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Play Ball!!

May 27, 2014 Leave a comment

bautistaencarnacin

yeah, I’m all-star like these guys… in my head I am, at least!…

As is my usual summer right of passage, I’ve signed up to play softball.  With the moving around that’s defined the past 2-3 years, I’ve wound up joining a new team this year.  Well, new to me – they mostly knew each other from prior years already.  A buddy of mine has been on this team for a while, and told me there was a spot open.  Sweet, sign me up!

The past few years, I’ve always played in “C” league, 3-pitch, very recreational leagues.  They’ve been fun, if not especially skilled.  I don’t consider myself a great ball player, but I’m hardly terrible.  Let’s put it this way: relative to my peers, I think I’m a much better ball player than triathlete!

This year, I’m playing slo-pitch, and on a team in “A” league.  It’s worlds different!  I’m not sure if the competition is that much better, or if it’s simply exposed my overconfidence, but either way: I’m playing TERRIBLY!  4 games into the season, I’ve dropped more fly balls than I’ve caught and have only a few singles to show for my batting struggles.

Worse still – it’s getting into my head!  It reminds me of being a teenager, and trying out for the city rep softball team.  I thought I was good enough to play – turns out, they were just desperate for bodies.  I mostly rode the bench – played in the outfield for a few innings each game, and struck out more often than I hit the ball.  And nobody on my team would talk to me.  It was terrible.  And now, in my early 30’s, I’m going through the same self-doubt and anxiety about going out to the ball diamond that I did way back then.  I want so badly to impress my new team, that I can’t do anything!  I thought softball would be a fun bit of recreation this summer – a few extra hours of “cross training”, running around in the outfield and a few beers after the game with my team.  Instead I stand out in the outfield by myself, just praying I catch the next damn ball hit my way!

So during last night’s game, while standing in the outfield kicking myself for dropping a perfectly routine fly ball, I got to thinking about why I love triathlon so much.  There’s a lot of reasons (most of which have nothing to do with this post) but one of them being that it’s a battle against yourself.  You bust your ass in training as much as your own fitness, pain tolerance, life schedule, and personal interest allow for.  When you race, you give it everything you’ve got to try to best a personal goal, or your own time from a previous race.  And if, in spite of putting in the work, you blow a tire or pull a muscle or just happen to SUCK in any given race, you only have to rationalize with yourself.  And even if you’re like me – and usually your own worst critic – you don’t have to look around after dropping a fly ball to see a bunch of teammates wondering why you’re not back on the bench!

Playing ball is serving it’s purpose of giving me some extra cross training though, between the extra hours running around the outfield after all the fly balls I didn’t catch, to the extra bicycling getting to and from the ball diamond, my training hours have skyrocketed this past week:

WIR 140527

My body is a little on the tired side, as a result.  I need to find a way to balance some of my traditional triathlon training with my ball and bike commuting.  My running is certainly sacrificing from my led legs due to all the bike commuting.  With any shift in routine comes the accompanying need to rediscover balance, and I’m working on that still, it seems.  I’m sure – much like my softball play – it’ll all sort itself out.

Do you do any summer sports as cross training?

Friday Stray Thoughts

May 16, 2014 1 comment

FridayImage by Glenn McCoy

Happy Friday everyone!  For those of you looking for a little light lunchtime internet distraction to tide you over until quitting time, here’s a few Stray Thoughts for your Friday Afternoon

– – – – –

With apologies to those who follow me on Facebook (and who’ve already seen me link this) – here the latest cartoon from The Oatmeal.  Seriously – maybe the funniest stuff online.  Go read their website, and buy all their stuff (if my budget wasn’t so tight, I sure would… hmmm… if only I had a birthday coming up…)

Sorry – I digress.  Their latest cartoon, which actually has some relevance to learning to get off the couch and into shape.  And it’s kick-ass funny:

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/what_you_see

– – – – –

RedshiftBars

I’m now a few weeks into riding my bike semi-reliably to work.  And I’m realizing how different my racing bike is from The Iron Pig that I ride to work.  My commuter bike is HEAVY.  It’s old, and the derailleurs don’t really want to shift when I ask them to.  It seems the more I ride it – even predominantly downhill rides – my thighs are KILLING me by the end.  It is the ultimate pedal-mashing experience.  It really makes me long for my racing bike.  But, on the plus side, I’m going to have the strongest legs I’ve ever had by then end of this summer!!

