Friday, July 25, 2014

Hey Baby, What's your Mantra?

As the days to Ironman Boulder quickly dwindle down, it is fascinating to watch and read and hear so many people with nervous energy.  The entire town seems a buzz and the social media pages are non stop with tons of funny stories, bizarre questions and a limitless supply of personal worries.  Talk about weather and water temperature conversations!  Ha!  Holy cow, I wont be too sorry to see those go.  A few of my favorite questions that I've heard have been "Should I wear socks during the bike and run or not?"  "What are you wearing for the underpants run? "  "Do you think putting my number on my arm with a sharpie will stain my arm coolers or should I go with the tritat?" 
To Mantra or not to Mantra, that is the question.

And then there is......What's your Mantra?
This last one speaks to me.  It seems like a simple thing and one that would fit my lifestyle.  Yet in all my races and in my life in general I truly never had a mantra or saying to get me through the rough patches.  People have heard me say a billion times. "Everything Happens for a Reason" but writing that on my arm as a reminder of success and triumph over ironman struggles just doesn't seem quite fitting or inspirational.  Truthfully I have always just done what Nike has been saying for years.   I would "Just Do It".  Hell, I paid.  I signed up.  I trained. I'm gonna do this damn thing if it kills me.  During the down times in a race I would just do it.  As Kris Kringle sang in Santa Claus is Coming to Town I typically just put one foot in front of the other and keep going.  

I'm not talking about Stuart Smalley's Saturday Night Live Character....
“I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.”
I'm talking about athletes digging it out and finding the light amidst the darkness of a race.  I'm talking about the slightest reminder when times are tough in the blazing sun.  When I was down and out in Cozumel, I looked at my life and all the people (I thought) I would have let down if I quit, most importantly myself, there was no phrase, no saying to lift my head and my spirit to carry me through and allow my feet to feel light, it was grit and self determination and a this thick headed calabrese spirit that I was born with.

But Zen Marty and all his Buddha Crap believes it seems sOoOooo friggen cool to have.......... A Mantra.

I've done some research and started to read about others.  I've seen people write "Beautiful" or "You're Awesome" on there wrists.   One person got tattooed on their forearm so they can read it while in the TT position on their bike. “I am stronger than this challenge & this challenge is making me even stronger”  
  • “your body is a machine”
  • “you are strong and powerful”
  • "You’re light as a feather – Keep it together!"
  • “Feet Fast, Legs Strong, I Can Do This All Day Long...”
  • "Push your pace! 
  • “This Is Exactly Where I Want To Be...”
  • "You’re stronger with every step!" 
  • "You’re doing it!
  • “Boom Chuggah Luggah Luggah...”
  • “Planned my race, now race my plan”
  • “Think strong, be strong, finish strong!!”

A little known triathlete Chrissie Wellington once gave her Top 10 Performance Tips....
Performance tip #6: Have a mantra (or two).
"I have some that I write on my water bottle and wristband when I race. One is 'smile,' and another is 'never give up.' "

I guess we all have what works for us.  The idea and concept of a Mantra is something that is special.  A positive lift.  I thoroughly appreciate those that have one as it is something that is near and dear to their hearts and spirit.  One that I will give some more thought to.  Will I have one come race day?  I don't know.  

I have 8 days, 7 hours, 55 minutes and 12 seconds to think about it....but who's counting?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Searching for my Rinny

A quick pit stop from catching up on my 2nd Quarter Races and such to talk about love.....

Being a person who is new to the world of Tris, I have learned a little bit about some athletes and such in this new world for me.  Well, I coined the phrase in an earlier blog, I am in search of my Rinny.  For those not in the Tri world Miranda Carfrae (Rinny) is an Australian professional triathlete and the current Ironman triathlon world champion.  Tim O'Donnell is great American Triathlete and the lucky SOB who is engaged or maybe married now to Rinny.  Both reside full or part time in Boulder, Colorado.  Not like I really follow them I know bits and pieces.  But the image of Rinny setting the women's record at Kona and crossing the finish line and jumping in the arms of TO will forever be etched in my mind.

