Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ironman Boulder #2 -- I Fell On My Face

I'm no novice; I've been ambulatory for at least 37 years…and have had the ability to run, without falling, nearly as long as that.  If it truly does take 10,000 hours to master something…I think I'm there.

I still fell on my face last week while running, though.

If I put things in some sort of positive perspective, I should perhaps be proud of the fact that I often DON'T fall when I'm running.  Look at me, the "I Don't (Typically) Fall When I'm Running" Guy!  In fact, I have a nearly unbeatable streak of not falling while doing numerous perilous tasks such as walking to the refrigerator or exiting a Roman bath house.  I may even be some sort of record holder for all I know.  I could be the AC Green of street crossing…the Cal Ripken, Jr. of successful journeys from the super market to my car without incident.

Now, this isn't to say I have NEVER fallen when running before.  Because I have.  A couple of years ago was the only other time I -- without the help of another human being -- have found myself stumbling and bumbling my way to the ground during a run.  It was in the middle of the La Jolla Half Marathon, and I had just run up Torrey Pines.  If you don't live in San Diego or if you have never run up Torrey Pines, let me tell you, falling after such a feat is nothing to be ashamed of.  Well…not *too* ashamed of. 

But this week.  This week was something special.  This was the first time in my life when I ever recall simply running on a perfectly good sidewalk…no bumps…no roots…nothing in my way…and simply losing my balance, toppling over, summersaulting…and SPLAT.  Face meet ground.  Ground meet face.

But this isn't the best part.

I notice, off in the distance, a jogger.  She got to witness this entire comedic event.  When I splatted on the ground, she was probably a good 100 yards away from me…but I know she saw.  And I know -- injury or not -- she must have been cracking up at me.

I have a number of options at this point; I could: 

(A) turn around and run the other direction to save myself the embarrassment

(B) just sit there and then find something extremely interesting on the ground to stare at while she giggles past me

or

(C) get up off my clumsy-ass and simply continue…and say something clever on the way by her.

I, of course, chose C.

I do a quick push-up (in retrospect, it would have been hilarious to pump out like ten…like this was all part of my plan) to stand up.  Give myself a couple of claps.  Laugh.  Dust myself off…and start to run towards the woman who saw me eat shit while simply jogging down the road.

As I get closer to her, I notice she is making eye contact and is giving me a slightly odd look…and when she gets right by me, I raise my hands way in the air like a cheerleader celebrating a touchdown, like this (sans the jump, I swear): 

It took me about thirty minutes to find a non-sexual cheerleading picture.
But that was an awesome thirty minutes.

And I scream: I'M OK!!!!

She just laughed and laughed.

Well, wouldn't you know it, I was actually near the turnaround point of my run, so I veered to the right to head around a building to double back to finish my run (without falling).  It's been about five minutes since I saw my new found friend who was more interested at taking joy out of my possible life-threatening fall than helping a poor, "young," defenseless jogger in distress.  Lo and behold, who do I see, the same lady!  

Now I'm at a loss.  I had already used my A material the first time I passed her.  What was I going to do???

Well, I did what any man would do to save face in a similar situation.  I went back to a winner…

…and as soon as she got close, I screamed: 

I'm STILL OK!

And she laughed again!  She was like my own personal studio audience…but she clearly wasn't ready to participate in such deep and meaningful banter, as she only retorted, "Still running, huh?"

Personally, I don't like when people make a factual statement as a conversational point.  I feel like it's lazy.  Things like:

  • Hot today when it obviously is or
  • Sharp axe when I'm chopping them up into little, tiny pieces.
At that point, you gotta give me more than "Still running, huh?" Especially after I gave her the joy of (1) watching me fall and (2) self-deprecating remarks to boot! 

I'm not your monkey.  See if I ever fall in front of you (on purpose) ever again.

***

Weekly recap

Miles ridden: 74 (long of 40)
Miles run: 16 miles (long of 7.5)
Yards swum: 7500 yards (long of 2500)
Cross training: 1.5 hours
Times I fell on my face: One time

My mind still thinks it is in Ironman shape from last year…my body, not so much.  

In my head, I feel like I should be able to bike for five hours after a two hour swim RIGHT NOW!  

