this or do that, should I stay or should I go? Then I was taught a valauble decision making tool and still use it often. Here is the story...
I once went to my Pastor to ask his opinion on something. He pulled out a coin and told me Heads is this decision and Tails is the opposite decision, (should I stay or should I go kind of thing).
He flips the coin high into the air and mid flip asks, "Do you want Heads or Tails?"
"Tails." I say.
He then caught the coin and put it back in his pocket, sight unseen.
He said it didn't matter what the two choices were, in this decision I had my answer. For better or worse its what my heart wanted.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Most common folk understand they don't have the ability to play at a professional level but for a very small investment of money and even less in time, they can throw a spiral, hit a ball or make a basket with the other similarly challenged folks in their circle of CMS supporters. How many have, even, a rusty ten speed to use, or when was the last time they swam farther than the two strokes it took to tip over their buddy on the floaty in their pool? The majority of people have a 'running shoe' but when was the last time it was used for that purpose?
Football players can suck on oxygen between sides. Baseball players get a marginal period of physical and mental downtime during each part of an inning. When does a triathlete get any benefit of outside assistance during the swim, bike or run portion of an event, even the down times (transitions) are practiced to perfection to shave time off?
But what a great competitive venue us runners and triathletes have going for us. When would Joe Football ever get to play on the same field at the same time as Joe Montana? When would Sally Soccer ever get to play opposite Mia Hamm? The answer to both is never. But any novice triathlete could easily enter a race that Tri-Geek Diva 2005 Jessi Stensland is also competing in.
I love to lift weights and pound the iron, I have done it my whole adult life. Yet I would consider myself as much a runner (and now triathlete) as anything. In my profession all analogies are based on coaches, players or teams, because there is something universally understood about contact sports, player stats and how to manage a team to champion status. Yet for as much as I have read books, listened to tapes and watched video's of people like Bill Belichick, John Wooden (the greatest coach of all time, IMHO) and Jon Gruden, no one ever mentions George Sheehan.
My business partners and co-workers have no concept of a ninety minute run or a three hour training ride. We have and had pools in our clubs yet no one but myself would be seen doing laps. A few understand the personal competition I put myself through to run a marathon or train for an adventure race events, but if it dosen't fit into the pre-molded form of a football, baseball or basketball most dismiss it as mish mash or a diversion from real exercise.
For all of you out there who work in a place or have a circle of friends that don't recognize your efforts in a 'fringe' sport like running or triathlons, I say UNITE! Welcome to the blog that understands your frustration. I feel your pain, so to speak. From a personal point of view, I accomplished a dream fitness goal a few days ago and yet I have barely spoken of it outside my house. The numbers on my legs and arms are still visible enough to notice and when a co-worker asked "What are those for?", I remarked I did a triathlon last Sunday (with much pride in my voice.) His next question was, "Hey what kind of running shoes are those?"
People, I am in the fitness industry! It just goes to show that our collective personal suffering is definitely uncommon.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
If price were no object...what would be your dream bike and why?
Monday, March 21, 2005
How humbling to me to have seen the kids triathlon before my race started. Seven year olds being fearless in the water, standing in their seat the whole time and pedaling their heart out, then sprinting their little legs as fast as they could to finish. These kids didn't mark their splits, didn't wear HRM's or care a bit about what kind of bike they used. Many had to be reminded to take off their helmets for the run. A child doing at seven years old what took me 34 years to accomplish. Will they understand the signifigance they have made in their lives.
Mistress Carol is so great. As I backed into the driveway to unload my gear, she came out to greet me, give me a hug and kiss and ask dozens of questions about me first time experience. As we leaned over the bed of the truck talking, she glazed longlingly at the BP Stealth racked in the bed. She asked me if I felt like I made a wrong decision in getting a mountain bike first and not another road bike. As the wife of a fitness junkie, she told me that if I get into more races I should get a road bike. God she's great.
If I was an accountant do you think my wife would say to me, "Well honey since you liked that Actuary conference so much, why don't you go to the one in Duluth next month?" Hell no. But she's a triathlete, we have friend's who are professional triathletes, my living is based on fitness, she is a GOOD woman.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Everything up to the swim was great. The transition area was nice, got a good spot early, it was warm, actually met a guy who used to work for me and got to talk to someone about something other than small talk.
