Category Archives: swimming

Swim The Suck Race Report – Guest Blog

Swimming has quickly become the most fascinating event of triathlon for me, and this story blows off the roof.  It’s written by my coach, Robbie Bruce, and is just another example of how he pushes the limit and inspires me to do the same.  Most people train all year for something like this, but Robbie signed up on a whim 5 days before the race.  His longest swim of the year was 2.4 miles.  On this day, he would swim 10. 

How a simple “Retweet” led to me swimming 10 miles: Swim the Suck Race Report

Robbie Bruce – October 14, 2013

Almost at this exact time last Monday I had finished my first official “rest week” trying to recover from a year-long achilles injury that had me either sidelined from training or racing all together. At the most, it was allowing me to rack up not just my first DNF ever but also my second, third, and FOURTH of my career. A slight intervention from basically everyone I know had convinced me to shelve my bike and run training and just rest and prepare for 2014. So I did and just decided to swim a bit. Thats when I came across a “Retweet” from my good friend Mike. It was from Blue Seventy offering up a slot to the prestigious “Swim the Suck” 10 mile OWS race in Chattanooga if you could be the first one to answer a question:  Below is a summary of how that retweet turned in to me swimming 10 miles 5 days later. (Feel free to skip down to the bottom of the page and just read about the “race” if you like)

Mon-Tue-

I answered BlueSeventy’s contest hoping I would win. 50% because as my sister can attest I NEVER win anything. Kind of a running joke in our family. The other 50% me thought it would be pretty sweet to win and what an awesome experience it would be to be able to participate in such an incredible event. I actually  thought I had a legit chance to win bc A. I was the 3rd person to respond. B. Who would be stupid enough to do something that crazy on 5 days notice C. I live in Nashville so my travel costs, logistics, etc would be minimal compared to pretty much anyone. A few hours went by and I checked, checked and rechecked the BlueSeventy twitter feed to see if an announcement had been made. Nothing. At least I still had a chance. The afternoon came around and as I was sitting in my office I got the following message:

My first thoughts were “I can’t believe I won! This is going to be so sweet!” Then it turned into “S#*t. What have I gotten myself into. How am I going to do this” I made a few phone calls to let some people know before I responded to BlueSeventy so they could check my sanity but I had already decided I was doing it anyway. http://crushingiron.com/2013/10/07/two-tweets-lead-to-a-10-mile-swim/.

You cant enter a contest like this and win and then not do it. That would be bush-league. I called the guys at BlueSeventy and then got ball started rolling. I swapped emails with Blue Seventy and Karah. I spent a majority of Monday evening and Tuesday morning memorizing the Swim the Suck website. There were a lot of logistics to figure out. My first and most important issue was to find a pilot. I posted on my athletes FB page asking if anyone would be willing to pilot for me. As luck would have it (as if I had not had enough already) Ed Rusk, who lives in Chattanooga said he would do it. We swapped a few messages and he was committed to devoting his Friday night and Saturday to pilot me. We were both entering uncharted territory. I was already heading up to Chattanooga on Wednesday to participate in the Snail Dart 1 miler and we agreed we could meet there and chat for a bit. I seriously debated doing a long OWS on Tuesday as a confidence builder. My longest swim since Ironman Louisville was 4200 meters the week before. I opted for rest and figured just do the 1miler then rest again for Saturday.

Snail Dart 1 Miler

I made it up to Chattanooga for the 1miler. Before winning the entry I was determined to go up and sprint it as hard as I could. I had never done an open water race so I was excited. Plus knowing some of the COWS members I knew it would be at least a great event and a good time after. One of my junior athletes actually invited me to the swim so my real goal was not to get beaten by a 12yr old:). About an hour or 2 before the race I decided sprinting it was not the best option as I would likely still be sore on Saturday morning. 75-80% was my best bet so that was the plan I was sticking too. I hopped in the water with Addison who is probably 25lbs soaking wet. She had to sprint upstream just to stay behind the start line. I thought to myself “Please sweet baby Jesus let it be like this on Saturday.” The race started and was over in a blink. I felt ok in the water but it was far from a confidence builder. Even the ridiculous time I put down thanks to the current did not erase any doubts I had about Saturday. Bottom line. I suck at short races. I have always said- The most painful part for me is the first 500-1000 meters. After that it just feels the same. I also got dusted by Addison:). On a happier note she took home a sweet trophy featured below.

