"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sink or Swim

My wife recently signed our family up for a membership at the local YMCA. With no joining fee, a month-to-month contract and free childcare for our two kids, the time was right. I did, however, lose the excuse for not doing any sort of cross-training on my days off of running. A week or so later, having completed my run in the morning before work, we all went to the gym after dinner so I could check things out. After getting the tour from my wife, I wandered into the cycling room and was asked if I wanted to participate in the spin class that would be starting in a few minutes. Why not? I thought. I like to bike (I think -- I haven't been on one in the three years since both of my bikes were stolen), and how hard could it be?
The next 55 minutes of my life were much like my first running experience back in July 2008. Drenched in sweat and with my quad muscles on fire I made my way to the drinking fountain and then down the stairs to meet up with my wife and kids. Upon being asked how my class went, I decided it was awesome. So awesome, that I've been going back Monday and Wednesday mornings for the 5:15am class.
I don't know how far we ride during these classes, but I know how hard and how long it would take me to ride 20 miles as a teenager, which I would occasionally do on Saturday mornings during the summer. 
I feel good about the fact that I can knock out an hour ride without much trouble. Which sort of gets me thinking...what if I could swim?
A good number of my online running acquaintances have been transitioning from marathons to triathlons recently. My wife has suggested for months that I try it but I've never had much interest in doing so. There's a couple of local races throughout the summer that involve 500 meter swims, 12-15 mile bike rides and 5k runs. Please. I feel like I could walk out of my office, shirt and tie and all, and complete the cycling and running portion without much difficulty. The 500 meter swim though?
Here's the thing about me and swimming: I sink. My wife tells me lovingly that I'm just dense, which is probably true on many levels. I can swim in my grandma's pool. I play pool basketball, I can make my way back to a canoe when it tips over and I've even made it across the Deschutes River. Twice (though this ranks unquestionably as the worst idea my brother and I have ever had as it very easily could have ended in disaster). The YMCA offers private lessons and classes for adults who want to learn to swim better (or at all). I'm thinking of trying it. I have no intentions of being an Ironman (and $500+ for a race, really?). But then again, I didn't have any intentions of running a marathon before I ran my first 5k either. So...we'll see.
Shared Photo
Ready for Red Rock after 21 miles of hills
It's also time to sink or swim at Red Rock. I completed my final 20-miler on Saturday (21 miles actually) and feel really good about where I am. I ran the same route two weeks ago and I finished 7 minutes faster this time. I've done all I can do to build and prepare for what I'll face in three weeks. I'm going to back of the number of hills I run until race day, probably just one day a week, and focus on some speed work, as the runs will be fairly short, comparatively. It's time to buckle down and focus on getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of water, giving a little extra attention to what I'm eating and avoid, at all costs, stepping on any toys left out by my kids in bare feet. My dad suggested after my Saturday run that I not over think things. Good advice but hard to do.


Travis C said...

Before you know it, you'll be doing an Ironman. Perhaps the Oceanside half Ironman 70.3 in April of 2012 and the Coeur d'Alene Full Ironman 140.6 in June of 2012? :)

I'll be in Seattle for the Half Marathon in June (not doing the full, it doesn't fit into my training schedule for the year). We will have to meet up and I can convince you to go for the Ironman title too!

dovh49 said...

Awesome. Tris are so much more fun than just pure running. Of course, I've started enjoying running more once I started to go more minimalist in foot wear. I don't know about an Iron man but I have a friend that is doing one soon (or did he already do it) that will run 20 miles just on a whim to grab something away from his house.