Sunday, November 21, 2010

DING! I have it figured out

Well like I mentioned a number of weeks ago, I would be reflecting on this past year, and plotting my course for the next one. So now that the dust has settled and I have had some (not done yet) time to look around, I've realized something/things.
* If it were not for this past years experiences, I would not have learned anything. Only thru trial and error am I able to improve.
* There's no faking it when you want results, your either completely in, or your not.
* A training regimen with all the focus and dedication equal to that of something like Lindsey Lohan's quest for straightening out her life, or Scott Weiland trying to stay straight doesn't cut it.
* Diet when your in your 20s and 30s does not equal diet when your in your 40's. The 40's are cruel but fair...
* Family will always come first, and I simply don't have it in me to short change them, or ever want to.
* My love of the sport can't be altered. My LPM pointed out a simple truth. You can take the man (me) out of the race, but you cant take the race out of the man.
* Dedication along the lines of obsession make it happen.
* There is no pressure when you have a redo, and are honest with yourself as to where you are.
* Today matters....

I am still getting things sorted out, but am happy to know that I am starting to make sense of it all. The frustration is gone because of a change in perspective. Now it's all about putting the pieces together in the puzzle that makes me who I am and seeing what I can do.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

drinkin the kool-aid AKA one of the cool kids

UGH, gone are the days I could be hitting the road or trail for a 7am ride. I am sitting here temporarily delayed, looking out at a dark (and brisk!) morning waiting for the sun to come up. A sobering reminder that winter is right around the corner. So since the time changes this weekend, I made every attempt to get out for a late afternoon ride a few days this past week. I recently picked up a new hard tail mountain bike or more appropriately a 29'er, and HAD to get out on that beautiful new machine to spend the required and tedious amount of time adjusting seat height, bar height, and I even swapped 3 different lengths of stems, and bars to get to a place I feel was dialed in(at least initially...) I suffer from a bit of O.C.D. (ala Eddy Merckx) when it comes to bike setup, but it's totally worth it in the long run, or should I say ride. First impressions? At first the big wheels made me feel like I was on a circus bike, and the fact that I spent the last year on a full suspension bike makes the ride even more noticeably different. Aside from that, NO complaints. I come from a simplistic back in the day hard tail rigid bike world, and way back then I even balked and didn't ride with a suspension fork. I have always preferred simple, so the hard tail is where I like to be. The riding feels different, but I am pretty convinced it is faster. The future of the sport? Maybe, but it IS for me. I'm digging it, and I'm digging the insane deal I got it for. NOTE Some situations work out in the end, case in point the bike purchase. I rebuilt my full suspension bike for my LPM ;) and I'm sure she will reap the benefits of a high quality full suspension ride and all the comfort and control it provides her. Not a bad bike to be given, but she is my "A" number 1 supporter, fan and the love of my life so of course I'm going to set her up big time.
The other notable thing I did is pick up some compression wear. I've been toying with the idea for a while and a vendor was at a race expo I was at last night so out comes the VISA, and off I go with the latest performance wear.I actually bought my LPM ;) a pair of the tights in my never ending quest to assist her in staying a healthy, faster, and less injury prone athlete.
 So now it's time to get on the arm and leg warmers, wind jacket, and anything else I may need to hit the trails on that WAY cool 29er that all the cool kids ride, and then I can follow that up with a stroll around the village in some cutting edge recovery compression wearr.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Its the end of the world as I know it..

Boy, REM sure makes a lot of good music...
Yesterday morning I completed the last event I signed up for this year. A halloween 1/2 marathon called the Monster dash Lots of costumes - note (I was going to dress up in a running singlet from the team I'm on(in theory only) as a crafty artistic move but decided against it at the last minute), plenty of scary halloween music Thriller, Time Warp, LOL,overall a fun event. The course was along Chicago's beautiful lakefront and we never once were running in the streets.All lakefront path... It was cool and windy on the first leg of the out and back course, and aside from the winds was perfect for a running event. I did well. I set a goal of completing it in under 2 hours and finished in 1:50. The most ironic part of this is aside from about 3 runs over the last month with the longest being 9 a month or so ago, I did not prepare for this AT ALL or minimally at best. I went into it with no pressure (aside from getting from start to finish), and it was a pretty strange feeling. I am ALWAYS stressed going into a race, and it was a welcomed frame of mind. I need to work on the prerace stress next year. This proved that stressing out does not do you any good. Easier said than done, but totally worth working on. The family is still amazed how I can still pull this type of results off with no training. What I'm thinking is hmm, just imagine if I trained for it...
 So there it is I'm done. I learned, or better yet realized, a LOT this year, some good, some bad. If anything over the next month or so I'm taking the time to reevaluate what I want or more appropriately what I can do next year. I need to take everything into account. Time constraints, current abilities, current weaknesses, family and work (ugh) obligations. What I want to give up (time, interests, etc) and what I'm willing and able to do. 
So this past year I somewhat foolishly dove into racing(mostly the racing team) without having a solid plan or anything to realistically base my goals and limiters on.I based it mostly on where I left off 10 years ago, and a LOT has changed. To the benefit of this past years experience, I now know (realistically) where I'm at, and what I can and can't do with regards to life and how to live it. Even though it was frustrating, and at times heartbreaking, I can learn from the experience I guess if I hadn't of jumped in, I wouldn't have the answers that I have now. There's still one thing that remains true after all these years. I'm not willing to be absent from ANY of the kids activities, or take away from quality time from my wife. I  realize though that I need to be somewhat selfish with my training time if I plan to excel but there's only so much time and so many things you can do in a day... So it's going to take some reflection to get it all figured out, but I'l be back next year, better than I was this year based on what I've learned, and isn't that what it's all about?? It's the end of the world as I know it -and I FEEL Fine :)
Monster Dash half marathon race photos