Saturday, February 24, 2007

training round-up, week ending 02-24-07

the 2-mile ocean swim was not so bad. cold. but not bad. the 13.5 mile trail run, however, was. i ran it in mud. very difficult. very painful. some knee pain flare-up. i had to gut it out.

beat up. tired. sore. that's me.

so i kept up the pressure on the conditioning and weight loss. still don't know what the deal was with the chubby episode back in january. and i still don't know what happened the week before last.

and i still don't know if i'm where i'm entirely all here.

i'm starting to wonder if the dieting and the training issues are connected. it would make sense, seeing that they coincided at the same time. i knew when i corrected my diet that it would create some effects on my training, and that i would have to probably ride out some wild swings, but the past few weeks have really started to make me neurotic.

seriously. it's like mood swing city. and fatigue. and difficulty sleeping. all the symptoms of overtraining, just without any of the gratifying workout accomplishments.

even more than what you should expect living the Ironman training regimen.

but what can i do? the price for being a lard-ass on race day is HUGE. i mean HUGE. just no way i can go into race day overweight. NO WAY.

and the path to Ironman goes on...

sunday, feb. 18


  • brick: ocean swim (long swim) + bike (maintenance), 2 mile swim + 30 mile bike, aerobic & anaerobic conditioning (zone 3 & zone 4), long beach-huntington beach, start time 8am
monday, feb. 19

rest day

tuesday, feb. 20

  • trail run (weekly long run), 13.5 miles, aerobic & anaerobic conditioning (zone 3 & zone 4), rose bowl arroyo trail, start time 7:00am
  • kung fu (active rest), 40 minutes, loker track stadium, start time 6:30pm
  • weight training (abs), 20 minutes, immediately following
wednesday, feb. 21

  • stationary bike (recovery), 60 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2), lyons center, start time 6am
  • weight training (legs & lower back), 45 minutes, immediately following
  • kung fu (active rest), 60 minutes, loker track stadium, start time 5:30pm
thursday, feb. 22


  • weight training (chest, shoulders, & abs), 60 minutes, lyons center, start time 6am
friday, feb. 23


  • swim (intervals, 10x200), 3200 yards, aerobic & anaerobic conditioning (zone 3 & zone 4), mcdonald's swim stadium, start time 6am
  • weight training (shoulders & lower back), 20 minutes, immediately following
  • run (active rest & technique), 30 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2), loker track stadium, start time 5:30pm
saturday, feb. 24


  • kung fu (active rest), casuda canyon park, start time 10:30 am

Thursday, February 22, 2007


So race season got you down? Your roster of races got you freaked out? You suddenly thinking of pulling out of competition? Are you daunted by the prospect of the grim visage of multiple race days, while all your buddies are raging onto to spring break?

Maybe you have the wrong attitude...just take Mardi Gras this year. Still on despite the conditions.

As those of you who follow the scene may know, Mardi Gras this year was but a pale shell of its former self, courtesy of some very obvious reasons and continuing tribulations.

The question, of course, is whether a celebration of any kind (especially an all-out blow-out knock-down heel-kicking party of the kind we expect from our Louisiana brethren) is really appropriate given the circumstances--in the city, in the country, in the time of year. Even considering the religious significance of Lent on the Christian calendar.

What most people don't know is that Mardi Gras--or Carnaval, as it's alternatively known to the rest of the world--itself has origins beyond its secular manifestations. Connected in various ways with pre-Christian pagan rituals, the event was adopted by early Christians as a means of encouraging their faithful to exhaust all meat and animal products before the fasting season associated with Lent (over which time meat and animal products would likely rot and go to waste).

Over time, however, the event became a celebration, and in keeping with its pagan roots evolved into a means by which people could vent the pent-up energies that had built up within them during the reclusion of winter, and release whatever restlessness they may have had before the long somber season of sacrifice, fasting, and piety associated with Lent. In so doing, it returned to become the bacchanalian explosion of sensory overload and unrestrained passion that we know today.

