Monday, July 21, 2014

It's All Relative

We are all humans that are all really after the same thing. However, we all have different points of view, and because of this are divided as to what the "meaning of life"'s like if you took a million painters and put them in a circle around a large mountain. While it's true all the painters would be painting the same mountain not all of their paintings would look the same. Their paintings are relative to their view of the mountain. Just like our idea of life is relative to our view of it.

In the wonderful world of Endurance Sports, things are no different. Perceptions and Ideas are as varied as there are athletes. What may be tough for me, could be easy for you.

A very large number of triathletes are, as we speak, training for Ironman Chattanooga. This is the inaugural event, therefore there's no supported evidence as to how course conditions will be on race day or to how athletes will respond to the course. What will the weather be like? Will it be a wetsuit legal event? How is the bike course? What's the actual elevation? What about the run? is it really as hilly as some may suggest?

There's been an array of nervous questions regarding the course, mostly from folks that have not and probably cannot preview the course before race day. There's been just as many responses to these questions, but many leave the inquirer wondering.

All we have to go by at the moment is the recognizance reports from folks that have been able to preview the course.

We have to be careful at this moment not to take anyone's word as the gospel. Unless the reviewer goes into detail about his abilities at the moment, all we get is a report on what "this" person perceives the course to be like. When I read these, I always add "In my opinion..." or " from my point of view..." to anything written.

The very first time I rode the course, I came back home and when asked by fellow IMChoo hopefuls, I told them that it was "no big deal, that there were no surprises and nothing worse than what we train here in Middle Tennessee".  I felt good that day; I rode fast. But remember "fast" is defined as what "fast" means to me.

The second time I rode the course I literally thought that they had added extra mountains to the course. If you were to ask my opinion after each ride you would get a different answer.

So, what made the difference? Perhaps I was a bit more tired before the second ride, volume had increased some as "The Day" inches closer and closer. Perhaps remembering my first ride, I just pushed harder than I should have. 

When discussing this course with a friend, she claimed that the course was easy. She's a machine on that bike. If  you were to sit us side by side, and ask us the same question, you would get two very different answers.

I have been asked how this course compares to Ironman Louisville. This is not an easy question to answer. The courses are different, the weather is different. Today I am three years more experienced and I have worked really hard at improving my bike. Of course I cant compare. Not even for my own benefit.

This is where we need to be careful. We need to ask more questions from the source if we are to use their information for our purposes.  A lot of factors come into play. How experienced is this person? What kind of equipment do they have? What's their strength? Strong at climbing? Lifelong swimmer? Runner? etc.

I have run the IMChoo course once. Half the course. The very first part of this run was somewhat flat, very easy rollers here and there. Then then hills. OMG the hills. They hit you like a bucket of cold water. All I could think of was that I had to do these twice. All I could think of was how my training would have to be adjusted. I wasted no time. When I got back to my car, I immediately texted coach Barry and told him we would have to add lots and lots of hills to my run training. I sent him the elevation graph and he agreed.

I was discussing this with another friend just last week. He looked at me like I was crazy. He has a running background. He has been running since his high school years. He was running way back when I was still on the couch. He told me he thought those hills were NO big deal.

Again, two very different opinions from two different folks regarding the same course. So who do you listen to? Neither? Both? Somewhere in between?

There's no clear answer for this, for remember that all opinions are Relative. Relative to that person's own point of view.

My suggestion is to take it all of with a grain of salt. One of the problems I had when training for IMKY is that I would continue to search for answers to my questions until I found the answer I wanted or liked. Then I understood the problem with this approach.

Beauty, like truth, is relative to the time when
one lives and to the individual who can grasp it.
The expression of beauty is in direct proportion to the 
power of conception the artist has acquired.
~ Gustave Courbet

Please come over and "like" my facebook page for more Motivation and Inspiration on my "Journey Beyond Ironman".  Click here.

Many of you know that my daughter Juliana and I are training for and will be racing Ironman Chattanooga. When this adventure started, I told her we were going to race this together. She agreed. Then it turned to "Okay, we're going to at least start together and I just hope you wait for me at the finish line". Again she agreed.  Also, some of you may know this, some may not but we are raising fund for Ironman Chattanooga's official charity; The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. You can read more about it here. We need a little help making the last push to reach our goal. Please consider a $5, $10, $20 or any other amount. We will be forever indebted to you. To contribute, please go here.