After the race I made it over the the Springhill Suites to hang out with some of the COWS and hopefully meet some new people that would give me some advice on how not to totally drown and embarrass myself on Saturday. I have to say. I was incredibly surprised at how welcoming and outgoing the group was. I am usually surrounded by triathletes at such events and they can be “a bit less friendly” to put it mildly. Everyone I met was so nice and I basically sat for an hour like a sponge trying to get as much info as I could. Ed and I sat together and discussed a little it of “strategy” but lets be honest. We were incredibly clueless. My main objective at this point in the week was “respect.” Respect the distance. Respect the opportunity. Respect the people. Respect their views. Most of these people had been training for months and spent a good deal of money to do this race. It would be incredibly disrespectful of me to take this lightly and basically undermine the experience and opportunity afforded to me. Coming from an endurance background I always know to respect the distance. I went to bed Wed night feeling much more informed and a bit relieved from a logistics standpoint. As far as covering the distance… Not so much. I can’t thank everyone for all the advice they gave me. It was truly invaluable. You guys rock.

Thur-Fri

Thursday was more and more “planning.” My biggest fear was nutrition. How in the hell was I going to fuel for this. Outside of the distance. I knew nutrition would be my biggest obstacle. I had no idea how long I would be swimming, what my effort would be or how many calories I should take in and when. I let Ed know my “loose” nutrition plan but I figured it would change. Friday rolled around and I woke up more anxious than I have the day before any race I have ever done. I will readily admit that I was fearful. I cant remember the last time I entered a race just “hoping” to finish. I packed up my truck and headed to Chattanooga. Registration was at 5 and then the pasta dinner and mandatory meeting at 6. I usually skip both of these at races because it is usually just bad food and nervous energy. But as one of my friends put it , “Its a  good thing you are going. This is more a “life or death” kind of meeting.” I totally agreed. I also thought it would be disrespectful to just grab my packet and jet.  Ed and I both checked in and we were lucky enough to sit at a table with not only some familiar faces and friends but some Swim the Suck veterans. I can come off a bit “chill” sometimes but the longer I sat there, the more I felt like an impostor. Karah rattled off a list of names with swimming resumes that seemed like fairy tale. I felt totally out of my element. On the plus side, the food was wonderful and the company was great. If it hadnt had been for that I probably would have just driven back to Nashville. The meeting and dinner concluded and it was time to get some rest and prepare for the day. I made it back to Ed’s house and got settled in. The last thing I thought before I closed my eyes was, “If someone dropped you in the middle of the ocean and you HAD to make it 10 miles to shore. Could you do it?” The answer was “yes.” 

Race Morning-

“Fear.” That was my first thought when I opened my eyes. My heart was racing and I was incredibly anxious. I barely ate anything. I was too nervous. I piddled around quietly in the kitchen while Ed was totally under control. He had done probably a years worth of research in 3 days. Turns out Ed and I think a lot of like but in different ways if that makes sense. I hopped in my truck to follow Ed the the start line. I was still fearful and questioning myself. I spent the next 20mins trying to distract myself with my nutrition strategy. That didnt work. As we rounded a corner close to the start I saw this:

My fear was gone. My anxiety disappeared. I have always felt more at home in the water than on land. I looked at the landscape that awaited me and thought, “How can this be scary.” It was beautiful. I was in amazement. I knew at that moment I would finish. I just had to swim. What an incredible opportunity at an amazing venue. I felt incredibly lucky and blessed. I parked my truck and Ed and I met to scope out and grab our vessel for the day. Ed had made a sweet “08” fin for the back of our kayak. Here was Ed’s home and my escort for over 4:00.

