Wednesday, September 30, 2009

School's In Session

My kids are back at school, meaning they are bringing home germs in abundance again. Both of them had the sniffles and coughs this past weekend, then Lisa began with the congestion, then yours truly. Extra forced rest during my taper with yesterday and today fully off from any training. I'm remaining calm though. I had an excellent build for this race and I'm not going to let a cold derail me. I'll get this out of my system this week - better getting this this week than next week. Time to pound some Nyquil.



Saturday, September 26, 2009

todays challenge

We live in a society that is more or less self absorbed. Our main concern is us of course, and in athletics as well as real life, we are typically focused on what we are doing and trying to do it well.

I have a pt client and friend who I have been working with first thing in the morning for a bunch of years now. I love the passion that he exudes – it’s contagious. Here’s a guy who loves movies so much that he will see three to four a week sometimes. But it’s the way he describes his passions that really captures me. He’s been playing a lot of squash lately, and he works with these three British instructors. They mentioned to him that they’d prefer working with an adult like him rather than the teens they often instruct. He asked me why this was the case and I told him that he subconsciously makes those around him better through his own actions. When he describes squash to me, his eyes become huge, he grabs the sides of his head and his face lights up as he proclaims how much he loves it. He mentioned how he always compliments the pros when they hit a great shot – this is a key point.

Another one of my long time pt clients and friend makes me want to be a better trainer. This 71 year old is so energetic and positive and appreciates any creativity I add to his regimen. I certainly don’t need any accolades however his excitement and responsiveness make me want to be better.

Recently, my son had a wiffle ball tournament for his birthday party. I was the designated pitcher and as such got an earful of fourth grade trash talking. On one of the teams was a kid who was striking out often and it got to the point that when he got up, his own team began taunting him with “don’t strike out again!” or “Can we have a designated hitter in his spot?” I paused the game and explained to these kids how these comments affected everyone, trying to get them to see things from the other kid’s shoes.

Speaking of my son, between his games and him watching the European leagues on cable, I’ve been getting an overload of soccer. I was watching a high school game recently between two very good teams. Although there was plenty of communication amongst the players, I rarely see the type of communication that ignites passion and makes those around them want to be a better player.

That’s the point of this article. Each day, every moment that we are around others, we have an opportunity to make those around us better. Next time you are out for a run with your training partner, compliment them, not patronizingly but sincerely. Tell them “man, you are really running well!” or “your form looks relaxed and strong.” I guarantee that this persons running form and pace will instantly get that much better. If you are a leader on a team, imagine how the team will react just by you energetically singling out specific good plays and complimenting that person. Again, the idea is to do so to make those around you better. Coming off a recent training camp, I was able to put the small group through one of the more challenging four day training blocks yet since putting on these camps, mostly due to creating an energy amongst this group that made them want to excel.

Make everyone around you better. A rare few do it subconsciously, yet we can all do it with a bit of thought and thoughtfulness.



Thursday, September 24, 2009


Running through the trails today on a crisp 9 miler, it came to me quite clearly why I feel rejuvenated in my quest towards Hawaii this year. Sure, I took some down time, but the real reason has to do with plain and simple maturity. God, I hate to admit it, but I think I might just be maturing.

When I first raced the Hawaii IM as a "kid" in 96', it really threw me. Not only physically, but I wasn't expecting to experience what I did experience. After coaching hundreds threw IM's, it's quite clear that this emotional suprise is a regular for first timers. Coming off of this high, we can easily go through some post IM depression. Sounds silly but there has been university studies on this, showing that it's a very common occurrence. Instead of dealing with the PIMD, I quickly committed to qualifying to go back in 97'. Same for 98', 99', ... You get the picture. In the 90's, I had way less priorities, so in addition to trying to hang onto this "experience", I was also trashing myself in training, learning first hand what to do and more importantly, what not to do, in pursuit of fast times.

As much as I respect this race, what made my six trips proceeding 96' was the fact that Lisa and I had an amazing time and we learned a lot about the amazing island. I guess that as much as I loved this race, I loved the island and the trip there with my wife that much more. I still never regretted the race - keep in mind that I said I loved the race. However, it was a love hate relationship for sure. I mean, this is a brutal race.

Back to the present, I no longer feel a "need" to get back there. I don't feel as though I'm trying to recapture something that defines me, like a high school hero 40 lbs overweight and 10 years out of school still reliving his glory years, or like a bride in a bad marriage still watching her wedding day video. I never let the IM define me - it was something I enjoyed and loved yet wasn't something that made me me. I am fired up that I'm going back to the Big Island, and energized at the thought of toeing the line once again. But it no longer feels like I'm doing it to relive something. Rather, it feels like I am going back there just to challenge myself and do something that I love. I don't know. Maybe I'm not maturing at all and I'm not making any sense. All that I know is that it feels different this year, I don't feel "obligated", and it feels right!

Again, we'll see how it pans out on October 10th.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Update To Kona Build

Yeah, I've been awfully neglectful here. Had a few people calling me out, so i guess there are some that read the jibberish. My apologies. It's been purely out of lack of time and not laziness.

