Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'm back up in LP

Big race tomorrow! I have 15 athletes primed and ready to roll at 7am ET. I arrived here in LP Thursday night around 5pm and I've been meaning to post but honestly, I haven't had a second to get on line.

As soon as I got out of the car Thursday, I went for a run, and by chance, met up with Molson, Gus and six other athletes I work with. Lots of familiar faces up here in LP, and also lots of attitude. It seems like IM's are getting more and more intense race week. Hawaii has, unfortunately, always been like this. But it was never intense like this at the domestic races and especially here in LP. Well, that's changed and I found/find myself shorter in patience. A few notes/tips for those considering doing an IM or for those that are doing them but may not know any better - You don't need to dress during race week like you can break into a race at any minute. Compression socks and Oakley Radars w/ a lycra shirt aren't really restaurant attire. And I definitely realize the sacrifice and effort that goes with preparing for an Ironman. Yet you don't need to stare down every other athlete as though they are your nemesis (unless they actually are). It also seems way more crowded here than last year which must represent the economy on the upswing.

Friday, I woke up early and did a solo ride up Whiteface posting my fastest ascent on this mountain to date which was a cool, small, personal victory. I then rode the course in reverse and met my athletes at the top of the big downhill on the race course on rt 73. We rode the downhill two to three times, having family members drive us back up. There was a light drizzle, yet everyone did well. Baker and Molson went down one more time as I rode back to LP. Next I met one on one with a bunch of athletes and then headed out for a run before finishing the day off at Molson's house who once again (third or fourth year now), kindly hosted a dinner party for my athletes.

This morning, I rode with Mike B. and the Bethel boys on the course (hot and humid ride!), met with more athletes, got in a nice swim including saving a pregnant women who was exhausted and didn't think she'd make it in to shore, then dinner w/ Baker and Ben and Jerry's.

All of my athletes look great - a bit nervous, yet injury free, slightly confident, and rested. Gus won the mossman sprint race in Norwalk CT outright last week so watch out for him tomorrow.



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Site Is Up!

My new web site is up. Actually, it's an early version still as Alan is still going to tweak a few things, but the main thing is the content. Check out a new article from Straz, Big Rocks, a profiled athlete feature on Jeff Kramer, as well as info on the AZ camp and other cool stuff. We are still looking for pictures (big pictures) for the site, as well as some race reports, camp mvp write ups,... And also stay tuned for some more featured columns like "Advice From The SloPro's" - the much anticipated column by Baker and Molson. I'd love some feedback.



Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tri Changes?

I'm done training, hanging it up, retiring, ... Between viewing the World Cup and the Tour De France, there's no time. I'm actually enjoying training a bit in this heat wave we are having. I don't love training and racing in the extreme heat and humidity so this dose of it will be good for acclimating. If you are training mid day in this, just be sure to back off the effort a bit to acclimate properly and not blow up, and of course hydrate lots.

A few weeks ago, I was out on an early Saturday morning ride and just after nearly missing a coyote who dashed across the street in front of me (I've had two solid coyote encounters recently?), i ran into Marty C. who was working his corner. That is, his corner controlling traffic that he always works at the Griskus OD race. He tells me that he's getting back into it (he had a nasty crash last year) finally. Marty has been around the sport for awhile and I always enjoy seeing familiar faces who were around in the 90's racing, still at it. I even ran into LJ Briggs at Rev 3 this year - LJ began racing in the 80's! Anyway, Marty and I were discussing the sport a bit and how it's changed. I'm not a bitter person, and i don't sit around talking about how things used to be. But I'm gonna here: I think there has been some significant changes for the better in our lifestyle sport. However, one thing that Marty and I both agreed upon is that triathletes feel too entitled now adays. Race atmospheres have changed from athletes happy to be there at a race, feeling fortunate that good people organized events for them, to everyone and their mother walking around in compression socks with their $10K bike thinking they are a pro and bitching about what's wrong with the race they are about to do. It seems as though it's always something now; the swim is not accurate, the bike is dangerous, there's too much drafting, the waves aren't fair, or my favorite - the course is too challenging! Sure, race directing has become a business, but it's a headache of a business and, I don't know, I still feel that we should search out hard courses for the challenge and not find flat easy ones just to say that we did such and such a time for a 70.3, and that we should appreciate the fact that we have an outlet for our passion. It's even interesting how training protocols have gotten softer. I've heard often that people that haven't worked with me or don't know me have heard that I'm a high volume, aggressive coach. I like to think that I personalize each athletes plan according to the time they can realistically commit to their passion and also based on their goals. I also have a lot of respect for triathlon and racing in general and want all my athletes at the starting line confident and ready to race, and also ready to recover well from their hard race effort.