After I got body marked I just meandered around. Talked with some friends. Met some new people and just tried to stay as warm as possible.

It was quite chilly.  I spent a lot of time just standing around alone looking around. It was a pretty cool scene. I had told myself I would take this as slow as possible. It was uncharted territory and failing was not an option. As the start time drew nearer my competitive side came out and I started to look at it as more of a “race”. If anything it would be a race of attrition against myself. I thought to myself, “do not let this opportunity go to waste.” We all lined up as the kayaks seemingly colored the water like a bag of skittles:

We all stripped down and got in line. It was straight up freezing. Rebecca grabbed this shot of me standing in line (very sneaky by the way) preparing to get in the water. I was not focused on the race right here I was merely focused on not shivering:

We finally hit the water to prepare for the start. Thank GOD!! It felt like a warm bath compared to the chilly air I had been standing in half naked for 10 mins. I took a few strokes to warm up and positioned myself at the very very back. I would let everyone else get out in front so I could just chill. I figured it would be easier to find Ed that way and also keep me from getting caught up in starting to fast.  The countdown started at 1:00…..

The Race-

“Everyone has a plan till they get hit in the mouth.” That is one my favorite quotes. Funny thing is that I had no plan when the gun went off. I actually thought that was an advantage. I would not know if anything was going wrong or off. I started off VERY slow. I wanted to pace myself very slowly the first 2ish miles I thought and just get in a slow “lets just finish” groove. I only had one thing on my watch, that was average pace. I did not want to know time or distance. Just swim until it was done. The only instructions I gave Ed was to let me know when 30mins was up so I could decide to feed or not. I went about 500 yards, took a breath and spotted Ed. I yelled out at him and kept swimming until he found me.  I was taking it very slowly. He let me know when 30mins was up and I turned over and called out what I wanted as I backstroked. Rolled back over and kept swimming until he came up with my nutrition. I went for some Perform drink and gel. Lets just say my first feeding was a total debacle. I tried to drink, spit it out. Tried to take in my gel spit it out. Then I peed. So basically my first feeding was a net calorie loss:). I looked to my right (towards the start), into the sun and could not see anyone. I thought, “dude. Your are in last place….”. So I went on. I began to pick up the pace around what I thought was about an hour in. I felt pretty good but was scared to pick it up to quick. The current was going strong so I thought just go slow and let the current do the work because if the current stops or slows and the wind picks up I will need the energy to just finish. Every so often Ed would pull up and point to his watch and I would either let him now the fuel I wanted or shake him off like a pitcher to a catcher and keep swimming. I packed solids, gels, and liquid for the swim. I ended up only taking in Perform, gel and coke. No solids and did not take in near as much as I thought. All in all I think I nailed my nutrition. I swam for about what I though was 2.5hrs. I popped up for a feeding and finally looked at my watch “1:09” You have GOT to be kidding me!! Ive only been swimming for a freaking hour and nine minutes. Ahhhhh. This is average pace. Thank the lord. Ed informed me we were a little over half way through. That was a big relief. I knew then I would finish. I looked ahead and saw what look like a fleet of kayaks and then back and saw about he same amount. I asked if I was about the middle of the pack and Ed said yes. I told him to aim for that pack in front and I would try to catch as many as I could. Now it was a race. My arms, chest and shoulders were on fire but I knew it could not hurt any worse than it already was so lets just get it over with already. I pushed very hard for the next hour and began to pass people up until I think mile 7-7.5. I could tell the current had slowed and the water began to get fairly choppy. I shook off Ed for a feeding bc I was trying to stay even or pass the guy next to me. Plus the water was choppy and feeding would be hard anyway. The chop died a bit and I stopped for some more coke. Thats when Ed said “Yea. The current died.” I knew the last 2.5 miles would be grueling. He told me my time and I knew I had a chance to break 4hrs which was my goal. I put my head down and just swam. Then I began to feel incredibly lonely. Breathe right. No Ed. Breathe left. No Ed. Backstroke and look behind…. No Ed. I thought well, he has either bailed on me to watch the Kona coverage or mother nature had called. Luckily enough I had a guy right in front of me with green kayak and bright green life vest so I followed him until Ed returned. I felt I was getting pretty close and kept chasing the kayaks/balloons in front. Let me just say. I love and hate those balloons. It gave you something to chase but they always seemed about 200 meters closer than they actually were. I rolled over on my back and called for what would be my last feeding. I was gassed. Totally. I almost didn’t stop in fear I would not be able to get going again. I snagged some coke and thats when Ed informed me “The finish is just right there.” Music to my freaking ears. I asked for time and he said 3:30. I decided to sprint all I had to the finish. I was determined to crack 4:00. Ed guided me on a perfect line towards the finishing buoy. 400. 300. 200. I could see the orange clearly. I was still trying to catch the balloon in front of me. Every time I took a breath and I would see Eds face. I could not tell if he was smiling or laughing at my futile attempt to catch the kayak in front of me. 100 meters.

