Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Get your own measuring stick

Often I hear people say, I had a shitty race because I finished out of the top 10, or I was middle of the pack, etc. I suck, this and that. When I think about it, I feel that these people are saying this because they are judging their own performance in comparison to those around them that they are competing with. I don't think it is fair to do that. This applies to more than just racing. I'm not as rich as this guy b/c I dont have a 700 series, or wow look at that guy at the blackjack table betting $1000 per hand. We've all done it.

The only person that is fair for you to measure yourself against is yourself. Did YOU do all you could? Who cares what everyone else did. Did YOU give everything, did YOU make the sacrifices required to be where you want to be? In a race, just like like in life, you have absolutely no control over who the competition is. Anyone can show up on race day, and they just might beat you to that finish line, but that is not how you should judge yourself. So what if they beat you across the line, if you raced as hard and as fast as you could, and still did not beat them, what more could you have given?

Now you can be pissed at yourself for not giving everything you could have, but if you did don't kick yourself for not being the fastest. For all you know that guy at the blackjack table is playing with the last $1000 to his name, or the mortgage money for this month. I think it is perfectly legitimate to use faster folks as motivation to make you train harder, work smarter, and do better than you had last time, but your results need to be measured on their own merit in the context of you and your efforts

Go create your own yard stick for measuring yourself against and challenge yourself to beat the best YOU can do, everyone else is just a spectator in your journey.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Charlottesville Xterra

Saturday we went down to Charlottesville for the annual Xterra at Walnut Creek State Park. Got in a great preride with Eric. So good infact that we were tempted to do it twice, well, Eric wanted to go again, but I knew better. It would have been WAY more fun, but we would have paid for it on race day.

Race day saw long bathroom lines (AGAIN) and I did not get a good warm up at all. At the horn I took off towards the first buoy, had a decent line but got stuck behind a guy that liked to breast stroke. I wound up leading a chase pack around the course with the leaders off in the distance. I lost about 4 minutes to them by the time I got out of the water.

On the bike I had a great race once I was warmed up enough to get the preride cobwebs out. It took the better part of 15 minutes to find my legs, but once I did I was off. For some reason I think the terrain and climbing there really suits me b/c I had another great race on the bike. I was able to clean that sick steep rooty climb out of the creek bed for the first time. I even took some time to stop and give my friend Konrad a tube, CO2, and some tools, it was his 4th race in a row with a flat and I felt for him. Once on the run I was able to find my legs immediately and push really hard throughout.

All said and done I took over 6 minutes off my time from last year and got 5th overall. I had a great race and was really happy with how everything worked out. I just wish I could ride those trails a bit more often.

Stacey had another great performance. Last year she did the preride with me and did not have a good ride and as a result did not sign up for this race. However after a year of hitting the bike pretty hard and getting ridiculously better she tackled the course head on. She said she had a rough bike out there, probably due to the preride taking a bit out of her legs, but I think to get a full loop in before the actual race was good mentally. She finished with a smile and now we just hope she earned enough points to qualify for Tahoe. So proud of her.

Eric, Virgil, Mike Frasketi, Roger Masse and a few other friends all had great races too. Cville Xterra is my favorites stop on the point series tour, get out there and tri it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Time heals all wounds

Time is a funny thing. I slips away the harder you grasp at it, but if you don't pay attention it is gone just as fast. It also has a wonderful healing effect that dulls the really sharp pains of the past. I think that is usually for the better.

I will chose a non-tragic/saddening example. Approaching the fall always has me thinking of the big races within my grasp, the Xterra National and World Championship. Back in 2005 I raced the world championship in Maui, and I bonked spectacularly on the run. So bad, in fact, that I had some very serious concerns that I would not finish the race, how I had no idea how I would take my next step. After such a great race up to that part I was completely distraught and it left a very sour taste in my mouth for months that had me question why I even race.

Looking back on it two years later, the bonk didn't seem that bad, and I have a hard time comprehending that I was worried about finishing. Time made that serious pain dissipate in the passing months and years. As I get ready to do some final season races leading up to the national championship in Tahoe next month, I don't remember how bad those races hurt last year. I remember things like crossing the finish line in Charlottesville and being so overheated I needed to jump in the lake immediately, but looking back I don't feel like it was so bad.

