Saturday, December 31, 2011

The last mistake I'll make this year

I was on the receiving end of a very nice compliment last night. Some of you will remember that, c'era una volta, once upon a time, I was, well, less than gracious in the acceptance of aforementioned praise. The old 'I am unworthy' of this, syndrome. Thankfully that was just a phase. Albeit a three decade phase. I am over it. You can now, officially and honestly, say anything you like. I will even demonstrate my understanding of this concept by talking it one step further; Say something nice, thank you, say something not-so-nice, thank you, too. Please also note the fine print that accompanies this latest VBA Bill of Rights, that states, "You are entitled to your opinion, and we will get along fabulously as long as it is in agreement with mine." That being said, should you be able to manufacture some consent, proving to me that your POV is the higher path, I am all ears. I have stood corrected on more than one occasion, finding over the years that humble pie don't taste all that bad if 'ya ladle enough ice cream atop. There is nothing you can to hide the fowl taste of crow, however.


The compliment was about this very site. Someone (a sober, responsible adult) actually said, while in conversation around a roaring fire last night, that this blog, "is a lot of fun". OK, yeah, well, that's cool, thank you. It is fun for ME. And a whole lot more. We try hard. At best we aim to entertain and inform, to inspire. At worst, I suppose, we merely acknowledge and report, pass along interesting things that have caught our eye or ear. Saluting the success, courage or creativity of others. We try to stay positive, upbeat, relentlessly marching down the path of enlightenment and discovery. We make mistakes. Take the occasional unadvised bifurcation. Unabashed mirth can sometimes be messy. We error. Several painful examples of the shaky grip with which I hold total journalistic control were cleverly used to illustrate:


Verbs has to agree with their subjects.

Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

And don't ever start a sentence with a conjunction.

Avoid cliches like the plague.

And also avoid annoying alliteration.

Be more or less specific.

Also, too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.

No sentence fragments.

Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

One word sentences? Eliminate.

Never use a big word when a diminutive one will do.

Puns are for children not for groan adults.

Who needs rhetorical questions?

Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.


Being on the receiving end can be harrowing. One must possess skin the thickness of a white rhino. It was all in good fun. Indeed, I appreciate the opportunity to serve as inspiration for triathletes and stand up comedians alike. Laughter is superb medicine.


The great year known as 2011 is within hours of being history. I eagerly await the challenge that 2012 will bring. We accomplished a lot this year, let's continue that trend and get after it quickly and sustain the mojo for 366. Shall we?


To 2012. Salute.


The 'journalistic gaffes' are credited to Sarah Jenkins of the Yakima Herald-Republic and come from a Seattle Times executive director Michael R. Fancher op-ed piece dated October 25, 1998. The rest of the mistakes I take full responsibility for.


Pix: The glass is from Murano and the prosecco from Central Market by way of Valdobbiadene, Italy. Bernie by light of the fire. It was hot, but the iPhone's ability to deal with low light, was not. Cheers!





Friday, December 30, 2011

Please ask Now

It was dark. I was alone. A steady drizzle silently dampened my already soggy psyche. I had been thoroughly beaten in two games of chess by my nine year old nephew, the latter of which ended with my concession, a concept foreign to each. Adding humiliation to hurt, I then watched my University of Washington Huskies put up 56 points against Baylor, only to lose by 11. Serious punch in the nose. By the time the "game" had ended I had polished off a rather copious amount of sangiovesse and was feeling a touch, well, obscure. I was doubting all I knew and held to be true.


I usually know what I want. I am usually satisfied with the ways and means, the work required to achieve. I enjoy the process, and find tremendous rewards in hard effort and focus. I truly enjoy the ride, even the times when it seems we have two wheels in the ditch. But last night I felt overloaded with doubt. I needed my mojo adjusted. And set out into the bleak night for a little walk. And talk.


Where is the meaning? What is the message? What can I take from all this defeat, loss, surrender, agony? Am I getting it? Will I? What would Attila the Hun do? WWJD? Whose fanny would Chuck Norris kick? How do I get those two steel-belted radials outta the ditch and back on the track?


As my walking meditation circled the tranquil park pond, some interesting ideas began to appear, like stars from behind storm clouds. I tried to bring them into focus and saw some familiar fonts flash and fade. Was I forcing this, is this random or could this be one of those magic, mystical, miraculous and motivational moments we hear about, but never quite, fully, experience.


Persistence.

Effort.