What the cultures that follow Carnaval probably realize is that the pagan nature of the festival underscores a fundamental truth about human life: that we as people need to allow ourselves the feeling of joy. Excitement. Fun. Happiness. For all the horror that's in the world, for all the sorrows and dangers in our lives, for all the darkness that fills the days. We as human beings still have to allow ourselves to see the better things in life, and to enjoy what there is to enjoy. If for no other reason to remind ourselves that we are alive.

Because there'll be plenty of time for sobriety ahead.

So allow yourself to have some fun. Races aren't always about grim competition. Training isn't always about suffering. Let yourself enjoy the experience--the pleasure of being with friends, the thrill of sharing an event, the joy of plunging headlong into something that sends your heart racing, blood surging, nerves tingling, muscles straining, and mind expanding...the feeling that you are alive.


And for people who REALLY do it right, reference:

Or better yet, just check it out for yourself:

Sunday, February 18, 2007

training round-up, week ending 02-17-07

i hit a wall this week. it literally felt like i went headlong into a wall and came to a complete stop.

i don't know what happened.

i just got to this week and suddenly every workout seemed hard, if not impossible.

originally, courtesy of the rain, i'd planned on scheduling another long ride substitute on the stationary bike. but i got on and found it difficult to even get up to the target wattage output. after 90 minutes i actually had to quit, because i couldn't even maintain the lower power levels. pitiful, compared to my schedule, which called for 220 minutes (3 hours, 40 minutes).

i was so freaked out i pushed myself into a heavy weightlifting session for my legs, trying to see if i had magically lost something in my quads and hamstrings. i had a measure of solace in finding my leg strength still at the expected levels for the incline squats, calf raises, hamstring curls, and gluteus curls. but this still left the mystery as to just why i could not maintain power.

the same thing happened with my swim. a basic, "easy" 2600 yard swim seemed like it was a trip around the world. i honestly thought i was going to drown. and the longer 3200 yard session at the end of the week didn't do much to make me feel better.

i don't know what happened. i had my rest week at the end of january going into february, and this week was the 2nd week of a 3-week build block. but, man...dude...this felt worse than the rest week. i just had no energy. and my body was about as puffy as the pillsbury dough boy up until saturday evening--seriously, you talk about bloated, i say i looked like your average drunk frat boy with a beer-belly tire around his waste good enough for a bad case of muffin-top syndrome (and i don't even drink).

i know that sometimes there are those points in the training schedule when you just don't have it. akin to the low points of race day. just like there are highs in the training schedule matching the highs on race day. i know that you're supposed to control the highs and manage the lows, and that in reality you never know when which one is going to occur but just have to ride them out as best you can.

but weeks like this past one are enough to make a person neurotic. now i'm spending sleepless nights and distracted days obsessing over just what is happening with my body, what is going on with my training schedule, and checking my nutrition and recovery periods. but i don't know what the dickens is going on.

hopefully this is just a low point, and things get back to normal next week.

they better, or otherwise i'm going to be in big trouble at Ironman. BIG trouble.

sunday, feb. 11

rest day

monday, feb. 12

  • swim (intervals, 8x200), 2600 yards, aerobic conditioning (zone 3), mcdonald's swim stadium, start time 6:00am
  • weight training (chest & abs), 30 minutes, immediately following
tuesday, feb. 13

  • stationary bike (build), 100 minutes, muscular endurance (zone 3 & zone 4), lyons center, start time, 6am
  • weight training (legs), 40 minutes, immediately following
  • run (recovery), 40 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 3), loker track stadium, start time 6:30pm
wednesday, feb. 14

  • weight training (abs), 20 minutes, home, start time 4pm
thursday, feb. 15

  • stationary bike (recovery), 30 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2), lyons center, start time 6am
  • weight training (chest, shoulders, & lower back), 45 minutes, immediately following
  • run (maintenance & technique), 40 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 3), loker track stadium, start time 6:30pm
friday, feb. 16

