Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day 112

Touched down in Austin, TX a few hours ago. Usual mine field thru logistics getting here. TSA confiscated my toothpaste in Seattle, had 30 minutes to get to off-site rent-a-car to save $200 in airport fees and taxes. Bumper to bumper on Rt 1 and 183, motel lost my reservation. But dinner was good in a sports bar next to motel. Caesar salad, spinach with garlic and flat bread cheese and tomato, all chased by a couple modelos. Some reading and early lights out.

Tomorrow the fun begins.

Still thinking about this morning. We went hard. It was fun. I am starting to feel stronger. At last.

I wonder if ever I will ride another 112, today's numerology metaphor. And then follow with a marathon.

For that is the goal.This morning after class the scale shouted 168, lowest since this "phase' began 15 months ago.

Note to self: Do not lose sight of that goal when on the road this year.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Day 111

After four hours at UW Medicine, the cardiologist warned me that the PAP test (she recommended after capturing my A-Fib at 50 bpm) would require me being comfortable with taking my heart rate to max in a treadmill stress test.

THIS should be fun. Scheduled for May 13.

Spin class in the morning and then off to Austin. Gotta pack.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Day one-ten

It has been five months. Kona was October. It is now the end of April. I am finally prepping for another road trip, this one to Austin, TX.

To say that there has been change would be like saying that Meb can run, his blazing 2:08 today in Boston, emphasis on the point.

For if you want something bad enough, you will make the necessary change to bring the goal into consciousness daily.

For runners, that means running, swimmers… know the rest. It is an exercise physiology principle known as specificity. Do what you do. Do it faster, harder and sometimes longer in practice, in training, so when the big day finally rolls around, you embody the magical synergy of confidence and capability.

You walk the walk, run the run, sprint the sprint.

I have been thinking of late about all this as metaphor. Is this what we do in life as well? Or is this life itself? Is racing proxy for self awareness? Is training that part of our soul seeking validation through effort? Is the need to compete hard-wired in our DNA?

I have the unusual opportunity to assist and augment this training and racing component. I get to film the medium, the course, the hills and the athletes upon them as they go about their race preparations. Somedays even on race day when emotion is captured like lightening alongside the thunder of the spectacle.

Austin will be a tune up for the triathlon season that lies just ahead. I anticipate a summer full of color, speed and drama.

I had almost forgotten how much I like packing my gear.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Day one-oh-nine, run.

I ran Boston in 1997. It was an incredible experience, one that I remember to this day with pleasure and pride. Any marathon is hard, demanding and a test of strength and will. But Boston is something else altogether. The crowds are loud, the competition intense and the spectacle unreal. The the amateur athlete it is the World Series of running.

I had a decent day, turning in  3:17. I wanted to go sub 3 but it wasn't to be, a fact I recognized at about mile 20. I wanted to push, find another gear, but none was available. My knee hurt and I recognized the signs and symptoms of the gas tank running on fumes. I will simply say that the last five miles hurt like hell.

Last year was hell of a completely different magnitude. Several of my friends were there and witnessed the carnage created by a sociopath. It put a number of things in perspective. It humbled and it hurt, even a thousand miles away. Finishing a race in pain is one thing, finishing it in the ER is another.

Tomorrow they get after it again, running with courage and intent. The goal is to prove to the world that our freedom cannot be, and never will be, decided by anyone or any act, other than our own choice. We will not be removed from this celebration of freedom by the sick attempts at terrorism.

We will run. We will suffer and we will rise above the pain in a valiant march towards the finish. We will congratulate our fellow competitors as brothers and sisters in arms. This unites us and doubles our strength.

By running, we win.

I wish I could be there. Good luck and God bless those who line up tomorrow morning.

Be brave, run hard. And thanks.

Photo is on my clipboard of Me and Dad at the finish of the 1997 Boston Marathon.

Day one-oh-eight

Got a call from a dear old friend today. I was on my back, under the house, repairing a broken water line.

Amazing how such a simple act of communication can transform a dirty, dark and demoralizing chore into a joyous occasion.

As coupler slipped nicely into purple primed and cemented 1/2 CPVC connecting pipe, I came aware of the repair metaphor.

There are more things to fix than broken water pipes.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Day one-oh-seven

We talked about the team concept last night. The way that training with others motivates and inspires. The accountability factor.

We all set power values and go about our business (focused and determined) to accomplish the objective using the same protocol. We do it at the same time, in the same place with the same variables controlled and regulated.

But then the uniqueness of the individual takes over. The experiment of one.

We try to get tangential elements included in the training, the mental aspect, deep controlled breathing under stress, relaxed focus, the generation of efficient and smooth power.

Everyone responds to the stimulus a little differently much the same as everyone approaches the infamous 20 minute max test differently.

Even then we find greater, sometimes surprising, improvements with a crowd as compared to solo efforts.

There are some things that one will simply not do alone.

We are social animals. We like the camaraderie. We respond to praise, support and encouragement.

It was a good chat. I feel better as a one, more ready to contribute to the many.

I like my team. It is important to me that they know that when the game is on the line, I will not fold the tent and head home. It is empowering that they are confident in my ability to control the flank.

It is a minor miracle that we can actually practice this in our training.

I highly recommend it.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Day one-oh-six

I am finding more and more value in the principal of addition by subtraction.

Most recent examples being the just recently completed down-scaling of my worldly possessions and my new found affinity for our bread & butter indoor cycling drill, the 2x20.

As I sit with only a laptop and one backpack of clothes (mostly workout gear) I find a new minimalist harmony in the loss of anxiety over all the care, maintenance, storage, use, or direction of the thousand things that once comprised my 'kingdom'. Yes, I always took great satisfaction in having the one part (a 1/4 threaded CPVC coupler) in the shed when needed, but trying to stock a complete hardware store over thirty years created somewhat of an inventory nightmare. Problem solved.

The 2x20 set, twenty minutes at 85% of FTP twice, with a five minute break between, provides double value as it creates the mind/body opportunity. One gets the physical bennies as well as the mental. I truly enjoy settling into the zone and putting stready-state relaxed focus into play. With the opportunity to singularly isolate the task at hand by eliminating noise and distraction at the very top of the benefit list.

Addition by subtraction, two examples. Maybe there are two in your life you could share.

Enjoy the ride.