As promised, I haven't vanished into another seemingly endless "sabattical" from posting. Actually, quite the contrary. I've been actively training and working on getting back into shape.
I've been posting my Training Peaks logs for daily workouts on my Facebook account. That provides some amount of accountability and tracking.
In the past 28 days I've logged 4 hours 40 minutes in the pool, completing nearly 11K yards. Pokey, but progress. That's in addition to the 9 hours spent covering 56 miles running. Since that was over the holidays, during which I managed to actually lose another quarter pound, I'm happy with it.
All totaled, I'm down about 15 pounds since I got back at it, and have another 7-10 pounds to go. That will get me into the proper weight range for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon and whatever I decide to pursue for the summer.
If you DO follow me on Facebook, you might find the post on my main page regarding my New Years' resolution. For each like on that post, I will be completing one mile of swimming, 47 miles of biking, and 11 miles of running. Basically, for every 24 likes, I will complete training equal to 10 Ironman races. So far, I have nine likes. That's 9 miles swimming, 423 miles on the bike, and 100 miles running. Let me know if you think that isn't enough.
Finally, the new Saucony Omni running shoes have been almost perfect. They have addressed both the tarsal tunnel (numbness) and stress issues. There were some minor knee issues, but some gait correction and strength exercises have helped with that.
So things are moving along nicely. All I need to do, now, is get the trainer set back up in the basement, and I'll be back to training in all three disciplines.
An alternative title could be "Heavy Lifting" as I try to get a wide variety of things back off the ground. Things like this blog, my endurance career, my butt off the couch...
Let's start with the excuses so we can get them out of the way. After breaking my foot a bit over a year ago, I was diagnosed with tarsal tunnel syndrome. Basically carpal tunnel syndrome, but in my foot. The impact of running leads to inflammation of the nerve sheath in my foot and my toes go numb.
Outside of surgery, the most effective solution I've found to this issue is barefoot running. Only that has led to the issues with stress on the arch of my foot, likely related back to the original fracture.
Blah, blah, blah, excuses, excuses. With the injuries, I allowed other parts of life to get in the way and presto, I'm not too far off of where I was when this whole journey started.
An out-of-shape former sailor...
A couple things have occurred, recently, to provide the sort of swift kick to the head needed to jar things loose.
First, the 2012 Runner's World Holiday Running Streak and former schoolmate Greg Henneman (aka Perseverance Runner) throw down the challenge to run at least one mile each day from Thanksgiving to New Years Day. Add in the incentive of charity giving with "penalties" for missed days and you have a strong motivator to run.
All of that got me thinking back to a discussion I had on the phone with Scott Rigsby. Yes, that Scott Rigsby. He and I were discussing an idea I had about raising funds for a friend who lost his leg to illness. I had grand plans to run a triple marathon as a way to raise funds to help that friend purchase a running leg.
Scott brought me back to earth. He pointed out that me running 80 miles wouldn't make that guy go run. If my friend were truly married to the idea of running, he'd be doing everything he could to get and stay fit, then pounding down doors to get sponsors. If unable to run, he'd be swimming. He'd be using his good leg to pedal a bike. He wouldn't be looking for ways to make everything "perfect" THEN start running.
It was that last bit that struck me recently. I have lingering injuries. Injuries that are likely to be chronic reminders that I'm getting old. Injuries that make running a challenge. And Scott Rigsby lost both legs and went on to complete Ironman.
It makes my worries about numb toes and bit underwhelming.
I'm going to run every day between now and New Years, or pay an extra dollar to charity for the failure. In January, I'm going to get my feet wet, again, by swimming every day of the month. And I'm going to keep running while I do it. Once open, I'm going to register for a series of races designed to force me to remain active, or at least pay a heavy price for failing to do so.
I don't promise to take this site back to "every day" posting. I will, however, try to post weekly summaries of the workouts and get the rest of the site back into some semblance of sanity.
Well, I finally got back into the gym after last week's awesome swim workout. You know, the one where I managed to swim with the dolphins. The one were I also managed to get a good amount of water into my ear.
Yeah, that one.
By Tuesday, I couldn't really hear in that ear, and I had to sleep with a towel on my pillow because of fluid leaking out. By Thursday I was trying to get the rest of the water out of the ear, and dealing with a rather severe case of something in my chest. Might be bronchitis. Could be a chest cold because of the water in my ear. Or it could be that stupid mucus dude from the cough and cold commercial (you know who I mean, even if I don't). Regardless, the coughing was bad enough to wake me up throughout the night.
For a week.
Today, I decided that a bit of exercise might help. So, I headed back to the scene of the crime. I got in a 1500 yard workout AND maintained an average pace under two minutes per 100 yards. Nothing amazing, but great for me. And the chlorine seemed to do it's trick on my sinuses, clearing them out pretty well.
Side note: Unlike many people I know, chlorine doesn't make things a complete wreck in my nose. My sinuses are a wreck most of the time, anyway. Swimming, even in chlorinated pools, makes things better for me. Sorry Nancy and John. It just does.