  • swim (build), 3200 yards, aerobic conditioning (zone 3), mcdonald's swim stadium, start time 6am
  • weight training (abs), 30 minutes, immediately following
  • kung fu (active rest), 40 minutes, immediately following
saturday, feb. 17

  • kung fu (active rest), casuda canyon park, start time 10:30 am

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Journey

modified from the original written for the USC Triathlon Newsletter 02-14-07:

We begin the race thinking we know who we are and what is it we want. A certain time, a certain pace, a certain way, a certain direction. Set effort, set heart rate, set transition, set start, set finish. We imagine ourselves according to a picture in our minds, visualize ourselves in ways we believe we want to be.

And to this end, we start with what we think we need. The right equipment, the right nutrition, the right training, the right people. And when the sound of the starting gun goes off, we go, thinking we are prepared for whatever the race may bring.

But the race has a way of never being what we expect.

Somewhere on the way, as we journey on the path, we find that things begin to happen. The equipment we thought would work doesn't. The nutrition we thought would help fails. The training we thought would have us ready turns out to be wrong. The people we thought would be good for us aren't. Everything we thought was right is not.

And we find we aren't prepared for what the race will bring. Bad conditions. Bad roads. Bad decisions. Big mistakes. Big accidents. Even injuries. Sometimes pain and suffering. Enough to shake us, enough to make us lose our way. Enough to scar us forever.

So we are left alone, with nothing other than ourselves, to continue on as best we can, doing whatever we can, by any means available, hoping to somehow make our way onwards through everything the race continues to bring to us.

In so doing, the race begins to change us. Imperceptibly at first, then more and more with each passing mile and building moment, until everything we are and who we are fluxes and evolves as easily and quickly and significantly as the conditions of the course whipping itself beneath and against and above and around our limbs and hearts and minds.

And when we finally reach the finish, we stop and rest, to find that we are not the same person we were when we started the race. We are different. Irrevocably changed by everything that has happened.

And what we needed then we don't need now, and what we wanted then we don't want now. Because whatever it was that we thought we knew were, we know we are not that now.

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.
--Mary Oliver, The Journey


there's been all kinds of weird things i've learned since i've been in this sport. things that the ordinary person just doesn't know, or would ever be expected to know. the proper way to clean swim goggles, how to change a tube on a bike, the mystery of derailleur adjustment, the care and maintenance of blisters on feet. it's all things that outside the context of the sport would just simply be seen as weird. as in occasionally arcane. maybe useless. likely bizarre. often very strange.

but nothing, and i mean nothing, has been as strange as the idea of shaving.

i mean body hair. and i mean for men.

like most people, i was just incredibly naive. i had never even considered the idea of shaving body hair. ever. it just wasn't something i'd ever been taught as something men did.

but then i got into this sport, and started hearing stories and rumors about what the men were doing. it wasn't such a big secret, but it was something seemingly kept on a "down low" and under wraps, shared in whispers and covered in giggles and blanketed with jabs. at first i thought it was indeed all just a big joke, thrown around the sport by a community lock-step in common spirit of triathlon. eventually, however, i got the gradual, dawning realization that the jokes weren't really jokes, and the jabs and giggling and whispers were more from embarrassment than humor.

what i realized was that most of the guys were spending inordinate amounts of time engaged in generous amounts of "private time"--and this private time was spent on dealing with body hair. shaving it. trimming it. waxing it. laser removing it. anything to it, just whatever managed to get rid of it. from their legs, their arms, their heads, their backs, their rear ends. everywhere.

