Monthly Archives: March 2009

Eat like an animal.

It’s a load of hogwash when immigrants claim exclusivity over their culture’s relationship with food. How many times have you heard, “Oh, my mom is (Greek/Israeli/Armenian/Yemeni/Aboriginal/Korean/etc), she’s a feeder.” Even WASPs, our favorite homogenized, flavorless punching bag of Americana, bond over their disdain of food. That’s still bonding over food. We’re animals, we bond over food whether it’s hording, pushing, confusing food for love, searching for that feeling of fullness to satisfy an emptiness inside, or starving the beast thinking it makes you stronger. Food is considered the 4th event of triathlon, but in truth we all should be aware of what we put into our bodies. Just like our interpersonal relationships, passive neglect is still an action that has consequence.

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This one goes to 11.

This blog entry has no shape or function. I’m hoping I’ll find it in there as I write it. But of late everything is happening at once as a collection of items, no cohesion between them. Is a lack of cohesion a unifying theme? Is it too simplistic to make chaos the order of the day? I don’t think I thrive in chaos, and yet I seem to get a lot done. Or appear to get things done. People look at me and see someone accomplishing a lot, but from the inside it is just one gigantic sticky note of to-dos that never seem to get checked off.

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13.1 in 1:46. It wasn’t the shoes, it was the coach.

I had been feeling pain in my right ankle for a few weeks, which I finally realized was because I had broken down the soles of my shoes. I’ve been running on these shoes since August! I started using Training Peaks to track my shoe mileage in January, and according to the site I’d put 200 miles on the shoes. Its likely I’d run 500 miles on those sneakers; certainly a couple triathlons and half marathons. It was time for new shoes. I went back to New Balance and there’s a new model of the shoes I wear, now in hideous electric blue or bumblebee yellow. I now have a pair of ugly blue New Balance which correct my supination.

I am three weeks away from Oceanside 70.3, and I am knee-deep in heavy training. The slow tapering begins this coming week, but I’ve been going hard since last weekend and the Desert Tri training race. Today had a 1:45 descending interval run on the books. In the last few times I’ve done them I’ve gotten faster as the intervals get shorter, even though fatigue sets in slowly. I’ve been known to touch 7 minute miles doing this, which in the past I’ve blamed the Garmin for lying to me. I’ve come to acknowledge, slowly, that I am getting faster on foot. When Coach Brian offered to run with me after I went shoe shopping I happily took him up on the offer because 1) he’s a great, inspiring coach, 2) he gets me to run faster than I think I can, 3) company on a run is so much better than running alone, and 4) I really like his friendship. It turned out to be a breakthrough run for me.

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Just deserts.

Depriving the brain of oxygen strips away the delicate intellectual constructs of our personality leaving us in a purely reactionary state. I think our true nature is exposed when we are exhausted because our filters are gone, the reactions we try to have are suppressed, we revert back to our primary responses, and we have no ability to detach and examine ourselves abstractly. At least, this is my experience with fatigue. I know that when I am exhausted it takes tremendous effort not to respond to people from a purely emotional state and so I try not to engage or make decisions when I’m wiped out. I also try very hard to get enough rest while doing hard work so I can maintain those precious constructs that I feel define who I am as a person. At some point in an endurance race, everyone hits that mentally depleted point. I think this is what people talk about when they say that somewhere on the Ironman course you go a little crazy. Just like threshold training it’s possible to move that point further and further out, but inevitably it will come. Without knowing it, this weekend became the first mental threshold training.

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Desert warfare.

I leave for the desert shortly, heading to my first “training weekend” with my coach and a few other triathletes. We’re all racing the Desert Tri on Sunday, and I am doing the Olympic/International distance. Saturday Coach Brian has us planned to do an AM 60 mile ride/6 mile run and then an afternoon 40 mile ride/4 mile run. I’m missing today’s long run because my wife works for a living. Frankly, I’m glad to be resting today. I did a double yesterday (swim in the morning and Core Performance in the late morning) and almost squeaked in a triple by adding an hour run to the day. But since I couldn’t actually nap I didn’t have the energy for the run, and I’m more than a little worried about the volume of this weekend. Yes, it sounds fun. It also sounds like a recipe for exhaustion. Going into the race fatigued will be interesting, as well as a good reminder that it’s a warmup race for Oceanside. By not being able to race at 100% I am essentially sabotaging my results, but if I do well (and secretly I hope to do better than the LA Tri Oly distance 5 months ago) I will have much more confidence going in to Oceanside in 4 weeks. That is assuming I survive this weekend. Transition bag is packed, gear is stowed, grocery bags of powdered foodstuffs ready. Goodbye, legs.

Weightlessness.

Yesterday was one of those amazing, breakthrough workouts. Today’s was an admission of a weakness and big missing piece in my arsenal. I was registered to ride the Camp Pendelton Bulldog bike race, but as the date approached it made less and less sense to drive to Oceanside for a 24 mile road race. The LA Tri Club’s practice ride on the Oceanside course was also cancelled, so I needed to do something big for the day. Fellow LA Tri Club member and Speed Circuit buddy Lynne emailed me and invited me to ride with her for a 4 hour bike and 30 minute run. Lynne is an insanely fast runner and she regularly podiums at races. I agreed with no small amount of terror in my heart.

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