Inspiration

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

First Tri Experience

There are certain moments in life that are beyond words… the moment you fall in love… your wedding day… the birth of your children… your first triathlon. Okay, maybe doing your first Tri isn’t on the usual list, but I’ve got to say… there was something wonderfully satisfying and moving about completing my first Tri. Although my performance was not entirely memorable, the day was. From walking in circles in search of the transition area, to making the attempt to set up our transition areas, to the terrible calve cramps I suffered most of the day, it still ended up being better than I had anticipated. I expected to like it… but I didn’t think I’d love it this much.
Although excited, I thought I’d spare you from too many details… so here are some photos;
My transition area... note the Bed Bath Beyond bag that I know all of the pros use in their transition area... Sweet!

My wonderfully supportive family that braved the cold to cheer me on...
 
I love my wife...

Brad and I at the start of the run (reverse Tri)...


Me during my run... don't I just look fast? (don't answer that)

Bike leg of the race as I began passing people... that was until the cramps started coming on...


Not the most flattering photo, but note the right calve... yes, I was in pain... but I finished...
Despite the physical pain, my first Tri experience was awesome! I'm already planning number two... new obsession? Maybe... life style? Definitely...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday morning

I’m awake at 5:55am… my body no longer allows me to sleep in. My eyes open at the slight glimmer of sunlight… And as the night melts into morning, I lay awake thinking of what I have to do… and it usually involves running or biking… although recently it’s been all running. Training for my first marathon has put me into heavy mileage. Last week was a 20 mile Saturday… today, I get to step back to a 12 mile day… but I’m still toying with possibly doing 22 miles… So I lay awake thinking about things like this… my obsessions… my swim technique… maintaining my bike… deciding on what running shoes to wear… This is a typical Saturday morning.
So, now I’m up with a bottle of Gatorade, a glass of water, vitamins, oatmeal and a banana. I’m dressed for my long run… decided to make it a 12 mile day as the thought of doing 22 in rainy conditions sounds much less appealing than doing 12. I’m eating my oatmeal and downing my banana… trying to get this down an hour before I head out the door. Today is a neighborhood run… no Backbay or Huntington Beach run… no, I’ll be going this run alone. I’ve filled up my Fuel Belt with water and have a single pack of electrolyte gel for mile 7. I’m set… just need to wait that hour for my food to settle, otherwise cramps or some other gastrointestinal issue… so I wait and write.
I choose this over sleeping in… I choose the early morning hours because the family isn’t up yet, so the hours I’m gone are not missed so much. I don’t fit in my training anymore… this has become the norm. My wife no longer asks if I’ll be running or biking… she expects it. It’s no longer a question of whether or not I’ll be out with the early morning sun… she just needs to know when my sweaty, hurting, beat up, exhausted and happy butt will be home again… and yes, I always return home happy and smiling… after all, there is nothing like starting your day exceeding your own expectations.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Friendly Competition

“The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running.”

I read that somewhere and thought it poignant and meaningful… in fact, I thought it was pretty motivating. It says something about determination and perseverance… about keeping up the good fight… about running until you feel like you can’t go on and then going another mile… and another… and another. It says in its wholly practical way that being the Turtle is fine and that the Rabbit is irrelevant to the Turtles resolve and success. I buy all of that… I love the sentiment behind it… but sometimes, being the rabbit seems like so much more fun.

A few of my running partners/friends ran in the annual H.B. Surf City Half Marathon this past Super Bowl Sunday. Although most of them were pretty confident going into the weekend, I naively thought the 1:58:13 I posted just a few weeks earlier was respectable enough and would remain respectable for months to come. After all, just a few weeks ago all but two of us were still training for our elusive sub 2hour time. But little did I know that the 1:58 I posted was soon to be nothing more than average in this circle of friends… in fact, I now consider it close to pedestrian given the times that were posted a few days ago…

The fastest time was posted by a half marathon virgin, 1:52:04, who by the way is built like a Kenyan... lean with long limbs. Second fastest time was posted by my closest rival. Although friends, because we started our running adventure together and soon to be Triathlon adventure, we consider ourselves friendly competitors… he posted a 1:52:23, a full 8 minutes from his previous best… insane! (Envy setting in… see Rabbit reference above.) Number three on the “buddy podium” finished at 1:55:48 and earned a few extra bragging rights due to his bum knee. All three of them made my time look more “steady-turtle” like than the “swift-rabbit” like runner I thought I was. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still happy with my time and with beating my own personal record… but honestly, a little of the shine has come off that imaginary trophy. It seems a little ordinary now and less than spectacular. Maybe that’s normal… after all, with endurance events it’s not always just about finishing… sometimes it’s also about beating the other guy(s)… sometimes for nothing more than bragging rights, but heck… having those rights can feel pretty damn good...

In the end, I know it’s okay. I can still look positively at my experiences as a whole and know I’m not only doing something good for my body, but for my own emotional well being… and maybe a little for my spiritual well being too. And in looking at my times, I can see I’m getting faster with every run. Competitive nature? Maybe a little… but I’m still sincerely happy for those guys… kind of proud of them actually… for the work they put in. It’s to be admired… they simply raised the bar… the gauntlet has been thrown… a new measure of speed and endurance has been set in our world… and for me that means having to train that much harder… I know that’s what really gets me. The faster they get, the faster I have to get… but I guess the rabbit wouldn’t be the rabbit without the turtle… or is that the other way around? No matter… Turtle or Rabbit… it all comes down to me… I’ll keep going. Hopefully that’s the only thing I have in common with the Turtle in the end.