Wednesday, May 10, 2006

david blaine and ironman

[Wednesday 5/10/06]

Swim - 3200m, 1:15 - 50m pool (300 free, 200 pull, 100 kick, 4 x 100 @ 1:32, 1:40, 1:41, 1:39 on 2 min, 200 pull, 8 x 50 @ 45-49 sec on 1:15, 200 pull, 8 x (25 @ 22 sec/25 easy) on 1:15, 200 pull, 8 x 50 B3/B5/B7/B9 on 50s, 200 kick, 200 pull cool)

Bike - 26.5 mi, 1:50 - on Horribly Hilly route in Blue Mounds area

The goal of my swim today was practicing at paces that I would like to do for the Lake Mills sprint triathlon. For a 6 minute 1/4 mile swim, the 100m pace is 1:30. That is what I attempted for the main set of this workout, but came up a bit short. I put this workout together myself and it was a good one. It helped me to know exactly where I am at with my short distance pacing. I have some work to do, but it doesn't seem totally unreasonable. The long course pool is helpful in preparing me for the lake swims where there will be no wall to push off of every 25m.

I biked a section of the Horribly Hilly route that I have never done before. I am practicing the 100K course in small manageable pieces and increasing my time out there for each ride. It continues to amaze me how strong I am on the hills this year, and this early in the season. Somehow I was able to do all the hills today, even the steep 2 mile Mounds Park Rd at the end of my ride, and still feel like I had some energy left at the end. I was breathing really hard and struggling to get air while still pushing the pedals around (did I mention I have a standard 53-39 gearing?), but I practiced relaxing my body and trying to calm down my breathing. For the long hills, I came up with a mental plan of attack before each one - I would eyeball random markers some distance in front of me like a certain tree or something, and at each marker I would start imagining myself as a different pro-triathlete climbing the hill. I mean, would any hill in Blue Mounds tire out Natasha Badmann or Peter Reid? I don't think so. It kept me going and gave me something to take my mind off my screaming legs and my breathing.

I watched David Blaine's Drowned Alive show on TV where he lived in a sphere of water for seven days and on the final day attempted to hold his breath for 9 minutes. (He only made it to seven minutes before they had to rescue him.) The show showed how he trained himself physically and mentally for it. His will and determination to get through extreme mental challenges like that has been inspiring to me. Triathlon is so much mental and learning how to feel comfortable in times of discomfort, just as David does in this and other stunts that he does. I suspect that his internal psychological reasons for having the need to do extreme things has much in common with the psychological motivations behind people doing Ironman. To generalize, I think it has a lot to do with a desire to conquer physical and mental pain through one's own choosing as a way to compensate and feel control over for serious pain that one has suffered elsewhere in life. Essentially they are alternative spiritual practices.

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