Thursday, March 31, 2011

Argue Your Limits

Finally an update... my apologies for being late with this update, but it's been a few weeks and my goal was to come back here with some good news.  Fortunately, that is actually going to happen!  Though it's a long, twisty road up ahead, I'll take any amount of positive thoughts that I can get, especially with the feet issues I was having!!  Honestly, I have a few things I want to get out there and I don't know when I'll have some free time again, so I'll just touch a bit on everything... without going into encyclopedia mode

First, my feet... so the last update I gave all of you was simply the fact that my bunions could be a major upcoming issue b/c of the pressure/pain they were causing on my middle toes was significant.  Though I still am not positive as to what will unfold over the next few months (seriously, who does in this sport?), I was able to make some changes that have significantly mitigated the pain issues I was having.  In short, the biggest benefit came from one of the purchases I made during a $35 CVS trip (yes, $35 in ONLY bunion "fixes" with which to experiment).  I bought these little gel "wedges" that are placed between the big toe and the "index" (?) toe... effectively, this soft gel-like wedge helps absorb the pressure that was causing all the pain in my middle toes.  The result?  Several runs greater than 8 miles (one being 14 miles) with NO pain whatsoever!!   Additionally, I've just purchased a new pair of training kicks that will likely help a lot (Mizuno Wave Rider 14, wide).  Of course, I'll keep updates rolling with this, but it's looking MUCH better now and it's showing in my training performance!

As for my issue of not having a lot of time for training due to school... recently, this has changed dramatically so I'm keeping a very stable and consistent training schedule lately.  Though I know this will not continue for the remaining semester, I do expect this summer to be a lot different and I'll certainly be able to make up for the time lost!!

My 2011 season officially began this past weekend with the Eco Duathlon (sprint) in Galveston, TX.  Though I am not in any form of anaerobic shape right now, I was able to squeeze out my first ever overall podium finish with 3rd place.  It was a very new and good feeling to go through the transition area and see only a few bikes racked up from those who were in front of me... usually enough are racked where I just don't notice how well I'm placed at the moment.  I ended up passing the (then) 3rd place guy on the final run, which was a really cool feeling!  I've had success with age group placing in the past, but it's such a great feeling to make that final pass in the final stretch!  Additionally, Allison and Avery competed in the 5k race and did awesome!  A 6yo doing a 5k (in the sand, btw) is always an impressive feat.  And they did just as well with cheering me on during the duathlon :)

It's been an interesting month with regards to meeting more and more of the ultra-distance community and I've made some really great friends all around, with NO exceptions. These people are at the highest aerobic fitness you could imagine and they love what they do. Before I go on, I cannot stress that enough... I loved meeting every single one of them and I could not think of a better race community with which to become involved.  However, I did notice that there tends to be a bit of extreme pride, verging on arrogance, with their mindset on the distances that they are able to accomplish.  This is by no means all-consuming for the ultra-community, but rather something of which I've noticed a slight presence.  And to be fair, on some level, I don't blame them.  I think you need to have a large amount of confidence in the endurance events, in order to keep yourself motivated and to keep a strong mental toughness during those grueling long training days and races.  The only part that stood out for me in a negative light was when this confidence transitioned into arrogance.  For instance, someone who is competing in a double-Iron triathlon must have a good amount of confidence to succeed in such a daunting feat... but, that does not entitle them to talk down about shorter races such as 5k's, marathons, or any triathlon of Iron distance or less.  This does not entitle them to doing so because these are races that a large number of people are very proud to accomplish and deserve every bit of respect that an ultra-distance athlete deserves.  To refer to these races as insignificant, purely b/c you're competing in an ultra-distance race, is just plain non-sense.  ALL races have their unique challenges, no matter the distance!  To be honest, the hardest race I've ever competed in was either New Orleans 70.3 or the Wilkes-Barre olympic (note, it wasn't IMFL).  Just because one race is longer than another, does not mean it is more challenging... and anyone who feels otherwise, can certainly bring up the debate to me... but you'll lose, so be prepared for that  :)  (remember, the confidence thing?  ;) )
Sorry... that was a bit of a rant, but if one person takes a positive thought from it, then I'll consider it well worth the effort.    Feel free to ridicule me in the comments!

Alright, I'll wrap it up with a quick product review from my sponsor Rudy Project.  I recently bought their backpack b/c I was in need for a new bag for school, and race-days.  In short... AMAZING!  Seriously, I am always impressed with the quality of their products in that they seem to stand up well to the toughest elements... and they do so while looking good and having some great features.  If you do become interested in one of their products, I strongly suggest signing up for their emails and waiting for a sale (they happen quite often!).
Sorry I don't have my own picture... may be upcoming
Rudy BackPack

That's all people, nothing else to see here.  Keep checking back for updates, otherwise I'll try to keep you notified on Facebook.

Stay healthy & be happy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Simply, wait and see...

So this post will be relatively short.  Mainly since it's not one that I'm particularly excited about putting out here... but, I know there are a lot of you out there who are interested in following my progress with this adventure, so here it is...

As most, if not all, of you already know, I'm currently in grad school at Georgia Tech to earn my masters in Aero Eng.  Over the past few weeks, I've gone through an exceedingly busy phase of this semester due to multiple projects and homeworks being due around the same time of an exam.  Of course this busy schedule won't continue at this rate the entire semester, but when it does happen, it is severely detrimental to my training... as low as 4 workouts per week, which should be upwards of 10-12.   In the beginning of the year, I made a few promises to myself when setting out on this adventure of training for a 281.2 (double Iron tri).   One of the top promises being that I would put a very high priority on my education and not allow for training to get in the way of my success on that.  It's come to my realization recently that, with the amount of time dedicated to my education, I cannot train for this race to the extent that I had planned.   This sucks, but I'm OK with it since I'm holding to my priorities.  This said, I am not giving up on what I set out to accomplish this year.  But, I am questioning whether I will have enough hours in the week to do everything that needs to be done in the long run. 

What now?  Simply, wait and see.   I'll try to keep my invaluable supporters updated as things progress, but (as you can tell from the previous long silence here) I will not be posting here as much as I would like. 

On a lighter note... follow this guy, Dean Karnazes, who is running across the country!  You'd think he'd be satisfied with a simple West-East path... but no, he's going from LA-ish to NYC.  What an incredible inspiration!!!
Dean Karnazes... going to distance, and then some

Till next time... stay healthy, and be happy!!!