Sunday, September 20, 2009

Winding Down and Ramping Up

Happy September folks. I'm loving it as I hope you are. So yeah, here we are, squeezing just a few more races out of 2009. As the days grow shorter and colder, there's plenty of us out there going longer, with engines that are burning hotter and hotter. As it should be--Carpe diem and all that stuff.

Point Positive athletes have been getting after it since my last post. All kinds of things going on. We did the inaugural Santa Rosa Marathon a few weeks back. That was pretty sweet day. Athlete Matt Gallo ran his third marathon as he pack them in as part of his Ironman Coeur d'Alene 2010 preparation. Interesting case with Matt; his reminds me of the Emersonian quote, "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." And you need enthusiasm (and one amazing coach, of course ;) to pull off the year he's achieving: a 1/2 marathon, 2 marathons, 4 Ironman 70.3 triathlons, and 2 cycling centuries. Carpe diem.

Tiffney Crumby Beckloff bounced back from her first half-marathon at the Barb's Race Triathlon Relay in August to race the Chase Corporate Challenge 5k this week. I caught her on Wednesday evening--elated--walking back to her car. Racing (so often) brings out the very best in us. Tiff was excited to have gotten another race under her belt as she continues to push forth with her health & fitness goals, while wearing a lot of other hats, including the hat of Mia's Mommy. :) Go Tiff!

Two other athletes to mention this time around. First, a big Point-Positive welcome to Windsor resident Jeff Ottoboni. Jeff let his fingers do the walking about a month ago and found Point Positive online to include pics of an "old" high school buddy, Matt Gallo. One thing leads to another and Jeff and I have moved through our first event together, The Ukiah Triathlon.

Ukiah is a popular sprint-distance triathlon a bit north of Healdsburg; sometimes referred to by its participants as the "World Championship" because of its draw on local athletes (and their undying quest for a year's worth of bragging rights). Jeff is relatively new to triathlon, and like his former classmate, his enthusiasm for multisport, will take him far. Jeff also has kids in the district in which I teach. So, what are kids for?--To do the bidding of parents and teachers of course! Prior to Ukiah, we coordinated and had Jeff's daughter, an 8th grader at Windsor Middle, to stop by my classroom before school and pick up a race belt and some Clif Shots for Dad. Parents who are active/athletic (as well as responsible parents) inspire me.

What about Rod Matteri? What's that guy been up to besides hitting every horse show this side of the Rocky Mountains with his own daughter? Training, of course. While races have come and gone, Rod's been biding his time; strategizing; polishing the cannonball; waiting to see the whites of... okay, enough. We've put together a master plan to execute a monster double--The Longhorn Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Austin on October 25th, followed by the New York City Marathon on November 1st.

Rod just completed his run-specific phase of training that will allow him to successfully recover from Austin in order to hang tough during the final 10k in NYC. Last weekend, he completed a century ride affectionately known as "BestBuddies," with Matt (Matt's first 100mi ride!) on time-trials bikes nonetheless. The fellas racked up about 7,000ft of cumulative gain on that ride. I'm thinking Rod's going to light it up in Austin and then turn around and run longer (with a hotter burning engine) through the 5 burroughs of The Big Apple. Bring it.

Hey, I'm fired up too folks. In no less than 6 days I'll be back on trail at the Sierra Nevada 100k in Auburn/Folsom. With the knowledge and experience I derived from my first 100miler at Tahoe Rim in July, I'm hungry to apply it to one more ultra-distance run before year's end. I've had some difficulty with my right hip and my right IT Band this year as a result of running too much or too far, and/or aging and/or not enough stretching and/or lack of cross-training. Amanda, my nursing student girlfriend, has been instrumental (a pain in the *&%) about getting me to stretch more and actually use the foam roller I bought a month ago. Bike commuting has helped a lot too with my hip. Off coffee and adult beverages for 2 weeks now. Yeah, it's looking pretty good.

Also, we're really dialing our nutrition in. Amanda's reading Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma," which is a great stuff (I read Pollan's "In Defense of Food" and loved it. I also just read "ChiRunning" by Danny Dreyer and took away a lot of interesting info to apply to not only my training but also to integrate into my coaching. I'm going to read it again more closely, highlight, then write a blog entry about what I perceive to be the golden nuggets of Chi wisdom is it pertains to saving energy while running and staying healthy as runner. Too many of us become injured. We can do better, when we work smarter.

I've always believed, "Training to save energy produces results faster than training to increase it." ChiRunning gives you the tools to actually do it. Focus is key. I employed a couple of the ChiRunning techniques myself in the Santa Rosa Marathon three weeks ago and was surprised to see myself run through mile 13 still under 6min/mi. Man, that felt good. I love how hard running is (that is, in retrospect of course). With a mile to go in Santa Rosa, as happened in my first marathon in 1998, a emotional upwelling occurs in my body. This time, with half a mile to go, I was dwelling on a quote from Dr. George Sheehan, author of the 1978 book "Running and Being," where he wrote, "The marathon is a powerful martial strain, one of those tunes of glory." Then I think about Poe, "Without a certain continuity of effort, the soul is never deeply moved." And so it goes, I'm running fumes once again with pained expression but nothing but love in my heart.

Sheehan also wrote, "What do I do after running a marathon? Run another, and another, and find out that much more about myself." Thus, next weekend, I'll be focused on damage control, 'cause I'd sure like to run the Healdsburg 26.2 on Oct. 11th. I'm optimistic that 15 days is enough to recover from a 100k. After that, it's no running for six weeks. Well, besides a 10k turkey trot with Amanda. :)

Point positive .+!