Thought for the Day

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


"I hurt myself today
to see if I still feel"
 - Trent Reznor, "Hurt"

Yesterday my legs felt baseball-bat-beaten. They're a little better today.
I ran the Arizona Road Racers Desert Classic 30K on Sunday, which should have been a fun, unique distance. It should be too short to "hit the Wall." But the sad fact is I was in no shape to do this race, and it's been a long time since I've been in shape to do any race.

I have some amazing friends, and some of them also ran this 30K.

The indomitable Melissa Williams was first in her age group, with Lara Pockros just behind her in second and type 1 diabetic Ironman Kevin Burgess following her.
Mel and Lara

I had kept right with them through the first half of the race, on an out and back course along the Arizona Canal. But I was hurting. Both legs were sore, but at the twelve mile marker, I thought to myself, "It's only a little over a 10K to go. Pick it up!"
As soon as I accelerated a little, my left calf started to cramp. It never knotted up, but it threatened me.
And after about 14 miles, I had no more energy to even think about accelerating.
People started passing me from behind. They weren't speeding up, most of them. It was just that I was slowing down.
I had dropped into that death march that should only happen in a marathon you're under-trained for, and this was just a 30K.

OK. Lesson learned. Again.
I have the Carlsbad Marathon on January 23rd, and plenty of time to train for it. I got one good, long run in on Sunday. I put in a lot of miles at marathon pace. I can be ready to race without hurting myself too bad by January 23rd, right?


Monday, December 13, 2010

That's impressive

Back on November 20th, I rode El Tour de Tucson, 109 miles around Tucson, Arizona. I had imagined that I might be able to do it in under 8 hours, but it was just my imagination once again.
There were a few hills, and some headwinds that may as well have been hills, but mostly it was just a long, more or less flat ride. I have got to get in way better shape by the time May 7, 2011, and Ironman St. George rolls around.

Another thing that makes El Tour de Tucson slower than it would otherwise be are a couple of stretches of trail, where you have to dismount your bike and walk it for at least a quarter mile on narrow, dusty (muddy in some other years) trails as you cross a river and a creek bed.
But of course, the most significant thing slowing me down is the fact that I haven't been riding that much. Other than the JDRF ride across Death Valley, I hadn't ridden over 25 miles in months.
So El Tour de Tucson ended up being an all day thing, another nine hour ride. I was a lot more comfortable than in Death Valley. The weather was perfect, overcast most of the day.

The following day Ironman Arizona was going on in Tempe, and several Triabetes athletes, like Julie Sekella, Steve Parker, and Jason Uhl, were out doing it. I didn't get down to the course to cheer them on until about five in the afternoon. (I was laying tile getting the house ready for Thanksgiving company.)
I hadn't eaten yet when I got there, and neither had Jenny Crandell and Christian Chiappe who had been cheerleading all day. So I suggested we make a quick trip to FatBurger, as Peter Nerothin had earlier that day.
Shortly after we ordered, Chrissie Wellington herself walked into the restaurant. She got a standing ovation. She would have been appreciated any time, of course, but this was just a couple hours after she had set a new women's Ironman world record.

Christian and Jenny were wearing their Triabetes jackets, and they asked to get their picture taken with her. She was very cheery and accommodating. I took a picture with Jenny's phone. She assures me it's not my fault it's so blurry.

We thanked Chrissie for her patience, and sat down to continue our meal. I started to send a text to my brother Jon about being in FatBurger with Chrissie Wellington. Chrissie walked over and asked Jenny for a recommendation on the fries, steak fries or skinny fries. Jenny said she had chosen the skinny fries.
It took me a moment to realize I should stop texting and actually pay attention to what was happening in real life.
Chrissie then commented on the burgers we had, and I told her I had bacon, egg, and cheese on mine. (Yes, I had the half pound burger with bacon, egg, and cheese on it. Why go to FatBurger if you're not getting a big, fat, burger?)
She said, "Yes, but you haven't finished yours." Well, I hadn't finished mine as quickly as Jenny and Christian because they had ordered more ordinary burgers, not gut-busters, but before I could explain that, Chrissie said, "But you didn't do an Ironman today, did you?"
I just said, "No, I didn't, but I'll finish this."
Then Jenny said, "He did ride his bike 109 miles yesterday, though."
And Chrissie Wellington, a couple of hours after setting a world Ironman record, looked me in the eye and said, with no hint of sarcasm I could detect, "That's impressive."

I should have said something. I should have said, "Thanks." But all I could do was tip my head to the side, furrow my brow and go,"Ohhhhhh." It was like a groan. I was dumbstruck.