I saw pure joy and love and raw emotions and it was awesome.  I appreciated that she didn't hold back.  Not as a racer and not with her thoughts or feelings afterwards.

So why am I writing in my blog about Rinny and TO??

Today I was asked for the 20 Billionth time in my life...."I don't get why you are single."  How come your not married?"  I wish I knew the answer to that.  I never expected to be 47 and single.  I've been lucky to be in love and to care deeply for another and have experienced joy and bliss and sadness and shed many tears of laughter and sorrow for and with a select few ladies.  

Why there isn't there someone to roll over and kiss good morning to every day?  I don't now.  I know in my life, I don't believe in settling.  I know I look at my grandparents that were married for over 50 years and my folks who celebrated their 50th this past year.  When I walk down that aisle and say I do, till death do we part, that is what I expect and dream about and desire.  

I watch people treat marriage like a shirt they buy at Macy's and return it in a few weeks, days months or years if they don't like it or are tired with it or if it doesn't make them look good any more.  Where is the commitment and dedication and depth and respect and true love for one another?  But when someone asks me that question they usually don't want an in depth answer, I often wonder if they are thinking "I wonder what is wrong with this guy that he's in his 40's and never been married.  He must have some wacky shit going on."  

Nah, no wacky shit.  No issues to overcome.

Today my reply was simply a quote that I recently read and adapted......."One day someone will walk into my life and make me realize why it never worked out with anyone else and until that day, I will keep living my life in love for what's ahead and not in fear of what I may have missed out on."   

I don't think that person would have understood if I was to say, I was looking for my Rinny and experience what she showed that day in Kona.

I recently was talking with a friend who explained to me that there are two seasons in Boulder.  We were in her office and she was explaining about Tri / Training season vs. dating season.  This is new to me and we are obviously in Tri season at the moment.  As I left her office I mentioned that I look forward to that dating season.  Let's see what happens.  (Erin, I am holding you to those words :-)

It doesn't bother me that I am single as much as I think it bothers others.  I am truly blessed and live a wonderful love filled live.  And the bottom line is I am happy.  Isn't that what life should be all about?   May we all have the courage to keep on our path and stay true to ourselves no matter what society deems appropriate or the pressures that we may feel and may we all live our lives in the present and be happy and each find our own Rinny. 

How can you not just love this face???

Friday, July 11, 2014

The past is simply that....the past (Part 1)

This will be my feeble attempt to put my past few months of racing, training and life back into order.
May 17th, Summer Open Triathlon

I can barely remember the race at this point.  A few standouts though.....Swim ~ It was friggen cold! A few moments before the race I thought to myself.  I don't need this way too cold.  But I recalled last Oktoberfest tri when EK mentioned to me to learn to deal with the elements.  Don't think of it as cold, think of it as something you will come across during your IM that you will need to overcome.  And so I put my face under the water and blew bubbles.
It took my breathe away.  The race began, I said Nok 3xs and off I went.  Besides freezing the swim was decent.  Transition decent.  Get on the bike....and I'm peddling.  Last race a few weeks earlier I popped my front derailleur.  So it would only serve to mention, yes of course this time my rear derailleur was separated and I had just 2 gears to peddle the 15 or so miles.  Up hill on the out and down hill on the return.  Not fun.  I didn't set my watch correctly similar to the recent duathlon so once again I had not a proper power meter or race pace etc.  So I was racing blind and doing the best I could.  transition occurs, running shoes on and two frozen stump feet are out and running and trying to defrost.  The pins and needles of such were felt around mile 1.5.  I cross the finish line and immediately went back to cheer one of my training mates Susan on as I know she was just about 10 minutes behind me.  Failed attempts at post race bloody marys with the team.  I went home.  Pretty non descript and uneventful for me.  Just getting the cobwebs out.

