Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tucson Camp Day 1 and 2

Arrived in Tucson yesterday afternoon. This is my fourth year hosting this camp here and it's great once again to be back. I feel like I really know the place now. Gus and I traveled out together and had smooth travels. Not as exciting as Tom and Huck (Molson nicknames for Jeff and Brian from Missouri) who saw Gwen Stefani on their flight from Vegas to Tucson. Molson had the woman beater Chris Brown on his flight from Dallas to Tucson. I had Gus.

We have a very solid and compatible group this year and once again, what's more important is that they are all fun and like to laugh.

Today started with an early Starbucks run because that's the tradition now. We then made the very short drive to Sabino Canyon to start this camp off with a run over the telephone line trail - one of my favorite run routes ever. For the first time that I've ever experienced here, it was raining steadily. It was cool yet perfect running weather. The water was rushing through some of the usually dried out river beds and overflowing the lower road and trail that starts and finishes this great run and it was cold yet fun sloshing through the knee deep water. There something that takes you back to your youth about running with sneakers and clothes through water. This group didn't blink as we splashed through the first stream which sends a subtle signal my way that we have the right crew here. Molson sent over some elevation charts from the run which you can see on his AZ camp blog here: We climbed over 1000 feet in 2.5 miles!

The day was damp and cold, yet the rest of the week calls for sun and 70's so all is solid here. If anyone is interested in seeing what we are doing out here training wise, check out:

More tomorrow.



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cleveland Wrap Up

I've been a bit hyper lately and it's because of one thing as far as I can tell. That one thing is the fact that I'll be in Tucson in nine days. I'm not over-exaggerating here. I am craving some warm bright days and long time in the saddle without wearing eight layers of clothing that takes 45 minutes to put on. I HATE wearing booties. Just the stupid name alone, booties, kills me. OK, enough whining. It's not camp yet so I can bitch a little bit. I'm also way behind on training at the moment and Tucson will snap me straight. I'll be paying me dues there, but I actually look forward to it.

I know I'm a bit behind here, but wanted to jot down the final day of Cleveland Winterfest while it's still in my mind. It was, in my opinion, a very cool day of camp! The final day of the camp, where many were tired from the previous two days, yet we still had a long indoor training ride to do. We met bright and early at Kyle's gym "Euphoria" to set up everyone on their bikes in the spin gym. A big thanks once again to Kyle for letting us use his state of the art facility. Letting us use the place was huge! The fact that it was really cutting edge was a big bonus. Ive been training people for twenty years and have set up my fair share of fitness centers and gyms and this place is really great. If you are in Cleveland or visiting, check it out. It's right near the airport. I was on a spin bike leading the session and Jay asked if I had planned a good playlist for the session and I laughed and said "Jay, we don';t plan anything here! Everything is spontaneous and it seems to work." The fact is that Angela is more than organized and made the agenda flow so smoothly. But I wasn't lying about not having a playlist set up. I had my two ipods and just let it roll. I'll give up another secret and that is that I didn't have a bike session in mind before we started to ride on Sunday. I like to assess the group and see where they are at and also see what I feel like throwing out there.

As we warmed up spinning along, I asked Liz, the mvp camper from day one, if she wanted to say a few things about the charity "Girls With Sole" that she was raising funds for in her IM quest (she's training for the Rev 3 IM in Ohio). She was eloquent and confident in her description of her charitable organization and her story also blew me away. If anyone is actually reading this, please do me a favor and look up her charity "Girls With Sole" and make a small contribution. I know - trust me, I hate soliciting. But us fortunate people can contribute a few dollars to a charity that raises funds and awareness for young foster girls.

We then got on with the session and I put a lot of quality in there and we rode for three hours! This wasn't just a three hour indoor spin. Again, I put a lot of quality in because i don't believe in long spinning indoor training rides - you know, just sitting on the trainer to log time in the saddle. I feel it's extremely boring and also a waste of time if you could get in some solid quality in a shorter time frame. This three hour ride was equivalent to 4.5 hrs on the road. The time seemed to pass quickly though. Well, at least it did for me, but everyone seemed to enjoy the session, whether they liked my music or not! We only had one mishap, when Mikey Donuts wiped out on his rollers. yes, he showed up with rollers. I think he did this just to entertain us though.

A brick run off the bike followed by a camp wrap up and I was off to the airport to catch my flight home and hopefully make the kick-off for the Superbowl (I made it with less than one minute to spare).

Based on the feedback that Ange and I received and the fact that I had a blast, I plan on putting on a Winterfest Camp here in CT in late March.



Monday, February 15, 2010

New Stuff

This is my new Cannondale high mod super six race horse that will be guiding me up Mt. Lemmon in less than two weeks! 58 cm w/ all durable components and weighs 15 lbs even w/ pedals, cages... Awesome!

