Switching gears… I’m going headlong into marathon training for the next few months.  Before this, I was intent on the half marathon up in Wisconsin (by the way, Half Marathon?  November?  Wisconsin??... what was I thinking???  oh yea… beer and lasagna afterwards… heh….).  After that – some recovery time.

I meandered my way through the week after the half marathon doing a whole lot of nothing.  Enjoying some time off from the swim/bike/run, getting a rebellious thrill out of actively ignoring training set down by my coach (though she gave me permission to do so … as a side note, does having permission make me less rebellious?  Because I felt like a rebel when I made the decision to skip some of the training….), basically trying to enjoy my time off the way a normal person might. 

And then, I looked at my training for this week.  And I was scared.  Really, really scared.  The honeymoon, as it were, was over.  Done.  Finished.

I think up until this week, my coach has been taking it easy on me.  We’ve only been working together since early this spring, and I had thought she was all nice and stuff.  I couldn’t have been more wrong about that. 

First up – the track workout.  As I read through the intervals and paces for the intervals, I think my mouth was literally hanging open, trying to decide if this was some sort of over-the-top coach humor.  I decided it wasn’t.  So I’m all, “well, I like the track, I’ll just suck it up, and put it all out there, see what happens…”.

And then – the weekend long run with some tempo thrown in.  Is she mad?!  (my coach, that is)  That many miles?  All at the same time?  And at those paces?  Eeek.  I’ll be sure to wear my RoadID so they’ll be able to identify me when the run renders me curled up in the fetal position in a ditch mumbling the words “just let me run in zone 1… I love zone 1… “.

And now – through the magic of technology and time – fast forward to AFTER the workouts:

I nailed it.  Aced it.  Hit my paces.  Hurt like hell, but no matter – I love me a good track workout.

And I was surprised!  When I finally started breaking down the track workout into what pace I’d have to hit for each 400m, I started to get my first glimmer of “hmmm… maybe I can do this… maybe Coach really isn’t on crack…”

So, after days of whining and dread and intimidation, I come out the other side feeling like I could fly.  Feeling like I DID fly.  And damn, that feels good.

And the long run?  While not the unabashed success as the other workout, it’s training in the bank.  Executed the workout exactly as written, and it wasn’t pretty, but it’s done – getting me ready for longer and even less pretty runs on the horizon.  

The ice bath afterwards reminded me that good results require hard work and enduring some PAIN along the way.  Of course, without the pain, everyone would do it, right?  I mean, who said a marathon would be easy?? (what?  No one said that?  Hmmm… why did I decide to do this again..?)

 

If we don’t change the direction we are headed, we will end up where we are going.   
–Chinese proverb

I’ve decided to change my destination; once my January marathon is in the books, I’m giving up triathlons and racing for awhile.  Be more social.  Try new things.  Rediscover some old things I had let go of.  Follow the road not taken… or at least not taken for a long time now.

When I started thinking about planning out my racing season for 2009, the overwhelming feeling was “…eh”. Not excited, not motivated … I didn’t even really want to think about next year.

And then I started thinking about taking a vacation that didn’t include running, biking or swimming… and THAT got me motivated.  What – you mean I could NOT have to train for something?  I could NOT have to plan my weekends around long rides or long runs? 

Wow.

That’d be different!

So, in my head I’m tentatively laying a roadmap for next year:  hiking trip in the spring/early summer.  Vegas in June.  Maybe a cycling from hostel to hostel kind of trip in the fall or even head to the mountains.  Pick up another softball league (might as well play while my body will still let me!).  Find another sport to take up (perhaps racquetball? or maybe something new!) and devote energy to it.

In the meantime, I’ll still keep running. The act of running is good for my soul — it’s one of the ways that I manage to stay on this side of sane.  And I think I’d like to spend the year helping other people with their running — pacing, training, whatever someone might need.  I know that kind of help is something I’ve always wanted and would appreciate to no end, and once the marathon is done since I won’t be training for anything specific, I can give that help to someone else.  Helping someone else cross a finish line is as much fun as anything else in racing!

I’m also hoping to forge a zen-like bond with my bike.  Now, one of the reasons that I’m taking a break from triathlons is that I’ve come to dread the long hours of training by myself — let’s face it, I’m not always the most scintillating of company! — so, perhaps this idea seems counter-intuitive…. but, it would be on my own terms.  I could ride with others when the opportunity arises without worrying about what type of workout I’m supposed to be executing.  I can join a bike club and ride with others, hopefully others who also like the socializing more than actual biking.  🙂  And hopefully, in the midst of laughter and conversations, without even realizing it, I’ll become all BFF-like with my bike.

