Links

Mason's Website: http://masonboylestriathlete.weebly.com/index.html Inside Out Sports: http://www.insideoutsports.com/ TMS-IOS Triathlon Team: http://www.trianglemultisport-insideoutsportsteam.org/ Omega Sports: http://www.omegasports.net/ Ironman Talk: http://www.imtalk.me/Podcast.html Slowtwitch: http://www.slowtwitch.com/

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Comeback Time!

So its been almost two years since I last posted on this blog, but I guess every streak has to end sometime... Where to start? I guess I should just give a "brief" summary of what's been going on for the past 22 months or so. After racing White Lake I put in a few weeks of solid training and managed to win a close race at Kure Beach triathlon against the talented (not to mention dashing) George Worrell. Right after that I hopped into base training for cross country season. Fall of 2011 would be my last high school XC season and I wanted to make it count. Long story short, I managed to string together several months of 70 mile weeks and fast workouts before peaking too early and getting sick. I ran a 15:30 5k on the state meet course and won regionals but in truth I had left my best running in my workouts. I came into states seeded second and proceeded to have my worst race of the season. Needless to say, I was disappointed, so in my mind an offseason was out of the question. I immediately jumped into marathon training with the goal of running a fast time at Quintiles in March 2012. I got up to several 95 mile weeks (including some stupid 15 mile tempos) and managed to-- surprise surprise-- develop tendonitis my my knee. Unable to run or bike I ended up doing a swim focused block essentially by default. After a couple of months of solid training and the help of Dave Sokolofsky I was able to swim a 5:20 500, a time that I was reasonably pleased with. It seemed as if I was going to be able to carry this fitness into a solid summer and fall of racing. That's what I thought. But once I started triathlon training I noticed that I was lacking spunk. I just didn't feel like doing it anymore. So in late March I quit cold turkey (the few of you who are actually reading this may have seen my Facebook post about 'retirement' around this time last year). By cold turkey, I mean that I did not run, bike, or swim for 12 months. Instead I took up powerlifting and put on 45 pounds. (Powerlifting meets, kind of like triathlons, consist of three events: squat, bench, and deadlift. You combine your best lifts in each event for a total that determines your placing in the meet. Maybe I'm drawn to the symmetry of three. Who knows?) Powerlifting is great. The intensity and focus required to squat or deadlift heavy weights really appealed to me. But all year I felt like I was lacking direction. Triathlon had been such a huge part of my life that I assumed this was just a temporary state, something I would work through as I adjusted to life outside the sport. Maybe that was the case. Regardless, this general malaise just wouldn't go away. Some days it was worse than others; I found myself slipping out of my dorm and taking these long, introspective late night walks more and more frequently. Something ingrained deep into my psyche was dissatisfied; Quenton Cassidy would have said that the demons were getting hungry. And he would have been right (at least, insofar as a fictional character can be right). I had struck upon that hunger for triathlons once again. It all boiled over one Tuesday during spring break. Some perfect combination of factors converged that day and caused me to literally dust off the old Specialized and ride for 2 hours. When I finished I was greeted by that familiar comforting exhaustion which I'd been missing for the past year. I'd also missed perhaps my favorite part of the sport: moving through nature at a rapid pace, driving on through fatigue that would demoralize the uncalloused soul. I remembered that burning desire to race, to test myself, to "see what I can do." John L. Parker wrote of the endurance athlete that his task "was real; the way he did it the realest thing he knew. It was all joy and woe, hard as a diamond; it made him weary beyond comprehension. But it also made him free." There is a truth to these words that only the competitive racer can know. I now understand that I don't just crave training and racing, I need them to strike a fundamental balance balance on some psychochemical level. Racing is, indeed, one of the few ways to really confirm that you are alive. In a society where we rarely encounter the limits of our physical capabilities, triathlon offers an outlet to explore- and expand- one's own potential on a primal level. I believe that there is something left over in our DNA from the days when we had to chase down game or take up sword and shield, and its just not getting fed in this post industrial age. There are few greater joys than to fly through the woods propelled by our own lungs and legs, existing wholly and completely in the moment. So much for a brief recap of the past two years. I know that it could take a while to get back to my previous ability-- and the added weight isn't going to help me in this regard-- but I'm completely at peace with that. I'm training again because I remembered that I enjoy it. And because I remembered a dream which I almost let die, a dream I relentlessly pursued for five years before temporarily setting it aside. Since I was a ninety pound 14 year old I've always wanted to see how far I could take this whole triathlon thing. I wanted to find out how good I could be...Now I'm on my way again. And not once do I plan on forgetting how fun it is to swim, bike, and run.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

