Torn

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's almost midnight now and I should have been asleep two hours ago. I have so valued rest and recovery in my half-ironman training that for the past two months I have logged my daily sleep hours, hoping to average at least 7 hours per day every week.

To rest or to go online. This is but one of the many issues I wrestle with daily. In pursuit of rest I have gone out of touch. Suddenly, I am no longer connected. No blog to write, no blogs to read, no forum to read nor answer. I have fallen way back in my email and Facebook updates. That I have very limited site access during work hours and I am too tired to go online when I get home do not help.
I have devoted most of my weekends to biking that it's always a challenge to find time to go home to my provincial base for some family celebration or gathering. I know my family understands but I also know I need to spend more time with them.

I follow a well-orchestrated build-up of a training plan. To deviate is to allow set-back and risk not peaking at the right time, or injuring myself in an effort to catch-up. In pursuit of my planned 90km rides I often miss the short rides of a number of friends who have recently bought bikes and revel in the excitement of riding their new toys. I know that kind of pleasure - I have been there and in many instances I have related that joy with them. I feel guilty at times. In some ways I have influenced them to try multi-sports, and now when they got their bikes I am not there as often.

It was a lot better when the aquathlon series SWAC (Sheerwill Aquathlon Cup) came into being. At that time I have had enough aquathlon experience to share something and guide newbies, many of whom actually fare better than me today. Now I am a newbie myself - a half-ironman virgin and wannabe - anxious and needing guidance like they do. I do not know whom to help first - myself or others.
It was a lot better last year when I was preparing for my first marathon. At that time, our small group was composed of mostly marathon virgins. We help one another. We went through the numerous LSDs and tempo runs together. Hopia LSDs and Liempo Tempo runs I fondly call them. Somehow that kind of camaraderie manifested again in our collective preparation for Subic Triathlon. Those bicycle rides and reconnaisance swims, they were fun and helpful. Splendid bonding and training.

After Subit, we leveled-up so to speak - in our own various ways. Just a little more than 3 months more and it will already be Camsur 70.3. Many intensified their training. I on the other hand found myself sitting back and contemplating.
Subit made me realized a few things. I may not like it, but 20 years of leisure swimming made me relatively strongest in that discipline. I may complain of aches and pains in running, but follies and lessons from running way back 2003 somehow made me a better runner. Truth is, I have more conviction saying I am a marathoner than I am a triathlete. I may like cycling, but I simply have not logged enough time to be really competent on it. I have improved my bike skills, but I am no longer as confident now that I can ramp up my average speed to 30kph in time for Camsur. I have recalibrated my strategy: I will conquer Camsur not by ramping up my speed drastically, but by extending what speed I have now to last all 8 hrs or less for the race. The fight is not about speed, it's still about endurance. It's about form and technique, more than power and strength.

This is my realization. This humble realization I arrive at after careful study and  I carry it with conviction. But it is a realization of the slowest of the slow. This newbie and wannabe follows a plan he customized for himself - a plan different from the norm but something he firmly believes is best for him. Not wanting to be always having to explain and defend what he believes in, he keeps the plan to himself but follows it faithfully. In quiet nights he swims. In a secret oval he concentrates on improving his form, reveling in the discovery that by changing his form alone he can confortably run below the 6-minute per kilometer pace he always thought was a barrier. On hot weekends he tests the science of endurance, pacing and this wonderful concept of teleoanticipation.

Those solo swims, runs and rides, I relish them. But I do miss the group training. The solo training sessions are for perfecting form or nourishing the spirit, but nothing beats group sessions for fun. I always say to friends that the satisfaction is not in the race nor the time - it is in the journey getting there. That journey - it must be done solo at times, in groups at other times. I want my first half-ironman to be a meaningful one, like my first marathon. My Milo marathon - it was memorable because it was a personal transformation and an experience shared with others. I want my half-ironman to be a shared experience too. Many times I am so tempted to run the Milo marathon this year - if only to relive the memories and remind myself of what is truly important.

Somehow I will find that balance. Somehow I will find that perfect mix of family, work, friends, training, hobbies and other interests. I do not want to be torn. I will be whole again - not by my will, but by God's grace.



9 comments:

journeyingjames June 4, 2010 at 1:37 PM  

i love this one "The fight is not about speed, it's still about endurance. It's about form and technique, more than power and strength." sir, mukhang seryosohan ang training ahhh, anyway, good thing you made some time to reflect. nice post! and have a happy training

Tracy Carpena June 4, 2010 at 2:18 PM  

"I always say to friends that the satisfaction is not in the race nor the time - it is in the journey getting there." -- perhaps that's why when we think about our first FM, we also remember those months of training with fondness. :)

Secret training ka pala ha, Commissioner! Haha, kidding. :)

Best of luck in CamSur, Rico!

Mar Marilag June 4, 2010 at 2:28 PM  

Nostalgic as it may sound, but it's true, Rix. I could only agree with how you feel.

Re-living memories of milestone races are indeed at it's best when shared.

Goodluck on your 1st half-ironman!

Neil June 4, 2010 at 4:53 PM  

I still remember your Milo debut - the preparation, discussions, support group formation, etc.
Now its totally a different level. But we know you have been preparing for this. You definitely have the discipline and endurance.

Its also nice seeing you from time to time on the "road".

Good luck!


Hoping we can squeeze some time to go to Camsur.

Rico Villanueva June 4, 2010 at 10:41 PM  

Thanks James. You have just done a marathon yourself, so you know what I'm talking about :-)

Yes Tracy, sarap alalahanin yung mga Galloway days and nights =)

Yup Mar, remember our crazy running nights, with floods and thunder =)

Neil, hopefully next year we can do Subit together, maybe even Camsur...Hope to spend more road time with you guys. Love that Felt bike by the way.

jetpaiso June 6, 2010 at 6:53 PM  

bro, i admire your perseverance, and your leadership spirit is simply awesome. you are an inspiration to all. we are with you as you realize your half ironman dreams, we are confident that you will also lead us when our dreams start bugging us hehehe

go get 'em, sheerwill!

rj June 7, 2010 at 7:37 PM  

Ang drama mo Rico!

You have paved a great path in which many have followed. Although we haven't seen much of you, and you of us, rest in the knowledge that our training paths criss-cross along the way. There is always a time for everything.

We got your back!

rj June 9, 2010 at 12:51 AM  

Rest in the knowledge that our training paths will always cross.

Good luck in your Camsur journey.

We got your back.

Bong z June 10, 2010 at 5:37 AM  

Tama si rj. Nahahalata age natin tuloy kase masyado tayo nagiging contemplative hahaha One goal at a time siguro. Tsaka na yang marathon natin sa QCIM. Im sure you'll have a blast at camsur. You are committed to your training. I think thats why my 2nd marathon was more meaningful than my 1st because i sacrificed and trained more for it, invested more of my time and self in preparation. How i wish i could be there in that priceless moment when you cross the IM finish line. Reminds me of how Nadal looked when he won recently. Dala ka bimpo pantakip ng mukha pagiyak mo ha? :-)

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