Monday, February 27, 2012

About Bonehead Decisions

I consider myself a pretty level headed kind'a person.  I make decisions after a well thought out process.  So far, this has served me well.  I have no complaints.

A long time ago, I read somewhere that a logical person makes the right decision 95% of the time, given the facts and conditions of the moment.  Circumstances may change after the decision is made which at time it may render the decision as a bonehead decision.

This is what happened to me this past Friday.

My younger daughter Marcela invited me (earlier in the week) to attend with her a Boot Camp class at the gym where she works.  She told me, and I quote:  "You WILL love this class, papa".

Well, who am I to decline such a special invitation.  I have heard of such classes.  I have heard that they are not for the faint of heart.  I have heard that it'll whip you in shape, like it or not. I have heard all these marvelous things and now with my daughters recommendation and invitation, I had to try it.

And so I did.  I showed up on time and ready to go.  First thing I noticed was that I was the only male in the class.  Not a problem, I can do this.  Second thing I noticed was that I had at least 20 years on the rest of the class.  Again, not a problem.  I can so do this.

It also turns out that my daughter had been bragging about me to her friends and co-workers.  As the class started, I told the trainer that I would do my best to keep up, to which he replied:  "You're an Ironman, you'll be just fine."  And so the pressure increased.

Throughout the 90 minute class, I managed to go through the 8 or 9 stations without consequence.  Some where pretty tough while others were very manageable.  I could begin to feel which body parts needed work.  My estimate was that I lost a least three liters of sweat, if I lost a drop.  As the class concluded I was happy, happy that I survived.  Happy that it was over.  Some of the ladies came over and asked if this was my first time at a class like this.  "What? was it that obvious?" was what I thought.  But I simply replied that it was.  They in turn said, "wow, you did good."  I smiled and thanked them.  I told my daughter how polite these ladies were.  I think they were trying to make me feel better!

I still had a 40 minute run.  Not sure how I managed to do this, but it got done!

And then it hit me.  Like a ton of bricks.  I was tired and exhausted.  My body began to hurt.  My muscles began to get tight and my legs began to feel heavy.

On Saturday, I could hardly walk.  With every step I took, my quads felt like hot pokers were being dug into my leg.  I made the decision to bypass the spin class scheduled for this morning.  But the swim I thought would help.  So off to the pool I went.

After I finished 2200 yds in the water, I tried to get out of the pool but was having a difficult time.  My legs were not willing to help.  One of the lifeguards came by and asked if I was okay.  "Yes. I. Am." and gave him that 'leave me alone' look.

The rest of the day was not any better.  It was difficult to move around.  I spent most of the day on the sofa.

Yesterday (Sunday) I thought the legs were feeling better, so I went for my run.  Ha!  Nothing doing.  It ended up being more like a very slow walk.  I don't think I have ever moved so slow in my life.  It took me 1 hour and 40 minutes to go 3.5 miles.  Yeah, it was pitiful.  My hope is that in a couple of days my quads would have forgiven me for the abuse so I can get back to proper training.

So, what have taken from this:  1).  I have an amazing daughter.  I would do this for her again, in a heart beat.  2).  Not really necessary trying to keep up with good looking, younger women.  I will loose every time.  3).  I'm not in as good a shape as I thought I was.  Time to get extra work on my legs.


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Thursday, February 23, 2012

About The Last Piece Of The Puzzle

Planning a race season is not an easy task.  Lots of things have to be taken into consideration and this year it was a bit more challenging than in years past.  I have opted to race events that I have not raced before; there's just to much to experience out there and not taking advantage of this is a shame.

First thing I had to get straight was the family vacation.  Nothing can come between our time together, all of us, away for a week.  Once that was settled then I was free to choose my third "A" event.   Yes, third.

I have already registered for Ironman 70.3 Florida (May 20) and Ironman 70.3 Branson (Sept 23). The third and final piece of the puzzle fell right in the middle;  Ironman 70.3 Muncie (July 7).

In addition to this, I will be doing two sprint tris with my wife Monica, one in Tullahoma, TN and the other in Guntersville, AL, a few select half marathons, including St. Jude Country Music Half Marathon and St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon, the former with both my daughters and the latter we will do as a family.  This will be a treat!

Oh yeah, I've registered with my daughter Marcela, for the NYC Marathon, but the stars will have to align correctly.  This is my third year in the lottery, so if not chosen, I will get in automatically next year...

