Hurricane Irene…reminds me about Ironman racing

I have a post about my running program that I was going to finish up, but find myself spending my extra time allocation watching the developments of Hurricane Irene.

I flew my own plane for many years…and so weather was a constant thought process…I watched the forecasts daily/hourly…the radar…all before the Internet was in vogue, so a ponderous process…sometimes, in shaky conditions, having to land at the nearest airport that had radar available, to take a look to see what’s going on where I wanted to go.

Today, it’s all instant, and transparent…and available live on our smartphones.

The one thing that I did learn, is that natures forces don’t care about us at all…there is no measure given…no adjustment…the weather patterns just flow and do their thing…whether we’re there or not, makes no difference…we’re just specks on the planet.

…as we all watch Hurricane Irene, with the endless analysis of the storm track…it doesn’t change every few minutes…but we check it every few minutes…I’m left thinking, it’s real easy…just get out of the way, and let Irene ebb and flow and do it’s thing…and come back on the other side.

The force of nature is well beyond anything that man is likely to ever create…we feel it swimming in a modest current…fly through/near a thunderstorm and feel just how small we really are in the scheme of nature.

Fighting the forces of nature is a losing battle…it can be done in the short-term of course, as we build and re-build properties on those precious waterfront locations…even though many of them are battered and leveled time and time again…or trying to protect oceanfront properties from imminent erosion by spending hundreds of millions of dollars dumping sand along the beaches…and building great barriers to protect the properties that we put down there

…for a triathlete, we’re in the environment every day…whether it’s sun, or wind, or ocean currents…the more that we can ‘go with it’ rather than fight what’s happening…even if it’s just the battle in our heads…the more joy we’ll get from our training and races when the conditions are less than ‘ideal’…of course, only ‘ideal’ to hit some ‘number’ that we have…a speed that we want to maintain…a time on the clock that we want to post

…if the ocean is rough on race day, and we’re irritated, or freaked out, or want to push to a certain speed no matter what, it’s going to be a much longer swim, and use up a lot more energy, than if we enjoy the challenge, and feel the great joy of being able to swim for miles, in waves, and current, and tough stuff, and feel the water, and become part of it, not thrashing against it…and if we have a stroke rate goal, just stay there, and work on keeping the best form that we can…and come out and across the mat, laughing out loud that we had a great swim…even if it was a few minutes longer than we had on our spreadsheet

…and if there’s a headwind on the bike, and our speed isn’t where we want it to be, and we resist the fatal error to push harder…and stay on plan, and stay aero, and follow our ‘power’ or ‘heart rate’ or ‘rate of perceived exertion’ metric in our race plan…our bike legs don’t know that there’s wind, and therefore our speed across the road is slower…perfect race power is perfect race power, no matter what the speedometer says…and if it’s raining, your legs don’t know that it’s raining…power is power…just stay with the plan…whatever your race ‘metric’ is, just stay there…and laugh out loud as we cross the mat knowing that we contained ourselves, stayed on the plan, and squeezed as much as we could out of the ride…the speed will be what it will be based on the conditions

…and if the heat rises on the run, and your speed is slowing because your body is sucking energy from your legs to try and maintain a stable body temperature, pushing to try to maintain a 60F pace at 80F, will drain you to the point, where walking will be an effort…so knowing what your pacing will be as the temperature rises, means that you’ll still have the legs that you want by the end…and even though the time on the clock may not be what was on the spreadsheet, you’ll laugh out loud when  you cross the finish line, knowing that you swam/biked and ran your race right on the numbers…your race metrics…your best potential on the day

…Mother Nature is going to determine your final time on the clock

…of course, there are those halcyon days, when the water is calm, the wind shifts to always be on our back, and the temperature perfect all day long

…those will be our best clock times…maybe not as much joy though, as completing the task in conditions that challenged the mind as well as the body…

…okay…yeah…I’ll take the perfect day too 🙂


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