The Warrior

‘Shootin’ at the walls of heartache…’ 

Shame on you Patti Smyth – but, I love a good 80s tune.  This song rang through the halls as I prepped for the  Baltimore 10 miler.  My hometown was not so much New Order as Cherry Pie in the 80s.  10 hilly, hot miles later I was treated to a cover version of ‘Paralyzer’, so I guess the tradition continues.

I’ve completed race number 3 in 8 days and I am done running races for a good while.  ‘Race’ number 2 was The Warrior Dash, and it was a full body workout.  But this race made me wonder about all the people doing the truly dangerous obstacles.  I was twenty feet high on a slippery, muddy wall thinking ‘I survived too many real challenges to die on this stupid, fake wall.’  I expected that Dash to be a 5k where you jump over some stuff.  Not so.  The course was so muddy I never broke a 15 minute mile pace, and I passed out in bed thinking the BAA 10k was a goner.  

“I don’t wanna tame your animal style…You won’t be caged in the call of the wild!” (Yeah, I had to look those lyrics up)

I did the inaugarul BAA 10k. I had been excited to do this race – I hopped online Day 1 and had bib number 75.  And then the race wasn’t fully subscribed, which I get for a first-time race but it’s also the BAA.  Turns out they had picked a really unimaginative course up and back Comm Ave., and I have no idea where they marketed but I never saw an ad.  I think they relied too much on a reputation they might not have, and lost out to the Warriors.  In the end it was so conveniently located I trotted over the half mile to the Start Line and just banged it out to an ok time. 

Another Top 10 age group finish. 

‘I am the Warrior…’  (And yes, I’d rather be listening to New Order)

Brick by Brick

Yes, that is my favorite song by the Arctic Monkeys.  Have a listen and it will be yours, too.

So, just completed my first brick off my sweet new bike, 10 miles riding and 5 running.  It still counts as a brick if you stop for a bowl of Cheerios in between, right?  I can honestly say I would have preferred to run the 10 miles I biked, but I’m sure it gets better and I really like the bike.  It’s silver and nimble and fits me. 

The guy in the bike shop thinly veiled his emotions when I asked if I could have cages instead of clips.  Seriously, dude, it was punishment enough to get gored in the shins about 10 times today when trying to figure out how to get back into the pedals when the light turns green without a tree to lean on. I really get freaked out by having my feet trapped after a lifetime of paddle peddles.

I’m sure it gets better.  I could only run 2 miles in January after having laid off running for so long, I ran 10 miles yesterday just because the weather was nice.  Next week, 20 miler on the bike for sure, like a grownup. 

Special note – last week’s half marathon is best captured as a ‘hot mess’ – but even so, it was enough to place me in a corral for the Chicago marathon.  It’s looking like I have to do it now :).

Science Fiction

I am amazed at the amount of science that surrounds triathlon sports.  Lately the fake food thing has really been hitting me in the face. I mean, people traveled over long distances to fight wars and settle new lands, and these people were not popping amino acid pills along the way.

I just read a study that says it’s better to eat a piece of red meat than a protein bar.  Of course it is.  I don’t know why people run if they can’t even have the steak or Beehive beignets or whatever at the end.  I stopped eating protein bars about a year ago in favor of actual food and I am getting worn down by all the giant cans of protein powder on desks.  Is the real competition who can survive on the least amount of flavor?

This seems to me to be the new disordered eating craze.  Although, to steal yet another turn of phrase, powder eaters are just amateurs on the eating disorder spectrum.

If I ever leave the realm of finance and startups I am for sure going to open that late night chocolate cafe I’ve been conceiving in my head for a decade.  Food brings people together and I am going to steal a line from the very corniest SciFi, Star Trek, and say that the real pleasure of life is not in the variety of things, it’s in the variety of people.

That’s a lot coming from someone who has probably only ever earned the Introvert badge on Foursquare.

Round and round she goes..