As I plunged into the water these were my first thoughts, "My this is a deep pool and those lines are far away...I am not used to swimming with lines that are angled, oh thats were the pool drops off...I can't crawl stroke anymore." Which brought me to the point were I was breast stroking, hydrating very well thank you, and just about feeling like the worst swimmer at the party. So I did what every bad swimmer does, I thought about drowning. Let me back up a moment, remember I posted that I am not a strong swimmer but had swam, swum, the distance once. Well I guess I was so excited to finally be getting this going that I...well you get the point. I flashed back to the first time I had sex, same kind of thing.
So back to the moment of decision, to drown. I have three choices; a) drown, b) swim to the side of the pool and get out, thereby humiliating myself in front of dozens of people still in line to get in the pool, c) have the heart to pool myself the rest of the way and rise from the pool a partially drowned individual. Well option 'c' technically satisifed 'a' and 'b' so I chose that and got out in 10:30.
T1 took 2 minutes, and even though I sucked down a Hammer Gel, I just couldn't wash it down with water and spit it out. I guess I had already had to much to drink.
I felt better on the bike, it was the first time riding the BP Stealth. I will post a picture Monday of it. It was a 12 mile course and while I felt like I kept a good cadence I got past by pretty much everyone. I finally got in some 'Left!" towards the end. My goal was to finish the bike in 45 minutes and did exactly that. I was not using bike shoes, I transfered my mountain bike pedals over with mini toe clips so I could use my running shoes. I started to get a bit of soreness in my left ankle which I hoped would not be a problem on the run.
T2 was 45 seconds.
Ahh finally the run. Now I felt like I gave it a good go on the bike and did not have the typical cramping issues in the legs, though my back took a 1/3 mile to loosen up. On the run I finally had an event I could do. I don't say that because I am a great runner, but well lets face it's the one triathlon event I have some base doing. I hammered out high 7's and finally got some vindication passing people. Too little, too late to expect a decent ranking but thats not what this was about really.
After years of swimming, biking, running course with my wife; set back after set back on planned races I wanted to do, I just wanted to cross that damn finish line. And don't think I didn't notice that my name was not called crossing the line, like everyone else around me, that happens with a name as unique as mine, but I didn't care.
Its been a couple of hours since I finished and my one physical thought is that this triathlon was not as punishing on my body as my 8k or 1/2 marathon was. Except for the, you know, almost drowning part. Mistress Carol assures me a delayed onset of lactic acid by tomorrow. Hey I was pretty happy to wear a fleece top and sweat pants until the last minute, unlike road races where you stand around in shorts and thin tops for a couple hours before start time.
A milestone has been officially past. I am now an official triathlete, not a gym tri or training tri. It feels pretty good. Right now that feels as good as hearing my two year old say, "Daddy."
Saturday, March 19, 2005
I posted yesterday that a schedule change allowed me to go watch a local triathlon that at one time I had thought about doing. Heh, heh, heh, well if you have followed any of my previous posts, I am impulsive. I decided, after a call with my wife, at 10 o'clock Friday morning, to enter the Scottsdale Triathlon, which is Sunday at 7:45 am. Not a lot of heads up. But Mistress Carol is ever the encouraging wife and supportive of my fitness dreams.
I remind all of you this will be my first official triathlon. My wife did triathlons for years and I trained with her. I would actually do tricks with her, (all three events back, to back, to back, you sickos) and I went to every race. I have done health club tri's jumping from pool to stationary bike to treadmill. Life just always got in the way of entering one and it didn't bother me. I knew that this year was going to be the year...
One little, bitty, tiny snag. Even though its only a 300 yard swim, its not really something I do all at once in the pool. I am more the get in thirty minutes of laps with 10-15 seconds inbetween 50's or 75's. I didn't even know if I could pull 300 yards all at once. Well 8 minutes later I knew that with my last sucking breath and some breast strokes I could at least manage the distance without water wings.
Oh and one other thing, even though its only a 12 mile bike ride on city streets, I got rid of my Softride Roadwing last year and had not replaced it yet. I thought about how I can do the course on my 2005 mountain bike, named Black Bart, knobby tires and all, in around an hour. A 35 pound, full suspension mountain bike only goes so fast for so long.
And while I felt confident that I could swim in running shorts, to bike and run in wet shorts reminded me of oh too many times of chaffing. So I needed bike shorts. The last pair were respectfully discarded after years of service.
So I went to the best local Triathlon shop in the Valley, Tribe Multisport, and Kevin the owner hooked me up. I picked up a new pair of Pearl Izumi tri-shorts and he gave me a road bike for the race for free. What a guy! So bike problem is solved and with a carbon fiber rocket between my legs I would think I could hammer around 20 mph. That makes up hopefully fifteen minutes and have fresher legs for the 5k run.