(and apparently I need to get a better picture of my racing bike… Bad Blogger Dave!!)

 

– – – – –

weather140516

This past week has been an utter shit show for me.  Extreme emotional highs and extreme emotional lows.  I feel like I’ve been all over the place.  Where I haven’t been, though, is training.  I’ve allowed myself a bit of an excuse of post-race recovery, but really, 4 days is too long of recovery for a 10k run.  It’s time to get back to work.  And I’m really excited to get back into a training groove.  With this past weekend’s race now in the rear view mirror, I feel like it’s finally triathlon season!  Now if only we could get some consistently nice weather to work with!  C’mon Summer!!

– – – – –

Have a great weekend everybody!  Good Luck to everyone racing or training this weekend!!!  A special shout out to Brittany from The Fit Formula who’s taking on her first Ironman at IMTX this weekend!  You got this!!

Race Recap: Sporting Life 10K (or The Seven Second Conundrum)

May 11, 2014 Leave a comment

SL10k2014D&C

Post race selfies!  So great.  And since the picture already spoiled it: I finished, and got a finisher’s medal.  It’s shaped like a canoe paddle.  How cool is that?!

Anyway, let’s start at the beginning…

This morning, my cousin and I did our 2nd annual running of the Sporting Life 10k in Toronto.  It was a great morning!  This race has become something of a tradition for us – it’s about racing our best, but it’s also a chance for us to visit and catch up.  This is a race weekend I really look forward to.

We knew the race started at 8:00am, and that our wave (based on expected finish time) would head out at 8:20.  I crashed at my cousin’s place in downtown TO last night, and we walked out to flag a cab to the start line at 7:30.  On any other day, walking out onto King St in Toronto, there’s a cab driving by every 30 seconds or so.  Getting a cab is taken for granted.  This morning, apparently not so.  We would discover that – with 28,000 runners all trying to take taxis across town to the starting line of this point-to-point race – there was a scarcity of cabs in the city.  10 minutes later, we were seriously starting to worry about even making it to the start of the race.  Phone calls to various taxi companies were going unanswered.  Then – miraculously – a taxi dropped off a fare right outside my cousin’s condo building.  Convenient!  We made it to the start line around 8:15.  Just barely in time for our wave to start (and well after the elite runners were off).

The starting line went much smoother than it did last year.  We set off with our wave this time (as opposed to last year, when runners were sort of ignoring their waves and heading out when they chose – and thus so did we).  Thousands of runners heading out together – it took us several minutes after the race gun to shuffle across the start line.  But once we got across, the race felt great.  I felt energetic – light – fast.  I felt good.  My cousin and I were zig-zagging through runners from our wave.  We were racing!  It was so much fun!  We were off at a blistering pace (a bit of foreshadowing, for you veteran running race-ers out there…)

My cousin and I stayed together until somewhere around the 4km mark.  I wasn’t sure at the time if I got ahead of her, or if she got ahead of me.  At that point, I was on my own.

The rest of the run was pretty uneventful.  I ran the whole race, which I was quite proud of (apart from a 5 second walk break at one of the water stations – let’s face it, running through a water station ends up as more of a face wash than a drink).  But the run felt long.  Boring almost.  And then I noticed how quiet it was.  Not that there weren’t thousands of other runners running all around me, or spectators lining the route cheering – which was awesome!!  But the bands were missing!  Last year there were live musicians on stages at every kilometer marker.  This year, nothing.  I was so disappointed!  Live music lining the course was one of my favorite parts of the run last year.  Note to new race director: bring that back next year!!  Getting rid of the live music was a mistake!

By the 9km sign I was fully engaged in a mental battle with myself – willing myself to keep pushing hard through the finish.  I was running out of gas, but I knew I had started out strong and had a shot at a Personal Best time.  I only had 1km to go.  So I kept arguing with myself to push through the end.

I crossed the finish line at 9:25:xx (clock time).  Dammit.  Clock time.  I know our wave started at 8:20, but by the time the thousands of runners had advanced through the starting chute, I didn’t notice what time I went across.  Did it take us 5 minutes?  3 minutes?  8 minutes?  I was done, but I had no idea what my chip time was.  Note to self: start wearing a running watch while racing!

