Great Times Ahead

Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Training

Just got back from a long weekend in London.  It was a gift to Roya for having to put up with me in 2011 which was no easy task in light of a new job, Ironman training (twice!), and so much more.  Also, as my young bride had a milestone birthday in February, it was also part birthday gift.  I had plans to train while in London several times, but decided to forgo most of those plans in favor of spending time with Roya which I knew she’d value a whole lot more.  I did manage to run 6 miles through and around Hyde Park while she was at a spa, and that was a great experience.  Beautiful park with lots of little intricacies and curiosities.

Within London itself, I was surprised at how many runners I saw.  And, from what I can tell, many of them were quite fast.  Didn’t see many real cyclists though and that may have been due to the area where we stayed.  In any event, it made me appreciate even more how great NYC is with all of our runners and active people.  Sure, there were plenty of active folks in Hyde Park around noon on a Sunday, but venture into Central Park around that same time on a Sunday and the southern loop is packed with runners and many other active people.

Right now, I am in the middle of an aggressive race schedule with nine races in ten weeks.  Some are longer than others, but the shortness of an event is not indicative of it being easier; on the contrary, it is often much harder because the effort level is that much higher and the intensity with which I compete at shorter distances requires a red-zone effort… and a red-zone effort hurts… a lot!!  But I digress.

I’m fairly run-focused these days in terms of the races I’m doing, but I’m spending a lot more time in the water to develop better form and greater strength (to support the better form), and I’ve been doing a lot more intensity sessions on the bike.  I want to remember what it feels like to be fast; it seems like an eternity ago that cycling was my forte.  Now, it feels like I have no single discipline to rely upon; I’m slow in all of them (except, of course, transition!).

London provided my only break in racing in a span that runs from the NYC Half Marathon this past March 18th through the Spring Couples Relay on May 19th.  This coming weekend, I’ll be racing in the Mini Mightyman Triathlon which includes a 400 meter pool swim, a 6 mile bike, and a 2 mile run.  Last year, it took me 41 minutes or so.  This year, I hope to be faster, but in reality, it’s such a short event that it doesn’t really count… and I’ll have a long swim and/or a long run afterwards (with a long bike on Saturday preceding the event).  The following weekend, I’ll be visiting Roya’s family in Houston, so I found a 10k race to do there.  Roya’s dad has never seen anything like this before, so he’s excited to see me and has been bragging to his friends and colleagues about his son-in-law.  If only he knew how sloth-like I am!  I suspect he’ll soon find out.

More than anything else, what I’m finding surprising is how noticeable my age has affected my performance.  Sure, I can laugh and joke about being marginally slower than last year despite having more experience and despite having personal coaching.  But, there’s a real concern I have for what’s happened to me; I feel strong (generally), I have a good attitude (generally), I eat well (generally), etc.  Why then have the last few pounds refused to leave?  Why do my numbers continue to be better than I expected, but fathoms away from a personal record with each race?  It’s somewhat inexplicable scientifically, but I can see the direct line to one particular trend:  my advancing age.  40 is by no means old, and I get that.  But, I’m not the lithe 30-something athlete that I still aspire to be.  I’m a guy with 187 races under my belt, 89 of them triathlons, and I’m still an active sports athlete with participation on football, softball, and soccer teams.  Maybe, all this activity has taken a toll.  It’s a reality I’m loathe to accept, and that’s probably why I’m so often unsatisfied with my performances.  But, this sport has one really good antidote:  train more.  That’s what I intend to do.

Moving forward, I’m going to work on getting posts out after each race and where there is no race on a weekend, I’ll share some musings and learned phenomena.  Sorry to a couple of friends out there who have bemoaned my lack of effort here.  I was more surprised to find out that there are people who even read this drivel!


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