As it stands this is the shortest sprint I have seen listed all year. Its also the most surprising, unprepared and undertrained I have ever been for any race. I was projecting an off-road tri in late April as my first this year. This now makes three races in three weekends; 8k, 1/2 marathon and now sprint tri.
After a dismal 2004 of entering only three races, 26.2, 5k, 10k, and spending six months in rehab, I have had a plan for 2005. My goal this year has been to run short courses with no lofty goals (i.e. no marathons or 1/2 IM with seige like training and recovery) I wanted to train hard, hit some choice races and not worry about recovery. The races would have a smaller impact on my overall hard training as opposed to trainng for one specific event. I just didn't think I would be racing so soon, I'm stil in my base phase.
Race #1, the 8k, was done on eight weeks training after 26 weeks rehab. The 1/2 marathon one week later and now this. I have put in only two hours of swimming in 2005 and 30 miles of mountain biking. Do I sound prepared for this?
What I do have on my side is perservance, atittude and heart. I won't quite. With my last gasping breath behind me I will drag myself 300 yards. With an exhausted cardiovascular system, on a bike I have never ridden, wearing new shorts for the first time, I will bike 12 miles; then on heavy, cramping legs I will stagger through T2 and run a 5k, the only thing I absolutely know I can do without drowning or crashing.
What I have missed most in the last few years is the complete abandonment of reason, to do any race I want to do. No ultimate challenge, no peak to look up at and scream, "On this date I will kick your ass!" I am doing this because it feels good to challenge my fitness, to dig deep and see what I am made of. Once a long time ago I was in a race and I was dragging. A guy I respected was on the side of the course and as I ran by he whispered five words, "Do you have the heart?", he said. Even though I barely heard them on that day, ever since then they hammer into my head like thunder whenever I am faced with physical challenge.
I have the heart of five men to finish this triathlon. Let's just hope it dosen't take six to finish it. .. then I'd have to kill someone and I never do that before high noon.
Friday, March 18, 2005
What better thing is there to do on a Friday afternoon than take in a spring training baseball game with my favorite team the Seattle Mariners playing the San Francisco Giants. A co-workers brother plays for the Giants and got box seats for us. Well she gets them all the time, I just finally decided to go. Its a small picture but front page material I think.
The average person lives about 75 years. Now if you multiply 75 years times 52 weeks you come up with 3,900 weeks of life. That’s it. That is all the average person has.
So instead of participating I am going to watch. I actually like watching tri's more than road running races, more going on. How people mark their transitions, different ways to dress, bike types. Its just a fascinating experience.
The human emotion is awesome. Its so easy to watch a sport on television or even at a pro game live but you are seeing people at the best at what they do. At triathlon or road races you see mostly, I would guess, people doing it for the first time. The adrenaline of the experience, the mental gymnastics of if their choice of clothes or how they look or if they will finish all read on the face of the athlete.
Its a beautiful thing and no matter the distance, life changing. Its a nomenclature that is forever attached to their life. Like Mother, daughter, giving heart, hard worker, triathlete.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Last night I decided to 'shop' our eight clubs by going to each of them in the middle of the night and trying to get past the front desk for free or if I paid the guest fee in cash, making sure that the funds went on the books and not into their pockets. I didn't think any of our employees were stealing, this was a purely proactive investigation on my part to see what would happen. Of course I had to stick around and work out for a half hour to make it seem plausible and observe what happens in my clubs late at night; how the janitors cleaned, member traffic, etc. I did not use my real name, duh thats a bit obvious.
Enough! I am done justifying why I worked out all night! Here is what I did:
2315hrs- 30 minute stationary bike
0000hrs- 30 minute Chest and Triceps
0045hrs- 30 minute treadmill
0130hrs- 30 minute Back and Biceps
0215hrs- 30 minute Legs-ouch!
0300hrs- 30 minutes core exercises and stretching
0345hrs- 30 minutes of stationary bike
0430hrs- 30 minutes of swimming. Well 500 yards then the dry sauna.
I finished my final lap the very second I woke up 24 hours earlier.
Now I only have to follow my money trails, write my report and start contacting chain of commands. The one problem I foresee is that 90% of the time it is impossible for me to sleep when the sun is up. I can't even take naps! I hope the workouts beat me down enough for the impending ear plugs, eye cover and tylenol p.m. I am going to be taking very shortly.
