Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas


To you, your family, and all your loved ones...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wrapping

Bear with me.  I’m on the 48th rebuild of my work laptop.  It has this little feature.  It likes to spontaneously reboot.  I am at the point now where I am determined to figure out if the problem is software or hardware.  I have added nothing to the laptop.  If it reboots on its own now, I plan to rip out the hard drive, put in a spare, and install Linux.  If that reboots, then I’ll know fer sure.

This, of course, means keeping up with your blogs has been somewhat problematic.  I’ve been restoring my personal directory from a back up.  When I do this, it restores my blog reader back a couple of weeks.  Yea, I know.  I used to use an online reader.  I should probably go back…

With that out of the way, the topic of today’s discussion is my current read.  Run:  The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel.  I’m trying to wrap my brain cells around the first couple of chapters.  What?  You thought I was talking about Christmas?  Pfffffft…

The entire book boils down to three rather important concepts.  First, train your confidence.  Second, listen to your body, and finally, have fun.  Wait a second…  I thought one trained their body to do a race?!?  Waz up wid dat?  Well, let me tell you…  You either believe that your mind pushes your body, or you believe your mind is a slave to your body.  Just forget about that last one.  You learn rather quickly as a marathoner or Ironman that your body will keep going, if your mind wills it so.

What does training your confidence mean?  Well…  It means doing the workouts that will give you the confidence to reach your goals.  Not to worry.  Confidence building includes distance, and for some people, over distance.  It also includes training fast.  EVERYBODY has a time goal.  Do the “fast” workouts that give you the confidence to race that way.

Listening to your body is a basic tenant of training.  For most of us, we are following a canned plan or a set schedule.  What do we do when our body doesn’t feel like 8x800?!  Do we modify the workout?  What about the next one?  What this book suggests is not having a set workout.  Have a broad plan of what  types of workouts you would like to run, and on what days, then decide at the last minute what kind of workout you are going to do, by assessing your body, your mood, and where your mind is.

And the whole idea behind all of this is, of course, keeping the fun in running.  If it isn’t fun, then you are doing something wrong.  Keep track of your fun meter.  When its low, figure out why.  Figure out how to get it back to high, and what is the process required.  Then, the next time this happens, you will know.

I decided to pick up my pace a bit on my long run Monday. Sunday, I was travelling and missed my run.  I completed the same 8.4 mile circuit as last week in five fewer minutes.  Improving is definitely fun.  I can’t wait to read the rest of the book and see where my mind will take me.

Wes

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Nostalgia

I've never seen anybody train for and cross the line at an Ironman, and come out crap on the other side.

This is one of my favorite mantras about the Ironman, and it is so true.  You can't go through the crucible of Ironman training and not change, and rarely, so very rarely is that change not a good thing.

Quite by accident, I returned from my thirty minute run just in time for the Ironman World Championships on NBC.  I hadn't meant to run hard, but I've been listening to my body, and my body wanted to run hard.  The fact that my father's neighborhood is flat here in Mobile did not hurt.  The temps were in the fifties, and there was a strong wind blowing.  My stepmother, God love her, asked me if I wanted a hoodie or a jacket to run in :-)  I laughed and told her that I was running in short sleeves.

As usual, it took me a minute or two to get warmed up, but I managed a 9:17 mile or something like that for the first mile, and after that, it just got better: 8:51, 8:28, and 8:11 for the last half mile.  I've never run here before.  My reward for being brave was a beautiful view of two different lakes.  It was a good run.

These Ironman shows always bring tears to my eyes.  The hard work, the dedication, the stories of survival and failure, they bring a connection.  I've never been strong enough to hang around the Ironman finish line until midnight.  The final hour is especially moving.  Around mile 17 at Ironman Arizona, the enormity of my year weighed heavy on me, and I was so ready for all of it be over.  Training from January to November, and training the last months alone, had taken its toll.

The second Ironman has been birthed.  Things have settled down.  The pain, the struggle, the heart ache, they are all distant memories, and only the happy memories, the pride, the joy, the accomplishment rise to the surface now.  I know that I will be back.  I'm on a three year plan to my toughest Ironman ever, and I want nothing more than for those that have the desire, to share in these things.

Anything is possible...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Whoa…

It’s been a tough week.  The weather has been cold and nasty.  I’m trying to remember why I haven’t been able to make it to the gym, but the reasons escape me.  I’m sure the reasons were important.  I’m not a slacker by default.

At least, for yesterday, I had a good excuse. The weather gods connived to force a bunch of black ice on North Georgia right before rush hour.  Fortunately for me, I was early in early out, and I was well on my way home when it started freezing.  I was about 2-3 miles from my house when I noticed that traffic was backed up WAY further than normal.  I decided to take a back road.  Well, the back road was moving extremely slow, and it was apparent why until I went past the over turned car in the ditch.

