Thursday, May 30, 2013

Don't think... just run!

REASONS... We all have them.  We have them when we sign up for a race.  We have them when we wake up before dawn to swim, bike, run or just hit the gym.  We have them when we miss a workout too.  Oh, we have reasons, some are better than others.  Some make sense, some are legitimate and some are B*||$%{#!

I looked at my training plan last night and this morning, and just thought to myself, there's no way I can get it all in today.  Work, training, work, training.  I'm lucky that some of my work IS training.  But I just can't, I don't have the time to get it all in today.  Then I agreed to teach extra spin class.  Don't look, don't think about it, just take it one workout at a time, and we'll see what happens.

Oh yeah, spin class number one, with the South Tampa crowd.  I had an hour to kill between class and a scheduled meeting.  Who needs lunch, let's get in the pool.  One mile, no pull buoy, no kick board, no watch, just swim.  Time for a quick shower then on to a meeting.

Time flies, all of a sudden its 6:00 pm and time to go back to the gym for spin class number two.  The regulars are there, its always good to see some friendly faces.  Class is done, and I'm drenched in sweat.  I'm tired, I'm hungry, my calf hurts.  My mind is coming up with the reasons, or excuses.  I'll run tomorrow.  Its getting late, right.  A few keystrokes on the gym computer, I am so ready to go home I have my car keys in my hand but I can't do it, I can't leave.  There's no valid reason not to run.  Back into the locker room, change into some running gear.  Just start running, don't think, just run.  No iPod just run, don't look at the watch just run.  Its a familiar route, I've run it more times than I know.  The afternoon thundershowers have cooled things down, but its also rather steamy out, who cares, just run.

Four and half miles went by in no time at all.  I did it, I completed everything on my training plan for the day, plus a little more, when I really started the day thinking there's no way I could.  I am sore, I'm hungry, but I feel great.  I know for a fact had I skipped that run, I would have been on the couch angry at myself, and stressing over when I was going to make it up.  Never has an ice bath, protein drink and handful of Advil, been so welcomed.

I know there will be days when I don't complete everything on plan for the day, but it will be for a good reason not a conjured up one.  Until next time my friends, don't think, just run!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Twenty-four weeks of training.  That's where I'm at.  Twenty-four weeks, of pain, suffering, blood sweat and tears.  YEAH BAABY (Insert Mike Myers Voice over)

Its funny how different the perceptions are. The conversation often goes something like:  So you're training for what, an Ironman.  How many miles is that?  After you explain the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run, you usually get some very interesting responses.  Some say, that's amazing.  Some say, well I could do the bike part, even though they haven't ridden a real bike in years.  I've heard, wow, so I guess it takes a lot of training to get to that.  My favorite response... in one way shape or form is:  "That's just  #@~%^&* NUTS!

What people do not understand, that this really is not a hobby, its a lifestyle. This past Saturday, on our morning ride, I was told by three women, "I hate you"  all before 10:00 am. I must be doing something right!

We love comparing training plans, and teaming up to conquer those long miles on the bike or run.  We compare everything, from bicycle tires to anti-chafing remedies.  We stare at our computers or phones to see what our friends are doing when they are racing.  We can feel their anguish and pain when we see their splits coming in slower than expected.  We cheer from afar when we see they've finished no matter what their time is!

We have to remember to not sweat the small stuff.  We are truly lucky to be doing this together.  I was running last night, and saw a little girl on her pink bike, with her pink helmet, just riding around the neighborhood.  It had rained really hard earlier that afternoon and there were lots of puddles.  I watched her riding slowly and making sure she went through all of the puddles splashing away.  She had the biggest smile on her face.  Remember, at least once a week, leave the Garmin home.  Just run, run for the sheer pleasure of running.  Ride through that puddle or run through that sprinkler.  Let the little kid inside come out to play!

Embrace the pain of training, embrace the anguish on the race course when we get passed.  Cross that finish line and all is forgotten.  If something happens and we don't cross that line, learn from the experience, and push on!

I'm doing my best to stay within my training plan and not do more, or go faster even though at times I know I can.  Twenty-four weeks is a long time and a lot can go wrong, but I am only going to focus on the positive.  Oh sure, I may rant from time to time, and you will certainly hear me say something hurts somewhere, but I will do my best to remain positive and upbeat.  If you ever feel I'm being negative, please call me out on it, right here.  Tell me to lighten up, help me reframe my thoughts.  That's the power of the pack!  I'll do the same for you.

Remember let the little kid inside come out to play!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Recharge the batteries

There's nothing quite like a weekend out of town, to help you recharge.  It doesn't have to be far away.  Just some good times with some good friends. Oh yeah, some beer and tequila won't hurt either.

Ft Myers Beach, not too far away, but just right for what we needed.  Of course once we got to our destination, our gracious hosts Dave & Tina immediately showed us the stocked outdoor fridge.  My first beer was opened and gone before the car was unloaded.  Maybe my first two beers. You see where this is going.