people have given me all sorts of reasons for this:
  1. it's a swimming thing. swimmers have always shaved down in an attempt to reduce friction and drag induced by body hair, and to improve the fluid dynamic properties for faster swim times. believe it or not, sports medicine has actually verified this. you can see a list of studies at
  2. it's a cycling thing. cyclists have always shaved their legs to reduce the pain and suffering induced by road rash--removing a bandage or a scar is markedly more painful if hair is present, since the bandage or scar rips the hair out with it as it is removed. having hairless legs eliminates this pain. in addition, hair tends to hold in dirt and bacteria, increasing the risk of an infection with road rash. shaving hair reduces this risk. a good comment on this:
  3. it's a mental tool, helping you trick your mind into believing you are more capable of athletic performance than you already are. the act of removing hair produces new sensations of the skin, and if done over a large enough of a surface area, the new sensations overwhelm the brain into thinking that there has been a physiological change in the entire body--presumably a change associated with the visual cues we typically associate with hairlessness: sleekness, smoothness, slipperiness, aerodynamics, motion, speed
  4. it's tantamount to a communion with god (or so women have told me). women have told me the act of shaving is a transformative spiritual experience providing ritualistic solitary quiet time akin to prayer.
  5. peer pressure. everybody's doing it. and you'll just feel left out if you don't.
  6. women dig it
  7. it's just plain sexy
my take on all of these vary and are legion. i won't go into them. suffice it to say:
  • i think the time difference induced for swimming are seconds or fractions of seconds that are only important to elite swimmers (and besides, most of the time triathletes are in bodysuits anyway)
  • road rash is going to hurt no matter what. and if you crash on your bike, there's going to be a whole bunch of other things you're going to be more worried about
  • mental tools are wonderful. but seriously, huh?
  • communion? prayer? whatever. dude, i get plenty of prayer suffering at the 12-hour mark of an Ironman.
  • peer pressure isn't as big a deal as everyone says it is. as far as i know, men don't go around checking each other out to see if their legs are smooth.
  • women dig it? really? they do? then where are they?
  • hmmmmm. it is sexy. in a weird, perverted sort of way...but i kind of have to expand my mind on this.
i've also found that there's been a fairly significant amount written on this, of varying degrees of quality and usefulness. this is a sample what i've found of reasonable triathlon-related value:
for me personally, i've pretty much resigned myself to the depilation. i thought about laser removal, but that was too expensive and seemed a bit too permanent (i do want to have the option of backing out of this entire situation and returning to a hirsute hoary state). waxing was just too painful a concept to even think about. leaving only shaving, with the classic razor and cream and a nice hot shower.

it was surprisingly habit-forming. once i did it for one race, i found myself doing it for every race. and after that, i found myself continuing it through the off-season. it's gotten to the point now that it's almost a regular point of each week (or maybe 2)...but i say almost because i'm not at the point to where women say about me what Sheryl Crow said about Lance Armstrong while they were still dating: "i'm actually feeling pressured to shave, because he's more regular about it than i am."

i have to admit, it does feel pretty good. and i do feel much slicker going through the water and the air, and much lighter on my feet. and it does make a difference when i'm dealing with cases of road rash (or trail burn, or whatever). and i do feel mentally much fresher and more self-assured after i shave. and there is some peer pressure whenever race season comes around. and women do seem to notice (i admit, a woman once asked if she could touch my legs while i was running past her). and there is a sort of strange kinky sense of sensuality of feeling nothing but smooth skin...

the only problem i have is that it's not always a successful project. i've found that shaving seems fraught with perils related to skin and irritation, particularly for skin that is sensitive (and i've been shocked to find that the skin on my legs is a whole lot more sensitive than i cared to admit--i mean, come on, i'm a guy, how can my skin be sensitive?). i've experienced major cases of rashes, razor burn, and bleeding. enough to make it a daunting prospect.

and i've done my best to follow the advice and tips of the various websites. you can reference:
but most of their tips are somewhat iffy and not always effective.

all i can tell you (if you're a male triathlete contemplating shaving your legs, or if you're friends with someone who is) is that shaving is not that easy. it's surprisingly difficult to do well, takes time if you're not practiced, and can have really really REALLY bad results if you make a mistake.

