Monthly Archives: May 2014

“A student of behavior psychology
Conditioned himself to stick to his studies
He grew tired of these routines and tried to drop them
But he was caught in his own trap and couldn’t stop them

Then he wondered
If he should start to take it easy
Overachiever, might be putting it mildly” — Overachiever, Crash Test Dummies


For some reason, I’m still training for triathlons.

I have no idea why. Like CTD’s psych student, I seem to be caught in a trap; I’ve conditioned myself to train, to go run and swim and bike, that even now, when I see that it doesn’t make any sense, I’m still out there.

This last weekend, my friend Sheldon and I did a seventy mile bike ride out in Wasatch and Summit counties, with a few thousand feet of vertical. This was the day after a fifteen mile dreadmill trot, and that afternoon following the ride Ethel and I did a hike up what turned out to be a false summit above Summit Park. That left me with over sixteen hours of training for the week, with no swimming because of the “collapsed lung” business. A good hard week of training.

This week, I’ve been discouraged. Seventy miles is NOTHING compared to 112, and 3500 feet of vertical is nothing compared to 6700 feet.

And that’s a ride by itself, not preceded by 2.4 miles of open water swimming,. or followed by a full marathon. That’s what Ironman Lake Tahoe means.

And last night, I finally ventured out into a pond with a friend for some open water swimming, for the first time since the day before the St George IM/2, when I squealed like a girl. Well, I didn’t squeal like a girl at Black Ridge Reservoir in Herriman, Utah, yesterday, but that’s just because I didn’t swim straight out into the deep water – I stayed inside the buoys. I still found myself stopping every 100 yards or so; swimming while not being able to see where I am is just too disorienting. Also, I wonder if I’m simply not able to swim more than that because I’m used to stopping at the wall every 25 yards and turning; regardless of how slight, the ability to pop up and take a breath and then push off from the wall may make all of the difference in the world.

This morning, I went to the pool, and it was disappointing, as well. Three weeks ago, before the lung thing, I was knocking out 500 yard sets with impunity. This morning, I was more comfortable with sets of 250 to 300 yards. And I don’t know – is it possible to lose that much conditioning in two weeks of not swimming? Or was it the incredible amount of what Ian would call “negative self talk” that I was giving myself? Because I was telling myself how poorly I was swimming while I was swimming.

Tomorrow I’m supposed to do a sprint triathlon – 400y swim, 10.9 miile bike, and a 5K run. Basically, less than a regular Tuesday/Thursday workout. But I’m having trouble wanting to do it, because the only reason to do such a thing is to train for an Ironman, and I no longer believe that I’ll ever be able to do said Ironman. So why bother with the little fish when I won’t ever catch the big fish? Unlike Jacob, I’m not willing to work seven years to get a girl, and then have to work another seven years to get the girl I really want; I don’t have fourteen good years left.

I can do two or three hours training without ever leaving my home office – got a bike and treadmill right there. So why leave the house and go down to the valley to swim and bike and run?

So I don’t want to do the race tomorrow, but I don’t know how to stop training.  And it’s difficult to keep training unless I am doing some racing.

So I’m stuck in a trap of my own making.

During Saturday’s 65 mile ride (here‘s the link for that) I had three flat tires.

Now I know how to fix flats.

FixingAFlatFirst I had a low tire, and thought that it was a slow leak, but a mile later it was flat, so I fixed that. Then, coming down a hill back towards Park City – at high speed – I hit something hard and abrupt. It was the kind of punch that makes you say “ow” even though it didn’t hurt; I have that reaction when I hit a rock with my skis. I say “ow!” because my skis (or bike) have been hurt, and I feel the pain. That’s just plain weird : )

Anyway, I pulled over and the rear tire was flat, and I had already used up my spare tube on the previous flat, so I called Ethel and had her bring me some tubes. This took a while; it was a pleasant rest, and my bike sat upside down by the road while I leaned back just underneath it by a babbling brook.

So I used up both of the tubes that Ethel brought me, and then rode the bike to the bike shop to buy more tubes. And more CO2 cartridges.

One thing that struck me was how many cyclists on the road stopped to ask if they could help me. It was quite surprising. And some motorists slowed down to offer help, as well. This brook was close to the Park City Rail Trail, where folks rode by on hybrids and mountain bikes, and some of them also offered help; one lady stopped with her herd of three small children on bikes and was walking over to ask if she could help.

