Sunday, August 22, 2010

Getting serious

On a early morning last week I remarked to Mistress, "I'm tired of training by myself. Enough! I start training with the team again this weekend."  Not long afterward I got a flurry of meet ups in my inbox and the schedule was set.  

Boy did it feel good to train with my friends again. On a 50 mile ride Saturday morning I enjoyed some great fellowship and ran into more than a few people that knew me and were doing their own thing out there. What a wonderful feeling. I am blessed to know so many great people. 

Man it was hot out there. If not the heat, the humidity. Either way, after a couple hours of getting heated up there is no getting away from that weight on you. It is in those moments you try to forget that you agreed to brick a run. (For my non-triathlon friends- a brick is a second workout immediately following the first. In this case, "I did a bike/run brick." )  However, the genie was out of the bottle and when the question comes out like a dare, "You're still running after, right?" you have to HTFU and get out there. A brick run in this environment is the crucible that creates endurance success.  But it hurts.

In the end I got through that run which ended my total brick workout at exactly 4 hours.  It felt good to be out there with everyone but more importantly it felt good to be ready for bed at 8pm.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mr. Bonky Bonk McBonkers

It truly is frustrating to have to take a rest day when I don't want one. However I have to now realize that my long term success in endurance pursuits with any fitness consistency is to listen to my body. I melted, melted I tell you, on a lunchtime run Tuesday. Air temp around 108*, road temp around !55*, dew point around 60*. I patted myself on the back for just cutting the run short by 20% to get back inside. 

Jump forward to Wednesday night, 38 hours later and my legs are still dragging ass. I was going to get on the treadmill but my legs were mush. I went to bed instead and couldn't sleep because of the jimmy legs. Suck. Mistress even threw the Rhabdo at me wondering if she should be concerned about damaged muscle fiber floating around my blood stream and screwing up my kidneys. Oh what pillow talk we have. Today, Thursday, they finally feel good enough to train on. 

I have mentioned before that if I end up getting close to a bonk, or actually bonk, on a workout that my recovery is anywhere from 36-48 hours. And this keeps that theory alive. Too bad the empirical evidence is a sacrifice to my training. Man do I remember 8 hour recovery from monster workouts. So jealous. It makes it hard to train with my team right now, because they are all training for Ironman distance races and thats getting a bit to close to the metaphorical third rail. I would probably go too long or go too hard. Either way, tough sell to Mistress when I put myself on the couch for the rest of the weekend. 

Its just reality. Hey, at least I can do what I can do and I think every month I my speed is picking up and and distance is going further. I'll take it. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

It begins again...again.

I honestly don't have a 'thing' about Mondays. Maybe its because I love what I do for a living. Maybe it is because I have a nutrition, exercise, work and life routine that is not based on a weekly circadian. I map out my day, my week, my month or my year in variety of ways and once that jives, I could care less if its a Monday morning or Friday night, I'm doing whats on the schedule. I think most triathletes or endurance pursuers can relate to this especially with fitting in training. 

My conference ended last Friday and during that gathering I ate some really high end and low end food, stuff my body is certainly not used to. On Saturday we went into the small nearby town and had a big ole' biscuits and gravy breakfast. At SeaTac Airport later that day, I had to dine at Anthony's. I got home late and had a salad. BAM, right back on the plan. 

Sunday, I did not get a chance to hit any of the big four (swim, bike, run, strength) but had enough of a list of GTD (Getting Things Done) that I did not want for activity. Normally I food journal throughout the day to stay on track, but couldn't get to it until after dinner. But my nutrition was spot on.

To make sure my body detoxes well and get the latent sugar and fat desires out of me I use a fairly spartan week when I get back from trips get back back on schedule. A sort of forced compliance. Rices, yams, grilled chicken and fish, broccoli, colored peppers for lunch and dinners. Oatmeal, protein pancakes or drinks for breakfast. I constantly try to get more veggies and fruit in my day but honestly I don't do well unless Mistress puts it in front of me. 

