Friday, November 30, 2007

Once A Runner....

Just finished reading "Once A Runner" by John L. Parker, the cult classic distance runner's novel.  Wow--what a trip!  My son, Anders, turned me on to it and now I know what all the fuss is about.  No wonder it costs $200 on ebay.  It's impossible to read that book and not get caught up in some of the elemental attractions of running (and triathlon).  If you can get a copy of it, read it--you'll be glad you did!

The book reminds me that I was once a runner.  I once did 100+ mile weeks, 34 minute 10ks, and 2:40ish marathons.  Was a LONG time ago.  When I run today, I swear it feels exactly the same--sometimes the runs are a struggle and sometimes I'm flying like the young man I once was-or so it seems.  I'm reminded of the classic Greg Lemond quote where he commented on winning the TDF: "It doesn't feel any easier, you just get faster".  He was saying that it's all the same--you always hurt when you push.  So my old man modification to Greg's quote is: "It doesn't feel any easier, you just get slower".

That said, once a runner, always a runner.  In this transition phase between my IM in November and my earnest base building of 2008, I have returned to my running roots.  I'll train mostly as a runner in December and look forward to a couple of 50-60 mile weeks.  As I transition back to a triathlete's regimen in January, I hope this return to my running roots will lead to a return to some of my prior running glory.  If not, it's at least a nice change of pace.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I spent 2007 focused around the goal of doing everything I possibly could to qualify for Kona at the 2007 IMFL.  I worked with a coach.  I worked hard on my weaknesses.  I radically altered my diet and sleep patterns.  I gave up a bunch of shorter "fun" races to stay focused on my A race but yet I still "failed".

After the race, a lot of my friends expressed their concerns about how I felt about this.  At first, I found this real surprising because it never occurred to me to feel bad about it.  I guess at one level I did indeed fail.  I didn't qualify.  But in my failure, I received and experienced a lot of gifts:

1. Once again I was able to do this real fun, positive thing with my son of 21.  We travelled to Spain, France, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida together (among other places).  We did our thing together and my heart is filled with 100s of fantastic memories.

2. Along the way we did have our way at a few races like Metroman and White Lake and the competitor in me appreciates that.

3. I LOVE that qualifying is hard.  I may never be able to do it but that in part is what makes it great!   To quote president Kennedy: "We choose to go to the moon in this decade not because it is easy, but because it is hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win."  I'll try again (several times in 2008) and I may not make it but that will just make the quest even more important for me.

4. After my bike accident and surgeries 2 years ago, it was unclear if I would ever be able to do another one of these things.  When I was out there at IMFL this year and really hurting on the run I had this clear thought that here I was, still doing it and I was very thankful to still be able to do an IM.  I'm very thankful that I'm getting mature enough now to appreciate experiences while they happen, not just when I can no longer do them.

5. I did make real breakthroughs in fitness this year and as i enter 2008, I'm pumped and primed--it's great to be 50 years old and still moving ahead physically.

There are others but you get the point.  If failure is this good, I can only hope that success, if it comes, can live up to this standard.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

And So It Begins....

OK as part of the Cadence Kona Challenge, I have been duly commissioned as a Blogger.  This is quite a leap for such an aged soul as myself but if you stop learning, you start dying so here we go!

I thought it best, to start my blog with my 2007 Ironman Florida race report.  This was the race I was supposed to qualify for Kona 2008 in, but I did not.  Anyways, find below a link to the race report and we'll go from there!