It's no secret that I was not born a gifted athlete. Heck, i would finish about dead last in the mile and was far from lean and mean. The point is, hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. Without the drive or determination, even the best athlete can become STAGNANT. Someone with something to prove or nothing to lose should never be underestimated. We all love an underdog right?
Isn't that just the coolest little IRONMAN you've ever seen!? One of my better finds at a local antique shop. Anyways, even with some breezy conditions and a red light, I was able to crank out a 10K PR during my last IRONMAN VR race. Which means one thing, If I play my cards right and just run on the bike trail, a sub 40 minute 10K is just around the corner and that is flippin' exciting! Lets just hope my shoes stay tied. (On my last 3K VR segment, my shoe came untied less than a mile in...I was on a great pace so I kept running. Maybe I should get velcro shoes?)
When running all out, sometimes my brain forgets how to function. While on runs, long or short you reach that point, that moment when I can only assume a pile of chemicals are released and functions are either turned off or REVVED up. Friends who are much smarter than myself can go into details on that, what I know is that while some people call this the "hurt locker" I don't take any chances and write important stuff on my hand. By important I mean items like target pace and distance in both KM and miles. Hence this high tech patent pending virtual coach called a marker!
While I'm new to this virtual racing, It sure keeps the competitive juices flowing and keeps me motivated. Brainerd, Fargo and Grandmas all cancelled. IRONMAN Wisconsin 70.3 moved to September...so at this point, these VR races are all we have. No time to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves or be angry. I mean, nobody asked for this COVID-19 crap so when given lemons, you make LEMONADE right? Whatever the new "normal" brings, I plan on being mentally and physically ready for IRONMAN number 3 in Madison. Will we get to climb Barlow?!
IRONMAN VR 4 was a 5150 race and I finished in 2:09:34 and was 1852 out of 14,553. Skipping to IRONMAN VR 6 which was also a 5150 I shaved off a few minutes and came in at 2:05:22. This was good enough for finishing 1213th out of 12,711 which it seems like a pile of people didn't start/complete the race as there were 21,250 people who signed up!
VR 5 was a 70.3 simulation. THis comes about a month before IRONMAN Wisconsin 70.3 would have taken place so obviously not anywhere near ready for 56 miles on the bike, especially on a resistance trainer. Why on a trainer? Well, great question...you see, Minnesota decided May 9th was a great day to SNOW so Stealth stayed on the trainer. A MONOTONOUS 56 mile bike ride on a "dumb" trainer and just music and a fan to distract myself with, that was a blast!
That's all I got for now. Keep grinding peeps. Keep pushing on and someday, we might just get to pee in our WET SUITS together again. How's that for a closing thought!
So, anyone else sick of hearing the word essential or COVID!? How good are you at social distancing? I find myself thinking this is all an overreaction but then a story like this comes out and makes me think. A fellow IRONMAN competitor and someone currently training almost lost his life due to COVID-19. Until you can relate to something, I guess it is easy to brush it aside. Check out this article from a local news source, Voice of ALexandria here.
While Rock N Roll Arizona was my last official race, I was able to compete in the virtual IRONMAN last weekend. I missed the boat on the first two races but signed up for VR3 which was intended to mimic a sprint triathlon. Consisting of a 1.5k run, 20K bike and finishing with a 5k run. The VR3 had over 20,000 finishers and I finished 3219th out of the 13,943 males who competed. Not sure how much weight you can put on those results since some people race outdoors, on trainers or a combination of both but it sure is fun to compete again! Naturally I singed up for VR4 which I'll complete this weekend. This virtual race is a 3K run, 40K bike and 10K run so basically a long course/olympic race. Still time to sign up fellow athletes, check it out!
Remember those good old days when you feared and later realized that you did in fact gain the freshman 15? Well as we are all stuck indoors and eating our feelings, the COVID 19 might be a real thing! Yes I shouldn't joke about it but if you are that thin skinned, we probably aren't friends anyway. Like many, I have found myself with a little extra time lately and have always found running as being a great way to escape. As strange as it might sound, a good long run is sometimes the most relaxing part of my day. And besides the weather, it is something I am in total control over. I determine the route, my pace and the level of effort.
