Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Goals, Nostalgia, Playlists, ...

Now is the time to begin planning your 2011 season. I am having all my athletes fill out a goal sheet for 2011 - I want to know what their "A" races are, what they feel their limiters are, their strengths are, their dream goals, ... We all know that when you write things down, they become that much more real. I have therefore filled out the same sheet that I send my athletes for myself. My big limiter is the fact that I don't swim. I am a decent swimmer and I rely on this, but I should really be swimming more consistently, and begin this in the winter months. It's too easy to wait again until it's necessary and then begin. I'm no longer taking the easy route. I want to switch it up so that my own routine feels different, new, awkward, and challenges me to reach - outside of what I have typically done over the last 20 years. Listen, if you have been doing the same thing every November, December, January, ... for the past bunch of years, it's time to make some changes because we are all in this to grow and move forward, right? I'm all about the present and future. I could care less what I have done in the past. Oh, and for those of you that feel your off season should go from October until January, again, this is my opinion and my blog, unless you are a pro who significantly could use the r&r, now's the time to focus on strength gains and maybe running base/speed. Yes, speed.

OK, enough of that. This past Sunday, I had to give a nutrition seminar in New Haven at Lululemon, so instead of running in Monroe, Ken and I met at our alma mater - Southern Ct State University. This is where I really began running, 22 years ago. I was Ken's RA at Neff Hall. I haven't been back to Southern in maybe 15 years and I could hardly recognize it. There are so many new buildings and the campus is really impressive - It's a real University now!

Ken and I met in the parking lot for Moore Field House. I suggested we run north towards West Rock and Hamden on Wintergreen Ave. I had vaguely forgotten my run routes around Southern - I knew that there were a few areas where the wrong left or right would leave you in a dangerous neighborhood (a baseball bat to the back and wrench thrown at me back in 90' while riding through one such neighborhood still remains in my memory). But as we headed north on Wintergreen, it all came rushing back. We made the left up towards West Rock, and then picked up the trails that circled lake wintergreen which is beautiful and the trails are covered with pine needles just as I remembered. Funny, 22 years ago when I began running these trails, I never gave thought to the fact that I'd still be running and competing 22 years later. I thought about this as Ken and I circled the lake twice. Back then, my dream was to race the Hawaii Ironman someday. I wanted to do the race just once in my lifetime. All these memories came flooding back. And all that we were doing is running, placing one foot in front of the other - something so simple that doesn't require much, yet has provided me with a ton. I don't know - the nostalgia on this day was quite cool. It didn't make me sad at all about the fact that 22 years have past and time has flown by, but rather made me smile at what the past 22 years have brought. This place was where I found my passion, decided on what I wanted my career to be, and most importantly, met Lisa.

I've been running a bunch lately and with that I've been adding more playlists to my ipod. Some of the stuff I've been listening to:

Foster The People - "Pumped Up Kicks" is a cool track.
The Temper Trap - "Fader" and "Sweet Disposition" are great tunes, in my opinion.
Linkin Park - "The Catalyst" - these guys are always solid.
Band Of Skulls - "Friends" - great song.
I also listen to a lot of Jay-Z, as well as some Keane, Paper Tongues, The XX, Civil Twighlight, to name a few.

Two final notes; I don't edit this "journal" since I want it more organic, so apologies if there happens to be anyone reading this who may find type-o's, bad grammar, boredom, ... More importantly; Congrats to Gus and Jen - Lisa and I are really thrilled for the two of you.



Monday, October 18, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What's doin... (VT, Hawaii, ...)

Man, I apologize to Molson, the one person who may be reading this! I've been neglectful. it's not that I don't have anything to say... For some reason, I'm never short of that. Time is the main issue. Seems every time I post now, it's an apology for not posting in awhile and how I will begin to post more often.

I do have a follow up to my post on mental attitude/outlook that I posted recently. I'll get on that. This is more of an update for my archives on the past few weeks and what's happened.

First, we did the annual. Baker, Ken and I did the annual Vermont ride. This is my 16th time doing this ride since 97'. If anyone truly is reading this and doesn't know about the VT ride, you can look back in the archives over the past few years and get a basic history on this event. The short of it is 146 miles from my door in Monroe to our hotel in Brattleboro on day one, and on day two we reverse it and ride home the 146 miles. It's not easy, the route isn't that great, but it's always entertaining!

We had a perfect weather weekend this year, albeit a bit hot on Saturday and into a headwind. But the sun was out all weekend, except for early Sunday morning which I'll get to. Ken and I rode out from my house, and Baker, at my encouraging, rode from his house this year which makes his route about 99 miles each way, but he was sick and coming off a stressful week so it was the right call. I've been coaching Ken for over 10 years now and yet there are some things he never learns. Not even 10 miles out and he was hitting the hills quite hard, telling me that his legs felt great. I Kept my mouth shut, waiting for the inevitable. And sure enough, his ride from Northhampton to Brattleboro, the last 45 miles, was painful. He arrived spent and all cramped up and proceeded to lie on the hotel floor probably getting eaten by bedbugs as he whined like a biatch in pain. One thing about Ken and Baker though - they are self sufficient, adventerous, and fun. We went out that night for dinner and beer and laughed our asses off. There was even an episode that left Baker and Ken ragging on me for the rest of the evening - and still to this day. Baker and I still cant figure out why Ken shipped a box of clothes up to the hotel yet didn't include clean, fresh cycling clothes for the next day?! Yes, he rode back in the same clothes he rode up in. I'm sure this kept Baker from drafting much on Sunday.

My son had a soccer game at 2pm in Monroe on Sunday and I wanted to try and catch it, so I rolled out of Brattleboro in the pitch black darkness at 5:30am solo. Very stupid on my part, although it was also really cool! I didn't have a light, and besides the occasional light from some shack in backass Vermont, I couldn't see a thing! I did see three skunks, two raccoons, and something larger that I was hoping at the time was a deer although could have rhymed with deer. The worst part was that I couldn't see any potholes, cracks, or beat up roads. The best part was that I rode right down the middle of the road and it was amazingly peaceful. The sun finally popped up, and the weather was significantly cooler than Saturday, but it was clear and beautiful out. I felt solid and was making great time - in fact, I rolled into my driveway in Monroe at 12:30pm. Take away a few refuel stops, and the 146 miles took me 6 hours 45 minutes. Ken and Baker rolled out at 7am and they both paced better and had no issues getting home. Another VT ride in the books.

I was concerned a small bit about how I would hold up on this ride. My long ride all summer, besides camps, have been maybe two hours. Most of my riding has been in the 75 to 90 minute range. But also, most of it has been at a high intensity and with focus on technique, form and cadence. I felt great both days on the VT ride. This just once again re-enforces some of my coaching principals; residual base, form and technique, and that if you are crunched for time, train with more intensity so that your longer pace feels easy.

The Hawaii IM was last weekend and congrats to Megan Seerfoss, Ryan Haug, Chris Thomas, and Mitch West for outstanding races! Man, it was tough sitting at home and following them online. I not only missed the race, but significantly missed the race week activities, and spending time out on the big island with Lisa. It was great for motivation.

Most right now are in off-season mode. However, I feel that the offseason is too long. I'm not saying you have to keep racing, but if you want to make progress, taking October through February low key each year is not productive. the weather is great for training right now! You don't need to hit it hard, or even do anything to structured, but stay consistent and get out there! Take a break from Thanksgiving until New Years, doing more low key training, but now is a great time to work on strength, running, and setting up the groundwork to have a productive winter training season.

Enough for now...