Today I experienced not one….not two…but three very cool things:
1) I got The Nod during a run. And I needed it. I’m telling you folks – The Nod will become “a thing”. You just wait and see….
2) While running along the southern transverse of Central Park, I got to look on as a couple of young kids – maybe they were 3 years old – began running on the walking path that runs alongside the runners’ lanes. These two boys were laughing hysterically as they bounded down the road, their parents frantically trying to keep pace. I slowed up just to watch them run. They ran the way I wish I could: with unparalleled joy.
3) for the first time in a long time, I was able to negative split my run. I started out slow, and built up along my run, finishing faster than when I began. Normally, I start out hard and run until I blow up. Not today. Today I actually ran smart. Must have been a momentary lapse of reason.
Today was another reminder about the value that can be found in cross-training. I’ve found that giving my legs a couple of days a week to rest, and replacing the run with biking, swimming and weight training is slowly making me a better athlete. It’s also making me into a better runner. Why? Because by giving my legs rest on Sundays and Tuesdays allows me to perform better during my team workouts on Mondays and Wednesdays. And when I perform better during team workouts, I feel more motivated to work harder while pushing myself solo.
I need to work harder. But I also need to work smarter. And I’m as sharp as a bowling ball.
Today I figured something out: there may not be a direct correlation between my level of exercise in the morning and my corresponding attitude all day. I know it’s a general theory: work out – raise endorphins – feel better all day long. But lately it seemed as if regardless of the level of exercise I completed (or a lack thereof), I’ve been cranky. Day in and day out. There’s simply been different levels of cranky to compare each day to.
Then I did the mental math: I had cut off my caffeine intake. AH HA. No amount of endorphins readily available can compare with my large coffee, milk & 2 sugars.
I’ve recently tried an experiment: cut off all caffeine during the week. Then use caffeine to pump me up the morning of a long run or a speed workout. The result of my self-imposed clinical trial: my speed did NOT increase, but the number of times my inner Dr. House did his virtual rounds vastly increased.
Conclusion: if I ever decide to cut caffeine out of my daily intake, it would be the equivalent of losing a How I Met Your Mother-type slap bet. Seriously. If I ever mention to anyone ever again that I am swearing off coffee, you get a free slap. Non-transferable.
…there are times where I really should be able to get in to a movie by paying the child’s price for the ticket. I swear, I’m a damn 8 year-old encased in an adult body.
Today I was reminded of how cool people can be.
During a run in the park, I came across a dude that was very slowly making his way around the lower loop. He was a bit hunched over, so from the back he looked as if he was having a hard time or he even might have been sick. I pulled alongside him and asked if he was ok.
“…oh yeah. Just finding my way.”
Maybe it was the coolness of his response, or the fact that he was probably around 80 years old. But something made me slow up and hang with him for a few.
“Same here. Just making my way. You out here a lot?”
Without even looking at me he began to answer my questions…
“Yup. Every damn day. Every day I run these hills and very damn day I swear they get bigger.”
I told him that I knew how he felt. I hate hills. Always have.
“Yup. I’ve hated the damn things for 40 years now. Hated them when I started. I’ll still hate them years from now….”
…and then he finally turned his head to look at me….
“…but all these hills make my butt look great.”
We both laughed. Hard. So hard we both stopped. I shook his hand without even getting his name.
Then I had a scary thought. Did I just meet myself from 40 years in the future??!!!??? I immediately began looking along Central Park West for a damned Delorean.
Today I learned the following:
1) Central Park raccoons are bigger than some of the brown bears up in Monticello.
2) One of the horses ridden my a Central Park officer is basically the size of a Clydesdale, and his name is Maximus. Coolest….horse name….EVER.
3) Given enough hazy, hot and humid days in a row here in Manhattan, the lake in Central Park can begin to almost glow green with all of the algae that builds up. Almost makes the Hudson look like Grand Cayman.
4) Hills still do suuuuuucketh very much.
5) A tourist asked me whether she could walk to JFK from here (here being the middle of Central freakin’ Park). That’s my cue: “….well ma’am, anywhere is walking distance if you have the time.” (Thank you Steven Wright. You are my Gandolf the Gray).
Today I leaned that, after a tough test like a triathlon, it makes sense to give your body a day or two to rest. My couch is a guilt-free zone, and bring on the gelato. (That’s right – gelato. Italian ice cream. Why? Because it’s ice cream…with attitude. Forgetaboutit).
I know that one of my goals is to lose weight and drop to 185 pounds. And yes – I completely suck at being good when it comes to dieting (“do you want fries with that?” “DUH”). But just through jacking up my exercise regimen I am dropping pounds. Down 2 pant sizes, but nowhere near where I want to be. I could accelerate the weight loss by being disciplined and watching every single thing it eat. HOWEVER – the day after a race, time stands still the moment I hop on my couch. Every scoop of gelato contains zero calories. The space-time continuum freezes and anything I eat the day after a race is immediately banished to an alternate universe where I am 6’4″ and only weigh 140 pounds and in dire need of empty calories.
That’s right: Bizzaro Turtle exists somewhere.
….trust no one. The truth is out there.
(I just read the last few lines – I cannot believe I just referenced The X Files. Nerd alert.)
Today I learned that it is NOT easy to forget a poor effort and just pick up where you left off with your training.
There’s no great cure for the post-FUBARace blues. There’s nothing you can easily do to erase mistakes you made during a race, or a finishing time that you were sorely disappointed with.
Here’s where I turn to my main Doctor Dude, Dr. Bob Rotella and his book “Golf is Not a Game of Perfect”. In it he describes the “shooter’s mentality”. To summarize: if you take a shot in golf, hockey, or basketball, and you miss, you have to put that miss away and forget it. Focus on the next shot. There’s nothing you can do to change what just happened. Just learn from it, accept it, and move on. Don’t let the miss air in your head, because then one miss becomes 2, 2 becomes 3, etc.
There’s nothing I can do to change the results from the triathlon. I learned a lot. Now all I have to do is gain focus on my next big race: The Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October. I have other smaller races coming up between now and then – but I need something that’s right in front of my face that I find a little scary. And Ironman or not: 26.2 is a long way to haul my lazy rear-end. So Chicago is just the carrot I need to hone in on.
THE 2013 ING NEW YORK CITY MARATHON. It’s the U.N. Meeting of Marathoners. 140 countries + represented. It will be HUGE.
Going Dopey in January. 48+ miles in 4 days.
May. Texas. 140.6.
…..well – I’m cured. I cannot even remember what I had for breakfast, let alone what I did last Sunday.