Training takes a larger priority this week. I actually did well last week but the hour running in the morning and whatever expenditure you attribute me to golf (for someone who doesn't normally golf) I don't feel my overall activities reached my usual standards. Even though I did actually swim, bike and lift weights as well. Nothing monster this week, consistent exercise is more important than intensity and distance. At the end of the week it will all add up to where I want to be. 

Reading this post for edit, this week sounds so mundane and I suppose thats the point. Even with highly energetic athletes in their daily life, training and nutrition is not something to get emotional about. It is what you do. It is who you are. Do you get excited about brushing your teeth every day?  No. But you do it and you do it well or you suffer at the dentist. In this analogy, you respect your exercise and nutrition or you suffer on the race course. 

So I raise a fork of rice, veggies and grilled chicken to you. Eat up. Then get out and train. It might be Monday, but everyday is a great day to add quality and quantity to your life.  

Saturday, August 14, 2010

'Working' Recap

Today I fly back home from the resort I've been staying at all week in Washington State. It's been hard but  I've been staying in a $2.5 million, 4,000 square foot 'cabin' that is surrounded by woods and PGA level golf courses. It's been one heck of a week of work, working out, being on the golf course and bonding with the key people that my partners and I hope will take our company to the next level. Bonding with my partners as well. A group of people that are as dear and close to me as family. 

I have easily eaten more calories this week than in the last month. Good Grief. But what food it has been. My usually routine and modest eating habits have been replaced by things like Polenta ( I remarked the mashed potatoes were a bit dry) and all other sorts of creamy, cheesey, bready, boozy, sugary constructs. I see a serious food detox coming next week. 

The one hour of running I do in the woods each morning before sunrise hasn't help keep the calories off me but its nurtured my mind in ways I desperately needed. Growing up in the Pacific NorthWest I became a runner in this woodsy environment and it is as much a homecoming and emotional attachment to my youth as I will ever have. The fitness center has seen me swimming and cycling as well but lets face it, thats my office all year long so I have only got in /got out based on peers going there. 

I'm not a golfer but many of the people I'm with are, so I couldn't help but play on the resorts private PGA level course, especially when my $150 fee for 9 holes is free. If I didn't play, I caddied or benefited from the liberal pours at the clubhouse. My goal was not to work on my short game but to connect and dig deeper relationships with people that we will take the will of the partners and move us forward. We can duplicate people but we need these people to duplicate themselves in our image as well. 

A productive week but I miss routine. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

A working vacation

This week I am going on my first vacation/not a vacation of the year.  My boss/partner/mentor is hosting all our partners and key executives at his million dollar cabin in a private golf resort in Cle Elum, Washington. Going there from the 110* Arizona summer will be a welcome change of pace. 

Wednesday through Friday we will be meeting until about 1pm for vision and strategy sessions. I found out today that my contribution to this team building, vision. purpose, direction retreat is about 45 minutes of speaking on two subjects that I am very passionate and informed about. I can do it do it off the top of my head but I am a professional and have already put several hours into the presentations. Other than that I will probably scribe some meeting notes, run a few visuals for others and ask great questions of our key executives on their topics. 

As these are only half working days, the rest of the time is for team building like golf, working out, running, playing cards, watching inspirational movies, eating and finding other ways to engage and grow relationships away from the battlefield. I plan on spending some time in the woods alone, under the trees and sorting some things out in my head.

The only downside is that Cle Elum is just to far away to travel to the Seattle area and see all my great friends there and get back to the resort for the scheduled events each night.  Plus I don't have transportation, there is only two SUV's for 15 of us. I am hoping, that somehow, someway I can convince a group to climb Mt. Si one afternoon. If I get enough people then appropriating the SUV won't be a problem. 

Regardless, I need some time away from Arizona. Honestly I need some time away from my wife and kids. Some people think that is ridiculous but Mistress and I believe it is healthy for our marriage to vacation apart and we trust each other implicitly.

