The Better Part of Valor

August 28, Day 191

Weeks Workouts: See description.  


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I suppose it was bound to happen eventually.

Tuesday I set out to do my speed-work run, which was a 5 min Z1/5 min Z2/25 min Z3/5 min Z2/5 min Z1 run.  I like to think of it as a “stair step” run.  It was a warm evening but not terrible.  I remember feeling thirsty as I hit the turnaround to come home, but other than that I was feeling great.  No problem hitting my paces.

At 28:28, I felt my right hamstring twinge.

Uh oh.  Happily I’m not as dumb as I used to be, so I shut down immediately.  I tried to walk it out, but no dice.  I pulled it.  It’s a mild pull, but a pull nonetheless.

If you’ve never done this to your hamstring (the long muscles in the back of your upper legs) let me tell you just how much you use that muscle (hint: it’s a lot).  It’s painful, and it sucks because it’s coming at a critical time.

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So I stopped walking and called for a pick up to go home.  It was a lighter week in terms of volume, but a lot of speed work.  I did my swim on Wednesday OK, but my hamstring felt “loose” all day.  On Thursday I had a bike, and I did that OK too without many issues.  By Friday when I swam I knew it wasn’t right yet, but the pain was gone.  I was staring at a 90 min run on Saturday and figured we would see then.

And see I did.  I knew deep down it was still not right but I had to go out and test it.  I was nervous going out, babbling and stalling until I finally got myself out the door.  I was fine, everything felt OK.

For two miles.  Then it clenched up on me, HARD.  Now all my mind can say is:

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I tried to stretch it out, but no go.  I called for another pickup, frustrated as all get-out, meanwhile madly googling on my phone for tips on what to do.  I found one that said to shorten my stride and go extremely high cadence, so I tried that and it worked OK.  I mean, I could still feel it, but that was enough to shift the impact away from the muscle.  When my wife came to pick me up I waved her off an told her I’d stay nearby but was going to try it.

Yeah, I know how stupid that sounds, but I had to.  Mentally I had to know if I could continue if this happens on the race. The good news is, I was able to finish all 90 minutes.  But it cost me and I was sore the rest of the weekend.

This time I set out to heal it properly.  I stayed off it all weekend and properly iced and stretched it.  I even canceled my bike and swim on Sunday to get an extra day of rest.  That caused me no end of anxiety, but it was the right call.  One day of missed workouts is not the difference at this point, but healing this muscle might be.  So, I didn’t do my 3 hours on the bike or 2000 meters in the pool.  I’m hoping discretion is the better part of valor.  But still, missing a workout is not what I want to do right now.

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Today I am wearing a support sleeve and iced the muscle again this morning.  I’ll also do it at lunch and after work.  I still feel it, but it’s mild again.  I hope it will respond quickly because I get right back on it tomorrow.  I can’t miss lots of days right now, and I have a huge dress rehearsal on Sunday with a simulated race of 1200m swim/4.5 hour bike/45 min run.  I gotta nail that.

So, looks like lots of icing, stretching, and getting acquainted with this guy again are on the docket until it gets better:

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Meanwhile, keep me in your positive thoughts if you can.  This is a delicate time as you can see since I have dipped under the 50 days left mark.  These next 3-4 weeks are where I build the fitness that will carry me though the race.  I need to persevere or this whole adventure might end.

Wish me luck.  Cheers!

Eclipsing personal bests

August 21, Day 191

Recent Personal Bests:

  1. 147 training miles over a 1 week period
  2. Longest bike ride (4 hours, 75.2 miles)
  3. New records for bike power over 60 and 90 minutes
  4. Longest swim (2 miles)

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I’ve come to the realization that I no longer have time for posts every other day, or even twice a week.  The new job has me in a place where I get home, get my stuff done, and crash.  So, it’s going to have to be weekly from here on out until I get within about a week of the event.  At that point I will be off from work and can give all the details leading up to the event in detail.  For right now, though, it’s just not going to happen any more often.

Friday is a perfect example.  I did a 1 hour run in the morning, went to work where I had a “To Do” list that is (no joke) 47 items long, ate a quick lunch with family, then came back early so I could leave the office by 4:30 and get into the water.  I swam 70 minutes, grabbed a quick bite, showered, and then moved my son into the residence halls (he is a new college student this year).  By the time I got home–I crashed.

4698415189_75fec99470_zYeah.  This is me.

The weekend had several firsts for me as you can see.  I decided I would move to that format since it makes more sense with me posting weekly.  Plus it makes me feel pretty good about what I’ve been doing.  Because yeah, that’s a lot.

After my bike ride I was very sore, but oddly not in the legs: more the back and shoulders from balancing and being in a bent over position.  I realized then the trainer does a great job of preparing me for the physicality of pedaling, but there are so many other things going on over a long period outdoors on a bike that I need to get out on the road more.  That’s not very fun right now, because my allergies simply will not let go and I spent a lot of the ride wiping the tears out of my right eye.  That of course led to me using my left hand alone on the bars, which led to a very sore wrist.  Plus it was hot and sunny. So by the time I got done I had a mild sunburn, wrist, shoulders, back, and a right eye rubbed sore as hell.  But my legs felt OK.  Yay?

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Somehow I still managed to put together a great run on Sunday, so I must be doing OK.  But I’m starting to look ahead and every week ramps it up a little more.  I hope I adjust quickly, or by October I’ll be wiped out completely.

Meanwhile, this is a “step-back” week so I won’t be going as long, but I’ll be going harder than usual.  Tomorrow instead of just run intervals I get to do it as a brick with a bike ride first.  Etc.  The whole week is like that.

