Before the Race

So much for meeting goals with this blog, advertised alternatively as a “training blog” for Matt’s and my Lavaman efforts, and a “regular blog” about my attempts at car-use reduction.  It’s like this blog is a three-speed bike I left out in the rain to rust while I ride my shiny 18-speeder.

My apologies to the faithful blog readers I’ve probably lost by neglecting to post for so long.  But, I’ve been busy, and you all have too, and it’s nice to finally sit down with a cup of tea and write to you.

Not much to report on the car-free front.  I’m on Day 28 or 29.  I’ve lost track.  I’ve fallen off the wagon, though I did take light rail to the airport recently, and I’ve discovered a bus that takes me right from Helen’s preschool to the gym and my office down the street.  A busy writing schedule and training schedule have made me less eager to spend a lot of time waiting for the bus.  And winter has taken its toll on bike commuting: too dark, too cold, too rainy.  I have enough of those conditions when I go out on training rides.  I’m hoping to re-invigorate my efforts when it gets a bit lighter and warmer. 

Race Day is 6 weeks away, which sends waves of panic and relief through me in equal parts.  Having done Lavaman before, I know that I can finish it, a fact that has made me perhaps a bit complacent at times.  I’d hoped this would be the year that I really mastered cycling.  I had grand plans of getting clipless pedals and actually learn how to use them, of taking a bike repair class so that I could change a flat in less than an hour, without someone standing beside me telling me what to do.  But I’ve discovered that, with training, there comes a point of no return.  My systems are working well enough, and to introduce anything new – new equipment, new food to eat on race day, an attempt to master a new skill – would upset the balance.  So I will make my slow way up and down Queen Kaahumanu Highway, enjoying the scenery and hoping to avoid mechanical issues.  Also trying to think about the ride itself, rather than my mind skittering ahead with worry to what I think will be the most challenging leg for me this year: the run.

At its best, the Lavaman run is hot and fatiguing.  But I’ve got a new challenge this year, a case of plantar fasciitis (or something like it) that won’t go away.  I’ve discovered that running doesn’t hurt more than walking, so I’ve started to slowly introduce running into my training routine.  It’s amazing to notice how, even though I feel generally fit from biking and swimming, I am out of running shape.  Not just my legs and feet, but my lungs too.  I’m trying to start out slowly, and not worry about the fact that my teammates are doing six mile runs while I’m working towards two.  One thing I know about running 10K in 80 degree heat and humidity right after you’ve swum 1 mile and biked 25 is that it’s hard, but not as hard as walking 10K in those conditions.  Why?  If I run, I’ll be done sooner.  And something that feels even better than doing an Olympic-distance triathlon is having just finished an Olympic-distance triathlon.  I will have my annual beer at the end of the race, and it, along with everything else I consume post-race, will taste delicious.

Meanwhile, Matt is going gangbusters on his training.  He regularly finishes the bike and run workouts first in the group.  With Coach Cathy’s help, he’s fixed any issues he had with swimming, and now swims faster than me (the only sport, prior to November, in which we were more or less even).  He’ll be on his 4th or 5th beer by the time I cross the finish line.  He’s signed up to do a half ironman in June.  If I have triathlon fever, Matt has full-on Race Plague.  Be careful when you next visit our house.  It’s extremely contagious.

Finally, an enormous thank you to all of our donors.  We are closing in on $8,000.
We still have a ways to go to meet our goal:  But it’s within sight.  Kind of like that finish line on the beach in Hawaii, where we will feel appreciative of our friends, our family, our strength, our health, and we will drink a beer (or 4) in gratitude.

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