Anyhow, the great thing about the race was part of the finish line ran along a false town lake that had a nice paved edge, giving the runner a semblance of running along an idyllic lake or something, complete with transplanted ducks and “green as hell” grass that only the water wasting oasis of the Phoenix metro area could provide. I had suggested we start at the very furthest edge of the lake, feeling quite determined even though my calves were pulsing after being compressed for such long time. But no one was up to the challenge, and we instead moved a few dozen meters closer to the finish line. Either way, I was pretty excited about finishing, and nearly outran our last runner in the process until I realized I was about to steal another runner’s glory. So I held back a little, focused on grabbing the medals and that was that.
I don’t get to compete very often when it comes to races, merely due to my money situation and the fact I am something of a loner. I felt a little sad after running my first half marathon last October, even though I had worse things to worry about at the time, like the fact I had been laid off from my job that very week and both my legs became severely cramped during that race. But I wanted more. The Vacation Race series was pretty fun, and I was already thinking about doing other races within the series due to the affordability and the awesomeness of the medal I received. But like always, I had to think of the present rathe than the future. For me, that is always the toughest part when going through something that makes you feel good. What the heck do you do next? Due to a little money situation, I won’t be able to run in this half marathon that will be in Oro Valley next month, but I will do a little sprint up Sabino Canyon in April that will give me a little fix in regards to competition. And then after that, nothing. For the moment, Jon and Christa are revisiting the idea of doing Ragnar Las Vegas, which is really exciting me because I have never been to Las Vegas and it would be a welcome change of pace from doing Ragnar Del Sol. While I love running with team Victorious Secret, it would be nice to get a Ragnar medal from another race, especially from a race that presents some far more interesting challenges like rolling hills and high elevation. I’ll admit, I have become a medal junkie, needlessly putting myself in harm’s way for the little validation of earning something I have to pay just to get. I almost ran into one of these types the morning of the race when I was desperately looking for replacement runners. This woman was pretty weird from the get-go, wanting to run both empty legs rather than just going with the flow and letting me dictate the terms. Of course, she declined when I made my final offer. But you can tell she wanted that medal, because she desperately messaged me a couple hours later wondering if she could join the team, to hell with her own personal pride being a self proclaimed ultra runner. I took great joy in telling her the spots had already been filled. Let’s just say this people, never turn down a free meal (which is what perplexed me about the back and forth we had….who cares if you aren’t going to get to run both legs, you are about get a free ticket on the team! Some people….)
Anyway, the postmortem of Ragnar Del Sol was not easy to deal with. One of the biggest problems is the obvious fatigue, and I handled that in a bad way. It was kind of strange, between 5 a.m Friday morning and midnight Saturday evening, I literally got one hour of sleep. Sure, I snuck in that hour somewhere in the middle, but I literally couldn’t get myself to go to sleep, even when I somewhat got comfortable. So I can basically say I was awake for 43 hours, which is no small feat for someone that loves sleep as much as I do. I found it weird that I only slept for a good nine hours that Saturday night, which is good since my dogs never attempted to wake me up so they could use the facilities. I never quite got my footing in regards to the sleep the next couple days. I was really worried going into work on Monday, especially when I found out my co-workers got flooded with work on Friday, having to source and purchase a good 60 parts. It was quite the frustrating day, for I was still tired and then I was getting stressed out from the deluge of the work load. I opted to take a second day off from working out rather than push the envelope. Truthfully, I was the better for doing that because the next day I was a little more ready to get back into the fitness game.
I was still a little dehydrated form the past weekend, but I was definitely feeling much better after getting my car back the previous night (the darn alternator went out on my jalopy) and getting my body adjusted (because sitting in a van for two days is great for the lower back and the neck, hehe). I wasn’t really ready for some heavy lifting, so I went with a more functional workout, something that would kind of work some of the kinks out of my body and make me feel a little better. I went with an old favorite that would really hit the spot, aptly known as “Pizza” on the workout cards Jon uses. I will never say this in any other context, but doing 100 lunges and 90 push-ups to get my day started was what the doctor ordered. My legs were still a little tight from the 19 miles I had run during the weekend, so doing a full on lunge was great. And then came the issue of my shoulders, which were also still tight from the contortions and the sitting I had to do over the course of the weekend. I could feel my body getting better each and every time I did a push-up, for the cracks in my shoulders and the releasing of pressure all throughout felt so damn good. What made me fell even better about myself is the fact I got this thing done in a little over an hour, which is good for me even when I am feeling good.
I felt pretty good the next day, and once again started eating the fruits and veggies I had started to make a habit of eating. Once again I went through another tough day, and once again, I set myself up for a pretty tough workout. Normally I don’t do back-to-back days at the gym anymore, mainly because of the heavy weights I utilize all the time, but this was different since I didn’t get a chance to run at all on Tuesday night (which left me pretty antsy). Plus, I really wanted get myself back into the groove, which meant I had to do a heavy Wednesday workout so I can heal and prepare for the first run of the week today (which I wanted to do on Tuesday, but I had to help my parents pack for a little trip they were taking). Jon once again set up a good weight lifting regimen for me when I came in on Wednesday, aptly titled “The Return of the 1/3 Lion, 1/3 Bull, 1/3 Owl and 1/3 Man!” Clearly mathematics is not Jon’s strong suit, hehe. Now it didn’t seem like a whole lot of work when I looked at it, but it was quite clear that I was not only recovering from the idea of having no one to compete against at Ragnar, I was still not fully rested from the weekend. I started off with 50 bench presses at 135 pounds, which sounds like nothing but it clearly got to me. I was maybe able to to do five or six reps at a time, and usually by the fifth rep, I was dying. It didn’t get any easier after that, for I had to do 50 clean presses at 115 pounds. I was feeling so weak and tired that I had to move the weight down to 95 pounds, just so I would be able to get the workout done in the span of an hour. Those two exercises alone took up much of my time, illustrating the cumulative effect of running your heart out and not sleeping for 43 hours can do to you. But I survived and moved on to some simpler stuff that was more to my liking, doing some goblet squats with 25-kilo kettle weights and then doing some inverted sit-ups. I finished the night with 100 sit-ups, and I knew one thing for sure; I need to get some more food into my system. If anything, I was suffering from the two biggest drawbacks a person has when it comes to competing in a big competition: dehydration and hunger. I settled the hunger debate last night, eating some good whole grain pasta and munching on a nice trail mix I made from the leftover peanuts, pistachios and pretzels that we got for the van.
One thing I certainly hate is being in limbo, wondering when the next chance to test myself will come from. It’s going to be a while before anything significant comes my way, for if I do happen to go to Las Vegas, that is not for another seven months. And then there is my crazy friend Michelle who wants me to join her for Ragnar Napa Valley and Ragnar Copper Mountain (Colorado) next year. Throw in the fact I want to do Del Sol once again and then take on the first real challenge of my life, McDowell Mountain here in Arizona. I want that one to be my first “Ultra” version of the Ragnar race series, meaning I would have to run some 30 miles over the course of 30 hours or so. And of course, I do want to run some more half marathons while also trying to set myself up for a triathlon next year. I guess on second thought, maybe I shouldn’t be so sad after all. This past weekend filled me with so much confidence that I believe I can do all of these things and more. I guess that is what happens when you develop a little self confidence.
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.