I lay down on the couch and after 10 minutes into The Godfather, I’m fast asleep. I’m awakened by the sound of Carys, our youngest, crying in her crib. My wife and I are still trying to get her on a consistent sleep-through-the-night schedule and so I do not move. I just lie there, listening her to struggle with sleep almost as much as I do. 10 minutes pass…then 15. I mentally count the seconds and realize I should go in there, but I don’t. A sudden sloth falls over me and I remain on the couch only to hear my wife walk from our bedroom to Carys’s bedroom to nurse back to sleep. Guilt replaces the sloth as I think “idiot, you should have gotten off your ass and gone in there…it’s your night with the girls anyway.” I hear my wife finish, lay Carys back to bed and crawl under the covers in our bedroom. I lie on the couch and let my mind start running again about the past week at work, things to do around the house and missed opportunities everywhere. I start thinking about the disgusting food I ate for dinner, the lazy feeling that washed over me just a few minutes ago and I’m up. I find some dirty socks in my car, slide my feet into my running shoes, turn on my ipod, and start running. Somehow my body feels fresh. I ran Thursday at 5pm, Friday at 12:30pm, and now again I’m running at 4:30am. How is that possible? All runs were more than an hour, this early morning run finishing at around an 1:45:00. I’ll never understand the human body.
It doesn’t matter though, I got lost in the silence of the empty streets again this morning. I just find it amazing how quiet a city as big as Houston can get. I see Sysco trucks being unloaded at the back of grocery stores, huge parking lots in front of HEB, Walmart, and the like nearly abandoned, but perfectly manicured as if someone built this great monument to cheap retail and then forgot about it. A police officer cruises by, flashes his lights and shakes his head as he passes. “Why the fuck are you running at 4:30am on a Saturday? I HAVE to work, what’s your excuse?” I feel guilty about binging on food and sloth, which is ironic because my solution is another long, self indulgent run that I know my wife will hate. “You think it’s safe running at 4:30am around Blalock and Longpoint?” No, I don’t and she’s right. If I’m going to give into these early morning cravings for exercise, I should find a track, a gym, hell just run around my back yard. I took my phone this time and wore lights all over my body…a flashing beacon of idiocy running between street lamps. “Baby steps…untie your knots!”
Besides that, the early morning solitude allowed me time to think about my goals for this next year. Despite advice to the contrary, I signed up with a team to complete the Tough Mudder in Austin on October 6th. Why? I have no idea…ok, I have some idea. First, I get asked every year by someone to do it with them. I think they are under the impression that I am in moderately good shape because of marathoning and my recent stint with triathlons. That really only means I’m in good shape to marathon and triathlon. Running a 12-13 mile course filled with obstacles designed to test every strength muscle in your body…maybe not. So, this will force me to focus a bit on strength training. Also, the event isn’t timed. “Then what’s the point?” I hear all my marathoning friends ask. I actually have a similar thought process. Well, for fun. I complain so much about Ironman being to much about the Ironman brand and not enough about the athletes and the charity…why not do one that is COMPLETELY focused on the athletes and the charity. As an Outrival coach pointed out…the potential for injury is high. Jumping over walls, crawling under barbed wire and through electrically charged wires isn’t the smartest thing in the world, but it’s supposed to be fun…right?
So, that’s October. Blake, a friend in San Antonio, and his friend’s wife Kerri signed up for the Rock n Roll marathon in November prompting me to do the same after much goading (by which I mean “Hey, Nick, are you doing any events this fall?”). My last experience with the San Antonio marathon involved my brother and I signing up, traveling to San Antonio the night before, getting sick and coming back home the morning of the race. Let’s try this again. Just like with Galveston, I’d like to do it in under three hours, but I won’t kill myself to make that happen. If it happens, it happens. If not, oh well.
After that, nothing until Ironman Texas in May 2012. Goal? Not sure yet. I know that I’m capable, if healthy and smart about training, of going under 10 hours, maybe 9.5 if I have a great run, but honestly, the training, preparation and pressure to make that happen is a little much for me this year and I’m only 30…I have plenty of time to improve and reach that goal. Plus, after halfway joking about it, I think I’d like to do the Texas Water Safari next year. A 260 mile canoe race from San Marcos to the gulf. You have to finish in 100 hours and essentially canoe all night for 4 days. What do I know about canoeing? About as much as I knew about Ironman training when I signed up for my first Ironman. The canoe race is in June though, which is why I may take it easy during the Ironman just 3 or so weeks before. So that’s my next year of events. As with any training session, the beginning is exciting. I haven’t accomplished anything, but I haven’t failed yet either. Plenty of time for either, but until race days get closer, I will live in the fantasy land of overachieving where I break every course record and wake up the next day unphased