Friday, February 29, 2008

The hardest part about Ironman is making it to the start line.

Well, I have been trying to ignore an on going Achilles ache I have has for some time now. I keep trying to justify how it feels better then the day before, or it just does not feel any worse.

I was looped into a crazy bet with about 15 other crazy Midwesterns’. We decided it would be a great idea to try to do IM AZ, even though most of our long bricks would most likely be done in snowsuits. I am beginning to think that this will only prove my theory that it is hard to be objective with yourself, we ALL need to listen to our coaches when they tell us we are nuts. J

So I have been doing this training, much indoors, much in the dark, and MUCH in the freezing cold. Now I have to face the facts that the Ironman dream will have to hit the snooze button in my life. I am doing well taking things in stride though with the attitude that whatever happens is happening for a reason. There is not much else I can do except face the reality of my situation and deal with it as best as possible.

More importantly one of my athletes I coach is suffering from the same issue. I have started to work with Craig McKenzie. We have only been working together now for a few weeks, but he expressed to me that he had Achilles pain when we started. We had plans of getting him into the top 3 overall at IM Australia next month and are very disappointed that he will not be able to try for this result for a bit more time.

Going back to my “everything happens for a reason”, I explained this to Craig as well. His wife, several months pregnant, could probably use some extra help and if nothing else they can spend a bit of extra time together. Those of us with kids know these moments will evaporate like water on our heads in Kona once the baby arrives.

I have been so busy lately helping coaches all over the globe train to be the best coaches they can be. This might be a blessing in disguise as this year will more then likely be occupied with getting these coaches and athletes the attention they deserve. We take so very seriously customer service and ongoing training at TBC that this has been very consuming.

These coaches we are working with now are so incredibly smart and wonderful people. I find myself working with them all the time because they are so much fun to interact with. So for now, I’ll hobble from coach to coach, keep an eye on Craig as well as the other athletes I coach and move on. If nothing else I’ll be going to Arizona in a few weeks even if only to watch.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Head Games

I have decided to bring a sport psychologist to my Tucson camp this year. We were introduced through a participant of the camp and when she asked me if I thought it would be a good idea for her to come, I wasn’t too sure. I explained to her that my past experiences with this type of thing did not always have the impact that I had hoped for and I really had no reason to believe otherwise.

I also told her that a lot of my pressures and anxieties were very real things that I was very aware of and I felt there was no great mystery to the “whys” behind my stress. Even some of the “visualization” and “relaxation” techniques I have been taught before were very ineffective. I felt that on a conscious level I knew what I was trying to do to myself while doing these things and therefore they became very hard for me to buy into or do them with any real sincerity. I threw out a challenge to her. I said if you promise to not make the first things you say to me be relaxation or visualization, I would be willing to give it a try.

I explained to her that I would be willing to work with her for the months leading up to the camp. I felt a strong need to have experienced a product or service before I recommend them to an athlete I work with.

Cheryl Hart has blown me away. Her ability to make me feel comfortable to talk with her over the phone, relate to me as an athlete and person has been nothing short of amazing. In the past couple of months we have worked together she has been able to quickly and effectively get to the root of some of my issues, all without using the buzz words above.

In a nutshell, her belief is you have to start at the core and work your way out. For us to chase the peripherals around are going to make us very crazy. How I act or react in my events has as much to do with how I deal with several other things in my life. Decisions I make, thought process I have, things I value and items I want to achieve are all related. It is impossible for me to only be good at mental execution in one aspect of my life. By working with me on several components in less then 6 sessions we are making significant progress and she is starting to re spark my love for this sport.

In my blog I try to recognize the greatness of the people around me that I run into. If I did not take a min to tell you about Cheryl, I would be falling short of my goal.

If you have any interest in Cheryl or the programs she offers you can contact her:

Friday, February 8, 2008

More from Austrlia

Being here in Australia has been a fantastic trip. Simon has proven to make very significant gains in the past year. Last year he was able to sustain an average of about 195-210 watts for our rides. This year he is well over 240 for an average and that is great.

Barry, one of my new clients has just moved here as well. Barry has not been with me too long, only a few months but has already shown AMAZING progress. Not only has he lost about 100 pounds (most of which before hiring me) but also he continues to see performance gains almost every week. He is a great guy, and the type of guy you love to see have success. Barry even went for a ride with us in the foothills of the mountain chain here for 4 hours and was able to keep up. He was so excited; it was great to see him realize a new level of fitness. I'm very proud of him for his hard work and dedication.

We were able to have multiple swim session with John VanWisse, multiple Ironman Swim champion. His approach to swimming is a bit unique, but obviously effective. He thinks most triathletes simply beat themselves up in the pool too much and usually do not see significant gains because of it. He wants me to work on some specific things, but also to not swim at LT all the time. Go easier? Hey I can try that.

Got to do a bit of swimming with Craig McKenzie. He has a goal of winning IM Australia this year; he has been 4th there the 2 previous years. Craig is able to swim in the 40’s for his swims, and also run 2:40’s off the bike. What’s better is he one of the nicest guys I have gotten to meet down here.

Yesterday ended with a session at MSAC. MSAC is the pool where they have the FINA World Championships, as well as the common Wealth Games at times. It is an amazing facility with multiple pools to include an outdoor AND indoor 50-meter pool. Not only that but Grant Hackett and some of the other Aussies were swimming a session also. Grant holds the world record for 1500m. He was AMAZING to watch.
Today we head to Geelong to do the 70.3 race. Or focus for the past 14 days has been training so this should be interesting. The best part about the race by far will be having family such as my father, friends that traveled down to do the race, and getting to race with some of the new people I have be able to meet.