Saturday, January 16, 2010

An Endurance Athlete...Me?

According to Webster's online dictionary, "Endurance" is defined as the act, quality or power of withstanding hardship or stress.  The act or fact of persevering.  An Endurance Athlete is able to accomplish feats such as Marathons, Half Marathons, Triathlons and challenging Ultra endurance events.

But what's the attraction and why are so many seemingly normal people attracted to this? Considering that the majority of the world's population has trouble finding the time or energy to work out at all, let alone train for a grueling endurance event?  What makes these elite athletes different and where do they get their energy and motivation to do so?

Accoridng to an article published by, "Much of this is mental.  While many endurance athletes say there's nothing special about their physical abilities, clearly people who are drawn to and are able to accomplish feats such as marathons, triathlons and challenging ultra events differ from the rest of us somehow.  A big piece of the puzzle is how these athletes think about their lives, goals and the obstacles they face."

Jenny Susser, a clinical psychologist at the Women's Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery goes on to say that "many endurance athletes also have common personality traits which include persistence, endless curiosity, a lack of fear when it comes to failure and a sense of boldness."

Personally, I can atest to these statements.  But when I set out to run my first race, the furthest thing from my mind was becoming an "endurance athlete".  And a short four years thereafter, I find that I am a member of a very elite group, purely by accident.

After completing my first half marathon I found myself wanting to push the envelope a bit further.  How much could I endure?  I how much would I be willing to go?  How high is my pain - physical and mental - threshold?  Do I have the dedication to commit to a training schedule?  When is enough?

One of the greatest and most attractive elements of endurance sports is that you can create and execute your own goals at your own pace.  For me my goals have been simple: to simply finish and to finish in respectable time.  Respectable as defined by my standards.  Doing this has enabled me to measure my perforance in accordance to my wants and needs.  I have had disappointments but mostly success.

So how far am I willing to go?  or a better question may be, how far can my body take me?

That question remains to be answered.  Up to this point no one single event has left me wondering why I do this or if it's time to quit.  On the contrary, every event has reinforced the reasons why I do this and wondering what's next?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

50 Ways To Identify Triathlon Obsession

A FB friend, Spence Smith posted this compilation of the "you know you're an obsessed triathlete when...".  These have floated around the interned for some time now and you have probably seen some of them at one time or another.  I too thought it was a great list to share!

50. You are over 30 and there is still someone in your life that you refer to as “coach”.

49. Your last bike cost more than your first car.

48. You have peed outdoors more times in the last year than you did in your first year of university.

47. You think of mowing the lawn as a form of cross-training.

46. You’ve worn a heart-rate monitor to bed.

45. And it wasn’t when you were sleeping.

44. You refer to the front hall of your house as the “transition area”.

43. When you get home from a training session at the pool, the newspaper is just being delivered to your house.

42. You have changed more flat tires this year than light bulbs.

41. The most frequently used software program on your computer is the one that keeps track of your workouts.

40. You have no idea why they call Cal Ripken Jr. “Iron Man” when, after all, he was a baseball player.

39. The first three items on your grocery list are Gatorade, power bars, and gels.

38. When you floss at night, it’s to get the bugs out of your teeth.

37. Your legs move in a cycling motion while you are asleep.

36. When you see a drop of blood, your first reaction is that you spilled some red Gatorade.

35. You know how far you biked and ran last year, to one-tenth of a kilometre.

34. You think the ultimate form of wallpaper is about 64 racing bibs.

33. A 19-year old kid who works in a bicycle shop know more about you than your next-door neighbour.

32. Your children are more likely to recognize you if you put your bicycle helmet.

31. You have a vanity licence plate with the word “Kona” in it.

30. About half the shirts you own have at least a dozen logos on the back of them.

29. You don’t find the word “fartlek” in the least bit amusing.

28. When you refer to your “partner”, you mean neither your spouse nor the co-owner of your business but the person you run or bike with three times a week.

27. You shave your legs more often than your wife.

26. The closest you came to punching somebody was when they disagreed with your position on whether wearing a wetsuit amounts to cheating.

25. It doesn’t feel right that you can’t “clip “ in and out of the pedals in your car.

24. There is a group of people in your life about whom you are more likely to know how fast they can swim 100 metres than their surnames or occupations.

23. Some of the shorts you wear today are tighter than the ones you wore in high school.

22. You are frustrated with the latest Garmin Forerunner because its live readings have a margin of error of approximately three per cent.

