Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reaching out

As I have verbalized my desire to others, to change my core essence from rigid to graceful, some telling issues have presented themselves. First, I should have spoke to others long ago because in just three hours of conversations others have expressed my convoluted point back to me much better than I have to them. Second, that my concept excites the people I have sought to gain from. People that charge hundreds of dollars per hour want to work with me for free because they realize that I am coming to them with concepts that they have spent years trying to put into their own clients without success.

Some of the refining I have worked on is that I am looking at nothing short than physical, emotional, spiritual and mental harmony, especially with my body. It's pretty much a given that I am not in harmony with my body in certain aspects especially as it pertains to using appropriate energy for the effort.

The outward expression of my change started with the move from a block of wood to a bamboo rod but I realize now that its is much more, the possibilities are unlimited and that excites me.

A lot of my talks move towards a goal. I have a simple racing goal but I am trying to keep that away from my thoughts until January 1, 2010. I already know that my tests will come on the same race courses I have done in the past but I will be approaching them differently. The athlete I was up till April 2008 caused me to have all the issues I am dealing with today and that is not a good thing. So really a race route I have done four or five times will be done in a completely new way in 2010.

Right now I am laying the foundation for the rest of my life. I want it to be long and I want it to be fun.

There's treasure everywhere.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bamboo is not what you think it is

It all started with a simple affirmation I have had for several years: Today is the new me. Take a moment if you like to think about all the different ways that could affect your life but recentl contemplation of one predictable subject took me in a highly unusual and challenging direction.

I have spent a lot of time considering, meditating, on how to make a fundamental change in my physique. The change will certainly be a physical one and perhaps, and I believe this to be true, a emotional and intellectual one as well. You see, for a long time I have believed that a person can not change. There are just certain innate genetic or embedded processes that a person has for their entire life. The changes we make in life are habits to counter or coddle these permanent parts of our make up. I do believe that a person can become a different person, act differently, make different choices, look and feel the opposite of what they normally are. But it is a constant process of affirmation and effort to maintain this new point of view. Is it a perfect theory? No. But its my thoughts on it.

Now this is where it gets weird. I am half-Hawaiian and though my outward appearance is very much Caucasian I have the muscular legs, wide hips and broad shoulders of an Islander. Having this genetic make up and incorporating the way I have aided and abused my body over the years I have what I would consider a fairly rigid physique. Not rigid in the muscular sense, but in the way my body absorbs impact whether this be from a fall, a jump, how my body reacts to the bouncing of running; how my body flows in water as I swim. Yes exactly, how my body flows and flexes in any activity that I do.

I began with the end in mind, I want a body that not only absorbs shock and energy I want my body to be able to move with it, process it in a way that is fluid. What does this look like, I wondered. It could look like anyone regardless of height, weight, sex. I have seen very obese people move with a grace that is wonderful to behold and perfect athletes who are stiff as boards.

As I often do, I look to nature and considered bamboo. I think society considers Bamboo a wood that has a certain amount of flexibility regardless if it is thin or thick. Whereas I consider myself more of a 2x4 or even a wood plank, I wondered what it would take to become like bamboo. You might expect that it is as easy as say taking a yoga class or stretching more, as the saying might go, Just limber up. But here is the hard part and where the true metamorphosis begins. Bamboo is not a wood. Bamboo is a grass. True. So how do I go from being a block of wood into a piece of grass, albeit the biggest, thickest, strongest piece of grass on the planet. But grass absorbs, its flexes, it moves like a ripple against the wind. I as I have stated I do not. I am the proverbial wood plank.

I have spent tens of hours reviewing video and photographs of my movement, which thankfully I have the resources to do. Plus I have long studied how my body moves in order to master certain skills so I have my own case history on the subject, as it were.

I have spoken with yogi's, martial arts experts, performance experts, people skilled in physical deviations and will continue to do so. I am getting their input on how to change the essence of a body so unlike just a habit, it is something that is learned and then never corrected again, like breathing, like a new genetic code. This is not about techinque though I am sure there will be challenges and breakthroughs there. I am not even close to the end in this, perhaps not even to the beginning so as I learn, I will tell.

Why do I want to do this? Simple. I WILL compete again in endurance sports. The limitations are already set, no more Ironmans. I will start with the smallest and move slowly through the distances till I reach the point of too much. While even entering a race is still several months away, I must reinvent myself to prevent the results of the past, go in a new direction. I have new goals, new distances, new challenges, some of these on the same old local courses.

Now that the primer is set, the rest is academic and application.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Base line course

For the last ten years I have used the same 3.25 mile course next to my office as a baseline for my running fitness. I couldn't even guess how many times I have laced up for a quick lunch run or clear my head before going home. The first time I did this run, ten years ago, it took me thirty minutes. It has some sidewalk, a little asphalt, mostly hard pack dirt and a nice hill at the end to get over.

Today, I don't recall if I was pushing it how I felt, I probably just went for a run and this is the route I took. I know I didn't have GPS or the technology to measure distance aside from a map. I can guarantee I mapped the distance later.