Work.

Patience.

Dedication.

Commitment.

There will be pain. You will suffer. This is a part of that. You must experience this to get to that. It is part of the plan. There is a bigger picture here. Hold on to your dream. Do not let go. Your ability to persevere will be tested. Your understanding of, and ability to manage suffering will be continually challenged. You can rise above. You will see the first glow of the new day with fresh eyes, if you so choose. Open your heart. There is no-one else than can do this for you, but you are not alone. If you choose to continue you will encounter levels of growth unlike any before. You must ask your soul if this is what you are here to do. Please ask now.


Silence.


Darkness.


Rain.


A gust of wind brushed past my cheek and was gone.


Along with my doubts.



Thursday, December 29, 2011

Audacity & Vigor

We have been talking about goals. This morning's spin was centered around it. I stumbled on a tasty morsel of solid motivational advice as I was cutting up the set list and it seemed to fit, almost by design. It is short and sweet, consisting of the polar extremes of success, the pre and the post. Planning and performance. The quote is simply this:


PLAN WITH AUDACITY, and

EXECUTE WITH VIGOR.


I like that one. Think big, challenge yourself, aim high. And then, give it all you got (and then some). Also, it helps to make it public, so that we can ask (politely) for help from family, peers, our support group, our team, the cosmos and the Great Spirits themselves. They, he, she, them, it, will. All you gotta add is heart, the desire to change, grow, succeed and win. Yes, this is a competition. It is matching you against you. If you are 100% satisfied with the current you, please exit this page and go check your stocks, if not, let's please respect the process, all of eternity and the common place we find ourselves together sharing this dream, and commit to it. Together.


I asked everyone in the HoM this morning to take 60 seconds to bring their dream into crystal clear focus. After the one minute I admitted that I had cheated. Because I don't need that minute. I already have my goal as clear as a Seattle Times front page. I know what I want. I know what I have to do to obtain it. The only thing between me and it is me. I can quit anytime.


It makes it so much harder to quit once it is public and once I have asked for help and support. I am now accountable. It is public. The heat is on. Street cred is important to me. I will ride through a snowstorm to deliver the goods. Audaciousness was instrumental. Let us now execute with vigor.


Seattle Times headlines uses a archival finish shot from Ironman Canada 2001 showing the RCVman hitting the tape. He will have to go 70 minutes faster, eleven years later. The audacity! Please also note the advertising bar where our 2009 BAC jerseys are now being used as art. Vigorous execution at its finest!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011: Let's Play


A couple a three days left in this exciting 2011 of ours. We almost got it folks. I think we done some good. Maybe, kinda, sorta. I have been processing the data download from a new project that has my serious attention. Because it fascinates me no end. I'll give you the premise and maybe together we can draw some conclusions. Expand the scope, see to the needs of the many.


Which we need to do. I have faith, trust, respect and total admiration for you. YOU reading this, one of the 400 who come here daily to find, what? Entertainment, diversion, satire, or……could it be some tepid form of inspiration and/or motivation?


That is the premise. Framing the question is simple: How do we motivate ourselves and others? What forms of inspiration get us started or keeps us going?


Personally I know what fills my motivational sails. I race. I love racing. It provides me with instant empirical feedback and rewards far beyond those of a T-shirt, medal and ten seconds of glory on some makeshift podium. It is also my inspiration, because everything I do (or don't do, or do too much) is somehow connected to this end. I am also a self motivator. I am inspired easily. I can get out the door.


But there are others who can't, who won't, and they need our support. BIG TIME.


So what do I have to do? I have tried every extrinsic trick in the book, from schwag to cash, carrots to brass rings to get the butts of the sedentary saddled up. I have extolled the myriad virtues of intrinsic mojo ad nauseam often ending with the horses stooped at the water, but not taking a refreshing swig. What separates YOU from THEM? Is is because you understand the value and necessity, the literal life and death nature of all this, and they don't? What motivated YOU. What inspires YOU?


What keeps you coming back? What do you know that I need to know? What tips can I pass along to that demographic that is one step from starting, one supporting show of accountability away from walking in and making perhaps the most important decision in their lives? One challenge. One goal. One dream. One life.


You get ONE SHOT at this. One chance at today. Do you realize that thousands of people die every day because they don't take that first step? It gets harder as it appears more overwhelming. Ten pounds is a heck of a lot easier to lose than fifty. And the day after tomorrow might be too late. Tomorrow even.