Big Hickory Island, Bonita Beach
Most days, I set an alarm and wake somewhere between 4:30am and 5:30am. So what a treat NOT to set an alarm. Sleeping till 7:10am is "sleeping in".   After breakfast we were ready to take on the day, and the boat and the beach and the Florida sun!  Again, the first beers of the day were cracked open somewhere around 10:30am. Hey, "It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere"  An awesome time watching the dolphins chase fish and play alongside the boat.  We got to talk to the locals along a small barrier island near Bonita Beach.

There was sun, fun, beers, drinks and great company to be had! Somewhere I lost count, or maybe I never started counting quite how many drinks I had, but it didn't matter.  After a fantastic grouper sandwich and fish tacos, it was back to the house, to lounge in the pool for a bit before deciding where to eat yet again.  

I had nothing to do with it
We laughed, we ate, we drank, we laughed some more.  From sun-up to sun-down it was simply a great day.  The evening was capped off with a walk along the beach late night.  It doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday came, again no alarm clock was set, but we were ready to go.  We had talked about running, and got going.  It was Kari's first run in over a month. Twenty minute rehab rub, easy pace, just get out there and feel the Florida sun and humidity.  Actually felt really good!

"Pete's Time Out"
Breakfast, then some more time to explore Fort Myers beach, the pier, the Dairy Queen.  Somewhere along the line I guess, I was put into time out.  You can see me at Pete's Time Out!  I must go back there again.  A big shout out and thank you to our hosts Dave & Tina who own the Dairy Queen on Ft Myers Beach.  If you happen to be there, stop in indulge a bit, and say hi!

The perfect getaway, to get ready for a long season of training.  It must have worked.  Monday, I had some technical difficulties with my alarm clock, but woke at 5:00am ready to teach my spin class!  I even think I had a smile on my face at the gym.

My Ironman training plan begins in earnest Monday May 20th, for what will be 24 weeks of intense, soul-searching, gut wrenching, push my body to its limit, training and racing.  

The batteries are recharged, IRONMAN, here I come!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Crew: Let's talk about "The Goof"

Making a toast to one of your close friends, its like being asked to have conjugal relations with the Queen, sure its a great honor, but what do you say?  Now that I have your attention, you can tell the approach I will take for this one.  But seriously, would you expect anything less when talking about someone who calls himself the "Iron Goof".

If you don't know, let me introduce to you, Brad "Iron Goof" Minus.

"The Iron Goof" at Gasparilla
Brad and I met two years ago as we were getting ready for St Anthony's.  We fast became friends, and have trained together most weekends for two plus years now.  We've had good races, so-so races, and each have had our challenging races.

During Ironman Florida 2011, I couldn't come up to Panama City to cheer and volunteer as planned.  But let me tell you I was glued to my tablet and my laptop, all day checking his splits.  I even saw him come out of the water on the live video feed.    I remember Nick and I watching his splits on the bike, and we knew he was have a challenging day in the wind.  Anne was calling and texting me with visual updates, and let me know he was off the bike.  He had plenty of time to finish the marathon portion of the event.  On the run, I could tell he had come to play, and the first few splits he looked strong.  But then the technology gods were angered, and we didn't get an update for a long time.  Was Brad, walking, injured or just hurting.  We didn't know, and let me tell you, my heart was beating as if I was out on the course with him.  I couldn't get hold of Anne, her phone was dead.  All we could do was wait.  I had the live feed of the finish line on my laptop, looking for a handful of people.  Still no split time on Brad.  I was worried, I knew how hard he had worked to get there, and and we were willing him to the finish.

I walked away for a second, but could hear the announcer say:   "Brad Minus, from Tampa, Brad, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN"  I remember feeling as if for a moment I was there!

Brad, never brags about his Ironman accomplishment.  I tell him he needs to more.  Brad is certainly very passionate, especially about running.  Just ask him a question, but make sure you have time for the answer.  I outweigh him by 40 - 50 pounds, but I can still take him on the bike, but not on the run, not even close.  He has that competitive spirit when we run.  Even on my best days, when I'm feeling good, he just has an extra gear that I can't match.

Brad will always be there to help a friend.  On more than one occasion, Brad has been there for me.  When my mother was in the TGH Emergency Room all day and into the night, Brad was there.  When she was in hospice, and we were there day and night, Brad brought food for my entire family one afternoon.

If I had to describe Brad in one sentence:  "Brad will do anything for a friend!"

IRONMAN Florida is fast approaching.  I can't wait to be at the finish line with him and Jamie.  Like I said before, who gets there first, doesn't matter.

Brad "Iron Goof" Minus, Jamie: AKA "The Whiner"
and Me, Big Pete   REV3 70.3, Oct 2012