Done. It took every bit of energy just to get my arm out of the water to slap the buoy. 3:46. I did it. I was absolutely toast. I looked on land to see all the finishers before me and thought, “All of you people are freaks of nature. Crazy and ridiculously athletic. ” By far the most difficult race I have ever done. Anyone that does that race regardless of time is an absolute stud. It is physically and mentally incredibly challenging. Finally made it out of the water to towel off and get warm. Sat around for about an hour. I cant thank Ed enough for volunteering his time to help me out. Ed. You are the man.

Cheered on fellow swimmers and talked about the experience while admiring the beautiful landscape. Here is the view from where we finished.

My Take:

One of the best sporting experiences of my life. The backdrop was incredible. The people were amazing. The course was majestic and the event itself was run perfectly. I told myself before the race this would either make me want to do more races like this or never do another one. Doing this race only once in the manner in which I lucked out this year would be like an inexperienced poker player sitting down at a high stakes poker table, playing one hand, getting lucky, then getting up and cashing out big. Thats the definition of bush-league. So having said that, I will be back next year to race for sure. Hopefully with a full deck of cards.

HUGE thank you to BlueSeventy for the entry and all the free gear. Thank you to Karah and everyone who put on Swim the Suck and all the COWS who made me feel right at home and gave me so much great advice! Last but not least Ed Rusk for piloting me!

A Painful Cramp

More than ever, my body has been looking me deep in the eyes and asking, “WTF?”

Here I am approaching 50, putting on mileage I’ve never dreamed possible, and clearly that doesn’t come without complications.  Last night’s 3,000 meter swim was a great example.journeyThe workout included a warm up, followed by 40 x 50 meter combined set and a cool down.  I felt fairly strong as I cooled down for 400 meters, but when I got to the end and jumped out of the pool, I was nearly brought to tears by a piercing cramp in my left calf.

As I was leaning against the wall screaming bloody murder in front of the lifeguard and festive aqua-bikers, the guy in my lane asked if I was ok.  I said, “Yeah, I’m just cramping.”  He calmly replied, “I used to get them all the time when I swam with the pull buoy.”

Aha!

Yes, I remember Robbie telling me that when I was dealing with MUCH smaller cramps in the pool.  The logic is that when you immobilize your legs with the buoy, the blood circulation to your lower body slows and quick movements can launch a cramp attack.  I did know and understand this, but how quickly we forget.

I’m not gonna lie, my night was filled with a bit of panic.  I was having a hard time walking and the calf was very sore.  I tried to imagine running and it did not go well.  Could all of this training be derailed by a freak incident?

I vowed to get back in the water as quickly to start the mental healing process, and though I was 45 minutes late, I showed up at Open Water Swim to knock out 30 minutes in the lake.  I took the usual ridicule about being late, then swam up and down the orange boom for 32 minutes without stopping.  No pull buoy, no cramps, but tired arms.