It needs to happen NOW. I don't care what you are doing NOTHING is more important that your health and fitness. That means quality of life.


And we accomplish that mission by taking immediate baby steps towards the goal. Relentlessly. I know that and YOU know that. The challenge is to get THEM to know it, too.


The word is Arabic, it means, "to breath life into." Inspire. I think if one is truly inspired that the resulting (brass ring) quality of that life will be motivational for others.


I surely hope so. I have a lot at stake. Let's Play.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Showtime!

It must have been the mixture. Three Honey-Stingers, a swig of EFS, and a small bowl of Cheerios. Normally I avoid the latter like I avoid Big Macs, but it was the last package standing on the cupboard shelf, and I needed something. I was a touch dehydrated from last night's fireside mirco-brew and gourmet-peanut long summer ride planning extravaganza, and needed the water, electrolytes, vitamins, and yes, sugar to support the high-octane rating of my morning cuppa joe. Joes actually, as in several. So there I sat, once again saddled up and ready to lead the 0845 class as substitute. I figured I could make it ONE MORE HOUR before my 1100 massage, a serendipitous luxury that came to me as a referral perk and timely as my hamstrings and periformis have been teetering on snapage for at least a week. The cause resulting from 23 consecutive days without a break. It took masseuse Kat less than twenty seconds to blurt a laughing, "What have you been doing?" response to her initial attempt at muscle release.


Usual stuff, just more of it, I guess.


Which leads us to the interval, and to the importance of rest and recovery, and to the exercise physiology adage of change. And to my own interpretation of load, over-load and volume. Let us be clear: I am training for an Ironman. In that event I need to be faster than EVERYONE else in my age standard. I need to win in order to qualify for Kona. That is the goal. The strategy is to work harder in the off season (now) with additional speed, strength, stamina, endurance and confidence as rewards. Hence the 23 days and hence the need for both a rest day and a massage. If you like, it was a three week test. I passed. Hurray! There begins another tomorrow. Where I will take the lessons learned to the next class. It won't get any easier, the questions get harder, the field narrows. Not everybody who goes to school graduates. Not everybody who stays gets a degree. Not everybody that has a degree finds meaningful work.


Let us make one more thing perfectly clear. This is not a dress rehearsal. Practice it may be, but the journey, the road, the efforts, the day-to-day focus on the process and the practice is the bigger goal. If I can maintain the vision for eight months whatever happens up in Canada on 8.26.12 will be fine. That day is the show. All the days prior are in preparation. If I fail in preparation, if my study habits are poor, I will surely fall short of graduation. Further, if I want to race against the best in the world in Kona I must prove myself worthy in Penticton. And that means more of the usual stuff.


Making today's work more important than tomorrow's. THIS IS IT. This will become a part of that, but today, now, the most important thing I can do is to honor the process, keep pushing, hone my awareness and work hard. Showtime!


Every day, every drill, every thrill. Everything. The relentless pursuit of better. This is it. Are you ready for your close-up?


Pic: Roy as Ray in ATJ.



Monday, December 26, 2011

NYR Minus 6

The big countdown has begun. We are down to SIX. What ever happened to those 365 anyway? Woosh, gone. Memories. It is perhaps fitting then that the final PSA of the year comes in the form of, yes, more goals, but this time as, ahem, food for thought. My list of pragmatic ideas that you might want to include for your 2012 New Years Resolution. 'Cause it is here minus six. So please raise your right hand and place left on Bible, while affirming as a solemn oath:


NYR 1) I will get my POF (percentage of fat) reduced by 10%

NYR 2) I will increase my PTW (power to weight) by 10%

NYR 3) I will reduce by 15% sugar, glutenous hi-glycemic foods and processed flour from my current diet

NYR 4) I will add one cross training discipline to my exercise routine

NYR 5) I will drink 80oz of water a day and reduce by 15% my alcohol consumption

NYR 6) I will love more, judge less, smile often and eliminate whining altogether


I have one more, we can call it a bonus.


NYR 7) I WILL DO ALL OF THE ABOVE.


Pix: Junior explains the deployment process of the napkin parachute to the non-rocket scientists gathered for a delicious spinach and mushroom lasagna pie. This meal is a special occasion celebration and not for daily use, as it will seriously impact NYR 1to the negative. But oh man it sure augments NYR 6!!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Basket of Life (and other cliches)

in the bluster and rain this beautiful Christmas morning I was thinking about a couple of things during my 1:36 trail run. ONE of them I can share with you. It is my distaste for cliche. You probably already know this, but I will sing the chorus one more time, and since it is Christmas, we'll call it singing to the choir. My Top Five most damaging cliches, in the key of C.