A very nice guy at my local bike shop took me through the basics of bikes.  As it turns out we are both ex-engineers, so he knew I could follow discussions of torque and torsion like I’d been biking my whole life.  Cycling is really just applied physics.  Yawn.

I have not yet decided on a bike model yet.  I mean, how big do I go?  Is it worth it to spend an extra $1000 to get a bike that’s one lb lighter?  Of course not.  I am going to ride a bike in the real world about two dozen times a year, and ride one inside a gym a hundred times a year.  Who am I kidding.

I rode one of the test bikes out on one of the newly marked bike paths on Comm Ave.  This route has not taken into account the Mass Ave. underpass in any way.  In addition, motorists clearly have not been told that this path exists and there is no great way to alert them.  I am riding over giant pictures of a guy on a bike and having people try to pass me in my lane.

People get so uptight over branding, as if buying a Trek or Cannondale makes you somehow less of an athlete.  I think people who barely ride and invest in big bikes are, well, not the kids who passed physics.

The End of the Book of Job

I think of 2011 as the end of a very long 2007, where everything seems to be coming back double what was taken away.  Note Where.com’s sale announcement today and Currensee’s C round as a case in point. 

I am doubling down on the distance run that year in celebration of this fact, with the Chicago marathon.  I will be running for the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation team – which has a legendary support system in getting its runners to and through the race.  Now I am noticing every ache and pain and wondering if limbs will actually fall off my body or split in half during such a long run. 

I am not sure quite how to coordinate the running training with the tri-training and the weightlifting anymore.  Everything I read puts the tri sports as fairly specific in their training, meaning there is no substitute for doing the sport.  I fully plan to rebel against this by weight training 2 hours a week anyway.

I start swim training at the Y next week.  Can’t wait to see what band of misfits, including myself, will turn up for that extravaganza.

Yes I said yes I will yes.

Ah, yes to the James Joyce Ramble.  A 10k perfectly timed on the road to my half marathon at the end of May, my main run this season.  I have a friend who lives halfway through the course, so yes, there was no question of actually running the thing.
 

I have analyzed a lot of James Joyce in my time.  As modern as my life is, I still think most people don’t admit he was mostly right about men and somewhat right about women. 

I am starting to have expectations I’ve never had about my running.  I spent the weekend reading training programs for half and full marathons.  I also looked at my VDOT scores, which were creepily accurate in predicting my 5 mile race after my 5k.  And I know what the 10k is supposed to be, a time that would be 13th last year and 3rd the year before.  If I hit my VDOT, I will probably run the Chicago Marathon (instead of just making a large donation to the American Cancer Society/Chicago DetermiNation team).  I never used to know these things and I was probably better off. 

Because I have days when I just suck and it’s better not to know by how much. 

‘Your battles inspired me – not the obvious material battles but those that were fought and won behind your forehead.’  - James Joyce

It Hurts When I Do This…

When I started moving in the direction of tris over running races, I got a slight case of overtraining.  It’s time to hit the pool.

So, this weekend will be the first training oriented foray into the water for me.  I love running.  I do not love swimming, I tolerate swimming when I have run way too much.  Let me list the ways I hate swimming:  bathing suits, goggles, wardrobe changes at the gym, walking from the dressing room to the pool, actually swimming.

Biking has been something I’ve loved, even after ‘the accident.’  I took an amazing and very cheap bike tour of Italy and Switzerland in ’97.  We rode 20-50 miles per day, ate at little dive restaurants, drank wine and danced and drank more wine, and  then slept about 4 hours a night.  Somehow managed to blow a spoke and vault over the handlebars onto a highway.  Did you know the hospitals in small Italian towns permit smoking by the staff?  The x-ray tech got so pissed at my lack of Italian I thought I was going to have to physically fight him.  In any case, I am eager to head out on a long riding adventure, soon.

For, as a good friend likes to say, what doesn’t kill you makes a great story later. Here’s to living long enough to tell that one.

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