Fitness Friday-5/29

New wrinkle to my basic week of running, swimming, and cycling. Shari and I do 4,000 yards on Tuesday mornings at 5:45a. Shari has all the attributes of a great training partner–dependable, friendly, fast. She kicks my butt during IM sets, she kicks my butt when pulling long sets, and I regain a little dignity by nudging her out on 50 yard sprint sets. There’s one downside, Shari can be stubborn when it comes to leading out the lane. Tuesday morning, after Shari, another friend named Hobb and I completed our 1k warmup, I suggested we do 400 free followed by 4x100IM, three times. After negotiating the intervals, I said, “You lead out.” To which she replied, “No way, I’m not leading out.” So I did what you would have done in my position, I yelled at her. “Come on! I don’t want you swimming up on me, don’t be a baby, lead out!” Didn’t work because she dug her heels in and so I went to Plan B, the stare down. That lasted all of three seconds because the large, red, relentless second hand on the clock was nearning the tippy top. She won and I think I caught her doing breakstroke briefly once as she swam up on Hobb who was drafting off of me.

In other fitness news, I had a great Olympia half marathon two weekends ago. Perfect conditions, it was fun to run with two friends, and I went a few minutes faster than I thought possible. Shelly took us through the first mile in 6:55 or a good 30-40 seconds faster than I had planned. At mile 2, I politely suggested she take off and she slowly opened a gap. It took DoubleS and me a good 4 miles to recover and settle into a sustainable groove. Meanwhile, we watched Shelly get smaller in the distance. At mile 8.5 DoubleS dropped back a tiny bit and I decided to turn it up, so we parted ways. The local fishwrap had a picture of him crossing the line “In the marathon, with a time of 1:34:24″ so we’ve been teasing him about his world record performance. Surprisingly, going up the hilliest stretch, I started to close the gap with Shelly. My mantra, “The hills are our friends,” was paying off. At about 11.75 miles we turned onto the main downhill drag into town and the finish line. I was 20 seconds back and told Shelly’s husband, “I’ll never catch her.” (Note: Shelly’s husband is 6’6″ and was a Pac-10 high jump champion in the early 90’s. If he finds out I was locked on his wife’s turquoise blue shorts for well over an hour this may be my last post.) Surprisingly, I caught her fairly quickly and then it was ON. Shelly is way more talented than me, but less experienced, and my pacing savvy was the difference. We pushed hard over the last mile. In the end, I beat her by 2 seconds, thus proving, once and for all, boys rule and girls drool. 

I know what you’re thinking. “Ron, you really do need some help from eastern philosophy.” But the more I think about it, the more okay I am with my momentary lapses into competitive madness. I race a few times a year. Almost every other run is done at a moderate pace with friends. We (usually) wait for one another if someone is struggling. It’s fun to compete on rare occasion, because of the contrast. Besides, it takes me back to my youth when racing—whether on foot or bicycle or by popsicle stick in the creek or hotwheels on tricked-out tracks—was a way of life.

What’s Wrong With Me?

Here’s an email I sent two friends Monday evening after climbing Mount St. Helens on two wheels. 

74 miles, 6,590′, 4,562 cals, 17.2avg, 4:18:32. The only thing that would have made it better would have been watching the two of you pull away from me somewhere along the way. I can’t imagine better conditions, perfectly clear, 60’s, light wind. Large group, 18 I think. A group of 10 went first, then a group of 8 about 15m later. I was in the first group and we stayed together for 15-16 miles when I ATTACKED. Those capitals were meant to be a joke because I went from 8 mph to 10, but did pull away. I felt badly for the first two miles, dipping into Zone-OppsIwent toohardandnowtheresnowayIcanmaintainthis, but I did create separation and after two miles managed to find a sustainable rhythm. My advantage was having ridden 50 miles Friday-Sunday versus 200+ for alot of the maniacs in the group (J, G, R, J, KD, B, M, a few others). I glanced back on occasion and saw two people at a couple hundred meters and then no one. KD caught me somewhere around 25 in and we worked together downhill and at the start of the steep stuff near the top. I was losing a little touch, 20m, when my seat bag came undone. Took a minute to fix and that was it. She probably put another minute into me from there. So I won the men’s division and finished second overall. J and R were next, D, R, M shortly thereafter, in less than 15m, so I probably got 5th. J and M were further back, not sure why. Silly to think in terms of place, it was just nice to be alive and healthy in nature. 

Ron

The last sentence is my attempt to snap out of my western, hyper-competitive frame of mind. I’m 47, riding with friends on a beautiful Memorial day and I’m thinking more like a 27 or 37 year old in the Giro d’Italia. I want to adopt a more eastern, process oriented approach to competition, but I feel captive to my gender, peers, and history. 

Blogging Again

I enjoyed the sabbatical, but I’m ready to rite again. I’m not advertising my return, so if you’ve stumbled upon this post, welcome to the secret society that is Positive Momentum. Whatever you do, don’t tell my mom so I can continue spelling whatever way I want.