Sorry if the title might mislead some, this is not some epic deal of overcoming all odds, or a terrible situation or malady. It is the title that stuck in my head while running today.
Despite the “Oh you did an Ironman, yawn” attitude you see over in some elitist triathlon forums, I view the big dance as a monumental thing. Take one look at me and you’ll not mistake my physique to be that of a distance runner or 5-8% body fat endurance athlete with all the speed, and grace of form that one imagines. Nope not this guy. Even in my glory days of thirty something and a slender 152 lbs, I was not a gifted athlete, terribly fast or all that dialed in on technique or form. I sure was faster than I am today and would take it back in a heartbeat. No pro career in the works for me ever. I did however love the sport, and especially how empowered I felt, and how positive is was for my outlook, and perspective. It made me feel very alive as it does now. Being determined and having stubborn will as my allies I press on.
I sure picked a hell of a year to tackle the ironman distance. Of course when I signed up, my career was not in turmoil at that time. The training is most certainly a great stress relief. It is also a source of stress in that I barely make my workouts on a good week, and missing more than a few probably doesn’t help in my quest. My good doctor will read this, and will be sure to set me straight. No qualms there as she practices what she preaches and I get away with nothing. No excuses Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for so many things, general good health, my wife, my family, and my friends. I live a good life, and know that I am fortunate. In that respect, shut up and get on with it.
My daily schedule is chaotic for now, lots of hours, with each week begin different as I try to build a tech company. eating is erratic, and my weight is stagnant, and needs to drop and soon. My constant worrying is self imposed. and I am sure it is affecting a number of things. Being this is the first weekend in three months that I did not work, is maybe a sign of balance on the horizon. I am surrounded by great support of my wife, and close friends. I really do need to listen to them more and take it more to heart.
Lately my workouts have been drudgery, taxing, as I feel overtired, and always thinking about work instead of pounding out a good workout. Some days my supposed positive outlook and iron will falls short for the build up for Lake Placid. There is no excuse or circumstance that means anything when that start cannon goes off on July 28th. There is some headway on the swimming side of things, so I’ll take that as progress.
I toed the start line at Syracuse Half Marathon this morning. It would run through my old stomping grounds where I used to live in Eastwood many years ago. I was looking forward to running a city course which I like very much. Coming off Lake effect 13.1 a month prior, I felt reasonably ready to cover it as an easy pace training run. Up to start time everything felt normal and familiar and I was ready to go. The plan was simple, go easy the first mile, no faster than 10:30 as there was a good uphill stretch on James Street, and to ease up going up Court Street roughly halfway to 2/3rd of the race. Pace would be 11ish with a 20-30 sec walk break every mile after mile 3 to ease my hips and back the heart rate down.
First mile out I stayed with the plan, but felt like I was overtired and working too hard given the pace and the flat first mile. I eased up James Street the way I wanted to, and was ok with it. Settled in for the next two miles, and felt a little better. Mile 4, I felt that didn’t have it in me to finish, and that I was having a problem. A big problem. If this was all I had to see something through, what would I do at mile 16 with another 10 miles to go at Lake Placid. This was my little battle today. I thought it was odd, as I enjoyed running my old routes, the race itself, the volunteers were fantastic, all good stuff. I made it my pact that If I could not mentally tough out a half marathon on an odd day, then what was I thinking about pulling it together for 140.6 miles.
I used my little mental tool kit and bag of tools to work out my little funk. Dropped to 11:30′s, eased up my stride and did my best to put my head back into the miles ahead. A little stubborn will goes a long way sometimes. I am sure neither of my coaches would have thought that the race was at all critical, likely telling me to just go out next week, and put the miles in, move on. Personally I needed this little win over myself to put this funk behind me. Eventually I felt better, and the remainder of the miles seem to go by quicker. Once I hit mile 12, it was a done deal. All said and done, I felt so much better for crossing the finish line. Kudos to Ken for putting on he race, the volunteers, the police and all that made it happen. Great inaugural race!