A few years ago I had the wonderful privilege of having my biggest rival, best training partner (and a great friend) living nearby. The competition between us got so out if control that even something as simple as drinking a beverage became a contest. It was all in good fun though, we never traded barbed words, got upset or any of that boring stuff, we just constantly PUSHED one another.
So, I was ALWAYS in shape, because we were always working out, whether there was a race or not.
He and his wife (another great athlete and friend) have since moved away (to Syracuse nonetheless), and I must admit, after they left, my workout frequency plummeted.
As a yearly tradition Chad (training partner), Todd (who, along with his wife, are two of my closest friends in the area.... Oh, and he's Chad's older brother) and I go for a backpacking adventure at some mountainous location. While I'm used to looking at both of their heels on the trail (Chad being of the grip it and rip it mindset and Todd doing some magical kind of Yoga to keep his hiking base strong) we usually hit the key views and campsites relatively close together.
This past year's trip, however, was different. Too many hours in the studio, too many days between training rides and runs... I thought I was in shape because I was thinner than I'd been in a while. I was sorely wrong.
I've lost a couple of bets to Chad, less for things of a competitive nature and more for my own stupidity.... But, as I lagged behind on the trail, I vowed not just to get my fitness up, but to get back in race shape.
Well wouldn't you know it, but Chad was up for an all or nothing bet.
So, here it is: we race sometime in the upcoming season (a triathlon, of course). If I win, we're even. If he wins... Well, I owe him some loot cakes.
I've piddled around with runs here and there, a few rides when it was warmer out. I am fit enough to complete a race but NO WHERE near race shape.
I spent Christmas week running on the beach in Florida. Kind of nice to kick off a training program in the warmer weather, but more important to me was the sand. After reading Born to Run (great book) and various other research, I got very into the idea of barefoot running. More natural, less injuries... The virtues are too many to name.
With that technique (too cold to go without shoes in Boston though) I've had two good 6.5 mile runs this week. The run really is my only hope. Chad is an excellent swimmer, way out of my league, and, while I used to be able to keep up with him on the bike, I'd guess there isn't enough time to get back to that level.
So there it is! Let the training begin. And, Chad, you'd better keep an eye over your shoulder.