In Motion.Newton’s first law of motion is the mantra of an athlete training for an Ironman.It seems like every waking moment involves moving the body over land and sea.
Saturday Oct 23; The YMCA Fall Sprint Triathlon
Wake up call goes off at 6:50am.Fifteen minutes later I’m jumping in the Downtown Y pool getting my morning cup of coffee simply by shocking the body into complete alertness upon being immersed in the chill that is a good lap pool. The Saturday Morning Swimfit (Masters) practice is a well attended mix of triathletes and swimmers starting their weekend off with a shot of adrenalin.Four thousand yards later and shortly after 8am I change in a few minutes and hop on the mountain/cruiser bike to ride home for a quick breakfast.
With little time to spare it’s off to the start of the Youth Triathlon for the YMCA Fall Sprint.Many of the kids I have the pleasure of coaching in the Y’s Swim*Bike*Run Program (over half) were racing.It is awesome to see you guys enjoying and embarking on a long journey towards an active and healthy life.Check out the results to the YMCA Youth Fall Sprint HERE.Great job kids!
A half hour later, before seeing all the kids finish it came time for me to start racing.The 750 yard pool swim the night before took me 7:47 and with a long bike and run before it, the time was OK.I had a soft T1 and this allowed Kyle to bridge up to me immediately.The first few turns of the crank and my quads were already protesting the effort; meanwhile Kyle pushed the pace.
The rain soaked roads made for slick cornering and cool temperatures forced me to over dress.Within minutes I was too warm.On our second corner Kyle took a dinger, leaning into it too much.Slowing down I asked, “Are you alright?”, and he nodded yes with a humbling smirk.A few miles later he caught back up and we exchanged leads a few more times coming into T2 in a deadlock.
After a huge running week the legs surprised me with some pep.Working on good form over sidewalks through neighborhoods and long wet grass on fields before doing a lap on the cinder track to see many of the kids cheering me on to the finish put a big smile on my face.
After the race I snuck out of there early to get back home and see Lola and Hortense.Then, I took a shower only to don some more running attire.I head east to the mountains and start climbing.It’s too much fun and with the weather there’s no one to share the nature with.After an hour of climbing, it’s time to turn around and head back down to the house.A tough day of training in the books; a day in motion.
The ability to exert one’s mind and body for long periods of time, once a natural occurrence in our place with the animal kingdom, now is an art that must be sought after.Sufferance was the order of the day for 99.9% of human history and still is in much of the non developed world. Mere survival meant hours, days, weeks, years and decades of toil just to keep breathing.In the last 100 years, a mere nano second for human history, more and more of society go hours, days, weeks, years and decades without more than an hour or two of sustained recreational induced endurance.For me this draws parallels with the eagle that rarely if ever takes to the sky.Is it not a basic fundamental right of man to be and experience endurance?A brief look into our history and one can’t help but notice the lavish evidence of man overcoming.Man overcoming the impossible because of our unmatched ability to endure.
It’s in our core.Survival has taught us and forced us.Suddenly the game has changed and survival means making this month’s mortgage payment or performing well in your 40 hour a week position.My question is how important is endurance for happiness?How important is endurance for achieving your best self?How important is endurance for a life of fulfillment?
For me this trait has been manifested every step of the way for as long as I can remember; from playing soccer at recess to riding my BMX Huffy, to those hikes in the woods and fabrication of ‘forts’ until ultimately channeling it into swimming.I didn’t know it or couldn’t explain it then but looking back with hindsight it’s obvious the underlying joy of endurance.
Can the mind reach its full potential without the body being there too?I believe the answer is yes, but it’s testing and requires a strong spirit to have a robust mind when the body is not at its potential.Maybe in some facets of life but how about all facets of life?Can one become self actualized and well balanced without discovering the limits of their own physical and mental fitness?
Questions to ponder that delve deep into the psyche and nuance of man when trying to come up with the answers.
My passion for endurance became evident as a swimmer with the Boise YMCA Swim Team.The combination of making tough send off times to a long set all the while counting and calculating your time along the way has no end to its challenges.Then, in college at Oakland University, swimming with guys from around the world pushed the margins.I would push myself every practice of which we had two a day, and not only every practice but every set of every practice.When you have 30 other supreme athletes to test yourself against, you find limits quickly.Then you find ways to overcome them.
Today, endurance plays a vital role in my goal to achieve fulfillment.It is and will always be.Pandora’s Box has been opened.
On October 9th a 17 mile run, my longest, became my ‘first’ day of Ironman training for the November 21 IM Arizona.I say ‘first’ because even a Sprint Triathlon first and foremost requires endurance.So I hit the ground running for my first ironman 6 weeks before the start.The challenge and the journey have already been rewarding.Riding my bike all over southwestern Idaho is a real treat.Being in the mountain trails less than a mile from my front door has no end to its rejuvenation and boundless beauty; running for my life is so much fun.Doing long sets like 40 x 100 on 1:10 refine my focus and force me to be economical in the pool.Yet the most valuable experience is that of balance.The family + work + training + recovery = balance equation.
As a husband and father working fulltime for the YMCA all of life’s moments become amplified.There is not a moment to take for granted.And that really sums it up for me.Achieving the most out of each and every moment and then realizing there is no limit to this simple yet mystifying equation.You can forever get more out of this moment; right now.
There’s this urge we get as humans; this need for more.Can we ever satisfy our hunger for more?More house, more food, more roads, more money, more malls, more work, more cars, more power, more education, more technology…the drive for more.I believe this all stems from our supremacy in the universe as masters of endurance.