Robbie and I talked for a bit after the swim (as we watched the next Pele run line drills in the sand) and he suggested the other reason for cramps in the pool can be from pushing off the wall.  This makes a ton of sense, especially when blood flow to your legs is low, and you’re exploding off the balls of your feet which targets the calf muscles.

Aside from the pull buoy, I suspected there was another major reason for the cramping: dehydration.

I am just shocked by how much I am sweating these days, and I’m assured that’s a good thing, but I have certainly not been compensating like I should with hydration.  I used to drink a lot of Coke (thankfully that habit has gone away) and my rule was always one glass of water immediately following a soda.  Now I drink coffee, and on some days too much.  It is painstakingly clear that, as mileage rises, I have to be careful and add more liquids.

I guess a third culprit could be sodium loss and last night, along with drinking a ton of water, I pulled out my homemade Gatorade recipe of 1/2 water, 1/2 orange juice, and a little bit of sea salt.  It tasted like ass, but I’m doing what I can.

So, I sit here less than a month away with a very sore calf and hope I can get this under control. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

There’s Something About Swimming

Swimming has produced some of the best and worst moments of my life.  OWeliese
Take the time in Indianapolis when I was 6 years old, for example.  We were on a family vacation and I ventured off into the deep end of the apartment complex pool and vividly remember struggling to save my life.  I suffered for what seemed like an eternity before looking up from the cement edge of the pool and no one even noticed.

Then, there was the 1.2 mile Half Ironman swim in Muncie last weekend.  It also seemed like an eternity, but there was something inside me that didn’t want it to end.  When my hand hit the sand just before the swim exit I remember a subtle wave of disappointment running through my veins.

owsunrise
Today was the first time back at open water swim in about 3 weeks.  I almost forgot how amazing it is to watch the sun rise over the island as you casually approach the beach.   I’m not sure, but I think we had a record turnout today, 16 swimmers, plus the coach.  And it was a pretty tough workout, but one that gave me more confidence.944491_364503807011584_682740774_n

It’s amazing what a good swim will do for you.  It started with Muncie where I kept a solid pace for the entire 1.2 miles.  There were a lot of challenges, including a bright sun in your eyes and no good sighting targets, but not once was I anxious.  It was comfortable the whole way, and I am giving most of the credit to our open water swim training.

Up until Muncie, I more or less freaked out in every swim.  Music City sprint, NashVegas Olympic, AdPi sprint, and Rev 3 Olympic.  It sounds crazy, but I am starting to remember that feeling I had as a child (not the Indianapolis feeling) when I used to swim freely in Turtle Lake near our summer home in Wisconsin.  It was always such a joy to feel the warm water splashing your legs as you did a head first dive and swam out to the floating pontoon where we spent most of our day diving in and chasing girls.  I never remember fear of water, only how great I felt when I saw and felt it around me.  That feeling is back in my bones.

Toes In The Sand

Nothing like good friends and a little beach vacation to start your Memorial Day Weekend.  IMG951326Photo: Robbie Bruce

Introducing the Ironman Fear Meter

I think we hit the 70’s in Nashville over the weekend, but that came to a crashing halt this morning.  Ice caked the windows when I grazed by to tackle a painfully early Monday-morning-run.

Today was tough, but it was also the first time I kinda felt like Rocky.  Cold, dark, empty streets waited for my hunched over body covered in a gray hoodie to set sail into the sunrise.  The wind cut through the cotton and dogs barked as I shuffled past.  The meat of the workout was hill repeats, which sounded like a splendid way to kick off the work week.

I jogged two miles past the quiet homes onto the Shelby Park Greenway, then turned to face the steep path that led to the top of the pedestrian bridge.  The ascents were labeled “hard climbs” and I did just that, covering each rise in about a minute.  Then I’d jog down and do it again.

I finished the five hills and turned left toward home.  (I realized tonight, I skipped the “five fast descent followed by slow jogs to the top part).  It was a good way to start the day.

