Thursday, September 3, 2015

Drive 4 Five

A month just passed since I took my traditional "Flight to the Finish" and drank my traditional post race Bloody Mary with Team Marty after Ironman Boulder 2015,
OK, let's get our Bloody Mary!
I had ice on my knee and shared stories and laughs with the gang of the days ocurances.  I ordered a monster dish of Udon Noodles in a Spicy Peanut Sauce. It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Jess and I shared an order of Crispy Brussel Sprouts to start and after that, I was finished.  It was delicious but I was crashing.  I practiced post race hydration with water, vodka and tomato juice and a bunch of veggies on a stir stick and now I needed a bed.  I asked for a to go container as I knew those noodles would be devoured soon enough.  I said my goodbyes and thanks to the gang for spending this last part of the journey with me.  We went back to Chris & Erin's to lay our heads for the night.  After a few hours of rest it was off to meet up with my Cousin Loren and Karen down in Denver for Brunch and a send off before they caught a plane back to New York.  As great as it was to see them at the race it was equally better to relive the experience with everyone at Brunch.  Sharing stories of the day from Team Marty's perspective, hearing about Loren holding up a "We Love You" sign during the race and that racers were blowing him kisses and such as they passed by.  Team Marty truly had a sense of their contribution not only to me but to the hundreds of racers whose lives they touched and the impact they made along the course.  We were peeing in our pants and my face hurt from smiling and laughing so much with the various tales of the day.  What a great way to decompress after the race.  Back to the house to have a post Brunch snack and finish off those Noodles.  My appetite was in full gear.  Later in the day we took Dad to the airport for his midnight red eye flight back to New York and we held onto Mom for a few more precious enjoyable days.

Once Mom left it was time to get back to work. First order of business was to look into taking care of this leg.  I set up an appointment to have Jeff Hoobler look at it.  Jeff, amongst other things, is a M.A.T Therapist (Muscle Activation Technique) I knew my muscles weren't firing in my right leg and Coach Eric highly recommended that I see him.  That meeting wasn't going to occur for another week so it the meantime....
I got out on my bike.....
Supporting my new Boulder IM Jersey.
Hit the pool....
Non impact movement
and sat in the boots.
One of my favorite places to nap
Tuesday came and Jeff and I met.  It is here where we discussed my hamstring not firing.  Without getting too much into it and showing off what my billion Dollar College Degree in Sports Medicine paid for let's just say that the repeated trauma, multiple tears over the years, to the same area of my Hamstring muscle caused my body to want to protect itself so the Central Nervous System detects this stresor and as a defense mechanism, inhibits the ability of the muscle to contract.  So my body by trying to protect itself from further damage in a sense has shut down.  By my Hamstring shutting down the surrounding muscles (Glutes, Quads, Lower back)  cannot work to their full capabilities and then the left side tries to compensate and that begins to hurt and shut down as well.  It is a system of muscles that need help not just my hamstring.   My body is producing a protective mechanism to keep my body from moving into a position of weakness or vulnerability.  My goal is to eliminate this "tightness" by simply restoring my muscle's ability to contract and fire again.  Get that??  It is unknown to myself at this time, how long it will take about 20 years (1st time I tore my Hamstring) of this tightness and weakness to stabilize and have a balanced functioning leg.  I'm pretty stoked to see the difference (if any) in my performance once I get this sorted out.  Two weeks after Ironman Boulder I participated in the Steamboat Triathlon.  I did the Sprint Distance Course.  I love heading up to Steamboat as it is fantastic to see friends and the place I called home for 5ish years is absolutely beautiful.  The town was all a buzz as the Pro Cycling Tour was taking place, there was a Trail Marathon and a Mtn Biking race going on simultaneously.  I took the trip up and shared housing with fellow BTC Members, caught up with dear friends Karen and Matt and peddled around the Yampa Valley.
Warming up on the Yampa River Trail
Sunday Morning came and it was race time.  After swimming (?) my way through a seaweed infested lake and then getting held up for about 2 minutes by a train while riding, my run off the bike was, as expected, pitifully slow.  I did manage to jog after the swim and ride.  Something I had not truly been able to do for the last 8 weeks.  My right leg muscles were not firing with any force and were tight.  I had to keep trying to tell myself quick feet.  Just move those feet and you'll go forward. Not expecting much, to my surprise, I wound up finishing in 3rd in my age group.  I took the podium along side two great guys and friends from Boulder.
Stephan 2nd, Kevin 1st, Me 3rd