June 1st, Boulder Sprint Triathlon

Here we are....where it all began just a year ago.  My first tri.  And as they always remember your first.  Last year my motto going into this race was "Lord, please don't let me be last"

Spiderman, spiderman does whatever a spider can...spins a web any size catches thieves just like flies....
look out here comes spiderman. 
Equipped with my new long sleeve spidey wet suit, I was excited to take to the water and see how this thing works. Phhhhhhhpt, Phhhhhhhpt....I'm shooting webs.  That's the face above you make when you make that sound of phhhhhhpt when you shoot your web.  If you weren't aware.  Next weekend is Kansas 70.3 and I wanted to make sure that I am not wearing a full wetsuit for the first time in a 1/2 Ironman competition.  SO....Boulder Sprint you are my testing grounds.  
My Boy ~ Rugger and Girl ~ Bella Nera

As a relative newbie with each race I do, I truly try to learn something from it.  I am constantly learning in training and racing.  My prerace talk with EK in the week leading up to the sprint was about execution.  Being smooth and to race as error free as possible.  So if I had trouble with my Front derailleur in the Duathon and my rear derailleur in the Summer Open one would believe that it was time to take Bella in to have a look over.  Pretty smart huh??  So I brought my girl in for a once over and I was confidant that she would be running smooth.  
I couldn't use my Garmin in the Duathlon.  I messed things up with it in the Summer open. I had troubles in IM Cozumel.  Let's just say for being a pretty intelligent man, I struggle sometimes with electronic gadgets.  I have missed downloading data to my coach more times than I care to remember for every reason imaginable with this dang watch.  I hear it can even make Frozen Margaritas if you can program it correctly.  In any case, I practiced.  I practiced working my watch.  Turning it on and turning it off.  I practiced going from swim to transition to bike and so on.  I did not want to miss another opportunity to have complete data for this race.  The watch and more importantly the operator was ready to be error free.
My home away from home for a couple of hours.
I arrived at the transition area earlier that I had to any race in my whole year history of racing. I set up shop and was ready to go.  This caught the attention of a few training partners.  I put on my Spidey Suit shot my web..... Phhhhpt Phhhhpt a few times and went down to the water to warm up.  Warming up is still an area that I need to work on and figure out how to do better..  Do I swim for 15 minutes? Do I run 2 miles?  Do I ride 5 miles?  All the above???

The swim felt relatively good.  My full sleeve wet suit test went well for swimming.  Not for removing the wetsuit.  I put my Garmin watch on the outside of the wetsuit so that it would still get GPS tracking instead of under my sleeve.  I never had to think about this with the sleeveless.  Well, needless to say it was a bit of a struggle to get the wet suit off as seen in the picture above.  Lesson learned.  I swam the course about 5 minutes faster than last year and completed my transition from swim to bike about 2 minutes faster than last year.

The bike course was about 5 miles longer than last year due to the construction on the Diagonal Highway.  The bike felt pretty good and although I was about 5 minutes off of last years time, we also rode about 5 miles more.  All in all a time improvement and feeling pretty good with the bike.  Transition from bike to run saw in efficiency of about 40 seconds from 2013.  

The run was decent.  I started it fast, as I typically have a hard time starting the run at all and get the bike legs switched to running legs.  After the 1st mile split I pulled back a touch and settled in almost too slow in the aftermath and for the final mile, I picked it up a step and ran the fastest split of the 3.5 miles.  All in all 3 minutes faster than last year on the run. Compared to 2013....2014 saw a 5 minute faster race with an additional 5 miles of biking.  5 miles of biking would be about 17 minutes.  So apples to apples best I could tell I completed this years race in about 22 minutes faster than I did last year.

A beautiful morning swimming, biking and running saw my finish with the traditional flying to the finish.
A few hours later the traditional post race bloody mary's.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

2nd Quarter Report: I'm Thinking This Ain't Gonna Work.

