February 25, 2006

Hell Hath Quite A Bit Of Fury

Morning Workout
1000 meters
Main Set: 16 x 25 meter sprints with 15 seconds rest in-betwixt each

30 minutes on the trainer
Heart Rate Zone: Aerobic Conditioning (Zone 3) at a cadence of 80 rpm

1 hour-ish
Heart Rate Zone: Aerobic (Zone 1)

Random Comments
: I've been concerned for the past two days about my achilles. Actually, it was my calf that started hurting from Thursday's workout, if you remember. But somehow the injury migrated south for the weekend. I've probably been standing up too much - the injury has succomb to the forces of gravity and turned into achilles pain. It was supposed to be a two hour run off the bike this morning, lingering somewhere in the Zone 1 to Zone 2 category. However, understanding the aforementioned discomfort I've been feeling, I decided to take it real slow and see what happens. Discomfort I can run with. It's when the discomfort turns to pain that I realize I need to watch out. The discomfort turned to pain after 25 minutes. So after a bout of stretching, I turned around and jogged very very slowly back to the car. I mean, I was going so slowly there were pigeons walking faster than me. Eventually I made it back alive though. And an hour later Catherine finished her two hour fun run. At that point we began eating. I'd imagine we'll stop chewing soon.
Star Spotting Of The Day: Rachel Griffiths aka that annoying character on Six Feet Under that made me stop watching the show
Location: The bluffs overlooking the beach in Santa Monica
What She Was Doing: Pushing her baby in a stroller. That is, her baby was in the stroller, not Rachel. Rachel was walking behind the stroller wearing dark sunglasses and a down coat. Yes, a down coat. This is Santa Monica, California. It's sixty four degrees and sunny outside. She's wearing a down coat. Guess she's trying to be inconspicuous. I wonder how that's working out for her.

I ran track when I was in school.... kind of. I mean, I was on the track team and I even showed up for all of the meets and competed in them. It's just that I sucked. Being bad had its advantages though. The track coach at my school, having realized how incredibly incompetent and completely untalented I was, didn't give a flying hoot what I did so he let me compete in any race I wanted. To him it just didn't matter. I wasn't going to be scoring any points for the team or winning any races, so who really cared. That was his attitude. Which is all nice and fine with me, cause it let me finish the races in peace as I stumbled across the finish line in dead last place each time. We're talking so far in last place that they had to hold up the next race in order to give me enough time to finish. People forgot I was actually racing, I was so far back. And the thing is, I didn't really compete in long races.

For some silly reason, I chose to run the 800 meters, arguably one of the most difficult and idiotic events in the track circuit. You really can't settle into a nice pace in the 800 meter race like you can for a longer distance, like the 1500 meter. Unfortunately, my legs couldn't stay upright for 1500 meters, so that wasn't even an option. At the same time, the 800 meters isn't an easy "sprint-and-your-done" dealio like the 100 meters or 400 meters. The 800 meter race is pure, unadulterated pain that I'd imagine really exemplifies the phrase "hell hath no fury" if I ever understood what that phrase meant. All I know is that it sounds really mean and painful - and that about sums up the race. The 800 meters is an all-out sprint that goes quite a bit longer than the point in which you've actually become all out. Clearly, though, I embraced that pain and convinced myself that it would help build that ever-so-elusive character everybody seemed to be talking about.

I think there was something about the track meet, though, that kept me running this Godforsaken race. There is an energy and anxiety at a track meet that is so viscous you could cut it with a spork. There is a lot that goes on at the meets: people are racing around the track while long jumpers are jumping, shot putters are putting and pole vaulters are either poling or vaulting, I'm not sure which. It always felt like a circus to me. I didn't know where to look first and I wanted to see it all at once. I wanted to follow the runners but didn't want to miss the graceful gallopping of the triple jumpers. And the thing about the track meet, with so much going on there were always people roaming about every which way you looked. It was tough to distinguish the competitors from the warmer-uppers from the innocent bystanders. I'd walk across the track trying not to cut off any sprinter, then meander through the infield events while I spun in circles watching the runners. Eventually I'd spin myself dizzy and find myself standing smack dab in the middle of the shot put field with some large Lurch-like character glaring at me with a cannonball in his hand. It was sensory overload, those track meets. I loved that energy.

That was what it felt like at the track today during our workout. As I entered the track area to end my run, I stepped into a virtual profusion of athletic madness. There were two soccer games being played on the football field. Two other soccer teams were waiting by the sidelines, a few members jogging around the track, while a third team was doing sprints up and down the bleachers. There was the local girls track team out for practice: a handful at the long-jump pit, a few brave ones motivating each other on the hurdles and three other groups alternating between stretching and jogging. The Santa Monica Police Department had their trainees out on the track, timing them for mile repeats. A local 10 year old boys basketball team was following their coach as they did drills up and down the field. And three middle-aged football players were doing fancy footwork football drills that made my ankles feel sore just watching them.

As I jogged around that track my eyes kept darting from one scene to another. And the energy of the circus-like trackmeet embraced me again. Suddenly it made me realize yet another reason I compete in triathlon. When I was a lad, those 800 meters were a big challenge for me. But I persisted. Today, I can eat up those 800 meters and spit them out before even thinking about my days workout. My challenge is the triathlon. And whenever I get to the starting line of a race, I can feel that energy and anxiety again. Racers are preparing their transition areas and squeezing into their wetsuits while other age group waves are in the water, immersed in their race. The early starters are exiting the water and weaving their way through transition as they hop on their bikes and begin the next stage. Meanwhile, spectators roam back and forth watching and cheering and standing in wonderous amazement. It's a three sport spectacle. A three ring circus. And I love it.

Let the games begin.