And I’m really excited about getting back to one of my favorite hobbies — hiking and backpacking.  I love the mountains, and often think that I would love to move out to Colorado or Montana or Idaho or anyplace where the skyline isn’t quite as flat as it is here.  But, I don’t even need mountains.  Up until recently when my training schedule started dictating my weekends, I used to make it out to Starved Rock at least twice a year and I’d also try and pick out somewhere else fairly local to drive to and spend the day exploring…. which is something I haven’t done in years now.  And I’ve really been missing the whole nature thing, like a part of me was going unfulfilled.

So, that’s the plan.   At the moment it seems like the most “right” decision I’ve made in a long time.  One of those things that once I made the committment to the decision, I could feel the relief.  No more hard training (unless I want to!), no more race-day pressue, no more having to dread long swim sessions or lonely 4 hour bike rides.  I suspect that once the season gets underway, there will be a part of me that misses it — at heart, I know I’m a competitor, and I enjoy getting out there and mixing things up a bit — but I think the break will be theraputic and motivating and energizing.

And plus, I was running out of triathon topics to cover here anyway… 😉

And… the end of the triathlon season.

Now what?

Free time.

Hmmmm.  Such a strange concept.  What – you mean I don’t have to fit in 8-12 hours of training this week?  I don’t have to plan my weekend around what bike course I’ll spend my Saturday or Sunday on?  That perhaps I’ll just take ONE shower a day (instead of my usual 2-3)?  Again — HMMMM.

To be frank, I’m not exactly sure what to do with such a luxury.  For those that know me, abundent down time from training has always come at a price:  for the past three years, I’ve had forced downtime each fall with three surgeries on my left forearm to correct/fix/make better something or other with it.  And – to me – that “free time” was more a prison sentence because of the doctor’s orders to not do anything stupid (difficult for me!… do you know how many fun things fall into the “anything stupid” category??).

So, my off-season begins, having started about 10 hours ago with me running across the finish line of the Pleasant Prairie International Distance triathlon.  And I believe that I’ve commenced it the way all off-seasons should start:  with good friends, outrageously sinful ice cream and topping it off with a chilled adult beverage and pizza.

But again …. now what?

First up, I’ve got about a month and a half of coach-mandated “fun” time.  Fun?  I’m not even sure what it is that I do for “fun” anymore, if it doesn’t involve a wetsuit, a bike or a pair of running shoes.  I need a triathlon-free zone for awhile to sample life in the outside world.  And I think I have friends out there who don’t care one whit about bike paces or running splits … of course, whether they remember me or not is another story.

This 45 day period may prove to be difficult — it’s hard for me to be a little goal-less, to not have a race out there that I’m actively working towards.  See, I’m a couch slug by nature and I’ve got me some mad skillz in that arena.  So, in order to fight my lazy nature, I’ve got a list of things to accomplish during My Fun Month (and a Half):

  • Stay up past 10pm.  And NOT because I’m working.  Has to involve alcohol of some sort.
  • Read a book.  Cannot contain the words “swim”, “bike” or “run”.
  • Rediscover one of those sports that I used to have time for, like racquetball or roller-blading.  Or something to really get a cardio workout in — Trash Talk Darts.
  • Watch everything I’ve DVR’d over the past year.  Anyone up for 61 gazillion episodes of What Not To Wear?
  • Win the lottery.
  • Clean out all the empty plastic water bottles from my truck.  And then build myself a plastic fort out of them.
  • Cheer on the White Sox to a World Series victory!  Go Sox!!
  • Get lost hiking at Starved Rock.  You don’t think that’s possible?  It SO is.  Trust me.
  • Eat Clean out the Travelin’ Triathlon candy bag (it IS the off-season… no need for that to hang around)
  • Get the oil changed in my car (what – does everything have to be funny??)
  • Sign up for IMWI.  (Heh.  Just kidding!)

Looks like I might have enough to keep me busy now…  ya think?!

Let’s review, shall we?

