We are coming up on the end of the month and there are only a couple of days to get in those last miles so you can hit your goals. What does that mean? I need to put some rubber on the road. I am at 396.8 miles on my bike right now, and my goal was 450 for the month. What does mother nature do for me? Sends me three days worth of projected snow storms. Damn. Guess that means I will be pounding the trainer. For you data geeks, my TSS for the month so far is 1,193 with 13,330 kJ. Compare that to last July when I was put in 919.0 miles — I had a TSS score of 3,033 and 30,468 kJ. February is a great base building month and I will reap the benefits of early season fitness levels by getting my speed and climbing legs under me faster. 2012 is going well so far.
And thanks to everyone who left comments on my write up on my brother’s deployment to Kandahar. You are the reason that our soldiers serve. If you haven’t left a comment there, please click here and do it. The fact is that even supportive and uplifting words from strangers help our servicemen and women.
I promised last week in my review of Iron War by Matt Fitzgerald to post some of my favorite quotes from the book that related to endurance sports. Now you guys know that the book is very specific to triathlon and even the iron distance races and training, but I feel they apply to running and cycling as well. As you read the book you will notice that there is definitely a relationship between all endurance sports because the athletes are willing to go deep into the pain cave and sustain a high level of suffering for long periods of time.
I have the Kindle edition of the book, so I can’t put a page number with each quote, but I can tell you the location in my Kindle. You may have something else in that location because I haven’t ever compared locations from Kindle to Kindle. Regardless, here they are…
“Some of the best feelings in life are experienced in moments of overcoming immense challenges to claim meaningful rewards–moments of discovering what one is made of. A person needs to be tough to survive in this world. It is a great comfort to the soul to know that one is tougher, more courageous, more capable of enduring suffering than the next person.” (Location 1355)
When someone asked me once why I race in triathlons, on my bike, and yes, even in a 5K, my answer was something along these lines. Truly, Fitzgerald does a great job explaining the motivation and drive behind training and racing for some of us.
Fitzgerald also wrote about the trend of runners, cyclists, and triathletes to rely more and more on technology to help them understand pacing and their workouts. I admit I fall into that category. I like to use my PowerTap to pace on my bike. I like to use my Garmin on the run to tell me where my pace and heart rate both are. While I use both of these tools, I try not to fall into the trap of letting them control me. Fitzgerald wrote,
“Mindless performance may be especially helpful in endurance sports because of the supreme importance of the capacity to suffer. The more science and technical detail an athlete incirporates into the training process, the more distracted he becomes from the only thing that really matters: getting out the door and going hard.” (Location 4838)
As part of the racing process, Fitzgerald has a discussion about suffering and pacing. I know lots of athletes who go to a race and pace at the same level they do during training. While this can be good if you are running for social reasons, if you are racing to test your limits and speed, then you need to kick it up a gear during a race. Talking about this concept and suffering, he puts out the following concept,
“This perception-based art of pacing is how endurance athletes finish races in the shortest time possible. But even the athlete who masters this art must fight against a desire to quit in the last part of each race. If you don’t want to quit, you’re not doing it right.” (Location 2874)
I have puked after crossing a finish line. I never crossed in 1st place, but there are a handful of races where my training, desire, and fitness have come together to produce a PR. I don’t think that you need to run a sub 20:00 5K to be an endurance athlete, but in a couple of “A” races each year you really should push your limits and see if you can’t just go faster, Yes it will hurt and it will be uncomfortable, but the pride you can feel by crossing that finish line just a little faster than you did last year will go a long ways to continue to kick your butt out the front door when you just don’t have the motivation.
Now as I am extremely giving person, I grabbed a couple of motivational images that I thought you guys would like. If you guys have some great quotes related to running, triathlon, and cycling, please share them. I would love to hear!
This was my favorite for some reason.