Reminds Me of Ironman Wisconsin

This really does look like Ironman Wisconsin, with one big difference…the hills in Wisconsin actually end. Can’t even imagine what it’s like to climb in the Tour de France. 20140724-130502-47102524.jpg

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Making Some Changes at Crushing Iron

If you’ve noticed some wackiness lately it’s because I’m migrating my site to a new server, and frankly, it’s testing my nerves.  But, truthfully, it’s going to be for the best as soon as I can get everything cleaned up.

For example, if you get emailed stories, you may want to check the site for new posts over the next week because I have to figure out how to transfer the list.  There are also tons of issues with photos and videos that need to be fixed, but that’s only older content, but none-the-less it’s kinda jacked up.

The good news is, Matisse has taken to the new writing room.  Mattie Mike's Dog

I’m still “training” for New Orleans and have been sifting through some creative workout plans with a buddy.  As soon as we dial things in I’ll let you know what’s going on, but I can tell you this much, it is a completely new take on how to train for Ironman.

I”m also learning a lot more about website design and back end techniques (this has nothing to do with Chammy Butter) like this little embedded tweet from a guy with an online newspaper that featured one of my posts.  It’s a live tweet, so feel free to comment, favorite, or retweet right from here.

I Don’t Workout as Much as You Think

Yep, I’m training for a Half Ironman and I hadn’t run in a week and a half, until last night.  I wasn’t injured, either.  I just didn’t feel like running, or getting off the couch for that matter.

The culprit was probably the Dry Creek Trail 1/2.  It was a brutal track filled with 700 feet of gain, and I was not prepared.

So, in the days following I started to question my desires for this Ironman business again.  I thought, “What the hell am I doing, this hurts!”  Then one night I got on my bike trainer and road for longer than I’ve ridden since November and it felt damn good.  I was back!

Then I went swimming the next day and it fried my ass, again.  I wasn’t back!

I took a day off, then ran last night in the darkness doing my best to avoid wild dogs.  Six hilly loops around a .8 mile track in my hood.  I took it pretty easy and ran 5 miles in about 40 minutes.  I felt good, and am happy to report I feel good now, too.

So, tonight, I will get back onto my bike and see how that goes.  I’ll probably wake up tomorrow have a desperate urge to take the day off, but that’s why being on this Zen training plan is so awesome.  You just kinda workout when you want to.

Too bad I can’t decide which day I feel like racing the New Orleans 70.3.

My Biggest Fan

On a warm summer day many years ago, I was playing the second baseball game of my life. I was 10-years-old, standing in right field and batting ninth for my Little League team.  It was the 5th of a six inning game and a fly ball came my way.  I spun in circles, shielded the sun, then threw my arm at the ball which miraculously landed in my glove.

But that wasn’t the good part.

We were losing 5-0 and the 12-year-old pitcher from the other team was throwing a perfect game.  It was now the top of the 6th, our last at bat, and I was the third person up in the inning.  The first two guys struck out, and now, the youngest boy on the team, me, was standing in the batter’s box ready to face the best pitcher in the league.

He reached back and threw a big fastball that flew over the catcher’s head and struck the chain link backstop with a loud clang.  He stared at me as if to say, “Don’t even think about breaking up this no hitter.”

I shook nervously in the batter’s box as he flung the next pitch a foot outside for ball two.  The screams were getting louder, “Come on, Mike!  You can do it!”  There were probably 30 fans there that day, but it felt like the World Series.

What happened next was one of those little moments in life that sticks with me whenever I face an “impossible” feat.

The league ace wound up, threw his leg high into the sky, then delivered a ferocious fastball on the inside half of the plate.  Somehow I reacted with my signature inside-out-swing (think Derek Jeter) and drove the ball into right field for our team’s first hit.  I’ll never forget standing on first base and looking into the bleachers.  My mother was jumping with joy.  Bouncing up and down, hugging anyone within her reach.

I casually tipped the bill of my helmet and smiled at mom, then scowled at the pitcher who walked back to the mound shaking his head in defeat.  We lost that day, but it was the first time I realized how important it is to have someone on your side.

I’m 50 now, and there have been many athletic conquests since then, but I think it was one of my mother’s proudest moments.  Until last September.

When I told her I was doing an Ironman, she kinda shrugged it off in the beginning.  Over time I would casually mention some of the workouts I was doing and suggested she sign up for my blog.  Slowly, but surely, she began to understand the magnitude of Ironman, and her curiosity got the best of her.

We started talking more often as the race drew near.  We’d have long phone conversations where she peppered me with questions about the race, how on earth I was going to do it, and more specifically, where she was going to watch.

About a month before Ironman, mom drove an hour up the road to Madison on a scouting mission.  She carried maps and took pictures of key landmarks then sent them along to me.  My covert race-planning-team of one. momscout

There’s nothing a child wants more than attention and love from their parents, and that doesn’t change just because you turn fifty.  Her enthusiasm was a genuine inspiration as the Ironman walls closed in around me.  I wanted her to be proud and that fueled me with confidence.

