Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Final Stretch

It's barely June and I'm already writing about the end of the season.  Either the season is short, it's long and I'm looking forward to sleeping past 5:05am or I'm just a long-term thinker (hint: it's the last one, the first one and the one in the middle).  I was going to write about my training or muffins but know that I'll lose readers with those two very compelling topics.  So I'm going to write about this:  stuff I love and hate about triathlon.

First, the bad news: Stuff I hate (or at least strongly dislike):

  1. Bad days and related: bad races.  Too much effort and time is put into this to have a bad day.  Not doing your best sort of fits in here.
  2. Missed sleep.  Let's just expand it to not having a normal life.  I could stay up, but I'd pay for it.
  3. Missing workouts.  The guilt kills me. 
  4. The Pain Cave or the Hurt Locker.  Going into either of these isn't fun, it's fun after but not fun during. 
  5. A disorganized race (also in this category, a disorganized transition area).  Not a fan of being forced into a rack, because the guys who figure out how many people can fit into a rack clearly have never actually raced before.  12 bikes - no, 8 bikes yes. 
  6. People on aerobars going 14mph.  You see them out there. 
  7. Not listening to the obvious; your legs can't move, your back is killing you, there's a race in 3 days - 'I really COULD do that interval session I think'.  Dumb.  I do it too much.  I'm getting better.
  8. Obsessing. 
  9. The Flat tire.  It's not too frequent, but when it does, it's never on the day you'd rather not ride, it doesn't happen on sunny days, it doesn't happen in your driveway.
  10. Missing out.  I have a lot of great wine to drink - probably to great excess, we've got tons of movies and books to enjoy, there are lots of sunny afternoons I could play with my girls, lie in the sun, do yard work, wash the car (hold on, I'm going down the wrong path....), working more or talking to everyone.  I give a lot of that up, as do everyone I know through no fault of their own.  It's the hardest part of the sport. 
  11. Guilt.  Wine, beer, cake, cookies, sleeping late, too much Xbox, not stretching, not drinking enough water, not eating 4 more grams of protein (because I SHOULD HAVE) or riding a dirty bike.
  12. Rest days.  Let's just get on with it.
  13. Blisters.
  14. Fear. Fear of blisters is bad too.

Now the good news - stuff I love (about triathlon):

  1. Good days, a good race or getting through a challenging workout you really didn't want to do. So simple sometimes, but often so hard.
  2. Feeling good.  Most days I wake up and just feel good and pretty healthy. Like today, I got up at 5:05, ran 11+ miles and then rode to work and will ride 35k home with some intervals.  I couldn't do that 2 years ago if I had 4 hours. 
  3. Being an example.  Somehow I've tricked a few people into this sport, I know my daughter likes to rider her bike with me - heck, she'll even sprint for the line - it doesn't matter where that line is, she'll just start sprinting.  It's great to be a role model, even if those people are only 4 years old. 
  4. Learning.  One of the best parts of triathlon is what you learn.  You learn a new recovery stretch, a tweak in your swim stroke, a way to get your wetsuit of 3 seconds faster or that a sub 1:25 half marathon isn't impossible. 
  5. Sleeping (or more specifically, a really good night's sleep).  95% of the time, when I get in bed, I'm cooked - a nice cool room, the perfect amount of blankets and some nicely starched sheets.  Heaven.
  6. Ice cold water and sometimes after I've had that water, a nice cold brew (cider or beer will do).  I've usually earned it, so no guilt.
  7. Pizza with Greta and the girls.  No guilt ever.  It's our family favorite since 1997.
  8. A perfect day.  70 something degrees, sunny, no breeze and maybe even a hint of jasmine in the air. 
  9. A good playlist on my iPOD.  Nothing can ruin a good interval like a bad song or worse, a collection of bad songs. 
  10. New training clothes or equipment.  A new bike kit, helmet, new shoes.  Tasty.
  11. The sound of a disc wheel.   Since I rarely hear them come from behind, I just hear mine.  When it's going fast it sounds like a train.
  12. Passing people.  It's fun.  When you have a 50th percentile swim or worse and a 95th percentile bike (or better), you pass a lot. 
  13. Getting faster.  It's proof that everything is working. 
  14. Finishing.  I'm done, nothing more to do and I can go home to my family. 

Here's something dumb I've done:

I signed (wait listed) up for another 70.3.  Here's the schedule:

June 8 - San Jose International, Olympic

July 20 - Vineman 70.3

Aug 17 - Timberman 70.3 (wait listed)

Aug 24 - Santa Barbara Long Course (tentative)

Sept 7 - Big Kahuna Half Ironman

Sept 8 - off season


Chris Westall said...

Solid List!

Oh... and you should to the Sentinel with me... then you can rest.

Courtenay said...

but loren! you are invited to my birthday party! you have to come to l.a.! it will be so fun! then you guys (you and ben) can go see mickey and minnie at disneyland on sept. 8!

i like training and racing. if it weren't for triathlon, i'd probably never would have found out that swimming freestyle, spending a day on a bike, or running for almost 2 hours could all be really fun.

Sarah said...

I like the list. Well-said.

I would add to things I like and dislike:

-Being in shape enough to do just about anything else. Go hike Half Dome? Sure! Go kayaking? Why not? Learn to surf? Hell yes!

-Learning from new friends. I have met so many cool people in this sport and in spite of it being so very individual, there is a real community built around sharing information and war stories.

-The adventures you experience because of the races you do. There's the race, but then there's getting to it, being there and getting home. So much can happen.

Things I dislike:

-The high price of races
-The high price of nice bike stuff

Sarah said...

p.s. you better decide on Santa Barbara soon - it sells out early!!

I say YES! DO IT!

Kelly said...

have you seen any info about san jose? i was trying to find out when my wave would start, nothing

Anonymous said...

i just wrote a long comment listing the many things i dislike about the sport, but then I decided it was too negative and deleted it.

I really do like the sport and I am a positive person, but there are definitely a lot of aspects about the sport I could do without. Read my blog and comments a lot and you'll soon have a sizable list of my dislikes.

what, no tinley's?!?!? You and Court can reenact your pseudo-drownings together. I also agree with Court about LA. It would be a lot of fun, and besides you don't need another half-ironman on your schedule.

Ian said...

This year I am printing out very easy to understand instructions for you on how to get to the San Jose race.

Chris Westall said...

If getting lost isn't on your list of dislikes... you definitely missed one.

Ian... well played! It's a good think Loren owns a GPS now.