  1. 55 degree water isn’t as cold as you might think it is. And, conversely, it’s EVERY BIT as cold as you think it is. Thank god for neoprene!
  2. It’s always windy in Plainfield. Even if every online weather source says it’s not, it’s windy. Trust me.
  3. Swimming’s not so bad. I think I’d even go so far as to say that I might be disappointed if a race I were doing had the swim canceled. And coming from me, that’s a compliment of the highest nature for the watery part of triathlon.
  4. Training makes me hungry. (Of course, NOT training makes me hungry, too. Hmmm…)
  5. A great training session has a way of rewriting history, making it all seem not quite as bad as I once thought it might have been. Without actually knowing, I think it must be like childbirth — the pain makes you vow you’ll never do it again, but the good times afterward makes the pain seem worthwhile.
  6. For any tri-related trip, I average AT LEAST two bags per day away from home. I’m the queen of You Never Know What You Might Need, so just give me my tiara and stop bitching about it. Thankyouverymuch.
  7. My non-tri friends and my family are quite possibly the most patient people on the face of this planet. They endure a summer of me not having a free weekend or being able to stay out past 7:30pm because of training and races. And when the off-season does arrive, they don’t even make me feel guilty about ignoring them for 4 months.
  8. I’m a bike grease magnet. If I get within a 5 foot radius of any bike, I will inevitably end up with bike grease somewhere on my body. The corollary to this is that I will also miss one of those spots on myself when I take my next shower and find myself clean but for a smear of grease somewhere, usually on the back, hidden part of my leg.
  9. This summer I have a traveling candy bag, which seems to be a hit with all my friends. I’ve found, though, that it would be best if I could somehow make it travel outside my house during the week since it apparently has magical charms that make me unable to resist it.
  10. Good friends trump good race times, every time. After a frustrating season culminated in a really bad race, I was overwhelmed with all the friends that were immediately by my side bearing kind words, sympathy, advice and a good dose of humor. It was a good reminder of the main reason why I continue to do this stuff. The training, the racing … yea, sometimes not so fun. The friends and good times, though? Wouldn’t trade them for the world.

About 182 miles, to be exact.

Oh, if you’re going to be nit-picky about it, I’ll actually sleep a little at the 62 and 102 mile mark.  And maybe drown my sore-ass sorrows in a beer or two as well while I’m at it.

But still – that’s a lotta miles to cover in one itty bitty long holiday weekend.  At least for this not-really-a-biker chick it’s a lot of miles.  The plan:  the metric century at the Fourth of July Plainfield ride (on – DUH – July 4th), and then oodles of fun up at the IMMOOOOOO course, with Saturday being one 40-mile loop and Sunday, the grandaddy of all riding days, two times around that 40 mile loop.  My coach is referring to this as the “BIG BIKE WEEKEND”.  Yes, in all caps.  It deserves to be shouted, don’t you think?

Don’t get me wrong – I like my bike and I enjoy riding, especially on a beautiful day.  There’s nothing quite like rolling along when the sun’s shining, and it’s nice and cool out (but not windy!), listening to the cows “mooooo” at you.  And this weekend holds the promise of perfect biking weather.  Still, I’m a little apprehensive.

See, while I like my bike, I don’t LOVE my bike.  We have a relationship much like a “friends with benefits” relationship; we get together every so often, have a great time, and then spend time away doing our own thing without a second thought to the other.  Actually, let’s be honest:  I think I’m dating a little out of my league with this bike — it’s a much more refined machine than I deserve.  My biking skills bow to it’s form and function.

So with all the quality time planned for this weekend, it will be kind of like us testing out the “living together” waters.  Can we get along?  Will one of us leave the other at the side of the road?  Will Little Blue Deuce feel like I’m just constantly riding him (heh) and whining until he can’t take no mo?  Yes, I’m worried.  Worried that we don’t have what it takes to be in a long-term relationship.  Worried that there will be crying and begging and cursing (all me).  Worried that my butt isn’t up to the task of just going along for the ride without organizing a coup.

If nothing else, this weekend will be dramatic.  A battle of wills to see who will make it to the end intact.  And – with their ends intact.

I hope it’s me.

Racing season is almost here!  YAY!

While I’ve done a few running races already this year, this weekend will be the return to the world of triathlons.  Running races are easy — strap on the shoes, power up the Garmin and RUN.  Sure, you think about pace and nutritional strategies and the like, but there’s nothing to be nervous about. 

But triathlons – those races really get the butterflies going in my stomach!

I’ve come a long way from the days of being absolutely panicked at the thought of any kind of open water swimming.  It used to be that just thinking about the swim portion of a triathlon would make me throw up in my mouth just a little (did I just share too much?) but now, I’ve got it down to a low rumble.

