Tuesday, May 10, 2011

the highway's alive tonight...

I never thought that Zach de la Rocha et al would be anything more than music I try to not let my kids find out about, and to which I listen more than just occasionally. Today, however, as I took this year’s first long road ride, it became apparent that Iowa culture is a real machine, and that if I want to be ready for the monster triathlon I’m shooting for in September, I am going to have to feed my rage appropriately.

January was full of a new and awesome baby, plenty of call nights, and the reality that I was not going to the Ruth Glacier this year. Five or six attempts at getting back on the wagon were made in desperation over the next two months, but the dark winter won out each time and by April fitness was far from my mind.

Then, on a whim, I stopped into 2nd Wind, a used fitness equipment shop in Minneapolis, and there was a Stairmaster and a rower. These pieces gathered dust for a couple of weeks, I do confess, but something in my gut told me a new phase of life was about to begin.

The details are not important, but in one week’s time the Iowa bubble was burst in a manner that left me locking my doors and saying hello to a lot fewer people on the street. All at once my inner fire was moving in life again, and as a byproduct I began seeing the Iowa anti-fitness machine for what it is.

It began slowly, 20 minutes each morning, six days per week. I kept my rage to myself for three weeks until disciplined eating and my daily 250 calories of Stairmaster loosened my pants to the point that Jojo noticed.

One of the night nurses at our ER is to blame for the next phase. I knew she was into triathlon, a sport I formerly worshipped with a disturbing amount of time spent training. I also somehow knew she would understand when I said, “I am going after a big race this year. I have no idea what it will be, but it will be big.” She told me about the full distance tri in Oklahoma City in September, and my rage came into focus.

No one has really noticed my rage, but I have never felt so entirely disconnected with the culture of the place where I live, not even while living in the desert of northern Chile when my Spanish was pretty weak. No one has really noticed anything but me being really dang tired, which has been blamed on taking too much call.

Rage is not the ideal. Its heavy. But somehow its effective sometimes where forces like long dark winters and pervasive piles of truck-stop food are in the local. And so its time to rage, and in so doing actively live in a separate world from the kind people with whom I live and work at the greatest hospital on earth, if only where my course of living that life of aggressive training is concerned.

The highway's alive tonight, nobody's fooling nobody as to where it goes.


  1. Iowa bit back as per karma's faithful mandate, and 9.6 miles in what was supposed to be 50 degree F weather turned nasty as rain and windchill reminded me that Iowa is not for the faint of heart, regardless of what shape you are in.....or think you are in. I jogged into my house 15 minutes behind schedule, threw on deodorant and and clean scrubs, and twenty minutes later was ordering meds for a patient that was crashing on the floor. In the last ten minutes I have begun to feel normal again. Thank goodness call starts tomorrow.

  2. After a weekend of call I pulled myself outta bed at 440am and pounded out 2200 yards in the pool followed by a short run of 3.5 miles. Amazing what a day off and a pre-swim Clif bar does for a guy. Go Ju Ryu tonight followed by weights and heavy bag....gonna be an awesome day.

  3. Fifty on the bike last night ended heavy as the tailwind on the way out of course turned on me on the way home. A cold bath was all that allowed me to sleep at all.

    Against my training plan I jumped into the pool for 1000 yards before my 45 minutes of "moderate" running, which was not moderated, by the way.

    Dietary restrictions have been too heavy and I am concerned that my weight loss has involved too much muscle loss. Now it's time to hit the weights and add n some chicken breast to each meal.

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  5. my planned 78 miles biking last night ended at 56 when winds got crazy and at one point blew me off the road.

    pounded out 7.1 miles running tonight, and will be hitting the pool tomorrow earlier than i would like to consider. gonna attempt some interval weight training after the pool tomorrow, and will likely get some curious looks from the early morning geriatric crowd at the Y.

    dig it.

  6. Interval weight training: humbling to say the least, even in my simple dabblings.....