Monday, January 23, 2012

In Praise of Walking

Bike Day (Saturday)
time- 4:27
distance- 57.3

Run Day (Sunday)
time- 1:14
distance- 7.14mi

The Dirtbag Ego, friends, is a wild and massive beast. It can not be tamed, only momentarily subdued. But it is not a mindless animal. It can learn. Not as well as Caeser, but it can. And this weekend it learned something which I think will come in very handy as training progresses.
Smarter than the Dirtbag Ego
 But first, the ride. The ride this weekend was a semi-repeat of my ride a year ago at this time. A friend in town has a son, and he has birthdays, as many of us do. Super Awesome Wife and I were invited and since there would be food and Star Wars jokes we agreed to go. The party started around one. I left the house just after 9 and met up with Dirtbag the Grey. We struck out north, to Pupukea and got some climbing in. Then turned around and hit Pineapple. We passed Diesel heading up Pineapple on our way out. And we met him at the top on out way back. Dude did five laps of that freaking hill. Myself, I had a better climb on both hills, hanging tighter with the Grey. Though about halfway up Pineapple a shiny thought bubble distracted me and I kind of fell asleep for the next quarter of the climb. You know how it is, one minute you're sweating your way up a hill, struggling to keep a good cadence, and the next you're being interviewed on the Daily Show about your new book and Jon Stewart is laughing at all your jokes. That does happen to everyone, right?
Anyway, after the climb and meeting up with Diesel for a few minutes he and the Grey went their way and I went mine, down into town and on to base. I should note that the ride time is a little deceptive because I blew a patched tube early in the ride and had to switch that out, we stopped and talked on the top of Pineapple, and I stopped at a gas station for a bottle of Powerade a while later. There, the Dirtbag Ego feels a little better about the 4:27.
But my real Ego lesson was during the run. I didn't wake up early, and I was in no hurry to get out the door. It's not that I was being lazy, I just didn't feel like rushing. It was Sunday, damnit. Plus, I wanted to catch the Patriots/Ravens kickoff. The result of leaving a little later means I was running when the sun was up rather than when it was barely rising, and this makes a difference. It felt hot. My stupid phone tried to tell me it was only 70*, but I think it was lying. Had to be hotter. Had to be. Anyway, I was feeling strong but kind of slow the whole way out, but nearing the turn around point I really started dragging ass. And I made a choice: I'm going to turn around, and I'm going to walk for a few minutes. This is a major step for the Dirtbag Ego. Walking is the antithesis of running to the Dirtbag Ego. "We do not walk," it says, "We run! Even when we are really staggering, we run!" But I wanted to walk. It was hot, my legs were getting tight, walking would help. So I told that guy to shut up and walked for a few minutes.  I even stopped and took a picture.

What a great idea! When I started running again my legs felt fresh(er) and strong(er). My headspace had reset to a more positive setting. The breeze was cooler. Birds were chirping. The sent of pineapple was strong in the air. And most of the run back was quite nice. The quads tightened up pretty good during the final mile, but that's to be expected. This was pretty much the heaviest training weekend I've ever had. And it's still early in the cycle!
To review: walking is good! It doesn't mean I'm a big jar of weak sauce. Know why I should have known this before Sunday? We walk during trail runs all the time! Sometimes because we're tired, but sometimes because steep sucks or because mud = silly runners slip and fall. This break-through should take some of the Tough Guy Grrr pressure off and help me relax into my training, especially when it comes to running.
Ride Map

Run Map


  1. I'm guessing you'd prefer if your reader's take-away from this post was something other than this, but....when you said your phone said it was 70 degrees is that from the weather forecast or do you have some sort of thermometer app?

  2. You're right, that's not exactly the take-away I was hoping for, but the main screen of my phone has the time and date and temperature displayed on it and I was feeling hot so I checked it. Then I decided it was probably lying to me.

    1. Thanks. I'll stay on topic going forward. My apologies.

    2. Hey, no worries. I love my phone HTC Hero with the Android OS. It's good stuff. R2D2 lets me know I have texts and the TARDIS lets me know when I'm getting a call.

  3. Walking can be used as a strategy for training and racing. Its like getting a whole fresh set of legs sometimes.

  4. I don't think I've ever done the run portion of a tri without some walking. Maybe not sprint or Olympic distance but for anything else, running to an aid station--walking through it while you drink/eat--and running to the an accepted strategy. That 10 seconds of walking each mile or so is a big performance boost overall.