My first triathlon was, uh, well, let’s call it my very own “water adventure”.  It was all panic and limbs akimbo from almost the very beginning.  As soon as the bottom of the lake dropped out from under me, I was done.  As my mind raced and my breathing started sounding like something between an asthmatic having an attack and a crank caller, I tried to remember what they told me during the first-timer’s talk the day before.  Oh, yea:  raise your arm if you’re in trouble so the lifeguards will see you.  Ummm.  Yea.  Uh… what if you need both arms to simply stay afloat?  There’s a flaw in this plan somewhere….

Luckily, the lifeguards were top-notch and over to me before I went under and gave me a place to catch my breath.  And after a few minutes of calming myself down, I decided to start out again.  And again, within 20m, I was hyperventilating again and panicking.  So this time, I flipped on my back… got my breathing under control while I looked at the peaceful sky.  My meditation was suddenly interrupted, though:  “Ma’am!  Ma’am!! MA’AM!!!”  The lifeguard was frantically trying to get my attention:  “THAT WAY!” as he pointed me back to the course — I had back-floated a good 100m off line.  Oops.  At least I got some “me” time in.  Heh.

With the help of swim angels (the best part of doing a Danskin triathlon!  they have people out there who aren’t lifeguards, but are there to help calm down crazy people like me…) and a whole lotta doggy-paddle, I finally made it across.  As I walked up the beach, I was swearing like a trucker, vowing never EVER to do another triathlon again.  Ever.  Again.  Ever.  Really. 

Flash forward.  Now I’m starting my 4th full year of triathlons.  I’ve conquered the sprint, Olympic and Half Ironman distances.  I’m successfully completely the swim portion of tris in everything from easy (pool swim!) to difficult (Lake Michigan with 3ft. swells).  It’s taken this long, but I’m finally starting (almost) to get comfortable in the water.  Some of it has come with a couple of years of training — just knowing that I’m not the awful swimmer I used to be.  Some of it is just experience — the more races I do, the more confident I become in my ability to finish the first part and get to the fun parts. 

In the end, it’s a challenge.  If this were easy, if it didn’t make me nervous, if everything always went exactly the way I planned it, I’d stop doing it.  Where’s the fun in that?

My First Century, a Novella in Four Parts

(yes, I know I’m long-winded…)

Prologue

As my Saturday night came to a close, I was all ready to go for the next day:  my bags were packed, my Perpetuem mixed and all electronic gear charged and ready to record god knows what.  I knew it was going to be an early morning, but no earlier than usual — my usual 4am work-week alarm would do just fine.  It would give me the time I enjoy to putter around and make sure things were in place before having to be on the road at 5:00am.

As the bright sunshine streamed into my room, I thought to myself, “what a GREAT day for a ride!”.  And then I rolled and looked at my alarm clock and screeched to myself, “oh SHIT!” as the 5:05am time glared at me.  Apparently just having the clock alarm set doesn’t do much – you actually have to TURN IT ON.  (I KNOW!  Hard to believe…).

I amazed myself.  I was the wikipedia definition of efficient.  Grab the bags, empty the refrigerator, bike rack on the truck, gather all the electronics and off I go!  Only 15 minutes – WOOHOO!  And then as I’m almost hurting my arm patting myself on the back, I look in my rearview mirror.  Uh oh.  Perhaps – just perhaps!– it would help if I had actually PUT MY BIKE on said bike rack.  Huh.  Whodda thunk it.  Doh.

So, after a quick return trip home to pick up what was undeniably the most important piece of equipment for the day, I was off!  Off to do my first century, off to see if I had the legs and enough anti-chafing stick to make it through biking 100 miles.  Truth be told, I was a little nervous — my longest ride this season was only about 50 miles, and my longest ride EVER was only 68 miles.  Unknown territory for me?  Without a doubt.

Pre-Ride

The upside to not only running late, but being behind the slowest driver in all of Illinois?  I didn’t have time to be nervous as I quickly checked the air in my tires, stuffed about 12 pounds of Important Crap in my back pockets and donned my helmet and sunglasses to get ready to go.   Met up with Kelly, Laura and Cindy at Wild West Town (what a great starting point!) and off we went!  There’s no turning back now!  Or… is there??

The Ride

The sun’s out, barely a breeze blowing to slow us down — really, close to a perfect biking day.  We all start out together, but soon break off into two groups.  The first hour passes easily… working, but not too hard, chatting across a wide variety of topics, and just enjoying the day and the company.  The second and third hours offer more of the same, though with my body becoming just a little vocal about things that weren’t feeling quite 100%.  But still – still feeling rather zen about my bike and my place on it. 

