Monthly Archives: August 2018

Here’s my training graph since January of 2017. The blue area of this graph is showing my ATL – my “acute training load”, or, in short, my “fitness”, over a given period…



This graph means that I got into great shape for the half Ironman in Coeur d’Alene last year (that first double peak), and then, five month later, I was in slightly worse shape at Ironman Arizona, then that long valley afterwards while I hobbled through ski season – trying to stay in shape on the elliptical after my right knee went out in February, getting back up to the next-to-the-last hump in early April just before my LEFT knee failed catastrophically on Cozumel.

Then that last painful climb – the end of the graph is today.

What this graph doesn’t show is that when I did start back up after the crash on Cozumel, I actually lowered my FTP, because I couldn’t do the same workouts – so everything after that last valley is actually inflated. It should be about ten percent less.

So – I’m not doing Ironman Arizona this year.

There – I’ve said it out loud, and I feel some relief from that.

I’ve been trying to get back into shape, over and over, and it feels like I’m ALWAYS starting over – and the most important thing for long-course triathlon is consistency. And my body has not let me be consistent this year.

In addition, there are other stresses – I’m still the dumbest guy in the room at work, and it’s becoming more apparent, so I need more energy just to hang on.

And the whole emotional whiplash thing from earlier this year about “yes, we’re moving to Mexico so I can lay in a hammock/no, we’re not/wait, yes, we really are/no, actually, we’re not” wore me out, as well – and still lives in the back of my head, although it’s been told to shut up.

This last weekend, I took Ethel through three hours on the roads as her last longer ride before her century next week (watch this space!) and the plan was that I would finish out with another three hours at my own effort levels. But one more hour was all that I could do.

I managed ninety minutes of “jogging” (ha!) on Sunday morning, as planned, but then bailed on my Monday swim when it became the least bit inconvenient – I was at the pool, but couldn’t get my own lane, so I said “the heck with it” and went home.

That’s when I sort of realized – or decided; I’m not sure which – that it isn’t smart for me to keep trying to train for IMAZ this year. Just trying to do so is wearing me out, and that’s not good – not for me, not for Ethel, not for my employer, not for those folks whom I’m supposed to be helping – not for anybody.

I’ve always justified my training with the awareness that the discipline and effort needed for the training helped me to be a better person all around. Well, that’s not the case right now. Training at that level – or, actually, I should say trying to, since I haven’t actually been maintaining those levels – is making me less effective in the rest of my life, rather than moreso.

So, I quit.

I’m done with long-course triathlon until I either get younger, or am retired and have the time and energy to put into it. “Long course” means Ironman or Half Ironman races. I’m still going to do sprints and Olympic distance – that’s my plan.

But for right now, I’m backing down from the 13 hour weeks I’ve been doing (or attempting)  and will be satisfied with much less volume. I am doing this in the hope that, sometime in the next few weeks, I find that I have more energy for all of the stuff that I should be doing.

We’ll see. If it doesn’t work, then I have no idea what to try next.

This is Gene.


Gene is my role model.

Gene shows up most mornings at the Wave fitness center, at about the same time. He’s always smiling, just like this.

Gene greets folks, then gets on the elliptical for 20 minutes to an hour of light cardio. Then he seems to do some other stuff, but maybe not so much; I think he does resistance training, but I never see him sweat.

He’s never overtrained. He’s never fretting about being undertrained going into a race or event. He’s never injured. He seems to be in great shape and great health without needing an entry blank to stay motivated. He’s trim and fit and energetic.

Gene always has a good word to say. He raises people up; he praises or encourages, as the situation fits. He will good-naturedly deflect any negative comments and redirect the conversation into a grateful direction.

I misspoke above – I should not have said that Gene is my role model, because one hopes to emulate a role model; I don’t think that I could ever be Gene, or even a low-rent Gene substitute.

Gene is a manager at the local liquor store, but I’ve never smelled a drop on him, or seen a red eyeball. When I’ve gone in there during the holidays, buying gifts, sometimes I see him behind the counter, and he’s the same Gene at work that he is at the gym.

I would love to be Gene. Or even somewhat like Gene.

Today is Friday, and as sometimes happens, this is my day off from training this week. I’m 15 weeks out from Ironman Arizona, and I’m in terrible shape. I’ve had injury after injury this year; physical therapy on one knee, then surgery on the other. I’m still trying to get into shape for IMAZ while having to admit to myself that it’s not going to happen – and then going back and still trying.

I’m usually exhausted, almost always hungry while wishing that I could lose weight, and sore. After the last year of hard training, I’m currently slower in the swim, much slower on the run, and have an FTP on the bike that is 10% lower than last year.

Every year, I’m out of shape, and then the next year, I try to get back into the shape that I was in the previous year, when I was out of shape – and failing. Miserably. I’m not holding back the darkness any more. I’m just trying to generate a little light.

I wish I could be Gene.

Who knows? Maybe I could be Gene. Maybe prayer and discipline could free me from this cycle, and I could go to the gym, five or six days a week, and hit the elliptical for a half hour, and maybe do some lifting.

I’ll pray to be like Gene.