1) IT IS WHAT IT IS. It is what it is because it ain't what it should be, therefore, as lame excuse default, it is what it is. Sadly. And please don't try to spread any Zen butter on it by thinking that it is what it is because it is what it is supposed to be. Hogwash. It is what you allow it to be what it is. Then you just name the current status, however mediocre, dangerous, slimy or slothful, as being, WHAT IT IS.


Solution: IT IS WHAT IT IS - UNTIL I DECIDE TO CHANGE IT.


2) DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. And what, exactly, is the small stuff? Your health? Your fitness? Your ability to enjoy life? This day? This hour? This minute? I have a clue for you, THERE IS NO SMALL STUFF. It is ALL the most important stuff ever, that which is in front of you right this very instant.


Solution: SWEAT the small stuff. Dial up the temperature, heat it up, cook it, bake it, BBQ it until there is a salty lake laying beneath you. Your next run, spin, ride or swim is the most important one in your life. Make it count. SWEAT. Get after it. Small stuff is for pygmies and politicians.


3) ALL THINGS IN MODERATION. Dull. Boring. Controllable, predictable, middle-of-the road, blah. Please (I beg of you) find something that fills your sails, that excites you, that challenges and rewards you, that makes you feel alive, passionate and connected. Something you believe in with all your heart and soul. Something you would suffer to keep. Things of dreams and hopes. Desires manifest. You really want to moderate love? Understanding? Research? joy? You want to put a limit on mirth and compassion? Careful Eugene, too much happiness makes the cops look at you funny. Emotional profiling is as real as racial.


Solution: SEEK WHAT EXCITES YOUR SOUL. LOVE TO EXCESS. GO CRAZY ON PASSION. DOG-PILE ON HAPPINESS.


4) IT IS WHAT WE'VE ALWAYS DONE. If what you have always done causes pain and suffering in others simply to fulfill the capitalist model, you need a reality check. Yes I am talking to you, EXXON, BoA, Big Pharma, Big Agra, Big Health Care, Wall Street, Military-Industrial, Big Tobacco, Liquor and Firearm CEOs. I am talking to politicians everywhere, on both sides of the aisle, you need to re-invent yourselves and get out of the profit and power at any cost mentality. Further, if you are enabling these evil and greedy blood-suckers by investing in their criminal, unethical and obscene (yet totally legal) practices through stocks, GET THE FUCK OUT.


Solution: DO IT DIFFERENT. Please.


5) IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED… Remember the last time you did something perfect the first time? Right, me either. There are 'important' things in my life that I continue mucking up even after having done them a thousand times. If I gave up after one mistake, imperfection or failure I would never be able to use quixotic in a sentence again, dance when the spirit moves me, sing with abandon, flip an omelet, deliver a punch line or make love to a beautiful woman. Not to mention competing in triathlon, doing my own taxes and limiting my daily consumption of moderately priced varietals. I believe in trying, in the attempt, in the journey. I put all my eggs into a single basket and watch that basket like a hawk with binoculars. That basket is called life. And I love living it, success now or pending. Because, If at first you don't succeed….


Do what you've always done, in moderation, not sweating the small stuff because after all, it is what it is.


That should keep success at bay!


Solution: Have a very Merry Christmas. I mean that.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The S word

While I suppose I am not the only one with a lot to do today (and tonight) it is always satisfying to get off to a good start. As in 90 monster minutes in the HoM with the endorfin-charged elves. Way to crank out some horsepower gang!


I was called on the carpet after our super-session by the lead elf who semi-seriously said that my use of the term "sissy" in some way was politically incorrect. Please be advised that I will do (almost) anything, use (almost) any trick, try a novel new approach, or play any card, no matter how potentially insulting to delicate egos, to get you to go harder, longer. So if calling mediocrity "good" in our relentless pursuit of great is un PC, so be it. I don't care. Good is for sissies was the context. If you want good, go to church. If you want GREAT, show up more often and get your weak ass to work, Alice. I am the enemy of good.


Oops.


