Thursday, August 30, 2007

Am I Ishmael or Am I Ahab?

I think…Call me Ishmael. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no hope that I would ever regain my fitness and become the size of normal men, and nothing particular to interest me in the diet realm, I thought I would cast about a little and see the world of the Ironman. It is a way I have of driving off the helpless feeling created by a lifetime of being overweight, and regulating the vagaries of my self-image. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my doubts get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to iron as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the iron. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards becoming an Ironman and repeating that experience with me.

There is so much about IMKY that I can feel good about but I have so many questions, leads not followed and puzzles not pieced together and I do not feel whole. Mind you, this is not to say that I don’t feel proud of my accomplishment it is simply to say that I do not feel that I have finished the job. My year began with the iron book open and I have yet to close it with any real assuredness. Time is still on my side this year and I am already wandering the web looking in shop windows.

It just so happens I have had a sudden opening in my schedule with the cancellation of the 101 and it just so happens that there is an iron distance race on that very day, November 11th 2007…the Nevada Silverman.

I will toe the line once again attempting to solve the iron riddle. I quietly take to the iron. You may not agree but those of you who have come to know me will understand; that is, after all, the way I roll.

So tell me, am I Ishmael or am I Ahab? Ishmael is a sojourner of the high seas seeking respite from his inner demons and seeking to solve the puzzle of his life. In the end he survives even though only narrowly. Ahab is a man obsessed and with vengeance in his heart. He is destroyed, broken against his enemy and swallowed in darkness. You know my verdict but I won’t claim wisdom as one of my key virtues.
Yes, to the right IS a picture of the Silverman bike course.

Fortitudine Vincimus my dear friends, Fortitudine Vincimus!


  1. i think Ishmael. but now I have to go re-read the book as my memory of it has been corrupted by too many trashy novels and People magazines.
    I don't know about the inner demons part though. You seem to me to be uncommonly grounded and even.

  2. Good luck at your attempt at the Silverman. I for one think 3 months is enough recovery time between IM races. During your off season, which I guess you don't really have, I would focus on running since that seems to be your achilles heal during the IM distance. I wouldn't even worry about any kind of speedwork. I think if you focus on slowly increasing your weekly mileage until you can comfortably get in 35-40+ miles/week on a regular basis you'll see improvements there at IM CDA. Getting most of your mileage in on the dirt trails and avoiding speedwork should reduce the chances for injury. Target a winter marathon which will give you a shorter term goal before IM CDA. I'm planning on doing the R & R marathon in Phoenix in January and if I qualify for Boston to then run that in April. I know nutrition is an individual thing and that what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another. With the exception of about 10 Powergels that I bring along on the bike leg I just consume whatever is available on the course and that tends to work fine for me. During the bike, on average that means about a bottle of gatorade every 15 or so miles, a Powergel about every 10 miles and about 3 or so bananas along the 112 miles. During the run I'll snack at every age station and generally mix that up with whatever I'm not sick of eating. I learned several years ago to go for plenty of chicken broth when available during the run. That helps avoid cramping and the taste is a nice change of pace from everything else I've eaten for the previous 10-12 hours.


  3. Of course you could come over and do IM Busselton on Nov 4th (I think) - it's still open, but the bike is a bit flat for you!
    That photo is tooooooo scary

  4. uh, based on your description definitely ishamel. I never thought of you as quite as dark as that, however. Ishmael is a depressed soul, I don't get that about you.

    Silverman will test you. I'd say do exactly what your coach says and you'll be as prepared as you can be. But you knew I'd say that...

  5. Ok, Ok, I admit that at best, or worst I guess, I'm Ishmael lite but come on, I'm goin for the literary here people.

  6. Go forth and kick some bootay. Hope the stomach problems don't come back and you have a great race. I know in the back of your mind you are wondering just how low can your time go. You continue to inspire and convince us that anything is possible and even us newbie racers should set our goals high. Thanks.


    Sorry, _Moby Dick_ references have that effect on me.

    My 2 cents: for you, for performance, look for a cooler race. Also, make peace with zone 2 - see here

    OTOH, maybe performance isn't what you'll be after. Whatever suits!

  8. Nice post. Keep on rocking; metaphorically, philosophically and literally.

  9. was either of those 2 dudes crazy? 'cause you be crazy. Plain and simple. At least you don't have long to wait for a good taper...

    I actually love the idea of doing silverman someday. Of course, I'd like to do some other IM before trying to tackle one of the hardest ones.

    did I miss the post where you were dieing of some dreaded disease and only have x-months to live, so you are doing EVERY race in existance this year? Just curious.

  10. Did I hear a Star Trek reference in there from Brent?!? LOL
    You are definitely a brave soul! You are also one of the most motivated Triathletes we know. Good job and keep up the good training!

  11. That was quite the post - and quite the step on your journey to figure this all out. Quite the hard step. But hey - a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, right?

    I have to agree that in this case slow and steady will win the race. Not that those hills will let you do much else - yikes. But yeah! Go get 'em.

  12. The Silverman is NO JOKE. Have fun tackling that one!!! That is a great addition to the triathlon resume!