Thursday, August 26, 2010

Guts, Glory, and a what's next?

Before we get to the future, let's iron out a tiny bit more about the past.

- Some folks may be asking "Where's the traditional picture of Ben with his finishers medal?". As I mentioned in yesterdays post, the official photographer was no longer in attendance at the time of the my completing the race. Plus, they actually ran out of the official finishers medal for the 70.3 race before I finished, so they gave us the finisher medals from the sprint distance.
Rachelle's medal on left, mine on the right

The fact that I currently only have the smaller medal isn't a big deal, as it's a nice medal and it doesn't say "sprint distance" on it. It also doesn't say 70.3 or Ironman, so it doesn't exactly feel right either. The race organizers have promised to send everyone who finished and got the smaller medal the proper medal, and it should arrive within the week. So shortly, there will be a picture of my correct medal filing the empty nail in the wall of the bedroom. The smaller one doesn't belong there, so I've got that hanging on my desk at work next to one of my race numbers.


Now for the new stuff:

Timberman has now come and gone. I fought through pain, exhaustion, and negative thoughts with the help of family, friends, and total strangers to finish. About 8 months of serious training has been validated and I've proven I can go beyond anything I've previously done to reach a lofty goal.

The first two days after the race I didn't want to think of riding or running even a little. Once I got past that I started feeling a bit empty as there was no longer a significant goal out there for me to reach for. I realized the competitor within me was not satisfied with just that one accomplishment, as I still have many goals in terms of competition and health that I have yet to accomplish.

So the question that came next is: what do i do now?

The answer to that question is both simple and complex. First let's start with what I'm not doing.
  • Working out this week. Rach and I are both taking a much needed break from pushing ourselves physically. Rach is going to get her knee looked at before she gets back to training, and I'm taking some much needed rest and recuperation. I may take a couple of very short bike rides over to the bike co-op for class, but that would be strictly at a very relaxed pace.
  • Cranberry Olympic Triathlon. When Rach and I did our race schedule this year, we really wanted to provide effort that benefited the team as much as we have benefited from it. We signed up for Cranberry with the idea that even though neither of us would win, we'd provide some points for finishing that could help win the regional club championship. Plus, as we're the defending champs, I wanted to take part in a race where I might actually win something as opposed to coming in last on a regular basis. Sadly, with Rach's knee and my generally slow recovery, providing any kind of effort in regards to this race just wouldn't amount to much. I keep wanting to do it, only to think about the 10k at the end of the race and realize there's no way my body is ready for that. Sunny, our club prez, did Timberman as well and she's going to Cranberry strictly to cheer on the team, and encouraged us to do the same. We'll be joining her, and helping with the team tent. We didn't defer our registration, so we'll get our shirts and goodie bags and can partake in the post race food, but we'll be on the sidelines for this one, rooting for WheelWorks Multisport to take home the trophy.
So now for what I am going to do. I've outlined some specific projects I want to work on, and the goals I'm associating with them.

Couch to 5k. On Saturday, I'm re-starting the running program I was working on this summer. My running needs work, and without a triathlon to train for, I can focus almost wholly on my running. My goal is to run a 35 minute 5k sometime this fall. And it might seem like I'm reaching, but I really want to do 10 minute miles before too long. First things first.

Cyclocross or Mountain biking. Rach has talked about the idea of winter triathlons. Frankly, the idea of running in snow and even crazier, snowshoeing, is something she can keep to herself, thank you very much. But the idea of doing some mountain biking (part of winter tri's) or perhaps cyclocross (sort of halfway between a mountain bike and a road bike, with some running mixed in) are ideas that are tantalizing to me. There may be no races in my future in either discipline, but there are places to do that kind of riding not too far from home. Plus it gives us the excuse to go bike shopping again. The goal in expanding to either of these disciplines is to give me a good way in the fall to work on my climbing. I'm not sure which direction this will go, but it's something I'll be working on in the next couple months.

Losing Weight. In doing any of the items I have listed here, my ultimate physical goal is to lose weight and get in better physical shape. There can be no doubt I'm stronger, a little lighter, and faster than I was a year ago. But I'm still at least 80 pounds overweight, and I intend to make a big dent in that this year. I've got some goals in this area I'll be outlining in the next few days once I figure out the exact dates and plans.

Another 70.3. Rach and I participated in the Minuteman Sprint associated with the Patriot Half-Ironman earlier this year. Even before Timberman, Rach was talking about wanting to do the Patriot Half next summer. Once Rach graduates, we aren't sure where we'll be living, as she's going to have to find a job. Ideally we'll be in Boston, but that isn't clear. The Patriot looked to be a less difficult course than Timberman, and it's at a time of year that should be early enough that it won't be affected even if we need to move. My goal with this would be to reduce my time for this distance by at least an hour, and ideally shooting for Rach's time at Timberman of 7:30.

Oh, and one last small thing.... I want to do an Ironman. 

More on that tomorrow.


  1. YEAH! IM Ben!! Wahooo!

    Congrats again on Timberman. I am a little put off that they didn't have medals for everyone who finished. I got one but I know a lot of folks who didn't. Glad you are going to get yours, you earned it! :)

  2. Caratunk Girl -

    Thanks. I don't have the whole plan put together yet, but I like the idea, and if the race I want to do will make sense for us, we're going to do it. If not, I have no problem with the idea of going back to Timberman.

    Rach told me they were telling people that when they ran out they'd be sending them out within a week. No one told me that directly, but I assume that's the truth. I know I've had that happen before at other races and it's usually pretty quick.

    And you're right, I definitely earned it.

  3. Ben, your writing is awesome, I tripped onto your blog and I can't stop reading. I'm so with you on restarting C2-5K wish they had a C2-10K, running is my worst too. Hey, see you at Cranberry tomorrow! Go Wheelworks!

  4. Archgrrl - Thanks so much for the compliment! I've had a lot of fun this year, and I'm already thinking about next year.

    While there isn't a C25K, there's a 10k plan thats related that assumes you've done the 5k.

    See you tomorrow, hope you're sleeping by now!