We went through a rather testing session this morning because I wanted to illustrate a key point. I wanted to suggest that fatigue, the type of red-hot quad burn we felt last night in our 12.5 mile Morgul-Bismark TT, is mostly mental. That there has been recent studies indicating that your perception of effort, and following fatigue, even the burn, is relative to your cerebral evaluation of the work in progress. So Jimi was right (If 6 turned out to be 9) as well as Col. Nate Jessup (You can't handle the truth).


Wrapping up this neat little present with a big red bow, when you think you have maxed out, peaked, or can't take another single pedal rotation, re-think that you can. Change the dialogue, the topic of internal conversation from "This is painful and hurt's like hell", to something like "I can, I will and I am" It isn't suffering then, it's you manufacturing mirth. Do you think that 'good' will get that? You gotta be great to get that. I don't have time for good. Sorry. You want PC and the middle road? Stay home and watch TV.


I want passion. I want effort. I want challenge. I want mountain passes and headwinds. I want more. I want great, superb and exceptional. And I especially want the wisdom to enjoy the pursuit of those goals.


I also want a new bike for Christmas.


As promised, here are the lyrics to Leonard Cohen's stunning tone-poem, Hallelujah A few other non-traditional tunes from this morning:

Jeff Buckley

Adele

Waylon

David Crowder Band

Tom Waits

Warren Zevon

Collective Soul



Pictured above are Chris and Jeff, Gold and Bronze winners on the Morgul-Bismark TT course last night. As disclaimer, I read about the mental-toughness study AFTER the TT and so settled for Silver, some 30 seconds back. What a sissy.


Merry Christmas dear friends.


EDITOR'S NOTE: If you are busy (remember the first sentence?) and have time for just two video stops, watch the scene from A Few Good Men (Col. Jessup) and the Adlel music video. Truth and Passion.


And to all a Good-Night.



Friday, December 23, 2011

Major OO-Rah


Had the pleasure of talking with triathlete legend Roch Frey the other day about the (sold out) Rhoto Ironman California 70.3 event. Those among you who have been racing the tri-circuit for awhile will quickly recognize the new name as the course formerly known as Ralph's. New name, same fame. As in infamous, that 56 miles on the bike. Like Roch says it is not a fast course. It is about power and strength. It helps if you have a long and proud relationship with the Marines, too.


Our telephone conversation was the backbone of the highlight vid I subsequently slapped together to promote the latest release from the CompuTrainer Real Course Video line of training products. Yes, now you can ride all 56 miles of this monstrously challenging course, one that can only be ridden in its gnarly entirety on race day, in the comfort and security of your own quarters. One word of caution: Get a fan first!


We have a little 12 miler scheduled for the CT MR center in a few hours. It is my day off, so I thought I'd get in a ride after a nice, frosty 5K in the park. The intrepid among you wanting to preview the Oceanside RCV course can now do so by:


Going here to purchase, or

Schedule a date to ride at the CompuTrainer Multi-Rider Center at the Bainbridge Athletic Club.


Either way be prepared for some major OO-RAH!



To watch this, or any other of the 160+ videos by the RCVman in 16:9 HD, click on the title to go directly to YouTube.



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Carnegie Hall

Man walks up to another man on Seventh Avenue in New York ands asks him innocently, "How do I get to Carnegie Hall?"


You know the punch line. But the pragmatic truth in the flippant response, is both the moral of the story and the theme of today's post, with one minor variation, it is PERFECT practice that makes perfect, not merely practice (practice and practice).


If we continue to practice the same way, for the same duration and with the same intensity we will most likely get what we have always got. Why don't we practice at a higher vibration, with added amplitude and with as much attention as we can bring to our effort? Won't that parlay to a better performance, be it on stage with a Stratavarius or on the circuit atop a Cervelo? I think so. And it certainly dials up the importance of training, keeping us constantly motivated to be our best during rehearsal so a personal best will result when the cameras are rolling.


Practice perfect.


Every pedal rotation, every climb, every mile. There is something somewhere that needs work and attention. Needs that mind-body synergy to create a, pick one, smoother, quicker, longer, faster, fitter, more confident, better prepared more perfect package. As I am fond of saying, your body already knows this, it is your brain that is the mule. That stubborn gray-matter part of you that insists that this is OK as is, that life is supposed to be about comfort, convenience and cash, that hard work and dedicated effort is for losers, or that next year you'll finally start that diet. We have found the enemy folks and it is (again) us. Madison Avenue wins another round. They have sold you easy. Drive to work, take the elevator, sit all day using just your wrist, reverse commute and then sit and watch a big plasma screen till bed time. It's no wonder our State Run Ferries are reevaluating load capacities on peak hour commuter runs, there are a TON of fatties aboard!


