Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Long and Winding Road...

No, I'm not referring to the old Beatles tune but to my first long outdoor ride of the year. Up until now I've spent a lot of time on the trainer, but now it was time to hit the road. And I was starting it on the Dam Loop...go big or go home!

I love this route. It is comfortable and familiar to me. I've been riding this loop for years. I started the morning off in a bit of a funk and I wasn't feeling very social so I decided to lay low and get my stuff on in a hurry so that I could get going before my group was to start. They were rolling out about 8:30 and by my watch it was 8:22, yikes!

There was a chill in the air but I knew it would be warming up, so a pair of toe covers and arm warmers and I was good to go. I quickly caught up with the first group and then I was on my own. I headed out Southwest Parkway and got my first taste of the hills and it felt great! I really like Reflector Hill, it just feels good. Once on Hwy 71, I crossed my fingers and held on tight until I got off of there. Scariest part over and life was good again.

As I was riding, I worked some things out in my head. Sometimes just being on the bike and on the road on a beautiful day is all it takes to make all the bad go away.

Periodically I came upon teammates sprinkled here and there and it was a good knowing that they were coming my way, in case I ran into trouble or needed help. I guess after about 30 or 35 miles, C caught up to me and I kind of thought I'd catch a little know, maybe catch a draft here or there, but nooooooo...he managed to stay just enough ahead of me on the hills that I didn't benefit and other times, I just rode alongside. I'm sure it's better for me in the long run. I did notice that the wind was picking up...and out of the south, just in time for us to head south back onto 360!!

Ok, that stupid hill at Bee Cave just never gets any easier, especially with a headwind...argh!!! Anyhow, I made it (yeah!!) and was happy to get back to Southwest Pkwy. After finally meandering our way back to the parking lot, we loaded up the bikes, threw on the running shoes, hooked up with Master T and headed out for our 30 minute run. That's right folks, first ride of the season was also the first brick of the season...go big or go home!! Naturally, the first bit was tough and I wasn't so sure about even going 20 minutes. And considering this is day 7 of my 21 day run block, the legs weren't so fresh. Anyhow, the more we ran, the better I felt. Master T turned back and C and I pressed on. 35 minutes later I was back at my car for a stretch, recovery drink and Yvonne's homemade cookies!!

In summary...I felt great! I'm not sure what that means but I didn't feel bad at all. I felt like my legs were a bit tired and sure, that's expected...but I really felt fine. I didn't even go home and pass out like I used to do!!

I guess I am a bit more fit than I thought...or just had a lucky day, cause I know what's yet to come!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Out in the cold...

Last night was an interesting one. After a short run, I hopped on my bike for spin class and quickly realized that my m-dot necklace was missing.


I hopped off my bike and did a quick search of the dressing room, my running clothes, my bag and all surrounding luck.

After class I decided it would be my mission to go out and retrace my steps to search for it. No problem, right? Right. Except that it was now after 8:00 p.m. and the temperature was a brisk 30 degrees with north winds sustained at about 20 mph. I was not quite appropriately dressed, but then again, I was only hoping to be out there for 20-30 minutes.

So I started walking. And I walked. And I walked some more. Slowly. Patiently. Realizing that I was the only person on the streets gave me some comfort of safety...but only from people, the cold was harsh. Finally, a spark of hope! I found the chain that the m-dot had been on, but that was it. I looked frantically around the entire area, hoping that it had fallen close by but that was not to I kept walking. Now I had a bit of hope and that seemed to warm me a bit, but not for long. Again, I was creeping along the sidewalk. As I was walking, I started to laugh (out of delirium? perhaps) because only a crazy triathlete would be out in this weather looking for something that was completely replaceable!! It's not like it was a wedding ring or other highly valuable gem. It's just a little piece of jewelry that I bought to commemorate something special to me. Something that I worked very hard for, and now, here I was working hard for it again.

For almost two hours, I walked from the PTC (Oltorf and Lamar), crossed the Pedestrian bridge and began to head back. Fortunately, that's when C found me and saved my toes from frostbite. We drove back to the site where I had found the chain and this time he gave it a look. Nothing.

