All Hans On Deck!

Posted: August 21, 2011 in Motivation, Training
Tags: , ,
  • (Long) Bike (click to see stats)
  • (Long) Brick Run (click to see stats)
  • 75.04k (2:33:08) – 13.65k (1:12:42)
  • Avg. Heart Rate = 142 bpm – 160 bpm
  • Max. Heart Rate = 172 bpm – 167 bpm
  • Avg. Speed/Pace = 29.5/kph – 05:19 min/km
  • Best Speed/Pace = 72.6/kph – 04:15 min/km
  • Calories = 4942
  • Temp = 25º
  • SOTD: ‘It’s the Sun’  by The Polyphonic Spree

Today was my last big mileage day of the season leading into the Cancun 70.3 challenge next month and I couldn’t be happier.  Not only to be temporarily finished with the regular Iron-distance weekend Bricks, but for the opportunity to relax a little over the next three weeks and indulge in a little more ‘Me Time’, so to speak.  So bring on the taper week, baby…sweet, sweet, taper week!

And this couldn’t have come at a better time either.  Physically, I am feeling strong and able; I’m now weighing in at 177 lbs; I’m able to run and bike faster and for longer periods; my swim is comfortable and in good form; and I’ve developed my core strength, flexibility and balance beyond anything it has ever been capable of before.  But, mentally, I’m a train wreck.  Perhaps it’s the recent bout of depression brought on by the loss of my buddy, or perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve just quit a 20 year addiction to marijuana.  Maybe it’s the unfulfillment I’m currently experiencing in my professional life or this lingering sense of loneliness I’m also dealing with in my personal life – I don’t rightly know, but it’s causing me endless stress.

Long story short – I’m scared.  Scared I’ve bitten off more than I can chew and I’m going to blow up and look the fool amongst a field of my peers on a world stage.  Scared I’m going to let down my family, my mom, my friends, my support team, my coach, as well as myself.  Yeah, that’s it, I’m definitely scared.  Maybe it’s sign of overtraining, but I’m also figuring that this is simply a normal part of the process that most triathletes go through prior to their big day.  So I’m persevering and doing my best to, well…maintain.

And so begins today’s last Brick workout.

Our usual long group ride was called off on account of poor weather this morning, but come hell or high water (which was a definite possibility) I was determined to finish my last peak training week on the books.  Luckily, a few of the other riders either felt the same way, or missed the email altogether, and so a small group of four headed out from the Starbucks parking lot on Fourth Ave. at exactly 7:00am as we always do.  Among these riders was Hans Porten, and rounding out the group was his son Sebastian, as well as another member of out group Doug, both accomplished athletes in their own right (Doug is preparing for his own Ironman adventure next month).

Hans is a recent qualifier for Kona in the Mens 55-59  Age Group category.  What a treat!  How often do you get the chance to ride with a certifiable Ironman?  Hans finished Ironman Austria with an amazing overall time of 9:49:37 (click here  for his staggering finishing results); finishing first among a field of 58 other age group triathletes.  Holy shit!  Did you see those splits?!  No pressure here, right?  If ever I’ve had an “I’m not worthy”  moment – this was it.

But besides being an extremely humble and personable fellow, with a smile that would light up a Black Hole, Hans is a true ambassador to the sport and I immediately liked him immensely.  I learned that we had given ourselves similar 5 year goals in life, and where he is at the cusp of completing his; I am just at the beginning of mine.  So over the course of our ride, complete with challenging climbs, technical descents, and straight away tempo riding, I listened astutely to all the pearls of wisdom that dropped from his mouth like the beads of sweat from under my cycling helmet while my hamstrings burned with the intensity of a thousand suns.  I made a mental note of his “conserve, conserve, conserve”  philosophy of enduring long distance triathlon, as I did about his own personal training strategies.  I found solace in listening about his past challenges in dealing with heat and humidity as well as all of the other bumps and hairpin turns in the road that are still out there waiting for me, no doubt.  In short, over the course of a very fast 75k bike ride, I regained back a little of that confidence that I’d lost somewhere and realized that this whole being scared thing is not such the big deal I’ve made it out to be in my head.

So no matter what happens come September, I’ll be proud of my efforts and I’m thankful for the opportunity to simply be able to compete.  After all, as of only a short three years ago, this whole ‘Ironman’ man thing was just a pipe dream…quite literally.  But now, maybe – just maybe – Kona might not be such a far off possibility in my own future.  And that’s all the strength I need…for now.

In the meantime, I am equally excited to follow Hans’ own Ironman adventure at the Ford Ironman World Championships in Kona, come October.

What else is there to say?  Kill it, Hans!

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