Friday, April 9, 2010

The struggle to become a 39-year old, 280 pound endurance athlete

A 39-year old, 280 pound endurance athlete? What's the struggle? Can't be done, doesn't make sense. That would be the logical statement but since when am I logical when it comes to trying to do things?

I mentioned a little while ago that April is Concept2's Marathon challenge month and that I wanted to try and row a marathon. My age and weight are against me. I turn 39 at the end of the month and I'm a slightly shorter version of Adam Dunn (he has me by two inches). Can you imagine Adam Dunn doing a marathon (rowing is just as hard as running. Less impact but you have to use your whole body)? What makes me think I can do it?

To give you a sense of the supposed unreasonableness of the challenge, Concept2 considers any male who weighs over 165 pounds to be a heavyweight. If I lose one hundred pounds, I'm still a heavyweight. Lance Armstrong, depending on whether he ate a PowerBar or not before he stepped on the scale would be teetering on the line of heavyweight. Senseless.

But I think I can do it mostly because I have the physical strength to do it. I've mentioned numerous times that I'm overweight but I'm pretty strong, too. It's my stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid head that prevents me from being able to translate that strength over a long period of time.

Take today, for instance. I set out to row ten miles. My longest row this year was 7.5 miles on New Year's Day (and yes, the plan is to row 26.2 three weeks from now). Again, rationality is not my strong suit). So I'm plugging away on the rower. I'm tired. At least I'm telling myself I'm tired. I finally hit the 7.5 mile mark and I stop. That's it, I'm beat. No mas. It's a miracle I can take another stroke. Matched my long for the year. That's good, right?

Was I tired? I rowed two minutes faster than I did on New Year's. That would suggest I'm in better shape, anyway. But what about today's workout? I really must have been fading at the end, right? Oh, yeah. Check out my splits.

First two miles - 13:39.
Second two miles - 13:35.
Third two miles - 13:35.
Final mile and a half prorated to two miles - 13:35


Where in those numbers is the fatigue? I look at those numbers and I think how I was feeling and what I think happened was it was just beginning to get hard. I was moving at a nice clip and my body was beginning to feel it. Instead of pressing on, I quit. The 7.5 mark was probably a nice little subconscious barrier for myself.

So I don't know at this point. I think I might try and do a half marathon next week once the challenge begins and then try and do the full marathon at the end of the month. A smarter move would be to try and drop fifty pounds and do the marathon as a 40-year old. But my head is in the way there as well. Rational thought and food? Hahahahahaha. Good one.

I think my goal should be to make progress on my brain over the next few weeks. Maybe I won't get the full marathon in. But if I can at least make progress over telling myself I'm tired and defeated when I'm really just being challenged and need to work a little harder, at least there will be some positive from this.

Stupid head.

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