Thursday, November 30, 2006


Gut Check 1, Ryan 1

1 Mile Run Time Trial

Projected: 6:20
Actual: 6:11

Ah yes, the 1 mile run time trial. The definition of short lasting, but intense pain (see "Pain" a few posts down).

Here is a detailed description of a 1 mile time trial:

4 laps around the track. Run too fast in the beginning, and you blow up halfway through (see 5K below). Don't push it hard enough, and well, that just ain't right. Ideally, you have descending splits. You are going pretty hard every lap, but you always have to leave some in the tank for the 4th lap.

Fast forward to about 4:45 into the run...

You just finish lap 3, and then you realize there is only 400 meters left. You tell yourself to turn it up a little bit. Here we arrive to the classic negotiation of when the 'fire' inside you when it tries to have a conversation with that thing called reality. Reality says "Hey fire, I am already pushing pretty hard here, what else do you want me to do?!." Fire responds with two words: "More. Faster". Reality says "ok, I think I can I deal". Then 200 meters later, you hit the halfway point of the final lap, and the fire smacks reality upside the head and said "Is that all you got?!" Reality, so consumed with what is happening, barely acknowledges the slap.

Then you hit the apex of the final turn, and chaos ensues. All the sudden your heart comes into the negotiation. "Hey! Hello! I'm over here pumping like mad!!! What are you guys doing to me? Hey, Logic, where did you go? I thought you were supposed to be helping me out!! Were you

ever here?" Logic has left the building ladies and gentlemen before the time trial even started. It's now your 'inside' heart versus your 'physical' heart. You are going so hard, you actually almost feel like you are slowing down. Your legs start to feel like they have 20 pound weights on them. You're face looks like you are about to give birth to a small mammal. Your heart feels like it has to supply blood to people on the other side of the earth faster than a concord.

Then all the sudden, you feel it. Pain. Its not like someone punched you in the shoulder. Its not like you stubbed your toe. Its different. All the sudden your entire body, even the hair on the back of your neck hurts. Your lungs tell you that you should be in better shape. Your quads are now completely engulfed by "the fire" and they burn. Your calves feel like the coals in the firepit. You barely notice, and might even acknowledge that it hurts, but you are just thinking about the finish line. You see it. You hear someone counting off the time "6:07, 6:08, 6:09..." You might even process that someone is yelling "c'mon denner!!!"

You cross the finish line, maybe even with a grunt, and you are moving so fast, it takes you 100 ft just to slow to a walking pace. Your heart still pumping through your chest, is actually looking at you square in the eyes saying "thank god that is over!!!". Everyone around you is panting heavily. No one can talk. You bend over and put your hands on your knees to catch your breath. And then, after about 3-4 minutes of walking it off, everyone is smiling, high gives all around, people are laughing.

"Dude, that was awesome... wanna grab a beer?"

Monday, November 27, 2006


One of the many benefits of living in southern california is year round activities, especially on holidays. I ran a 5K (3.1 mile) on thanksgiving morning. I ran it because a few others were doing it, it's a good workout for building speed, pacing yourself, but for me, it was more of a gut check of my running ability. Remember, even though I did one season of triathlon where I do a 10K run after a bike and swim, I did have 7 weeks off.

To a lot of people say 5K's are really easy. I mean, who CAN'T run 3 miles, even at a slow pace. But the 5K is a delicate balance of pushing hard/pushing too hard. My original plan was to start slow at about 8 min/mile, and maybe work down to about a 6-6:30 min mile. But we all know that your master plan gets scraped as soon as anything starts.

Major mistake was to start with Paul Jesse, one of my biggest competitors. We took off at a pretty torrid (for us) pace of about 6:30/6:45, which left me absolutely gassed at mile 2.2. It took me about a mile just recover my breath, and I finally finished at a somewhat respectable 23 minutes 15 seconds (7:31 pace). Ugh.

That old guy in the purple beat me!

Original Goal was 22 minutes-ish (7:11 pace).

Gut Checks: 1 Ryan: 0

NEXT UP: 1 Mile run time trial. Time to beat: 6:22


It's Thanksgiving weekend! A weekend when we give thanks. We give thanks for the family, friends, health, wealth, and all else we are thankful for.

My roomate Greg and I drove up to Huntington Beach to have dinner with some people we graduated with. In attendance was the man himself, Jeff Hartnett. Jeff made the trip down from Berkeley to visit. But what made it so honorable is Jeff is undergoing his second bout of chemotherapy. A month or so ago, Jeff received the unfortunate news that he relapsed, and that he will undergo another round of chemotherapy, along with radiation, and most likely a bone marrow transplant, with all the procedures lasting until March 2007.

Jeff was and is my main source of inspiration and motivation for continuing with Team In Training to help find a cure for cancer. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers, and be thankful for the life and health that you have.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Monday, November 06, 2006


Triathletes are weird people. We like pain. I mean, what kind of normal human being LIKES pain? I can't think of many, or any at all. I am not talking about the pain of a muscle cramp, or a sports injury like a muscle pull, or something worse. I'm talking about a tough workout. One that is not done at a leasurely pace, or just a spin around the block.

Not only do we like it, but we go searching for it, like we can go to the nearest store or street corner and get some. "Excuse me sir, where can I get some pain" "It's 2 aisles down, and we are having a sale - it's free! Don't worry, there is plenty over there too!" "Woohoo!"

I talked to my first mentee last night, and was telling her about the rigors of training. She comes from an athletic background, field hockey in college to be more specific, which is no easy sport. As we were talking, she said the words I was shocked, but, for some odd reason, I was excited to hear:

Colleen: "Yeah, I like pain"
Ryan: "Wait, did you just say you like pain?"
Colleen: "Yeah, I dont do field hockey anymore, and I miss the pain! I miss the practices, and the games"
Ryan: "Colleen, I am gonna go out on a limb here and say you are really going to like triathlon and training. I like pain too, and thats one of the reasons why I stuck on the sport!!!"
Colleen: "haha! That's awesome! I can't wait!"

Someone once said "Pain is just weakness leaving the body".

To an extent, that is certainly true. For anyone who has been in good physical shape, stopped, and tried to get back into it - it is hard!!! (We wont talk about the very lazy/lackluster of a 6 week "off season" that I just experienced :) Doing a workout that hurts makes you stronger. Take a torrey pines hill repeat workout for example. Geeze, no ones like climbing that hill. But to do repeats up it? Ouch. So you do them, and then you finish. You say it was tough, but you're really glad you did it. Then you do a hilly bike ride next week, and you say "bring it on! I'm not scared of hills!". It is now where you can realize that weakness has left the body.

Then you realize that the hilly ride you just did on Scripps Poway Parkway wasn't that hard. And then all of the sudden, it hits you: "I like pain".

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That arrow is for the weak to turn around.