Thursday, May 3, 2007

My need to periodically level-set

I fully realize that I push myself. Hard. I have HUGE expectations of myself, and I'm extremely fortunate to be blessed with a body that will comply (even if not as quickly as I would sometimes demand) to my requests to performance increases. Seriously, I push my body like a madman sometimes.

And at times I have a revelation that makes me wonder how I can improve as well as I seem to. Now, I don't think I'm some kind of natural freak that is a pro athlete undiscovered, but I do get the impression that I have a vast potential I've not yet come close to maximizing. I speak to athletes that have been doing triathlons, bike racing, or hard core running for years. I listen to what they have to say and their experience, and am always grateful to learn. I have a LOT to learn.

I've been running for years, but not with any real structure or goal, and not fully supported by lifestyle, proper nutrition, or stress/rest ratio. So, I would consider that some level of base to my fitness, with periods of intense training (Navy Dive School, Explosive Ordnance Disposal School, Navy basic training, Army Airborne School, etc), and that helps me. But prior to last June, I hadn't cycled with any regularity or intensity since about '94. Yeah, that's a long break from the bike. But last summer I got back on the road and didn't look back.

In January, Mendy and I got a 12 day pass to a local gym, right around the time I was toying with the triathlon idea, so I decided to start swimming. I hadn't done any swimming with any regularity...ever. The last time I actually swam was in mid-2003, and that was mostly side-stroke, and only about 5 times. Now we are members of the Y, and I swim twice a week for my training.

Unlike my friend Robin, I think running is the devil (other than during a brick or triathlon) and only do it to be semi-competative for the 3rd leg of triathlon and any 5k or 10k races I get a wild hair to participate in.

The weird thing is, I seem to be really doing decently at these 3 disciplines. And it's despite coming from a weightlifting background over the last few years, bulking up to over 200lbs on my 6'1" frame (with chicken legs!), and little cardio or endurance training prior to last March for a couple of years. Perhaps it's the intensity with which I attack the disciplines and my subsequent goals. Maybe I do have just a touch of that magic DNA that could have made me a lower-level professional competitor had I tapped into it years ago.

But, back to my point about level-setting, the seasoned athletes help me realize that I DO have may years yet to improve. I DO need to listen to my body when it says to slow down. And I DO have TONS of information and experience to take on-board before I'm even remotely where I think I could be. I have bitten off a huge bite for this year, and I think I can do it. It will be a tough road, and I will learn a lot, but it is the stepping stone to a long "career" of my competition. This year is my rookie year.

But this little red dude on my shoulder says, "Screw those hippies! Push yourself and win! You can do it...or are you scared? Sissy!"

Great run tonight to cap off the day with a swim sprint workout. I did just about 5 miles and averaged a 7m 05s pace. The swim was sprints with my baggy shorts on, and I didn't get many in before I was too pooped to pop. I'm a bit disappointed by my swim, honestly. Maybe I should wear my royal blue banana sling that Scott's so fond of. :-)


Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

"Maybe I should wear my royal blue banana sling that Scott's so fond of."

You crack me up. Anyway, you seem to have a lot of natural athletic ability and you certainly have a lot of passion. Two things come to mind. First, aerobic gains are cummulative...not just over weeks and months, but seasons and years. Most of the science says that it takes a good 10 years for a triathlete to reach their full potential. That's good news for you because you have lots of upside potential for improvement. The bad news is that fatigue is also cummulative over seasons and years, not just workouts. And it isn't just physical, it is mental, too. In other words, you have to build in breaks throughout your progression. Once again, most of what I have read points to reducing workload one week out of every four and taking two to three weeks off entirely out of every year to allow both a mental and physical replenishment. Of course, everything is indiviualized in this sport, but anything less than that may lead to burnout or injury. I have seen a lot of fired-up athletes come roaring into this sport only to be off selling their bikes and wetsuits after a couple of years. I would much rather see you become one of the "lifers" in this sport. We need friends, too. ;-)

Gotta Run said...

WOW! Might you be seeing the need to have a plan? You are a mad driven man and only know one option when training... PUSH IT TO THE LIMITS. Finally you have realized that you are not headed to a nursing home any time soon. You are 100% correct in thinking that you have plenty of time to show the Tri world your superior skills :).

Rock on David!! Not sure what to say about the banana sling. I will leave that one to Scott :).

Mendy said...

You are doing fantastic and seeing fast results with having a goal focus, Acknowledging and listening to advice from the advanced, elite, and pro's is a huge help. At least it is for me - I love learning from Robin about her running, you for what I need to do in triathlon (in the future), and my swim coach last night on how I can improve in the pool. I agree with Robin above about a specific plan, I know you've mentioned getting more organized with a specific plan - imaging the possibilities if you're on a structured plan.

I really liked what Chad had to say about the breaks in between goals, etc. Good information!

David, keep up the positive attitude and keep pushing! you're doing great.

Anonymous said...

Good Job! You handsome man!