When I mapped out my training cycle for Ironman 70.3 this summer this week was one that I knew was going to test me. Not from a workout perspective, but from a life-balance perspective. That is the reality for us “weekend warrior” endurance athletes. We do not have the “luxury” of a schedule that revolves around our training, a nutritionist to plan and prepare our meals or a massage therapist on call to help us overcome sore muscles and fatigue to jump right back into our training.
The reality for most of us is that we have a full-time job to focus on, a family to spend quality time with, a yard to mow, a shopping list to fill, laundry that needs to get done, meals to prepare and of course for the lucky ones like me, a soon-to-be 2 year old to chase around the house and read bedtime stories to.
Sometimes the actual “training” for a marathon or triathlon is more challenging from a time perspective than from a physical one.
Last week we covered 114.90 miles swimming, cycling and running. 10 hours and 53 minutes of training. I typically get 7 hours of sleep a night. Sometimes a little less and every once in awhile a little more. That leaves 119 hours in a week to “get things done”. Last week’s training took roughly 10% of that time.
It was a tremendous week with lots of great endurance work in the books including a couple of 2,000 meter continuous swims and a pair of 20 mph 35 mile rides. Yesterday we ran long and covered 15 steamy miles, building our base for the half-marathon off of the bike in Kerrville.
But this week things get a little more complicated as Landry and I are on our own until Momma Bear returns from a conference on Friday. That means no early swims or runs while Landry is asleep. We are going to have to strap on the baby monitor early in the morning while we pedal away on our TRI Bike up on the trainer in the garage, sneak in our swims at lunchtime and run with Landry in the jogging stroller in the evenings.
It is those weeks where you start to question your sanity a bit and wonder what this is all for. It doesn’t happen to me more than once or twice a year – but for a fleeting instant you do think about how much “simpler” things would be if you just took things down a notch
This morning I received a comment out of the blue on a post that I had written almost two years ago – 43 things about Joe – just prior to my 43rd birthday, just two weeks before Dom would lose the final round of his battle with cancer. http://wp.me/pHGel-yO
The note was from a high school friend and football teammate of Dom’s back in Hopewell, PA. Corky had been away serving in the military, and had not been around for Dom’s struggle. He shared some kind words and asked that I pass along his best wishes and condolences to Dom’s family – which I am going to take care of this evening when I get home.
It seems that on the rare times when my drive to keep pushing things as hard as I can is lacking Dom is there to send me a little nudge. Just subtly to get my ass back in gear and take care of business. It has happened during training runs, on mornings where the storms are loud and the rain is heavy as I push off from the corner of the garage after stretching my hamstrings and calf muscles with 20 soggy miles ahead. It happens during races when I’m not sure I can run another mile at race pace as the fatigue and pain is starting to mount. Then I run another. And another.
I say quietly to myself that I’m not sure I can make it.
I make it every time.
Recently I put together a running resume recapping my experience running, training, racing and coaching. It also reflected my race PR’s, Awards and wins. More than 50 endurance events since 2009. We have never started a race without reaching the finish line.
They haven’t all been pretty, but we’ve made it through to the line in each and every one of them. Running is the ultimate metaphor for life. There are no shortcuts, no “cheats” or way out. The only way to the end is to keep fighting, keep pushing and putting one foot in front of the other. At the end of the line you’ll have plenty of time to look back and see all of it. The good, the bad, the wins and the losses.
Dom just reached his finish line a little faster than the rest of us.. I’m going to keep on chasing him as long as I can.
Thanks again for the push this week Dom. Stay tuned on September 30th. I’ll be registering for Ironman 70.3 today. Once that is in the books we’re going to chase down that sub 3 hour marathon for you down in Houston. I’ll stop by one early morning on a run when I’m back in Hopewell and tell you all about it.