to help you out, i can tell you what i've learned after some excruciating (and sometimes gruesome) trial-and-error:
  • shower first, get the skin washed and wet--i guess this is what they mean when they say "prep the skin." i removes the dead layer of skin and cleans out anything that might cause infections or irritations on the skin. it also apparently makes the skin more taut, lifting the hair so it's more easily shaved.
  • fresh razors--this is the same story as disposable razors you use for your face. razor edges tend to get blunt and nicked at a microscopic scale pretty quick, and if you continue to use razors that are blunt or nicked, it increases the chance of creating abrasions or cuts to the skin that create openings for infection. razors should always be fresh, or at least renewed every few times.
  • shaving gel--a good one. i don't particularly base my preference on scents or skin conditioning. to me that's just being fancy. what i do care about, however, is if it 1) helps prep the skin and hair, 2) disinfects pores and abrasions, and 3) soothes the skin after shaving.
  • shave gently and methodically--with the same level of gentleness and method you shave your face. especially for areas close to the bone (e.g., the shins and knees). it's tempting to try and speed things up or to really dig for some stubborn hairs, but this just increases the risk of cutting the skin and inviting infection.
  • shave against the skin--as if you don't already know. but the rule that exists for shaving your face applies to your legs (or chest, back, armpits, whatever). this makes for a much closer shave, which is pretty much the entire point of shaving.
  • pat the skin dry, don't rub--rubbing the skin with a towel to dry off just serves to irritate it, and invites the development of rashes. why, i don't know. but whatever the reason, it seems to work better to pat it dry.
  • use lotion--a good aloe lotion will do the trick. hand lotion is designed to treat the skin to keep it from becoming irritated. i've found this makes a HUGE difference. apply it liberally, especially before putting it in contact with clothing (which irritates fresh-shaved skin).
  • trim first--this is the same thing as for when you try to shave off a beard. if it's your first time shaving and your hair is really long, you'll want to trim the hair down (with clippers or whatever you use to trim your beard). razors don't work as well (and they get worn down quicker) if used on longer hair.
  • do it regularly--the first few times appear to be shockers for the skin, and you'll tend to find a lot of rashes and irritations in the beginning. eventually, however, with regular shaving and treatment, the skin seems to adapt and there will be fewer issues.
on a final note, i know there's always the temptations to use the typical ointments used on the face: aftershave or alcohol. i personally have never given in to this. the thought of the sting from aftershave or alcohol is a little unnerving, and besides, it just doesn't seem appropriate to throw them on your legs.

does all this say something about my masculinity? who knows. if it does, then it probably also does for all the other guys in this sport who are showing up on training days and race days with freshly-smoothed skin. my attitude is whatever. i figure it's part of being a triathlete, and i treat it as a badge of honor.

and i don't even consider it that strange anymore--it's pretty much just another weekend shower ritual by this point, and another excuse to spend a few more minutes soothing myself in hot water. of course, this may indicate just how weird i've become courtesy of triathlon, but i'd prefer to maintain my own delusions of sanity and go on blithely about my way.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

training round-up, week ending 2-10-07

nothing much on the training schedule this week. i still felt sluggish coming off the recovery week. but i felt much better after the sunday run, and i can tell i'm backed off the overtraining edge since my body seems to be recovering much quicker off the workouts--i was a little sore going into wednesday, but found the spin session left me feeling much better. of course, i'll let you know if this continues.

apart from that, i'm starting to believe that triathlon is really conducive to eating disorders. i found myself having a conniption fit last weekend over the apparent stubborness of the holiday weight i'd put on over Christmas (the mirror never lies, and what the mirror showed was not what i was at the end of last year). it's been 4 weeks since the holidays and the weight just. did. not. want. to. come. off...

