Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It’s been too long...

...WAY too long since my last “real” entry – sorry…

I try everyday to slow down the pace of life but it doesn’t seem to want to listen to me – AT ALL :)


I used to be pretty proud of the fact that I used 23:59 of each day but now I would be a LOT happier with only using half that.

I think this time of year when the training volume goes up and the pace of life accelerates to an even more ridiculous tempo that even the most dedicated (read as crazy)of us ponders the question that a friend of mine asked me and I felt like I should try and answer:

“What drives you?”

Of course my silly a$$ sense of humor answered quickly – when I am out of town – what drives me?


Generally speaking it is an overly colonged ill tempered cab driver of Middle Eastern decent with a master’s degree in chemical engineering with an absolute love for his unlimited cell phone and cigarettes :)


Here in town, it is either of the two bottomless stomachs that reside in our house who get tossed the keys whenever I am with them…these two are more mild tempered – equally fragranced and their fascination with THUMPING BASS is almost as annoying as Saied’s celly :)

8th grade humor aside - this morning offered me a much more contemplative opportunity to answer this…

My work usually affords me a LOT of flexibility with my schedule and I can schedule my training in and around my travels and office time. If I need extra time for longer mid-week rides – my bosses have been really cool allowing me to come in at 11am once a week. I am sure they get money’s worth out of me as I work almost EVERYDAY of the year (even on vacation) for at least a few hours and I almost always do emails from 5-6am and again from 9-10pm…

So my schedule rarely makes me REALLY do something that I consider ridiculous and today was one of those days.

Today, I am traveling to Boston for a meeting at 2pm and the meeting is 1 hour from the airport.

My military mind trained in backwards planning quickly does the math. Meeting at 2:00 – arrive 30 minutes early – 1 hour travel time means I need to be in Boston by noon and that means a 6:25am departure from JAX. Add in 1 hour security means I need to leave the house by 4:50am to get there in time – thanks SGT Hulka and your big toe :)

Now the hard part – my return flight is tonight at 7pm and get home at 1am – problem - I still have to train!!!

So – before bed – lay out everything I can to make the morning go as smooth as possible – then up at 3:30am – run from 4:00am to 4:40 – shower / shave / give Coen a kiss and out of the house 10 minutes.

(Superman would be jealous and Yes Mom – I used soap…by the way…I am pretty sure that at least two people read these and my Mom is one of them – Hi Mom :))

So if you do read any of these – you know it’s about time – I need to get to my point…

“What the hell is wrong with me and what am I doing running at 4:20am?”

10 minutes into the run I had that “moment of clarity” that scares the hell out of most Ironman Triathletes…
The clarity – the thought… the question we avoid asking as it doesn’t really have a good answer is.

“Why am I doing this?”

This morning, I think I answered it and I am pretty sure I answered the drive question in the process…
Why and I doing this - What drives me? “Success, Significance and Satisfaction.” – I borrowed this from my boss but I like it.

Today’s topic (yes – a series of 3 :)) is success :)

In order to be successful in this sport you need to do the work – period.


Unless you are some type of genetic freak (not you Hercules) or just choose relatively easy events – if you want to be successful – you have to train at least a little.


So – we train. Not just a little. Not whenever it’s convenient – not when we feel like it.

To be successful we train almost every day. Even when we are not training we “recover” which is actually helping us train the next day. All of this training is done in and around family, life and work.

The more consistently we train, the more successful we become. It’s easy.

Success in this sport is also pretty easy and I like that…

Success during your first attempt is simply completion…


just finishing is a HUGE deal…I remember a VERY bad Speedo picture from San Diego in 1997 and I was celebrating my personal accomplishment – man – I needed a jammer :)

After that initial taste – success can be a personal best or personal record time (PB or PR)…then a personal best at a longer distance…then longer…then longer…then faster and faster – get the idea.


You can continue to have HUGE success without ever “competing against” anyone - just against yourself.

But then…one day…you look at the race results and you notice – hey wait – I wasn’t the only one out there today :)


You start to look beyond yourself and how you rank against the “competition”.


AH HA – age groups…people just like me…they are the same age so the playing field is more or less level – can have success here too? Get up early – train hard – better results.


Top 10% of the age group - Top 10 in age group – Podium or better yet – what about all age groups over a 40 – Master’s – Grand Master’s…Hey - I own the chute :)


This segmentation is spoon feeding our desire to be successful and all the while slowly raising the bar of workload and commitment and the alarm clock gets set earlier and earlier.


Then you start to get “serious” about the sport and you get a training partner (an equally crazed enabler wrapped in the similar spandex jumpsuit) who is just “successful” enough themselves to meet you at the pool at 6am during the off season for swim practice.

All of these factors – the micro steps of accomplishment – individual and group - all fuel the flames and the next thing you know you are up at 3:30am and running a 5 mile Fartlek session prior to a early morning flight.

My point to this is simple.

Success in triathlon is the result we all crave – whether that is finishing – PR’s or age group awards – the guys from IM Talk award the fastest transitions :)

All of this is handed out and built into the sports inherent design in increasing larger portions metered directly to our level of obsession.

It is a slippery slope…greased with the body glide of multiple distances, age groups and exotic venues.

Add to this cocktail - clubs, training partners and coaches and we have created just a more socially acceptable version of “Pookie” on the corner offering you a “free sample – it’s not addictive…”

The next thing you know you are one of the few people up at 3:30am…and…

I think either Pookie and my coach knows all of us :)

What drives me? Success

Why do it I do? Training = results

Success is simple – get up and do the work …even if it’s 3:30am…besides…

Pookie is not in my age group :)


Libby said...

love it. great post. good luck on sunday!

Marni said...

this was a great post. I totally agree with your points. All that triathlon training is leading up to this weekend and your thoughts couldn't be more appropriate right now. You will do great on sat! :) The Sumbal's are rooting for you!