The butterflies are doing a number on my stomach. It's getting to that time before a race where I either go into this really careful planning mode or just say screw it and push as hard as I can on the swim and the bike so I can struggle peacefully during the run.
I used to not be happy with my swimming, that is changing, a whole fn lot. A couple weeks before the accidents we did a 30 minute benchmark swim and I did an average of 1:53 per 100 yards. I'm going 'hell yeah, that was awesome swim.
The crash (I refuse to call it accident) put me down for almost 3 weeks and I've been more than a little hesitant to go back to training full bore. But I did last week and the running feels better and the swim on Monday was awesome.... but nothing compared to Wednesday. I ripped my prior best 100 yard time by about 8 seconds per 100 yard... almost a full minute on 700 yards!
I was floored. Coach had given me 2 minutes per 100 yards and I cut about 15 seconds per 100 on the time that I was given and about 8 seconds from what I thought was my best time ever.
Now to get it below 1:30 😀
"You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement."
- Steve Prefontaine
I think I just passed one of the worst scares of my life. It has only been 2 weeks but it has helped me define a lot of what I want in terms of training and which caused the last two posts I wrote.
It started about 3 weekends ago when I woke up at the local hospital without a clue as to how the hell did I get there. I was still wearing my tri shorts and a hospital gown. I hate hospitals and Not remembering what happened made it a hunded times worst. It took me a couple hours to figure out what had finally happened and the picture didn't get any better (and it still hasn't) but with the help of Allen, the bike shop owner; the people who found me on the road and brought me to campus and the university police officer I think I figured out what happened:
Apparently I went off the road and instead of coming to a full stop before getting back on the road I tried to get right back and my wheels clipped the pavement making me crash. I hit my head pretty damn hard to crack the helmet in three different places. and either the hit itself or the whiplash left me disoriented enough that I don't remember what actually happened.
This past 2 and a half weeks have been an exercise on patience and perseverance. I've been scared shitless I'm not gonna lie about it. I keep thinking that this is going to come bite me hard somewhere down the line when I need the time and the strength the most.
It's been a slow re-build back to where I'm happy with myself and the way I'm training. Yesterday (3/14) was one of those days. The run was a little sluggish and short but the strength and core workout that followed. The rest of the week has been great in the recovery front and really ugly at the office.... but that's a story for another post 😀
I don't think I've ever been as stressed as I was today. We were warned to start the process as early as possible because IM Florida had sold within an hour of the general entry slots going on sale.
Shit, like I needed more pressure...
I made sure to renew my USAT membership at least a couple days before and that my active.com membership was still working (I had used it to register for DSE runs before I became a member) so in theory I should have been ready to go... But as we all know the theory works great in theory but in practice it leaves a lot to be desired.
At 14:00:01 I was reloading the active page and getting rejected. My brain is going a mile a second trying to figure out what are my other options if I don't make it. I thought about foundation slots but that's way more than I want to spend on a race entry fee.
I thought I was screwed... I kept trying and for some mysterious reason I was able to get in and complete the registration and print the damn receipt that says you've just spent $603 of your hard earned money to prove to yourself that you have what it takes to be an Ironman.
IM Arizona 2010, Mass Swim start (Photo by Mike Gaw)
There was a sense of physical relief when I started printing the damn registration receipt. The stress was bad enough to almost make me ill; the relief was indescribable. I had made it... I was in!
Now to start working out and start training...
IM Arizona 2010, Mass Swim Start (Photo by Kevin Leung)
Drew, one of my California TNT coaches just completed this year’s version of the race I’ll be doing in 363 days (The race is November 20th for 2011). I’m just starting to be terrified. If Drew completed the event in 14 hours then I shudder to think what will be my time.
But then I realize that if I go with that mentality I’m screwed. I have to keep telling myself that I’ll rock this and that, if nothing else, I’ll finally learn where my limits are and what do I need to do to push past them.
With Apologies to Gilbert O'Sullivan.
Every so often I get terribly homesick. It's been 10 years since the last time I was with my friends in Chile and I’m starting to really miss them. It’s cyclic and this time it’s compounded by being terribly home sick of California as well.... crap, has it only been 4 months since I left?
Going back to Chile in 2011 is out of the question and 2012 has a possibility of doing Ironman 70.3 Pucón but it would mean sidestepping a lot of the responsibilities that I have when/if I go back.
But I want to do Pucón so bad... I want to go back, share with my friends but also share with my triathlon friends that I manage to convince to go back with me. That’d be the perfect cap to my Ironman season. I’d be more than ready training wise (shit the race would be about 90 days after Arizona after all)
Yet when I mentioned to mom (like I do with all my crazy ideas) she brought up the obligations that I’d have if I go back. I have to visit my aunts and I have to visit my dad’s grave.
Thing is I don’t want to do either of them.
As much as I love my aunts the memories are too painful. All my uncles and the only cousin I really cared about are dead and gone. My aunts are pushing 80 or even 90.... It all just brings a lot of painful memories that I don’t want to deal with.
Ohhh, if there's one thing I hang onto,
That gets me through the night.
I ain't gonna do what I don't want to,
I'm gonna live my life.
Shining like a diamond, rolling with the dice,
Standing on the ledge, I show the wind how to fly.
When the world gets in my face,
I say, Have A Nice Day.
Have A Nice Day.
