Three years done and counting. That’s how long I have been on this journey to health, and the one thing that has become clearer with each passing race, with each passing season, is that there are NO shortcuts. Regardless of your goals, whether it’s losing weight, or finishing that marathon, or competing in an Ironman, it takes work … lots of work … and it is constant. The breaks are few and far between. You would think I would know this by now, but it is becoming increasingly clear, a little more each year, and as bright as the damn sun right now.
There Are No Shortcuts, John. Get that into your thick skull.
I lament each season about how I didn’t improve as much as I thought I would, or should, because I know the hours I put in training, and the effort I put in each week and each weekend. The time spent away from home, the time I spent neglecting work, the house, the yard, should result in decent times and improved races. But they don’t.
Well, check that … I HAVE improved, but not at the rate others in my immediate group have … and then, tonight, reality smacked me in the face.
I went back through my Daily Mile reports. Not bad. Decent mileage and time each week. But then I started going through others I know. Beth Shaw. Kristie Concepcion. Megan Supernovich. Kelly Brown. Angie May. Summer (I only use her first name, because, she IS Summer).
I nowhere NEAR compare to the time and mileage these people have put in the past year. I am not even in the same stadium.
In my defense, I am overweight and 50, so I am a bit older (and heavier) than all the people mentioned, so the pounding it takes to do back-to-back long training days is a problem for me. I am lucky if I can do a long run on Saturday and a long bike on Sunday. My body, as it is now, just cannot take it. I promised my coach to no longer use my weight as an excuse, so I am not doing that here. It is presented as a reason I require a bit more recovery time than most in shape people. I have knee issues (still needing repair on the right which I keep putting off because the thought of not training is scary to me. Much scarier than the pain I get in the knee after long runs.). I have arthritis and inflammation in hands and wrists. I have breathing issues as a result of cancer. The soreness (and overall “creakiness”) I feel in the morning cannot be described, and cannot be understood until it happens to you. But each day I roll out of bed, stretch as best as I can, get in a hot shower, and come to life. I get to work around 6:30 or 7:00, put in my 8 hours, hit the gym three days a week with a co-worker during lunch, then head out around 4-4:30 to get in a ride, swim, run or combination of them before getting home around 7-8, eat, try to be in bed by 9:30 and do it all over again. Monday Night Football is a thing of the past (unless the Dolphins are playing) and the DVR has become my best friend for the few shows I do watch (Big Bang Theory, Michael J Fox Show, Family Guy, Modern Family, American Horror Story). There are only two shows I manage to watch when they broadcast (Agents of Shield and Walking Dead) and those may be relegated to the DVR shortly as well.
But here’s the thing … I am tired of just finishing races. I would like to compete. I am in a decent age group now so I should be able to compete, and with that realization comes the other that if I truly want to compete I have to work harder … I have to figure out how to work around or through the pain and pounding required. Maybe more biking and less running to lighten the pounding on my knees? I have read in a few places that this method seems to work (bike fitness helps run fitness with lightened stress load on the body) but then you read other pieces that say you need to be bike 100 miles every weekend and running 20+ miles.
Where this is different now, and where I am still struggling, is that I am basically on my own as far as training, and I suck on my own (I have mentioned this before). Jennifer and I are lucky to get one day of training in now, usually on Sunday, so that puts me to my own devices 6 days a week. Not good. On top of that add this weird “blah” feeling I have had since Ironman Augusta and it all adds up to woefully sad training times and efforts. I am still getting out there, but I am finding that I am forcing myself out there, and not enjoying it like I was last season and the year prior. It is teetering on being a burden now, and that worries me, because I know if it gets to that point of being a hassle to get the training done, the training will stop.
There needs to be some proactive bud nipping quickly …