A vision for my life - Because what we focus on expands

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

54 on my 40th

My 40th birthday was on 8/14, so I took up the Bfit Birthday Gold Challenge over the weekend. Swim the first number of your age, bike the combined number, and run the last number (10 miles if it ends in a 0 – good for me) within 24 hours.

Since we all know that endurance sports offer great metaphors for life, what did I learn by going 54 miles for my 40th birthday? I'll get to that in a minute. First, the workout.....

I had absolutely no desire to swim 4 miles straight through, so I kicked things off with a 2.4 mile pool swim on Friday night. Putting things in perspective, swimming 2.4 miles in the ironman was a blast. Surrounded by 2000 type A's all headed torward the same spot in the ocean.....helicopters overhead....huge crowds cheering for us.....

In comparison, swimming 2.4 miles in the pool was REALLY boring...and my nose and sinuses got stuffy from the pool water.

Screw the swimmers mile. I split the swim up into 2x2100, taking a couple of minutes in between to sip some water, plus an extra 25 at the end for 4225. Total time was 1:33 - about the same time as my IM swim.

The next morning I was up at 5, drank my usual pre-workout Boost +, and sipped on some coffee on the way to St. Augustine. A lot of the hammerheads are training for summer and fall IMs, including IM Lou, IM Moo, and Kona, and Al – one of the hammerheads training for IM Moo - graciously hosted a group workout for us at his waterfront condo.

We gathered at Al’s at 7, and jumped in the water for an open water swim at around 7:30. His condo is right on the inlet in St Augustine, so he planned the workout for us to be swimming as the tide was coming in, so we would have nice clean water to swim in. From the end of his dock to a sandbar and back was .8 of a mile, and the plan was for everyone to do two laps.

My nose and sinuses were still stuffy from the night before, and the warm salt water just made things worse, so I bagged it after one lap. I had no desire to keep putting my face back in the salt water, just to aggravate my sinuses more, so I waited on the dock with a couple others who didn’t go back for a 2nd lap. Swim time of 38 minutes.

T1 was in Al’s pool on the way back up to his condo :)

After a few minutes for everyone to change, we hit the bikes. After 20 miles, the group split, with those training for later races going for another 20 before turning around, and those tapering for upcoming races turning around with me to get in 40. The ride was pretty uneventful, other than a pretty good headwind on the way back.

Total ride time was 2:09

A few minutes to change and it was time to get our run on.

We started as a group at a pretty easy pace, which would have been easy to maintain in cooler weather; however, this is Florida and we started running at 11. After 3 miles or so the rest of the group turned back, and I was left with a couple more miles out before turning around. The good news – I got to run on the beach, my favorite running spot. The bad news – it was in the high 80’s low 90’s and steamy.

My slow pace quickly changed to a 4/1: run 4 minutes, walk one, which I kept up for the next 7 miles. Even that became challenging over the last couple of miles. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Why bother doing it if it’s easy?

Total time for the run was 1:50, a rather pedestrian pace, although that’s what I get for so doing so little training the past few weeks.

After finishing the run it was back into the pool for a quick dip to cool off and time to enjoy a couple of beers, burgers and brats that Al so thoughtfully provided for all. Lori and Elle came down to join us for our post workout festivities, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.

One slight problem – since I only did one lap in the inlet that morning, I still had another .8 of a mile of swimming to do. Ugggghhhhhhh. For those of you that have been reading my blog, you already know my thoughts on swimming. Oh well…..thanks to Al and the rest of the hammerheads for the great workout, company, food and beer…..I’m headed back to the pool

Another 1425 yds in 33 minutes and I was done:

Swim 4 miles, bike 40 miles, run 10 miles, brag for the rest of…..Oops….wrong tag line…..I’ll, save that for IM CDA next June….

Total time: 6:41:56.

So what did I learn from this silly way of celebrating my birthday?


1. I’ve come a really long way when it comes to swimming. Two years ago I couldn’t swim 100 yds without stopping. The last few months I’ve swam once a week for 2000 yds or so at the absolute most. For me to swim 2.4 miles (4 total) with so little training is huge.

1a. Whether I swim 3-4k three times / week or swim 2k one time / week, my times are about the same. I'd have to swim 5-6 times per week to improve, and even then I'd probably only gain 10-15 minutes. I'll stick to focusing on biking an running.

2. I’m still are REALLY bad swimmer. Everything’s relative :)

3. Group rides are always better than riding solo. For the next few months I want to do a lot more group riding on the weekends instead of doing intervals on my own.

4. I can run 10 miles without too much of a problem on a whim.

5. Don’t run 10 miles on a whim in the middle of the day when it’s too f*&$ing hot out.

6. If I do run on a whim in the middle of the day when it’s too f*&$ing hot out, I’ll very quickly remember that I’m 40 and take a while to recover. I was completely wrecked after the run.