i pretty much spent this past week reducing caloric intake and obsessing over calories and nutrition. i was just tired of feeling the extra weight. i just was. i ended up focusing on eating only until i stopped feeling hungry, as opposed to eating until i felt full.

i'm a little bit more happy now with what i'm seeing in the mirror. at least i'm seeing some movement back to what i'm used to living with.

but dude, i can totally see how this can easily become a pathologically chronic practice of daily sessions in the mirror and a neurotic relationship with food. the pressure is there. not that body composition is really all that crucial for an amateur triathlete. but i've felt the punishment that's experienced for excess weight on race day, and i just don't ever want to deal with it if i don't have to. triathlons are hard enough without the additional burden of jiggling luggage, and weight-induced gastric distress, cramps, heat exhaustion, over-accelerated heart rate, high blood pressure, dehydration, and god knows what other curses are tied to the many-headed hydra that is useless fat. and because of that, i'll willing to consider many things to keep. the. weight. off...

see what i mean? the gates to eating disorder.

sunday, feb. 4


  • trail run (weekly long run), 12 miles, aerobic & anaerobic conditioning (zone 3 & zone 4), rose bowl arroyo trail, start time 9:00am
monday, feb. 5


  • swim (technique & pull), 2200 yards, aerobic conditioning (zone 3), mcdonald's swim stadium, start time 6:00am
  • weight training (chest & abs), 30 minutes, immediately following
  • run (maintenance), 4.8 km, aerobic conditioning (zone 3), loker track stadium, start time 6:30pm
tuesday, feb. 5

rest day

wednesday, feb. 6

  • stationary bike (cadence), 60 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2 & zone 3), lyons center, start time 6am
  • weight training (abs), 20 minutes, immediately following
thursday, feb. 7


  • weight training (chest, shoulders, & lower back), 45 minutes, lyons center, start time 6am
  • run (intervals, 4x400 main), 6.4 km, aerobic & anaerobic conditioning (zone 4 & zone 5), loker track stadium, start time 6:30pm
friday, feb. 8


  • swim (build), 3400 yards, aerobic conditioning (zone 3), mcdonald's swim stadium, start time 6am
  • weight training (abs), 20 minutes, immediately following
  • run (active rest), 12 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2), loker track stadium, start time 5:30pm
  • kung fu (active rest), 40 minutes, immediately following
saturday, feb. 9


  • kung fu (active rest), casuda canyon park, start time 10:30 am

Thursday, February 08, 2007

rules and the kamakura

Modified from the original written for the USC Triathlon Newsletter 02-08-07:

The theme this week is rules. Rules. Always rules. Wherever you turn in this world, there's always rules. Speed limits, parking signs, tax declarations, demands of parents, orders of bosses, grading guidelines of professors, grad school application instructions, directives from coaches, announcements of race organizers, drafting rules, course infractions, littering limits, sportsmanship codes, it's all just rules rules rules. Just the MAN keepin' US down, yo. There's so many of them that it makes you wonder why we bother to live with them.

In February of every year the city of Yokote in the Akita Prefecture of Japan hosts the winter Kamakura Snow Festival (not to be confused with the April Kamukura Samurai Festival in Kamakura, Japan). The Kamakura Snow Festival marks the time of deepest snow in Yokote, and traditionally brings in the lunar new year on the traditional Japanese calendar. As part of this festival, children build snow huts capable of seating several people, and then light them with candles and spend several nights inviting passers-by to come in and share roasted mochi (a sweet dough made from rice) and amazake (a sweet rice drink served hot).

Kamakuras were actually a survival tool, and like their counterparts in Native American cultures exploited the insulating properties of snow to create an emergency shelter. Historically, they were among the first lessons given to children to help protect themselves in the event they were stranded in a blizzard, and to help them to see snow as a useful tool rather than an object of fear.

