Summer has officially arrived to the Tampa Bay area, and it seems like only a few weeks ago that we were still wearing arm warmers and full-finger gloves during uncommonly chilly bike rides. Now it’s time to prepare for another summer of dehydration, over-heating, and heat stroke, and that’s just walking to your car in the morning. Just a month ago, we were all complaining about how this was the worst winter since the last ice age, if you believe in that type of thing. Now we’ve immediately transitioned to complaining about the oppressive heat, humidity, and the dog days of May. If you’re one of the poor souls training for a marathon or Ironman later this year, good freakin’ luck; this may be the summer that we all fondly look back as the true beginning of global warming, if you believe in that type of thing.
Another sign that summer is here is the number of huge races that took place this weekend (almost all on the west coast): Wildflower, Escape From Alcatraz (won by my fellow baked ziti enthusiast and future soul mate Leanda Cave), St. Croix 70.3, and the inaugural Ironman St. George in Utah. A cursory glance at the preliminary results show that fifty Floridians raced in St. George this weekend. A cursory glance at the bike and run profiles also show that at least fifty Floridians really need to understand that riding and running bridges doesn’t actually translate to hill training.
Anyways, congratulations to everyone who raced over the last few weeks. If you raced St. Anthony’s, hopefully you got to swim the full distance instead of the “St. A’s Light” version the last few waves were treated to. Registration for next year’s race traditionally begins December 1st, as will the first annual SwimBikeRun “At this rate, when will St. A’s become a duathlon?” contest. Winners will receive a snorkel, a set of floaties, and a membership to a private pool of your choice (only you’ll be charged double to truly make your months of swim training even more of a waste of time).
Sadly, I’ve been entered in a contest of my own as of today. Forthe past few months I’ve been struggling with a case of Achilles tendinitis, and after a brief break from running after the initial onset, resumed running on a regular basis in preparation for a spring marathon. When the problem first arose, I went to see a sports medicine specialist , and he and the physical therapist both said that I could run if I was able to. Who was I to argue with a doctor who told me exactly what I wanted to hear? So I ran, at first just a couple of short runs a week, but eventually I was back to the usual routine. Even though the ankle feels much better these days, it still gets a little sore post-run and first thing in the morning. Well today, my new team of “expert” medical advisors officially put their collective feet down and demanded that I completely stop running for the duration of the month of May in order to allow my ankle to completely heal.
Even though I knew they were right, I still resisted. A month off? I’ve got an Ironman to start to training for and a pretty decent base that I’ve spent years building. Plus, race season is kicking into gear, and I haven’t done a single tri yet this year. But, I knew that if I continued on the same course, I was taking a chance that I could injure myself further when the miles starting adding up during IM training. So, the medical team gave me an ultimatum: either take the month off or, if I was caught running during the month, I would have to:
- Pay the hefty registration fee for Dr. Killjoy (a fake name to protect the less-than-innocent) at this year’s Atlantic Coast triathlon.
- Race the above-mentioned half-iron distance race in a Speedo.
As I’m cheap, and the residents of Amelia Island, Florida should not be subjected to the horror of seeing me in Speedo, I guess I won’t be running at all this month. No long runs, short runs, easy runs, or track workouts. No tempo runs, bricks, or races (which really sucks as the American Running Company’s I Love Mother’s Day 5k is next week). No running amok, no running rampant, no running from the law, no running to the fridge, no using the excuse “I gotta run” to escape uncomfortable social situations.
This is going to suck. What is the triathlon equivalent of detox-ing? Allergic reactions to spandex or a sudden distaste for Gatorade? A desire to hang out with friends and family or to actually attempt to read a book? Will I no longer care about Tour de France prognostications or ten-day weather forecasts? Most importantly, does this mean I have to swim more?
An intervention may be in order over the next thirty days, and if you’ve ever seen the TV show by the same name (best TV show ever by the way!), then you know that the outcome usually isn’t too good.
If I do relapse and you see me running, please don’t turn me in. Me racing in a Speedo will be worse for triathlon in the state of Florida than the coming global warming-induced year-round furnace, if you believe in that type of thing.