We all took things very gingerly the rest of the way home.  Traffic was crawling up Mount Doom, and when I got to the top of the hill, I came to a complete stop.  There were some cars at the bottom of the hill that were refusing to try Ass-kicker.  After sitting there for a few minutes, I got frustrated and pulled my car off into the neighborhood.  I grabbed my work computer, a present for my son, and two boxes of pizza and walked home.  My hands were frozen, but at least the pizza was still good.

This morning, I got up at 6 AM to check on the road.  Dee Dee was on her way home from work.  Most of the roads in our neighborhood was clear, but the hills outside the entrance had a sheet of ice on them.  They are notoriously bad about this.  There was a car that had gone over off the road and started down the hill.  Luckily, a tree stopped it, leaving its arse sticking up in the air.  Cars were parked all over the road, randomly.  One looked like it had skidded sideways into a parked car, and a sheriff's car had skidded sideways into it.  What a mess!

Lucky for me, I was able to go back and get my car by 8 AM and drive around to the back entrance to the neighborhood.  Dee Dee had made it through here OK, and so did I.  Around nine, we were able to leave for work and school, and while traffic sucked, at least the roads were passable.

At lunch today, I was able to get on the treadmill for my second run of the week. I decided to make my warm up a little faster, and I was rewarded with a 3 mile run in 29:00, for a 9:40 average pace.  What really got me excited today was that my cadence was 186!  I have been working so hard to get my cadence up to 180, and something has just seemed to “pop”, and its all falling into place naturally now.

Dee Dee, Matthew, and I are off to Mobile for the weekend.  I haven’t been home this year, and I really need to see my Dad.  The temperatures are supposed to be in the fifties there this weekend.  I’m bringing my bathing suit…

Have a great weekend!  Y’all stay warm, dry, and safe for me…

Wes

Monday, December 13, 2010

Welcome Back, Long Run

I am tap dancing between the weather.  I’m not one to bitch or moan about hot or cold.  The weather is what it is, and no amount of whining or complaining is going to change that.

BUT DEAR GAWD THE WEATHER HAS BEEN SUCKING…

That is all.  I wanted to get in a long run this weekend.  Sunday wasn’t looking so good.  There to fore, I waited until the warmest part of the day Saturday and got my run on.  The temperature was right around fifty degrees, and I nailed the outfit with shorts and a long sleeve T.  I always enjoy re-learning the clothing thing every year.

The 8.4 mile hilly circular route in my neighborhood was calling to me.  I felt that was a nice compromise between what I wanted to get done, and what my body would allow.  I brought along the Garmin to keep my HR below 150, but I wasn’t taking it too seriously.  I haven’t even downloaded the digits yet.

The first half of the run went well.  As I climbed that last hill to the four mile mark, I was definitely feeling it in my feet and my hamstrings.  I wanted to push myself a bit, but hurting myself was not an option.  I managed the 8.4 miles in around an hour twenty-four, for a 10 minute pace.  I was happy with that, as it involved a bit of walking at the beginning and at the end.

My goals for this week are: 3 easy runs and a long run.  I’d also like to attend one spin class and MAYBE a yoga class.  We shall see.  In the mean time, numba one son and I are going to hit the weights three times a week too.  He’s a strong guy.  I’m hoping he’ll motivate me to pack on some muscle.

Stay warm out there!

Wes

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

and so I ran

The idea was to return to running this week, but I did a LOT of running over the weekend reffing soccer games, and I didn’t want to hurry myself.  I have used the latest issue of Runner’s World to divide my time between now and the Georgia Half Marathon in March into five 21 day cycles, with each cycle having the same basic layout.  This first cycle is going to involve a lot of thirty minute runs.  The goal is to establish my running schedule with some consistency.

So, you know, as to not hurry or anything, I waited until Wednesday to run, AND, given that its freezing out, I opted to use the treadmill.  I’m on a roll.   I will pause while you catch your breath.

First order of business…  Impress the gym rats with my Ironman Arizona technical shirt.  I doubt the three chicas in the basement gym know what an Ironman is. 

Second order of business…  Do not allow my heart rate to go over 150.  There will be plenty of time to bust my own arse later.  A walking warm up, then bumped the speed up consistently every minute until I hit 7 mph.  At an incline of 1%, that’s roughly a sub-9 pace.  :-)  Yea, that makes me smile.  I held that for 16 minutes, before starting my cool down.

and yes, my legs still look damn good. Thanks for asking…

My race schedule is firming up, although very much still tentative.  I’m still waiting on she who must not be named to figure out her schedule, and that won’t happen until the round robin of vacation choices is made at the end of the year.

Go, run or sumfin :-)

Monday, December 06, 2010

Who Am I?

