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    Black Canyons 100k Buckle

The transition from sub-ultra to ultra-distance events can be an exercise in humility for an athlete with an engine like a racecar. You’re asking them to drive with the purpose of a diesel rig which goes against their nature but it’s in their best interest to shy away from that top set of gears. Although nothing was really said aloud, I’m certain his inner dialog was quite amusing. But he got on board with the plan and he set out to conquer the Black Canyons 100k. We chose this race for a few reasons but one in particular – securing his first ticket for the Western States lottery. Aside from that goal, we wanted to get his first “official” ultra distance run since his first go, the North Face 50 in San Francisco, got cancelled. The cancellation didn’t stop him though. He set out, with the help of family, and did it on his own a few weeks after the official race date. Not ideal given that we’d trained for a particular day but Nature tends to do what she wants. In addition, despite numerous warnings from yours truly, he went out too fast, with goals in mind, and paid for it with a much slower second half.

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    Team

Out on my run this morning, I ran into a group of athletes and after some polite conversation, one of them said – “you should join our team”.  I thanked him but said I’m good.  His intentions were well meaning but triathlon and ultra running, in my opinion, are solo adventures.  Does that mean we can’t play with others from time to time?  Of course not.  But it does mean you should figure out the underlying purpose for your athletics before you hitch your wagon to an organization. 

If your objective is just to get out the door and the only way you’re going to do that is if a group is waiting for you – a team is what you should seek.  But if you’re self-driven, goal-oriented, athlete in search of your best performance, you’re probably better suited for the monastery life of solo training. 

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    MRI

Let’s first define “winning” in terms of what is actually possible for someone given their circumstances. For example, I’m not going to win an Ironman outright. But in my Ironman days, winning took the form of various different goals over the years and eventually, winning actually meant winning my age group. If we’re talking about someone who is coming off the couch, winning could mean just finishing. If it’s someone in the mid-pack, winning could be a top ten finish in their age group. I think you get the idea.

In the context of winning and losing, there are people who afraid of not winning. In another group, there are people who are afraid to lose. So much so that their fear of losing is greater than their desire to win and unless they accidentally fall into a win, they end up somewhere in the middle.

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    MRI

I've been thinking about injury and how it has played a role in my journey.  In the early years, I would ignore injuries hoping it would just go away.  Or I'd push through it because -- no pain, no gain.  And then once I'd recognize it wasn't going away, I would google the symptoms only to learn I had some rare and fatal disorder.  Then I would search, or even post, on the various forums to get yet more "professional" opinions.  All the while, continuing to train in a half-assed manner -- not really accomplishing much other than dragging it out further into my training block. 

Now I'm on the other end of the spectrum where I typically stop when an ache or pain pops up.  As a general rule, when in doubt, I treat it with respect and let's take a day off. 

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    CdA BIke

This past weekend, Ironman Texas rose to the top of the list as worst clusterf*** of all time.  Initial reports were describing ridiculous amounts of drafting and dangerous conditions on the bike course.  I wanted to wait until I spoke with someone I trusted before making an opinion and what was described on the interwebs was confirmed.

When racing this distance, the reason why I chose the Ironman brand over the other events was that they always put on a topnotch production.  They were well staffed, aid stations were well stocked, good crowds, decent venues for travel purposes, and they were safe.  Even though I cringed a little when they took away the mass swim start, I understood why and I appreciated that they were concerned about the safety of the athletes racing.