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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Where does your mind wonder?

I have been asked numerous times "What do you think about when you bike for 4 hours?" When I tell people about my trainning and the time that I spend in the saddle, or out on a run people seem to wonder what it is that I think about. In reality, this question can be answered in several different ways.

When I first got interested in biking, I would head north outside the city of Milwaukee on Lake Drive to find the newest road to tear up on my bike. Not much, if anything would enter my mind. Those bike rides at first were a type of relaxtion and place of "zen" if you want to call it that, where I would bike to escape life and the city that surrounded it. While I would be on my bike I would tune out life and just enjoy the scenary that would pass by, and always look for a new desolate road that I could claim mine for the time that I was on that. These are the rides that I have truly enjoy the most, they help me unwind and go into my own little world where no one can get in touch with me as long as I'm in my saddle. Now that I have started to use my bike in a more competitive setting those rides do not happen nearly as often since I mix in lactate threshold rides, tempo rides, hill climbs, intervals, etc. All of those rides never really amount to more then 2 hours in full and since those rides are much more intense my mind doesn't seem to wonder, but more or less focus on my heart rate and enjoy the suffering that I put my body through. I still do get away plenty fo times for those long ride of 3, 4, 5+ hours to escape life. What do I think about on those rides you ask? Everything and anything really. My mind seems to wonder endlessy and any thought that my mind can think of can cross my mind in those rides. I feel as if I am having a long conversation with myself where no topic is off limits, and no one else gets to listen in on it. It's a great thing to do sometimes, especially when you catch a nice sunset on the ride in the middle of summer, or crank out a 50 mile effort through the country before most people step foot out of their house for the day.

Before last year running was always a struggle for me. I hated it, never pushed myself with it, and was always frustrated with it. I don't know what clicked inside me or where I started to find joy in running, but it happened and now those long runs that I have are just as therapeutic as my long rides in the saddle. My mind acts the same way on those runs as it does on those long rides. So the next time I hop on my bike for a 60 mile ride out in the country and you want to know what I am thinking about...well try it yourself and see where your mind wonders!

Enjoy the ride!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

222 Days To Go!

I could really go for a nice 80 degree sun splashed day and crank out a nice 50 mile ride right about now. Unfortunately, the forecast for tomorrow calls for a high of 28 and partly cloudy. Right now is the "dead" of winter as they say, I really have never understood the term as everything seems to be dead during the winter or at least the fact that there is not much life through these dark cold months. This winter however, has been very mild and I have enjoyed that tremendously. We didn't get much snow in January and only had about one week of true cold temps. This month is forecasted to be the same as well, and even the groundhog is calling for an early spring! Maybe that 80 degree sunsplashed day is not too far away!?

January was a solid month of training that went by in the blink of an eye. I got back in the saddle routinely and really started to get my legs back and refreshed as I will start to increase my volume this month. Running came back to me in the past couple weeks and I can feel the time that I have taken off. I am hoping that I can pickup where I left off in the fall (I feel like my running peaked this fall instead of at the end of summer) and start to get ready to start my marathon training once March hits. Speaking of marathon training I am still deciding if I will run the half or full marathon in Madison at the end of May. I am almost convinced I will only run a half marathon as the recovery time would take almost the full month of June if I were to run the full marathon and June is a very important month of my Ironman base training. I really do want to rip the marathon portion of Ironman apart, but I feel as if a half marathon will give me a strong enough base to build off in May instead of doing a full marathon.

This past weekend was the 2nd annual Multisport Expo here in Milwaukee. I took the chance to head down on Saturday and check out all the gear, bikes, apparel, goodies, training classes, and people to see what it was all about. I described the Expo as triathlons equivalent to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory minus the Umpa Lumpas and not everything was edible. I ended up getting a great deal on some new tri bike shoes and met the President of Team GearGrinder John White. We talked for about 30 minutes about triathlon, where I want to go with the sport, my past results, and he introduced me to the team as well. I met Joe Kurian a 5-time Kona qualifier along with some others. John is going to put me on the development team for this year and help push me to compete at a higher level in the future.

Finally I am now doing PT for my shoulder each day for about 30 minutes. I got a new PT today and he seems that he can really not only get my shoulder back to 100, but improve my strength as well. He found that I have really bad posture in my scapular region and gave me a set of exercises to do that should help strengthen my shoulder and give myself better posture. I am still about 6 weeks out from swimming again, but my PT assured me I will in no doubt be ready by spring to resume my swim training

Well here we are in the month of February and its a short month of only 4 weeks so I am just going to push myself hard through this last month of truly unmotivational weather before we get kick training into a higher gear! But no matter how gloomy and cloudy the skies are every day, just remember one thing....

"Someday my body won't let me do this, today is NOT that day"