If those don't work I will be going for a mountain bike ride for a couple hours. I think I have defeated symptoms of CMS (Common Man Syndrome) for the day...on many levels.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
For a triathlete its normally a black wetsuit, then for the bike a multi color tri-top or multi- colored bike shirt, if your lucky you can get away with a skin tight mid-riff top for the bike and the run or if a women, run in a sport bra and shorts.
For a pure cyclist look at what these guys wear for tops. The most outlandish and sometimes garish mismatches of color imaginable. I rarely see a cyclist wearing a solid color jersey, unless its yellow and the guy wearing it is named Lance, but I digress. I see state flags as cycle tops, Bob and Bills Big Juicy Ribhouse Bike Team tops, you get the point, these outfits look like Nascar decals. Of course there is no consideration for ability, the good and the bad cyclists alike all wear the same ugly stuff.
Runners are a bit different. When you go to a race you mostly notice a sea of white tops with the occasional purple thrown in for '1st Marathon' or 'Team in Training', maybe something else for a business that teased people out with overtime pay or the benefit of another shirt proclaiming their work but lets leave them out of this for now. White seems to be the predominate color among the great majority of recreational runners. Why is that? Is it a cheaper shirt to stamp logos on? Is it just a basic color that people instinctly buy at the store? I have a few myself with club logos on it and lots of race shirts that are white.
But what about red? The only people I see wearing red are people that are elite, used to be elite or aspiring to be elite. These are the gazelles, or sometimes the local track team using the race for their purpose. In any regard to me the color red on a runner either in a race or on their daily route means one thing, this person is a serious runner and faster than me.
Red is a catchy, flashy color. Just think about red cars; red is synonomus with sports cars not sedans. What about red heads, ever see a normal looking pure redheaded person? No way, either a red head is beautiful or egad!
BTW my hair color is autaben, as in "otta been on a dogs ass". Mostly brown with red sidewalls becoming more increasingly gray, which is why I am growing it out, but thats another post.
Back to elite runners, I mean non-slow people who run faster than me. I think people who wear red tend to lithe, hard bodies who look like flames dancing infront of a great sea of white, which is everyone from coral two and back.
I have nothing against red. I hope someday to buy me my male runners version of the female slinky black dress-that being a semi-fitted Nike sphere in a large that dosent make me look like a big blemish. For now I will just keep wearing the blue, its pretty non-commital.
Check him out.
Not only will I post my own original blogs at Common Man Syndrome, as normal, but I now take on the mantel of "Phoenix Area Cub Reporter for Triathlons and Triathletes" at TGD. When you read about Tri Geek Kahuna's training partners you will understand why I must now be a reporter as well. However unlike his trainnig partner Playboy Joel, I have a face made for blogging and body made for pain.
In my short blogging life, I have made some discoveries. One is that it is catharsus to put your thoughts and feelings online for all to read. Two, feedback is not the primary reason for blogging but is a confirmation of your thoughts. Reading blogs is slightly voyeuristic but its clean fun and can be educational- your not as strange as you think!
I speak for all bloggers in beseeching all viewers, be them blogger or surfer, to leave a comment to let the teller know they are understood.
Monday, March 14, 2005
Overall I finished 359 of 1017 or 35th precentile. In my age group, 30-34 which is the most competitive, I came in right at the 50th percentile. In the spefice catagory I entered: 1/2 marathon, 30-34, male, clydesdale- I came in 2nd. But they ranked clydesdale as 39 and under which is officially 5th. Do you see how this stuff works?
Now for more useless information. I am 34 years and 7 months, which puts me right at the high fringe of a competitve age group, but I am right at 200-202 pounds which is at the lowest for clydesdales. Whats a guy to do?
Figuring out how you did in a race can be as bad or as good as you want. Race stats become a Rube Goldberg machine. The term Rube Goldberg means an overly complicated machine that goes through many steps to accomplish a very simple thing.
So I ask you... did I come in middle of the pack for my age group, top 35 percent overall, top 5 for clydesdales under 39, 2nd place for the specific catagory on my entry form or since I didn't run to compete I should just be glad I am healthy and enjoyed myself? What would you pick, hmmmm?
Sunday, March 13, 2005
In a pleasant first, I actually live close enough to walk to the staging / finishing area. Its less than a mile from my front door. I have walked farther to hotels after races so this will be nice. I actually ride my mountain bike for two reasons. First, traffic can always be a pain so why fight traffic for one mile and then fight traffic out when done? Second, I don't want to miss church and it will take me half the amount of time to get home on my bike than driving or walking.
