Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Triathlon, take two!

This Sunday, God willing, I'm participating in a triathlon -- the Ventura Breath of Life Sprint-Distance triathlon, to be precise. The distances aren't exactly Ironman-intense: 1/4 mile ocean swim, 12.7 mile bike, 3.1 mile run. It's not a long-hauler -- this race is all about finding a fast, lactate-threshold pace and sticking to it for the entire race, which I'm thinking will take me about 1:10.

My purist-weight training colleagues and friends will disparage my efforts, calling them "catabolic," "injury-inducing," and "useless for fat-burning purposes," all of which may be true, but since I don't have the genes for powerlifting-sports, much less the desire for that particular kind of physique, and love food, my body hair, and my pale complexion too much to compete as a bodybuilder, my competitive sport must perforce be long-distance in nature. I suppose there are team sports to consider, but those require things like "coordination," "finesse," and "skill."

Besides, I like exercising outdoors. I don't figure I'll live in Southern California my whole life -- so I'll have years to spend in gyms when my family and I put down roots in a place where it's cold and snowy most of the year.

No podium for me on this one, alas -- based on past results, the competition's going to be a little too fierce for this guy -- but if a bunch of guys drown, get flat tires, or get lost on the run, maybe I'll crack top-10 in the 34-39 group. Here's hopin.'

Looking at some overall results I see that many top-placers are in their 50's! These are folks who are out-racing people sometimes 20-30 years younger than they are. Quite an accomplishment, and a testament to the value of lifelong fitness -- I suspect none of those high-placers are weekend warrior types, but men and women who have been slogging it out regularly for at least as long as I've been alive.

So, since the podium is a pipe dream for me in Ventura, the real drama this week will be: can Andrew resist the urge to train WAY TOO HARD during the week when he should be de-training in preparation for the race? Today I pounded out a race-pace 5K, which isn't fast in any objective sense but takes some effort, and then afterwards did an easy 1/4 mile pool swim to recover. Possibly just a liiiittle too hard for five days out from race day, but still more restrained than I often am. Tomorrow I'll get on the bike and probably crank through 13 miles or so, race distance, at a moderate pace, then taper down for the rest of the week so I can hit it hard on Sunday.

As a fitness overachiever (why can't I be an accounting overachiever? Or a do-my-taxes overachiever? Or a make-a-zillion-dollars in Real Estate overachiever? Just asking.), it takes every ounce of will power, particularly after my week of enforced de-training that my weird flu forced me to take in a couple of weeks ago, to not go out there and pound every day. Watch this space to see if Andrew pushes too hard, makes himself sick and sore, and thus sabotages his efforts to place respectably in Ventura.


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