Friday, May 15, 2009

Does It Offend You, Yeah?

This is the stupid name of some band that I feel Alex would listen to, but it's also what I was thinking about during my pedestrian run today at Robert E Lee. I thought about a lot of things. First, I thought about how much I hate that I live in a place where there is a park named after the Confederate General. It's like really, Maryland? Whose side were you on?

Next I was thinking about how often I am perceived as being offensive, and how little I care about those opinions.

I was also thinking man, why don't I ever feel good anymore while running?

I was thinking of the hilarious story I came up with about otters. My friend Shari tells me yesterday that she believes she saw an otter in the water down by the Safeway. I feel there is no way that any kind of otter would be living in the Inner Harbor. Her boyfriend tells her maybe it's a "kitty cat" - to which she replies "there's no way it was a kitty cat, it was an otter, like a beaver but it didn't have the fat tail to smoosh things." I'm laughing and tell her it was probably a rat. No way on earth it was an otter.

But then I felt bad for crushing her dream, and since today's her birthday I told her that I did some research and found out that the neighborhood in Fed Hill that is called "Otterbein" translates to "Bath of Otters" in German. When the first German immigrants settled in Baltimore, the Inner Harbor was a bunch of marshy waterways, perfect for families of otters. Over time, industrialization pushed them out, but a few still exist. There is a website,

On my way home, while listening to the fresh tracks WTMD was playing, I noticed the billboard for the lottery. It's at 38 million dollars. I don't often play the lottery, but it had me thinking: you can't win if you don't play. I usually drift off and think about the sweet things I would do if I won the lottery, but I started thinking about how so many people I know talk about how they're going to get into the sickest shape ever and they're gonna do this and do that - but they never get beyond the talking. While I may fail, time and time again, the one thing that I'm immensely proud of myself for is that I'm always in it. I raced 27 times last year. I've raced at least 90 times since 2005.

As I begin starting the journey towards Ironman and other long races, I'll probably post a little more on the training I'm doing. Most of what I do now is just bullshit. I go out and do whatever I feel like on a daily basis. I have routines and things I try to stick to, but it's pretty loose right now.

I went down to Columbia on Wednesday to ride the course. Even though I've ridden it a hundred times and know it like the back of my hand, I always like to ride it before the race just to see if anything's changed. It really does suck. It's just not a fun place to ride a ride. Race day never seems to be that bad, but the traffic at rush hour gets balled up, there is no shoulder and the roads are hard. I met up with a few people and we rode about 1h20m. On race day I'll need to be, oh, about 17 minutes faster. Then I went for a little run around the lake.

Last night a few of us went to Gunpowder State Park for an open water swim. I guess the body of water is some kind of river that empties into the bay. It looked like an ocean last night. Waves seemed huge and it looked like it wasn't even going to be possible to swim. Fortunately we made it without incident, swimming for about a half hour. Always good practice because you never know what the appropriately-named Choptank River will be doing at Eagleman in June. Water temp was pretty nice, which is good for this weekend.

Today I ran about 7 miles at Robert E Lee. It was nice to be off the roads as my body just did not want to run the same old loop today.

My pre-race for tomorrow is usually a 30 mile easy ride, maybe hop in the pool just for a couple hundred meters, and then head to Columbia for packet pickup, bike racking, etc. I've got to help Jim work the expo for a little and then I'll head home and run 3-4 miles before calling it a night. 4am wakeup on Sunday always comes early and if history has taught me anything, my neighbors will be unruly due to Preakness. I hate that fucking race.

If all goes well on Sunday, my 6:50am start time will parlay itself into an 8:58 finish. Last year I went 2:08:40 with splits of 22:23, 1:04:44 and 38:17. With the exception of the swim time, they were all PRs. The bike was the big one - 5:20 faster than the previous year and 13th fastest on the day. I'm feeling surprisingly good while swimming right now and would like to crack the 21:xx range, and if I could ride as fast as I did last year or maybe a little faster I'd be really psyched. The run I'm not as concerned with. I probably won't ever run worse than 40, but a few weeks ago (before Boston) I felt like I could go 37:xx. I'm still going to make that my goal. It would be nice to be able to go a little faster than last year but even if it's close or just over, it won't be a failure.

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