7. I hate swimming.

8. I finish what I start. Period. It would have been very easy to hang around Al’s and enjoy the good company, and good food, and really good beer, and bail on the rest of the swim, turning the gold challenge into the bronze or silver challenge by stretching things out over a few days or even a week. But that’s not what I committed to. Why bother doing it if it's easy.

9. My health and fitness are 100 times better than they were when I celebrated my 20th birthday.

10. I have some great friends who see fitness as a lifestyle, and not something they have to do on occasion.

Live with purpose....Enjoy the adventure....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

With age comes....

I know. You were expecting wisdom.

Well doing 4 miles of swimming, 40 miles of biking and 10 miles of running in Florida in August is most definitely not the smartest thing in the world.

My 40th birthday gold challenge is done, and so am I.

I'll post a report later (once I'm recovered).

For now


2.4 miles pool 1:33:26
.8 miles open water 36:23
.8 miles pool (after biking and running) 33:06

Swim time: 2:42:55


40 miles 2:09:12


10 miles 1:49:49

Total time: 6:41:56

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Bfit Birthday Challenge

Now that 40's arrived, it's time to take my fitness out for a spin (pun intended), and take on the bfit birthday challenge:

4 mile swim
40 mile bike
10 mile run

So as not to be completely miserable, the first 2.4 miles of swimming is going to be in the pool tonight. The other 1.6 is the ocean tomorrow, followed by the 40 mile ride and 10 mile run

Gotta love being in better shape now than when I was 1/2 this age :)

Stay tuned....

Live with purpose...Enjoy the adventure....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Connecting the dots

You can only connect the dots looking backwards:

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dealing with Taper Madness

I saw this post on beginnertriathlete.com. It's one of the best posts I've read:

Right now you've all entered the taper. Perhaps you've been at this a few months, perhaps you've been at this a few years. For some of you this is your first IM, for others, a long-overdue welcome back to a race that few can match.

You've been following your schedule to the letter. You've been piling on the mileage, piling up the laundry, and getting a set of tan lines that will take until next year to erase. Long rides were followed by long runs, which both were preceded by long swims, all of which were followed by recovery naps that were longer than you slept for any given night during college.

You ran in the snow.
You rode in the rain.
You ran in the heat.
You ran in the cold.

You went out when others stayed home.
You rode the trainer when others pulled the covers over their heads.

You have survived the Darwinian progression that is an Ironman summer, and now the hardest days are behind you. Like a climber in the Tour de France coming over the summit of the penultimate climb on an alpine stage, you've already covered so much ground...there's just one more climb to go. You shift up, you take a drink, you zip up the jersey; the descent lies before you...and it will be a fast one.

Time that used to be filled with never-ending work will now be filling with silent muscles, taking their final, well-earned rest. While this taper is something your body desperately needs, your mind cast off to the background for so very long, will start to speak to you.

It won't be pretty.

It will bring up thoughts of doubt, pain, hunger, thirst, failure, and loss. It will give you reasons why you aren't ready. It will try and make one last stand to stop you, because your brain doesn't know what the body already does. Your body knows the truth:

You are ready.

Your brain won't believe it. It will use the taper to convince you that this is foolish - that there is too much that can go wrong.

You are ready.

Finishing an Ironman is never an accident. It's the result of dedication, focus, hard work, and belief that all the long runs in January, long rides in April, and long swims every damn weekend will be worth it. It comes from getting on the bike, day in, day out. It comes from long, solo runs. From that first long run where you wondered, "How will I ever be ready?" to the last long run where you smiled to yourself with one mile to go...knowing that you'd found the answer.

It is worth it. Now that you're at the taper, you know it will be worth it. The workload becomes less. The body winds up and prepares, and you just need to quiet your worried mind. Not easy, but you can do it.

You are ready.

You will walk into the water with 2000 other wide-open sets of eyes. You will look upon the sea of humanity, and know that you belong. You'll feel the chill of the water crawl into your wetsuit, and shiver like everyone else, but smile because the day you have waited for so VERY long is finally here.

You will tear up in your goggles. Everyone does.

The helicopters will roar overhead.
The splashing will surround you.

You'll stop thinking about Ironman, because you're now racing one.

The swim will be long - it's long for everyone, but you'll make it. You'll watch as the shoreline grows and grows, and soon you'll hear the end. You'll come up the beach and head for the wetsuit strippers. Three people will get that sucker off before you know what happening, then you’ll head for the bike.

The voices, the cowbells, and the curb-to-curb chalk giving you a hero's sendoff can't wipe the smile off your face.

You'll settle down to your race. The crowds will spread out on the road. You'll soon be on your bike, eating your food on your schedule, controlling your Ironman.

You'll start to feel that morning sun turn to afternoon sun. It's warmer now. Maybe it's hot. Maybe you're not feeling so good now. You'll keep riding. You'll keep drinking. You'll keep moving. After all, this is just a long training day with valet parking and catering, right?

