I've Been Ready For This My Whole Life

I read an article yesterday from a pro triathlete whom I admire, Jesse Thomas. He's super freaky fast (a former Stanford steeplechase racer) and he's an entrepreneur. Not easy to juggle both, along with being a new father.  The gist of the story was about how he uses mantras to help him perform better. I'm no stranger to mantras.  I used one to get through the marathon at Ironman Coeur d'Alene, in fact.  But what would my mantra be for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas next weekend?  I've been thinking about this while training the past few days, now that my attention is solely focused on this monumental triathlon.  The theme I can't get out of my head is the usual one -- overcoming the odds to hang alongside the elite.  And there's no better movie for me to visually express my feelings than Rudy

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Not Much To Report...Yet

Today was quiet on the training front. Tomorrow, not so much.  A three-hour run awaits, rain or shine (currently raining in Southern California).  We're supposed to revisit the Boney Mtn Trail in Newbury Park, but we'll see how wet and wild it is before we venture up the back of the beast.  The most interesting part of the run won't be the terrain condition.  It will be Coach Gerardo's strict instructions not to bring a watch or electronic gear of any kind.  We're supposed to run how we feel.

If that's the case, then I'll be flying. I've had a great couple days!

Today was marked with the final day of the videogames conference I was attending in Las Vegas, along with a fantastic breakfast with my cousin, Hillary.  She's 10 years my senior, though we talk and act like the best of friends.  I thoroughly enjoyed her company.

Tonight was fantastic as well.  More on that some other time though.

It's late.  I must awake early. Trudy and Bam-Bam lurk.  And a big run beckons.

I can't wait!

277 days and counting.

A Light Training Day

For all the discipline I showed yesterday, pounding out a running test and lifting amidst an industry conference, today was closer to reality. The event proceedings started at 9 a.m., which didn't leave much time to swim and spin on the stationary bike beforehand.  OK, it could have had I been in the pool by 6:45 a.m.  But, considering I was going to have a quiet night's sleep in a dark hotel room, after a late night of drinks with friends and colleagues, that wasn't going to happen.

Though I managed to get out of bed by 6:20 a.m. I didn't rally to hit the gym until 7:15.  I decided to postpone my swim T-pace test since the hotel pool is 20 yards and has no clock.  (No, I still haven't programmed my Garmin, so the waterproof watch thing is off the table for now!)

Instead, I did spin intervals on the stationary bike for 45 minutes.  Worked up a sweat, burned 300 calories, called it a day.

I feel pretty guilty. I could have found a way to manage the swim if I really wanted to.  But, I'll make up the swim test this weekend so it's no big deal.

Instead, I've enjoyed an informative day of seminars about game design theory, social games design, production methodologies and even a discussion about how the brain works when it comes to states of awareness.  Very cool stuff.

Tomorrow is my off day.  The second this week.  Though today felt like a third off-day.  Heck, I'm not complaining.  I've got nine months left of training.  I'll take an easy week when I can get one.

278 days and counting.

PS: One really cool note.  Last night at an industry party, a former co-worker found me and said he reads the blog.  He added that it's inspired him to run again.  It meant so much to me to hear that kind of feedback!

Viva Vegas

I really don't like Las Vegas. Is that OK to admit?  It's everything I'm not, or at least don't think I am.  Flashy. Over the top.  Glitzy.  Glamorous.

Vegas stays up all night.  I go to bed by 11.  Vegas bets the house.  I take calculated risks.  Vegas is all style.  I try to be all substance. (OK, maybe there's a little flash involved, too, if I'm being totally honest here!).

But one thing we can see eye to eye on...food.  There's a lot of it here.  And that's good, because I'm frickin' hungry.

Especially today. Find me a buffet!  I caught the 7:20 a.m. flight from Burbank to Sin City.  Up at 5:30 a.m., along with my lovely neighbor Trudy.  Just in case my alarm wasn't loud enough, she had me covered with her usual circus act of stomping and drawer slamming.

I know some children read this blog now, so I'll refrain from writing what I'm thinking.

I'm honestly not sure which I can't stand more...Vegas, or Trudy.  It's close.

Once I checked in at the Red Rocks Casino (room pictured above) and caught up on emails and text messages, I decided 9:30 a.m. would be the perfect time to fit my running time-trial in.  The nice concierge pointed me to a windy, concrete path in a wash basin just a few miles from the resort.  It did the trick.

At first, I felt quite sluggish.  I couldn't tell if it was the air travel, the early wake-up, dehydration, lack of nutrition or general fatigue.  But it definitely took me the full 20 minutes to warm-up before I began the TT portion.  My right calf was stiff and it affected my stride.

Fortunately, the actual TT went much better -- even if I labored through it a bit more than usual.  My 20-minute average heart-rate bpm remained the same from four weeks ago, 168.  However, if I calculated correctly using MapMyRun.com, then my pace improved by nearly a full minute.  Four weeks ago, I ran an 8:44 mile.  Today, my pace was 7:21!

I may have to visit Vegas more often.

Following the run, I crammed in a shortened strength training session.  The 45-minute workout felt like an hour-and-a-half, with the following usual suspects involved (2 sets, 15 reps unless noted):

-- Lat pulldowns, squats

-- Flys, lunges

-- Rows, leg extensions

-- Shoulder press, leg curls

-- Push-ups, calf raisers

-- Tricep extensions (1 set)

-- Arm curls (1 set)

-- Plank

As Brady Quinn said in the cheesy EAS TV spots, "Now I'm done."  Lots of pasta, with grilled chicken, followed by a Muscle Milk.  Sorry, EAS.

The rest of the day and evening has been and will continue to be work-focused.  But that will be easy considering I'm at a conference. Conference calls and schmoozing with colleagues are the order of the day.

I will rest easy knowing I found the discipline to train hard in a town like this.

Ironman. An exercise in willpower.

279 days and counting.