Getting to the staging area is cinch, after locking up the bike I hit the port-a-loo and grab the bus to the starting area. The start line is a quarter mile from the Usery Mountain Park gate. As the bus driver pulls into the park I notice that everyone is walking into the park and not out. After five minutes of driving in pitch dark it becomes starkly apparent that we have gone to far, on the radio we here that someone was to guide buses for turn around but no one was there.
So eventually we turn around and disembark and except for some running lights from the occassional bus or vehicle thousands of people are standing in the middle of the desert, in the dark at 0530. The only inclination of where to be is the port-a-loos on the side of the road. I mean it is dark and there is no marked start point, no bag drop off area, no lights, nothing. At least it wasn't cold. Eventually a bag area was set up but I never drop off. (I would rather buy some cheap sweats at Goodwill and redonate them on the course.)
It became pretty obvious by 0545 that the race will not start at 0615 like planned. Crew are trying their best to clear the road to let buses come and go but the port-a-loos are right on the side of the road and people are standing in line, which is on the road. Finally by 0640, a good 25 minutes post start a 10 second warning goes out and bam it begins; marathoners, halfers like me and everyone else are gaggled together so its a mess of walkers up front, joggers all around and racers trying to pick spots on a decent downhill slope.
Even with the downhill its a 8:44 mile because you really couldn't warm up right, can't stretch on the road cause of vehicles and can't stretch on the side of the road because of the cactus.
I think the mile markage for mile 2 was off, becuase with a slight downhill I run a 9:48 and it seems long. The mile marker and the clock are in different spots.
Miles 3-4 are as flat a you will ever see in a race and I average 9:00. I am not really trying to be competitive at VOS just getting miles in, but I am passing people pretty well. The VOS is a great half or full marathon for anyone conscious of time. I have been in long races where the pace seems so flipping fast you get sucked along and bonk later. In VOS I would say the average pace for the first four miles was 10 minutes or slightly more!
I should note that once the race got off, the course was really well staffed by officers directing traffic and I took the time to thank every one of them when I passed. The water points had some staffing and some fill your own, which is odd considering the amount of publicity VOS gets, but otherwise well down. A water station and a big, blue port-a-loo were at every mile which made it easy to track splits. The scenery of the course was awesome.
Between miles 4, 5, 6 is a decent hill. I ran a 9:04, 9:42 and 8:32. I felt really strong and without much effort was passing people on the climb. Overall before I hit mile 11, I would put my effort level at 65%, barely sweating, not thirsty, talking really well. Like I said I was just out to enjoy the day.
What goes up must come down. After mile 6 was good drop off for three miles and I stayed in the mid-8's. Not sprinting downhill just taking advantage of momentum. Mile 10 put me back right at 9:02 on the flat.
I got kinda confused at this point, because I forgot if I had two or three miles left. Was I running my 10th or 11th mile? So I picked it up, hoping to error on the good side. Well ultimately I was wrong but I clocked a 8:15.
It is always nice to be recognized on a course and during that mile I was hollered at by a running mentor and good friend Lance Muzslay who was running against the course. His store, Scottsdale Running Company, helped set up the course and did an awesome job. Best running store in Arizona flat out. He is training to race in the Pro catagory for the inagural Arizona Ironman in thirty days, so he passed on the race today.
Well that mileage mistake cost me a high-9 for the next mile. At mile 9, the courses for the half and full split up and then at mile 11 on the half came back together and I hit the split key on the mile 24 marker not the mile 11.
By now the legs were starting to get a little tight. I was rewarded with a final mile of 9:53. Yeah I got passed in the last quarter mile by two girls who were really happy to be done but I had passed plenty and felt well rewarded.
I felt vindicated somewhat by passing two old guys. Why do I say that? Well I ran the Lincoln Nebraska marathon in 1993 and got passed by a guy at least 60 years old in the last 385 yards. He called me "Sonny". He had no teeth. I was crushed and yes carried that with me to this very day. A similiar thing occured at the 2004 inagural Phoenix Rock n Roll marathon...though without the "Sonny" and I am pretty sure he had most of his teeth.
My final time was 1:58:35 by my Timex. Considering I had at least one more gear in my legs I could have uesd I was really happy. I really had no expectations for time except I didn't want to finish averaging more than ten minute miles (later than 2:10:00).
