30 May 2012

Missing My Mojo?

The fact that I have not written a blog post since—what seems like the Paleozoic Era—can have several possible explanations:

1) I have had the busiest year of my professional life. It was difficult trying to find the time to write when I was so busy at work. I was plenty busy between training, prepping classes, and grading papers until one o'clock in the morning. Any blog posts I would have written would have been rife with grammatical errors (more than usual), malapropisms, and insipid babble. Wait, that has been my modus operandi this whole time. Why change now?

2) My coach is trying to kill me. (We went to graduate school together at the Ithaca College Music Conservatory). I am convinced I did something to upset her years ago and her singular means of retribution is by covertly trying to work me to death. I kid—sort of—but my volume up to this point in the pre-season has been far more than last year at this time. I kid, she is incredibly awesome, attentive, and intuitive about my training. (Even though she is trying to kill me).

3) I received a commission to write a new work in five weeks that will premiere at the Kennedy Center in two weeks (june 9th).

4) I needed a little break from writing. Like playing jazz, if you do not take a break from your musical rhetoric every once in a while, you'll find yourself playing the same types of things on different tunes. That is hardly creative. I guess, if writing a blog is not fun because you are so consumed by other things that you are going to compromise the integrity of your writing, then I feel like I should not write. But, here I am, renewed, reinvigorated, and ready to kick ass!

So, instead of going back and retracing every footstep of my life from the last month, I think it would be more worthwhile to discuss where it is I go from here. I am unbelievably fortunate to be a member of the Rev3 team again this season. For those of you multisport people who have been living on another planet the last few years, Rev3 is the best thing since chocolate was paired with milk, the invention of the wheel, indoor plumbing, and The Beastie Boys (R.I.P. Adam Yauch). What makes the Rev3 race series unique are its athletes, staff, crew, and partners. The athletes—both pro and age-groupers like myself—share an incredible camaraderie.

Training has been especially difficult the last couple of months. I had been struggling for weeks to figure out just why the motivation has not been there this season. Am I burnt out? Too much on my plate? It suddenly dawned on me what the problem has been. Although I  recently moved to an area that some around my parts refer to as a "triathlon playground" (I have a lake, literally, in my backyard, a great rolling bike course around the lake that is amazingly—56 miles, and plenty of large shoulders for running).

My lack of motivation really has to do with my lack of friends, or rather, training buddies in my new community. The problem has been that since we've moved, wifey and I do not really know too many people in our new community other than the families that live in out neighborhood,  none of which are triathletes. We use to go to our local YMCA and bring our children. They had a lot of activities for all of them to do for my oldest (10) all the way down to my youngest (4). More, wifey had a lot of girlfriends that she would meet up with to work out with. I had a group of athletes that I would train with inside and outside of the gym. Since our move, it has really been difficult to get out on those 4+ hour training rides solo. There are times that I absolutely enjoy going out and training by myself, but there are other times that I wish I had someone to "shoot the breeze" with out there. I have been doing some things recently to shake off the dust. I just purchased a mountain bike and have been working that into my training as well as a trail run once a week. I find that the trail running gives me just enough of a break from the regular routine to keep me sane.

I did participate in a really awesome race with some colleagues a few weeks ago called the Seneca 7. This was a 77.7 mile, seven person relay race. I raced the Ragnar relay last year, but I found this race—although short, much more difficult. The Ragnar race I did was in the Adirondack Mountains (from Woodstock to Dobbs Ferry, New York). The Seneca 7 was a race that went around Seneca Lake—one of central New York's scenic finger lakes with wineries nestled on the banks on either side. What made this race especially difficult is that you are essentially running three relatively short legs—between two and six miles—at 5k pace and you only have three hours of recovery time in between in which you are sitting in a van getting stiff and cold after your run. Terrific! We faired pretty well, even though I got lost on my second leg. How is this possible you ask? When you are running a  relay that traverses remote parts of central New York and the volunteer crew who is suppose to be at an intersection telling you which way to go is not there.... well.... it's quite simple. I actually only ended up running an extra 1.5 miles, but I had paced myself to run 4.5 miles. By the time my third leg came around, I was toast and ended up having to walk a portion of it. It was great fun though. We may not have come in first (I think we were something like 45th out of 140 teams—which is not bad), but we definitely had the most awesome team t-shirts ever! Are those incredibly dorky, or what? The race medals were really cool as well. It was a cut out of the lake in an aluminum oval with the number of the leg you ran also cut out on the medal. I have to hand it to race director Jeff Henderson, who always puts together a top notch race.

Next up: REV3 Quassay this weekend!  Holy smokes!  I can not believe this race is already here. My coach and I have decided to treat this as a "training race" to gauge where I am at this point in the season. I know I am not "A-race ready," but I feel better prepared at this point in the season than I have in years past, especially my swimming which I worked on a lot this pre-season. I know that I have to work on my running the next few months. I know it is still not where I want it to be because I have that feeling of dread every time I look at my week and see a long run or two. It'll get there.

Okay, a race report to follow.  I have found my Mojo again.

Train Smart!


TriMOEngr said...

Always hard to pinpoint the reason for a slump or lack of mojo. Glad you were able to think through it here. Friends definitely make a difference - though I did almost all of my training last year alone, I've slowly been adding a friend here and there. Still hard to coordinate though. Excited to hear about Quassy. Have a great race - even if not an "A".

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Congrats on the Kennedy Center premiere - that is amazing!

Kelly Covert said...

Who is this crazy coach?? ;) I'm glad you are feeling fit...now we just have to find that zing again and we are in ACTION!!


Should we look for you on TV with Obama? Way to go. You have to be very proud
Now this "I will treat it as a training day stuff"... I hope it goes better for you than it did for me. I tried that at IMFL70.3 and ended up walking the whole half..
Good luck!!

Rae said...

Awesome! I've always wanted to do the NY Ragnar...well, and the Seneca 77.7. Both bucket list items!

Paul said...

Great to read your blog again, breaks are great things, good luck this weekend!!!

JFord said...

Great blog, I also struggle with balancing being a husband, father, athlete and going to work! Hang in there Brother!