Gave it Seattle’s Best
Time is like a good pitcher of beer with friends; there is never enough to go around, and the more of it you consume, the faster it seems to disappear.Both time and beer have been on the fore front of my mind this week.
Because I have an unhealthy appetite for punishment, and because I need to expand my work skills, I started a two year graduate degree program at the University of Washington this week. For the past five days, I have had the gracious luxury from my employer to attend classes and meet my classmates. While this may sound like a late night TV ad for ITT Tech, I can say that the experience has been incredible thus far. Like a new exercise regimen or training drill, taking me out of my comfort zone and tackling problems has awakened parts of my brain that have been collecting dust for some time. Its great to be back in education.
Any schooling comes with a boat load of new responsibilities, and for this program, my ship is already on the verge of capsizing. At the same time, I am about eight weeks away from Ironman Arizona. And there is also that whole day job thing. At the beginning of the week, I will admit, there were more than a few moments when I thought “WTF”. With the help of a pen, and a few cups of fresh roasted coffee, followed by some intriguing IPA’s at the Pike Place Brewery, I figured that there are essentially three ways to go about the next two years.
1. Panic and quit. Not an option for Ironvan.
2. Panic, stress, work hard, miss the ride for the finish line, and be even more bitter than one of my home-made IPA’s in two years.
3. Stress some, laugh some, work hard, exercise lots, learn, and enjoy being a healthy student.
I choose option 3. As I’ve written before, for me, doing the Ironman has always been about being healthy and seeing what I can accomplish. Just finishing as best as I can is enough for me. I have no intention of attempting to qualify for Kona. I dont want to lose more toe nails if I can help it. I prefer not to be an asshole. I would prefer to remain married. So, yes, I will still be at Arizona this year, but I have no qualms at moving the Ironman down one more notch on my priority board of life for two years.
Still, you might think me crazy for wanting to continue my training. To be honest with you, I would probably go INSANE if I didnt have some two hour runs or 6 hour rides to blow off stress and energy in my life. On the more concrete side, I have already paid for Arizona anyhow, so the worst thing that could happen is that I show up and not finish. Okay, the worse thing would be if I drown, but that could also happen to me in the bathroom. Philosophical justifications aside, the next eight weeks are surely going to be an exciting experiment in time management.
This week, I tried my best to get some workouts in. No, I was not crazy enough to take my bike with me this trip. My wife and kids were with me, and a trainer ride in a hotel room with them would certainly have ended in my divorce. I did take my swim gear and run clothes. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a decent pool, that let common Asians in (ahem), so Im currently chlorine smell free. I was able to hit the treadmill nearly daily fortunately. Unfortunately, with all the assignments and reports due this first week, I was only able to spare about an hour a day. So, I basically just kept doing one mile repeats at Zone 4 or 30 second sprints over and over again. Longest run was only five miles. I will admit, I do feel my fitness has taken a hit this week, but I will be working hard over the next few days to regain.
Jumping back to the tri world, one thing I have noticed is that with my long rungs getting faster, I have started getting a few blisters here and there. This is something I have not had prior, so I will have to keep my eye on how this develops. Knock on carbon fiber, I haven’t ever had a blister problem during a race. Now that I have said this, I will probably finish Arizona on two stumps without toes.
Finally, I also got a chance to hang with some of my tri friends. We hit Pike Place Brewery. While a good atmosphere, I do find their beers a little more geared to mainstream consumer taste. Not that one can blame them for that; I’m sure its mad expensive to run a place like that in such a location. But I like hop, and when you advertise a double IPA with an IBU of 80, I’m expecting to have my socks blown off, not a strong Sam Adams. That being said, I did enjoy their wheat beer. Nice long finish of barley. Got get one if your in town.
Okay, back to studying….