Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The First Step

Yes, I've been blathering on about being an ultra-runner.  I talk about things I might do.  I share schemes that sound ambitious with little conviction other than wishing into my hand.  It's time I put my first foot down on the path I say I want to tread.

We just finished the Preservation Pedal.  It was an exercise in mental endurance.  Saturday was hot.  None of us—except Tom and Mark—have been riding much.  I didn't feel wrecked the next day, but only because I didn't go all out on my ninth ever century ride (seventh in the past year) and push myself into the red.

And so after mile 70 the chore was to keep turning the pedals.  My thoughts on the route and scenery for the last 30 miles were basically: "I need to come back when it's cooler and I'm in better shape."  In my mind it was a great ride.  My body argued otherwise.  To keep turning the pedals proved I wanted that slick 2014 Kentucky Century Challenge jersey.  And by opting not to do the Horsey Hundred the pressure to finish the Preservation Pedal and the Hub City Tour (coming up in September) was going to be stronger.  It’s one reason I worried about Mandy not finishing the ride.  Her chance at the jersey would have gone out the window.

We both recognize if we were to lose our personal target weights (30 pounds for me) then we’d be able to much better enjoy these events. Less fat around my middle wouldn’t have been like installing air conditioning on my sporty-sport bike, but I could definitely have gotten off the ride hours earlier.  I know I can pull off a sub-five hour century if I were in the shape I want to be: hauling one less bag of Quikrete than I am now.

Running performance follows this same logic.  I’m in good shape considering the weight I carry and my age.  Mentally I have the tools to be competitive.  I just don’t have the fitness level.  And while I don’t believe in “get-rich-quick” schemes to stay fit, I do think running is the key for me to build my general fitness level and drop the flab.

If I want to be serious in this pursuit then my first step—my first honest step—would be to commit to a lifestyle diet change.  For me that will be the most difficult step.  It’s the step I am holding back. 

The Trans Am Bike Race has entered Kentucky.  Mike Hall blazed through the state as a few of us were piddling around the eastern Bluegrass on Saturday.  On Sunday he left Kentucky on his way to a blistering finish, setting a pace of 230+ miles a day.  By the time this post publishes (I typically schedule a couple days in advance) Mike Hall may have finished.  As of Monday morning Ed Pickup, the racer in third, was nearing Berea.  The next cluster of riders were bracketing Madisonville in Western Kentucky.

I can’t help but wonder what Mike Hall's eating and drinking and how he maintains that pace for almost three weeks.  That’s the kind of endurance I would love to have.  It's the kind of endurance that I know can be developed...to a degree.

I’m down to two bikes now.  My lard butt has broken spokes on the mountaineering bicycle.  I finally tore the wheel apart to extract a spoke so I would be able to get the right sized spokes to replace.  The sporty-sport bike is suffering from some mysterious mechanical issues.  For a long time it’s needed some serious cleaning and tuning, but I’ve continually put it off because I’ve focused on keeping the MTB and cargo bike rolling. 

Toward the end of the Preservation Pedal I noticed a weird pull seemingly from the front wheel.  On fast downhills the bike wobbled slightly back and forth.  I though maybe the wheel was out of true, but it doesn’t look out of true and the spokes all seem tight.  Sunday evening I swapped with Mandy’s front wheel and took the bike out for a ride.  The wobble was still there.  So it’s either in the rear wheel, or I have a frame or fork problem. 

I brought Minus back home.  I’ve been keeping the Bianchi in my office, but now it’s really the only fast bike I have.  It’s not that I don’t like riding the X, but it’s not a good bike for longer rides.  So I’ve got to find the gremlin haunting the sporty-sport bike.  I’ve got to rebuild The One’s abused rear wheel.

Or maybe this is a sign that I should become the ultra-runner I keep whining that I want to be.

1 comment:

  1. Something that I have realized about myself recently is that the suffering really is temporary. I didn't train nearly enough for the Flying Pig half or the Preservation Pedal. During both, I could've quit. I didn't and was able to push through both--they weren't pretty or fun--but I finished.

    I think the key to weight loss is similar--we are just going to have to temporarily suffer and push through. It won't be fun, if it were, we'd already be at our goal weight. ;-)