The human form working at high capacities will perform incredible feats of endurance.Unfortunately, we see this less and less in today’s world.Quite the opposites actually, in todays push the button society.If endurance is a core and fundamental trait of man, how then do we manifest this amazing ability in today’s world?I feel this urge all the time; lately it’s been imploring me to run more.
Just having driven from Arroyo Grande to Lake Lopez on the twisty-turny-hilly splendid roads of the central coast foothills we step out into the heat of the day and Dan McIntosh mentions something about the long course race we are doing tomorrow.“Oh no, we’re doing the Olympic course tomorrow, I’ve done it twice before and the pros do the Olympic distance.” I say very sure of myself. Two minutes later I find out, in fact, we are doing the long course.“Really, you’re kidding me!?”It took the rest of the late afternoon to wrap the mental psyche around this subtle change…just another hour and thirty minutes of race!My need for more was fulfilled.
Moments later I found out that the World Champion Michael Raelert was racing tomorrow too; my heart rate spiked 15 to 20 beats.
10/02/10 early morning
The usually very cool morning for this race is comfortably cool and rumor has it that this always wetsuit swim is going to be a no wetsuit swim.I hope for it but don’t get too excited, may times the water temperature gets tweaked.The head referee comes over to T1 and pronounces the water temperature at 71 degrees (68 is the cutoff for professionals and I think it should be 65).Yes!I love this, not only because it makes the swim more honest it makes it more fun.Let’s keep things simple.Raelert asks me if I have a speedsuit, I explain I don’t have one myself.
Being one of the only athletes to warm up in the completely luxurious water prepared my heart for the transition of race effort.After running into the water and taking the first few strokes I was leading the race and pulling away…No wait…someone on the left is.John Dahlz is hauling and already a body length or two ahead.I try to bridge up into what would be a rewarding draft but never make it.
This swim turned out to be one of the best I’ve had; not in terms of race performance but in terms of pure enjoyment.The sun’s ambiance filled the water with a glow and the temperature allowed for maximum effort.Stroking along in no-mans-land with John out of reach and nobody behind me I think of my family and smile.I am in a sweet spot in my sweet spot.My body and mind are poised for the challenge.
Soaking up the swim like never before, the 28 minute swim is the longest I’ve done in any triathlon at 1.5 miles it feels like a part of the race rather than a mere afterthought.Exiting the water about 30 seconds down on John I’m determined to make it up quickly.Feeling great and attacking the technical course I catch him in the first couple miles.My speed feels superior passing him and I should be free and clear but John steps it up and hangs with me.I ride on edge and push the pace rarely settling in to anything comfortable…I know Raelert is coming.I even look back several times trying to see what kind of lead we have, I never see anyone.
Since catching John I’ve been leading the whole way in first position with the lead vehicle always too far up the road to even see when a volunteer sends me left.I’m supposed to go right.I’m cranking away 30 seconds in when a motorcycle whizzes up and motions to turn around.I look back down the road and see that John was hesitant but now properly on course.I’m furious.I’m working to grind out every second I can, to eke out every diminutive advantage I can with sweat and grit.This race is too long to get angry and attack.I throw my arms up in disgust and try to let it go.I half expect Raelert to fly by before I get back on course.He certainly doesn’t need these kinds of favors.
After giving chase and finally catching back up to John we laugh it off and call that some Bull S*%^.On we go.Now riding even more on edge knowing that we gave up time to the World Champ…surely he’ll be catching us soon.
This course is even better than Wildflower.It’s more appealing, it feels remote, it has less traffic, it’s always hilly with turns and technical and don’t forget the dinosaurs!Reaching the turn-around first proved to be a disadvantage.The Volunteers were not ready to hand off some water bottles and I needed some fluids.I urgently and politely asked for water while breaking and waiting for a few seconds while he prepared and ran one to me.Ouch!More time donated to the World Champ.Heading back on the out and back course now came the moment of truth…how much of a lead did we have.Climbing the first good hill we see no sign.Then to my amazement out of the corner of my eye and on the right I see something massive, why hadn’t I noticed that on the way out?A Triceratops!I pedal faster.Climbing the next hill, still no bikers.Just when I started thinking something was up Rhodes and then Raelert come flying by.But we had a big lead…several minutes for sure.No longer riding on edge I pushed the pace to finish strong knowing we will hold them off.
I lead the whole way back but could never get away from John.A few times I thought I cracked him but he always came storming back.
Coming back into T2 in first I hear the race announcer say, “Everett in 2nd place 8 minutes down on Rhodes!”I knew then that I was not the only one to go off course that day, unfortunately for Rhodes he cut out 8 miles, the last little 4 mile out and back section, the same thing happened to Courtney Brown in the women’s race.
Running felt pretty good but not quite up to par for how I have been running all year.Dahlz quickly caught up and we ran together for a couple miles.Then, he surged and I didn’t go.At the run turn around this time Raelert was close and moving fast.His leg speed made me look like a three-toed sloth.I did my best to match the speed of the fastest runner in our sport but if I got there, it didn’t last long.It started to get hot and I could feel the heat draining my energy.
That was near the end of the first lap.In the second lap I ran alone and well within myself at what seemed reasonable until I caught site of John up the road…he was hurting.I started eating into his lead and coming down the big hill right by the transition area he was right there.We had a short climb up the parking lot and then a descent to the finish line.Running up the hill I barely hit the ground almost passing him before the hard 180 turn to the bottom.He then used a sprinters kick down the hill to narrowly hold me off by a couple seconds.
That last hard effort in the heat made me hungry!I ate about 2000 calories of junk food after that to restore the glycogen and felt much better.What a day and what a race.Can’t wait for next year’s TriCal Series….returning as the unofficial TriCal Series Winner.