Thursday, September 23, 2010

Muskoka 70.3

It was hard.

The end.

How’s that for an epic race report?

This was my third time that I had done the race, previous report here and I was just not feeling the love. See previous post.

The summer has fallen apart on race goals but I’m good with that. I am, after all, not a pro, not an elite, not even a FOP (front of packer). It's not like it's my job.

Ironhusband was injured so was not up for the race, a friend from Cruise to Run arrived, also injured, and, along with her new boyfriend, proceeded to run interference on any plans to avoid the adult beverages before the race. Short story on that – I had a lot of fun Friday night but I think it came back to haunt my stomach on Sunday. I’m just not a spring chicken anymore.

Now, generally, given my pre-disposition to THE CRAZIES, I don't tend to even take a look at the swim course until it's basically too late. This year, so certain was I of kicking THE CRAZIES to the curb I actually I shoved myself into my wetsuit and hit the lake the day before the race.
It was cold.
But, other than the fact that my new women's specific goggles were constantly leaking (always try things out before a race!), I was very calm just swimming around the water toys at the beach, talking to others in the lake, and generally proving to myself that I was going to be great tomorrow.
And it was.
I'm going to cut to the chase and just go by the numbers. Absent transition times (boring story - honestly on why they were longer), I was actually 2 minutes faster than last year, and more importantly, moved way up in ranking. My bike was almost the same as last  year to the minute, my run sucked at + 4 minutes but, wait for it:
I took 8 minutes off the swim and only back stroked to, well, belch a couple times. I didn't even have any asthma problems. I freaking rocked.
I did feel the lack of training. The bike started out great and then I faded large on the last third or so, same story with the run, but it was just great to be able to complete a very tough half-ironman on what is now my general fitness level.
Right now I just have the Run for the Toad a week Saturday. I'm still registered for the 50K but I'm sure it will be just 25k for me. And that's ok. It's all ok. I'll just run the trail, maybe hug random strangers, and eat the great food waiting for my ride. Alex can't be there so I'm going with a couple of very fast women (and no, I don't mean what you think I mean) - hmmph - a couple of very speedy women (not much better) - what I mean is, they are doing the 50k and I don't imagine  that I'm going to be waiting very long for them. I'll have a lawn chair, a book, an iphone, and a big plate of food. And, a new friend to get to know who is running it as well. We've been fixed up on the date by a mutual friend from the cruise. I'll be sure to shave my legs.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Anatomy of a Burnout: Incorporating many metaphors that don’t particularly go anywhere

We’ve all been there – suddenly the things that used to be bring you joy, the obsession that once bored everyone around you, and, let’s be honest, the vast money pit that you threw all your ill gotten gains into, well, it’s just not so interesting anymore. And that hurts.

At first I thought that the metaphor of hurting would lead to a conclusion that it hurt like falling out of love, but, it’s not that. You know the love will be back. You’re just not ready for that much love right now.

The winter run season started out with a greatly reduced desire to do much of any kind of training. I just wanted some time to myself to do some interesting things that I hadn’t had time for before. What I really wanted was to learn to make cheese, although amount of cheese made was something very close to zero. But, to that end I created and embraced a super low volume training regime that somehow took me to a bunch of PBs. I got an ego burst from the PBs, no doubt but I should have listened to that cheese maker in my head and should not have signed us up for two half-ironman races.

But it’s scary you know. Triathlon saved us from a future that I know would have seen both of us obese, unhealthy and, regardless of what Ironhusband often says, very much unhappy. Physical fitness is happiness. So, to take off time from training is a little bit like being surrounded by your drug of choice when you’re newly out of rehab. We’ve been 5 years “fitness-sober” but that doesn’t mean deep fried cheese sticks and the couch don’t look awfully tempting. As well, we’re doing Ironman again next year and we didn’t want to lose too much fitness.

But you know what – we’re good around the cheese sticks and the couches. I know we would have gotten out on the bike, on the trails to run, and maybe even into the lake for some laps around the bay. Mostly because, for us, physical fitness is happiness and we really dig the happiness.

So, I’ve got two metaphors going right now, the idea of love that hurts and the metaphor of drug addiction. I’m not saying I’m a professional writer so stay with me as I work that out in my mind.

Most of the time I love triathlon. I do. I love the three sports and the wonderful way that one rejuvenates the body that is exhausted from the others. A swim after a run is wonderful, stretching out all the muscles that just took a pounding adding further quiet, contemplative time to the workout. Getting off the bike and starting a run is tough, that’s why we practice it but, you get to slow down and feel the nature that you’re running though at a speed more favourable to noticing the details. Then, if you’re lucky, you get back on your bike, cool yourself down with the wind and experience the speed that allows you the fantastic sensation of flight.

And the races…all those people with all those body types, everyone excited, nervous and very much proud of themselves and each other. And everyone wearing spandex. Oh the glories of spandex. We should all wear it more, especially since it seems to alarm the non-sporty types.

So, back to the narrative. This year we actually DNS’s a race. (DNS = did not start) The saying is that DFL (dead f&^%ing last) is better than DNF (did not finish) is better than DNS so there was some dishonour in that for us but, well, we DNS’d. The weather was calling for a 90% chance of 10-15 mm of rain for our Bracebridge half-iron distance and, although we wasted a perfectly good Saturday night on nothing more adult than San Pellegrino mineral water, (not wanting to make the call not to race just in case the weather changed), it was a good call as the heavens opened up right at the 8 am start time and didn’t stop all day.

Now, we are very close to our last race, our A race of the year – the Muskoka 70.3. Alex can’t do it, he’s had a shoulder injury that just isn’t getting any better and that keeps him from being able to swim. Me, I’m just not so excited about the race but we have a non-refundable hotel reservation at the host hotel so, although that’s a sunk cost we might as well enjoy it.

So, how to turn the attitude around and enjoy this race. It’s a tough bike course and I’m massively under trained for it. But, I’ve made great strides in my swimming so I’m looking forward to testing that out in the swim. I will get through the bike because I’m an Ironman and I can’t let the tattoo down. Some of the big hills might be walked but that’s not my plan. I’m debating whether to not wear a watch to take off any pressure of worrying about a PB and that idea sounds good right now.

I am excited about my 25k trail race the first Saturday in October. I signed up for the 50 k but I know I’m just not ready for that. After that, it’s 6 weeks off, vacation in Arizona with bikes, volunteer at Ironman and sign up for next year. I’m still thinking 50 miler next May but, if as it approaches I think 50 k is a better bet there is no ego on the line and I can go for the shorter distance.

Hmm, ego, now there’s a third leg to triathlon table. (warned you on the metaphors!). When I started this journey 6 years ago I knew that part of the motivation was to get people in my life to perhaps pay some attention to me. What I’ve come to realize is that those people won’t suddenly be impressed by something they don’t understand, and something done by someone that they don’t particularly respect because, well, why would facts change an opinion they have based on anything but facts.

So maybe that’s why I’m a little wobbly right now. Tables need 4 legs for stability. So far I’ve build the ego leg, the love leg, the fear of fat leg – I’m missing a leg.

Off to find that leg – talk to you soon.