Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Things I love about morning workouts

This morning I got in the pool for the first time in 10 days. (See previous post about bike accident if you wonder why). As I stood at the end of the empty pool preparing to break its pristine surface I had to pause and stare at its beauty. It occurred to me that this beauty, the glass smooth water, the quiet hum of the pumps, the smell of the chlorine (or what ever chemical they use these days), this is one of the things that I love the most about morning workouts. I almost hated to mess it up with my thrashing and kicking, uh..I mean swimming.

It's not just the pool either. On the bike or out on a run I relish the quietness that comes with it. When I head out for a ride the air is calm and quiet, and all I can hear is the distinctive hum of the wheels spinning. It is mesmerizing and hypnotic. It is a sound like no other. When I get up at 5AM on a Saturday morning there is no one else down at the lake, in fact there is no one even awake yet. As I run a long I occasionally am greeted by a raccoon fishing in the lake or I hear the trickle of the water as it flows around the columns that hold up Congress bridge. All this is like therapy for me. The workout becomes just as much about my physical health as it does my mental health. I don't need the distraction of an ipod, the company of another human, or the television blaring while I ride my trainer. My morning workouts are calming and centering. You might say it is my form of meditation. There is nothing like it and I hope to keep it all to myself.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Jack's Generic Triathlon Race Report

Man it has been a while since I wrote anything. I had to post today though because I had a race today and although it was not a bad race it wrapped up the best and the worst performances of the year all in one race and within about 1 hour. Todays race started with a pretty bad bike crash, see pictures:

There are more pictures but they may not be appropriate for some viewers because I have to get naked. So after the wreck, which happened at about mile 3 on a 14 mile ride I lost my groove and was a little skiddish. My bike leg was the worst of the year. I was off my goal about 5 minutes. Determined to make up the time I pushed hard on the run and ended up with my fastest 3 miles I have ever run, sub 19 minutes.

Now to the race report.

This was a sprint race and one of the few where the race director lets non pros/elites sign up to be in the Open wave and race against the best. So I decided that I would either be humiliated or prove I belonged in the group. What this meant was that no matter how well I did in my AG I was not eligible for AG prizes. OK by me if it means getting better by racing against some really fast people.

Swim: The swim started out awesome. I ended up gaining a great position on someone and was able to draft for at least 200 meters. I could really feel the difference in speed while drafting. At the halfway point I ended up all alone but still did not lose any position. I came out of the water in 8th place. Not bad out of 40 people in the Open Division. At the conclusion i ended up with the 28th fastest swim overall.

Bike: I think I got into a good rythm on the bike. For the first few miles I was averaging 25MPH. I kept thinking, this is only 14 miles so I can hammer it the entire time. Then at mile 3 there is a sharp turn to the right. The road goes from crapy asphault to even crapier chip seal gravel. I lined up for the turn and slowed to 18 or 20MPH and all of the sudden I felt the bike slip out and I heard the gravel under my tires. the next thing I knew I was on my side sliding down the road. It took me a few seconds to get my bearings and throw out a few curse words. Then I did a quick scan of injuries (both me and the bike) and hopped back on. i have no idea what the total time was but I do remember 4 or five people passing me while I was on the ground. Once back on the bike I figured that if anything was seriously wrong I would know soon. All seemed OK except for the stinging pain. From this point I just was not able to get anything going on the bike. Partly because of nerves and maybe my body was expending energy elsewhere to stop the bleeding and keep me out of shock. Whatever it was I had a hrd time from that point just maintaining 20MPH. Turns out that I averaged barely 20.7MPH overall. At my normal 22 or 23MPH I would have been at a minimum 3 minutes faster. This is the difference in about 10 spots. Oh well, can't change that.

Run: Once Off the bike I knew that my strength would be on the run so I resolved to run down as many people as I could. I pushed hard on the run picked off 3 runners and ended up with the fastest 3 miles i have ever run in my life.

My overall time was 1:08:28 which is slower than expected but it loked like it was a difficult day for a lot of people. Only 3 people went sub 60 minutes and no one else went below 1:03. I learned a lot at the this race. One always wonders what will happen when things don't go right. Not only that but when something happens that could result in a DNF.

I am stronger for the experience and I also have something better than a plaque that would probably just go in the closet. I have permanent scars to carry around forever.