Sunday, December 21, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
-It's sponsorship season, and as a relatively new pro, I'm working on developing some lasting relationships with companies I believe in. Right now I have committed to joining the Sport Beans/NTTC squad for 2009, so I will wearing their kits and using affiliated sponsors equipment at my races. Check out the team site at http://www.nttcracing.com/ I'll keep everyone up to speed on any new developments.
-I expect that my Slowtwitch interview should be up sometime next week, so watch for it at http://www.slowtwitch.com/
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Just as I suspected, Ironman is a brand new animal, and despite feeling good about my result and securing a spot for Ironman Hawaii next fall, there are countless things which I feel I could improve. Still, this is the time for rest and relaxation. I will now take significant time off structured training, and enjoy some wonderful holiday time with family and friends. Thanks to everyone who made this possible, including my wonderful parents, sister, family, girlfriend, supporting friends from Durango, Santa Fe, and Flagstaff, coach Elliot Bassett, the masters swim team, all my sponsors, my website guru Dave, and anyone who sent me a card and watched the live updates. I am deeply thankful for all you have done and recognize how important this support network is for accomplishing my goals. I'll be posting again when the spirit moves me. Until then, enjoy your winter plans, and look for me to make another trip to Pucon in January for a little summer in the middle of the Colorado cold for the Cristal Ironman Pucon 70.3.
Friday, November 7, 2008
I've been racing triathlon for almost 4 full seasons now. I started as a member of the University of Montana triathlon club team in 2004, and I took one year off to pursue goals of learning spanish and traveling in South America in 2005. Otherwise, I've had consistent training in the three disciplines since the fall of 2005, taking the necessary breaks each year to restore psyche and let my body recover from the physical stress of each racing season. I've seen steady progress in the sport from the very beginning, and I can only think of a couple times when I felt like I didn't improve with each race. Usually those were due to some kind of small injury or mistake made through lack of experience (which in itself is learning, and hence, improving). In fact, it's been one of the hallmarks of my career thus far that I've finished all but one race I've entered, and never truly had a disastrous result. However, it was while I stood on the track last Thursday during a particularly nice fall day that I realized how far I had come, and just how much I have matured in the second half of this year. It's hard not to plateau in most any pursuit, and my case was no different with the first part of the racing calendar in 2008. I felt like my debut year as a pro in 2007 was (in the words of a University of Montana triathlon team alum) strong to quite strong. I was in the mix in most races despite my less than perfect swim, and I was knocking on the door for the majority of the prize purses, taking home enough money to convince me that pursuing this sport as a career was a legitimate goal. And whether it was the increasing depth and skill of the professional fields at major races, or just the fact that my improvement wasn't keeping up with everyone else's, I found myself in a similar situation throughout the early part of this year; several close calls, finishing in the top ten, but not always in the money. So fast forward to this fall when I'm standing on the high school track and the thin mountain air is just the right temperature for a brutal 10x 1mile at 5:40 on the 7 minute only days after my hardest effort and best time for a half ironman in Tempe, Arizona. I'm 4 miles into this workout, doing my best to ignore the obnoxious taunts of some clever sophomore in the stands, and it hits me during my 1 minute and 20 seconds of rest: This is what I am MADE to do. I'm an athlete through and through, and I'm so far into this Ironman training that it actually feels BETTER to be running fast miles than jogging and waiting for the next one. My body has learned what it's designed to do, and it's given up the fight to be lazy and resist my efforts to transform it. These are the moments that define my transmutation in triathlon, from level to level, from mindset to mindset, from average to best.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
The wheel in front of me twitches and pulses with enormous energy as it tries desperately to pull away from my gasping breaths. My legs ache, the pain beginning deep, unbelievably deep, slowly creeping up through the layers of my consciousness, finally reaching the threshold where my struggle to ignore it is overcome and it comes gushing out in great spasms. I steel myself and try to absorb the agony, become one with the sensation, find the zen in it. The road begins to flatten out, the pace eases ever so imperceptibly, and the screaming in my muscles goes down half an octave, I inhale violently, grabbing an extra ounce of air, exhale the burned up gases from my lungs and relish in my victory. This is a suffering I bring on myself. The motivations lie somewhere in my ego and desires to prove myself. The time to question my motives is not now. The road begins its inevitable trip back towards the Cruz and I have to go deep inside once again to slay the dragon. The workout finishes and I sputter out a cool down, muscles throbbing and ticking like a hot jet engine after a long flight. Straining to gain back a feeling and function of familiarity as the waves of lactic acid and whatever else I unleashed on them begins to drain away. My brain begins the process of rationalizing what it just did to my muscles and after short complaints, the euphoria pours in, and my legs quickly forgive and forget. How easily they are fooled into complacency as the wash of endorphins flood down from my brain into my body. How quick to think that this cruel head will never again subject them to such a beating. Such blind faith is rewarded with another bout and another, over and over again, beating the memory into them, as they begin to accept what it is they must do. The pilot of my pain is a 110 pound woman astride a suped up motor scooter. Who knew such a beautiful creature could cause so much agony and find such glee in causing this suffering? Her carefree smile and the angelic note of her voice is betrayed by a devilish gleam in her eyes as I race up next to her and begin another effort. She has no sympathy for my plight, no thought of reducing my suffering, even though it is by her delicate throttle hand that I live or perish, suffer or recover, succeed or fail.