21. There’s a separate load of laundry every week that is just your workout clothes.

20. One of your goals this year is to be faster at getting out of your wetsuit.

19. You failed high school chemistry but you could teach a course on lactic acid.

18. All you want for Christmas is something called a carbon crank set.

17. You wore a digital watch to your wedding.

16. You have to have completely separate meals from your spouse because he or she is on a low-carb diet.

15. Your bicycle is in your living room.

14. You have stocked up on a brand of cereal because it has a coupon that will save you money on your next two pairs of running shoes.

13. In order to establish a new personal best, you considered peeing without getting off your bike.

12. One of your proudest moments is when you lost a toenail.

11. When a car follows too closely behind you, you accuse the driver of “drafting”.

10. When you went for a job interview, you wrote your social insurance number on your arm in black marker.

9. Your spouse cried during Terms of Endearment; you cried during the television coverage of the Hawaii Ironman.

8. You are comfortable discussing the sensitivity of your nipples with other guys.

7. Your spouse is looking forward to the day when you will slow down and just run marathons.

6. You have paused in front of the mirror in your wetsuit and thought, “Hey, I look like Spiderman.”

5. You see no issue with talking about treatments for chafing or saddle rash at the dinner table.

4. You recently asked your spouse out for dinner by asking if he or she wanted to “fuel up” together.

3. For you, “bonking” no longer has a sexual connotation.

2. The magazine secretly tucked under your mattress has pictures of really expensive bicycles in it.

And the No. 1 sign you’re obsessed:

1. Most of this list doesn’t seem like a joke to you.

Monday, January 11, 2010

13.1 + 26.2 = 39.3 Goofy 2010 Recap

When I first signed up for "The Challenge" last February, the furthest thing from my mind was the weather. After all, it's Florida, Central Florida at that. The weather usually that time of year is perfect for running. This was not an issue and it shouldn't have been an issue. But as it turned out it was the biggest issue we had to deal with.

On Saturday, it was cold, very cold and windy, and rainy and sleety (at times). Temperature itself was manageable, low 30's but wind gust of up to 18mph made it bad, real bad. On Sunday, it was colder but not as much wind and the sun came out. Average temperatures for this time of year are 61F.

The crowds were amazing. Not sure of the exact number but I heard numbers varying from 12k to 20k for each race. There were 9K Goofy runners. It appeared to me that there were more Marathoners than Half Marathoners which was a surprise.

The idea going in was to go and have fun.  Run -walk - run - walk - Finish.  At no time did I set myself a time goal for either race and as it turns out this was the smart thing to do.  I had read and heard that the distractions during the race would be many, to take full advantage of them and to have fun.  That I did.

The event itself was extremely well organized. What else could you expect from a Disney organization?

The course itself was wonderful. Going through the parks was amazing, specially on the Marathon course,  going through some later in the morning made it more fun because the crowds were bigger and louder.

I ran with five friends from my local running club; Hendersonville Running Club.  Leslie, Shari, Bob, Charlene and Skip.  On Saturday morning we caught up with each other at mile 3 or somewhat there after.  We ran the rest of the Half together and finished together.  That was prety amazing!  Thanks ya'll for allowing me to share this experience with you.  On Sunday, although we had made plans on where to meet, it just didn't work out.  I met up with Skip somewhere around mile 16.  We ran together for about 6 or 7 miles then he went ahead to go catch up with his wife who was just ahead.  The rest of the group had started at an earlier corral and we had no opportunity to meet up.  That was a bummer!

Since I was running solo for the majority of the Marathon, I took advantage of some photo ops, not to many so as not to break the pace, but a few none-the-less.  I really wanted to meet up with Goofy but he was no where to be found!  Oh, well.

As far as the run itself it went just as planned.  I had trained to run a mile and walk for .20m.  As it turned out we ran for 5 minutes and walked for 1 minute on Saturday and I ran for 4 minutes and walked for 1 minute on Sunday.  This was just a perfect plan.  Other than slight soreness in my ankles and heels, all was good.  I was concerned about my IT band but that was not a problem.  YES!

As far as the time it took...well lets just say that I finished in plenty of time to qualify for the "Goofy".   The crowds on the courses were such that going for specific times would have been a disaster.

Today my legs are sore, my ankles and heels not as bad.  I will take it easy the rest of this week for it is vacation time.  Next week it's back to training for the Country Music Marathon is just around the corner.