And these are the Zoot's that will carry me over Telephone Line and up Seven Falls!



Saturday, February 13, 2010

Leadville thoughts part 2

OK, I've had a few days to simmer down and more importantly - think. I definitely understand and support a lottery. I guess I would just prefer if there were two options; a lottery and a qualifying standard. I guess my anger is more that the whole selection process is left up to a lottery. I think that the NYC marathon has a good system in place where the majority of it is through the lottery, yet you can still get in with qualifying times. Hawaii, I feel should have more lottery slots. Yes, that's right. I respect that race so much and I wish more would have the opportunity to experience it. Selfishly, I was voicing out my emotions immediately following receiving the news that I didn't get selected. I'll find something else to do this season, and I don't want to come across as whining or complaining. I try to post my raw emotion here in this blog because I feel this is my journal and years from now it will depict what I've done. I'm assuming it also makes things a bit more interesting. I promised myself to never filter or edit my thoughts/beliefs. So basically I'm over it and I'm already excited about a few new ideas. I need something each year that makes me reach or else I feel bored and stale, so I've got a few things brewing.

One of the things I'm really excited about regarding Leadville is that two of my best friends got in. Baker and Kenny will be toeing the line in August and they will both do great and hopefully I will be out there to support them. But I will certainly have them race ready for this experience.

On another note, I'm fired up about the Olympics. Vancouver looks really amazing. Watching the opening ceremonies, my thoughts were a) this is kind of cool, then b) this is boring, then c) man, this makes you appreciate that much more what they did in Beijing, to d) this is kind of cool again. I'm a patriot and will root for anyone US, although Bode Miller makes it very hard to root for him.



Thursday, February 11, 2010


I realize I need to finish up my Cleveland Camp report and I will.

I entered the lottery this year for the Leadville 100 mountain bike race in August. If I were to get in, this would be my key race for this season. Well, I received an email yesterday from Leadville that began with "We regret to inform you...". I am truly bummed! Lisa said to me "you knew that it was a lottery and there was a good chance that you would not get picked!" Sure, but I have a tendency to focus on what I want to happen. My emotions following this decision were interesting to me. You see, I've never been in a lottery situation before concerning getting into a race, and I found out I hate it! Yeah, I know - of course I hate it, because I didn't get picked. However, I hated it before any decision was made. I've never been a fan of any type of lottery. Maybe that's why I don't care for gambling. I'm sure it's more of the control freak in me. I like to control my destination or make my luck happen, not wait and hope for it. I've always been the one who was in control of whether I got into a race or not. I realize that there has to be winners and losers with a lottery system, and because I lost, the immature, cutthroat side of my emotions automatically feels resentful towards this event. As I read further along on my dejection letter, there was a part that said "if you attend a Carmichael Camp, you can still get in" and I thought to myself "those bureaucratic f'ers", and then there was another part that said "think about still attending as we can always use help to pass out water bottles" and again, I thought F'K THEM! I don't like this side of me but I'm just noting my initial raw reaction. I was upset I didn't get in and I'm still upset. But you know, I've had a pretty good athletic run so far and I'll find another goal, so I really can't complain. Anyone have any cool ideas for a big goal this year?



Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Saturday - Cleveland Camp

Friday night into Saturday morning, it snowed quite a bit and the wind was viscous. We needed an early start for the day since it was to be chock full of activity, and we headed out from Anges house at 5:30am towards downtown Cleveland and the Case-Western University indoor track. The roads weren't even plowed yet which made the commute interesting, however, everyone made it! After an easy warm-up couple of miles jog, I ran all the campers through running drills like high knees, ass kickers, skips, ... This is where you get to see the true coordination of each camper, which is always fun. Well, it's amusing for me anyways. After a bunch of drills, we split the group into two and began the heart rate testing. One group ran first while the other group recorded heart rates and splits and then we switched. This test is tough, yet accurate and allows us to set very specific and accurate heart rate training zones for each athlete. After a cooldown jog, we made a short trip to a yoga studio for a one hour yoga session from hell. The instructor was unbelievably evil, yet also very, very good. She kicked my ass big time. I mentioned to the group afterwards that I don't do yoga nearly enough, yet every time I do, I tell myself that I really need to try and do this regularly. I'm sure I'll say the same thing in three months or so after I take a yoga class again.

We then had a short break for coffee and muffins in little Italy before heading back to the Case U. pool for a two hour swim session. We worked on strokes with some drills and then we hit the main set hard. The group was really working - I remember Denise spat out at one point while gasping for breath awaiting the next sendoff; "you upped the game this year!" I capped this session off with some underwater and butterfly relays.