The cough is still there, and It will probably take another week to get the water out of my ear. At least it's not blood, anymore.
I've decided that it will now take broken bones to keep me away from training. The coughs, colds, and sinus garbage is getting old. So, no more. I'll just keep hitting the pool. And making sure my ear plugs are sealed.
Another week has gone by, and the training volume remains at essentially zero. I'm fighting off the remnants of the upper respiratory infection that's been plaguing everyone in the family except my wife, who might have dodged this bullet. Fortunately, if my son is the gauge, I should be getting to the end of this, as he has been cough free for about a week, now.
The last two nights have been interesting as I've woke up from a dead sleep as my body attempts to cough my lungs up. With two small kids in the house, it's not uncommon for coughing to wake me up. It's just not usually ME doing the coughing. I'll take it as a good sign, though, as it is hopefully a sign that my body is clearing the crud and I'm on the road to recovery.
The down time has given me time to reflect on some things, and I've come to the conclusion that I need another Ironman. I don't know where and I don't know how, but I need to get myself into another full distance triathlon.
I think it has something to do with the motivation of the unknown. I know I can run a marathon. I know I can complete a half-Ironman. I know I can run 50 miles in one shot.
There are two things that are unknowns. How I would perform in a second Ironman and my ability to complete a 100 mile ultramarathon. And I kind of promised my wife that I wouldn't tackle a 100-miler.
For the next six months, pursuit of a marathon PR in May will provide the stress needed for growth. After that...???
For now, though, I need to get some new lungs. The pair I have are all coughed out. Then, I need to get back on the road, again. Again.
There are few things that will get me to take a break from training or racing. I've raced with pulled muscles, high fevers, and sinus infections. I've trained through pelvic torsion, ruptured eardrums, and other, more typical, maladies.
Recently, I found that a complete bathroom remodel was sufficient to totally derail training. Last week, I was excited to get back into training. And this week...
The beginnings of an upper respiratory infection. Because I refuse to accept the potential that it's the flu. Regardless, lung related issues are one thing through which I'm unable to train. Little things like pulmonary doctors ready to skewer me if I hurt myself. So, whether it's a simple chest cold, a more severe infection, or the full blown H1N1 flu (remember, it's NOT the swine flu, it's H1N1, so don't call it swine flu), I'm taking a few more days off. Given the progression of my son's infection, it could be another week. He's been coughing for about 10 days, and getting better, now.
Each morning I wake up and consider going for a run. Fifteen years ago, I would have found myself laying in bed trying to find a reason NOT to run. Now, I find myself unable to get back to sleep thinking, "Really, just a short run. That won't be THAT bad." And then, I have to roll over and admit that the rattling cough in the lungs is the one thing that I'm not allowed to "run through."
Over a dozen half-marathons. Approaching 10 full marathons. Preparing for my fourth half-Ironman. One Ironman and two ultramarathons. So far, none of them has brought me to my knees and required me to concede defeat for the day.
Steve, of Steve in a Speedo?! Gross is well known for his foot issues. He is equally well known for posting pictures of his battered feet. Since I very rarely get blisters, I had to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Steve and his blistered self.
It wasn't until we got back to the car and I switched to street shoes that I realized the blister was there. I have the distinct impression it was the result of old socks, my boots, and the uphill walks. I wore very poor socks to make sure my feet would get cold before the kids' feet. Normally, I wear much better hiking socks.
My plan for the day included a 40 minute run. I put my running shoes on, and decided it was a bad idea. I replaced it with a two hour ride on the trainer. Though the band-aid and the socks I wore to prevent further damage made my shoes pretty tight, I figured it was better to be on the trainer with the option to stop than out on the road if the blister started bothering me.
About 10 days ago, my kids started coming down with colds. They had slight fevers followed by lots of congestion and coughing. We spent several days wiping noses, pushing fluids, and occassionally disregarding alarmist warnings by providing medicine. Having two sick kids meant a lot of nights sleeping on one floor or another trying to comfort them, or at least keeping them company when they couldn't sleep.
Anyone familiar with Chris McCormack's history at the Ironman World Championships knows he paid some heavy dues on his way to becoming world champion. His early attempts at winning in Hawaii ended in failure as he struggled with heat, dehydration, nutrition, and the worst the course could throw at him. By constantly learning the lessons taught at Kona, adjusting his plans, and, most importantly, making changes to his electrolyte intake, McCormack fought his way to the top of the podium.
In everything we do, the piper must be paid. And the better we want to be, the higher the price. The only thing left to us is deciding just how much we are willing to pay. Any time we misjudge the costs, we can find ourselves stuck paying more than we originally intended.
Just who is this Iron Pol?
A former out of shape sailor, who became a marathoner, then a triathlete, Ironman, and ultramarathoner. Now, life has pushed me into short track speed skating. More important than the titles is the lifestyle, and sharing it with others.