I was just reading over Lance’s ‘race report’ on the 3 Stories blog. He raced a half-marathon about 6 weeks (?) out from his Olympic Trials marathon. While he was somewhat bummed about his result (albeit a tough course and I am guessing in the midst of a heavy training load), he found himself wondering the infamous question, ‘Why do I do this’? I wrote a nice comment to him and then well, it disappeared. I found it interesting he was talking about this because this past weekend, on a long run I was doing, I began thinking the same thing.
I have often been asked, “Why do you do it?” Which is a completely understandable question…often days I do 2 workouts, often weekend days I am up by 8:00 or so to spend 3-4 hours riding or 1.5 hours running. Not that it ‘really’ seems all that amazing or impressive to me, it is just ‘what I do’. But Sunday I was feeling particularly good and I got to thinking, the reason I do it is for that ever-so-rare moment that you cross the finish line, smiling, and raise up your arm, thinking, “Finally! I KNEW I had that in me!”, usually followed by stopping, resting the hands on the knees, and then walking, with that elated and ‘everything is good’ feeling. Now this does not happen often. As a matter of fact, at least for me, this happens very rarely. Usually it is a ‘solid effort on the day, decent race, not perfect and a lot to improve upon.’
But that is precisely what makes these moments so unique, so sought after. They shouldn’t come easily. And I know I may not always say this, but, I don’t WANT them to come easily. I’d rather work my tail off and see the results than just breeze through it, never appreciating any victory. And since these ‘zone’ days do not occur often, yes, we work hard to achieve them but in the process, all of the expriences, the day in/day out dedication, the ups and downs of what we go through, this is all what makes us who we are. It gives us character. So even though we never know the end outcome, while I hope it is that elated feeling that I work so hard for, well…even if it isn’t I know that I put it all on the line, did so honestly and I am a better person for what I have endured. As cliche as it sounds, ultimately it really is all about the journey.
This was a good weekend. Friday I decided that after 3 consecutive nights of Quesedillas, Pizza and Nachos for dinner (Tues-Wed-Thurs), we NEEDED real food. Nourishment, if you will. So Derick went to Whole Foods and got us some Ahi Tuna Steaks. He seared them and we had some asparagus, olive loaf bread and of course VINO to accompany. It was an excellent dinner, to say the least! I was already feeling healthier.
Then comes the good training. I got up on Saturday morning and decided to head out with a few ‘roadies’. Dave Wenger, who works with Derick and is a total badass, was riding with a few other guys who were all racing a road race today. So, I knew the pace would be mellow for the 2 hours they were riding. And it is fun to ride with different groups, as I meet some new people and see different scenery. I wish I could remember the route, but I am terrible at know ing where I am until I have ridden a route at least 4 times. But I enjoyed having the company for about 2.5 hours, and then I fueled up on a black bean & potatoe taco (that Dave’s girlfriend Emily had for everyone!) and charged on for another 1.5 hours solo. Completed my 4 hours! Check. The evening was great as we went to Opal Divines with our friend John, and enjoyed some burgers and beer (still healthy in my book!) and some live music. The night was completed by Derick saying he could do 20 pull-ups, and me making him prove it. Unfortunately, he only did 13. Fourtunately, we bet a 6-pack of ‘winners choice’ of beer and well, I am the winner. John matched him @ 13 as well, so there will be a re-match in the near future.
And a little whine…I decided to sleep in and make pancakes for breakfast. Thus, this meant that I had to do my 1.5 hour run at about 1:00, probably the hottest part of the day. HOLY MOLY….to say it was hot is an understatement. I ran with (behind?) Derick for 45 minutes ‘out’ whereby I turned back, and he kept going. I went out feeling somewhat good, and finished panting. And crawling to the door. Well that may be a bit dramatic, but it was h-o-t. Anyhew the weekend was nice, got in 2 very good long workouts and tonight we’re off to have dinner at a friends house! Life is good. 🙂
…or just drink a beer instead of worrying about it?
I have enjoyed the week of getting back to my routine, which despite being quite busy this week, it is good. There are a lot of little ‘opportunities’ that have come up which are exciting. I can get stressed easily, yet I probably get bored even easier…so this is a good thing. I finally got on my new Orbea Ora TT bike! It feels awesome. Odd, definitely; That whole shifting thing is totally new to me. I even got my SRM on it this week, so I can start to see if I am a power machine on this bike. 🙂 One could only hope…
I really jumped back into training, only one week off and I was rearing to go. Maybe a bit too much, as I have been pretty tired. Which is OK, but I think when you ‘go’ as much as I (and many of us) do, you really need to monitor those fatigue levels well. I decided to sign up for the Redman 1/2 Ironman which is September 22, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I have a lot of family there (aunt, uncle, cousin, etc) and my parents will come down as well, so to me it will be a great time to visit and get in a good training effort as well. It is a smaller, low-key race which is nice for a change. My debate is Chicago Triathlon, as I am in limbo. One minute I think I want to race it 100%, the next minute I feel like I have been going non-stop for a few months and maybe I need some more time at ‘home base’. I’ll need to decide soon, as it is on August 26th, just 4 weeks away. We shall see…in the meantime, I will get ready for the 3 Stories Racing MOONPIE TRACK MEET tomorrow night (I’ll help out, as I am running in the AM) and JACK’S GENERIC sprint triathlon on Sunday…”Where you’re more than a number, you’re a barcode.” What an awesome slogan?!
That is it for me right now. Rather than mulling this over, I am going to enjoy my STONE IPA (Yes, Stone Brewing in San Diego, CA…I LOVE YOUR BEER, you can sponser me if you want…just product will do) and make an omlette for dinner. Happy Thursday. 🙂