The finish line was pretty cool, well anytime you finish a race the finish line is pretty cool, except the event staff put the table for finishing medals inside the chute area between the Chip mats. After a few minutes and some directions I was able to leap over some equipment and get one. That equipment was the final Chip mat computer so I hope I didn't screw that up. Oh you know those thing you hear people say, "Never comment on how ugly a kid is to their parent" and "Never travel back over a ChampionChip mat". I guess technically I have done both now.
Even though the race started late, I was able to get home, shower and make it too church on time. Talk about timing.
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Murphys Law. Once I decided to run it my next run is a mess. I changed to go for a run Friday and got stuck helping one of my district managers with a task, missed that day too. Today I put in a simple 1/2 mile with 2 miles of mountain biking and feel better.
The day before a race, either for fun or placement, has me mixed with emotions. Gone is all the confidence and its replaced by aching body parts and hopefulness. Am I eating right? Enough? Too much? Will my stomach cooperate?
As much as the thinking gets in the way I just want it to be here.
Friday, March 11, 2005
I have a big goal this weekend that I decided to do just this week-Valley of the Sun half marathon. I had a good 8k, have a decent base and think running the half is at least possible though it won't produce a PR. So I have been tapering this week.
Last night was to be an easy thrity. From the first step my lungs were tight and I struggled. By ten minutes my shins were cramping and calves were tight. At fifeteen I stopped running a was walking back.
I felt defeated. I felt the fever of the Common Man Syndrome burning in me, trying to bring me down and dash my goals. All that negativity produced doubt, which produces fear, which allowed Satan to tempt me with will all the things I thought I had dealt with. I railed against friends and co-workers. Cursing people, having loud, imaginary arguements with people. I knew it was the darkside and I got mad that I let myself get that far out there.
It was a thirty minute dark path before I recovered. I awoke this morning knowing two things. One, I need to go for a short run today to get my mojo back. Two, I need to control my fears. CMS can strike at any time. My goals are bigger than me and I can't allow that to happen often.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Regardless of what your event is you should have a 'finish transition'. Here is mine for example. After a race the first thing I do once I am out of the shoot is hit the port-a-loos. There is usually no line at this point as everyone else is busy getting goodies or to elated to think about relieving themselves. Then I enjoy the vendors and partake of the goodies and soak up the atmosphere.
The 'finish transition' begins once I get back to my truck. I open all my windows, rear slider and sunroof and turn on the radio. As strange as this my sound, I crank up the Oldies radio station, as loud as my stock speakers allow. Its the most non-offensive music and very similar to what is played at events anyway. Oldies music seems weird but it helps maintain the surealness of the moment, post race, pre life.
Then I pull out my ditty bag and sit on the tailgate. In my bag I have a previous race shirt to change into and take off my shoes and socks to let my feet air out. Oh, don't worry I have my most comfortable sandals to slip into, its tradition. By now people are walking by and smiling and commenting on the music and good vibrations. Plus its usually still early in the morning and after a good run the world just seems a little bit better.
I pull out a water bottle and empty a Gatorade Recovery powder into it. I pull a sandwich and a piece of fruit out of the bag and enjoy some calories, soaking up the scenery.
Its a great way to transition from the euphoeria of a race and completion of a goal back into the real world of cell phones, sacrifices and proirities. Its important to realize and recognize when you do something right. The run may or may not have gone how you wanted but when you challenge yourself you have recognize the accomplishment and savior it properly.
A 'finish transition' is just as important as any other step in your race day.
Wednesday, March 9, 2005
I used to really enjoy the fact that I could get by on only two or three hours sleep, I could watch movies late at night and never miss a minute of exercise or study. Of course at that time I only had three national channels and two locals on my 10" b/w tv plugged into the wall.
Now unless I am completely exhausted from energy output I average five hours. Once a week I will get seven if I am lucky. If I have to get up to change my son or get water I usually can't get back to sleep, I am also cursed with being a lite sleeper. God Bless my wife who would sleep 12 hours because she can and do so during a monsoon.
