Friday, November 17, 2006

Strange week it's been.

Things happen in threes.

I was out for a run Wednesday afternoon. It was a great day for running; high 60's here in Connecticut in November! I have this one hour course that I love to run. It starts out on the rail trail, then enters signle track trails, before hitting a rolling paved road, then turning at the half way point onto a dirt road, before finishing back on the rail trail.

I was 45 minutes in and running past our town dump entrance off the dirt road. At this exact moment, I had an urgency to pee. Guys have it quite easy in this situation, usually picking any tree. However, right inside the gates to the dump sat a port-o-potty. Since this was very convienient, I ducked in quickly. I was in there for 20 seconds at the most. While inside, I heard a car drive by. As I exited the out-house, the car was driving off, outside the gates which were now closed and locked with chains. It'd be easy to hop the fence if it weren't for the barbed wire. Barbed wire is a bitch, especially when trying to climb over it in running shorts and a singlet. I pulled a Schofield and busted out by climbing a tree and taking a leap of faith.

On Thursday, I head to the dentist to have two large side by side cavities plugged.

My dentist is a great guy who I've been going to since I was a kid. He gives me a shot of novacaine or some numbing agent directly into my gum. We chat for a bit and he asks me if my mouth is numb yet, but it's not. So he sticks another needle into my gum. He then begins drilling. The thing is, I can feel the drill grinding into my tooth. Being an idiot, I don't notify him. I'm thinking that he injected me with this numbing chemical twice already. A; the pain killer should kick in soon, and 2; I have a client meeting in an hour and I don't want to be late. He get's deeper into the tooth and now I'm squeezing the hand rails of the chair so hard that there are probably permanent finger marks from my hands. 45 minutes later, I leave the dental office and finally my mouth begins going numb!

To cap the week off, my big toenail that was bruised in Hawaii from the bro-hug fell off last night.

Have a great weekend everyone!



Monday, November 13, 2006

Opportunity Awaits

Most people dread Mondays. I kind of like them. Monday is the start of a new week. Just like many use New Year's day as a starting point, an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and set some new goals, Mondays can serve the same purpose.

Try this today: Instead of dwelling on the fact that you still have four and a half work days left in this week, and the fact that this particuliar Monday here in CT can be even more depressing due to the rain, focus on these questions: "what can I do this week that will make it a stellar week? What may put me one step closer towards a big goal? What three things can I do during this week of November 13th that will seperate this week from any othter ordinary week?

It's easy to get caught up in a particuliar routine, and to get sucked into common societal bs like the fact that Mondays should suck. Instead, view Mondays as an opportunity. And remember, there's a coworker or age group competitor out there that's creating a situation that puts them one step closer towards their big goal. Don't let them getthe one-up on you.



Thursday, November 09, 2006

Spring is here!

I guess it's time to take the storms out and put the screens in. Seems like it was just last weekend that we took the screens off the windows and put the storms in. Wait, it was just last weekend!

Today, it was over 70 degrees in CT. The sun was out and it felt like spring. I wanted to get on my road bike and put in a nice, 3+ hour ride. Instead, I did a light run and then some strength training.

I'm at the tail end of a bad cold. I guess between the sinus trouble I had during Hawaii and the lack of sleep afterwards, my immune system was low. It seems as though this bug is going around. I know lots of sick people out there right now. I thought I'd share my immune system booster, cold remedy routine:

Emergen-C 6 packets per day
Cold Snap 2 supplements X 4 times per day
Kyolic garlic capsules 2 capsules, twice per day
Pearls Acidophilus 2 per day
herbal tea 4 cups per day
Nyquil at night to knock me out

I planned on taking 2 weeks fully off after Hawaii, and then doing some light training for 4 weeks of mountain biking, trail running, and strength training. This will have to start this weekend.

I'm already planning for 2007. I'm focusing on 1/2 IM races, with Timberman and Worlds being my two A races. I'm also really looking forward to this years camps. I've been planning the agendas and let's just say that attendees will be quite tired at the end of these. A good tired though.



Sunday, November 05, 2006

Importance of cumulative base

I've been working with Angela Forster for a few years now. She is a very accomplished athlete, completing many Ironmans including qualifying for and racing in Hawaii. This year, she took on a new goal of running an ultramarathon in June. She had never run one before and signed up for the 100 miler. During her training for this race, we basically eliminated cycling and swimming sessions. She did lots of long runs, mostly in trails. Well, not only did she do well in this event, but she finished as the second woman. Yes, she's talented, but her hard work and dedication combined with her consistency is what really paid off. She took some well deserved down-time following this event, and then basically stayed fit with lower key, shorter swimming, cycling, and running sessions.

About four and a half weeks ago, she called me and told me that she was thinking about doing IM Florida. Her and her nutty husband sign up for like every IM in case they want to race them, so she was already registered. Yet, she wasn't going to race this until about four and a half weeks ago. Our conversation was: "Do you think I can really do this?" "Sure, you have so much base that we'll give you two really solid weeks and then back you off" I responded confidently, before hanging up and shaking my head in bewilderment, wondering if she actually would be capable of doing this.

The reality is that if she went extra, extra easy, then finishing wouldn't be a problem for an athlete with Angela's background. But she's also a competitor, and as much as I emphasized the need for her to start very slow and build into this race, I was worried that this competitiveness may take over.

I gave her two very big weeks of training, and mostly at or slower than goal IM effort. We then tapered her for two weeks. I told her that I wanted her to take the swim quite easy, and the first half of the bike as well. I told her husband Scott that if he doesn't see her smiling on the course during the bike, she's going too hard.

Angela ended up finishing 8th in her age group and in 11 hours 28 minutes!

I've stressed the importance of cumulative base. That is, base built up over seasons of training and racing. Angela shows how important cumulative base actually is. In fact, with the training she did in the late winter and spring, if she had started her build for this maybe six weeks out, instead of four, she might have nailed a pr. This makes me believe more that those with years of experience and base - if they have a very solid early season of base training, then they probably will race an IM bettter starting their build six or seven weeks out instead of the typical 12 to 14 weeks out. In fact, many enter their key race of the year a bit over-cooked.

For those of you racing an Ironman next year, take some down time now for the off season and plan your pre-season schedule. Remember that much of your race day outcome will be determined more by what you do January through April, rather than the 8 weeks leading into your key race.

One more note: In regards to taking an off season, make sure you seriously take some good down time now. Many triathletes are so driven, that they finish their last race of the season,
and already begin thinking of next season and the training they want to do to get faster. Or there are those that are very paranoid about losing all their fitness, or gaining weight, so they don't take a sufficient off season. These are usually the same athletes who go through the following season, stale, injured, de-motivated, or all of these things. I once read that the Kenyan runners take two solid months off at the end of their season! They don't do a bit of running! Now, I'm not advising this amount of time, but I think that most should take two solid weeks of "no training" time, and then do four, very easy weeks of one easy session per day.