She made signs, t-shirts, and endless strategy maps.  Suddenly Ironman spectating was her new hobby and everyone who knew her would get a lesson whether they liked it or not.

By the time race day arrived, there were no more questions.  She knew almost everything there was to know about Ironman and all that was left was for her to remain calm and watch as her son walked the plank into Lake Monona.

She was alive and energized as she watched her son chase his dream.  She hurried and waited like everyone else.  Patience, followed by a burst of energy, followed by bonding with a crowd that was all pulling for the same team.1278835_10201079953013576_439309443_o

Mom was never a big sports fan and I honestly believe Ironman was her Super Bowl.  It brought the entire family together and channeled love and support like any mother would want.  There weren’t winners or losers, only survivors, and the more we know about life, the more we understand this as truth.

When I came down the Finisher’s Chute at Ironman, mom was standing behind the fence, bouncing with pride and joy just like she was for my Little League game that day.  And I felt just like that kid again.  All alone in the batter’s box, but secure and confident knowing he was loved.

Even though we live 500 miles away, I really believe Ironman helped bring us closer than ever. We talked often and those discussions were about the simple things in life.  There was no mom and son, it was two friends discussing what made them happy and that has continued to this day.

I love you, mom.  Happy Birthday.

Routine and Consistency

This video/post is awesome. I love the part about the first 15 minutes after waking up is never easy, but understanding that that’s just how it is, and what it takes. Thanks for posting!

JUNK MILES

This is a great 7 minute clip if you have time.

One of the things that really resonated with me was when Alex was talking about his routine and how it’s not always pleasant or enjoyable, but part simply part of getting the work done.

I know for me personally, routine is what keeps me consistent in both the training and recovery. Throughout this horrid winter, it has been very difficult to maintain the typical day-to-day flow I’m accustomed to and I can feel the difference in my focus and attitude. I’ve been able to get the sessions done, but everything has been at odd times and I just feel like the ebb and flow has been way off.

Hopefully, with the ground thawing (yes, even way down south we froze over!) and the grass once again turning green, things will finally return to normal!

Routine= Consistency= Success

Swim Happy…

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Now or Never for New Orleans 70.3

I’m not gonna lie . . . the Dry Creek Trail 1/2 Marathon knocked me out for a week.  I was tired as hell and completely lost my mojo on the new diet.  I’m not sure why it cooked me so much, but it did and I’ve been fighting to make a comeback.  It hasn’t been easy.

I’m not in terrible shape by any means, but I’m not a big fan of driving 7 hours to half-ass a race.  It’s actually kind of cool to be sitting here thinking I have a Half Ironman staring in my face and the distance doesn’t intimidate me.  I was talking about that with some of the guys when we went down to do Goosepond last fall.  I had barely even worked out for over a month after Ironman Wisconsin and “knocked out” a half at Goosepond.

Well, it was actually more like Goosepond knocked me out and that’s exactly what I need to avoid in New Orleans.

So tonight I got back on the wagon and did a little workout that gave me some hope.  I went over to Nashville Running Company the other day and got me a pair of Pearl Izumi N1s and running socks, both of which performed awesomely tonight.  Pearl Izumi N1 Road

So, we’ll see.

Tennessee’s “Secret Race” is a Beast! #ultramarathon

Wow, this discovery just got the hair standing on my neck.  And after combining the insight from my first trail race with the unbelievable information below, I am even more convinced that wilderness runners salute a twisted code that encourages legal forms of masochistic humiliation.

That said, I am currently VERY disappointed about two things:

  1. I’ve never heard of this race.
  2. No one I know has run it (that I know of)

Fist PumpPhoto © Geoffrey S. Baker www.geoffreybakerphotography.com  (photo links to source)

Here are a few tidbits about this race that I pulled from here:

“Only 14 runners out of about 1000 have finished within the 60 hour cutoff.”

“Runners climb 1,500 feet in the first mile.”

“Humility awaits.”

“Son of a ditch. 10 feet wide, 10 feet deep.”

“Descending Leonard’s Butt Slide. The first few hundred feet are on muddy slopes at a 45 degree angle down to book 3.”

All of these words are attempting to describe the horror that is referred to as The Barkley Marathons — 100 Mile run (and 60 mile fun run) in Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee (which is just outside of Knoxville).

This race is so awesome (yet unknown) the NY Times wrote this piece titled, “Few Know How to Enter; Fewer Finish.

There’s even a book about it.

What’s also great is this little nugget (posted on an unofficial website) about how to enter the race:

The entry procedure is secret. There is no official website. This is not the official website. This site mostly has pointers back here. The race is not listed on any calendar. You have to email the race director on a certain day of the year. The race will fill up on that day. In 2010 there were about 200 entries and 35 were accepted.

Now, I can honestly say I have zero interest in doing this race, especially after struggling to finish my first trail 1/2 marathon, but I wish someone I know would step up and take the challenge.  I mean, only 14 runners have ever finished within the 60 hour cutoff time?  That’s ridiculously awesome.

I know a lot of you out there are drooling.  Who’s gonna step up?