Hopefully by the time I actually post this the PRP injection for the severe hammy/glute tear which has physically dragged me down for the past 24 months will have taken place and the healing begun. Not many of these have taken place in the state of Colorado to date, as it is a new procedure. It is my hopes to be able to bike, run, ski and swim again with regularity relatively soon. It’s funny how this is not all about racing, but just training.Racing is not the ultimate end point for being healthy; it is more the daily regime of getting out there and testing the human limits. Obviously I had reached that limit at one point or there wouldn’t be a tear in the most critical area of a triathlete.
It is with some humility that the fall of 2008 has been limited to walking as exercise. Unable to lift or swim due to a freak accident which cracked my rib—and I do mean “freak” accident literally; walking is the only thing keeping me from a 200 lb. monster. I don’t need a belt right now to hold the pants up, and everything seems tasty (even broccoli)…but don’t tell my wife that, she’s rather protective about her broccoli supply in the fridge. I’m considering post-injection a campaign to start cleaning up the nutrition, and whittle down a few pounds.While I am really only 8 lbs. from my ideal race weight, it carries 2 months of near complete inactivity as far as triathlon training goes. No biggie, it’s good for the body to get out of shape once in a while to give it a really solid rest, not to mention the mental break…doing other things on that list which are put off for a season or even years while the pursuit of Multisport overtakes nearly all.
Which brings me to my approach for 2009…where to start?I’ve already listed out several races before my “A” race next year, as markers/step stones onto the big day. Should recovery go okay, it should only be a matter of 2 weeks before I attempt my first bike ride.Let’s start with retooling.I will try to get a new bike for 2009, hopefully…that remains to be seen.It will take a LOT of support from the wife to have that happen, as I have a 10 year old steed which is starting to border on “old school” so to speak. I am working with some new potential sponsors and will try get my athlete’s into some of the latest tricked out gear there is. Lots of research needed here, to make sure it is the “latest” stuff and not some one-off of something that has been around and cosmetically changed.
Next, there needs to be a long ramp up since the decrease in volume and intensity over the last 2 years.Gradual pace increases, lots of testing, and of course, I’ll need to actually train with others to force me into shape a bit quicker than on my own. It’ll be painful, but once I get in the absorb the punishment like candy mode it will not be a big deal to thirst for more. Getting into shape is something I really don’t like while I’m doing it, but once the fitness starts to roll then it becomes an addiction.Until then, the headaches and body aches will have to be dealt with, but this isn’t a beauty pageant so I expect a little discomfort.
Details of day to day workouts will be something that won’t have to be too detailed at first, as just peeling away some extra pounds will be the initial goal. Pace doesn’t matter at this point. The exciting part of this is the respect I have for a good long non-triathletic break where the focus is on the other parts of life. Even things like trimming trees in the yard or getting work on the car completed can be a relief that is often unappreciated when driven to meet the next periodized volume level. I miss being in shape though, yet, have enjoyed the break no doubt. The lifestyle certainly is missing in day to day activity but has been replaced by things that aren’t necessarily lacking in excitement; it is just that the days have been replaced with different (fun) things. Taking a daily list of things to do, and knocking them out one by one, or clearing out a corner of the garage and purging the house of junk we no longer need has as much sense of accomplishment to me as doing a 120 mile bike ride. A hardcore triathlete may have a rough time relating to that, but I say to that…it’s a lifestyle and not life or death.
Be there for your kids, and other's kids--stay fit!
Monday’s walk along the trails of the Foothills through the slop that recently dumped snow in west Boulder provoked a curious thought about the general public.Do most people take for granted their health?Without being too judgmental and not knowing the circumstances of everyone’s situation, my question was something that lingered in my head for just over an hour long jaunt at altitude.Joe Public and friends may have such demanding and time consuming jobs or family that not taking care of them so they can take care of others, seems ubiquitous. There isn’t enough time in the day to spread enough of themselves to their own self maintenance.Maybe they are martyrs or just lazy, but either way, let’s assume they are martyrs.Today’s cost of living is such that both parents often have to work just to make ends meet to fill their basic living expenses. Is it possible that they would sacrifice their own health to make things easier on their family?Would they do this by neglecting their health so the family can be a little healthier?
