Monday, March 26, 2012

Why do we race?

S - 11,900 yards
B - 247.1 miles
R - 43.8 miles

Time - 21.69 hours

On a more-important-than-training note I've watched a couple of episodes in the last two weeks of "Full Metal Jousting on the History channel, which is awesome.  There are few competitions that are quite as simple as "get on your horse, grab a big stick, ride at someone and try to knock them off (kill them in the olden days, of course)."  Obviously modern liability laws and insurance issues make this current iteration a little less deadly than it used to be...but, it's still pretty epic.  For example

Sorry for the poor quality; it's all I could find.  Needless to say, I'm not sure I'd be very good at this as I weigh 150 pounds, I'm weak, I have no idea how to ride a horse...etc.  Still, it'd feel completely bada** to strap on some armor, climb aboard your steed and go hit someone like a Mack truck.  I also don't want to damage the moneymaker:

Sometimes I wish triathlons were so simple.  There is so much going on during competition (and before, during, after...) that it's easy to lose track of what you're doing there.  Back in the day all you needed was your speedo, your bike, some shoes and maybe some other people to race.  Add a little fire in your belly and the bellies of some closest friends and voila, you have a great competition.

Speaking of fire in the belly, sometimes it's really hard to maintain motivation.  It's easy to forget why we are all doing what we are doing.  I've struggled a lot more this year, especially with swimming.  I'll have a good workout, a bad workout, another bad one, a good one, a short one.  Last year it was week after week and month after month of great, consistent volume in the pool.

I know people that have a bad race and suddenly feel like their purpose is lost.  Do they belong at the level on which they've established themselves as being (sorry for that horribly complicated sentence, I tried different ways and this is what I've come up with, I apologize)? Do the splits for SBR suddenly invalidate all the work they've done to get there?  Does one race determine who we are as athletes? Of course not! It's incredibly important for all of us to realize that this should be about the journey; not the destination.  If I allowed myself to be discouraged by bad races or workouts (I guess I do, but I mean EVERY bad workout and/or race) then I'd be chasing a dream that has no meaning.  I train because I like being fit.  I like being fit because I like to go fast.  I like to go fast because my friends are fast and I have to go fast to keep up with them.  I like to keep up with them because I like my friends.  I like my friends because relationships are important.  I like relationships because they make me a more complete person (and hopefully them as well...).  I like being a more complete person because it would suck to be a quarter person.  (I took that a lot further than I planned...)

I also like beating my friends at races.

If I ever, EVER, lose sight of why I'm training and racing you have permission to slap me in the face.  While this may be a selfish sport on one hand, it's one of the most sociable, community driven, and awesome sports on the other.  We can all help each other love what we're doing even more as long as we keep that in mind.

Monday, March 19, 2012

This one isn't interesting

Swim: 14.5k yards
Bike: 248.5 miles
Run: 41.4 miles

Time: 22.04 hours

Well, I honestly feel as though I worked out very little this week.  With the way my schedule now works, it's typically a morning workout prior to 8-9am and a late afternoon workout around 5-6pm.  That kind of spacing makes morning workouts feel like yesterday's workouts.  It's pretty awesome.  I'm also now going to bed at a reasonable hour and waking up at what was a heretofore unreasonable hour.  I like the regularity.  The consistency.  The predictability.  I haven't been watching much TV.  I've been playing zero video games.  It may sound crazy, but it's been fun!

This was my first attempt at making a sports-related video and I definitely learned a lot.  The clips were too long, the music transitions too abrupt, not enough change of views, etc.  Next time will be better.

I'd also like to direct any readers to the lady girl's blog as she does a great job of recounting our trip together in Tucson.  My redirect serves several purposes

1) It makes me look awesome...look at that picture of me! I'm so good looking.
2) It makes me look patient (specifically on Mt Lemmon), which I obviously am, of course
3) It's a better told story than any of mine
4) It's a girl.  People always prefer reading girls' blogs.  They're way less threatening.  I know that I'm intimidating to all of you; you don't have to tell me!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A longing and an addiction

I've been struggling with my thoughts on this subject for quite some time.  I went to Arizona and experienced something that I have not dealt with in many years and came back an (unintentionally) changed man.  It's hard for me to express my true thoughts because it's something I've yet to deal with in my heretofore innocent lifetime.  When a man experiences something for the first time: a longing and then an absence and then a renewed experience with object of said longing; it can be tough to talk about it to other people.  I'm going to try though as part of my renewed desire to face my fears and expound on my experiences.