Solution? Ask me how to get to Carnigie Hall. I will put you on a stationary bike, dial up some timeless rock, fill your water bottle, adjust your seat height and outline some exercise (and diet) parameters. The rest is then up to you, with one word of advice:


Practice, practice, practice.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chocolate & Peanut Butter

As 'discussed' this morning in the HoM, we might as well hit the ground running as we prep for that inevitability now but a handful of days away. 2012 is all but upon us (regardless of the length of the days 'tween here and then). I think we should start to bring our New Year's resolutions into sharp focus. Because that is the only way we are going to have any success with them. If they are to come about we will need to, first and foremost, have a crystal clear vision of what they are. We need to SEE them manifest. In mine (particularly boring and pedestrian) I should be able to, on demand, see myself riding strong and running fast in Penticton. Further, in preparation and practice, aka training and testing, I should practice riding strong and test running fast. Time, speed, distance, power, endurance, nutrition. And a wake up call at 0300 August 26th. That is my visualization. A PR. That is my goal. The fun is in the journey towards it. The Road. If I am able to sustain the upward arc of training for another seven months, race day will be icing in the cake. In other words, my goal is achieved as a result of the many quality sessions, steps along the way, that I took every day prior to race day. One foot after another. In relentless pursuit. Running down a dream.


Which is a perfect segue to the theme of today's post: The best way to make your 2012 NYRez work. But first, please allow me the first amendment freedom to say this: About 99.9% of the stuff I bloggingly bloviate upon here is intel prop I have lifted from others. There is alarmingly little original thought here. I am a shameless thief when it comes to using ideas, concepts, protocols, practices, phrasings, cliches, plans, solutions and cautionary tales from those that have gone before. All of that seemingly randomness needs only to meet one criteria: That it makes me think about them. To match with existing. To use as fodder for further testing. As grist for this mill. I am especially fond of mixing and matching, stacking synergies. You might say I am the Reese's Peanut Butter of triathlon. I will use whatever tools available in a sometimes improbable manner in the attempt to achieve the impossible. It says so right there on the label, so its gotta be true. OK, back to the ways and means, there are only two steps that one needs to execute to achieve one's goals. They are (chronologically):


1) GET STARTED.

2) DON'T STOP.


There. Now that you have been hit square between the eyes by that lightning bolt of illumination we can get to work. Because work is where the fun is. Because work is the road. Because there is suffering along the way (you though this was going to be easy?) and because you have a support group ready, at your beck and call, to assist. And assist we will, much like any good team, to get you to the finish line. All you have to do over the course of the next ten days is go deep into your soul and ask some questions. Do a little Q&A with your heart of hearts. What do you REALLY want for yourself in 2012? As I scoffed this morning, money, fame, fortune, new cars and bigger boats I can't (or won't) help ya with. But if your want healthier, happier, fitter and faster I can. And will. Define what you want. See you as it. How does it feel? Nice. One more thought: The degree of satisfaction upon completion of said goal is in direct relation to the degree of suffering extended along the road. It HAS to have meaning and it HAS to be something of value. Bigger the better.


Please prepare to engage. There is no stopping us now.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech_in_the_United_States

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fill in the Gaps

The RCVman is busier than a termite in a saw dust factory today, so these will be brief briefs.


Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends.

Happy Winter Solstice to my pagan friends.

Merry Christmas to my Christian friends.

And Happy Get Yer Ass back in the Pool Day to my tri-geek friends.

Feliz Navidad and Buona Natale.

Did I offend anyone? Dang.


Please don't let someone else's myopic misery upset your happiness cart. Spread the joy. ELE (Everybody Love Everybody), be happy and stop trying to be perfectly politically correct. Speak from the heart, listen with the soul and sing your song.


I have begun the grand outline for the 2012 campaign. Wanna be my running mate? I guess we also need a Campaign Manager and a Treasurer. Here are a few events/ideas from which to work:


Feb 26, Chilly Hilly

March 25, Mercer Island Half

April 15, Toe Jam 32

May Ride to Santa Barbara

June Hurricane Ridge

June Bernie's Grand Adventure II

July 21, Chelanman

August 26, Ironman Canada. Red Letter Day

October 13, Kona


That's a start. Let's start to fill in the gaps. All serious offers will be considered.