I know I am not defined by a piece of jewelry or by any branded product like a t-shirt, a backpack, a hat or any other tangible item that states I've completed an event; and beyond any finishing time in any record book, solely by the nature of my ability to set out on a mission, even if it results in failure, and see it through to the end...makes me an Ironman.

I set out in adverse conditions to complete something that was important to me...not to anyone else, but to me...and I failed.

I couldn't be happier.

p.s. don't get me wrong, I LOVE all the marketing swag and jewelry!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Short Shorts Fiasco...

We all know there was a time when running fashion was...well, less than fashionable. I was rudely reminded of that on the trail the other day. C and I had gone out for a run and shortly into our warm up, he nudges and whispers loudly to me, "don't look!"

Too late!!

There it was, the man in the ultra-short, white, running shorts. Where do you even begin to find those? Were they tucked in the back of a closet, waiting for release into the new era of running? Were they his high school cross country shorts? Were they even his? What prompted him to put them on on this particular day? Did they shrink in the wash?

I performed my own bit of research on mens' running shorts and couldn't even find "white" as an option for men's running shorts!!

So many questions in such a short time that I hardly noticed that my eyeballs were now scarred for life. This image of the man in the ultra-short, white, running shorts has seared it's impression and shall never be forgotten.

If you, ultra-short, white, running shorts man, happens to come upon this post...please do not take offense...just take note that the current year is 2009 and pick up a new pair of running shorts.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Ready, more week...

I am so freakin' excited to train for IM CDA again...just not this week. I know, I know...but this is WEEK 1!! The kickoff meeting was last Sunday and Monday was our first day of training!! I'm supposed to be getting on it, buckling down, getting serious...


I'm working my way there but ditched two workouts this week for wine. Let it be known though that the workouts I did do, I did with focus and intensity. I swam with purpose, spun with conviction and ran with heart. So long as I can maintain that focus and keep my workouts meaningful, I will do just fine and when I feel like I'm starting to fall apart, I have teammates who will keep me honest.

But that'll be next week.

Tomorrow I will join my team in a memorial ride for Erin Lahr, a young woman who I wrote of after her collapse at the Dallas White Rock Marathon. It is forecasted to be cold and windy; certainly not favorable riding conditions, in my book. But I will ride and so will others because we have a purpose. I hope that wherever Erin is now, it is beautiful and always perfect for a ride or a run.

I will feel the wind and I will feel the cold and I will relish in the fact that I can FEEL. I will recall the brief moments I had with her and how friendly and kind she was to me. I truly believe people come in and out of our lives for different reasons and I think Erin was here to remind me to feel...with my hands and my heart. Thank you, Erin!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Party Pooper...

Yesterday I decided to skip track practice and just go out for a short run. I guess you could say I was having an aversion to "big group workout". That being said, I heard I missed a really good and fun practice. Anyhow, as I headed out I have to admit that the first mile and a half were ICK!

What happened to my legs? Where'd they go? I was barely running 8:00 and just Sunday I was ticking away 7:35's...WTF???

I stopped for some water and a little stretching before continuing on and that seemed to help a bit. Then super D came up next to me (yes, I had stopped to fuss with my iPod) and suddenly the run seemed to perk up a bit. It was as if my legs just needed a companion. Things went along great even after D peeled off.

That was until the Party Pooper arrived...


The Party Pooper - the uncontrollable urge to go #2. OMG, I thought I was going to have some serious problems so I cut the run short and headed back. The whole time I'm running back I feel like I'm going to lose control and I'm thinking, "great! of all the days I decide to wear light-colored shorts!!"

In the end, all was right in the world. No eruptions - quite uneventful, thankfully. I suppose it's safe to say that you just never know when the ol' Party Pooper is going to show up...just gotta be ready to face it and take it in stride...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

From here on, everything counts...

Yes, training has begun and we are now mid-week into week 1 and although I have already missed two scheduled workouts and I'm not worried about it at all. I know what I have ahead of me and what I need to do to get to the finish line in a time that will satisfy me. It's really fairly simple:


Every workout, every training session...every decision I make about my life from here on, counts. It's a new's time to get the plan into action.

Stay tuned...more to follow.