WLS 1 and 2 Race Reports

I woke up Sunday morning fresh and ready to race. As I began my warm up I was pleasantly surprised at the relatively agreeable temperature and lack of humidity, a deviation from typical White Lake race conditions. The race began without incident; I quickly found a draft for the first third of the race. After finding myself about 50 yards off course I decided to go it on my own and emerged with a small lead. Then it was off with the wetsuit (which offered little resistance as I squirmed out of it) and onto the bike (which offered much resistance as I picked out a hard gear to grind). I held my lead until about mile ten of the bike, when Richard Swor briefly passed me. I dropped back for a mile or so and then repassed, coming into transition with a small lead. On the run I put it in cruise control and went on to finish in 1:03. Afterwards it occurred to me that the conditions would likely not be that good for a few years and I regretted my decision to rein in the effort, but what’s done is done. And so I looked forward to leaving it all out there the following weekend…
…which did not surprise, though it did disappoint, as it dawned hot, sticky and humid. Again, I felt fresh and ready to get after it as I warmed up. This time the swim went out faster and I had to work harder to stay up with the leaders, but by 200 yards in things had settled down and I took the lead. I came out in first, a few seconds faster than last week, and hopped on my bike- though this time the wetsuit got stuck somewhere between my ankles and knees. I held the lead all the way through and was pleased to drop a little time from the previous week, riding a high 33. Then came the run: hot, lonely, and altogether slow, though not for a lack of effort. I ran over thirty seconds slower than last week, a margin large enough to eclipse my gains on the swim and bike. I crossed the line in first again, but this time I was a few seconds slower than last week. All in all, I was quite pleased with the fitness Dave Williams’ coaching had cultivated. I love the White Lake course and I am so grateful- to Setup events for putting on another pair of top-notch races; to my family for driving me up there on Mother’s Day and the weekend after, for cheering me on shamelessly, and for holding my gross retainer when I forget to take it out before I go to the swim start; and of course to God for allowing me to feel His presence within and around me, and for giving me the ability, strength and courage to race and test my limits.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cool Breeze Pseudo-Race Report

Gasping for air, I crank the pedals of my bike relentlessly. My breathing is audible and visible. My chest heaves as it is filled with oxygen, and then blasts out carbon dioxide in forceful contraction like some kind of chemical childbirth. My blood red helmet, the back tapered to a point to funnel air around me, could be the expelled placenta. I am tucked, sleek, the picture of efficiency. Bike and rider appear as one, so that it is difficult to discern that the tapered geometry of the jet black carbon fiber frame is not an extension of my body. This is my race to win. For now, I have the lead. But there are miles to go, and the rest are coming. Will they catch me? No.
My thoughts are fleeting. Concepts dance around the borders of consciousness in abstract, neglected stalactites dangling from the edges of a cavernous tunnel vision. I ignore, I process, I react, I adapt to the messages relayed from my body and environment, metabolizing them efficiently. The frigid air screeches in fury as it is pierced by my knifelike profile. The water dripping from my skin was torn away by its howl when I exited the swim and mounted my bike. Yet the blue trisuit bearing my sponsors, my name, and my country still clings to my body like a python surrounding its prey, still clings to the wet like a drag suit crammed into the bottom of a swim bag.
And still I churn out revolutions of the cranks. Muscles contract, relax, and contract again under the pale goose pimpled skin of my legs. Up and down I power my burning, aching, freezing, numb legs, pistons so thoroughly primed for this singular task- efficient propulsion. The rolling hills of the Piedmont toss me like a ship in a gale, varying my cadence and gearing. I grind away, crest, and spin until my legs become a hummingbird blur below me, an entity separate from my torso but for that excellent ache which creeps up into the stomach, tickles the lungs, and poisons the mind, acutely permeating my focused awareness. With it comes not distress, but peace.
Gratitude fills me with jubilance, for here in this moment I feel God’s presence so powerfully. I know that He gave me this passion, this ability, and I can do no less than thank Him for it and use it to its fullest. But I cannot do it alone, for I am weak. Cold. Human. Only God lifts me with His strong arm, encourages me and fills me with His spirit, never forsaking me and always bringing hope. The swim- and the competition- are behind me, the rolling expanses of the bike and run are before me, and God’s joy is in me.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Azalea Triathlon: 3%...that's all

