Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My Own Personal Rehab

I have been very sluggish in my bolg activities, both reading and writing and it is mostly because I am currently working on living in a slightly different world. Unfortunately I plan on this being the case more often than not over the next few weeks and I can only hope nobody takes offence. Taking on training for Silverman has really put the screws to me but it is screws that I require right now. I have entered an ascetic period in which I am doing penance for my laziness. Let me explain.

My training for IMAZ was pretty good and my training for IMKY was, well, let's say adequate, but I think that I let myself off the hook too often, got sloppy or just didn't focus. My swimming was good, my running was high volume but not exactly challenging and my cycling was, well, pretty much multiple hours of joy riding.

I kind of scared myself away from serious hill running after fracturing my hip at the beginning of last season and that was further complicated by fracturing my foot at the beginning of this season even though I had lowered my intensity and pretty much cut out my old hill routine. Ever since that second fracture I have felt vulnerable and my race times have paid the price. I did a sprint distance triathlon just before I fractured my hip and my average pace on the run was 7:08 per mile, which isn't bad for a Clydesdale. I think it was also that same race where my average bike pace broke the 23 mph barrier. I have never been that fast since.

I have consoled myself with statements like, "Well, I'm still fast enough to beat every other clyde racing in my region" but I'm not all that interested in being "fast enough" I want to be as fast as I can be.

I also console myself with the idea that I have been focusing on my long course performance this year and that will take the edge off your speed. True, but the fact of the matter is that both my half-IM and IM PRs came from the end of the season in which I broke my hip. This entire year I have been going with lower intensities and easier workouts and everything has suffered including my weight. Prior to my fractured foot I began my year at 208. I raced IMKY at 223.

So here is how it works for me, here is what I think. I must pay…seriously. A while back Brent posted about people traveling great distances to find small races where they could place well and someone left the comment "Beware the metric you measure yourself against" or something very close to that. That comment has been resonating with me, getting under my skin and I know that regardless of what is going on around me I have not been meeting my own standards. My standards are tough and even I do not like to have to face up to them.

When I was in the Marine Corps as a younger man I kind of developed this alter ego that I refer to as "the machine." The machine does not admit much in the way of emotion or any of those basic human qualities that makes someone enjoyable to spend time with. The machine is a solitary device that just moves forward. The machine confronts those ugly and weak places inside your mind and body and runs over them dispassionately. The machine rejoices in hardship, pain and deprivation. In short, the machine is something trained into young infantrymen so that they can survive combat. Bigun knows of whom I speak because the machine lives within him as well...I have a certain familiarity with his prior training.

It is long past time that I reacquaint myself with the machine and my blowout at IMKY was the impetus for that decision and my registering for Silverman is the penance.

Now before you start worrying that I'm on the verge of popping through a door with an ax snarling "here's Johnny!" I can assure you I'm not…it's not like that it's just hard to explain. I am in full possession of my wits and my humanity it's just that I have some business afoot and I mean to take care of it properly just as I should have done in the first place.

Consistent with my current journey I did not want to get on the blog rolls all whiney and "determined" issuing confessions for sympathy. It is not where I'm coming from and is not what my journey is about. Lord knows it's not what I need; I've provided myself ample sympathy in the last year. No, I wanted to come with something to say about the results I have achieved in this new journey which I have undertaken.

Last week I reinstituted my good old hill running routine with a 9 miler, 9:30 pace and hills, hills, hills. Last weekend I did a 15 mile cross country hill run on sand and dirt roads that included 1500 feet of climbing and the next day I did a 65 mile bike that included 3700 feet of climbing, most of which was squeezed into just 30 miles of the ride. This morning I weighed in at 214, nine pounds down from IMKY.

There is much more rehab to come between now and Silverman but you can be assured that regardless of my final results it will have been the machine that ran the race because, after all, this is combat.


  1. We'll be here. And, of course, cheering you on. (Well, at least Google Reader will look in on you and let me know when you have something to say.)

    All the best with your training!

  2. Here's the pond-sizing post. The comment to which you refer was by Nigel, who also sent me the original link. Aside: Nigel and his spouse joined me in Chicago post-IMMoo - good times!

    All the best in pushing along to where you want to be.

  3. Good luck with this. I am on machine thinking too--I've always been someone of whom people say in my work life "She's a machine!"--and it was my goal as I worked myself from complete non-exerciser to fitness enthusiast that one of these days someone would look at me running and say exactly the same thing that they have always thought about my work stuff! BUT I got a stress fracture in the weeks before my first half-marathon, and I've been well aware since then that we have to pay attention also to our bodies. So I guess I'm saying, yeah, go for it, we should definitely hold ourselves to the highest possible standards--but injury is counter-productive, so please don't cheat yourself of the success you want to earn by pushing too hard in the short term! As always, I say this as much to myself as to the person I'm addressing, I hope you will take it in the spirit it is meant!

  4. I sometimes feel like I don't train as hard as I should. I put the miles on, but am I really giving the effort I should to get faster, or just enough to give myself a little exercise and maintain the same fitness level. I think you summed that up good.
    Man do I feel sorry for your body now that your "machine" mind has taken over. Good Luck.
    We all know you secretly are the bionic man 2007 version anyway.

  5. Remember to keep the JOY!

  6. "I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost..and laughed!" I love that speech...the Patton opening speech...that speech as quotes and lines that could be used as mantra for anywone with a warrior spirit. Or a machine.

    Just don't break anything!

  7. I see legs 4, 14 and 24 in your future - mostly uphill. You don't need the downhills.