Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekend Workout

My weekend started at 6 a.m. on Saturday with one hour of indoor cycling at MMF. Then TG KG and I went to SPTC to run the ASK 5K. This was a family friendly event to support children with cancer. The 3.1 mile course looped around the back of the mall with the start-finish line near Nordstrom’s. KG had a great race, finishing in less time than she’d anticipated. I was several minutes behind. While I’d always like to be faster than I am, I was satisfied with my time. However, I’m not listed anywhere in the results – it’s like I became invisible once ASK took my money for the entry fee and gave me a race number.

7 a.m. Sunday found me on my bike riding the Rockett’s Landing course with KG. Except for turning right when we should have gone straight and ending up on a dead-end road at the bottom of a hill surrounded by woods, the kind of place that might be described as “where people dump dead bodies,” the ride was pleasant. Because we have been doing cadence drills this month at indoor cycling, I concentrated on shifting gears to maintain my cadence. Maybe I’m just finally “getting it,” but this ride seemed smoother than usual and the smaller hills less daunting. The bigger ones are still a challenge.

Sunday afternoon, KG and I swam at the UR pool. In deference to our other weekend activities, we didn’t swim quite as many laps as we usually do, but it was still a productive effort. Maybe I picked up some inspiration from having recently watched Pride, a movie set in 1974 about a swim team at a rec center in urban Philadelphia.

Next weekend I’ll be at the beach, the following weekend my daughter and her husband are planning to visit, and then it’s Rockett’s. So I guess I’ll start tapering now.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

2,139 Words

On April 16, 1 hour and 14 minutes before the deadline, I submitted my entry to the Mindset Triathlon Essay Contest. Fifteen essays on the philosophy of triathlon will be chosen for publication in “The Life of Tri,” an anthology “exploring the meaning and inspiration behind the sport of triathlon.” Finalists will be announced on May 18.

When Coach G first told us about this contest, I began thinking about what I might write. I had a possible theme in mind, and I composed random sentences, even paragraphs, in my head as I swam laps and folded laundry. After I put all my thoughts on paper, however, I discovered I had a big problem. The essay had to be a minimum of 2000 words, and I only had about 1400. I thought about all kinds of things I might include to make the essay longer, but I discarded most of them as soon as I wrote them down. Every time I added something, I deleted something else, so my net word count remained stuck at 1400, then 1500. Expounding on what triathlons mean to me was proving quite difficult, and I was getting desperate as the deadline loomed. I lost sleep, my lunch hour, and training time as I struggled to write just 501 more words. Then, much like muscling through a tough hill on my bike, I found the necessary words and completed my essay.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Changing Seasons, Changing Venues

Finally, it’s starting to look and feel like spring. As much as I like the coming season, though, I’m sorry it foretells the end of indoor cycling. When I ride inside on a trainer, I clip in and out of my pedals with ease, I ride in aero, and I keep up with the group. These skills are lost off the trainer. I rode outside at W.Crk. for the first time this year on April 4. After just ten miles I’d had enough “yumminess.” This past Saturday I got a reprieve because predictions of rain moved the ride inside, but next week I’ll have to take on W.Crk. again. Maybe I could just set up my trainer in the parking lot!

If This Were My Last …

I recently read in the newspaper that some study group had determined more persons died during triathlons than participating in other sports and that most deaths came in the swim portion. That’s a sobering thought. I know there are risks of injury in triathlons, but every time I do one, I’d rather not be contemplating my demise. However, under the rubric of “make every day count,” I’ve often asked myself, “If this were the last day of my life, would I spend it doing what I’m doing now?” Generally, the answer is “yes,” and when it’s not, I’ve moved on to doing something else. Applying the same philosophy to triathlons, while I wouldn’t consider starting each race thinking it could be my last good strategy, as long as I’m willing to accept that possibility, I’ll keep tri-ing.