Sunday, March 15, 2009

Love it! Hate it!

I love this sport because of all the stuff. Sure, it sounds materialistic, but let’s face it- it’s fun. There’s always more gear we can go out and get. It keeps getting better, so there’s always a gadget that will make training or racing better, faster or more comfortable. My latest target is a Garmin Forerunner.

I hate this sport because of all the crap you need. Trying to plan and pack for a race never ends. God forbid I forget my electrical tape, salt tablets or allen wrench. Long winter runs take short tights, long pants, shirt, jacket, gloves, fuel belt, bottles, gel, iPod, body glide, reflective vest, head lamp, sneakers, hat, and probably something else I’m forgetting.

I love this sport because there’s always something going well. Three disciplines and something is always feeling good. I love basking in the internal glory of a great workout . Maybe the run wasn’t so great in my brick, but that’s because I kicked ass on the bike.

I hate this sport because something is always suffering. If I bust my ass in the morning on the road, it’s a losing game in the pool at noon when I’m with the masters swim group. [These wimps are only doing one workout today.] It’s tough for my ego to have people pass me who have no right doing so. And have you ever done a race where all three parts were spot on? Maybe the race overall was good, but there’s always something that wasn’t as good as it should be.

I love this sport because I have no trouble falling asleep at night. Up at 5 for a 1-2 hours workout, go to work, swim at noon, back to work, home for the night, head hits the pillow, and GOOD NIGHT!

I hate this sport because I have no problem falling asleep...anywhere or anytime. It’s a struggle sometime to get through work in the afternoon. And it isn’t exactly good for marital relations when my head rolls off my shoulders at 8:30. I end up trying all kinds of things just to stay awake until 9:30.

I love this sport because of the satisfaction I get after pushing my limits in races. I tend to focus on the Olympic distance which requires red lining for two hours. Finding that extra gear at the end of a race to pass (or prevent from being passed (A.B.)) feels great. That kind of effort stays with me physically for a day or two, reminding me that I did something few other people even attempt.

I hate this sport because of the anguish we go through while red lining. “This sucks.” “Why do I do this?” “I’m going to pick up curling next year.” “I wonder if my kids are out of bed yet.” “Come on, give me better directions.” “Come on, be ready with the Gatorade.” “My crotch is killing me. ” “I’m never doing an Ironman again.” [By the way, for those of you going into your first one, you will say this repeatedly. Then within 5 minutes of finishing, you’ll want to sign up all over again.]

I love this sport because of the positive stress it generates. I think about training and racing constantly. It’s a great diversion from the negative stress in life, in particular my work. It’s fun to design the next workout, training paces, average power or whatever. Then I get to download the workout data to the computer and analyze it even more. I’m a dreamer, and it literally gives me shivers to think about running down Alii Drive. Or pulling on a USA uniform. Life would be boring without dreaming about reaching new levels.

I hate this sport because of the attention it requires. It’s nearly year-round and permeates so many parts of life, including diet, sleep and the calendar. I know I haven’t given my family as much mental attention as I should. I think I'm getting better.

I love…eating without limits after races, staying fit, breaking down barriers, sharing ideas, camaraderie, rolling out of bed and feeling yesterday’s workout, hill repeats, surging out front at the swim start, and winning.

I hate…chlorine, cold hands and toes, poor etiquette, pain in certain personal areas, poorly organized races, drafting, toe tapping in the swim, injuries, stretching (duh..think there’s a connection?), hill repeats, and losing.


My ribs wouldn’t let me run until this weekend when I hit the trails on snowshoes. After a few minutes, the endorphins masked the pain. Included a run/hite to the top of Ragged Mtn. I didn’t even sniff the pool all week. I was fine on the bike, so pushed that pretty hard. The highlight was meeting with Coach Kurt and coming to the realization that I’m setting myself up for a great season. I thought as much, but it’s nice to get confirmation. Although there’s plenty of physical refining and work to do, mentally, I am so ready to bust out a good race. Polarbear won’t come soon enough.

Found a good weekly IM podcast on iTunes from a couple of guys from New Zealand- IM Talk. In particular, check out the 5/26/08 podcast with Dave Scott and 5/7/07 discussion on training with power. In particular, he talks about eliminating the power spikes in an IM bike. They really sap your energy for the run.

Finally, I signed up for Crank the Kanc. I strongly suggest others do the same. It's a great test at a good time of year. If you do, maybe we can do a bit extra on the end.


  1. I love this post steve. Love it. I can relate to it in So many ways. You are going to have an awesome season...and btw...I think you'd make a great coach yourself.

  2. I love this sport because of all the new connections you make--new friends who get it--who are living a similar reality.
    When is Crank the Kanc? I'm going to have to look that one up.
    Great post. Like Ange, I can relate to all of it.The only thing I feel differently about is chlorine. I know I'm strange, but I actually like smelling my skin after being in the pool. It's clean--fresh--and reminds me that I just put more yards in the bank. Andy and my kids disagree--they turn away after a hug and say, ek--the pool.

  3. Crank is full, except for the Team Time Trial. Three people per team, time for the team goes to the last one to finish. It's worth it. Race is May 16.