It was a quiet morning, and the only person I saw . . . was a deer.  The Rocky theme played over in my head and I felt strong as I tackled two more hills on the way to my house.  I covered five total miles in about 43 minutes and really wanted to keep going, but reality was calling.

I sat through 8 hours of corporate speak in my basement office wishing I could be in a pool or on a beach or lifting weights or sitting on a trainer (well, maybe not the trainer part).  It was a very technical “numbers-kinda-marketing-day” and I really needed workout number two when I left.

I came home, fed the dog, and went to the pool.  And while I have you, let me just say, I think lap swimmers are treated like the dregs of society.MattieStairsSmall

At the East Nashville pool, we have exactly two lanes and they are just wide enough for a pair of supermodels.  I am always waiting to get in the pool while staring at two or three people eating cheeseburgers on the “fun side.”

I swam about 45 minutes tonight and there was some poor guy watching for at least 20.  Eventually I climbed out and said to the guy, “Sorry, man, I wish they had another lane.”  To which he responded, “Oh, no problem, I have nothing else to do.”

So, I guess this makes me the totally impatient asshole of the bunch!

Tonight’s workout was some crazy ass combination of sprint repeats, but I forgot my sheet so I made up my own version, which consequently wasn’t close.  But, it’s all good because I am still trying to find my comfort zone in the pool and frankly sprinting feels like shit (not to mention I don’t think I’m going much faster).  So, I dabbled in the “fast lane” for about 10 minutes, then finished with a nice, smooth 25 minute swim (that was only interrupted once by some kid who had to take a swim test and let me tell you, this kid swam like Johnny Weismuller.  Water was flying everywhere and he passed with flying colors, then he and his little buddy hogged the other lane with flippers and snorkles).

So, in all, this has been a really nice day.  I feel strong, but not overworked.  That’s kinda my internal barometer at this point.  The last thing I want to be is exhausted and facing a string of tough workouts.

Now I will introduce a new feature on this blog which will rate my confidence level with the different events.

Ironman Fear Meter: 

Swim – Very concerned
Bike – Somewhat concerned
Run – Fairly concerned

Today’s Diet:
Breakfast:  Oatmeal, Banana, Hard boiled egg
Lunch:  Wendy’s #1 with pickles and ketchup only, coke
Afternoon: Small coffee
Dinner: Tuna straight from the can, Hard boiled egg, pasta, an apple

Inspiring Quotes from People I Follow

I’m following more and more swimmers, bikers, and runners every day.  Each of them say things that make me think, create discovery, and inspire.  Here are a few of the latest with links to their blogs.

This from a couple of guys from Budapest who decided to quit their jobs and go on the ultimate cycling adventure.  This is an excerpt from their latest ride in France that highlights the random hospitality I often hear shared by endurance travelers:

We had a first great surprise at sunset : a motorcyclist started riding with us and chatting on the road. He was also a keen cyclist and traveller, and asked us few questions about our project. After few minutes chatting with Nico (Yves was ahead), he hit the accelerator and left us. But then, at the next traffic light, he was there, waiting for us. “Where do you stay tonight”, he says. “We don’t know!”. “Ok, come to my place if you want. It’s up in the hills -a place called Eze, I have some wine, bread and saucisson. We can have dinner à la bonne franquette’”. “Sure, excellent. Let’s go!”. – Cycling Further

It just makes me want to hit the road and see what’s out there in the world.

One of the greatest things about reading other people’s training blogs are the constant reminders that help us learn how we can be better triathletes.  Iowa Tri Bob has helped remind me that technique in the water is not honed by laps alone:

“As I’ve focused more on technique and drills I’ve become much more efficient in the water.  I love watching swim techniques on YouTube or on the blogs I come across and I’ve come to really love the drills in swimming.”

Read more about the his favorite drills and techniques here — Iowa Tri Bob

I think one of the biggest questions triathletes ask themselves is, “Why?”  Why do we put ourselves through all of this?  I found an interesting analogy about life, fulfillment, and self-worth in the breakdown of a scene from Rocky at Tri Fatherhood.