Always the Bloody
My thoughts about racing, my leg and life in general is to keep driving forward.  Keep living life to the fullest, keep learning with wide eyes and an open heart, keep trying to better myself (Spiritually, mentally and physically).  It is not about being the best out there but about growing and being the best version of me that I can be.  People have asked me "Was it your goal to complete four Ironman Races in 20 months?"....Heck no.  I wasn't sure there was even going to be a number two.  I did one, really enjoyed the experience.  Love seeing what my body, mind and soul can handle and all three were definitely involved in that 1st IM in Cozumel for me.  Cozumel Race Reports: Cozumel ~SwimCozumel ~ BikeCozumel ~ Run / Finish.  "Do you have something to prove?".....Double Heck No. I love to train.  I love the feeling of being alive and moving all my parts and all my senses.  At 48 and well past my prime.  Although medals are fun, the journey, path and experiences of getting to the starting line is what it truly is all about for me.  The I have said before, is the celebration of that Chapter of life.  That Chapter that is IM Cozumel or IM Fortaleza or IM Boulder.  I've traveled to beautiful parts of the world, been a part of wonderful things and met and shared incredible experiences with phenominal people because of participating in Ironman events.  Why would I not want to have that in my life?   "Are you addicted or obsessed with Ironman Races?".....Triple Heck No!  In all honesty, I could stop tomorrow.  But why should I if I am experiencing happiness along my way.  I look at myself as a simple man, trying to enjoy my life.  I don't have any major Ironman goals (Kona, A Billion Races, setting records) that I wake up striving for every day.  I'll be honored to be a part of whatever comes along my way.  I'm not trying to prove anything or impress anyone and I don't think I am obsessed with anything in life.  
Ben Baltz age 13 racing with his dad
A wonderful fellow triathlete that I met in Cozumel, Suzanne, shared the above picture on her FB page yesterday,  Her caption read "Dose of Perspective".  I am humbled by the sport and the wonderful people that I have met along the way.  I am in awe with what I am surrounded by and for now, I love to be surrounded by it and am thankful that it will forever be a part of the path that I have walked.
Always driving forward
So I will continue to drive forward.  I will work on my leg to see what happens if/when it is aligned.  I will attempt to figure out the mystery that causes the loss of toenails and blisters beyond compare on my feet while racing in tropical conditions.  I will continue to train and be happy and I will continue to put myself in situations that amaze me and give me the opportunity to grow.
Made the change to ride sockless.
Will this prevent blisters in humid conditions?

Training Happy

Learning new bike routes away from Boulder.
Peddling to Mile High stadium

It was in the early 80's when I first heard the expression Drive for Five.  

A respectful shout out to recently deceased and our legendary Coach Al Arbour.  He led the New York Islanders to win four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983.  As an avid NY Islander fan the Drive for Five was our battle cry.  So when thinking about what I am now attempting to do, this was one of the first things that came to mind the expression.....Drive for Five. (BTW - No team in any of the four major sports has strung together four straight championships since. One of sports all time greatest dynasties that is very overlooked IMHO)  

Met's Captain David Wright, who wears #5 is seen here high Fiving fellow teammates after delivering a crushing blow to the Astros.  David has just returned from the injured reserve list and is gearing the NL East leading "Amazins" for their first playoff run since the Mets lost to the Cardinals in the NL Championship series in 2006.

I, like #5 David Wright and the Mets will move forward from injury or challenges to see how far we can go in this season.  I, like my NY Islanders am on a path to "Drive for Five".   The Islanders were not able to win that 5th Stanley Cup in a row.  Will the Mets win the World Series this year?  Will I be able to share in a celebration called Ironman Los Cabos? I've been racing for two years and in that time, this will be the second time I will attempt to do 3 Ironman events in a 12 month period.  I will attempt to complete five Ironman races in 22 months.  IM Cozumel - 12/13, IM Boulder - 8/14, IM Fortaleza -11/14, IM Boulder - 8/15......IM Los Cabos -10/15.  All that to me is another step, another day, another chance to be alive.
Drive 4 Five
Ironman Los Cabos 10/25/15

I would like to say that I shall complete #5.  I don't know what challenges lie ahead or what direction life will take me.  For now I will be on that path to hold a celebration of this journey and if it should come to be.... on October 26th, I will be sitting on a beach with Jess by my side, a drink in our hands, looking back on this Chapter that is IM Los Cabos with smiles on our faces.

51 Days...20 Hours...15 Minutes...38 Seconds to IM Los Cabos....but who's counting??

#Letsdothis        #WarriorMode        #Drive4Five