Another thing that's changing in regards to training is that we are becoming much to dependant on tech toys. As a coach, I depend on these tech toys like HR monitors and power meters to take the guess work out of how my athletes are handling the training load I provide. I love the technology in our sport as well, and I enjoy keeping updated on all the latest gadgets and science. Sometimes though you need to just feel. You need to get on your bike, without looking at a computer or watch, and just ride. And if you feel strong, cool, up the ante. If you are not feeling so studly, then keep it in the small ring up front, and take in the surroundings on your ride. Look around a bit instead of staring down at some instrument displaying numbers. Just feel. I have both sets of athletes at my camps; those who shun technology, in which I try to get them to use it just a bit more because typically, these athletes are training too hard on their easy days which doesn't allow them to recover well and make the most of their quality days. Then there are those who are way to dependant. I've taken away the toys at camps and had them just run or ride and at first it's like Aroid without a new girlfriend, but soon they not only adapt, but actually feel way less encumbered. There is a middle ground in everything.

So Alan promises me a new website this week and I've been a nag, holding him to it because I'm anxious to switch it up. We have some really good content so please check out this week and look for the new site. I'll also send out an announcement about it when it is ready to release. And if anyone has any race reports or anything of interest they want to contribute, please do.


Friday, July 02, 2010

Sat and Sun of LP Camp

Forgive the last sterile post. I'll try to be a bit more candid. I like to document what we did but I also feel it's important, yes, very f'n important, to post the extracurricular activities at camp. Not the Kenny and Alan gay experience - they can tell that story (they insist it was just once), but stuff like how much food Gus really eats, and how we found out that Mountain Mist Ice Cream is a drive through.

Saturday: We began at 6am at Mirror Lake for a swim. Today is a full tri day. Besides my group, the lake was empty. Most triathletes brick ride and runs regularly in their training, however, I feel most don't realize the importance of swim bike bricks. There is a significant metabolism and muscular change from swim to bike and it's important to practice this if you want to make this transition that much easier on race day. We all swam about an hour give or take and I don't know about anyone else, but the last thing I wanted to do at 6am on Saturday morning was get in the lake. But you know what, I really enjoyed it after the initial five minutes of being a pussy. It was peaceful and loosened me up a bit. I swam easier and it was almost relaxing (almost). We scarfed down some breakfast and by 8am, we were on the bikes. The plan was to ride two loops of the course, some doing the two loops without the out and back, and many doing the out and back along rt. 9 past 86 to Ausable Forks, which we now know will be the out and back on race day. The weather was comfortable and overcast. I started a few of the athletes fifteen minutes earlier, and took the main group out, instructing them as we began the climb after the bridge by the ski jumps on 73 on how they should ride today. Then Gus moved to the front and began pushing the pace a bit. Next moved up Alan who just told me he was going to ride easier today and now is working it up front, then Kramer shot to the front and was clearly working it, claiming he needed to warm up a bit. I decided I didn't want to be part of the shenanigans since they should mainly be riding steady/aerobic today, so I moved to the front and took off on my own to catch the earlier group. The previous day, I didn't pay much attention to my own hydration, paying mainly attention to all my athletes from camp, and I paid for it in the last 30 minutes. Today, I kept my hydration up and my calories coming and rode really strong. I rode with just about every athlete from my camp today. I never rode with Molson or Baker but I'm sure now that they never even rode Saturday. It started to rain lightly for the last 45 minutes or so of the ride but it actually wasn't a bother. One thing that really impressed me was how well my group rode today. They had done an extremely hard ride the previous day that I guarantee no one else up in LP had done and yet they looked stronger and more relaxed than most on Saturday. Yes, they all settled down after the initial cat and mouse stuff on 73 and rode smart. Yes, my group of athletes are the best and most well trained:) We ran 30 to 45 minutes as a brick on the run course, each on our own today. Finished the day with a discussion on mental/attitude, did some mvp's and watched the US lose to Guana. A 22 ounce UBU Ale from Nicola's was necessary and is also quite strong after a day like this. Two leaves you feeling really nice!

Sunday: The main session on Sunday for all my camps is the long run. Today was 2 to 2.5 hrs. I took a vote the day before for running on trails to Avalanche Lake versus running on the course and it was split which sucked because I sent Baker and Ken w/ some athletes to run the trails while I ran with the other athletes on the course and I would have 100% preferred to run the trails. A few wanted a bit more knowledge of the course which is great for the bike course but running is running. What they really want is confidence that they can run well on this course but that's tough to ask for after doing this run on the last day of a very busy and strenuous camp. I am all about experiences. You get a hell of a lot more of an experience from a trail run up to Avalanche Lake than from pounding the pavement. A few mentioned how they wanted to keep their normal stride and felt that the trails inhibit this, especially the really steep stuff. My answer here is that they will soon enough be right back to running their typical training routes back home and that the one run on trails, even if your stride may be shorter, won't effect their conditioning whatsoever. More over, the trails are much less punishing on extremely tired joints, tendons and ligaments, and the heart rate still is elevated quite high on some of the technical steep trails. Anyway, we ran the course and it was fine. I always offer some optional sessions on Sunday, either an easy swim or ride, but everyone is usually done after the long run both mentally and physically and they are anxious to pack up and get on the road. And you know what, the fact that no one takes up the optional sessions is actually not a bad thing. It would just be junk mileage. Plus they are all more than likely quite sick of me.

On my drive home, I thought a bunch about signing up for the 2011 LP IM...