I don't have a lot of stats or PR's to mention as racing is non-existent but my yearly mileage sure is creeping up! Year to date, my trip meter is at 864 miles. 471 of those miles in my Asics and the remaining 392 miles on stealth. Eventually, when Minnesota decides what season it is, Stealth can come off the trainer and start to get some real miles in on the central lakes trail!
I had planned for racing the Brainerd half marathon, Fargo Full marathon and of course, Grandmas Marathon this spring/summer. This little thing called COVID-19 sure forked that up! Sure I am DISAPPOINTED and find myself thinking this is all crazy but here I am, training for the unknown. Trying to balance a healthy mix of maintaining my fitness level and staying motivated for IRONMAN Wisconsin in September. Will the race even still take place...will I be able to stock up on Spotted Cow? How do you stay motivated with no races to race? Is it wrong to have poopy pants over this while at the same time people are loosing their jobs and even lives?
When your life revolves around a sport, you make what seem like everyday decisions based on how it will impact your training/racing. You get asked to a bonfire but know you need to run 15 miles the next day. You should hit the sack early and ensure you fuel your body properly. But what about the friends and fun at the bonfire? THe late nights, cold beers and how can you forget the smell of bonfire on your hoody the next day. Everyone makes choices, everyone has priorities. It is human nature to desire being part of a group, being liked or simply comparing yourself to your friends. People will make more money, have a bigger house, drive nicer vehicles. Such is life. If I have learned anything from all of this "social distancing" and COVID-19 "crap", it is that some of my priorities were likely out of order.
As we go through this and return to what we thought was normal life, I hope people learn from this and we are all stronger together. Maybe we can all arrange our priorities in a more sensible fashion. Materialistic "look at me" items might slip down your list and those basic things like your friends, family and health jump up a few spots. Don't get me wrong, we all like nice things but when a loved one is ill or passes, what do you remember. Do you think about that boat and big house Or do you think about that time you sat around the fire till the sun came up or the time you terrorized the NEIGHBORHOOD on your mini bike? What about that time you were "too busy" to stop in and say hi to the grandparents and know you can't even visit them if you wanted to?
I think I have gone astray from my typical writing topics enough for now. Just remember, if it makes you happy, you should probably do it. Worry about yourself and loved ones. Control what is controllable. Take care of the people who care for you. And lastly, don't take things too seriously, none of us get out of here alive!
“THERE IS NEVER A RIGHT TIME TO DO THE WRONG THING, AND THERE IS NEVER A WRONG TIME TO DO THE RIGHT THING”
Let's get a short recap going. In my last writing I had made a statement, it was the following:
"My body feels like a demolition derby car in the final heat"
I have racked up some serious miles, made some sacrifices and went to Arizona hoping for a PR. With my past history at this race, yes it has always kicked my ass, I didn't think it was possible. If one thing has helped me along they way, it has to be the fact of putting myself through hell over and over again. WHen your racing triathlons and have to start your run after already being exhausted from the swim and bike, you quickly have to learn to embrace pain and push on. If I was able to start a marathon after a 2.4 miles swim and a 112 mile bike ride, it should be easy to just run 26.2 miles right!? So there it is, my secrete to success. I have learned to embrace the pain, the suck and that dark area your mind goes into when you are mentally and physically spent. You think that is crazy? I forking pay to do this to myself!
I left Minny in a snowstorm and arrived in AZ to this glorious view. After getting settled in, I woke up the next day and went for a little climb up Camelback. One of my favorite places in the world. Just took in the sunrise and got a birds eye view of the race course. I've lost track of how many times I've climbed that mountain but it never DISAPPOINTS, just loving being there. With that little climb and run, it felt good getting the blood flowing in the legs. They were feeling a little like sacks of potatoes from both training and then traveling. It was a good thing I snuck in a pool day before the race!
