Broadening Horizons...

I am a runner.  I love to be active in general, but nothing gives me the instant thrill I get from a run.  Yeah, I'm a runner.  But does that necessarily mean I have to only be a runner?  I don't think so.  I think I can expand and continue to grow; further, I think that growth will only benefit my running ability.  As many of you know, I've been fighting a bit of a calf issue.  Sometimes over the last couple months I've been getting a very tight knot in the lower part of my left calf muscles.  A.R.T. has helped, but then I go for another long or fast run and it tightens right back up.  Why?  I can't be 100% sure, but my personal opinion is that it is a lack of balance.  My focus and activities have been solely based on running.  Working your muscles in only one way gets things out of balance and causes problems, like tight calf muscles.

Last summer I started getting into cycling a little bit.  Not much, but some.  I bought a hybrid bike and started going for some good long rides; I even took part in a Dualthon (Prairie Punisher Duathlon) on 7/23.  Admittedly, I didn't do so well, but it was a hot day with no shade on the course and I'd only been cycling for about a month.  It was a different but interesting challenge.  After that, for what ever reason, my cycling fell off quite a bit.  I would get my bike out from time to time, but not as much as I should have.  As the weather cooled into Fall then into Winter my bike was forgotten about.  It became little more than a sad, lonely metal frame with wheels taking up space in an already crowded garage.  I continued running, but almost all cross training disappeared.  Then my calf issues arose.  Hmm, never had a problem like that before.  Could it be my running form?  Could it be caused by all the trail running I'd started doing?  Could be these or many other things.  In most things, the easiest answer is the most likely, so what's the biggest change I'd made?  All these other things were part of my running, so not likely, the biggest change was that I wasn't cross training.  I was using my legs for one purpose and it was getting my muscles out of balance.  That's my self diagnosis.

So what to do now?  My calf isn't enough to stop me from running, just an annoyance, but I need to resolve the issue.  Well, over the last few weeks the weather has warmed up so I got out my bike and warmed it up too.  I've now been on three rides this year; 7.5 miles, 8.29 miles and 22.86 miles.  Each ride my calf felt a little better.  It would seem I was right, I needed better cross training.  Each time I ride my legs are sore.  Not like running, it is different muscle groups; that's the point.  Each ride I feel like I'm getting stronger and going longer.  I'm looking forward to more consistent riding this year than last.  But that's not enough for me.  I'm obvious the type of person that likes to push myself so I wanted to use this new cross training to find new challenges.  Oh, boy; here I go again!

First, I want to begin swimming.  I've never swam per se, I've only swam as a kid messing around with buddies in the pool.  Not true swimming; that would be a skill I'd need to learn.  I started researching where to swim, and where I can get some lessons.  I don't have everything set in stone just yet, but I have a couple pretty good leads, so I think this may happen pretty soon.  I'll write another post once I have everything figured out and lined up.  Hand-in-hand with the goal of learning to swim for competition and cycling more comes a race goal.  Yes, as you all know, I thrive on race goals so I need one in this case.  Of course, I also tend to like big goals, so why should this be any different?

Again, as you all know, in September 2013 I will be running my first 100 mile Ultra.  That's the big goal I'm striving for right now and I'm not deviating from that target.  Between now and then I would like to take part in at least one Olympic distance triathlon (0.93 mile swim, 24.8 mile bike, 6.2 mile run) and, hopefully, one half Ironman triathlon (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run).  Then, after the 100 mile Ultra I will work toward completing a full Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run).  These are big goals for sure, but what the hell, right?!?!  I've got huge long term goals and lots of tough shorter term goals to get me there.  My love of running didn't happen over night, I had to keep doing it for many months before I found the joy in it.  I'm hoping that as I train more on my bike and as I start training in the water I will develop a love of those sports as well.  I look forward to dipping my toes a little deeper in the multi-sport athletics arena!!

Comments

  1. Wow, Amazing goal Bryan! Sounds like you will be busy this next year for sure

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  2. What an amazing goal!! Ironman is definitely on my bucket list!

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