And that’s when the day started to go a little awry.  But, in a most serendipitous kind of way.

Our group split off and regrouped, each with our own agendas.  I was lucky — I was anticipating having to spend the next 50 miles with nothing but my own thoughts to keep me company (and let me tell you, that’s not exactly scintillating conversation!), but ended up never having to spend any time trying to figure out how to entertain myself.  Thank god for friends willing to ride my speed!

So, after the fun and frolic of the rest stop we’re headed out to tackle the rest of the century and here’s where I made the critical error (though I didn’t realize it for another 20 miles):  instead of the 100 mile loop, I put us on the 62 mile loop.

The next hour or so, while slightly more uncomfortable (the person who patents the lazy-boy chair saddle will be rich!), went by fairly quickly.  The pace had picked up a bit and I was starting to feel the beginnings of fatigue, but still felt strong.

And then, as we neared the 60 mile mark, surroundings started to look VERY familiar from the year before.  Like, almost-done from the year before.  And then Wild West Town was in our sights.  Oops.

Now, my immediate thought is “Home!  Done!  It’s fate that we’re back after just four hours.  And hey – I’m still feeling GREAT – let’s end on a good note!”   Then we talked about going back out and doing the 32 mile loop.  You know, because we’re triathletes and we ENJOY things like that.. more pain, more angst = better stories, right?  Seemed like the perfect idea — get us close to our original 100 miles while following a marked course, despite the fact that we’d be out there all by our lonesome.  I wasn’t as gung-ho about it as I should have been, perhaps, but I’m easily peer-pressurable, and so after a quick port-a-john stop and topping off the water bottles, off we went!  Again!  Yippee!  We’re hard core!  All! said! with! exclamation! points!

And that loop seemed interminable.  Sure, the initial foray out was fine.  Pleasant, even.  It sucked us right in.  But once we got to the point where it made more sense to push forward than to attempt to navigate backwards, my emotional health spiralled downward like water down a toilet.  I was sick of biking.  The slight breeze turned into gale force winds.  The sunshine felt scorching.  Each incline reminded me of The Wall up in Bull Valley.  How did this day turn on me so quickly?

Sometimes I wonder why I do these things.  I mean, really – biking 100 miles?  Why?  Because it’s cool to tell people that’s what I did over the weekend?  I spent a lot of time on the 32 mile loop thinkin’ on this very question.  And then… and then… voila!  A second wind!  We turned east and had a little bit of a tailwind and like magic my legs felt refreshed, my heart rate went down and I was ready to GO!  THIS is why I do this.  For this exact moment.  We hammered that stretch, easily swallowing up miles, again chatting and having fun.  All the difference in the world.

So much so, that when we again rejoined the 75/100 mile group, we decided — just for the heck of it — to climb a couple of fairly large hills (of course, MOST hills look large once you already have 92 miles on your legs) going back up the 100 mile loop to meet up with Kelly and to get us those last precious miles so we too could brag that we too rode a full century this weekend.  Once we got to the top, though, and looked down the backside of that hill, we knew we were done.  Looked at each other and said, “Nope! No shame in waiting right here…!”.

The three of us made our way back to the starting point, filling each other in the details of our respective days, making those last miles hardly noticeable.  But after 6.5 hours on my bike, I was never so happy to see a faux-Clint Eastwood Western town as I was by that time.

Epilogue

A few days later, as I was answering the “so, what did you do this weekend?” question, my friend listened to my century stories, paused and then asked, “but what did you do for FUN this weekend?”  I stopped.  Looked at her.  And almost to my own amazement replied, “that WAS my fun!”  And it was.  What’s better than a day spent with friends doing something we all love to do?  Was it hard?  Sure.  But there’s fun in hard.  Conquering challenges is the best kind of fun, in my opinion.

And now – like all the cool kids – I can say that I’ve ridden 100 miles (actually, if we’re counting… 100.39!).  Uncharted territory is now charted and known.  Boundaries have been revised.  New lines drawn.  I think I could get used to this…

That’s an awful long way. I wouldn’t even drive that in a car. HA! (that’s the most-often heard joke about longer distance tris and runs, isn’t it?)

Why would someone want to do it?

I ask myself that all the time. This time around it was Ironman Arizona that got me thinking again. I leaned in and watched the fuzzy video feed on my laptop with rapt attention. I cheered as the athletes triumphantly crossed the finish line. I gasped and teared up as others stumbled through the finish chute, their last bit of energy sapped up probably miles before that point, moving forward only by heart and will alone.