So I have a morning ritual that starts at 0400 when I get up. I spend 15 minutes bemoaning the fact that its 0400 and I am awake, then get dressed and go for a thirty minute run. Around 0500 I am back and spend at least 30 minutes reading the bible and or a business book and using prayer and mediation to sharpen the mind. Finally a quick shower, and prep for the 'Awakening Of The Mo' (Mo being my two year old son)
This week my mornings are different. I am tapering for a race this Sunday that I may or may not do because its longer than I have currently trained. But this thing literal finishes a 1/2 mile away, thats almost a runner's dream. The normal a.m. runs I have stopped this week to make sure I don't pull any muscles or get shinsplints from being too tight. (I don't stretch much in the morning) . So this week I have extra energy, more time and less sleep. I really should do this race so I can at least bank on a long night sleep that night.
Tuesday, March 8, 2005
Well I knew where I going just not exactly sure how to get there. At the apex of my normal running loop which is the Mill Avenue Bridge and Tempe Town Lake I decided to cross the street and run up Mill Avenue and then head uphill (a long uphill) to Papago Park and then run back down to the office via the canal bike path, ending a great run with some watery scenery.
Well I forgot how hard the hill was. It was mile 17-18 for the inagural Rock n' Roll marathon in 2004 and a rightous butt kicker (they thankfully changed the course for 2005). So I make it up the hill, past the zoo and the animals I visited just two days before and ran into the Desert Botanical Garden, thats where it goes sideways for me.
Now I thought I could run through the park and simply jump the curb and be on the canal path; no, no, no this was not the case. Okay, well there has to be a pedestrian entrance somewhere so I will just run along the fence line. Well several minutes later and some scrambling through scrub brush I find the canal path, firmly in place on the otherside of an unclimbable fence.
After much gnashing of teeth I run along another edge of the fence find a suitable climbing area and back track to the canal. Well, all told my 60 minutes becomes 90. Did I have fun? Absolutely- I got cut and had blood on my shin-and like the saying goes, "Its not fun until somebody bleeds." Maybe only guys say that? But at least you have heard it before in some form or another.
I could have just packed it in early and turned around and been secure in set patterns but that is the Common Man Syndrome (CMS) at work. An extra 30 minutes of running- that'll put the pesky demons to bed for a day.
Monday, March 7, 2005
Regardless of how I end the training week, I look forward to the goals I have set for the next one. I used to be the type that if I missed a day, I missed the week. But now I look at each morning as an opportunity to extend my physical fitness that day. If I missed one day of training, its okay. I just pick it up the next day.
Every day is a chance to renew your commitment to fitness.
Seize the day; and throttle it- Calvin & Hobbes
Sunday, March 6, 2005
There are consequences in our training programs. I took six months off for rehab, I can't expect to run a PR at a local race. You can't be a balanced triathlete by focusing on hammering a great bike and run but neglect swimming. You'll flounder in the water and no matter how fast you are you will not catch up.
I felt like I ran a good race yesterday. But by yesterday afternoon I was a zombie, asleep on my feet. I have run 8K's on a daily bases while putting in 10-12 hour days at work but the whole 'race day' mentality and anxiety really had me drained afterwards.
There is something about a race day that really gets the adrenaline up. Even when your over trained your body goes through a range of reactions you don't even know exsist. Dr. John Maxwell calls it "lifting your lid". At Officer Candidate School its called "Expanding Your Stress Envelope". Whatever you term it, competition is good because it shows you your weaknesses. My weakness yesterday was that I overtrained last year, did not listen to my body, ignored pain and as a consequence was forced into rehab for several months.
Now back to Pastor. He said God will show you grace when you ask him to forgive you for your actions but God will make you pay the consequences. Well I got some of that payback yesterday when the old man in the white knee high socks with two red stripes at the top, wearing a Nike shirt and short combo I would swear he bought in the 70's past me in the last half mile. God may have shown me grace and healed my shoulder, and made me strong enough to race yesterday but he has a twisted sense of humor showing me consequences for training too hard a year ago.
Saturday, March 5, 2005
At first I was skeptical because I always want to know exactly how many miles I have run and now it didn't matter. It was liberating because I would run a little bit longer but not feel confined to running a specific route.
This first test was good. I definately felt the competitive edge coming on, "I can beat that guy" or something like that. But then as the field cleared it became more a matter of breathing, pace, feel and then stay focused on me and not the pretty girl I wanted to run behind (admit it anyone who races thinks that) even if the pace was slower or faster, stay focused on my race and not having to beat the person that passed me and didn't say anything at mile 2 and paying back at mile 4.
I had to take July-December off to rehab a labril tear from 4 o'clock to 8 o'clock in my left shoulder and deal with a calcification growth the size of paintball on the top of the shoulder. So no running, no weight lifting. It was fun for a couple of weeks at least.
