Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

I tweaked my neck somehow.  For days on end, the muscles around my left shoulder blade and my neck threatened to keep me immobile.  I was wondering if this was going to be my undoing.  Work piles up to the point where sports training get less and less, and then the body starts to turn to mush.  Wow, was I ever an athlete?

I found myself going to a class tonight.  Just one hour, but long enough to draw off the excess energy from others and get focused by their aspirations.  I’m reminded that my skills are also used by others to measure theirs.  I’m reminded that my advice is sought actively in some areas.  My coaches remind me that if I were willing–we could pursue a path less traveled and push my talent where it can fly.

I laugh, I smile, and observe.  I wonder how someone can hold such perfect form.  My unfortunate approximations pale by comparison, but my coach tells us it’s amazing what a few classes have done for us.  I think I know what he means.  I’m sure he was making a comment about that someone’s perfect form.  Ha ha.

I see others with fully-formed pictures about their athletic capabilities.  Some are talented, but untrained.  Some are talented and trained, but have chosen not to compete.  Many would like to shed their bodies and put on the form of their coaches physique–maybe impossible, but they try.  Different motivations, different lives, similar goals.

When you train with others, you can get a sense of your talents and capabilities.   Even as a marathoner, I find myself appreciating these short distance-focused triathletes.  After all, they introduced me to running fast!  I think I train with others for companionship.  Like minds where you never have to justify training for hours on end.  Why you have to jump into an angry ocean for a mile swim.  Why you have to dodge cars on a long bike ride.

Yep, training with others does wonders for my state of mind.



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To form friendships, you have to leave competition at the door. Here is what a recent conversation I had sounded like. My companion said “Me me me. Yeah, me me me. I was tops then, tops now. Me me me. Did you see me? Wow, how good I always am. Yeah, me me me”. Laughing out loud. It makes me smile when I play that back in my brain.

I mean, to someone like me who comes from a non-competitive background and always takes a non-competitive stance–this conversation gets old. Watch how the prettiest girl can be undone by her self-worship! If you want to be liked, let someone else play with the flashlight!

When I can get a word in sometimes, the balance is restored until the next ME tirade. Unfortunate I know. Which brings me to my present thinking point–the natural tendencies that western thinking engender. Survival and capitalism brings about competition, and it comes directly from the core to compete at each meeting of two minds. It doesn’t matter if you are at church or praying. You are still competing against something. Western thinking drives you to the edge, making competing an end in itself.

There is no end to raw competition. Just ruined bodies and destroyed dreams, with few exceptions. Only the very best are rewarded, but only for a short time until they too must join the has-beens. I laugh inside and also feel pity when I encounter seniors who keep measuring themselves with the impossible capabilities of youth. Is there ever any reason why one has to prove vigor to anyone? Is it a need to still be taken seriously perhaps?

If you do something without a mind to compete, guess what–the pressure is off. You can do it to your hearts content and never care what others may think. Maybe you can actually gain an edge by not competing. Competing by not competing? Confused yet?

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How to enjoy the long run

Wires and straps, deaf to the world.  Bounding by traffic, life at the peril.  Yet singing off-key to the latest beat, not a care in the world.  Does this sound like you?

Many think that the hours in the run can be used for constructive purposes.  Solve puzzles perhaps.  Think about what the boss said at the meeting, or how the latest gossip will affect you.  After all, running long presents you with idle hours which could be put into more productive use.

Who are you kidding?  Many come to running to get away from it all.  Perhaps a little peace and quiet is what you long for.  How can you ever clear your mind if on the run you think plenty or pass tunes from ear-to-ear and around the recesses of your brain?

To enjoy the run properly, leave home unfettered by technology.  Care not what time it is, and how long it will take.  Listen to the quiet.  Seek the hawk just over the horizon peeking over the sand dune.  Listen to the wind.  Listen to your heart, your breathing and your footsteps.  Smell the breeze.

You can’t really enjoy the run unless you are truly in the moment.  Open your senses–see, hear, and feel.  Be part of the scenery!  Seek the joy of running through the eyes of the child.  Connect with others, even traffic.  Smile, watch, and reciprocate.  So much more is happening than your own little world.

Have fun in your next long run!

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Wouldn’t you know it–two teammates are aiming for 3:15 in marathons in December and January.  One is squarely in the 3:30s, and the other at 3:50s.  What’s going for them is their relative youthfulness (compared to me that is).  The guy who does 3:30s is relatively fast around track–easily hammering 6:10-6:00 pace at Z3.  The other does 7:00-6:50s at Z3.  Even with their differing abilities, you really only need a 7:10 pace to guarantee a 3:15 right?  Only problem is, you have to keep it up for 26.2 miles.  Ouch!

