It's time to write some more - the blog seems to be bi-weekly this summer. I enjoy writing, and I trust that you enjoy following the journey and perhaps get some meaning out of a post here and there. There's a little lesson right in here, that if you want to make something a priority, you're going to have to let the other things calling your name just wait a bit. How do I carve out time for blogging - let alone making progress on my memoir? Well, Dano, how did you carve out time to train for the Ironman?
Ironman is coming back to Madison - it's on September 12th this year. All the excitement that I felt last year as I built up to this epic event is welling up inside of me again, and I can sense it in the athletes out there training hard. I know a little something for it - at least I know what worked for me. It seems that I hear a lot of the same things this year as I did last: "I'm not sure / he's feeling kind of burned out / she's injured / it's sure coming up fast..." and I still shy quietly away from some kind of smarty-pants remark about building a good schedule, harmonizing priorities, and frequently and intentionally resting. Looking back on it, last year I might have been unnerved by these kinds of remarks, but I had faith in my own approach - this year my emotion is practically identical, but I have proof.
I'm getting antsy to get up at 5:30 in the morning and join in for a few sessions. Getting up early seems to be the #1 way to carve out time to do things: if the only reason I am even awake is to do this thing, then here I am to focus on it. (Works pretty well for writing, too!) I've spent the last two Monday mornings out running with a professor turned TNT supporter turned running friend, Don, and immediately felt my energy level rise as a result. Most of my workouts this summer have been sessions with teammates and friends - nothing too terribly structured. I don't feel burned out at all - it's been kind of like an off-season. At the same time, having a structured training plan also seems to make the summer more relaxed for me - I was never wondering whether I "should" be doing something else, and I knew I had rest days set aside. It's probably my personality that craves the order that training calls for - even if it does seem to make me a bit more high-stung about things like when I get to bed! So I'll keep it fresh by keeping the next goal on the calendar - more on those goals later. As a matter of fact, in the same way, I'm feeling ready.... forthe one-year reunion of Monday morning at 4:30am under Monona Terrace...
So what's been happening here - here's a quick rundown. I rode the "Dairyland Dare" last Saturday, with TNT Tahoe alum Nikki, who invited me to join her, and I'm glad I did. I like to ride on the hills, I think they're a chance to let a good attitude, strong legs, and good mechanics shine - plus climbing is a great time to feel great about being small! Around Madison, it's pretty hilly. In Triathlete magazine, the review of IM Wisconsin said the bike route is very hilly, with some challenging descents; I thought "really? this is just where I ride and play!" Geologically, though, the city of Dodgeville, about 40 minutes southwest of Madison, is a whole different ball game. It's in the "driftless" zone - the glaciers didn't come to Dodgeville like they did to smooth Madison over. So naturally, Dodgeville is a perfect site for a bike race! The Dairyland Dare offered route options of 50k, 100k, 200k, 250k, and 300k (that's over 200 miles!) - we rode the 100k (62 miles). The terrain was really tough stuff - relentless rollers and steep hills both; in some cases the race organizers had written the grade on the pavement.... 16%.... 18%..... 20%. I hear there's a 23% on one of the hills on the 300k course. Yowza. My bike has a "standard" crank and cassette (gear system), so while other riders shift down into super-easy climbing gears, my option is to get up and pull. I recall one sag between a descent and ascent looking down to see my speedometer go immediately from 38 to 4 mph. It's fun to play on the hills. (Here's a link to the course map!) I recommend this ride and hope to do it again!
I have a couple of especially challenging topics that I want to bite into one of these days, but that I think may take pages to muse through. These will be mixed in with some scheduling news for the year ahead! Thanks for following along. Cheers!