This morning was the opening event of the 2011 IOSTS Series, the Azalea Festival Triathlon. I was not expecting much performance wise due to the myriad health issues that marred my 2010/early 2011 training. Unfortunately, the race matched these expectations. After an unspectacular swim, I proceeded to post an average T1 and follow up with a mediocre (though extremely painful, 'genitalia against the vertical surface') bike ride, a pedestrian T2, and an especially unimpressive run for 45:29 and 3rd overall. Taking into account the truncated bike course, I am about 1:10 slower than last year, a 3% discrepancy. Though in reality a significant gap, 3% doesn't look like much on paper and I am confident that with further consistent training under the guidance of the genius Dave Williams I will not only reattain but exceed my fitness from last year.
As for specifics, the swim felt smooth and based on the testimony of a credible witness and local swim guru, my technique looked good. T1 was hampered by my futile attempts to pull on soccer socks which I had fashioned into arm warmers, a pursuit which I abandoned as I reached my bike. Over the following twenty two minutes I proceeded to flog myself and flood my screaming muscles with lactic acid, fueled only by two pieces of toast, a gel, and God (the latter obviously making the difference). Coming into T2 I pulled on my extremely flashy Nike Mayflies and lumbered onto the run course. Lumbering is the best word that comes to mind when I attempt to quantify my run effort; I had developed an all too familiar stitch under my ribcage stretching across my stomach on the bike and running exacerbated it to the extreme. As a result my pace really suffered. My legs had more to give but once again i found myself limited by 'stitching'. TMS-IOS stud Brad Perry posted an extremely impressive 44:08 for 2nd overall behind the equally (okay, slightly more) impressive 43:34 put up by that infamous lion of the golden locks, Matt Wisthoff. Matt, can't you find some ITU race to do instead of showing us up in the nondrafting stuff? Please? But I digress. Another notable performance was that of a new TMS-IOS addition, Mark Carey, whose 46:00 was good for 5th overall. On the ladies' side, speedy Amie Krasnozon of TMS-IOS (who should really adopt the title 'Krassy,' because it is pretty classy. If you are reading, A.K., please consider this when you get your new uniform) ran a blazing 19:26 to earn 2nd overall female, 1st open female, in 51:11, with teammate Tara Flint (whose 19:41 was also quite an impressive run split) claiming 2nd open and 3rd overall in 52:29. Setup Events also deserves applause for another astoundingly well put together event. They never cease to amaze me with the quality of their productions. Finally, a shout-out to my good ol' Pops, who volunteered in transition and did it well. He will be getting after it himself at next weeks' Quintiles Marathon.
Though I am not yet at my best, I am encouraged and motivated by the upward trend of the past weeks' training. I am so thankful for the privilege of participating in this great sport and community. Every time I race I thank God for creating the marvel of nature and the human body, and for allowing me to experience and test these marvels when race.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Video: Chapel Hill Triathlon 2009

video

Thanks to "Mu-ma" and Father for filming everything I do and taking pictures.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My (ugly) swim form

video

My swimming is super slow these days. But I'm working on implementing the form changes that Dave WIlliams suggested, so I am confident that things will get better. Thanks to my good ol' Pops, I can now publicly humiliate myself with this video of me swimming- or rather, drowning with restraint.

Friday, January 14, 2011

(Random)- Just what I do in history class



Just what I do during history class...nothing to do with triathlon whatsoever, haha