I will probably have some internet access so will be posting on here what I can. I will have cell access so social media updates and maybe some photos are to be expected there. 

Time to live a little folks. Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

On the Clock

What if you had a condition that didn't allow you feel any pain?  You could cut your finger or burn your arm and feel nothing. After bleeding all over the place a few times, wouldn't you be pretty concerned about how you moved or what you touched?  If for no other reason, than to not make a spectacle of yourself. Have you ever known someone who was on blood thinners?  The smallest nick from shaving could bleed uncontrollably and become life threatening. Wouldn't you try to be extra vigilant going about your daily tasks?

For all intents and purposes I can live a healthy and long life IF I never participate in an endurance race again. Depending on the distance, my exertion, the weather, terrain, and a myriad of other factors, I have and can finish timed races, but I feel like its a flip of the coin on how it will end. My last 'real' event, Ironman, didn't end very well and when I look back, the writing was on the wall for the whole season of racing I did before it. I kept ratcheting the tension on myself until I broke apart. Spectacularly. 

Ever wonder why it feels like you have a broken rib while riding a bike only to find out it was from trying to breath while your rib muscles were cramped?  Ever raced so hard that you make your heart and lungs seize and the hospital thinks you've had a massive heart attack? Ever feel dehydrated and keep going until you have liver and kidney failure? Then keep going for a few more hours. 

While I am pretty much physically recovered from all that, oh yeah that was me, I know now that all that would have been avoided if I could just stop thinking about the clock.  My real problem is that on the clock, I can shut off all biofeedback loops and ignore pain. I feel it. I just ignore it. The very few races I have done since I have had outside controls to hold me back (friends pacing me) or so short that I couldn't do that kind of harm to myself. 

I still feel that under the race clock that I will cut loose from reality and just run myself off the road again. So I am trying to avoid it. I am doing things that keep me active but not necessarily timed. The Grand Canyon hikes, self supported 50 mile run, my upcoming Tough Mudder race.  I feel so much more mentally liberated when I don't worry about cut off times, finishing times and all that. I don't care if I finish a race middle of the pack or dead last. I just know that if there is a clock, I am racing to beat it. 

I am hoping that with my current path of endurance pursuits, that don't have a time constraint, I can find that happy place that when I get back into competition it allows me to fully commit myself and listen to my body. Otherwise I can really used to sleeping in on the weekends. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Aging Up

One nice thing about turning 40 is that I am in a new age group for racing. Which means statically I am competing with more people older than me than younger. Now I just need to start doing races that have timing clocks. I'll save that conversation for another post. 

I weighed myself on my birthday. I've lost well over 40 pounds and kept it off for what most would consider an acceptable amount of time. Meaning I didn't have bounce back. My wife, aka Mistress, thinks I am now too thin, the leanest she has ever seen me, and fattened me up for the birthday weekend with delicious home cooked foods. Most people are either good cooks (meals) or good bakers (deserts, sweets), Mistress is adept at both. 

One meal was highlighted with a brine soaked chicken breast that was fresh herb stuffed and BBQ'd. The next morning for my birthday was made from scratch cinnamon rolls and frosting. It took three hours to get the stuff to rise correctly and bake. It was so sugary rich we had to have bacon on the side. And the way she bakes her bacon, (yes you read correctly) you'll never fry it again. Birthday dinner was lasagna and lots of sides, one needing a fondue pot. I'm a lucky guy. Before you wonder how I stay lean with this kind of cooking, I must state that Mistress normally uses her superpowers for good and our usual eating fare is quite nutritious and flavorful without the extra calories. 

That was her gift to me, not some frivolous book or knife between spouses, but her time making me food that I love. And I love her for it. Its too bad that in our society today people would rather receive a gift card purchased in the check out aisle of the grocery store than get a gift someone spent hours making by hand. 

It's not enough to exist. I am going to live.