Oh yeah back to the run, The Mayo Clinic 8k run for the transplant hospital. In Arizona it can actually get cold if 50 degrees is any indication of cold. This is a small run that is done on a long street outside the hospital in the north end of the Phoenix Metro Valley.
Walking up to the vendor/staging I kept seeing people walking back to the parking area a half mile away with bags of bread. Its pretty normal to see free bread at these races but I was also seeing a lot of people who were not wearing bibs, not used to that. Apparantly most people were signing up or picking up on site.
I had an hour to kill so I went to the port-a-loos and walked right by them, well because I was looking for a line to stand in and couldn't find one. I remember one running telling a piece of advise years ago, "Sonny boy, the first thing you do when you get to the staging area is go to the bathroom then when you get out get back in line and go again."
I walked up to see the start of the 1 mile fun run and there was about 60 people, most of them walking. At just under 6 minutes the first gazelle came in, but what impressed me was the four or five kids under ten years old who did the run under 8:00.
Next the 5k run/walk started, mostly walking and talking older folks.
About 500 people ran the 8k (4.97 mile to us Americans). I went out running my level, which like I said I had the urge to pummel and pound and outrun the fat guy making "moo" noises as the crowd moved off the line or deciding no matter what I was going to beat the obviously-not-a-runner-but-cocky-as-hell-and-dressed-like-Michael-Johnson guy I watched in the staging area for 30 minutes.
As first mile pasted at 8:30 I felt great and banking time. The crowd started thinning out and a small pack developed between two and three which were both around the 8:15 mark and I still felt great. The turn around was at about 2.5 miles and this gave me a chance to see where the two I had pointed out earlier were but I never saw them and I knew they weren't ahead of me.
I began to feel a bit strange at the start of mile 3. I was only at about 75% effort and running 8:20 splits and no one was passing me. I usually start way to fast and get passed by loads of people towards the end. I began to wonder; was I at the back of the fast pack or the head of the slow pack?
As I came into the finish area I felt like I had done a really good job of keeping my head and running a smart race. Me and smart racing are not usually used in the same sentence. I have had frostbite and heat injuries to attest to my determination to finish regardless of physical harm or conditions.
I finished the morning off by meeting my wife Carol, my son Mo and some friends at the zoo for a two hour walk.
Friday, March 4, 2005
But she went to jail for a whacked out reason, here, she didn't confess or roll over to a crime most of do to some degree every day. Someone told her something before it happened, did something about it then what was supposed to happen, didn't.
Something like this; your getting ready to go into a test tomorrow, a friend back from taking it today says that the essay portion is on apples but saw another stack of tests on the desk with tomorrows date that had oranges as the essay. So you cram for oranges , get your test and its the apples essay.
Marthas stock guy told her the stock was falling, she says sell at this whatever number, well it takes a while to hit that number, she sells, then bammed the floor drops out and stock is in the toliet. They think she had inside info, but during her trial the stock goes higher than the highest it got when she owned it.
Most of her problem was timing. Enron, WorldCom and others were raping the market and their employees. She got lumped in. Difference being that those CEO's and others were getting bad raps for making millions on bad businesses while Martha lost money on the stock she supposedly had inside info on. The government and public wanted a victim and she was it.
Martha kept her mouth shut, like she always has, and for that deserves my respect. If she did get illegal info then she took the rapt like a pro.
Thursday, March 3, 2005
As for books, Blogs and workout tip..well I can't post everything at once can I?
As for today thoughts and deeds...
I tried the new Chicken Bruschetta Chiabatta at Jack in the Box today it was terrible. Then felt guilty because I ate all of it (and all the frys).
I didn't workout today because I spent that time starting this website. Which BTW is really fricken difficult when you have NO idea what your doing. It's so much easier to comment than create-which is exactly why most people suffer from CMS.
Common Man Syndrome came to me while commenting on another great blog tri-geek dreams.
Everyday us common people, who put in long hours at work, don't have private chefs, multiple personal trainers, unlimited income and star status, must deal with reaching our dreams while dealing with lifes issues. Like how do I juggle being a husband, father and business owner with lowering my 10k running time and maybe doing a triathalon this year.
It's so much easier to watch a movie on the big screen rather than go for a run, or a bike or a swim or hell talk to my wife. Think baby steps people-defeat the Symptoms of the Common Man today by having a conversaton wtih your spouse.
So everyday (hopefully) I will be blogging my defeat of the Common Man Syndrome and hope you enjoy what you see.