Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Going, Going, GONE!

Unfortunately, I think I am talking about my base fitness. I have attempted to throw in a half Ironman (Spirit of Racine) as Lindsay decided she wasn’t going to do LP. It was a good effort, but I think Im reaching the end of my pre built form and am in need of some retooling here soon.

Racine was an experience. The water was 55 degrees which just sucked. Add to that the fact t was so foggy they delayed the swim by an hour as you couldn’t see the markers. I was one of those people saying “just start the swim, we will sort it out. After all, I can stand here and see the next marker, when I get there, ill be able to see the next, etc.” Insert foot in mouth now. I took off well and made it to the first can in first or second depending whose hand was leading at the time. This guy and I went clear off course as we couldn’t see s*!t. Damn. I told myself to make the adjustment and just forget it. I did, was able to swim back up to the leader and tried not to think about time I could have put on the field with the same effort. Exit the water, here we go.

On to the bike, within 5 miles I was in the lead. I wanted to bike aggressively today to try to find some limits. 5 miles in both nutrition bottles were ejected. I decided it was worth stopping and going back for them. When I did that a guy caught me and he rode very well. He and I exchanged the lead in what seemed like 15 min increments. I know I put in some serious efforts to shed him and could not. I felt like he did the same, but I dug deep to stay with him as well. Neither of us drafted at all, but it always is nicer to have company.

On the run this day I took out of T1 in first but was fighting leg cramps straight away. I think my position is a bit too aggressive for the longer stuff, need to adjust this before IM. This guy passed me and was just a better runner, period. I was holding on OK running about 6:40 pace and was told to take a wrong turn by an official. It only cost me about 3-4 min of actual time, but mentally I could not get over it. I felt cheated. I felt like on a day I had to fight so hard to run descent, I didn’t need that. I also knew if I continued to focus on this, I was doing more harm then good. I was talking to Macca after a race he did this year where he too was lead off course. He was obviously upset, cost him the win, but he continued to fight.

So continue to fight I did. I tried my best to get back down to 6:45 or better and just could not. With every passing mile I became more discouraged. I decided to let myself have a pity party but on a double loop course also did not want to give up as I knew several athletes out there. I knew with 2 miles left when I started thinking of miles in terms of 8 min segments, I was done for.

I finished in 4:16, solid even with an admittedly short swim, but not the result I was after. I have considered dropping out of Steelhead, but took some advice to just finish that race then work on Kona prep.

I will tell you this. I have raced all over. The competition here in the Midwest is tough. If you’re having a bad day, you can really drop off quickly. Solid athletes all over for sure, but I was impressed at the depth here.

Justin H. seems to be coming back from a serious injury and while I hated to get passed again, was so happy to see him returning to form and run a 1:20.

That’s it for now.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Mind over matter

My drill instructors used to say "It's all mind over matter. if you dont mind, it doesnt matter"... maybe it works here, probably not. :)

I normally do not like talking about myself, but people have told me they like to hear about my experiences. So I am going to attempt to give you some insights without the intention of “hey look at me”, but so you might be able to use what you like, and ignore what you don’t.

I woke up for Lake Stevens and while sitting in the hotel waiting to go, I read an article about keeping your mental state in a race, and not over thinking, or judging situations. Seems easy enough, but as you all know, add power meter, speed distance, HR, nutrition, etc, it can be more complicated then it sounds.

I tried to commit myself to just relaxing and enjoying the day. I decided I have trained my body how to do what it needs to do; now I need to get out of the way, and be an observer. I wanted to observe so I could keep things in line, but let it do what it knows how to do.

I had SO MUCH FUN racing on Sunday. More fun then I had in long time. I was doing the bike with a huge smile on my face, and just simply had a blast. I averaged 289 watts, which was my highest for a half ever. Had a very solid pro level swim and bike, and ran a 1:27 off the bike on a hilly course which for me is solid. I won my age group and was 13th overall.

I started the run and decided to do the same thing. Not judge myself at any given min, and just take my calories in, and have fun. It worked like a charm. I was happy to see my run splits come down post injury.

Im not sure if I will be able to do it again, but I’ll try. I learned a valuable lesson and like most lessons, take the good, and add to it my other experiences. For my athletes I coach, we would with all the data and I think you would be crazy to not train and race with the info. But coupling that with the strategy above I think is the key.

I talked about having a coach earlier. I am still asked from time to time if it shows a lack of knowledge that I have a coach. I really do not think so. In fact, I would not let anyone coach/consult with me that say he or she does know it all. In fact I would run the other way. I think the best coaches and mentors in the world are able to put themselves in a learning seat all the time, put their egos aside, and find new techniques. Chris tells me all the time, his success is a result of all the people that have helped him along the way.

I feel very fortunate that I have been able to meet some of the mentors I have had along the way.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Back at it.

Vacation is supposed to revitalize you fill you with energy and help you face the World when you come back right??? I usually never take a vacation, much to my wife’s displeasure that does not center on the ability to train or race.

Our last family trip was my opportunity to punch my ticket on that request. It was perfect. Kids were involved, Lindsay was there, and I could satisfy everybody’s need to have dad on a “vacation”. It was a lot of fun. I only did barebones schedule couple swims, and a couple runs all week long. Everything was done by the time breakfast was over and then I had nothing but family time going into the rest of the day and night.

It was the perfect “vacation”. I did everything I was supposed to do and to be quite frank was happy to do so. I had as much fun as anyone else there. So where is my revitalized attitude and outlook? I came back last weekend and have felt as if I have been moving through quicksand the entire week. My motivation is in the tank and every workout is looming over me as an obligation, not something I look forward to doing.

I have a race on the schedule for this weekend and am actually on my flight too it as I type. Lake Stevens 70.3 was my alternative race to some other ones I like doing. I chose this one this year as I was going to Lake Placid to support Lindsay in her Ironman effort. She has since decided due to work and other obligations Ironman is not in the cards for her this year, so I am able to do the other races now. With my attitude the way it is right now I half did not want to go to LS 70.3. I decided what I most likely needed though was to be put back in the environment and “act as if”. My hope is by going through the motions by the time the race starts…or ends, ill be jump started.

We will see.

I know at the end of the day I want to be successful, and I do have a lot of fun doing the sport so I am absolutely sure things will eventually come around. For all of you struggling with the same thing, I just wanted you to know we all can relate at some time or another. We always seem to see people at group functions or exciting workouts most people are excited for. I think it leaves us with the feeling like we are strange that sometimes we struggle. I assure you, you are not different from any other triathlete in the World. We all have ups and downs. Thankfully, more ups then downs.