In my head, I know this is possible.  

My lungs and stamina would like to politely disagree with my mind.  So for now, I'm still in the slowly build up endurance phase…before I know it, I'll be able to fall on my face at least five time/week…no problem.

***

I was listening to the radio this week, and they were talking about the topic of discipline.  What it is…why people have it in certain parts of their lives…etc.

There is clearly a line between discipline and insanity…and I often don't know which side of that line I am on.  I know I have the ability to hyper focus on something (like finding a cheerleader picture for this entry), but do I have the ability to take something daunting like an Ironman and have it be PART of my life, and not the focus of my life?  That is an entirely different kind of discipline.  Can I relatively "dabble" in something monumental instead of swim (pun intended) in it?  That is one of the challenges in front of me this year.  I can immerse myself.  I've done that.  But can something overwhelmingly difficult be mentally overcome in smaller (relatively) doses?  

I don't know, but I'm going to find out.


Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Ironman Boulder #1

Abstract for TLDR Crowd: I wrote some presumably funny shit about triathlons.  And you need to learn how to focus for about one minute.  Oh…I was also the world's largest baby.  So there's that.

***

Darron's mom, who has been more of a mother to me than Darron ever has, asks me about writing ALL the time.  It's nice to be motivated by someone who has known me almost my entire life, and STILL thinks I'm not a moron.  Or at least doesn't think being a moron should hold me back.

She specifically asked if I was going to write a book about the last Ironman I did.  I lied to her and said yes AND that I enjoyed her son's company.  I thought if I were going to lie, I might as well make it a REALLY big lie.

But I thought about it, and I figured I might blog about some of my training experiences THIS TIME.  Maybe people could learn something.  Maybe I would.  Maybe I am blowing more air than a polar vortex.  Maybe.

***
Weekly recap

Miles ridden: 66 (long of 32)
Miles run: 14 (long of 6)
Yards swum: 7000 (long of 2500)
Cross Training: 1.5 hours (including 40 minutes of stupid boot camp training, which is really f-in hard)

You know the only thing worse than getting back into shape after take a few months off?  Getting back into shape twice in about a month.

My original plan was to start training for Ironman Boulder in November.  I did that.  And went through the pain and agony of those initial weeks of mental and physical turmoil…only to get sick.

So, I got to start again a few weeks ago.  I can see why people don't like working out.  Until you get through about four weeks of it, it really does feel like someone is setting off matches in your lungs while sitting on your chest inside of a vise.

BUT…once you get through the first month, it doesn't feel like that at all.  It mostly just feels like all those things but you feel like a puss if you don't do it because now you know you can.

***

I've set some intentions for this race.  Mostly because if I don't find something new to think about when I'm on the bike for five+ hours at a time, I might actually go with my plan to speak with a British accent  at all stop signs.

I'll mention two of them for now.

Intention number one is to try to race between 169 and 175 pounds.  Now, I don't know if this is possible because (a) I think I was born at 175 pounds and (b) last race I pretty consistently stayed between 185 and 192…and I just don't know how I could lose more weight unless I did things like not eat at Red Robin.  But that is just crazy talk.  Anyway.  That is my intention.

Me at two days old.  I'm on the Left.
That is my one-year-old brother on the right.

Another intention is what I am going to call the PP.  Yes.  The PP.  In this case, PP stands for staying present and positive.

Staying Present: It's pretty easy to think about the next hour, the next month, the next Red Robin basket of bottomless fries…instead of being in the moment.  Being in the moment is crucial in so many parts of life, including triathlon training.  I can't worry about yesterday or tomorrow.  All I should focus on is what I am in control of…which is present time.  Self-helpy, but true.  One fry at a time….that's my motto!

Staying Positive: The other half of the P. I don't know if I'll be able to do this, though, since I'm not very good at it (ba-dum-bum).  It truly is easy to go negative when feeling overwhelmed, tired, hungry, or menstrual.  Positive self-talk is a real thing.  Positive self-talk with a British accent might be even more real.  Soon.  Very, very soon.

***

That's it for now.  I guess the only question left unanswered at this point…is who wants to help me with my PP?