“I wondered why Rocky didn’t have confidence in himself. But now I’ve come to understand that winning in life is relative. Winning wasn’t what Rocky needed. He just needed a chance. He needed a chance to stand up after being knocked down. Again and again. He needed a chance to still be there when the bell rang. Just the chance was enough. And survival.”

And here’s another from a woman who loves swimming more than southerners like corn cakes and hones her passion in open water.  She offers these tips for swimming in the sea.  I was especially intrigued by her “kelp” insight:

  • Learn to love your wetsuit – it is your anti drowning, warm, speedy friend.
  • Do not put Vaseline on your hands then touch your goggles
  • Put anti chafe on your neck and other hot spots – chafe is not your friend and you will scream in the shower.
  • Sharks don’t like kelp so you are safe in there but it is scary so head up and motor it
  • Sight! If you don’t, you can end up in the middle of nowhere
  • Swim with a buddy and be aware if in the sea – conditions can change quickly.
  • Have fun and don’t fight the water (or people in the water).
  • And for the ladies, stay away from guys in the water, they are notoriously bad sighters and will swim right over you in all directions (sorry boys).

There is tons of good stuff out there and I’m excited to be connected to fellow swimmers, bikers, and runners on my quest for Ironman Wisconsin.

 

Triathlon Simulation

This is how ridiculous I can be.  I came home after work determined to lay around and watch basketball, which I did for about 5 minutes. I got up, stumbled into the kitchen, ate an entire box of cereal, then decided, not only to workout, but to simulate a Sprint Triathlon at the Y.

I jumped in the pool and did a quick 11 laps (about 550 yards).  I did my best to imagine people beating the shit out of me, but considering there were only two old ladies on aqua bikes in the shallow end, it wasn’t easy.  I completed my first event in about 10 minutes, then ran into the locker room to dry off and change into sweats.

Transition One, about 5 minutes.

The large staircase was a welcome challenge on my way to the Spin Bike.  I deftly avoided a large woman talking very loudly on her cell phone and trucked toward the sterile room full of ugly machines.

I used to love working out inside at the Y, but after learning how to run outside, I’m starting to question the validity of “gyms.”  I mean, I get the weight part, I guess, but there is a Cross-fit gym not far from here that is in an old gas station and I love it when they open all the doors and flex “in nature.”

Inside workouts kinda bring me down.  But, I sucked it up and jumped on the Spin Bike next to a colorful woman doing short choppy steps on her Stairmaster, which I decided was some type of effort to be better in bed or on the dance floor.

I spun and spun for what seemed like forever, but looked up at the clock and it was literally only 6 minutes.  I was stunned, and, similar to most of my workouts, contemplated quitting.  But I didn’t.

There’s something about riding a stationary bike that is both bullshit and awesome sauce.  I sweat like a nun in a porn shop.  I mean, there were puddles building and the bike started to drift closer to my colorful princess.

Somehow I toughed out 25 minutes before heading to the janitor’s closet and grabbing a wet vac to slurp up the puddles around my bike.  My new lady friend didn’t seem to care and I noticed her ass was moving with a little more steam.

Transition two, about 3 minutes.

On to the treadmill for a quick 25 minute jog, or so I thought.  The minute that belt started moving I remembered how much I hate fucking treadmills.  I put the incline on “one” and pecked along at a 9 minute pace for, oh . . . about . . . 2 minutes.

I couldn’t take it.  My ankles felt like they were going to get swallowed into some kind of treadmill vortex never to be seen again.  There was nothing left to do, but chuckle, power down, and look forward to tomorrow night’s run with the East Nasties.

Post script:  I signed up for a 4 mile race on Thanksgiving morning and yes, I really did eat a whole box of cereal.  It was a smaller box, but I estimated about 1,000 calories.  Must be something to do with post-work-early-darkness depression.