I started writing this post a few days ago, and it was a little too woe-is-me/I've seen a little turnaround, so I figure a rewrite was in order.
In the weeks since Arizona, my body has not been excited to move. By the end of the third week post-race, I had run a total of 38.5 miles across 7 runs, had ridden my bike exactly zero times, and swam 5 times for a total of 18,5000 meters. Suffice to say, I decided to give up the ghost on the 400 miles of swimming. I looked at it and realized I was going to have to swim at least 5k every day that I could possibly swim (between going home for Christmas, some house guests and the wedding, I had about 16 swimmable days this month.
Running hasn't been great mostly due to the cold. It's been unseasonably cold in the last couple of weeks, and this has been having a really negative affect on my knee. I used to be able to run in shorts into the low 20s, now if it's below 50 it's got to be covered up. It aches all day, and I make it through runs only to have it ache all day after I run. Basically, once I run in a day, that's it for me. No swimming, no riding. Have to do those first. Pretty much I will only be running at night for the next few months.
I ran a week ago (Thursday) without a watch for the first time in a real long time. I was trying to trick my brain into running however necessary. I ran the same run on Saturday following the timing of the Figgy Pudding 5k, and didn't run terribly slow, so I felt better about that. But it still didn't feel comfortable. Saturday afternoon/evening was our annual Christgiving pot-luck dinner, a great new tradition for our team in Baltimore, and then the Festivus celebration followed. After a pretty late night, Sunday was a flush-the-gunk run with Pat, Cheese and Brennan. The run was really slow, but I did feel slightly better than Saturday.
Monday I felt a lot better, so I tried to put an end to the gloomy outlook of "I'm not going to run this winter" and instead adopted an "I am going to struggle running this winter but I'll still do it" mindset. The weather, however, was adopting an "I hate you" motif. Air temp around 27 with windchill around 15, the winds were howling. A small yet hearty group of runners showed up to FHR, and the dudes went out for Shady 7. We picked up a pretty sweet tailwind in Cherry Hill, but then got brutalized on the Hanover bridge.
Last night I managed to run 10 miles with Pat, Barf and Harvey at WNR. Once again it was super cold, and still windy but not as bad as Sun-Tues. Of course, my satellite doesn't care, any wind over 15mph is enough to knock it out. I haven't had TV since Sunday. But as far as the run went, I was able to run alright and that's the longest in 25 days I've run, so that's good.
Now rather than rewrite anything else, I'm just going to post the remainder of my original post about how my motivation is low. Ha, man if that doesn't prove I'm lazy, I don't know what does!
Swimming is just annoying. I have swam so much in the last year and a half and I'm tired of it. I also know that I can literally take two months off and get myself into the same shape within a few weeks, so it's like I'm not even worried about it. Maybe that's a positive thing, the one thing I've learned over time is that, even being horribly banged up, I can pull myself into shape very fast. I'm trying not to sweat it. The pool is never the problem, it's getting to the pool. I am cold by the time I get there, and just don't want to get in. I ultimately jump in and get going and am fine, but then I get out, and I'm cold all day, and I smell like chemicals. Turn them down!
The bike, well that's been pure laziness. I didn't want to have to start up again by riding the trainer. I was hoping for a few days outside. But every day I went to go do it, it was shitty out. It's generally been pretty gross the last three weeks. Very cold, very windy, lots of rain. So much rain that my house sprang a leak again and damaged the beautiful wood floors.
Speaking of the house, I will be house-less in just a few weeks. Yep, Emily and Bryan received an offer and accepted it. As of this Friday, they will potentially no longer be the owners of this place. I say potentially because there is a small possibility that it may fall through, so until the ink is dry on the paperwork, I still live here. But, it's another thing I'll have to deal with in now a very short amount of time.
Part of my lack of motivation has been my schedule lately. Post-AZ week was of course Thanksgiving and a wedding, and then I had to go up to NYC for a wedding the following weekend. I stayed in NJ for what looked to be my last surgeon visit (sweet) but wound up not running for 8 days straight. I did go for an 8 mile hike on the Appalachian Trail up near the Delaware Water Gap in northwest NJ one of the days, which rocked me pretty hard. Uphill wasn't as hard on the body, but the downhills were killing me.
I think part of the new me is the need to have consistent training. I saw that, for 142 days, I did not have to take a break. Of course, it rarely dropped below 60 degrees during that stretch, which helped, but I kept moving and had very few problems. Now I feel like the decrepit shell of Alfred Terry has consumed me, and I move slowly and with nothing but aches and pains.
I am running the Celtic Solstice 5 Miler this Saturday. At this point, with 50 miles in 3 weeks and an inability to run faster than 6 minute pace, it may not be pretty. In addition to the new stress of Friday being the day of reckoning with the house, and this potentially being the last weekend of living here, I have a houseguest for roughly 5 and change days in the form of Brian Godsey. Pereless stopped through this past weekend, so it looks like the Inn at Fleet Street will keep its occupancy record until the very end. We're even thinking about having a last bash on NYE if we're still here.
I realize that it's "only" been a month since I competed at Ironman, and the point of a late season race is to chill out for a minute, so like I said, I'm not sweating the lack of training - but I am concerned about how I've been feeling. I need to get ahead of it and figure that out so I don't go too far backwards. Race season is a long way off, and as always, I'm less concerned with May than I am with next fall. But, it is nice to be able to look at next year with some certainty, as opposed to the speculation of 2010.
Coming into this year, I was full of doubt, but also optimistic that I'd be able to get back to training and racing. I was so optimistic that I signed up for Columbia and Eagleman, Arizona and even Chicago Marathon. At least I was able to do one of those four. Between 2009 and 2010, I was out about $2000 in race entry fees. Man, that's harsh. By the time I was able to start running again, I had to amend my goals. They kind of looked like this:
Run in Patapsco
Run 30 minutes for 5 miles
Do Ironman Arizona
Never before have goals been so scattered or the gap between goals so immense. On the one hand I wanted simply to run in Patapsco, but then also complete an Ironman? Crazy, Ryan, just crazy. Fortunately, I can gladly say I did accomplish all three of these goals.
I have done a few runs in the park, and as long as I can see the trail (i.e., no leaves) I can continue to run there this winter. I managed to run under 30min (off the bike) at Red Bank Tri. I ran 30:15 at Born to Run 2 weeks ago. This weekend is Celtic Solstice, where I hope to be under 30, and then I'm going to do the Polar Bear 5 Miler on 12/26 in Asbury Park. And of course, I did the Ironman. Not too shabby.
Since I feel like this post has been somewhat scatter-brained, I'm going to save my 2011 plans and goals for another post. For now I'll enjoy the surprising amount of snowfall we are getting.