Over time, however, the festival incorporated expectations of behavior. Children, as good hosts, were expected to be cheerful, generous, polite, and welcoming to any strangers seeking shelter from the winter. Passers-by, as good guests, were expected in exchange to be respectful, grateful, and courteous to their hosts, going so far as to maintain the custom of removing their shoes and entering the snow hut in bare feet, even in freezing sub-zero conditions.

The objective behind this was only superficially to pass on Japanese codes of behavior. Deeper than this was the ulterior goal of having children learn the larger purposes for rules on conduct: how to get along with other human beings, especially those you don't know.

Because there are times when you will have to deal with strangers. Because there are times when you cannot avoid any others. And because there are times when conditions are harsh and elements brutal and circumstances beyond hopeless when the only thing that will remind you of your humanity and who we are is the ability to reach out to a fellow human being and offer them a measure of comfort against the darkest depths of an uncaring, unrelenting, unfathomable harsh winter...and the only way for us to finish the race in such conditions is for total strangers to work together.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

training round-up, week ending 02-03-07

this was a weird week. i was tired.

which isn't so weird, considering that this was supposed to be the off week in the 4-week training cycle--typically, i go on a 3 or 4 week training cycle, with 2 weeks of build and 1 week of rest (or, if it's a 4-week cycle, 3 weeks of build and 1 week of rest). the build weeks all follow 1-week micro-cycles, so that each week features progressively longer (or higher intensity) workouts. the rest weeks aren't really rest as in total rest, but rather "active rest" where activity is reduced, but still held to a level that's enough to maintain the fitness gains made during the build weeks.

what was weird, however, was that i'd wanted to go into the rest with a big break-through workout (see prior training round-up posts for a definition of a "break-through workout"), and so i'd scheduled for the sunday a long brick with a 2-mile swim and 70-75 mile bike ride (or 80, if i was feeling good). but i hit a major fatigue point the saturday before, and woke up not really feeling up to it--and it wasn't a lazy kind of fatigue, but a physically drained one.

lucky for me, the weather was pretty shaky sunday, with forecasts of scattered rain and polluted ocean water. that gave me an excuse to ditch the brick i'd planned.

but i ended up feeling so guilty i decided to go to campus on sunday and get in a shorter, higher intensity swim-bike brick. i ended up cutting it short, as i could feel my energy levels really dipping low. i told myself i'd try to reschedule the brick for later in the week.

it didn't get much better monday, when i found myself still feeling tired despite the reduced workout load. at that point, i decided i better scale the schedule back and just take tuesday and wednesday for rest days to recuperate and recover.

of course, that meant thursday was the brick. but there was no way i had the time to fit the planned outdoor workout in, meaning if i did it, it would have to be on campus and indoors so i could get to class and work quicker. i cut out the swim, and shuffled the workout. i ended up doing a simulated long bike ride in the morning--176 minutes on the stationary bike (which from the formula i gave in a previous training round-up post, equals to 264 minutes--or 4 hours and 24 minutes--on a road ride), and a 40 minute run (6.4 km, plus cool-down) in the evening. it wasn't a brick, but i got my long ride and follow-up run, which was good.

and i actually felt much better by saturday. good enough to actually look forward to the next 3 build weeks...none of which are very pretty.

sunday, jan. 28


  • brick: swim (build) + stationary bike (cadence), 2200 yards swim + 45 minutes bike, aerobic conditioning (zone 3 & zone 4), mcdonald's swim stadium & lyons center, start time 11am
monday, jan. 29


  • swim (technique & pull), 2000 yards, aerobic conditioning (zone 3), mcdonald's swim stadium, start time 6:00am
  • weight training (chest & abs), 30 minutes, immediately following
  • run (maintenance), 4.8 km, aerobic conditioning (zone 3), loker track stadium, start time 6:30pm
tuesday, jan. 30

rest day

wednesday, jan. 31

rest day

thursday, feb. 1


  • stationary bike (long ride substitute), 176 minutes, muscular endurance (zone 3 & zone 4), lyons center, start time 6am
  • run (tempo), 6.4 km, aerobic conditioning (zone 3 & zone 4), loker track stadium, start time 6:30pm
friday, feb. 2