In that time, if the route has changed, its only gotten harder. Development around the area has taken me from a mostly flat hardpacked dirt to an undulating multi-use path will little ups and downs built right next to it that I now use.

Sometimes I am running to manage my heart rate and I go over 30 minutes. Sometimes I run for speed and I am under by several minutes. Often times it's the comfort course that I choose as my first run back into a training plan or my first run after a hard race recovery. Sometimes, shhhhhh, I took work peers on this course on really hot days to break their spirits.

I don't know why today of all days, I am nostaglic about the course. Maybe because its a Monday. Maybe it's because ten years later I can still run that same course under 30 minutes. Maybe I just like consistency. Whatever it is, it works for me.

There's treasure everywhere.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Blogger Meet Up

Bolder in Boulder was in town Friday so my Ironman Wingman and I hooked up for some chow and hike. Though we talk regular enough, I had not stood next to him since my PR swim exit at Ironman Arizona last year so for me it was a joyous reunion.

Just like old times. Well except the last time we were at a bar with women we were not allowed to take pictures of and this time we went to Dr. Andrew Weils True Food Kitchen and had anti-inflamatory berry drinks called Medicine Man (muddled blueberries? YES) and ate some really damn fine healthy food. We each walked away completely stuffed and satisfied in our dishes but lighter on our feet. As Bold exclaimed, "I'm stuffed but still have my washboard abs."

Bold had the MacDaddy of all fricken cameras so I drove him to Camelback Mountains Echo Canyon loop for some good photography shots. I explained how the route worked to get to the top and before you know it we are on the trail and going up the steps. Not all the way mind you, just to the 1st rail where the out of breath Common Man turns around completely heartbroken. (Photo 1, above link) This is the spot that after about a half mile of vertical lunges, called steps, you face a seventy five yard 45 degree rockface that has to be climbed. How nice of them to put a handrail there for you to use. Bold was quite happy to watch me run up as fast as I could (unassisted *cough*cough) and slide down the handrail head first.

It made for a fun afternoon. I did some bouldering for Bolder. He was happy to snap away as I tenuously scaled a nice sized rock formation. Mistress will not be happy that did so sans helmet.

And then he was gone. Back to his resort weekend and to dinner with more outstanding folks than I. It was great. Thanks buddy.

Oh and there are pictures ("no pictures, didn't happen", right). Mostly of my sublime and perfect buttocks as I was climbing above or running away from Bolder. Now that I think of it, my favorite picture last year was taken by him, of my ass speeding past him on my bike at Ironman. hhmmmm?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Setting a new level

It is not easy to balance the needs of a 3 month old daughter, a wife who expects me to be a doting husband and parent and a work environment that is 30% harder in this economy than a year ago. I am easily 50% more occupied than I was when I was a pre-injury Ironman level age grouper.

That being said, I have finally extracted myself from being a new parent/hard working business person to renewed triathlete. Luckily I refused to completely give in to Common Man Syndrome over the last year, so my return to the teams active roster has not been a complete shambles.

My first time back in Open Water I swam about a mile and felt pretty good. I think getting back up to two 2 mile swims a week OW with an extra 1.5 -2 miles each week in pool drills will get me back up to at least the same level I was at before. I really don't need 5-6 miles of swimming a week right now, nor later, but the endurance will help me when start picking up sprint distance speed for when I do decide to race again.

My run distances are not very far but my pace time is inline with my usual endurance training paces. Now its just a matter of building back up to a level where a 10-15 mile run is a non-issue. In this aspect I do believe that running long will help with my overall speed at shorter distances.

Cycling is another matter. I have not been riding outdoors yet, riding much at all due to the time it takes away from the family. I am starting back with the team rides this weekend but I won't be pushing the distances for a couple months at least. I will be working on speed, cadence and endurance at a shorter distance of 30-50 miles.

There's treasure everywhere.

Monday, June 1, 2009

ziggity zaggety

My first open water swim of the year. Yes I know it's well into the season but Mo's football games and a newborn do actually take a lot of my mornings on the weekends since February.

I loop is a shy of a mile, maybe as much as a mile with all the zig zagging I was doing in the water. I was all over the place, haha. I had a team mate in front of me and using her as my pace I would look up to see her far to my left or right. Plus I was using each shoreline as a measure of my tack.

Oh well. The distance was just enough and today I feel it in my back and arms.

I am thinking that with Mae at 3 months, it is time to introduce myself to team training. I need to stress my mind to competitve training and learn some controls. I can't do that on my own. I can't do that running from my fear of losing control. And in reality it was not the training that damaged me it was the racing so I should not hide from it. I do need to watch myself more as regardless if it was the weather or the body or the mind that did the ulitmate damage to my liver and kidneys and all the other organs that were damaged any of those can do it me now.

On the way out to and back from Canyon lake I saw some great things. A coyote standing on the side of the road watching traffic pass by. A chipmunk. A roadrunner. Coming back down a cowboy's horse went crazy and started bucking him and canting onto the highway. I slammed on my brakes, just missing the horse and rider but they didn't notice. The horse continued to jump and leap and did get back onto the horse trail beside the road. That horse would have surely bucked me.