You'll put on your game face, fighting the urge to feel down as you ride for what seems like hours. You reach special needs, fuel up, and head out.

By now it'll be hot. You'll be tired. Doubts will fight for your focus. Everyone struggles here. You've been on that bike for a few hours, and stopping would be nice, but you won't - not here. Not today.

You'll grind the false flats to the climb. You'll know you're almost there. You'll fight for every inch of road. The crowd will come back to you here. Let their energy push you. Let them see your eyes. Smile when they cheer for you - your body will get just that little bit lighter.


You'll plunge down the road, swooping from corner to corner, chaining together the turns, tucking on the straights, letting your legs recover for the run to come - soon! You'll roll back - you'll see people running out. You'll think to yourself, "Wasn't I just here?" The noise
will grow. The chalk dust will hang in the air - you're back, with only 26.2 miles to go. You'll relax a little bit, knowing that even if you get a flat tire or something breaks here, you can run the damn bike into T2.

You'll roll into transition. 100 volunteers will fight for your bike. You'll give it up and not look back. You'll have your bag handed to you, and into the tent you'll go. You'll change. You'll load up your pockets, and open the door to the last long run of your Ironman summer - the one that counts.

You'll take that first step of a thousand...and you'll smile. You'll know that the bike won't let you down now - the race is down to your own two feet. The same crowd that cheered for you in the shadows of the morning will cheer for you in the brilliant sunshine of a summer Sunday. High-five people on the way out. Smile. Enjoy it. This is what you've worked for all year long.

That first mile will feel great. So will the second. By mile 3, you probably won't feel so good.

That's okay. You knew it couldn't all be that easy. You'll settle down just like you did on the bike, and get down to your pace. You'll see the leaders coming back the other way. Some will look great - some won't. You might feel great, you might not. No matter how you feel, don't panic - this is the part of the day where whatever you're feeling, you can be sure it won't last.

You'll keep moving. You'll keep drinking. You'll keep eating. Maybe you'll be right on plan - maybe you won't. If you're ahead of schedule, don't worry - believe. If you're behind, don't panic - roll with it. Everyone comes up with a brilliant race plan for Ironman, and then everyone has to deal with the reality that planning for something like Ironman is like trying to land a man on the moon. By remote control. Blindfolded.

How you react to the changes in your plan will dictate your day. Don't waste energy worrying about things - just do what you have to when you have to, and keep moving. Keep eating. Keep drinking. Just don't sit down - don't EVER sit down.

You'll make it to the halfway point. You'll load up on special needs. Some of what you packed will look good, some won't. Eat what looks good, toss the rest. Keep moving. Start looking for people you know. Cheer for people you don't. You're headed in - they're not. They want to be
where you are, just like you wanted to be when you saw all those fast people headed into town. Share some energy - you'll get it right back.

Run if you can.
Walk if you have to.
Just keep moving.

The miles will drag on. The brilliant sunshine will yawn. You'll be coming up to those aid stations fully alive with people, music, and chicken soup. TAKE THE SOUP. Keep moving.

You'll soon only have a few miles to go. You'll start to believe that you're going to make it. You'll start to imagine how good it's going to feel when you get there. Let those feelings drive you on. When your legs just don't want to move anymore, think about what it's going to be like when someone catches you…and puts a medal over your head... all you have to do is get there.

You'll start to hear the people in town. People you can't see in the twilight will cheer for you. They'll call out your name. Smile and thank them. They were there when you left on the bike, and when you came back, and when you left on the run, and now when you've come back.

You'll enter town. You'll start to realize that the day is almost over. You'll be exhausted, wiped out, barely able to run a 10-minute mile (if you're lucky), but you'll ask yourself, "Where did the whole day go?" You'll be standing on the edge of two feelings - the desire to finally stop, and the desire to take these last moments and make them last as long as possible.

You'll hit mile 25. Your Ironman will have 1.2 miles - just 2KM left in it.

You'll run. You'll find your legs. You'll fly. You won't know how, but you will run. The lights will grow brighter, brighter, and brighter. Soon you'll be able to hear the music again. This time, it'll be for keeps.

Soon they'll see you. Soon, everyone will see you. You'll run towards the lights, between the fences, and into the night sun made just for you.

They'll say your name.
You'll keep running.
Nothing will hurt.

The moment will be yours - for one moment, the entire world will be looking at you and only you.

You'll break the tape at the finish line, 140.6 miles after starting your journey. The flash will go off.

You'll stop. You'll finally stop. Your legs will wobble their last, and suddenly...be capable of nothing more.

Someone will catch you.
You'll lean into them.

It will suddenly hit you.


You are ready.

You are ready.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Public Service Announcement

Since I'm not updating my blog very often these days, subscribe at http://reader.google.com, so you'll instantly know the next time I add any witty and enthralling entries....

Live with purpose....enjoy the adventure....