I’m at the Stove
In the background. . .
The Princess sings
. . . I hear the ancestors
— Old 454
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Comments are welcome.
The Queen invited me to run this race with her. I agreed (how could I refuse such a request). Besides, I’m in the final six weeks of my Half Ironman training regimen, it was a slight hiccup, however, this is a recovery week, a 5k wasn’t too much of an interruption, and I was delighted she would ask me.
Host: American Legion Post 304
Date & Time: 20 August 2011, 7:30 am
Location: Kennesaw, Georgia –Barrett Lakes
1940 Lodge Rd Kennesaw, GA
Cost: $20 early, $25 day of
Course map: Race Map
Terrain: Rolling hills. (see notes below)
My Overall Impression: This was a very pleasant, well organized race. Nice swag bags. After race food was adequate, but the vendor giveaways were great, and more than made up for it. I would certainly run this race again.
Notes: Race time was at 7:30. The route was advertised by the event promoters (not the American Legion Post) as flat. It wasn’t flat. It was more rolling hills. I found the course to be a nice run. The hills were not bad and truly rolling. Many times courses are listed as “rolling hills”, and what they mean are “many steep hills”. However, several people were expecting flat.
I suspect there were 100-200 racers.
Competition was moderate. Races like these can run the gamut, especially if many old time military guys come out (who often tend to be FAST as runners).
From the race site:
5K run to support the American Legion Post 304. We support 5 Cobb County High Schools. Allatoona, Kennesaw Mountain, Mt Paran Christian, North Cobb & North Cobb Christian as well as the R.O.T.C of Kennesaw State University and many Veteran organizations and causes.
I train for one very simple reason: I must.
I do have the choice to not train, but that is the choice of no option.
The single hardest thing I do each day is get out of bed. That presents a horrible proposition. I must sleep, and I must wake up (unless it’s my last slumber). And therefore I must face that dread every single day. No avoiding.
Training changes the entire equation. It makes those things that my biochemistry makes so horrible, bearable. But it does more. Training allows me to feel good and even great in ways that under normal day-to-day drudgery my biochemistry just won’t. There are those moments and periods when the mini-pharmacy between my ears is firing on all cylinders without the boost from physical and mental exertion. However, those moments are entirely unpredictable, and crumble for completely undiscernible reasons.
When I speak of training, I speak of all the activities I engage in that connect me to the Warrior. Running, weight lifting, swimming, camping, rock climbing, cycling, hiking, fencing, swordsmanship, archery. There are other forms of training, as well. On a mystical level, modern comfortable society does not fulfill me, the Warrior. When I am in the woods, or on the trail, the fog of post-modern living begins to lift and I can sense my part of the immortal universal spirit of existence.
There are many practical benefits of training that I enjoy: good health, never actually get sick, clear thinking, more sociable and nicer to be around, good model for my family, inspire my friends and associates, higher energy levels, increased sense of self-worth, practice goal-setting/achieving, break procrastination.
However, they all pale in comparison to the biochemical boost and I believe, retraining of my brain function; and this mystical doorway, fog-lifting access to Spirit. Both of which are two sides of the same coin. Training connects me inwardly to the Warrior, and outwardly to Spirit.
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Your comments are appreciated.
I can also be found on twitter Twitter.com/Old454
I just completed my second Georgia Veterans Triathlon (Sprint), thus marks one year of triathlon, discounting training. (see my first race report). With a year under my belt, and a half-Ironman looming on the horizon, I thought it appropo to share some thoughts on the past year.
I sort of slid into triathlon. The winter of 2010 I had a couple of nagging injuries, that just would not improve, given my training schedule (running), that gave me the idea to dust off my old Canondale to supplement my training regimen. Around the same time there were several broadcasts of past Ironman Kona events. I found the back stories of the non-pros extremely compelling. As I talked about their stories, it wasn’t long before a Twitter friend from Augusta challenged me to run in the 2010 Augusta Half Ironman. I bowed out, but the seed was set, and I started searching for and found a sprint distance to train for and race in: The Georgia Veterans Triathlon.
Having specific events to prepare for are what take exercising and transforms it into training. These events can be recreational in nature (races), or they can have real-world implications (back-country emergencies). However, as a warrior training provides important real-world context. Triathlon provided a step up in challenge, and some significantly intimidating psychological hurdles. All of which appeal to me as a warrior.
Suffice it to say, I believe I am now in the best shape of my life. This is mainly due to triathlon training. An interesting aspect of this is that I’m generally only running twice a week, however, my run has continued to get stronger.
Just as in preparing for races, running races helps with critical experience, racing triathlons give invaluable experience in preparing for subsequent, more challenging levels. There are many variables that can come up on any given race day. Additionally, the specific fashion that races are organized create their own variables. It’s interesting the things that become important to control for, particularly when your race times get around and past the three hour mark. Hydration, nutrition, and going to the bathroom become very important.
I recently read a blog post, the high lights the importance of planning and controlling for bathroom breaks.
Humility has been a huge aspect of this past year’s experience. My first triathlon, during the swim, I contemplated quitting. I didn’t quit, but I also was humbled by the experience.
My second triathlon, I fared better in the swim, though it was longer, but the run broke me down, and I had to resort to a run/walk strategy. The consideration became, finish the race or be able to claim I didn’t stop to walk. I opted for the survival-oriented option of
Between power lines
Over warehouse rooftops
Sunrise shines through
All melts away
. . .
. . .
Check me on twitter http://twitter.com/Old454
I remember when I first discovered that I could recover from being winded on a run, while still running that run. In South Carolina, our instructors would hearten us to breath on the down hills. I thought that was nuts–after a lung-bursting run up some long-ass hill, I thought, “What I need to damn do is STOP!” Amazingly, I discovered that I could recover on the down hill–at least enough to finish the run.
That lesson was well learned. It marinated in my subconscious. I used it in an instinctive, unverbalized way countlessly over the years since. Recover in those moments when things suck less. Recently, however, I have been training specifically for recovery, more so than any other specific criteria.
This was first verbalized for me when I read how Paula Newby-Fraser, the multiple Ironman Champion, explained how she can recover on the run at a higher heart rate than her competitors. She obliterated her competitors, when things really sucked, by being able to recover faster when they didn’t suck as much. I now train straight at this ability.
When doing pull ups, I focus on reducing the rest periods between sets, as much as I do the reps in each set.
When swimming laps, I’m intent on my ability to slow my pace or switch up my stroke, so I can recover enough to pick up my pace again.
My brick and transition runs are about what pace can I maintain, no matter how bad I’m hurting–No matter how bad it sucks. Not so much how fast can I run today off the bike.
Running this new distance for me, the olympic triathlon, and the prospect of my looming half Ironman, have brought this into perspective. I have had to let go of ego, and ensure first that I can finish a race. To that end, recovery while racing has become critical.
I have had cramps where I’ve never cramped in a race before, ever. I’ve had side stitches, once on both sides, but those aren’t the deblitating, you-might-not-be-able-to-use-your-leg-if-this-gets-worse cramps. When those start to come on, ego has to go. Recovery and continuous forward motion must take its place. Ego can come back once you get over the finish line. Recovery must come so that you can get to the finish line.
Train for recovery.