Wednesday, February 13, 2008

no pain no gain

this commercial pretty much sums up what it takes to be an endurance athelete-a little triumph with lots of pain. the most painful thing in the commercial is seeing gail devers tripping over the hurdle. it was the 1992 olympics and had she stayed on her feet she would have taken home another gold medal. instead she slid across the line in 5th place. which reminds me, no matter how perfect a race is going something can always go wrong. and for me it definitely has. last year i raced a triathlon in buffalo, mn. the swim started awesome. i had a new wetsuit and i had the best start of my life. i managed to dive into the water in the front of everyone else in my wave. i was flying. by the time i hit the turn around bouy i had caught the wave that started ahead of me. i had to bring my head out of the water because the congestion of swimmers brought me to a stop. i quickly spotted an opening and just as i went for it i got kicked in the chest by another swimmer which caused me to swallow and inhale a huge amount of water. i was never able to regain any sort of rythm. not one to quit i got to my bike and took off. i wasnt happy and definitely wasnt feeling good. i threw up five times on the bike. i finshed the race but no where near where i expected to.

i use those memories of bad races, and there have been many, to push myself when i am in pain or not feeling well. "at least i dont feel as bad as.... i got through it then so i can get though this now even faster." without ever feeling pain in a race you will never know what it is like to do your best. and that feels damn good.

Monday, February 11, 2008

skippin workouts and saving lives

i only managed one workout this weekend and that sucks. the only redeeming thing about that is the reason i was unable to workout. i donated blood. once a year the red cross comes to my place of employment to draw blood donations and since i have blood i decided i should donate.

it was a pretty sweet deal. i got a 45 minute break and got to lounge around while answering questions about my sex history, drug use and travel destinations. it was like some goofy game of truth or dare and since i answered all the questions correctly they jabbed me with a large needle. that was the dare.
but it wasnt that bad, and i feel good knowing that my blood will hopefully save someones life. when i finished they gave me two cans of cranberry juce, two packages of shortbread cookies, one package of oreos and a box of raisins. after eating my snacks i went to lunch! i also learned that i have a higher than average amount of hemoglobin in my blood which i was excited to hear since i am an endurance athlete.

i skipped my workout friday since i had just lost a pint of blood but headed to the gym saturday with the idea that i would take it easy. i planned to spin for 45 minutes before heading to the pool for some quality time with my old friend, the black line. i hopped onto the bike and started off really easy. ridiculously easy. i was pedaling a whole 5 miles an hour and felt out of breath. i checked my heart rate after a few minutes and was astonished that it was at 155 bpm! thats what its normally at when im riding 20 mph. i broke out laughing at myself and decided it was time to stop. i chalked it up to my blood donation and instead of swimming laps in the big boy pool i headed for the kids pool to play with anastaisa. i usually do this after my workout but for saturday it was my workout.

on sunday my brother in law, andy, and i planned to run together. we mapped out a sweet route from his house to the ywca. 8 miles of paved trail that ends a block from the y where we could immediately immerse ourselves in the hot tub. we met in the parking lot, left my car there and drove his car back to his house.

on saturday it was 21 degrees f with light snow. perfect running weather. when we headed out the door on sunday it was -39 f with 20 mph winds. the trail was completely covered in snow and ice from saturdays snowfall. the longest andy had ever run was 6.5 miles 2 weeks ago so we decided to keep it at an 8 minute pace and not push too hard. it was also the first time he brought water on a run. (he was a wrestler in college and and is used to dehydrating himself to meet a certain weight class. not a good idea in endurance sports.) we werent 4 blocks from his house before my eyelids started freezing shut and by mile 2 i was feeling like shit. i figured i wasnt back up to 100% but was able to keep going since we were at an easy pace. having someone to talk to made the time fly by despite the cold bitter wind. we made it to the y in 1:05:20. a bit off our 1:04 goal but given the conditions and it being andys longest run of his life i was happy with our time. we snapped a quick photo with my phone before heading into the hot tub to thaw.
you can see the ice on my eyelashes and that isnt a fashionable earring on andys left ear. that is an icicle!

after a nice soak we headed home. i managed to stay indoors for the rest of the day.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

running does a mind good.

its currently snowing outside my office window and i desperately want to go for a run. there is something about running that i find immensely therapeutic. regardless of whats going wrong in my day it can easily be fixed by lacing up my shoes and pounding out some miles. running fixes everything. and for some reason i love running in the snow and rain. the greatest run i ever ran was last summer while training for the marathon. it was a 20 miler in a light rain. i only passed two other runners the entire time but for those few seconds that we made eye contact and said hello we were best friends in the unexplainable way that only runners understand.

i also find that i am in awe of how fast elite runners can breeze through a race but i am not that inspired by them. i draw the most inspiration from the overweight and out of shape runners i pass who are drenched with sweat and panting as if their next breath will be their last. but as slow as they may be....they are running. and that kicks ass.