Next was a quick lunch and then back to Euphoria where we had a physical therapist run the group through functional stretching. This session was interesting, and well needed, even after doing yoga earlier in the day. The emphasis was on loosening up for the range of motion of the activities that we participate in.

Angela and I then did a discussion on nutrition, and specifically race week and race day nutrition, and the do's and don'ts. This somehow seamlessly led into a lengthy discussion on mental strength and the mentality of the endurance athlete. Whenever I speak publicly, I always seem to get side tracked and go off on other topics. The group seemed to actually really enjoy it though. Ray didn't even fall asleep.

So after we let them sit around for awhile during these discussions, it was time to get the campers moving again. This time, I worked them through a specific strength routine for an hour. A few of them sweat more during this killer strength routine then they did during their track session this morning!

We finished the busy day with some final bike fits and a daily wrap up. So, to sum up Saturday:

Indoor Track Session
Swim Session
Functional Stretching Session
Nutrition and Mental Attitude Discussion
Strength Training Session
Bike Fit

That's a very cool day if I do say so! And everyone seemed to really be holding up well. Only Sunday left now...



Monday, February 08, 2010

Cleveland Camp

I've been traveling to Cleveland once a year now for a bunch of years now. I'll be honest, I'm never excited about heading to Cleveland in February. Besides the fact that even if it's not, it always seems colder there then here in CT, and it's just always grey there. Throw that on top of a busy winter and being gone from the family through a weekend and maybe it's somewhat understandable why my motivation is always on the lower side to board that short flight westward. There are definitely a few things though that I really look forward to and that will keep me heading back there for as long as they will have me back there; The Forsters - I count Angela and Scott as two of my true friends - You know, the friends you will give an arm or leg for. I don't get to see these two enough so any opportunity is one taken. The other reason I will always head out to Cleveland (again, as long as I'm invited!) is the people. The athletes that attend these camps, I have yet to meet one that really drives me nuts. They are very genuine, outgoing people and make every trip very memorable. I was hoping this would be the case this year. I knew that there would be some returnees like Bruno and Batman - two guys that have a ton of potential in triathlon and also have their values, in my opinion, in the right place. These two guys are a blast, but I cant kiss their asses anymore in case they are reading this. I need to keep them on their toes. My man Jeff J. who is a loyal incredible athlete looking for some motivation to decide on what to do this season was also back. When I heard that Tina was signed up again, I was pleased. She has a way of subconsciously making things comforting, I'm betting not just for me, but for everyone. Maryprimrose (that's her name!) was back again, without her husband for the first time, and she actually seemed a bit nervous, but again, it was great to see a familiar face. Also returning was Ben, Amy, Denise, Ray (who's turning 50 this year on May 1st, the same day as IM St. George in which he's participating - very cool), and also British Bob murphy who is returning after a couple of years hiatus and who just has the right attitude period. There were a bunch of new comers (we had 22 athletes participate!).

I arrived Thursday night and spent some quality time with Angela, Scott and their son Wesley. The camp officially began Friday morning and I knew that once it began, time would be very sparse until I was sitting on that plane home on Sunday.

We met everyone at a restaurant Friday morning for a quick "meet and greet" before a short drive over to some great trails for a 2 hr run. yes, we were kicking off this camp with a 2 hr trail run in the snow. Everyone looked quite nervous. When you sign up for a tri camp, you are always nervous I guess. The attendees are questioning where there fitness is at and where they fit in with the other athletes. Ange and I - our main first job at these camps are to eliminate the egos and show everyone that we could care less about abilities. We are looking for attitude and energy, that's it. We split into two groups quickly, I paced the first group, and Ange the second. Jay and I talked quite a bit while Ray listened silently. Jay lives right near these trails and trains in them all the time yet that didn't stop us from getting a bit lost. In fact, at one point, all the Ohio athletes were following the directions from the guy from CT. Jay and Kenny O are on par for their navigation skills. You know what though? It didn't matter. It was in the upper 30's (shorts weather for me), peaceful, and beautiful in the trails! So why not just run? We ran a bit longer than two hours and regrouped with Ange's group at the parking area, then we all headed over to a pool to swim. We worked on form and did some drills and put and then did some fun relays. British Bob tried skipping out of the swim session by taking a spill in the kiddy pool, but I was onto him.

A quick bite and then we met at Kyles great gym named Euphoria for bike fitting and an indoor bike session. Scooter and I made some major changes to just about everyones bike fit (man were there some horrendous positions) while Ange led the indoor ride and Liz kept us all entertained. This was Liz's first camp and I may have to higher her for entertainment for all the camps. She's like a cheerleader on amphetamines but not in an annoying way - rather in a way that makes those around her better. Her presence at this camp was very much appreciated by myself and I think I can also speak for Angela here. She was/is just fun to be around.

So not a bad first day of camp in Cleveland in February! I'll post more tomorrow.