Barry Wicks: Learning to Suffer
But, then again, I have brought this upon myself in my quest for greatness. This quest she understands and is just as committed to as I, executing my torture I have asked of her. Would it not be greater and nobler if not self-directed and orchestrated, reaching for a higher ground or purpose through suffering. I could have just as easily stayed in bed, warm and comfortable under the sheets as the blazing orange sun rose above the fog, happy and content to doze off in bliss while the day began. Instead, something drove me out of that cocoon of comfort, into my slippery cold bike clothes and out onto that road and into that pain. That driving force, the thing that gives me so much pain, so much pleasure, and for which all things are ultimately done, is none other than love. Love of my bike, love of my being, love of my life, it is all about the love.
And now I'm headed out for a ride.
From: Down the River, "Footrace in the Desert" Edward Abbey"
Labor Day, 1980: the Hopi town of New Oraibi, Arizona. Seventh Annual Louis Tewanima Footrace. The course extends for seven long looping miles in the desert heat, over dirt roads, across the highway, and up a winding and sandy trail to the top of Third Mesa and the three-hundred-year-old village of Old Oraibi..."
"...We watch the lead runner approach, a bare-chested young man with a red bandana tied around his long hair. He has a bony, almost gaunt face, a small, lean, muscular, perfect body, and serious eyes. He runs steadily, uphill, breathing audibly but not, it seems to me, with any trouble. He is at least a quarter-mile ahead of everybody else. Watching him go, on and on at that apparently easy, unflagging pace, I feel an emotion which I have not felt in a long time: a certain awe in the presence of ability and determination far beyond any ambition of my own, a surge of admiration for the physical beauty of a good athlete in action.
'Who's that,' I ask.' Hoffman Shorty,' says one of the men near me.' Hoffman Shorty? You mean Shorty Hoffman?'' No, Hoffman Shorty. He won the race last year too.'
[...] A mile away and five hundred feet below I see one small lone dark figure streaking among the corn patches, the bean patches, the garbage dumps, and burnt-out abandoned Chevrolets that lie between Old and New Oraibi. Hoffman Shorty is far ahead of me. And of everybody."
Monday, October 27, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
September 6th AXS Adventure Race Vail
September 14th Harvest Moon Half Ironman
September 21st Animas Mountain Mug Run 6.6 Mile Trail Run
October 5th Longhorn Ironman 70.3
October 26th Soma Half Ironman
November 23rd Ironman Arizona
I may add a local running race or two just to keep things sharp, and I will be participating in some of the Durango Wheel Club Championship events, but this should be just the right amount of race intensity stimulus I need to be ready for my Ironman in November. My training is right on target at the moment, and I'm feeling more fit and focused than ever before. The most important thing from here on out will be to really nail my key workouts each week and avoid injury. It's going to take a little creative training when the daylight really starts to fade this fall, but I'm confident that my legs will be ready for the test. I'll report on the Adventure race in Vail this weekend upon completion.
Monday, August 18, 2008
The newest updates include a gallery (more pics coming soon), and a completely redesigned layout with all-new sections. The most recent results, photos, and race schedule will be added shortly. Input is welcome.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
From the New York Times article "Out There" by Mark Levine August 3rd, 2008
Becoming an elite endurance athlete is a bit like reverting to caveman status, being a believer, and hence, a warrior. To me this is what life is all about: to strip away the trivialities of day-to-day living and get right down to the essentials. Being successful is being competitive, and being competitive means that I put my training before most everything else. It's taken me some time to become comfortable with that idea, as I attempted to strike the socially defined "balance" in my life, seeking activities that stimulated my artistic creativity, mechanical aptitude, and other pursuits designed to make me a well-rounded, culturally aware, renaissance man. It's not to say that I have abandoned those pursuits entirely, but instead that I have decided that the real knowledge of one's self is in the deepest and rawest commitment to one thing. And that I believe the rewards of pushing myself and pursuing this goal to know what I am truly capable of far outweigh the fantasy of other possibilities if I were to abandon this quest. A friend, David Roy and I have spent countless hours on the running trails of Durango discussing the benefits of what he has coined being a "single-minded warrior." The common myth is that being so involved with only one thing leads to stagnation and inhibits growth, but I believe that intense specialization and devotion promotes the greatest advancements and evolution within the self. To let distracting elements fall away is the key to flourishing. One of the more inspiring quotes I have read from an athlete who demonstrated some of the fiercest commitment to these ideals comes from Greco-Roman wrestler Alexander Karelin, a.k.a. "The Experiment." He offered this insight when he was explaining why people don't understand how he could be so much more skilled at his sport than his rivals without being some kind of scientific experiment, juiced to the gills: "I train every day of my life as they have never trained a day in theirs." So, next time you are wondering whether somebody else is logging the training miles and getting up early enough to swim before work, do yourself a favor and assume they are.