Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Arachnophobia vs MissAPerfectTrailrunophbia

I've always had a fear of spiders.  I'm glad there is a very nice term for my terror because it makes me feel more normal. 

Sit back and I'll share my childhood fear...I grew up in Japan, not the city part but the country part in Chiba Ken which is a ways from Tokyo.  Why I give you this accurate geographical description (from a kids perspective since we moved when I was 11) is that most people don't think of spiders when they think of Japan, but we had some scary ones. 

I spent a lot of time in woods as a kid and always hated to bust through a web.  I'd hope I'd picked an abandoned web and do my best to get the stringy mess out of my hair.  Typically about 8:42 seconds later when I'd finally calmed down, I'd suddenly see the venomous beast sitting on my shoulder ready to kill me.  I'd then do this sort of ancient fight dance and try to get rid of the spider without actually touching it.

So, today I had the choice of running along streets on sidewalks and nice bike trails or including my favorite local trail section to my run.  It sounds like an easy choice...not this time a year when the trail is a den of spiders.  There are spiders everywhere this time of year, especially in the woods. 

And so...I ran the wooded section today.  I would rather deal with spiders than not be able to run the woods on a perfect day.  I had to stop and avoid some really large spiders and I did catch a web in the hair.  I'm still looking for that spider but it was totally worth it.

Chuck (+1) --- Fear (0)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tough Day but Blessed

Had a long day today.  Woke up tired with a full on cold.  Snuffy, puffy and didn't pack my razor to shave...not a good start.

Spent the morning at the new facility for my non-profit Project PATCH.  This was the kick off weekend for our Family Experience which is an amazing therapeutic weekend experience for an entire family which gives them the tools to be closer and more effective as a family.  This weekend was a culmination of years of work for our team.  I meant to be with the group all weekend but had to get home for Emmet's memorial service and to speak at a church tomorrow.

Spirit Media was filing the promotional video and it is always great to see a program from their respective.  Bill and Anne are amazing people and I love being with them.  We spent a bit of time filming my interview and even though a lens doesn't make me feel comfortable, it did give me a chance to remember all the donors, volunteers and dreamers that made this new facility and program possible.  500 acres have been transformed from raw ranch land to a resort and families are now also being transformed.  Great experience.

I raced out of there to make it to baby Emmet's service.  Barely made it in time but what an amazing service.  Everyone was wearing blue in his honor and Jaysun and Dana's cross country teams and students were there.  The church was packed and it was a great affirmation of love and confidence in God.  It was also a time for lots of tears (and sniffles on my part). 

We raced and picked up our girls and then went to a program to learn what they teach at our older daughters Montessori for their Catechism.  I learned a lot, including how to say, "Catechism" and felt good because I knew what Parousia was.  Like their comfortable kid paced approach to learning.  A highlight for me was that they had Cheescake, raspberries and fresh gobi berries.  It was good to learn more and discover once again that our daughter will be smarter me.

So the day ends with me getting ready to give a sermon at a church in the morning, sniffling about my cold and the events of the day. 

No training today, tougher day than races I've done including my IM, but going to sleep satisfied that I'm blessed.  I have a job that makes a difference for at-risk teens and families.  I get the chance to be a dad.  I have friends who inspire me.  I'd say I'm blessed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Off Season

I'm all out of races for the year.  I thought I was going to race last weekend and another duathlon in October but both aren't happening.  No injuries, just out of time and can't be two places at once.

The only race that I'm registered for is next August and so I guess I'm in my "Off Season". 

I thought I would call a press conference to talk about my season and to start the buzz going so that I could get a better contract for 2012.  I also wanted a chance to thank my sponsors and team.

Only problem, I've already said pretty much all that needs to be said about my races and I don't have a contract, sponsor, or team. and so no one would show up.

So my season ends with a sort of fizzle.  I feel good about 2011 with some good results and my first full distance triathlon, yet I also know I haven't tapped my full effort yet.

So, my main goal for 2012 isn't just to keep moving during races (run rather than walk) it is to go to that place where I keep going when my body begs to slow down.  I've had too many races where I feel quite a bit of pain but don't give it my all. 

So, for 2012, look for race reports with some epic fails and hopefully some epic triumphs.  I will risk more and will also learn a lot more about myself.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Run in Honor of Baby Emmet

Emmet was born yesterday and for the short duration of his life was loved fully and completely.  My prayers are with his parents Jaysun and Dana as they carry a wound no parent is capable of carrying. 

