Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Happy Days

Training for the upcoming triathlon season is going well and on schedule.  I have increased my mileage, managed to stay injury free and feel pretty good.  Now if spring would just get here and I could get my bike out of my sunroom and out on the roads, all would be near perfect.

Over the last month I have had some interesting moments in training and racing.  While May was at the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend, I needed to get a long run in so I strapped Elli in the stroller and off we set for a 13 mile romp through the neighborhood.  Easy, right?  Well, not exactly.

I had forgotten how hard it was to run with a stroller, let alone keeping an eye out for all the stuff Elli was throwing out.  I thought I was doing a great job, they to my horror I did a “cockpit” check and could not find the beautiful stocking cap May had knitted for Elli. 

I know it had to be somewhere in the subdivision as that is the only place we ran so mile 6 was my fastest as I desperately looked for the beautiful cap!  Found it! I took a deep sigh of relief and Elli clapped and yelled “YEAH, YEAH.”  Whew…

Elli and I only got in 9 miles. Elli is in the potty training stage and at mile 9 I conveniently heard “Daddy, Poopy.”  That was enough for me. At least she quit saying “Faster, Daddy, Faster!”  I was exhausted and I thought Elli had to use the bathroom but I think it was a convenient phrase to get out of the stroller.  Fair enough. Pushing that monster for 9 miles was akin to 13 so we called it a day and went in the house feeling good about the time together.

Later that day Elli and I got to go shopping where she got some new swim goggles and her own IRONMAN watch.  She also helped me make muffins and mustard encrusted Salmon that sat on cauliflower/sweet potato puree with balsamic spinach. Not a bad reward for a great workout.

Fast forward to March 8th and it was time to celebrate my 48th birthday with a small workout. I had planned to run the Columbia Marathon on Saturday, until my coach Carole Sharpless yelled me out of the full and into the half.  Getting ready to for IRONMAN Coeur’d Alene in June, I had no business running the marathon so I switched to the half.

Never one to shy away from a good workout, I got up at 3:30 and rode my bike for two hours on the trainer before heading down to the Columbia Half Marathon. So far so good? Nope this turned into mistake number 1. With some oat flour muffins after my ride, I was ready for an easy 13.1 stroll through downtown Columbia, SC.

There is a saying about “the best laid plans of mice and men” and although my intentions were good, my race execution lacked good judgment, no it lacked all good judgment.  Sigh.

First I was way over dressed for the race. Yes it was cold in the morning but if I had bother to check the little invention known as the Weather Channel app I would have realized that a low of 30 at 7:00 am would quickly turn into 60+ by 9:30 am. Well so much for use of modern technology. I was bundled up like I was heading out for a month in Siberia.  Yes there are such things as drop bags, and no, I was not smart enough to use it. 

Five minutes into this race and I was in my own personal sauna and steam room combination. HOT does not being to describe how I felt but I made the best of it. I was simply getting use to running in warm weather…well that was my theory and I was sticking to it.  Mistake number 2 in the books!

Now on to mistake number three.  My plan was to run this race at a very easy pace of 10:00-10:30 minutes per mile and use it as a training run.  So much for that novel idea!  I began the race in the back and felt very strong.  My legs felt great so I decided to pick up the pace and see what I could do to this course.  BAD IDEA, VERY BAD!  While I had run a 1:42 on this course last year, I had managed to stay off my bike beforehand and had dressed appropriately.  I cant really explain it other than trying to run slow in a race is like telling a dog not to chase a car, its futile.

The Columbia course is brutally hilly and I love hills so into attack mode I went and since I felt so good I managed to ignore all the fluid/Gatorade stations which leads to mistake number four, bad, no, no nutrition planning.

Feeling good at a 7:50 pace (so much for 10:00) and devouring the hills, and not having any nutrition intake on the bike or during the run and with a two small muffins between sessions, at mile 9 I hit the wall and hard. In fact I looked around to see who hit me with the shovel and who poured molasses on the course that consumed my legs.

Not my most shining moment, I reflected on Finding Nemo and thought of Dory…”just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” so I just kept running and running and running. I thought I would never see the end of that race and lamented on my stupidity in making four key mistakes for the day, mistakes I definitely know better than to make and mistakes I definitely coach people not to make. Being able to rationalize as humans, I told myself this was good practice for Idaho to run on tired legs.

The gracious, merciful and absolutely beautiful end of that race finally came (heck it could have been the edge of the world and I would have run off it) and I was able to sit down, actually eat something.  I ran a 1:53 and was happy with that, knowing the last four miles were closer to my original targets.  Oh well I had time to reflect on what a beautiful day it was and what a special birthday it was going to be.

Later that day I had a wonderful dinner with May and Elli and they got me a new grill, something I definitely wanted and needed and so much appreciated!  I am a blessed man as I have the best family in the world. Love you May and Elli.

With the race behind me and more training to come, today I am happy to report that I had my longest swim ever.  I knocked out 4350 yards (2.5) miles in 1:53:50 which is well ahead of my IRONMAN time!  Although I wanted to be a bit faster (don’t we all) I was happy with this outcome and was steady and strong the entire swim even with forgetting to each before the work out and not taking in any nutrition during the swim. (I see a bad pattern here I need to get corrected!)  Thank goodness for my waterproof iPOD and some good hard rock to keep me going.  And yes, I could hear Dory saying….just keep swimming, just keep swimming and that I did.

Have a great week and if I can do this you can too and I am here to help you….How Bad Do You Want It?

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