April 28, 2012

The Only Thing Harder Than Ironman...

I've decided the only thing harder than training for an Ironman is moving. Since signing my new lease on April 1, life has been incredibly hectic and I'm more tired than when I was dragging myself out of bed at 4:30am for a workout. But interestingly, right around the time I decided to take this year off and focus on my non-sport life, my training volume edged up ever so slightly.

While 400 minutes a week is nothing compared to where I'd be in an Ironman year, it was more than the 200 and change I was able to squeeze out the week my decisions were made. What you'll notice about my graph is the lack of swimming. I haven't been in a pool since President's Day and don't plan to return anytime soon. I'm hoping a very long break will make me enjoy the sport again, or at least not detest it.

I start the moving process tomorrow and it continues into Monday. It's going to be exhausting and stressful, but at least it will be over. I'm still attempting to do Gran Fondo NY on May 20, but my performance will be far from my finest. After that, I can do whatever I feel like, which should be a refreshing change from the rigor of the past 4 years. But you never know where life will take you, and I haven't officially dropped out of any races yet...

April 25, 2012


I've been thinking a lot about the concept of time. The significance of time varies so much from situation to situation and we're left either wanting less or wanting more. In sport, less time is almost always better. We set out to run faster, bike further, finish with a PR. We go to great lengths to shave precious seconds, or minutes, off our finish times.

But in life, more time is almost always what we yearn for. There is a Dutch bike shop in my neighborhood with a quote on the window, "If you love life, why are you rushing through it?" I pause each time I pass and ponder what this means. We're all busy. I spend every day juggling tasks and rarely truly focus on any. Time speeds by and I'm often saddened when I realize how quickly it has gone.

Today, however, time slowed down. We're in the midst of a tragic family medical crisis and a span of two hours felt like two days. It was a rare moment where we may have wished for time to pass quickly, only it slowed instead. Then I realized in life, with the people we love and cherish, we will always wish for more time. If we lived forever, it would never be enough.

So I leave you with this. Life is short, and that's not just a saying. We really don't know how much time we have and I believe it's a gift. As a huge Lord of the Rings fan, one of my favorite quotes is: "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." Live life well, and if you love someone, tell them. And next time you want to do something faster, think about how rewarding it might be to just take your time and enjoy every last moment.

April 23, 2012

From Zero to Hero

Every season I swear I'm going to stop going into races ill-prepared, but every season life gets in the way and I find myself cramming in order to make it to the finish line. My already small season recently got smaller due to another hurdle on the personal front. We're going through a difficult emotional time that forced me to cancel my trip to DC this past weekend and miss the Parkway Classic 10 Miler.

But the weekend at home allowed me to get out for my first real ride of the season and the first of a series of rides I'm calling the "hope I survive Gran Fondo NY" rides. In four weeks I'm allegedly competing in GFNY, a 104-mile course with 8,500 feet of climbing. Just your average day on a bike. I've ridden countless 100+ mile rides, but the issue is I haven't ridden one since September 11 at IMWI. Since then I don't think I've cracked 30 miles and I certainly haven't climbed any hills. So after essentially not riding for 10 days, I headed out for 50 miles and 3,000 feet of climbing. I started out feeling fantastic, but that faded around mile 30 and I was dragging from miles 40-50. The good news is I was able to do it. The not so good news is that I was so slow it may take all day to cover twice the distance.

My training will continue to be spotty and take a backseat to the bigger life issues I have to tackle, but since this season is an offseason in general, I will just take it day by day and try to enjoy every moment I can fit in.

April 12, 2012

2012: The Year of 0.0

You know those people with the 140.6 or 26.2 stickers on their cars? Maybe some of us are those people because we're proud of the distances we work so tirelessly to complete. But I find myself in a unique position this season, covering a new distance. As it turns out, 2012 will be the year of 0.0.

Racing long course this year was always a lofty goal at best. I tried to suppress the idea that I'd be in London working 24/7 at the Olympics for three weeks prior to my Ironman race day. Then a series of unfortunate events in my personal life left me buried with obligations and the one thing I do because I truly love it had become a source of guilt. This sport is overwhelming and if you're not careful you can burn out so badly that there is no coming back. I was fried at the end of the 2011 season after completing four Ironmans in 24 months. I thought I was good after an extended break but when life threw me a curveball, I realized I wasn't as good as I thought.

A decision had to be made and I decided to take this season off. I need to focus on the changes in my life, my work at the Olympics, and rediscovering the passion that drives me to do this. I love this sport. I love the people I've met, the challenges I have overcome, the feeling that I can literally do anything. But in order to keep loving it, I have to love how it fits into my life and it seems 2012 is not an ideal fit.

So I won't be toeing the line at Ironman Mont Tremblant on August 19 and I'm definitely sad about this. But I'm also looking forward to having a different focus this year, and hopefully coming back next year better than ever. I'm looking forward to new adventures and challenges. As Helen Keller said, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." And nothing is never going to be good enough for me.


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