Sunday, April 27, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Last week was a busy training week. I started off feeling strong Tuesday and Wednesday, but found myself struggling to complete workouts by the time Thursday came along. Moreover, my finicky right frontal sinus decided to swell up, retain pool water and then get mildly infected. This is a painful situation and it gets so bad, at times, it makes me nauseated; forget flip turns or lifting heavy weights. The only remedy is time and 800 mg doses of anti inflammatories. Today, it's finally starting to clear out and I'm blowing rainbow-colored mucus out my nose...lovely.
Friday, I discovered one of my local trails was getting "graded" to make way for homes. I don't like losing trails to developers to begin with and losing one I ride at least once or twice a week rubbed me the wrong way. Alas, several environmental action groups filed multiple lawsuits and succeeded in posponing the inevitable and getting a few provisions for some shrimp that live in Vernal Pools (?), while the City Ranger finagled temporary access for the general public until the "recreation trail" circumventing the development is completed. Big whoop. So the MTB crowd loses another trail ("Intestines" on Del Mar Mesa) and developers get to pocket more coin. Thank you, Pardee Homes. My only hope is that the housing market sucks when they start selling and they lose their ass on the deal. Jerks.
As soon as I heard, I threw my bike in the Jeep and headed out for on last ride. Two hours later, on my way back, I ran into Adventure Racer Robyn Benincasa. We were chatting about the trail siutation for a few minutes before my brain realized who I was talking to. She's friggin' cool as heck by the way. One of the perks of living in San Diego is running into quasi-famous athletes. I dig it; never gets old.
Saturday I headed out to Vail Lake for some MTB fun. It turned out to be a pretty decent day considering the high winds and I was able to help quite a few folks out with finding the Xterra/ 24 Hours course out there. I felt like a tour guide by the time I was done, but I guess I did my good deed(s) for the day.
Went for a run yesterday and struggled a little in the heat. Still got some solid work in, but I was feeling it.
Racing in Arizona next week (Arizona Xtreme Off Road Triathlon). My first time out there and I'll be racing against some HEAVY hitters: Trevor Glavin and James Walsh to name a few. Wish me luck.
Monday, April 7, 2008
(warning, this might get a little weird)
Saturday's workout called for 3 hours ride time with some climbing intervals done while standing. I did them on my single speed mountain bike and, if you've never ridden single speed, it's difficult to ride one for a long time simply due to the effort they require when climbing. On top of that, I fast before workouts like this, a trick I learned from Xterra World Champion Conrad Stoltz, so by the time I was done riding, I was significantly fatigued. But that's not the epiphany...
After the ride, I had a 30 minute transition run scheduled with negative splits: faster coming back than heading out. I was tired, but never considered not doing it; I told myself I'd get it done no matter how slow it might end up being.
Off and running; the legs are ticking over like clockwork and I can feel my feet lightly striking the ground as I jog down the fire road. My breathing is slightly labored and maintaining even an easy pace feels like my lungs and cardio are working over time to keep up with the demands of my legs. Considering I'd have to increase the pace on the way back, I was sure the return trip would be very, very painful. At the 16-minute mark, I turn around and head back, increasing my pace...
...and it hurts. My lungs burn, my legs burn, it's hard to breathe, my face is screwed up in pain and sticking to this pace is the last thing I want to do. Coming up on the 25 minute mark in the run and for no reason at all, something occurs to me suddenly: Why am I making such a big deal out of this?...and I can't think of an answer...yeah it hurts, but why make a stupid face?....why breathe so loud?...again, no answers to either of these questions...
...and I did something so simple and obvious that I'm shocked I'd never thought of it before; I quit making a big deal out of being uncomfortable, out of working hard and out of going fast.
And my face and upper body relaxed, my breathing eased and I suddenly felt I could run at that uncomfortable pace for as long as I chose to do so. My legs still burned like fire, but I no longer cared. It was both strange and wonderful all at once.
My biggest limiter is the one I place on myself. I have the capacity to perform better (read: go faster) than I choose to do. Why do I do that? I'm not sure. Frequently in my life I put up artificial barriers to my success, almost as if I'm afraid to succeed or like I don't feel I deserve to be as fast as my fitness allows. Perhaps exploring it here can help me to move beyond it. I hope so. Whatever the reason may be, I partially broke down that barrier that day.
I'm looking forward to finding that mental place again.
Thanks for reading.
First, I'd been toying with the idea of picking up a new rig with 29" tires on it just to see what the hoopla is about. since I didn't want to spend a ton of money and didn't know anyone willing to lend me their bike, I picked up a very inexpensive Raleigh XXIX from my local bike shop. With my track bike as a trade in, I practically stole it.
Yeah, rigid, single speed, 29" tire mountain bike. So far my impression is that 29" tires roll over small obstacles better than 26" tires, but they're heavier and less nimble. A 29'er might be better for a larger rider, but my 5'5", 145 pound body has to work hard to get this bike to climb or corner like I want it to. This bike is a nice diversion and I'll be riding it to school and on group rides, but the 26" "Soft Tail" will remain my race bike.
Saturday I went out to Vail Lake to thoroughly thrash myself on the single speed. The Spring conitions surpised me, lots of greenery and blooming wildflowers. Spring-time growth narrowed double-track to single and single-track and single-track to tiny ribbons of trail; awesome conditions.
The "Dam(n) Climb" The yellow color is all blooming Wild Mustard
The race director for the local race series has been hard at work cutting trails that are super-fun. Here's looking back at some challenging switch-backs. The ladder bridges he put in aren't visible but huge thanks to Rob Herbert for all the work he's been doing. I should patronize more of his races as payback.
As for the redemption part, last month I attempted to re qualify for my job as a State Park Ocaen Lifeguard; a 1000 yard ocean swim in 20 minutes or less. I mimsjudged the conditions and my fitness and got swept past the bouy by the current and surf. Yesterday, I drove up to Crystal Cove in Orange County to have another go at it; success! A little slower than last year, but a minute faster that my race time last week for the same distance. I finished in the middle of the pack; I was shocked by how many people went out too hard and wound up doing backstroke or breaststroke trying to catch their breath. At least it's over with. Failing that test weighed heavily on my mind for the past month; my lousy swim at Xterra REAL amplified my worries.
Overall, a good week.