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.

I am Jack’s raging Epic Volume. I am pushing the big gear for ten minute sprints at 24 mph until my legs burn and my chest is going to explode. Then I spin easy for two minutes and do it again while a movie plays in front of me making me cry. Is it the movie or is it the burning in my legs? The voices in my head telling me to quit or drive harder. The demotivators which are countered by the motivators. The demotivators always come first, they do, I can’t stop them. But they’re always first in line to say QUIT. It’s easier on the couch. Go look at boobs for a while. Or return all those phone calls you’ve been putting off. Hell, look at boobs while you return calls. They’ll never know.

But I know if I do that I’ll lay myself down to sleep at night and as I drift off I’ll realize that one day I’m going to be dead and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. Then the rationalizing begins. What did I do today that gave my life value? Did I reach out to anyone? Did I get better at what I do? Did I invest in myself or others? Or did I just take up space, suck up some resources and fraud my way through the day. Yes, that’s every night.

People find me on the interwebs. They read me and ask how I’m doing. I like to have an answer. Yesterday a student emailed me to cite an essay in her paper and wanted proper MLA formatting. That’s a first.

The day of reckoning is coming soon. Too soon. Oceanside is less than two weeks away. Five plus hours of continuous motion. Why? Why does anyone do these things? Set ourselves up for disaster or narcissistic glory? What will it say about me if I break five hours and forty five minutes? Who cares if I pull an hour and a half off my time? And worse, what if I don’t make it? What happens if I fail?

My wife asked if I get rejected from the first round of studio submissions and I don’t get into Ironman Arizona, am I setting myself up for a huge depression? The answer is Yes. Failure to sell is failure in the marketplace. Not a measure of personal worth, but of perceived value. If I fail to get into IMAZ it’s a failure of relative ability. I live in Southern California. My competition for those few slots are He-Beasts. I roomed with one in the desert. 30 years old, ex-pro hockey player. Runs a 5:48 mile. Does triathlon the way most of us pee at 3am – fast and sockless. His ilk are my competition for that IMAZ slot. And right now he is on his bike trainer listening to Van Halen pushing out 1,000 watts of power. I am fucked. Can’t sell a script. Can’t pedal 30 mph. If I fail at both aren’t I allowed to be a little depressed? If we don’t have external metrics to judge ourselves we’re rigging the game so we always win. I don’t rig the game.

This is what it’s like to be in Epic Volume. Everything is turned up to 11. Am I ready? Am I going insane? Will I ever get enough sleep? Does everyone I went to junior high school with have three kids? Facebook: all the schadenfreude of a reunion without the open bar or zipless revenge fucks.

An hour forty five on the bike trainer this morning watching FEARLESS and thinking about death. Two hour run on Sunday at 5:40 at night, cranking out a dozen miles in high wind, finishing in the dark and tripping over branches. 2 minute sprints at 6:30 min/mi. Starting at 8’s and ending at 9’s. Slowing down in the dark. 50 mile ride Saturday wondering if climbing will ever get easier. (No, it doesn’t. Earth just makes bigger hills and Germans who can do it better.)

I’m not a good climber. I see the hill coming and try to pick up some speed to attack it with momentum. Coach Brian called me “Sir Stands-A-Lot” because I used to hop out of the saddle to mash down on the pedals on the down stroke to get the wee assist from using gravity and my weight. Brian coached me back into the saddle, convincing me to stay seated and spin the entire pedal stroke to power up a hill. My heart doesn’t explode in my chest anymore and I’m starting not to get freaked out by the sight of Pepperdine Hill. Then I look at Las Flores or Decker and weep. Then I look at the hill profile of Oceanside and wonder if 3 hours is realistic on the bike split. I’d rather break a new story, which is a different kind of pain.

Got contacted by the maker of Prolong Energy after he found me in his Google Analytics stats. I’ve now tried Prolong Energy, Infinit, and Spizz as liquid nutrition for race day and I’m going to use Prolong for Oceanside. He’s sending me the new formulation which has more sodium to see if I can avoid having to take pills on the ride. Got my food. Got my TNS jersey. Got my race wheels rental set up. Got my hotel room. Got my spine. Got my orange crush.

I train. I work. I try and write. I know this is the tired speaking but I’m working all the time to keep myself motivated. I’m scared, I’m excited, I’m really looking forward to the start of the taper.

I wonder if the Swiss hate their own cheese because they can only see the holes.


4 responses to “This one goes to 11.

  1. Only someone who has come so far has anything to fear. You are kicking ass and taking names, and we are ALL the better for it. Buck up, little man.

  2. First, boobs know.
    Second, ‘It is better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all’? is a misquote from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem In Memoriam: 27, 1850.

    Hold it true, whate’er befall;
    I feel it, when I sorrow most;
    ‘Tis better to have loved and lost
    Than never to have loved at all.

    But misquote or not the meaning still holds. Better to have tried all the things you’re trying to do than look back at your life with regrets that you didn’t really push yourself to do your best.

    “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!”
    John Greenleaf Whittier

    “Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.” Sydney J. Harris

    “The time has come for me to get my kite flying, stretch out in the sun, kick off my shoes, and speak my piece. ‘The days of struggle are over,’ I should be able to say. ‘I can look back now and tell myself I don’t have a single regret.’ But I do. Many years ago a very wise man named Bernard Baruch took me aside and put his arm around my shoulder. ‘Harpo, my boy,’ he said, ‘I’m going to give you three pieces of advice, three things you should always remember.’ My heart jumped and I glowed with expectation. I was going to hear the magic password to a rich, full life from the master himself. ‘Yes, sir’ I said. And he told me the three things. I regret that I’ve forgotten what they were.”
    Arthur Marx

    OK Grasshoppper?

  3. Your best blog post ever. By a lot.

    Triathlon races are just a little icing on the cake of your life, they aren’t the cake. Because that would be a pretty lame cake, wouldn’t it?

    Training is the REAL stuff that makes triathlon worthwhile, the races are just a celebration of all that training and yes, a metric.

    So let’s just have fun next week and then we will see what happens with IMAZ.

    (But if you don’t break 6 hours, I will no longer call you my friend)

  4. cant wait to meet you and Sophia, Max. i’ll be cheering you on come race day. kick ass out there!

    oh and i loved this post.

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