June 29, 2006

The Three Stages Of Ironman Response

Morning Workout
25ish miles
Heart Rate Zone: Not quite sure. Didn't wear the HR monitor again.

Random Comments: Tell a non-triathlete the distances of Ironman races and the response is pretty much the same. It's what I like to call the Three Stages Of Ironman Response. Catchy title, huh? Well, here's what it entails..

The first stage is AWE:

Wow! That's amazing, they say. You must really be in great shape.

Awe is a very short stage that quickly flows into Stage 2, DISBELIEF:

Do you really do it all in just one day? they ask in what I can only imagine is a rhetorical way.

After a few minutes, this Disbelief transforms into the final stage, JUSTIFICATION:

I guess it can be done, they realize.
And after a bit of thought they continue.. The bike is probably the easiest. I suppose the run wouldn't be so bad if you go slowly. But the swim. The swim would definitely be the hardest.

I tend to just stand there quietly at this point. Not saying anything and letting the people wallow in their thoughts of how tough a 2.4 mile swim would be. Well let me make sure this is clear for everybody... it's not the swim. The swim is tedious, but fairly easy. Nor is it the run for me. It's the bike. Yep, the one stage that you thought would be the easiest - and it probably is for most people - but not for me.

Why is the bike the most difficult? You probably think that it's due to my legs getting too tired. That'd be a great, logical thought. But you'd be wrong. It's not my legs. My legs can make it through the distance just fine, thank you very much. And before you say anything else, it's not my lower back either, despite me having to spend that time crouched over the bike for so long. No, no, it's neither of those. For me it's the upper back. Yep, that point right where the neck turns into the spine. It's a very defined point for me and it becomes incredibly painful. Like somebody is sticking a very sharp, very long knife into my neck and twisting it around so very slowly.

Why the upper back, you ask? You see, while you're hunched over the bike, you constantly have to lift your head up to see what's ahead of you. After so much time with your head in that position, it just plain kills. And there's nothing more I want to do than get the heck off the bike and flex my shoulders. And if all I have to do in order to get my aching body off the damn bike is complete a marathon then, hell, show me where I put my running shoes and I'll see you in 26.2.

You can't imagine what it feels like, can you. You can't imagine that it could possibly be so painful that I wouldn't want to ride again. Well, hows about I give you a little test. Stand up straight. Go ahead... do it. There you go. Now bend your head back and look at the ceiling. That's it...point your eyes straight up to the skies. Great.. great. Now keep your head in that position for the next seven and a half hours.

The defense rests it's case, your honor.
Star Spotting Of The Day: John Turturro, the actor that it seems people either love or hate. Or maybe, like me, you think he's good, you don't really have anything against him and when it comes right down to it, you don't necessarily love or hate him.

Location: Starbucks, Santa Monica. The epicenter of fun.

What He Was Doing: Absolutely nothing of great interest. Unless you call getting a drink and walking across the street to Wild Oats something of great interest. And if you do, you probably should maybe start reevaluating the quality of your life.

The Second Star Spotting Of The Day (actually the Third, but I'm not counting Eric Bogosian who I see around town so much I feel like we're practically related): Sam Elliott, oh so famous for his great moustache but probably more famous for that wonderful baritone voice that even makes Barry White a little jealous. I mean, if Barry White weren't dead.

Location: Starbucks, Santa Monica (I'm telling you... it's the epicenter of everything)

What He Was Doing: Just about the same exact thing that John Turturro was doing, but an hour later. And with a much better mustache.


Anonymous said...

Happy new year !-!