Have a Nice Day - Bon Jovi
First challenge is 7 days off... making sure that I’m registered for the race. Sometimes I’m amazed how life revolves around those little things that at the time seem like the biggest things ever.
Today I finally got my finisher’s medal from Augusta 70.3. Apparently they ran out of medals before they ran out of people finishing the race 🙂
It came in at a good time as I was wavering whether to stay on the team or to just go solo and hire a trainer to see if I can really do it. I'm also having to accept the fact that being a perfectionist is not really going to help this time around... Only thing that'll actually work is busting my ass off.
I have to keep reminding myself why I decided to do this. The people that have impacted my life and those whose company I treasure more than I thought I would.
One of the things I'm doing when in California is to get my race mementos, a cork board and something to attach the board to a wall in my home office. You never realize how important those things are until you need the extra motivation.
I'm also reminded of the people whom I've met along the way and the lessons they have taught me. We must find a cure and the time to do it is now!
You are blessed. You are healthy. You have disposable income enough that you can afford the cost of your hobbies. You have people who will support your efforts. You have the passion for what you do and the causes that you fight and advocate for.
IM Arizona is the first... how many more will come? Only time will tell.
I fucking hate going to the doctor and I most definitely hate being scared to death. I had to do the earlier and got the later as a result. Moving to Georgia has put my sinuses on a really foul mood and they have let me know it.
As part of my preparation for IronTeam I decided I wanted to get all the medical stuff out of the way and go in with a clean slate.
The doctor decided something different.
I went for, what I thought, would be a checkup and a new prescription for my nasal spray and prescription Claritin and be done with it. I ended up with a diagnosis of acid reflux, a camera up my nose, a shot almost on my ass, and the fear of the reflux becoming an issue down the road.
I’m dreading making an appointment with a family doctor. I know I have to as I have to get referrals to dietician/nutritionist and, maybe, a gastroenterologist.
Will it stop me from registering for IM AZ? No! I decided this was going to be my challenge for 2011 and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let my health stop me from trying.
Am I scared? Hell yeah, I mean, wouldn’t you be? I’m getting to the point where I can’t really dick around with my health... particularly not if I’m going to continue doing endurance sports into my 40s, 50s and beyond (assuming I make it that far overall 🙂 )
You have to pick the freaking expensive hobbies, don’t you? If it’s not your favorite miniature wargaming games from a british company (Games Workshop), it is Naginata, where you have to import a lot of your gear from Japan and now triathlons where the costs are just starting to pile up, fortunately the most expensive stuff is not recurring.
Let’s look at costs:
Winter Cycling Gear
- New bike (Giant aluminum TT/Tri bike): $1800 after taxes + the cost of the pedals
- New pair of cycling shoes: $175 (pedals cover the cost of the clips for the shoes)
- Arm warmers
- Leg warmers
- Cold-weather gloves for cycling
- Skull cap or balaclava for under your helmet
- Cycling shoe covers
- Snug-fitting top you can wear under your cycling jersey
- Medium- or light-weight windbreaker / shell jacket
- Windproof cycling pants
- Warm socks but with wicking properties (not cotton)
Winter Running Gear
- Cold-weather gloves for running
- Skull cap or balaclava
- Long-sleeved shirt with wicking properties (dri-fit, cool-max, etc.)
- Warm socks but with wicking properties (not cotton)
- Bike Trainer (device that lets you ride your own bike indoors)
- Heart Rate Monitor (not required but highly recommended)
- Bike computer with cadence (recommended if you opt not to get a heart rate monitor)
- Pull buoy
- Gear bag that is also a backpack for schlepping your gear around
- Muti-tool (small collection of allen wrenches that goes in your saddle bag)
- Set of allen wrenches to make adjustments to your bike (multi-tool has only limited wrench sizes)
- Chain cleaning gadget and brushes for cleaning your bike
I actually did it... I can't believe I actually signed up to train for an Ironman!
Actually, I'm not kidding anyone... I know exactly why I signed up and why am I going to see this to the end in November of next year by crossing the finish line at IM Arizona. I want a challenge, I want to prove to myself that I can work mentally and physically through an Ironman.
2009 was a physical year... Train with Xavier at 24 hour, run the ocasional 5 or 10k with Debbie and then train with TNT to prove to myself that I could do triathlons. I did a Sprint (SVMB), an Olympic (Pacific Grove) and the bike/run portion of a 70.3 (Big Kahuna where the swim was canceled).
2010 was the year of change. I was originally going to do Big Kahuna again to prove to myself that I could do a full 70.3 distance event but life intervened and I ended up in Georgia, about an hour away from Atlanta.
The game turned from another exercise in physical endurance into one of mental toughness. I had to prove to myself that I was as passionate about triathlons and endurance sports when on my own and far away from all my friends in California than I was when I had a whole bunch of people pushing and motivating me to stick it out and not quit.
An Ironman race (2.4 miles swim, 112 miles cycle and 26.2 miles run) is, to me, the biggest expression of "I got to have lost a screw somewhere.... This is crazy!." 140.6 miles of effort and then a lifetime of bragging 🙂
But it goes beyond the bragging too. LLS and TNT are such a big part of my life that I can't really picture doing endurance sports without the team right now. It's a great way to meet people and to forge bonds that will stay with you long after you quit endurance sports. It is also a great way to answer the question: "Can I really do it?"