Really?  I should know better than to answer my cell phone when an unrecognized number calls late on a Friday afternoon.  It was the assignor for the Nike Cup, a huge end of year soccer tournament held here in Atlanta.  The first year I took up reffing, I did the Nike Cup.  The entire weekend was in the twenty to thirty degree range, and the winds were gusting upwards of thirty miles per hour.  I vowed, never again.

Yet, I said yes.  The assignor and her husband are pillars in the Georgia soccer community.  That doesn’t hurt :-)  Four games on the first day.  Three on the second.  There was a little bit of concern there.  Had I recovered enough?  Would my legs hold up?  Despite tweaking my right heel, yet again, nothing was sore that was not normal for these kinds of things.  Funny that.  My right heel never bothered me once during the Ironman.  The first time I ref after that, TWEAK!  LOL…

I am still trying to come to grips with 2011.  What races I choose are entirely dependent on what Dee Dee wants to do.  It is her year after all.  The distance is the big question.  Do I or do I not want to do a half Ironman?!  There is a huge part of me that wants to revisit the stand alone half marathon (which I will in March) and full marathon.  The other part of me sez that I am a triathlete who goes long.  I NEED to do a half Ironman.

Mulling things over in my mind.  No rush.  No quick decisions.  There’s plenty of time to pick up a half Ironman in 2011 if that is what I want to do.  I can still be a triathlete and focus on short course success.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with making my final “A” race of the season an international distance race.

To facilitate this, I continue to add books to my library.  My latest acquisitions:  The Time Crunched Triathlete, Your Best Triathlon, Racing Weight, and Run:  the mind body method of running by feel.  Except for the first, these were all birthday presents.  I have to admit.  I have just about exhausted the depths of triathlon knowledge that I need.  I just don’t need any more books with plans in them.  I am of the mind, teach me to fish, don’t give me fish!  You heard it here first.  These are the last endurance related sports books I plan to buy.

So, that’s the loose plan at the moment…  A spring half marathon, a fall full marathon, and a bunch of short course triathlons in between.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A Season in Review: 2010

It’s pretty amazing that I am at the point where I actually WANT to have a season in review.  I’m at the stage in my triathlon career where I have ridden the wave of euphoria just about as far as it is going to go.  The newness, the excitement of something new, is not that big a part of what I do now.  The onus is on me to keep the excitement alive and find new ways to stay invigorated.

I feel like I had been training all year.  A big race in May will do that to you.  I started swimming in January, running, and riding the trainer as well.  I didn’t have any lofty goals.  I wanted to do three half Ironmans and one Ironman.  I would have liked to go sub-6 in a half Ironman, and under 13 in the Ironman, but time goals are subject to so many different factors.

My first race of the season, Rev3 Knoxville, was a disappointment to say the least.  I was over weight, undertrained, and my expectations were way too high.  The hills of Tennessee have a way of correcting expectations.  Going into survival mode at a race of any distance is about as low as you can go, and still have fun :-)

Next up on my agenda…  Eagleman 70.3  I had originally intended to do this race, then backed out to support Dee Dee, only to take up the reins when she had to drop out due to her mother’s illness.  Given the course, this was my best chance at going sub-6.  Yea, the weather has a way of correcting expectations, LOL…  I remember the disappointment looking at my watch after the swim and seeing my worse swim time ever, then the satisfaction I felt of having my fastest half Ironman bike split ever.  Then, the heat drained me on the run, and I was back in survival mode.

The week after Eagleman, I did Callaway Garden’s Super Sprint for fun.  Good thing too, as I had my worst time ever.  It’s hard letting go of the digits, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

Cohutta Springs is officially my redemption tri!  LOL…  I’m probably setting myself up for failure next year.  Every year I go there, I have such a blast, and I never worry about my time.  Perhaps that’s a clue?!?

Finally, Ironman Arizona.  The Ironman is such a beast.  Finishing, is in itself, a great victory.  I' know that I’ll do better someday, and I’m totally not worried about it.

So, in review…  I did two half Ironmans and a full.  I had to settle for Cohutta Springs because the cost of another half Ironman just wasn’t in my budget.  I didn’t PR any of my race distances, although I did have a course PR at Cohutta, a bike split PR at Eagleman, and marathon PR at Ironman Arizona, even if it WAS only six seconds!  HA!

With all that said, I didn’t meet ANY of my time goals for 2010.  My goals have not been unreasonable, but they have been rather obtuse.  I kinda said, let’s train this way and see if I can hit my goals.  Well, that didn’t’ work out so well.  What I did learn is that I did not train nearly enough for any of my half Ironmans.  Training for Ironman Arizona has shown me the way.  It also taught me much about the difference between being a self coached athlete and a coach coached athlete.  These are all things that are so very important for the future.

I’m at this point in my career where there is this huge gap between how fast I can get and where I currently am.  This gap is shrinking due to age.  My goal has to be to close this gap from the bottom, faster than age is closing it from the top.

In my next post, I’ll talk about a little bit about what I have planned for 2011!

Wes