So I guess the plan now is to train, train and then train some more!

Monday, February 20, 2012

About Tri Types

Triathletes, for the most part, have Type A personalities...

"A type A individual is ambitious, aggressive, business-like, controlling, highly competitive, preoccupied with his or her status, time conscious, arrogant and tightly wound.  People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving workaholics who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence."   This general identification of a Type A personality has been around since 1950 when Cardiologist Marvin Friedman finished a 10 year study conducted with healthy males between the ages of 35-59... long, long before the sport of triathlon ever came along.  It is amazing how accurate this applies to the majority of those in our sport, at least to the majority of triathletes I have come in contact with through the years seem to fit this profile.

We are all ambitious, somewhat aggressive, perfectly business-like, highly controlling and extremely competitive.  I can't form an opinion regarding the social status thing because I, personally don't see this.  Our time is very valuable and although most of us would not care to admit, we are arrogant.  Yes, we are.  The tightly wound part, I have to confess that I'm not.  At this point in my life all the tightness has been unwound and am pretty loose.

Just spend a moment with any triathlete and you'll see how high-achieving workaholics we are, at least when it comes to our sport.  Multi-tasker?  How else could we tackle three disciplines at once?  Deadliness drive us and yes to the hating delays and ambivalence.  We have no time for that.

We all have a specific, well thought out, extremely well plan idea of what we want to do, where we want to go and how we want to get there.  These are called our training plans.  You couldn't attempt to finish a triathlon, of any distance, without this.  It's just not going to happen.

Where we may differ is in the way we train.  Each and everyone of us is unique in this area.  There are no "one type fits all" when it comes to how we approach this.

But there seems to be a common thread that binds the majority of us together... most advise given to new triathletes is to find a "group" to train with.  Someone whom they can cling on for advise and motivation.  Most tri clubs are created around this premise:  to provide a friendly environment where you can find training partners  ...

I too, joined a club a few years back.  I too, was looking for that "training partner", but in MY case this was not really what developed.  So I don't fit the mold.  I found myself to be extremely slower in every discipline that everyone around me.  It made me anxious and uncomfortable to be the one "holding" the group back.  At times, I found myself pushing to limits beyond those I knew I could comfortably reach if only to stay with the group.  This I knew was not a smart thing to do.

Quickly I realized that a "training" group was not for ME.  I opted for flying solo and understood that if I were to improve, it would be all up to ME.  I was more at ease with this option.

Occasionally, I will join a run or a ride, but I think by now everyone around me understands that if I get dropped, I get dropped and I'm just fine with that.

Here is what I've observed.  Insofar as "training types", there are several and others fall somewhere in between those I've come to describe.

1).  You may be a Groupie, if you have to train with a group.  No ifs, ands or buts about it.  If there's no group to tag along with, you're not training.  Not quiet sure I would describe this person as a true "Type A" triathlete, however.  Your reasons for this could vary from needing to be pushed because you can't push yourself (again, not a Type A), to needing the camaraderie of social training. 

2).  You may be a Loner you would rather train all by yourself.  You know how to push yourself and don't need anyone to tell you what, when and how to do your stuff.  If you have questions, you will ask them and you will experiment with your options, but in your terms.

3).  You could be somewhere in between if you enjoy the swim, bike or run with a group but don't rely on one to get the job done.  You're comfortable either way.  You often look for opportunities to gather or join a group but are just as comfortable if you have to fly solo.

There are advantages and disadvantages to be found for either type.  You are the only one that can decide what's best for you.  Right now, I'm helping a friend get out of a "training" situation she got herself into that is making her loose her passion for the sport.

Training as a Loner is not for everyone, but it has worked for me. You have to be highly motivated, extremely secure of your ability to stay the course. Your goals have to be specific and clearly defined.  You have to understand when and if you have to ask for help or advise. If you've been in the sport for at least one season you probably already decided how you're going to train.  However, if you're new to the sport, here's one piece of advise I can give you regarding training with a group:  Make sure you're compatible with most everyone in that group.  Not just socially.  Make sure your training partners' training and racing goals are the same, or at least similar, as yours.

Disclaimer:  This post is not an attempt to stereotype anyone in any form, way or fashion.  I understand that triathletes come in all types of personalities, therefore the qualifications with the statement... "most".  You too, as I am, can be a strong Type A when it comes to the tri world but be very cool, calm and collected in other aspects of your life.

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