#10: randomness from the frazzled mind of an endurance athlete

This was a crazy week……and I apologize in advance for this blog….unless of course you have a very short attention span, in which case, it is my finest work!  

*Recommendation*  read the blog and then go back and click on all of the links at least once.

Between traveling back from Texas last weekend, a work-week that seemed as much busy-ness as business for the first 4 days, a couple of late evening presentations that all but nixed any significant training, an act of God in the form of another dumping of snow, a strained popliteus muscle……(is that even a real muscle? enough of these BS bumps and bruises already!) and a Friday spent all day in class, (a class I was really looking forward to, but unfortunately happened to be in the “big city”) was nearly enough to put me over the edge…….when did I enter purgatory? and why on earth would anyone (in this case, I) CHOOSE to do this?   By Thursday evening I was pretty darn near shot…….I had gotten in a pretty weak 4 hours of training for the entire week…..about 50% of what I should have done……and with the PACER Team’s (our endurance racing team) social on Friday night, I was in for a long weekend.

Well, this too shall pass.  Friday turned out to be a really cool course……a bunch of different Endurance “gurus” from all corners of the globe of expertise….from Sports Medicine experts, to surgeons, to coaches, to bio-engineers to physiologists, to nutritionists to physical therapists and even a shoe expert forming a panel of presentations all related to endurance and specifically Swim, Bike, Run……picked up some very cool perspectives on all areas of tri-sports, not to mention an awesome hot cuban (that’s a sandwich for those that might need clarification); and after a grueling commute home (I have serious respect for the people who do this everyday), was able to recharge my mental batteries with the members of the team that have helped foster this whole journey more than they know…..a great group of positive people, eating health-“ier” fare (which I define as at least a “B” on the total health-nut scale), enjoying the company of other positive people.  Not sure if it’s just me, or if others in the group get the effect too, but the support that you get from others who “get it” and are pushing their own limits is HUGE.

So Saturday rolls around and it’s time to get serious.  4 hours on the bike + 30 min of running to complete the “brick”.  Getting started was tough….4 hours….on a bike trainer….first hour and 1/2 goes by pretty quickly (it may sound strange, but at this point an hour of exercise feels like a warm-up)…..I’m trying to keep up with some level of caloric load so I don’t crash at the end…..banana + 1/2 peanut butter & honey sandwich and some Ironman Perform (powerbar’s new version of gatorade) to wash it down and keep electrolytes going in.  Next hour and 1/2 I do a race course……which passes the time pretty quickly since the resistance changes and it requires some shifting, etc…….another banana and 1/2 sandwich (I really need to find something different than bananas….even though after watching banana time with Elvis, I’m a huge believer in their nutritional power, I’m really starting to get sick of them…..if you could only combine them with other things and give them more “utility”….such as a company that will write your name on a banana for advertising….darn, spoke too soon….banananame.com has already cornered that market)…..ANYWAY….by now my legs are getting tired and my mind bored……..even the current offering on “movies that don’t suck” (quite the clever title campaign for Saturday movies) on G4* isn’t having the intended effect…..shout out to Tony B (brother-in-law) – saw the commercial for Poynt (his baby) in blackberry app-world…..pretty cool!  I’m going to download for iPhone!

* Editorial side note: Return of the dragon was on….(I know, it seems odd to me too how Bruce Lee keeps popping up…see previous blog)…all I can say is Chuckie Norris has some of the hairiest upper traps I’ve ever seen; I’ll never look at the total gym the same again.  But, the PT in me likes that they warm-up appropriately* Clip 1 below.

Anyway, by now, I’m tired and I start thinking back to a really interesting part of the course the day before……talking about the difference between VO2max (which is genetically limited) and Lactate threshold which can be trained……”how close can you get to that threshold and how long can you stay there can be all of the difference” they told us…..and I realize that’s exactly where I’m at.  My muscles are starting to ache and the urge to “just give it up for today, after all, it’s been a hard week” is starting to ring through my head……but I realize, this is where I’ll actually be getting something out of my training….the threshold, now is the time to focus……I get through the remaining hour, towel off the sweat, which has now formed into a puddle deep enough to require a lifeguard be present, and go out and do a quick 30 minutes of jogging on legs that aren’t quite sure they’re into it.  Surprisingly though, I’m feeling upbeat…….this is a good test….put on the garmin, walk outside and (of course) it starts to snow fairly heavily…..sort of a cruel joke I think…..but whatever…..we’re all in now, and off I run……working hard, but legs are feeling pretty good……lean forward….short cadence, push with the glutes I tell myself……legs are feeling better by the step…..finish off the course about 3 minutes ahead of schedule and the training day is done!  

Sunday rolls around and 90 minutes in the pool goes by fast enough b/c I am seriously focusing on my technique……again, based on some of the sage advice I picked up from the course……R shoulder didn’t love it, but definitely a break through technical session.

So on the whole a week that started as a disaster from a training perspective, ended strong.  I was able to stay consistent and get something in on 6 of 7 days, but I definitely had to sacrifice volume (10 actual hours vs. 15 planned).  I have another busy week ahead so I have to figure out how to add another flaming sword to the juggling act…..I’m convinced amateur endurance athletes are the best time managers in the world……but I think it can be done…….my wife’s head isn’t spinning (completely) around yet with this whole thing and my kids still remember who I am most of the time and my friends and family think I’m crazy, but seem to be enjoying watching this train-wreck unfold……so I guess it could always be worse……and so, I guess there’s not really much more to say than: I hope your week was at least as good as mine…..if not, just ring me up on the banana-phone and I’ll talk you down (want to test your strength?  Click on that link, and if you can resist getting that song stuck in your head, you would NEVER have allowed Ben and Luke to move along so easily….it’s the oldest trick in the book…..clip 2…pretty sure it’s flash, so doesn’t play on iPhone/pod/pad….one of my few complaints with Mac).

Alright……I think this has been about enough fun for one day…..go do something!

“Remember, baseball is just a game, but music is life.” (Mark Panopoulos & Doc Phillips (CFMU))

– Mike E.