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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Home from Paradise

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." - Colossians 3:23

I've returned from my time in paradise refreshed and rejuvenated, with a renewed motivation to more effectively balance work, family, and training. I've also reaffirmed my commitment to give and be in service as much as I can, as I firmly believe and have experienced that the greatest joys and fulfillment come from giving of who you are and what you have. This has certainly been true for me, and I would highly encourage everyone who feels they are missing something out of life (and those who feel they're missing nothing for that matter) to give freely of themselves, and experience grace in return. I was once told by someone much wiser than me that everything we have is on loan to us, entrusted to us, so none of it is ours. We will benefit more from being good stewards of what has been entrusted to us. I frequently fall into the trap of becoming frustrated or angry because I feel I don't have enough of something or something is being wasted, when the truth is I have everything I will ever need.

While it was an indulgence, to say the least, our recent trip to Kauai has been very beneficial to my outlook and inner peace. In my last post I expressed frustration over how slow I was in my run, and concern that I was not biking. Before I left, I lacked a sufficient amount of confidence in the swim, especially open water swimming. It is becoming clear that there is a lot of faith involved in endurance training because there are many aspects that you can't control. At times your heart will beat as fast as it wants to and there isn't much you can do to control it but slow down. This is what I had to do in Hawaii, and I thought I was regressing. However, I became accepting and just remembered to enjoy the run, occasionally stopping for pictures. Below are some shots from my last run, just before leaving for the airport.

Sunrise along a sugar cane access road

Panoramic photo of the sunrise

Mahaulepu Beach - The end of the trail
What I discovered upon my return was very significant. Faith, humility, and acceptance in training appeared to help me improve despite going slower in a hotter, more humid climate. I got back on the bike the day after our return and did a 3.5 hour ride, consistently holding a 19-20 mph pace (although an extreme hill at the end of the course slowed me down and wore me out - one of the unfortunate side effects of living beyond a number of hills). Just today I was able to do a bike/run transition, holding my fastest bike and run splits to date, and I feel great (bike avg. on flat course 19.5 mph for 45 minutes - HR at 135 avg.; Run avg. on flat course 8:34 min/mile for 30 minutes - HR at 141 avg.). Most importantly, I have developed comfort and speed in the water. I am able to swim up to 3,000 yds in a session without being fatigued, and am down to 2 min/100 yds (not great, but good for me). My form feels more natural, and I have confidence in the open water.

Things are definitely improving, and I can see that the focus I am taking on my training (focusing on aerobic heart rate, being humble and accepting, as well as the improved diet) is actually working very well. At this point I think I finally have the confidence to say that I could finish this thing and hopefully do fairly well. But I won't get ahead of myself.

So today, here's where my weekly training is at. 
  • Swim: Three times a week, 3,000 yards per workout
  • Bike: Two shorter rides, one spin, one long ride per week, about 100 miles
  • Run: Two one hour runs including short intervals (picking up the pace to get my heart rate to Z4), two half hour runs transitioning from the bike, and one long run, about 30+ miles
  • Two strength training sessions per week
I know what you may be thinking, and the answer is a lot of 4 am wake up calls. But it is worth it for the time to be with God in meditation, and the energy it provides throughout the day.