I didn't drink coffee for almost a month.  I know, I know...not what you expected to hear.  That being said, it's what you needed to hear.  Now, upon hearing that, you may think it implies that I'm a habitual coffee drinker.  That is certainly not the case. I did drink coffee several times a week, however.  Sometimes I made my own and sometimes (most of the time, actually) I purchased coffee from the esteemed beanery of Dunkin Donuts.  Standard issue is medium coffee with cream and sugar.  Now that is delicious.

Fast forward (or rewind I guess) to February.  I fly to Tucson and am no longer in close contact with my beloved Dunkin Donuts!! Ahhh the horror.  I am, however, with someone that drinks coffee every single morning.  She even grinds it up and drinks it black! I think we all can guess who is the pants-wearer in this relationship.  Pathetic on my part. :(

She always offered to make enough for me but I always declined saying that I didn't have any half and half.  Fast forward a little bit more and I'm with this guy who abhors coffee and says that - despite never drinking it - he believes it tastes like burnt ass.  He prefers his caffeine intake to be through the tea medium.  And by tea, I mean a lot of tea.  He'd usually drink 3-4 cups by the time I woke up and then he'd be off to work.  He suggested I give it a try, which I did, and lo and behold I actually really liked it!  Tea is a much more subtle drink than coffee.  Coffee kind of says "Hey you! Wake the F*** up!" While tea, in a delicate English accent, says "The hour of awakening is upon us...please rise at your leisure whilst I prepare thine shower."  Or something like that.  I definitely dug it.

So for almost a month I had practically zero coffee.  My taste buds had forgotten the rich and creamy dunkin donuts delicious dreamy delectable drink (boom goes the dynamite with alliteration) and I came home a new man.  (Boy is more accurate, I am not a man).

I knew I had to get my hands on some medium with cream and sugar so my first morning back I head into my favorite location and grab my standard only to take my first sip in over three weeks and my first thought was "Wow, that's pretty gross."  I pushed it aside as a fluke and the next morning decided to give it another shot; same thing.  It tasted terrible! What. the. heck.  My favorite drink was now no longer acceptable in my mouth.  On the third day I noticed that it was a little better.  I was purchasing from the same store so I assumed that the quality and overall flavor profile of the coffee was remaining the same, but who really knows.

FINALLY after about a week Dunkin Donuts coffee has returned to its delicious state.  I am a firm believer that coffee is an acquired, addictive taste and my N=1 experiences verifies that to be true.  That is all.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hottest Female Triathletes 2012

Training was a bit pathetic this week so I don't really want to discuss it too much.  Suffice it to say I got in less than half of the volume of two weeks ago.  I think this was in part due to traveling across most of the country on Monday, having trouble sleeping, and adjusting to a new schedule during the week.  Sunday was the first day I felt "good" all week.  I was "dragging ass" as Brian would say (and did say).

All that being said, I was excited to race Corporate Cup 5k this Saturday.  I thought the course was pretty fast (and maybe it is for faster people!) so I was hoping to get in 5:15s and come in somewhere in the 16:30 range or just below.  I did not, however, achieve those goals.  My official time of 17:14 left much to be desired, although second place was 17:5x so there wasn't too much competition. I don't think my goals were totally out of line; I'm in very good running shape right now (I may not be really FAST but I am certainly fitter than this time last year) but hoped to perform well.  Last year in the opening 5k of the May Day Biathlon I ran a 16:32 on a flat course (garmin said it was accurate distance-wise) and the next month a 16:35 on the track (with a 50+ mile ride in my legs from earlier in the day) so I know I'm capable of sub 16:30.  I'll have to wait until the June time frame to put my money where my mouth is, however.

The race recap for the 5k goes something like this:

Sprint to front at start and set a torrid pace (I just wanted to use that word); one guy came with me but after about 1/2 mile I couldn't hear him anymore (he was probably doing the half).  Continue pressing on downhill-ish to mile 1 (race clock said 4:45 but they must have started late as Garmin chirped at 5:05 or so).  Keep going until right turn on West and another right on Mint which began the uphill/headwind section.  Nobody was within sight after turn.  Pace slows to 5:30 second mile.  Keep running, pace slows again third mile (which included a steep short climb to get back to uptown height).  Turn right and run slight downhill to finish. Drink a powerade, run to Inside Out to meet up for group ride.

Needless to say, the ride didn't feel stellar.

That being said, I got to ride my gorgeous new S5 for the first time this weekend.  It's such a better bike than the Klein that it's hard to really compare.  I love bikes; they are awesome.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

2012 Charlotte Triathletes Ranking

Haha, just kidding.  Instead of talking about training I'm going to post pictures of some recent awesomeness.

Boom goes the dynamite

First new road bike since 2003.  Wheels ain't mine :(

BBright is where it is at

Zipp "beyond black" stem + hbar looks awesome!