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On the good news front, the pool is open again!  The lake has been wreaking havoc on my allergies also, and it’s so silty and gross right now that I can’t wait to get back to the chlorine and bustle of the pool.

I have no life.  Deal with it.  Cheers!

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14 hour days and Positive Mindsets

August 9, Day 179

Last 2 days workouts:

  • Swim Open Water 3000 yards
  • Bike 90 min: 30 minutes Z1, 50 minutes Z2, 10 minutes Z1
  • Run 45 min: 5 min Z1, 5 min Z2, 3×6 min Z3 with 2 min rest, 5 min Z2, 5 min Z1

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OK, here we go.  It’s on now.  On like Donkey Kong (whatever that means???).

Before I get into all that though, YAY FOR MY BOARD BEING BACK!  It’s actually been back for a while but this is the first opportunity I’ve taken since the move to photograph it.  Also…67 days now.  We’re getting close(r).  That’s just over 2 months away.  I got this.

I know I got it because the last 2 days have been ridiculous and I’ve overcome it with energy to spare.  Just like an Ironman should.

Today I got up at 5AM and did a 90 minute bike ride, then went to work and had meetings from 8-4PM, then got my whole workday done in about 90 minutes, then came home, put on my swimsuit, and went to the lake and swam 3000 meters.  I got home after 7PM and I literally had not stopped from 5AM to then.

This was after yesterday, when I had to deal with an all day work retreat which as we all know basically is a lost workday (you’re still expected to get all your work done in the margins though).  That day started about the same time getting out to run.

Now I’m in my chair, enjoying a Four Roses and feeling….well I feel just fine actually.

It doesn’t even matter to me right now that after a week and a half I sort of feel like this:

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I mean, it really doesn’t.  I know I’m putting in 110% and I’m making small progress after small progress.  I’m trusting that as I continue along that I am chipping away at it, and when I get to where I am headed I can look back and see the results of all those little victories.  And there have been a ton of them:

  • Doing the run intervals yesterday at full speed and feeling fantastic.
  • Getting a chance to sit with my team during the retreat and leading them in a creative activity.
  • Having the energy to enjoy my younger son getting his first car yesterday and having him take his dad for a ride in the back seat.
  • Helping the wife build her presentation for work and giving actual, real feedback last evening on how she might improve it.
  • Getting up this morning at 5AM and absolutely crushing 90 minutes of biking.
  • Finishing my 1:1 meetings with my staff today and having a great conversation with the folks that seemed most resistant to my coming on board, and each of us coming to a better understanding with one another.
  • Getting a contract that had been dropped by my predecessor through the hoops and to the point it’s (almost) signed.
  • Having a fantastic long swim that I didn’t want to do, but felt strong doing and now am glad I made happen.
  • Coming up with what feels like the RIGHT go forward strategy for my team while I was in the water for that hour, and feeling very confident in our direction going forward.

Even with all the drains on my time, my energy, and my will I’m still able to look at all those wins and say “It’s been a great few days!”.  Sure lots of crap happened too, but that’s not where I choose to live.  I choose to live in those wins.  It’s a choice we all can make, really, and one I have struggled with in the past.

But not today.  Today I am a winner.

Cheers!

 

Can’t get me down.  You just can’t.

August 3, Day 173

Weeks workouts:

  • Swim Open Water 1750 yards
  • Bike 1 hours: 5 minutes Z1, 5 minutes Z2, 30 minutes Z3, 5 minutes Z2, 5 minutes Z1
  • Run 45 min: 5 min Z, 5 min Z2, 25 min Z3, 5 min Z2, 5 min Z1

Can’t stop you from trying though, life.  Can it?

4 days down in the new position, and I can honestly say it’s the busiest I remember being in a long time.  So much to do, so much going on, so many things to learn.  I’ve been doing what I can to stay on top of it but I’d be lying to say I felt successful.  I know, only one day at a time and you can only do so much.  I’m just not very good at having so much on my plate that I can’t get to a logical stopping point at the end of the day.  I’m even worse when I’m not even sure I am doing the right stuff.

I’m doing my best though.  There’s something to be said for that I guess.

I can’t sleep at night, because that’s my only time to be creative.  Seriously.  I am keeping notes about all the great ideas I am getting between 3-5am.  My mind won’t stop working then, because during the day I am just bouncing from task to task, meeting to meeting, until I run out of time.  It’s ironic that they hired me partially because I am a strategic thinker, yet they won’t give me time…..to…..think.

That would be enough for most people.  However, FATE apparently knows I want to be an Ironman.  So it decided I could endure…..more.

On Tuesday I came out to the parking lot to find my car fender crumpled.  Apparently someone hit it and didn’t bother to own up or leave a note.  I just paid 1700 bucks to get the thing fixed from a different accident not even a month ago.  So that was crushing.

Today I came home to the double whammy of my dog chewing through my apple MacBook Pro power cable.  That’s a nice 80 dollar charge (yes, Scully is fine btw, thanks for asking in your mind).  Oh, and I got a jury summons to boot.  So there’s that.

Yet, here I sit and my spirits are not dampened.  I wouldn’t call them high per se, but I just refuse to let it get to me today.  I will endure.  I am going to be an Ironman.  I can handle this.

It’s funny how this thing I’ve been working so long for and haven’t achieved is what’s keeping me going.  I have a calm faith in myself that I can get past this.  I can get past anything.  I can endure.  I hope I am able to keep that faith through the race because that will make ALL the difference.

Meanwhile, say a prayer for me.  Make the Karma Gods go inflict punishment on someone else.  I’ve had enough.  Yes, I can take it, but it doesn’t mean I should always HAVE to.

Right?

Cheers!