All for today folks, need to keep grind to nosestone. Hava happy.


Pics: Over Maui heading home from Kona 2011. Quote the Terminator: I'll Be Back. The colorful view from Simon and Fiona's in Leeds, UK.



Monday, December 19, 2011

Take this test TODAY!

TAKE THIS TEST


Questions:

1) Stretching prevents injuries and improves performance. Truth or Myth

2) Running barefoot is better for the body. Truth or Myth

3) You need to focus on your core to become a better athlete. Truth or Myth

4) Guzzling water and electrolytes before a race prevents cramps. Truth or Myth

5) Ibuprofen before a hard workout prevents sore muscles after. Truth or Myth

6) Dehydration hurts race performance. Truth or Myth

7) Ice baths speed recovery. Truth or Myth

8) Long and slow is the best way too burn calories, Truth or Myth

9) Fructose is a performance killer. Truth or Myth

10) Supplements take performance to the next level. Truth or Myth



Answers:

1) It could ruin your 10K time.

2) It all depends on your body type and discipline.

3) Core strength is probably overrated and you risk injury by focusing too specifically on it.

4) Water and electrolytes have little to do with muscle seizure.

5) It does more harm than good.

6) Overhydrating is more likely to sabotage your PR.

7) They're not worth the chill.

8) You need to pump up the intensity.

9) Fructose can be a performance superfuel.

10) There's no such thing as a magic pill (legal or otherwise)


Meaning that all the correct answers are also myths. With fine print, asterisks and additional reading, lab work, experimentation and data required.


Because every body is different. As a somewhat comical example consider the plight of the triathlete who stretches statically, trains barefoot, does 1000 crunches daily, drinks Gatorade with Advil, takes ice baths after long slow runs, sups and drinks cranberry juice on race day (in which she dominates) vice the marathoner who limbers up dynamically, wears Nike's, has no core focus, has weaned himself off water, takes no drugs, uses no ice, runs a weekly LSD, swears by sucrose, sups with condroiton and ALSO DOMINATES!


What does all this mean to you?


If you're not dominating, which in this reference means achieving your goals as personal bests, not waxing the competition, you need more, or different, testing and training.


So if you are already dominating your chosen event, keep doing what you are doing. If you're not (the 99%) you need to change something. As antidote, here is what I have changed: Volume, schedule, weight and diet. I have added (on average) six hours of HIT spinning per week between Tuesdays and Thursdays, skewing the weight from run to bike for the winter block and testing protein supplements from hemp and eliminating gluten from daily intake. I am still not back in the water, but that will happen soon.


Last question:

L) No one has ever become a dominant triathlete over the age of 60. Truth or Myth


Last answer:

L) Not yet.


Myth questions, commentary and links all at Outside Magazine.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

221 Days

221 days.


Might as well be a lifetime, right?


WRONG.


There are those 221 days standing between today and August 25, 2012, the day before the 30th running of Ironman Canada in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada.


Let us get one thing straight right from the start (a cannon blast), I love this event. It is one of the last remaining one loop IM courses, in a spectacular location with phenomenal local support. It is my favorite race anywhere, any distance any sport. You have heard me talk about it in the past, and as we ramp up our preparations for this years contest, you can rest assured that you will be hearing more, LOTS more in the 221 following days. But why is this important today?


BECAUSE IT IS ANOTHER DAY TO IMPROVE. To do something that will further my quest to:


A) Win my age group (I looked today and that means 1 of 82)

B) Set a PR in so doing, (11:05 in 2004 got me 7 of 124)

C) Q for Kona

D) Have fun doing it


All making this day 1 of 221. And if I am going to shave 15 minutes off my time from 2004 I had better get busy. Additionally, for the record, a 15 minute reduction in time, or a 10:50 would be a course age group record, so I might as well just go ahead and add that to the list:


E) Set course AG record.


Egotistical, arrogant, outlandish, preposterous, impossible and unrealistic you say?


Maybe. But I am going to try my absolute best. I may fail. But that failure will not come as a result of effort withheld.


Here is the plan: Each of those 221 days is a gem. A shinning opportunity to expand, grow, learn and love. I am quite confident if I can squeeze maximum value from each of those days, AND THAT INCLUDES REST AND RECOVERY DAYS, when 0700 on August 26th rolls around, I will be ready.


