I am currently in Finland. The trip over was a brutal 20+ hours of travel. I despise flying mainly for the desert-like lack of humidity. I hate drinking constantly and staying thirsty. Obviously the problem is exacerbated if the trip is interminably long. But, I did get a chance to read which I never seem to make time for when I am staying in one spot and have endless amounts of free time.
I am nearly finished with Iron War, the new book chronicling the 1989 Ironman World Championships. It is one of the best races of all time, with Dave Scott and Mark Allen slugging it out with the decisive move happening at mile 24. It is literally insane to watch/ hear about. The book is definitely not a disappointment as the subject is too good to ruin. It’s sort of like baking…generally if the food has enough fat and sugar in it, it will taste good. It’s hard to mess it up.
The writing is not exactly spot on but the angles the author takes on mental toughness, perception of fatigue, and the background of Mark and Dave are pretty interesting. I love Dave Scott. He has the biggest balls in history and, in defeat, you see truly how deep he can take it. He ties up completely like a 400m runner down the stretch in the last 2 miles and his form breaks down. Any other athlete would slow down, but he forces his body to accelerate despite a complete systems failure. He is so tough he literally can will his body to do things he shouldn’t be able to do. In the end he loses but in the most bad ass way in history. I like to watch people who race like animals and don’t cave mentally no matter what.
The race in my opinion is bittersweet as I don’t think it is indisputable that Mark Allen was the strongest on the day. I think he raced a tactically perfect race and did what he needed to do to win as he shadowed Dave Scott. But the bottom line is Dave Scott dictated and did the all the work until mile 24 in the marathon. Mark Allen drafted his way to the win but Dave Scott raced arrogantly and that’s what happens. Either way, both of those guys are hard as hell.
Back to real life, I am looking forward to exercise in Finland as it is just like Michigan. Fall is my sweet spot for training. I ran last night at 8pm and again today at 4:30 am and I am starting to feel excellent. There is a pool 5 minutes away from my hotel so I swam after work. I got done, took a nap (damned jetlag) and went for another run. I found a track midway through and decided to cruise an aerobic mile. To my shock, I finished it in 6:12 and felt SO easy. I decided to open it up and run some 400's. I came around feeling super easy and looked down to see a 71 on my watch. Whoa. That was stupid easy so I shifted gears. The next one was 65, then another, then another. I couldn't believe it. I was ticking off 65 second 400's like it was nothing and then I finished with a 63. I felt like I was on fire. I am actually a bit suspicious that the track was off... I don't know why but I am just going to have to verify that workout on a good old-fashioned American track. I don't know what the meter to meter exchange rate is in Europe. Eh, just means another speed day.
After today, things are looking good for the December Ironman. Still up in the air, but I should be able to decide by the weekend which is hyping me up so much.