Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blood in the Water

It has been a little over 4 years since I stepped up to blocks for the last time. A little over 4 years since my competitive swimming career came to an end. Not an abrupt end, nor an unforeseen end, but a logical conclusion to a campaign spanning a decade and a half of swimming. Starting with 1 lap in early June and ending with 66 in late February 15 years later it was not so suddenly over. The next morning wasn't the beginning of yet another off season, it was the beginning of THE off season. No more cramped locker rooms, no more 4-5 hour bus rides, no more 5 am wake-up calls, no more Saturday morning sessions, no more training, no more competing.

But the competitive fire doesn't switch off quite as easily, and I found myself training, and racing again. Competition is inherent to all of us, and there is really only one reason that I can see; overtaking another competitor. There are few feelings that rival overtaking someone. Whether you are training or racing, in that moment when you realize you're gaining ground on the person ahead of you, nothing else matters, you need to catch them. The pursuit is gripping, I've run extra miles chasing someone down, and stopped talking mid-sentence to mount an attack on another group of bikers. It's primal, it's the hunt, you can smell the blood in the water, and you care about little else.

Three months to go, I hope I'm the Shark.

Miles Covered So Far:

Biking: 1839.41

Swimming: 79.75

Running: 441.64

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Survival Guide: Houston Summer

Nearly three and a half years ago I moved from Central Pennsylvania to the quaint metropolis of Houston, Texas. It was during the month of March, the weather was perfect, blue skies, 70 degree weather, rarely a drop of rain, and I thought I had moved to paradise. Then March turned into April and April turned into May, and slowly my paradise became a sticky, oppressive, concrete broiler. My first taste of summer in Houston was a wet hot mess. Heat and humidity and relatively unpredictable storms make training for anything more physical than a chess tournament a tall task. This summer is no exception, with rain stealing weeks of training and the heat reaching record highs once the rain subsides, it's tough out there. I've been through 3 previous summers, training for various events, and I'm using lessons learned from those trials (by fire) to keep my training on track. The following is a short, but hopefully helpful, list of tips to survive the Houston summers.
  1. Stay Hydrated - This doesn't mean simply water, as you train you'll lose vital electrolytes such as sodium and potassium to sweat as well. Sports drinks can help you replenish those as well as many of your favorite beverages.

  2. Train Early in the Morning- And...

  3. Train Late at Night- Pretty much avoiding this part of the day is key..

  4. Train Indoors - Treadmills and Stationary bikes suck, but they are occasionally necessary, and sometimes fun.

  5. Swim - 71.11% of the Earth is covered in water, and if those dirty hippies are right that number is only going to increase. So stay cool and prep for the inevitable future.

  6. Use Common Sense - It's triple digits out there, but your mug is frosty. You can always run tomorrow...

Miles Covered So Far:

Swimming: 73.75

Biking: 1580.3

Running: 398.64