So today, I wore my sunglasses inside and left my hotel for a long run for Emmet, to run in honor of his strength and that of his family.  I ran because I didn't know what else to do.  I ran because I could and he won't be able to.  I just ran.

Parents walk a fine line between fear and exhilaration.   So much out of our control, tenuous dreams and so many snares.  Yet we also find moments of pure clarity, and heart bursting love.  Moments in which hearts are one and we know our only purpose is to fully love.

I ended my 10 miles today by running as fast as I could.  I felt my heart pound and my lungs strain and I long for the day in which I see Jaysun, Dana and Emmet reunited.  Running together fully secure in love and joy.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Stumptown Race Report (Okay, 1/3 of a race report)

First a rant and then maybe I'll actually have some content.

I spent a whole day at a race named Stumptown longing for Stumptown coffee only to discover that they just used the name, and that race had nothing to do with the coffee company, except of course the name, location and expectation of perfect balance...

I love coffee.  It's a huge motivator to me.  I spent two weeks drinking McDonald's Coffee in August just because it was free.  I probably would have even sung a song in the drive through just to get the free, notso good coffee (okay, I'm a snob and can't quite say it was good, but I guess since I'm mostly honest with you readers, I liked it). 

So to go to a race anticipating the mating of two of life great things, triathlon and coffee and to not get coffee, well, it left me as close to a funk as I get.  They did have a very small coffee truck that couldn't brew coffee or run their equipment without breaker problems but that left me even more disapointed.  I expect much better from Portland.

So now to the race report (1/3).  I was asked by my friends Larry and Jaysun to be their runner.  As far as I know, I was the second choice but I could possibly have been the third.  I just pretended to be the first choice kind of like I did when playing group sports as a kid.  We signed up the morning of the race for the "Long Course" which is a bit deceiving given it is a 70.3 distance but it still qualifies as a long course because one of the volunteers said "wow that's a long ways" when I told her I had to run 13.1 miles. 

Jaysun swam and did an amazing job.  It was a really long transition but he finished his leg in 29:08 which was the 10th fastest overall and 8th fastest male.  He handed off to Larry who made his way out of his University of Washington purple folding chair with plenty of time to race.

Larry put in a great ride with a 2:34:39 (27th fastest of the day) ride including a ridiculously long transition.  While he biked his three laps, I got to hang out with some great local athletes who were recovering from IM Canada.  Since I'm doing that race next year, I decided to focus on me rather than Larry.  I should have been documenting and making videos of his speed and agility on the bike but instead I was trying to get all the advice from the elite guys and the coach the providence stuck me with on this coffeeless day.

The wind started to come up while I waited for Larry to finish up the bike.  I thought he would pull of a 2:20 - 2:30 ride and I think he could have nailed a 2:20 without the wind and 1/4 mile transition.  It was a bit painful to see him get off the bike, a mere dot on the horizon struggling his way to transition.  The nice people that were waiting for their teams were wowed by his ride but seemed to understand why he wasn't running for our team.

So the hand off took place and I started to run.  I had warmed up by running around transition and had hydrated a bunch and so I thought I was pretty ready to go.  I wanted to run a 1:30 and thought that I could.  The run was great until I turned onto Marine Drive and met my nemesis, the wind.  The I met my other shadow, stench blowing in the wind from rotting compost.  I was feeling pretty good and looking forward to the effortless down wind leg and then I met my third rival, stuffy heat with a tinge of oppression and rot.  I kept going and had a pretty good first lap. 

The second lap wasn't the negative split that I hoped for and I really had a painful drop around mile 10.  I lost some of my motivation and fire and picked up some wus and whine.  I picked things up again but too late and ended with a 1:43:09 which was a 7:52 pace.  Not my best run but not too bad either.

I felt bad on the run because I didn't have the right to feel pain because hadn't put in the time or pain that others had.  They were so nice as ran told me how fresh I looked and stuff like that and I wanted to apologize the whole time but instead I said thanks and did my best to believe them.  The other strange thing is that I haven't spent much time in the front part of a race.  There were some huge gaps in the front of the field and I ran alone for much of the race.  I made a few passes but was pretty lonely and pacing was hard.  I ran the 18th fastest run of the day overall and 16th for men but would have been disappointed if I hadn't because I was cheating by only running.  

After the race, we hung out, ate and tried to win stuff.  We won the relay division (1 of 3 teams) and I got my hardware.  I felt proud and like a cheat at the same time. 

Glad I got to race on a good team with good people and glad to learn more about myself.  Now, if only they had served Stumptown Coffee.