Saturday soon came around and for those who don't pay attention or just new to my journey, the day before a race is spent with one goal in mind. Finding a cheeseburger and beer. Serious, besides getting my race gear ready, that is priority number one! Crap, giving away all my secrets now. But really, nobody gets out of this alive, just try having some fun before your time is up ok?
THE RACE. IT WAS A PICTURE PERFECT MORNING. A NICE CRISP DESERT MORNING TO WAKE UP AT 5AM AND APPLY BAND AIDS TO MY MAN BOOBS, EAT SOME BREAKFAST AND GET SHUTTLED BY MY SIS WHO TRIED TO KILL HERSELF THE DAY PRIOR. JUST ASK HER HOW THE AZ HEAT AFFECTS A JAR OF PEANUT BUTTER! ANYWAYS, I GOT TO THE START LINE AND PUT MYSELF JUST AHEAD OF THE 3:30 PACER. THE FIRST HALF OF THE RACE WAS PRETTY LAME. JUST A BUNCH OF RUNNERS FOLLOWING THIS GUY HOLDING A PIECE OF PAPER ON A STICK. A PIECE OF PAPER WITH 3:30 TYPED ON IT. IT WAS AROUND MILE 15 THAT THINGS GOT INTERESTING. I FELT THE PACE GET SLOWER AND LOOKED AT MY GARMIN, WE WERE RUNNING AT LIKE 8:30 PACE AT THE TIME. THAT IS A BIG PROBLEM SINCE GOING SUB 3:30 REQUIRES SUB 8 MINUTES MILES! A FEW MINUTES LATER THE PACE DROPS OUT OF THE RACE AND LEAVES US HANGING. LIKE SERIOUSLY, I THINK MY LAST 3 OR 4 RACES HAVE HAD THE PACER DROP OUT OR FALL OF PACE! SO THERE I WAS, ALL ON MY OWN AND QUICKLY BECAME BEST FRIENDS WITH MY GARMIN AND PUSHED ON AT ABOUT 7:30 PACE FOR A FEW MILES TO MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME.
After we looped through Old Town Scottsdale we go through a residential area and sure enough, there was the pacer hanging out in the driveway of people he must have known with the 3:30 sign in thier garbage! Hope he at least finished the race...
I just kept on running and kept an eye on people I had recognized in the pace group. As we neared Tempe I was spent. We had a slight head wind and the only real elevation change on the course comes at the end. It was probably like a 5 MPH wind and a 100 feet of climbing but it felt like a HURRICANE and Mount Everest at the time! As we crest the final "hill" you can then see Tempe Town Lake and all your pains kind of go away. For myself, I have numerous memories from this area. Racing numerous Rock n Roll marathons and a few IRONMAN ARizona events gives me the extra emotion to push on. I crossed the finish line, stopped my Garmin and received my medal from the great volunteers. I then found a great little spot to lay down for 5 minutes. By a gerat spot I mean the middle of the road propped up agains the chainlink fence. I was spent!!!
Don't let the smile fool you, it hurt! I thought it would be a great idea to walk into downtown tempe and grab a beer at Whiskey Row. It has become a tradition to grab a beer at Dierk's bar after my Arizona events but I guess I should have let the body recover just a few minutes longer. On the plus side, I didn't throw up at the light rail station or parking ramp like the last two years. THis time it was at least the bathroom at Dierk's bar. Sorry buddy! Also sorry in advance for any typos and poor writing skills. Just raw un edited thoughts here!
2020 Humana Rock n ROll Arizona Marathon:
- 193rd of 2257
- Marathon PR
Thanks to all my supportive peeps. Yes I am crazy! Thanks Wattie Ink and the Hit Squad crew, Tribe Racing crew and all those glorious cheeseburgers and beer!
WORK HARD. STAY HUMBLE. A LIFE FILLED WITH SWIM, BIKE & RUN. 5Ks TO MARATHONS, SPRINT TO IRONMAN 140.6