This scrubbing of my memories is a very very good thing, especially when you continually throw yourself into the same races year after year. If the memories of those races were about the pain and not the accomplishment, then I'm not sure any of us would sign up, toe the line, and bury ourselves all over again.

It's time to get out there. Maybe this year it will hurt only as bad as my memories of past years.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Weekend Thoughts

So on Saturday some friends were around and we went to Sushi Taro and the DC Improv for the last hurray of my 33rd birthday celebration week (great week). The comedians at the Improv had our whole group laughing our asses off, the shit was HILARIOUS. Patrice Oneal (no, not a hot chick) tore the place up with some crazy dirty stuff. I felt filthy leaving the place and like I was on an ab roller for an hour and a half. Oh and when eating at a sushi joint, definitely let the couple that lived in Japan for 3 years order for the whole table.

On Sunday we woke up and got our run on, then did a whole lot of nothing except took a huge massive 4 hour nap on the couch. You know, as I get older naps definitely get better. I need to work those into the routine more often.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Stop Waiting

So today it is hot. It;s been hot all week. Real hot. I hate August in Virginia hot. Hot where you sweat just being outside much less actually doing something active. Days like today (and the really cold winter days) you have to go into that suitcase of motivation you have stashed away for just such an occasion in order to get the job done. After a wonderfully brutal day biking I took yesterday off to recover and this morning was a track workout and it was hard to get moving.

It's like many things in life, sometimes you have to do the thing that you really don't want to do (or would rather not) to get to where you want to be. It can be something annoying like doing the dishes. Something daunting like finishing your basement. Or something that is just the first step to something better like updating your resume, or getting off the couch for that very first run.

Nobody is going to do these things for you, you NEED to do them yourself. And you know what? If someone WILL do them for you, they are not actually helping you because you are missing the opportunity to take charge, make something happen and build your own momentum. Life is all about momentum.

Whatever it is, stop waiting and making it happen, the hardest part is starting out.

That being said, anyone want to do my dishes?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Weekend & Birthday

So today I turn 33. Whoopdie do! Actually, I love it. Birthdays are great, even if I have had so many that I can't remember all (any) of them. I always manage to get some fun time in and today was no exception. Stupid early bike ride out to Gambrill State Park and the Frederick Watershed with Eric Sorensen, Jed Prentice, and Dave Wood. All told: 5 hours long, probably over 30 miles ridden, Ri-DICK-ulous amounts of rocks, roots, climbs, descents and other wonderfully brutal features. My hands, wrists, shoulders, back, and arse are sore as hell but dear lord was it worth it. Fun like that does not happen very often.

Also, raced this past weekend at Xterra Appalachia with the wife. Stacey had a great (but tough) race. She got 4th in her age group and quite possibly enough points to qualify for xterra nationals in Tahoe. I hope she makes it b/c we are going. I'm so proud of her, she continually reminds me that hard work pays off.

I had a great race, a good swim that kept me within striking distance of the leaders. A real solid bike ride that had me catch and pass all but one. Then a pretty grueling run that saw me catch the race leader at a poorly marked part of the course (we had no clue which way to go) to only lose contact in the final mile. I wound up 2nd overall and 1st in my age group. By FAR my best finish ever. Good times, good times.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Why I love racing

Why I love racing has changed quite a bit since I have started doing it. I originally loved it because it was something to help me lose some weight and get fit. I was also able to get better very easily with practice (I had a loooong way to go). Lately, though, after a few years of racing things can seem the same, races can become routine etc....if you let them.

One thing that is incredibly beautiful is the friendships you make over the years and through those friendships you broaden your horizons and do things you never considered. Whether you sign up for an Ironman b/c your best friend does or you try an Xterra b/c your buddies are always hounding you, there is always the next challenge. Always a new, different chance to redefine your boundaries.

Pushing like this certainly bleeds over into other aspects of your life, and if harnessed correctly can drive you to new heights professionally and personally. Never miss the opportunity to challenge yourself. Every year do at least one new thing that you never though you would, you'll be surprised at how your outlook on life can change and how you view yourself.