  • swim (technique), 1200 yards, aerobic conditioning (zone 2), mcdonald's swim stadium, start time 6am
  • weight training (chest & abs), 45 minutes, immediately following
  • run (active rest), 12 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2), loker track stadium, start time 5:30pm
  • kung fu (active rest), 60 minutes, immediately following
saturday, feb. 3


  • kung fu (active rest), casuda canyon park, start time 10:30 am

Friday, February 02, 2007

what is possible

we live in a world where we think we know what is possible.

and we know, because we are told from the time that we are born to the time until we die, by family, friends, strangers, books, videos, music, government warnings, medical science, scholarly research, and banners and signs and labels and packages and everyone and everything in our waking conscious perception. we are told what it is that they believe is possible.

how far a person can run in a single given day. how much food and water we need to live. how much rest a person must take in order to survive. how long and how well we were really meant to live, and how high and how deep our spirit and soul were meant to go.

and because we are told these things by so many for so often for so long, we come to accept the limits that are set for us. 2.4 miles as a superhuman swim. 112 miles as the extreme limit to ride a bicycle. 26.2 miles as the furthest to possibly run. and we only hope to ever dare to do any one of them at a given time, and only with what we have been told: enough rest, with the prescribed shoes and the recommended clothes and the required food and the needed drink and the specialized equipment in the most favorable weather and on the easiest paths.

all this, because we are raised to think we know what is possible. from the words of others repeated so often that we have lost ourselves, and can no longer separate what they believe from what it is that we don't know, so that their world is made our own.

and when the day comes that somebody arises to tell us that the world is not the one we know and is more than what we believe, we scoff, we laugh, we dismiss, and then disbelieve.

and when somebody says that we don't know what is truly possible, we shake our heads, wave a hand in dismissal, and cast their words out to exaggeration, fabrication, distortion, falsehood, legend, or even myth, obscured by time and ossified by age, stories told by people who didn't--and still don't--know the world we know...and we know better.

and when they say that once the civilizations of the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas relied on couriers known to cover 200 miles in a single day, that the Iroquois nations had messengers who were recounted by European trappers as running 90 miles between the rising and setting of a single sun, and that the tribes of the Mojave desert were observed by U.S. soldiers as making 60 miles within a single night, with nothing more than cornmeal, water, and bare-soled feet, we tell ourselves that these are mere fables.

and when they say that Zen monks were renowned for engaging in 7-year pilgimages wherein they ran distances of 30 to 50 miles a day for as much as 300 days in a row, sustained only by a bag of rice and flask of water and sandals made of straw, we tell them that they are simply fools.

until another day comes, when the myth is found to be legend and the legend is seen to be made real:
the Zen monks of Mt. Hiei still do make pilgrimages of over 7 years where they run 30 to 50 miles per day for as much as 300 consecutive days. the Tarahumara tribes of North America still carry the traditions of running more than 100 miles in a single day. and they do it with less food and less water and less sleep and less rest and less clothes and no shoes and no equipment in all weather and on all paths.

and it is then we know that the fables are not fables nor the fools simply fools, and that the legends are more than just legends and the myths are more than just myths...and we do not know better.

and we can separate what others believe from what it is that we don't know.

and it is then we realize that the limits that have been set for us are not limits, but mere numbers, arbitrary and capricious, paltry and insignificant. 2.4 miles is not a superhuman swim. 112 miles is not an extreme limit to ride a bicycle. 26.2 miles is not the furthest a person can run.

and adding them together in a single race of 140.6 miles within a single day is not impossible.

and it is then that we leave a world where we think we know what is possible, and enter a world where we know what is possible.

like long and how well we were really meant to live, and how high and how deep our spirit and soul were really meant to go.