So where does that put me?  One sometimes train with me, and the other talks to me about what he does.  So one way or another, my input is getting in there somewhere.  I’ve been relatively consistent about my advice to get the 7mm X 6 miles tempo runs regularly.  Hope these guys are doing it.  And maybe I need to get back on it again!

I may end up running with the faster guy in LV.  That should be interesting.  I should be able to keep 7:10 relatively easily for 13.1, but so-so right now for the remainder.  Haven’t been keeping up with the harder running workouts.  This is where the end game becomes an important motivator.  For these guys, it is important to hit that goal at this juncture of their lives.  For me, it’s just another number.

I think my prospects for a faster marathon get better each time.  At least this time, their attempt will catapult my mindset into a similar trajectory by default.  The number still isn’t that important to me, but it’s a lot of fun to work towards a goal with others and achieve it.  If I get a faster time in the process, so be it!

But for now, I have to keep my mind on Ironman Arizona.  One month from now!

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Hey, get off that couch and start working out will you?

I figure, I’m totally allowed to watch from the sidelines sometimes since I put myself through the ringer also.  Take the Ironman–it’s a day-long race lasting as much as 17 hours.  Following it is a blast because you get to see how fast people are going, how their nutrition is going, and generally if their energy is holding up through the long 140.6 mile race.  Plus, if you plan it well enough–you can see your teammates finish on live feed (at least for IM branded events).  Unfortunately, this is about the only type of race you can track someone like this.

Running events are too short, lasting under 6 hours for the most part.  So best one can do is to read through race reports that runners put on the blogs.  If written well enough, you can get a sense of how hard it can be to push yourself through miles of running.  Running may be natural for our forebears thousands of years ago, but many of us have began the slow integration into couch+technology.  Pretty soon, we’ll just be blobs next to our TV sets.

I figure too, I read the race reports of athletes I know to get intel.  Sometimes inspiration.  Sometimes encouragement.  Training for a race can be so monotonous.  And you do get interesting tidbits that allow you to avoid certain situations that may cause you some grief.

Yeah, a blog full of race reports become monotonous at some point as well.  After all, a sports blog is a sports blog.  If someone talks about sports in face-to-face conversation, anyone only has patience for a minute or two and then you want to get away.  A blog is pretty much hour upon hour of gee-whiz sports rambling.

From thousands of words, you can stumble upon something inspirational.  It strikes me sometimes when I run into my Kona posts.  Was I really there?  Damn dude!  It’s been a while.

Anyway, hope my one-dimensional sports blogging keeps you occupied for a while.  Hopefully, you’ll be so inspired you’ll spend more time outside than in front of the TV monster.  Maybe not.

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Perceived exertion and pace

I’m studying this right now.  The idea is to match your exertion with your energy level.  When you force your way to a faster pace before your body is ready, that is an invitation to bonking.  Whereas if you start even with your energy level, then you allow your body to catch up to the exertion level.  So you can endure longer at race pace, than engage in a fight-or-flight type response.

The more difficult thing to get a handle on is how to relax into a fast pace.  Just about anyone can harness the natural energies to fly out of an emergency situation.  When you engage in a race environment, you want to stay at that fast pace longer.  Here is the irony–you can’t train like you race.  The race environment changes the body’s responses so that you can’t mimic these things in training.  So if you train at 5:15 pace (assuming that is your max) in training, it will not be the same 5:15 in a race–just because of all the things that come up.

I’m beginning to understand how energy levels affect how someone races.  Especially its effects in the latter part of the event.  I’m presently experimenting on getting a level of relaxation while running at 5:15 pace; it’s not easy because the normal response is that your heart rate goes sky-high and your breathing becomes labored.  I’m trying to see if I can delay these or maybe allow my body to manage it so I can stay at that pace.

Stay tuned…

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Precise, careful, logical.  Shoots like an arrow, shatters the senses, pierces the silence, and impresses the soul with the point.

Unsheathed,  a dagger, reverberating, sending, marring.  Anger is general, poison, un-localized, un-gentlemanly.

Poetry, musical, artistic, indirect, minstrels, spires of melodies, strings of tones and thoughts, inspired, abstract, lingers.

Speech, leads, impresses, politics, teaches, mis-leads, thoughts of the few over the many, society, humanity, war, poverty.

Words, tools, eyes, mouth, mind, the senses.  Precise, careful, logical.

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