Monday, June 30, 2008
... And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but its sinking
And racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in the relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death...
Those words come, of course, from 'Time' by Pink Floyd.
I've been musing about time this week for more than one reason. It's less than two weeks to Ironman Austria now and I've watched as the counter ticks down from over three hundred and sixty days when I installed it to its current paltry day display. Also, my script involves time or, more specifically, a character's sudden ability to re-visit a certain incident in their past.
Now, I know that Ironman blogs aren't supposed to muse over the meaning of life and characteristics of the universe, but stay with me while I postulate on time. What is time? Essentially a measuring device of our experiences I guess. But our experiences only happen in the present. There is only the present. There is no past and there is no future, for these things are gone just as is the moment a second or go that I typed this sentence. It's gone. And it's only because we, as humans, have a memory that the notion of time exists so that we can somehow file away and order our experiences. And, as we've realised that we have memory, so every force must have an opposite and we've given ourselves 'the future'.
Load of balls, I hear you say. No more than the musings of an intellectual pygmy punching above his weight. Well, you're probably right but we're nearly done and, at the very least, it will help you understand why I've put a bloke with a ball of string at the top of the post. Y'see I think the future and the past are like a giant ball of string. At our birth it rolls out ahead of us in a linear line and we walk that line BUT - and hear's the biggie - we don't just leave it trailing behind us. As we walk our ever unravelling piece of string (and it's constantly unravelling because our future isn't pre determined) we have to gather up the string of our past and stuff it into the pocket that is our memory. Imagine that - having to fit a never ending piece of string inside a pocket of limited proportions. Would the string stay in a nice, straight, linear form. Nope. It would buckle and bend and twist back on itself. There would be no order to the shape of it and, when you put your hand into your 'memory' to access it, there would be no sense to the exact part of it that you grabbed.
That's why, I think, for no apparent reason certain memories are stronger than others. How is it we can remember (as I can) a five year old boy showing me his Clarks Tracker shoes (with a compass in the shoes and animal paw prints on their sole) at my primary school in Preston in the early 1970's, yet I can't particularly remember my long bike from last Sunday. I could go on forever but work calls so must wrap up this week's post.
A few things to sort out first. Firstly - I don't use a web counter and consequently have no idea who reads this blog so don't be afraid to leave posts. It's always nice to know we're not alone.
Secondly... big news this week is that I signed up for Ironman Germany in 2009. So (and I can almost hear the collective groan from here) that's a year's worth of posting to come. I fully intend to deal with splitting the atom and finally unify Einstein's unproven theory of everything in the next twelve months. I'm looking forward to completing Ironman Austria and re-assessing my goals for the coming year. I've also enjoyed my few months membership of Team Milton Keynes Tri Club and am excited that we've chosen Germany as our Ironman event of 2009 so I'll have my regular training buddies in place.
Thirdly - I guess I should touch on my training this week. I'm officially tapering and going through grumpy and frustrating feelings which is, apparently, normal in the taper. Some days I feel like a Greek God, others like a donner kebab. But I'm putting all my faith in my coach, Mark K, to get me to the start line in tip top condition.
Here's the week that was:
Monday - 45 minutes pool swim drills, 30 minutes running (20 mins at 80% max heart rate)
Tuesday - 45 minutes open water swim, 30 minutes non fatigue bike session (easy high cadence)
Weds - 45 minutes bike (pyramid efforts with recovery in between), 60 minutes running (40 minutes at 85% or Max HR, including gels and nutrition practice)
Thurs - 45 minutes open water swim
Friday - 45 mins 10 mile Bike Time Trial plus warm ups and downs, 15 minutes back to back run, 42 minutes run including tempo half marathon pyramid sessions
Saturday - 45 minutes open water swim, 15 minutes run, 80 minutes strong bike, 30 minutes run (all back to back)
Sunday - 2 hours and 5 minutes bike including 1 hour 30 minutes at Half Ironman pace, practing nutrition, 50 minutes running (including 40 minutes at 85% Max HR and practicing nutrition).
Total training this week 12.45 hours.
Highlights have been the fact that I dragged myself out on my own in the heavy winds and completed our A505 10 mile Time Trial course (on my training wheels) in a new PB of 24:16. I'm also pleased with my running and specifically with the fact that even when running back to back off the bike, I'm having to run extremely fast to get my heart rate up to 85% of maximum. Often I'll be needing to run sub 6:30 minute miles to get into my training zone which, I think, is testament to the level of fitness that Mark K's training has brought me to.
Lowlights? This is LIFE. There are no lowlights :-).
Last week's film quote was:
"I like to see a man of advancing years throwing caution to the wind. It's inspiring in a way. "
And was spoken by Andie MacDowell's character in GROUNDHOG DAY.
This week's quote is our easiest yet and is especially for Robert Quantrell who's been grumbling that he can't get the quotes. It could easily have described me a couple of years ago...
"You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me it's a full time job. Now behave yourself. "
Usual question... who said it and in what movie?
Finally, a couple of 'good lucks'. Good luck to my youngest daughter Alice, who is participating in the regional school sports today. And, after a year of superb training and blogging, my mates Tom and Helen are finally ready for their assault on Ironman Germany on Sunday and, hopefully, a slot at Kona in Hawaii in the process. Tom's surname is Williams, Helen's is Turton. Follow their progress this Sunday with www.ironman.com and their live athlete tracker.
Good luck guys... it's been a pleasure and a privilige sharing it with you. Now it's time to deliver.