The photo here is a make up artist’s rendition of the Play Dough man, a fictional character that can take on multiple expressions with the simple wave of a hand.
This week’s makeup was provided by my wife and son.They are finest makeup artists
East of the Rockies as you can tell from the photo.The dark circled look in my eyes here reflect the feeling of fatigue as I finished Week #1 of my 2009 training program. I know it is only 2008, but I need to start a little earlier under the circumstances okay? This past week was ugly…something nearly 3 months of multisport inactivity, and 2 years of greatly reduced volume would obviously cause. I’m not quite sure if the body will rev up to what is required to regain any resemblance of form from days gone by, but I’ll give it the old college try. Today was my second run in nearly 3 months, chugging along at 8 minute miles exactly with a HR (heart rate) of around 145 bpm (at times up to 151 bpm into the wind!) I recall days of per mile pace at much lower heart rates (120’s) not that long ago. The quest now is to get at least a little bit of that back, and the challenge is to overcome myself. Rediscover the hurt if you will…learn to hurt again—or at least push through the discomfort, safely.
There are many like me, in the same boat where kids, injury or some big change in their life has influenced or sent a rift in the placid waters of what I call optimum athletic efficiency. Finding the way back to ground zero (from where I began the slide), is one thing. Meanwhile, during “the slide”, there are those that often/usually or periodically placed rearward of your finish times. These former placer-behinders (great invented phrase ya think?)…now suddenly are kicking your butt. Time passes, people pass you, and you nearly pass out trying to keep up. What to do?Implement a plan of attack—the road back. Find out what caused the slide in the first place, and then fix it. Change your training up drastically, then your mind set, and finally come up with a solid plan that is time and goal oriented but realistic. I really feel there have been a few key points missing in my own training the last few years.
I used to begin training sessions totally focused, with a purpose for each workout, and a mindset that had me to a state of what coaches call athletic arousal. This is a state where the blood is pumping and the mind is turned onto the focus of the workout. Proper warm up for the body and mind you might say.This usually results in a better than average workout provided you were rested and following a solid nutrition plan to begin with. With dropping nearly 5 lbs of literal FAT over the last three weeks, I am approaching a weight that in around two weeks should put me back at a weight of pre-injury race girthatude. The challenge now, is the engine seems to be nowhere near race or even early season levels. I’ll have the weight part taken care of, but the horsepower will take some time and lots of planning. The plan is to add to all this, a retooling of the equipment, technique and position.I have a new wetsuit from Blue Seventy, which is absolutely incredible—but only have two races in it, so it is still “new” as far as mileage goes. The plan is to retool everything else but the race wheels. I have my Zipp arsenal, and they are only two years old, no need for anything there unless I want to upgrade to a 1080.The main focus of the retooling will end up being in the steed itself. Time to upgrade from the 10 year old metal bike with 9 gears (heck, they are already up to 11 speeds!) Falling behind in the technological war is pretty easy to do with all the high priced gear out there.There are other things besides all this that will go into getting back to ground zero of course, but those will be fleshed out as I go along. From more sleep to better recovery, but I am doing so little volume now just establishing a baseline, I won’t worry about it until that time comes.
The end result will hopefully be a morphing of Mr. Play Dough (pictured), to a more fit, more competitive me. With aging up to 40-44 age group in the summer of 2009, things must change or else I will end up in the fat and slow lanes and waves at races. Although I don’t really think that being around a buck fifty or a little more qualifies me as fat and slow yet. The young kids are coming up, and they are as serious as I once was. Expectations need to be adjusted to age and circumstance of where I am in my life, and the ego must be pushed back some. Going into the 2009 season will be scary, and certainly a level of insecurity will have settled in. Questions like…Can I still do this? Can I still do this well? Has my time passed me by and is this where I should expect to be in
results? We are such a result based sport, but then again, isn’t that why it is a sport?To be involved in, and compete in sport is what we do. Some just want to finish, but that is a result which drives folks in day to day training. If it was not the case, we would just sit on the couch and eat Bon-Bons until race day. But even if you do not care about placement, and if you only care about finishing a race, you still in the end—must compete against yourself. Right now the athletes I used to finish with near the top in my age group—are not the competition at all. The competition has become much, much more difficult than any of those guys ever have been. That new competitor has become myself—and it will be a long, long road just to be able to toe the line in some distant future race. The kicker here is that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
I don’t think it is “too late” by any means. Don Fink did well in later years (40s), Joe Bonness did well and still breaks records. I remember an incredible over 40 marathoner from my home state of Michigan—Doug Kurtis.He is the world record holder for most career sub 2:20 marathons (76) and most marathon victories (40). This guy is unbelievable. So is the great Dave Scott at his age, or look at Jean Longo the cyclist—50 or something crazy and still winning medals at the world class level. How about Dara Torres? Certainly I’m not in any way saying I am or was in a league of that stature, but I can say that being only 7 months from turning 40 should not hinder coming back to a reasonable state of competitiveness.It sure would be an athletic release to know that I still “have it” to some degree, as I’m sure this is something most athletes will encounter one day—aging and coming back from injury. I’m optimistic though, and the challenge alone puts me on alert, and so…the quest begins…here…now. Time to pack up the Play Dough, flip the frown upside down into a smile.
Barack Obama to lead US government
America has turned another corner in electing Barack Obama, finally moving ahead of prejudice that plagued the nation for 200+ years. It is not over, but it is a step forward to becoming unified regardless of race or religion. As long as we have someone who will work for the better of the country, and extend that same hard work to other nations, I think we will do just fine. Many will try to make this election about race, some about political parties—the following years will no doubt bring an onslaught of bashing against the new party that is in office. Along with that will come smearing of the congress and President just for being Democratic majority and will be blamed for anything that goes wrong with the country. That is politics. Unfortunately, there are some that just don’t see the darkness of where we have been the last 8 years, and how far this country has slid in all respects inside and outside the country. Everything from foreclosed homes, to high unemployment, record gas prices, record national debt, record low foreign relations, war…a seemingly endless downward swing reaching to every corner of the USA. The important thing we need to do now is to not dwell on the past or at least learn from it and move forward as one unified party (nation). Both Republican and Democrats alike lay down your differences and work to make this country turn around. There are good points to both parties; great ideas on both sides of the aisle—time to put them to work and create something a little closer to Utopia.