I can't believe I'm 2 1/2 weeks out from Hawaii! Man the time went quick. I can honestly say that I had a great build for Kona, and more importantly, I feel good now. I didn't quite get in the volume I used to for this race, however I did get in the key sessions, and more importantly, they all went very well. We'll see how this turns out on October 10th.

So I just want to jot down a few key notes on this specific Hawaii build so that I don't forget them; Got the annual Vermont ride in with some good friends. Kept it comfortable and easy on the way up and still cruised along at a solid pace in the 90 degree heat and very high humidity and managed to run well off the bike up in Brattleboro. The ride home was interesting, to say the least, since I came down with a fever and stomach flu that many had at a get-together the night before heading up - I didn't eat or drink anything for nearly four hours of riding in the hot summer weather. Thankfully, this bug was a short lived one. I did some solid long runs w/ Chris T. including a quick 22 miler. Kenny O. kept me company on many of my long rides, and on labor day, when I was initially down because I was missing the 20K in New Haven to get in the priority of a long ride, this ride and brick run turned out to be one of my best bricks to date. I did some great open water swimming with Denny and have a new appreciation for the Sound. I just finished up my Fall CT camp where on Saturday, in beautiful cool weather, I took the smaller, adventurous group on probably the most challenging camp ride to date! Then yesterday we shot two more dvds up at The Bar.

There were many more highlights, but the bottom line is that I really enjoyed the process this time around due to taking some time off, paying more attention to my recovery, choosing new and adventurous courses, and who knows why else?

I have lots of thoughts to jot down - hopefully sooner rather than later. Spending a good deal of time training alone with nothing but your thoughts can create some interesting ideas. Either interesting or bizarre, none the less, I need to jot them down soon.



Friday, September 04, 2009

salt water swimming and bored with my ipod

My 6am client was away today, so I met my good friend Denny White at Penfield Beach in Fairfield to get in a nice open water, salt water swim. The Sound actually seemed clean! I wore my new Nineteen sleeveless wetsuit which was soooo nice - I don't think I kicked at all with the lower body buoyancy this wetsuit offers. We dove in around 6:05 and the sun wasn't up yet. The salt water tasted great and reminded me that in four weeks I'll be tasting this again in the Pacific. The water was like glass this morning and I felt smooth in it. I breath to my right - this is how I learned to swim, so as I headed out, I was breathing to the east. Very soon, the sun began popping up over the sound - it was a bright orange and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Man, what a great way to start the day. No jelly fish except for the smaller ones that don't sting.

I'm getting a bit bored with my ipod. I am asking for some comments here. What are you listening too? Some good stuff that has kept me rolling:

"Ain't no rest for the wicked" by Cage the Elephant - I like these guys. Not the same old bs you typically hear these days.

Anything by Lupe Fiasco - this guy is really good. You need to like rap a bit but open your mind.

"Tear You Apart" by She Wants Revenge - OK, disturbing lyrics, but the song makes you want to shift up a gear or three. Reminds of NIN.

So I need some more ideas. Again, I listen to anything, so please respond.



Thursday, September 03, 2009

Summer's Over

The summer is over, kids are back at school, everyones home from vacation, soccer weekends are starting up, and the cool weather is here, at least in the early mornings. Bring back that heat and humidity!

I have blogged very sparsely this summer, but will be more diligent now, especially since Hawaii is just five weeks away and I use this blog as a personal journal of my process.

I'm very pleased with where I am at in regards to peaking for Hawaii. I like to break down my self analysis into three major groups: A) physically - I feel solid during all my training sessions at the moment, getting the work done but also much more cognisant of my recovery and keeping the pace "right" according to IM training. I'm not getting in the volume I once did. My time and priorities now don't allow for it. But the key sessions are there and they feel right. B) nutrition - I'm 80/20 here. Eating the healthy stuff but also getting in my fair share of ice cream, beer and wine. My appetite is huge right now! C) mentally - I'm still very motivated and enjoying the process.

Ken asked me on one of our rides if I could distinguish between my IM races. I told him I remember clearly different key things from each one that I have done. I also told him how the last three that I did, I remember during my training thinking about treading water at the pier, waiting the 15 minutes for the gun to sound and for the day to begin and actually dreading that moment. Dreading wading there, getting kicked and thrashed by all the other nervous athletes jockeying for their key starting position, anticipating the long day and pain that lay ahead. This year in my build, I actually am excited about the thought of being there.

The best thing though is to have a clear and precise goal, and to have something I'm aiming towards. I have been placing myself on a schedule and it feels great to follow an organized plan that's taking me somewhere.

I did have to make a big decision about this weekend though which hurts, but it's the right thing. I will be at a soccer tournament that my son is in all day on Saturday and Sunday. I will wake up early and get my long run in on Saturday morning, however, I am going to miss the New Haven 20K Road Race on Monday - my first miss there in a very long time. I need to get in a long brick and Monday is the only day I can, so sadly, I'll be absent at the race.

Other sad news is that I have lost three more ipods this past week. Please, I'll be ok. I know, this is major. The problems we must face here in the US! I think that Apple sets these things up so that they die after one year of use. My waterproof one just made a popping sound and hasn't worked since, my other shuffle, i learned once again, is not sweat proof, and my Touch will only stay in the horizontal screen.