Friday, February 22, 2013


This is not about the current bout of insanity in the US Congress.
Neither is it about the Cardinals getting together to select the next Pope. I've done that one in passing. However there are obvious parallels between these two that maybe I'll explore in a later blog. The best possible thing we could hope for is a meteor strike that takes out both institutions in their entirety. That would go a long way towards convincing me to believe in a merciful God.

No, I'm going to talk about triathletes. In particular, Ironman triathletes, and wannabes. The world is a busy place these days. The big time-eater is earning a living to feed the ungrateful mammals that share our homes. I speak of course of children and cats. Plus the odds and ends just to keep things going, like laundry or paying bills, though that is infinitely more convenient now than before. Why, I can remember a time when one had to actually travel to a bank or other physical place, stand in line, and write a cheque or pay in cash. Can you imagine? What a primitive world that was.

Nobody gets enough sleep. We see it in the sales of sleeping pills and coffee. Both constantly whipsawing at each other in some poor human's anatomy. Gradually the impact of them wear off, so you have to take more and more for less and less effect. That doesn't end well.

Then we come to Ironman trainees. There are some very funny Extranormal videos about triathletes. Here's one, just to get you started. The hell of it is, the people that think it's funny, think we're kidding. There are in fact several times I got up at oh dark thirty for a run. It's kind of peaceful running that early, providing you watch out for people heading into work while still asleep. Even now, most of the time I'm in in bed at 9 pm, and have been in bed and asleep much earlier. Getting up at 5:15 every work day might have something to do with that.

There were lots of weeks I spent between 12 and 14 hours training, and I think I had a few weeks more than 18 hours. This is not considered a lot. In fact, many ironman trainees would think I was a bit of a weenie.

At that level of activity, your life gets stripped down to essentials. It was easier for me in that I wasn't working for part of that, but during the peak, I was. Thank you considerate employers. Your life is work, train, sleep, try to take care of anything else that needs doing. I am very fortunate that Linda was kind of amused by the whole thing. I think she enjoyed the time I was out of the house. As I've said before, I don't know how people with kids do it.

Even in daily life you can often tell who is in serious training. Fit people carry themselves differently. They often get through life more quickly. They certainly walk more quickly. They look longingly at the muffin in Sunterra, but don't buy it, though they have the right change ready for coffee. They get on pool deck, get in the water and swim. They get on their bikes and go. They run any time of day or night, whenever they get the time.

There has always been a small group of people that seek out retreats, silent or not. They sequester themselves from the world in search of God, or inner peace, or just to get away from their kids. Or maybe just a little silence. It's hard to find silence these days, so I can sure understand the desire for a silent retreat. I have sometimes thought I'd make a good hermit, if I could find a comfortable cave, with weekly maid service, and reliable internet.

For all they are out in the world, triathletes in serious training are actually not really there. They are in their heads, thinking about their training plan. Wondering how hard to push, if that niggle is something serious, if that known issue will flare up, where the nearest bathroom is, if it's going to rain, (or hail, or snow), why they are or are not in the groove. Many of us are obsessed with numbers; pace, heart rate, cadence, distance, turnover, time, frequency. Maybe, just maybe we might notice how hawt that person that just passed us is, but maybe not.

I hit the sweet spot in the swim today, in a crowded pool. I haven't been 3 in a lane for a while, and the two other guys each swam just a bit faster than me. That meant I was hustling to keep up. We were all doing intervals at the same time. I was pleased with 3 consecutive 100's in 90 seconds on 2 minutes thought the clock was a long way away and I couldn't see it well. In the water 40 minutes.

As I was walking into work I was feeling really good. A little bit tired from the workout, but also feeling strong and invigorated. That's a nice feeling.

It took a while to find the sweet spot during my run this afternoon, but about the 2 K mark I found it. My breathing had started off feeling a little rushed, like I was working too hard. Then I relaxed, and even though my pace didn't really change much, my breathing caught up, and it turned into a really relaxing run. About the 7 K mark things starting getting to be a bit more work, and I could feel that my run was not as efficient as it had been. I'm really pleased with it. Stretched after, then again later in the evening. This is the first time in a very long time that I've had a good run and swim on the same day.

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