Cheering For a Giant Killer

I swam at 6 this morning.  This meant that The Big One didn't materialize as forecast.  But it was cold out -- just shy of 50 degrees.  I used to hate that kind of condition, but the steam rising from the 80-degree water creates such a mysterious, epic feel that I now look forward to plunging in the pool at that ungodly hour. It's the getting out part that is not so nice.

In fact, I chose not to do my customary second workout immediately after the swim because going from the warm pool to the cold outside makes it hard for me to feel my fingers for the first 10-15 minutes. I simply didn't feel like running -- instead choosing to surprise Stephanie, who was still sleeping at home.  She wasn't expecting me, as evident by her staring at me blankly for a few seconds wondering if she was dreaming or not.  Funny.

After a busy day in the office, I began workout #2 at 6:30 p.m., 12-plus hours later.  Pretty simple stuff, one hour of treadmill running with 20 minutes in heart-rate zone 3. Spacing the workouts apart so much was beneficial as I didn't crash in the middle of the work day from fatigue.  That happened around 5 p.m. instead, which was easier to overcome with a snack of homemade pizza that Steph and her girlfriends cooked together during their weekly "girls night."

The highlight of my training today didn't come from actually working out.  My buddy Rusty is about to compete in his first triathlon.  Rather than start with a sprint and work his way up, Rusty is tackling Ironman New Orleans 70.3 this Sunday.  Talk about just going for it!

I called Rusty to wish him well on his journey.  I think he'll be physically ready and mentally tough.  He's a pretty fast swimmer, and will absolutely annihilate the bike portion.  I encouraged him to wear a heart-rate monitor for the entire race so he can pace himself, especially since he hasn't done an actual triathlon race before.  Rusty has the right overall approach in that he doesn't really have a set time in mind, but rather rough projections of what he should be able to hit in each discipline if all goes well.

I can't imagine jumping straight into the deep end of this sport without prior triathlon experience. Some people thrive that way, like my swim coach and training partner, Megan.  She was telling me this morning on the way into swim practice that she's never done a sprint triathlon and started with a full Ironman.

Is experience overrated in this sport?  Is it better to just go for it and simply do your best to finish a 70.3 or full Ironman without the burden of knowing how tough the challenge really is? It's like the young basketball team that enters the NCAA Tournament not knowing it doesn't belong, only to peel off a string of upsets and advance farther than expected.

My thoughts are with Rusty for the next few days as he acclimates to 'Nawlins.  May he be a giant killer and slay his first 70.3 Ironman without too much pain and suffering.

Meanwhile, I'll resume my training tomorrow with an afternoon brick session at Griffith Park with LA Tri Club and my Fortius friends.  Off to sleep shortly to recover from today.

225 days and counting.