Thursday, May 29, 2008

Will I run or will I crawl?

Well this past week has been a real mental challenge for me. My time is yet again being challenged by a slew of work related travel that is now coming my way. This poses a serious question, will I be able to properly train for my first Ironman race with business travel constantly interrupting my training ?

The Ironman race is simply a challenge that cannot be taken lightly. Folks in the Triathlon community are so used to training and racing that we often casually throw out the statement, "I think I'll do an Ironman next year". I hear it often and it seems to minimize the monumental task that this is ( could also be the monumental stupidity, but lets not go there).

Well having been training for it for well over 6 months and seeing the training for what it is, I can tell you its nothing to sneeze at. Its damned hard. In fact I have heard that the hardest part of an Ironman race is the actual training for it. It simply challenges you physically and mentally. And worse yet it is a challenge to the one resource I have the least of...time.

Well now I have even less than I did just a few weeks ago. With only a little over 3 months to go to my Ironman debut, I have been told I will be traveling during Peak training periods. When I first heard this I just felt I had to withdraw from the race. I contacted everyone that has helped me along up until now to confer and to complain, but I just felt this gigantic stress. I had this goal I had set out to accomplish, and now I had no time to train for it.

So I had made a decision to defer my race to next year. It was probably a smart decision. AT first I felt great, like an awesome weight was removed. But a few days later a feeling started to creep over me.

Deep down I could not shake the fact that I felt like a quitter. After all what the hell was I doing by racing an Ironman Anyways? I certainly am not going to win it. No

For me its simply about finishing it. Its about challenging myself in a way that I know I will have accomplished something. Its about proving I can do it, despite the challenges that get thrown my way. Isn't that what being an Ironman is really about?

So After conferring with my coach, and my wife, I decided to throw my hat back in the race.

I will do this one way or another, and if I need to crawl across the line then so be it.


So just to leave you with the appropriate mental image, I bring you the immortal Julie Moss:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Time Trial

Well today I finally did the time trials that I had planned on doing in the mornings. Time is very limited lately for me, but now that the sun starts coming up around 5AM, there is now some time for cycling. Due to the short time frame, it cannot be an endurance effort. But I decided I wanted to have a high intensity ride instead, something I can measure. There is a road near m that is perfect for time trialling. It is a straight stretch of rolling hills for 4.5 miles it is about 2 miles away from my house, so I rode there this morning and did it, 4.5 miles hard effort on the way out and then took a two minute break, then did the 4.5 back. I averaged 18.4 MPH for the duration.

Not bad. At least for me, riding is not my strength so I'll take it for now. I hope to be able to do that in 19.5 or 20 by the end of the summer.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Triathalon Adventure

You know often I ask myself and get asked , why am I so completely enraptured of triathlon? Its a good question. I guess there could be lots of reasons for it, the overall fitness, cross-training benefit of training in 3 sports, the great camaraderie with other friends in the sport etc But for me there really is one factor overall that does it for me. Its the fact that every time I go out to race, its a grand adventure!

As I have said a dozen times to different people, there is nothing that gets me mentally out of work mode faster than hopping into a wetsuit, and jumping into the Hudson river. Doing battle with floating wood and used condoms ( although its not that bad after the sweep it for us) is just a heck of alot more fun that filling forms and dealing with politics.

The truth is no matter how many times I do a race, there is always something a little different that makes it interesting. This is why people think we are freaks. We triathletes dabble in something that is not normal. You can argue that could mean we are all "Abnormal", but I think it just means we have adventurous spirits.

Yesterday, I had a great reminder of how far I have come mentally, when myself and Adam introduced a group of beginners to their first Open water experience. There was overall shock and serious apprehension. A number of folks hyperventilated and most had trouble swimming on the first swing through the Lake. Many resorting to the Breast stroke, despite the fact that the swim as a whole was no more than 100 yards. Much less than they swim in the pool. But the shock of doing something so foreign to their everyday existence was difficult for them. I remember going through the same several years ago. And now for me its really just fun.

For the folks yesterday, Despite their shock, they ALL finished their swims and were actually well on their way to reclaiming the swimming form they have honed over the past few months. But you want to know the best part? If for only this one day, all of these "normal" people, stepped out of their "safe" zone and stepped into an adventure. In doing so they made their lives just a teeny tiny bit more flavorful.

And well isn't that what makes life worth living?

This same adventure is what I experience whenever I do a race or have a great training session, even better I get to share the experience with friends. What else do you want?

Now for the requisite photos!

Neil doing the wetsuit dance

"Did that Branch just move? I'm Outta here!"

Simba gets a good laugh watching the Wetsuit dance. Humans are funny!

The Wetsuit check: "I can touch myself here, and I can touch myself here..."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Training time

I am convinced that the real impressive thing about completing an Ironman is not only the event, but being able to find the time to train for the event. It is just such a monumental task.

This week I can say I have been less than an Iron planner. between work complications and personal life it has just been brutal trying to find the time to do the training.

Hopefully this will get easier.

If not I can always turn to drink and not stress too much about it ;)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Doggie Duathlon Bling

So because we are all potential future world Champions of the Doggie Duathlon sports world, every canine competitor gets a CUSTOM flotation vest for the swim. Made to size and will be sporting the race logo and the dogs name and race # stitched on the side!

We just this week received Simbas vest to try on, we have to send it back for the final touches. It fit her like a glove!
This month we begin the Open water training at the nearby lake. Still have to figure out a harness contraption so that I can swim with her and have her tethered to me without interfering with my Masters refined swim stroke ( did you just think "Master what?" ! I heard you )

Her running is going smooth though lately she has been pulling over alot Mid run to relieve herself. Clearly she is not getting the purpose of this training.

I will have to break out my "dog whisperer " references to see how I can motivate her better, you know by speaking her lingo.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Don't have enough of it. This week I was discussing this with the beginners tri team from the Westchester JCC that I am coaching. The issue some of them have run into is the time issue.

I gave them some tips and pointer on how to find that extra hour in the day that they need for training for a sprint. However, time is Always an issue. its a real balancing act. This morning for example I am scheduled for a 1 hour bike workout. I figured on how much time I needed to give myself etc. Turns out it was not enough. Instead of a 1 hour workout it was only 30 minutes. I didn't take into consideration walking the dog, filling tires changing my bike outfit because I would not be caught dead in the garish orange outfit I setup last night ( what was I thinking? :), you know important stuff!

So now I know I have to wake up at 5AM, and do a little more preparation the night before.

But the truth is that time will always be an issue. This is where you need to priorities what you really want. We all have a thousand things going on, but do I need to really know who did what to who on Survivor? Clearly not, that ssilly not nearly as important as who got booted of American Idol, or what on earth did Paula say now? ;)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Evening ride

Ahhh Spring....the return of longer days! After an aborted morning workout due to complete miscalculating of the amount of time required to get my bike ready ( Yessssss I forgot to prepare my stuff the night before.) fortunately this is one of the only weeks left before IM Wisconsin that I have one a day workouts. So I came home today at 7 determined that I would get the ride in no matter what. So I took Dusty the road bike out since he has the head lights and such. Anyhow, I left around 7:15 PM and had a great short ride on what will become a very regular route for a short ride or time trial.

Anyhow, I returned around 8:15 and lo and behold! There was still a little bit O light left. That means in a few weeks I'll be able to squeeze in some slightly longer rides. Love it!