Let’s look at the common flaws in this train of thought from a bigger picture perspective. Not getting enough rest, passing on working out to reduce stress, or not spending a little “me time” can have adverse effects on the individual’s health, which can place them at high risk for serious medical issues. Not to mention that in extreme situations, let’s say that this martyr happens to be the primary provider for the family, and happens to keel over from a heart attack or something worse. The individual isn’t able to provide, protect, or be there for the family for anything—ever again.Imagine the stress on the family now. Mr. Martyr/Joe Public has really done nothing for himself and more importantly, his family. Lacking a little selfishness has damaged the entire family unit beyond repair.The lesson here is that it is okay, even VITAL to be a little selfish in taking care of the man in the mirror at least enough to be healthy.If not for you, then for your family and their well being.It isn’t a matter of taking time away from your kids or your wife, or missing out on a few moments of important developments in their lives. There will always be important times every day in our lives, but there will not be any important times at all if we’re not around to experience them.After all, we aren’t able to be around for everything, so no need to stress about it. With that knowledge, go ahead and push the guilt aside and train for your health and for the future of being around for your family. After all, a pound of bacon every day with fried eggs and toast slathered with thick butter isn’t going to help your survival rate any.
During Monday’s walk it occurred to me I was being a little lazy and selfish this past year. I have been injured with a non-healing tendon/hamstring issue for nearly 2 years now, so I used it as an excuse to be a little (okay, a lot) more lazy than normal. In part, there wasn’t a serious drive or goal to motivate me towards training. However, it wasn’t like I had a choice, physically I just couldn’t do the training so volume and results naturally dropped to an all-time low in 2008. I was embarrassed at first, but realized those are the breaks. There are some years of spectacular improvement and well…some really bad declines for one reason or another.It is the law of averages catching up with me.You can’t have a great year eternally. The lazy part here is that mentally I didn’t really feel pursuant to a reachable goal within my health level’s grasp.There you have it, mentally lazy but physically eager.When the physical bombs out your annual plan, the mental side usually is affected.The selfish part this year was not wanting to miss a moment with my son. Going to the bathroom seemed at times like it was stealing time away from being with my kid. Although necessary, like a job, it wasn’t something I really wanted to give in to for fear of missing a magical moment in time. Being selfish with your time for your kid is in most cases an admirable thing for parents.But wouldn’t I be better serving me and my family if I just took a little better care of myself? I think so.Starting from square one and thinking a little more about being around for the family years from now, shoots a little bit of motivation to get out the door if not for a run, then for about the only thing I have been able to do for nearly 2 months—walking.Swimming and weight lifting has been out of the question with a cracked rib, and obviously the tendon/hamstring tear has negated any effort to run or bike. The good news here is that it is a wonderful mental rest from the daily routine of Multisport training, which can be sooooo routine and stretch at times into a…”Here we go again…” type of thought process.