And you know what all this does? It makes me want to be one of them. I want to hear Mike Reilly announce: “Laura Baron, you are an IRONMAN!”

I can’t tell you how many race reports I’ve read that have not only made me teary-eyed, but had me bawling without shame. The emotional draw I feel to these athletes — these champions, whether they finish or not — makes me think that it embodies what this sport is all about. The going out and doing something so ridiculous, so challenging, so over-the-top that it not only goes beyond your comfort zone, but leaves your comfort zone in a different zip code altogether.

And yet, I haven’t been able to make the commitment to the distance. The race — that’s the easy part. The months of training, the whole Saturdays used up by long bike rides, the being so tired from swimming, biking and running that you want nothing to do with the entire thing by the time you’re done — that’s the commitment. That’s the hard part.

Part of not being able to commit is being scared out of my mind: what if I can’t do it? What if I don’t have what it takes to make it through the training? The fear that my failure wouldn’t even be on the course, but in the months building up to it. Part of it is not wanting to put my life on hold for this. Can I realistically do ANYTHING else while Ironman training? I’m not sure it’s possible. And I don’t know that I like that.

But, all along, the thought that’s reverberated around my brain is “Before I’m 40….yes, before that milestone I want an Ironman finish on my life’s resume”. Which was fine 4 years ago. Now – it’s far more immediate. It gives me a year. Now or never, baby!

Knowing this, I’ve at least gone this far in terms of commitment: I’m going up to Ironman Wisconsin this fall to cheer a lot of my friends who are becoming first-time Ironmen. And the hotel reservation is through Monday. Meaning — I’ll be there for the Monday morning sign-up for IMWI 2009. Even just having made the decision to POSSIBLY sign up has me spooked.

Will I go through with it and sign up? I still don’t know. The idea of it seems too big to wrap my mind around it. My unreasonable wish is that seeing the IM up close and personal will allow me to gauge whether or not this is something I really want — because you have to REALLY want it — and not just be swept up in the emotion of it.

I suppose this can be tagged…. “To Be Continued….”….

With the emphasis on the slooooooowly.

Now that I’ve decided to get smart and have someone more knowledgeable take over my training, I’ve become intimate with the frustrations of z1 training. 

z1.  Meaning, not really working.  Meaning, pacing so slow that you might as well be walking.  Meaning, not just easy but skin-crawlingly easy.  Meaning, grandmas with walkers are passing me by and flipping me the bird because I’m in their way.

I know the science behind heart rate training.  Easy z1-z2 runs provide the aerobic base.  Give you the endurance on which to build a season.  Teach your body to be as efficient as possible.  What I’m finding, though, is that the laid-back, easy-going personality I like to think I have doesn’t actually exist.  At least not on these runs!  It’s an exercise not of body, but of mind:  run 10 seconds, look at my watch, slow down.  Repeat.  Again.  And.  Again.

Today, however, I got to stretch my legs a little, let loose, even.  I was allowed not only into z2, but into HIGH z2.  Just thinking about it made me tremble in anticipation.  Quite honestly, the excitement of being able to run faster than going backwards was enough to make me want to take a vacation day from work so I could go outside and get the workout in.

And what a beautiful day!  Not even much a breeze to slow me down.  And run I did.  And you know what?  I was faster at a lower heart rate than I had been in the past.  Huh.  Perhaps this is all working?  Dare I say I’ve made progress?  Dare I??!

I understand why I’m doing it and I even think I agree that this is going to help me in the long run (heh).  That doesn’t make it less challenging, but for the time being I’ll take each z1 run as a mental training day: getting through each run with my sanity intact!

 

For whatever it’s worth, I think that Nike — of all the sports-related companies — does an awesome job of advertising.  Right now they’ve got their “My better is better than your better” campaign, which is nothing less than pure genius.  I see it on TV and it literally makes me want to get out there, pound the pavement, do some tough intervals and become “quickie von quick quick” (how great is that line?!). 

I know, I know…it’s all designed to sell.  Shirts.  Shoes.  Gadgets.  Shorts and the rest.  But you know what else they sell?  Inspiration.  A kick in the ass.  A little attitude.  A reminder of one of the reasons that we’re out there, sweating and working hard.  

And they’re not afraid to throw a couple of laughs out there too — nothing like a little humor to get your point across: 

Nike running commercial

In the end, I know it’s a business, designed to do nothing more than separate me from my money.  But I don’t care — I’ll sit back and enjoy the commercials anyway.