It was several hours later before we were able to look our chip times up online.  I ran a personal best time after all: 1:00:07.3

1 hour and 7.3 seconds!!!

On one hand, I just ran a personal best time – 2:30 faster than I had ever run a 10k before.  That’s so awesome!

On the other hand, I missed out on a sub one hour run by 7.3 seconds!  7.3 SECONDS!!!

If I had just run 1 second per km faster over the race, I could have made it (or, more realistically, if I had paced myself a hair better and not run out of gas at the end I could have made it).  Note to self: start wearing a running watch while racing!

It’s now a few hours later.  I’ve left Toronto and come back home.  I’ve wrestled with this conundrum for a few hours.  And I’ve decided I’m really happy with my run.  The elusive 1 hour mark is still out there.  I haven’t conquered that mountain yet.  But I went into this trained and ready, and hoped for a personal best time.  And I got one.  And yet, in spite of a personal best time, I’m now more motivated than ever to get back to training and put the work in to get faster!

First race of the year is in the books.  Now it feels like the race season is underway!  What a great day!

~DO’G

Ready To Go

May 3, 2014 2 comments

SL10K-new

I just finished my last long run before my first race of the year, next weekend’s Sporting Life 10k.  I feel ready.  Ready not only to run this race, but to get my race season underway.  It’s time to get this shit going!

I haven’t had a race since mid September.  I’ve felt a bit lost in the wilderness ever since then.  Like I’m training without urgency.  Like skipping a workout isn’t a problem, because race day is still so far away.  Well not anymore.  It’s time to kick off the 2014 season!  I’m seriously excited about this!!!

I raced this same race last year – I wrote a pretty extensive race preview at that time.  I don’t have much different to say this year as far as race previews go.  The race is sold out this year – 28,000 runners expected.  I can’t wait.  Plus, I get to run again with my cousin, which I always enjoy.  PLUS, this race last year is where I set my 10k Personal Best time (1:02:41) – and I kinda think I might have a shot at beating it this year.  My weight is down about 10lbs since this time last year.  My average running speed is :15 – :30 per km faster than it was this time last year.  I’m not feeling ‘under-trained’, as I did this time last year (so says my race preview post from last year).  And this is a course designed for Personal Best times:

All.  Down.  Hill.

All. Down. Hill.

Seriously excited.  Seriously ready to go.  Seriously ready to get this race season started!!!

 

Rest Day is the Best Day

May 1, 2014 2 comments

worn out

I find it interesting, in a frustrating kinda way…

When I do a tough swim training session, I feel the effects almost immediately.  Within hours, my arms, back, shoulders, and chest are all tired and lethargic.  I feel gassed quickly, but I bounce back pretty quickly…

When I do a tough bike or run session, I feel a bit tired afterwards, but the muscular soreness and stiffness doesn’t kick in usually until the next morning.  My legs get tired, particularly my hamstrings, and I find myself waddling around the office more than walking the next day…

When I do a tough strength training session, my body skips a day.  I feel great right after (which sometimes leads to a bad habit of not stretching, or doing any active recovery).  I usually feel great the next day (which definitely leads to a bad habit of not stretching, or doing any active recovery).  But two days later, it’s as if a time bomb went off on my limbs.

Boom!

I don’t get it.  at.  all.

On a possibly related note, somehow I managed to go the entire month of March AND the entire month of April – up until Tuesday April 29th – not having done a single strength training session.  How I let that happen is beyond me [Note to self: Tracking your workouts is only useful if you look back at your progress and notice trends like these].  Tuesday I got back at ‘er.  Wednesday, of course, I felt great.  Today: Boom!  Big Time!  I feel like I’ve been hit by a bulldozer!

I did have workouts scheduled for today.  They all just got moved to tomorrow.  Listening to my body > Mindlessly following a training plan on paper.  Today is now a rest day.  I’m kinda excited to go home from work tonight with no plans to workout whatsoever!  Rest Day is the Best Day!

… and hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be able to walk without looking like a penguin.  Fingers crossed!

[Edit:  Ok – I do get it – all kinds of different muscle groups and different energy systems and delayed onset muscle soreness and all that jazz.  I know there’s science behind this stuff… it’s not actually a magical bomb going off…]

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