It isn’t me tiring of the sport; it is more of a tiring of being tired.There is good fatigue and bad fatigue the muscles experience through endurance training, but the mind and body sometimes just need a rest from everything.Walking is very different in the sense that everything has slowed down so much that you can appreciate the beauty around you.It gives you time to think about things other than technique or breathing, cadence, etc.What a reprieve it has been the last few months to deal with an extended break from it all. It is my hope that as I head into a new age group middle next year, that I become a little selfish for me rather than overly selfish with my family—so that ultimately I can be around a little bit longer down the road in old age. Spend time for me--now, so I can be with them…them…them in the future. Ironic?I think to some degree it is. It certainly would help my self esteem to at least get back into some form of fighting shape next season, and what better time to do it than entering an older age group as one of the youngest guys? I must be a cross section of the general public looking back and reading what I’ve written here, as it appears I have taken for granted my health by neglecting it to a certain extent. There are things beyond my control which played part in this season, however in 2009 there isn’t any current logic why I shouldn’t be able to gain ground on distancing myself from Joe 6-pack of the general public. After all, I want to be around for the family, run with my kid, play ball, and travel to places as a family unit. The biggest issue isn’t so much not being around (that will happen regardless at some point in the future for all of us), but rather, how LONG will we be around. In this case, rationalization tells me it is okay to be a little bit selfish for yourself so you can be around for THEM. For the record, I’m not the Mr. Martyr this post referred to, but I do see some similarities in that I have taken my health for granted recently—so this isn’t really an autobiographical posting—just an observation of what I see happening to a cross-section of the American Family.
So far removed have my thoughts been from Ironman Hawaii, I just read this week online that Ironman Hawaii was actually THIS weekend. I had no idea it was already “here”. Funny how the big dance has dwindled into the “little dance” when other more important things in life put the Ironman in a shadow or far off corner of the mind.Let’s play cards, on our own…and gamble that regardless of when Ironman is, it will never really change us at all.An activity or lifestyle it can influence, but not ultimately who we are at heart.Moving right along…
The past month has led me to a new short term training ground in ChautauquaPark in the Boulder County Park System. Something about the undamaged setting of single track trail winding up and down mountainsides, and faint sounds of nature highlighted with a light breeze that attracts me to it. GregoryCanyon, SkunkCanyon, Kohler Trail, Mesa Trail, Bluebell and McClintock Trails as well as others that I don’t remember off hand…all open and unspoiled to the adventurers of society.Other hikers and runners with Mp3 players going by, it sort of defeats the purpose of getting away from the city life. I suppose I just want to be as aware of my surroundings as I can, knowing bear and mountain lion are there watching me, I’m just not able to see them.Mp3 players would limit that sense considerably, and ultimately, would take away from each unique experience of my hikes.Yesterday was just such an incredible day that sitting on the grass looking at Boulder’s most recognizable landmark—the Flatirons, makes one reserve a statement that Chautauqua Park is so inspirational and romantic for painters, outdoor enthusiasts and the curious tourist—there clearly is nothing that can compare on the Front Range.You can literally see for dozens of miles—seemingly to Wyoming on a clear day.
There is so much history here, and yesterday I was imagining what it must have been like generations ago when the top hats and fancy evening gowns were exhibited by the area elite for parties and gatherings at the stately park.I saw the ghosts of young courting couples seeking a life partner. The local elder power brokers sipping brandy—no doubt discussing the latest business ideas while their wives chatted about the next big social party or group quilting meeting. What a wonderful time it must have been—to BE the history that this city now so boldly preserves for our generation. Did they know that this place would draw others from all over the world and be a part of the local daily lifestyle for athletes and artists at some point?Thank goodness for all the preservation and thoughtful people that created such a beautiful resource for our community.While I have spent each day exploring a different trail to hike on, there is much yet to explore in the area.
Any sunny September or October afternoon when the temperatures are in the 70s, climb into the hills, turn around, and look at the views.You really can see this is indeed one of the prettiest places on the outer edge of civilization.The history is undeniable, the views unparalleled, the rewards of being in the solitude of the great outdoors in Athletic TownUSA is priceless.Here are some pictures of where I have been doing my hiking/walking while I take a leave of absence from the swim, bike and run routine—golden times…each day in ChautauquaPark, Boulder, Colorado.Look closely if you visit, you may see an eagle flying above, a mule deer grazing or black bear trotting in the woods. Either way, you can depend on a few things…mental reprieve from whatever haunts your mind, physical beauty that refreshes the stalest day to day routine.Outdoor Heaven on Earth…and there you will find me among the craggy rocks and winding trails looking for another autumn colored path bursting into life.