Thought for the Day

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day

I know this is late, but I've been thinking about, and I did think about what Memorial Day is about while I had a burger and a hot dog and a beer on Monday.

We say, and it's true, that this training for Ironman takes commitment and dedication, but it doesn't bear up to any comparison to the commitment and dedication of those we honor on Memorial Day. Their solemn dedication is on another level.
It takes some courage to sign up to toe the line at Ironman, but it's nothing like putting your life on the line for your country in the chaos of war.
So, as long as I've got this public soapbox here, I should take at least a moment to say thanks.

On another note, I've been reading Joe Friel's Triathlon Training Bible, and I found his description of the evolution of a wish... to a dream... to a goal... to a mission, to be very accurate and worth thinking about. I believe I need to move on from the dream/goal stage to the goal/mission stage.
I need to get on a mission.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tempe International Triathlon

On Friday, I had no intention of signing up for a triathlon. But there was the Tempe International Triathlon, just a few miles from my home. All of my local Triabetes phrends were doing it, Kevin, David, and Julie. They all encouraged me to "give it a shot."
So on Saturday I went down to Tempe Beach Park, registered, and checked my bike in. I fretted about it Saturday night, getting my stuff together. I got up at 4 AM Sunday morning and ate a quick breakfast.
I went back over everything I had prepared for the race:
- chilled water bottles to go onto my bike, partially frozen because it was going to be a hot day.
- insulin and a syringe in my Frio, in case my infusion set came out during the swim.
- bike shoes.
- running shoes.
- new Giro helmet and sunglasses.
- bike gloves.
- socks strategically rolled up to be easily unrolled onto my feet after the swim.
I drove back to the park for the race. The start was to be at 6:30 AM for the first wave, and I was in the third wave. I got there about 5:40 AM.
I got my chip on my ankle, got my number and age written on my arms and legs, and went in and carefully laid out my stuff for transition. I had turned my basal rate down thinking I didn't want too much insulin on board during the swim. When I checked, I was at 200.
I didn't want to be too high. I remembered everything I heard from my diabetic friends who have done this was that the adrenalin at the start of the swim will always send your blood sugar up. So I bolused half a unit.
I met with Kevin, David, Julie, and other friends. I talked for a while with Aaron.
Then it was time to actually walk over to the water. I pulled on my swim cap, put my goggles on my head, and got in line.
I watched and waited while the other waves were starting. I kept a look out for other people who looked like they might be as bad at swimming as I am. I saw a few people who stopped and did a side stroke for a few feet before swimming again. I was a little encouraged.
But I was getting a little doubtful looking at the actual course. It is a long way. I knew it was farther than I had ever swum before.
Then it was time to get in the water. I was far back in my group as I could get. I got in and started treading water. I can't say that it wore me out. I felt comfortable enough at that point.
And soon enough the horn went off and we were swimming ahead.
I only swam for a few strokes, then I looked up to see where I was. I was right where I should have expected myself to be, at the back of the pack. I took a few more strokes, and felt compelled to look up again.
I could only bring myself to swim a few strokes at a time, and I kept feeling more and more uneasy. So of course, I was falling farther and farther behind my wave.
Maybe I was hyperventilating. I can't say for sure. It just seemed like I couldn't bear to just put my head down and swim and keep swimming.
I had some thoughts running through my mind, things like maybe I should have checked my blood sugar again, maybe I'll go low because it's so far, the next wave is going to swim right over me, etc.
But it really wasn't a decision I made because I thought about it. I didn't reason it out, weigh the pros and cons, and decide I should quit. I was swimming a little, then stopping, swimming and stopping. I was looking at the girl in one of the kayaks thinking, "Will she help me?" Then out of the corner of my eye I saw one of the little piers they have paddle boats parked at. I had been drifting closer and closer to the shore.
I saw an easy way out, and I took it. As I said, I didn't think about. It was more like how you'd expect me to react if I'd fallen in. I found the quickest way out.
All of the preparation, everything planned and set up for the race, none of it mattered. I didn't even consider it. I just wanted out of the water.
Once I had grabbed onto the pier, I thought about all of the people watching. Most of them hardly noticed me climbing out. They were watching other people in the race. Still, I was surprised that I wasn't mortified. I ought to have been more embarrassed, but there didn't seem to be any point. It was done.
I just got out and sat down. I thought about it for a while, then went to the finish line and turned in my chip.
I'm seriously shaken up by this wake up call.
I was embarrassed at the race, but when I think about it, I'm ashamed that I had the audacity to get in the water without doing the necessary work first. My friends who rocked at the race yesterday were able to do it because they had done the work to prepare themselves.
I don't blame anyone for "talking me into it." No one knew where I was better than I did. Both registering for the race and quitting were my decisions, right or wrong.
So now, after hundreds of races, including dozens of marathons, I've got my first DNF in my first triathlon.
I'm trying to take the best lesson I can from this experience and re-commit myself to training harder, especially in swimming.
After bailing out, I actually had a nice morning walking around talking to people and watching the race. I had breakfast with Sue at a creperie in downtown Tempe.
Then I got back down to the finish just in time to see David, Kevin, and Julie finish their successful races.
Congratulations, Triabetes Teammates!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Avenue of the Giants

If it looks like I'm really suffering in this picture from the Avenue of the Giants Marathon, then it's a good likeness.
I was not in shape for a marathon last weekend. I did a 65 mile bike ride that I wasn't in shape for the week before.
So I almost got the marathon I deserved. The thing that was better than I deserved was the fact that this is a beautiful course, and the weather was perfect for running. The temperature stayed in the 50's for the whole race, probably cooler in lots of places due to the shade of the forest.
Anyway, I got my 49th lifetime marathon out of the way, and I won't do any more of those until after Ironman Arizona.
The marathon was just part of the trip to Northern California. The more important part was the visit with my daughter, her fiance, and my grandson, River.
Now I'm sick. I've got a head full of mucous. It's hard to get motivated feeling like this. The main motivation right now is the dread of having an awful time trying to finish in November.