Lots of nice people on bicycles out there : )

One lady said that when she how my bike was leaning against that pole, she thought that I had wrapped the bike around it and must have hurt myself. This seems a mite strange because I was just standing there at the time, non-chalantly; had I actually wrecked like that, I would not have been standing, and I would definitely have been chalant : )

This was the longest and hardest ride I’ve ever done. I’ve done about this much vertical, but never this much distance, and when I turned around in Kamas for the last leg, I hit that last 15 miles of distance and ~1000 feet of climb heading into the teeth of a very, very stiff wind; the kind of wind where i felt compelled to keep pedaling even on the downhills. It was a ferocious wind; when I got in my car at the end of the ride and started to head back, the wind was even affecting the Audi.

I’m not able to swim right now; it seems that my episode from a week ago – the dehydrated concussion that I thought might be a heart attack – was actually a collapsed lung. The doctor says that the strenuous motion of my arms was such that somehow some air got into my pleural cavity (which is supposed to be a vacuum) and the pressure outside my lung caused a small pocket of it to collapse. The confusion, dizziness and weakness was probably the result of a strong drop in my blood pressure, which is indeed what it felt like – like that feeling I sometimes get when I stand up too fast, only it kept going for a long time.

So, since I can’t swim, I’m making up the difference with extra cycling time. And, starting last week, I decided that I’m tired of not running much; it seems like I’m losing conditioning, even while I’m doing all of the biking and swimming, because I haven’t been running much. So this week should be about 15 hours of running and biking.

Next week, I have a sprint triathlon in Cottonwood Heights; doctor says I can start swimming again then. A week after that, I have an Olympic distance tri in South Jordan, with an open water swim – but it’s in a man-made lake, where one never gets too far from the shore, and one can see the ground most of the time. So that’s a good one to get reinserted into open water. Maybe I won’t freak out and squeal like a girl.

And if I have a flat tire, I’ll know what to do : )

The plan for this morning was simple – 3500 yards (500 warmup, 5×500 w/paddles and buoy, 500 cooldown) and a two hour run.

It didn’t go that way.

First off, I went to this outdoor 50 meter pool rather than my normal indoor 25 yard. This immediately threw me into arithmetic confusion, but I decided that 3200 meters was close enough to 3500 yards for my purposes.

Since I hadn’t swum (other than freaking out for an hour in Sand Hollow Reservoir, squealing like a girl) in two weeks, I decided to weight things towards the warmup, and did 500 meters of that.

I decided (since HDH said “you need some wins in training) to do 500, 600, 700 and 800 meters instead of 5×500.

Then I put on the paddles and buoy, and starting swimming.

Since I was sharing an outside lane, I wasn’t over the black stripe. At the end of my first lap, I went WHAM into the end of the pool, smacking it with my head. I hit hard enough to stand up and stop my watch (years of running has that effect) and took a few minutes to, well, to say OW! When I started swimming again, I forgot to start my watch.

So at the end of the first 500 meter repeat, I saw that my watch said 600 meters total. The day was not going well. I started the watch and kept going.

There was no big poolside clock for me to look at while turning, so I found myself swimming rather more leisurely than usual. I was also taking the opportunity on this long pool to practice picking my head up and sighting at the start of each right-side breath. I even tried swimming a few lengths with my eyes closed while my head was in the water, to simulate a dark lake; this resulting in an extreme drift to my left, every time.

During my last 800 meter repeat, I was getting dizzy and losing any real interest in swimming. What Herr Doktor Hersey calls “negative self talk” set in, and I got discouraged. And I was getting dizzier, weaker and more confused the whole time.

As I finished up the last lap of the 800, there were people standing in my lane; a foursome, talking to their coach, and then they started swimming. I was so disoriented by this time that I couldn’t even ask why or what was going on; I just stood up, even though I had another 100 meters to swim to get to 3200, and wandered away, lost and weak and confused.

I hopped into the indoor 25 yard pool to see if I could finish up the workout, but after a lap realized that my watch was still counting 50 meters per length, and that wasn’t right, but I couldn’t even get smart enough to reset it. So I got out and headed in to the locker room, with a 3100 meter and 50 yard workout in the books (don’t see THAT very often).

Changed in the locker room, couldn’t think, couldn’t stand up very well….drank a Monster and took some Succeed. Still felt woozy and weak. Headed upstairs and got on a treadmill to start my run, but that wasn’t working, either – I couldn’t run. I tried to jog at 4.5 mph, but couldn’t even do that. After a third of a mile, I gave up and went downstairs.

I do not know if 3100 meters in an 82 F pool dehydrated me, or if the collision into the wall of the pool gave me a concussion, or both. I came home and passed out on the couch for an hour (this is after two total Monsters) and I’ve been awake for two hours now and still have no idea what happened. I haven’t been able to walk upstairs here and get on my treadmill; I still have a two hour run and a three hour bike ride to do this weekend, but it may have to all wait until tomorrow.