Lately I returned to bicycle riding. I suppose it was born of frustration at my knees aching all the time. It's really made my runs unpleasant. As if dealing with running over a minute slower per mile than I'd like, having horrible trouble dealing with the heat, and not being able to run near the miles I'd like weren't frustrating enough. Aching knees seemed to be the last straw.
I went on a few group rides and then did that Blue Ridge training camp. It hurt my ego to see some of the guys flying up those hills. My hills!! Then a few days after that I did a hard ride with John where I tried to attack a few hills and my back hurt. I had to limp home. It pissed me off. I spent a few weeks training myself silly just to prove to myself I could beat those fellows. Then I beat them and well.......now what? I didn't really want to return to racing bicycles. Maybe some long mountain bike stuff.....but that's a whole lot of training for the few long races I could do.
Then I went to that 50 miler with Mike. Being around people that are so passionate about running really gets you going. So I did some running last week, had a relaxing weekend and put my mind to figure out a goal. A gentle goal that is quite realistic but could lead to another, and then another, etc.
I'm thinking to sign up for the Philedelphia Marathon on November 18th. I'd like to run between 2:46 and 2:50. I'm thinking I could spend the next 6 months just returning to running. Pretty much doing whatever is fun and doesn't cause me to get hurt while slowly building up my miles and getting my speed back. I'll let Pop's decide what all that is and how he'd like me to do that.
2 weeks ago I did the Haymarket Ride and somehow pulled off a pretty dramatic victory. While riding a few of the youngsters (who weren't on the team when I was racing) seemed to not afford me quite the respect I was enjoying from the older riders. Maybe it was the same as Henry on the Blue Ridge ride. Just somehow (imagined or real) I felt my ability (or former ability) wasn't quite in their brain the way I wanted it to be. Anyways, I jumped a long, long, long way from the finish. I didn't think it would work. But I was going to make them work to pull me back. I put my head down and decided I was going to go until I just couldn't go any longer. I won. It felt swell.
This weekend Jared, perhaps inspired by my performance, attacked a long, long way from the finish of the Air Force Cycling classic. It was a bold move. This was a national quality race with both European and American professional teams represented. Jared literally went until he collapsed. They caught him 2 meters from the line and United Health's highly paid sprinter beat him. A bold and inspiring move that came THAT close. Awesome!!
Yesterday a fellow that I trained with since his very first bicycle ride won a stage of an international stage race in Italy. The U23 Giro de Italia. Probably the biggest race for Juniors in the World. On stage one Joe Dombroski attacked on the final climb and put 53 seconds into the world U23 champion and race favorite. Joe dug deep. It was spectacular.
Words can't describe how my friends felt watching it. It's crazy....but in some small way you'd like to think you contributed to that. Pride, jealousy, admiration, hope....all rolled into one. I want Tom to feel that. So train me up Pops. I'll give this Masters marathon thing another go. Get me to 2:28 when I'm 40.
Miles last week.
Monday - 10 all out.
Tuesday - hard bike for 30 miles
Wednesday - track for a few 200's probably 4 miles.
Friday - 3 miles (Scott Jurek's book signing run)
Saturday - 6 miles. Gave thought to 12 miles and was running great for 5 but then felt horrible and turned straight home.
Sunday - 3 miles in the morning and 3 in the evening.
29 miles total