I last wrote in here at the end of the 1st Quarter.  A far cry from regularity or consistency that I showed while prepping for my 1st Iron Man.  Are stories not as funny?  Are new experiences not occurring?  Do I wonder if people really care about my growth or lack there of and my journey along the way?  Or have I just been trying to squeeze so much out of my life that spending time sitting in front on my computer and telling the world about my demons, training stories, and search for my Rinny seem so far down the priority list behind family, friends, work, training, a social life, eating and sleeping.  (I'm forgoing sleep at this moment to jot down my thoughts as I have been an insomniac for the last four nights.  

But today is an important day so I decided to push this a rung up the ladder over sleep.  July 3rd ~ 1 month away from my second Ironman on August 3rd.  Folks....this shit is real and fast approaching.  There is no tomorrow.  So when I look back at my last post and I see where I left off......In short on the grand scheme of life.....What's Next is to build and develop myself and my spirit, my mind and my body.  To continue to search out and explore and experience life.  To live life in the present and appreciate everything that surrounds me.  That is all beautiful and very much who I am as an individual philosophically.  But it don't pay the bills and it don't help help you cross the finish line of an IM.

Tonight after another 12+ hour work day and then trying to spend some time with my 4 legged boy before I head out the door for 1.5 on the dreadmill, I was texting back and forth with a dear friend Susan and then I wrote "I'm thinking this ain't gonna work" after a few minutes the reply...."What's not going to work....Your long run? Your relationship with Jessica? Working so many hours?  Training?"

......and I stop writing.

Fast forward 6 days as today is now July 9th and this is what I see.......

2490 Rosenthal    Marty    M45-49 CO US 

Here goes that famous expression...."this shit just got real"  What a difference 5 days makes.  I almost don't even remember what I was writing about my last attempt in here in my sleepless week and that is a big reason why I haven't written in here for the last 3 months.  Life has been flying by at lightning speed.  The minute I think about sitting down to jot something down it has past and I am on to the next.  Such has been my life the last few months.  It is difficult to try and explain to folks that aren't in the world of IM training how it can completely take over your life.  

I don't even put in the time or effort than many others do.  But what I have been fighting and trying to do is have as normal life as I possibly can and not allow IM Training to take over who I am.  After all I am not a triathlete, I'm just a guy who swims, bikes and runs.....remember?   Handle it all and perhaps forgo sleep.  We'll get enough when we are dead right??  So loOOong crazy hours of work, get in my training, have a social life and date, take care of and spend time with my boy and be a good son/family member and friend to those that mean the world to me as well as live life outside spandex, swim jammers and running shorts.  I fully comprehend the statement that training for an Ironman is a selfish act.  Do we suffer and endure and give up a question.  But we do it for ourselves.  At the end of the day or 12 hours or 17 hours when we cross that line it is truly about our journey.  Our yards in the pool or watts on the bike.  Our splits on the track. Our money, time and equipment.  Our lessons. Our sacrifices. Our tears, pain and laughter.  Our loved ones. Our missed family and friends. Our guilt.  Our missed time. Our mission.  We ask others to tolerate or put up with or forgive us, we participate in the name of and raise money for, we do many altruistic things but alone in that room or on that bike at the end of the day along with 3000 other people looking to maul, kick punch swim over us, it is the strength we draw from these incredible sources and the sacrifices others made for us and our journey.   It is us alone and our voices and our demons that push us so we may hear Mike speak those sweetest of words.  

The answer to my statement just a week ago to a dear training partner and friend Susan would simply all.  I walk that tight rope of trying to hold it all together.  Knowing if I squeeze my fists too tightly all the grains of sand from my palm will be gone.  Nothing will work out and I will have lost it all. 

Crazy beautiful thing this Ironman.  

But if I can hold on.....if I can eat right, and get enough sleep and enough time on Bella and swim 4000yds each time out and be consistent with my training and improve my time management and get enough therapy so my knees hold up.  And collect my thoughts and sit down for 30 minutes to put those words crashing around in my mind on paper to type them in the computer....maybe, just maybe in 24 days 1 hour 12 minute and 5 seconds it'll all make sense and it'll all work out.
#635, #1936, #889, #455, #910, #461, #1602
#2490 says.......
Let's do this!