After all, the date is already circled on my 2012 day timer.


What's on yours?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Eight Ball


Another first today. In a long series of firsts. Somebody has to be first. Might as well be one of us.


Today we (the guy in the lab coat and his team of semi-willing rodent portraying test subjects) unveiled another exciting protocol to our HoM workout regimen. This one we call The Eight Ball and it lasted 90 minutes. Here is the drill in case you missed class this morning and want to try it at home. Pleased be advised that it is not for beginning mice. This one is for veteran lab rats of unfaltering resolve and mental toughness the density of steel. Super Rats.


One minute high cadence, low resistance

One minute seated climb +1 gear every ten seconds

One minute standing climb +1 gear every ten seconds

One minute seated FTTT* (fist ten seconds at last standing gear)

One minute standing FTTT

One minute seated power push 15 sec on and 15 rest (2)

One minute standing power push 15 sec on and 15 rest (2)

One minute seated power blast 0-15@50%,15-30@75%,30-45@85%,45-60@Max

One minute recovery


That is eight drills, plus rest and recover. We added a minute rest per set until five, which seemed like an eternity, and then capped it at four. Minnesota Fats and Fast Eddy thought it was the color of money. I kinda liked it too. The Eight Ball.


Another first was the sales of CompuTrainer Multi-Rider BAC Loyalty Card number uno and it went to the happy looking gentleman pictured above. We have a Charter Member! The card is good for five sessions in the CTMR Center, with the sixth free. The front desk informed me that sales were 'brisk' immediately before and after class. YAY!!!!!! The happy looking gentleman is also sporting a beautiful BAC jersey which you can still purchase and ship to any address in the contiguous US of A for a mere $75! And by Christmas if you act NOW. No wonder he's smiling!!!!!


We have time over the remainder of the weekend to schedule some rides, so if you, your group or your team wanna race, just let me know and we'll try our best to schedule and accommodate. I am pretty gassed from a week's worth of eight balling so let's please try to enlist four others instead of my weary arse.


Which I suppose would be another first.


Have a great weekend folks. And thank you.


*Functional threshold tune trial

Friday, December 16, 2011

THE THREE

That five minute quote from RW Emerson yesterday via Iron War really got me goin'. In all honesty, there are only a handful of books that I can truly use the 'couldn't put it down" cliche. This one is, with Dave and Mark's relentless pursuit of that five minutes detailed to triathlon perfection by Mr. Fitzgerald. From the training and motivation perspective, it is better than a dozen 9% hill repeats. Later, Mark would cite a few of Dave's fanaticism's as his motivation, ala learning from the master. It would question his methods, his regimen, his resolve when he learned that Dave would rinse his low-fat cottage cheese to remove that nasty 1% remaining residue.

You gotta WANT it. You gotta LIVE it. You Gotta BE IT. The it, of course, being the manifestation on race day of that five minutes. Santa will not give it to you. Your prayers will fall on deaf ears and if you think that somehow you can pull off something on race day that you haven't done in training, you will be greatly disappointed, my friend. As disclaimer, please understand that we are talking about absolute best here, not 'merely' a finish. Anyone, almost anyone, can do a triathlon. Same with an Ironman. Anyone can waddle for 13.1 miles, same with the full monty.

BUT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT BEST, AS IN AGE GROUP WINS OR OVERALL RECORDS, AND THAT MEANS FAST, AND THAT MEANS PAIN AND THAT MEANS FINDING THAT FIVE MINUTES.

So it was with much interest that I scanned this Active.com list of 12 Things to give to Triathletes for Christmas list and found the CompuTrainer Pro among them. The authors go as far as to list cycling DVDs as well, but escape the viscous grading trap by use of the generic.

I, however, will take it a step further, localizing this for maximum benefit, learning from the masters at Active.com (who seem to be able to sell wool to sheep) in presenting the RCVman THREE THINGS to give the local Triathletes for Christmas list.

ONE. You don't have to lay down $1,649 of your disposable income on the purchase of a new CompuTrainer Pro when you have access to one seventeen hours a day at the Bainbridge Athletic Club. We even provide you with all the accessories, big screen TV, monster fans and stereo, professional support and the opportunity to join our racing team. Try THAT at home!

TWO: The new limited-edition BAC-CompuTrainer cycling jerseys are the most colorful garments since Picasso's favorite smock. A serious museum-quality work of art for the discriminating cyclist or spinner on your list. AND with a special Christmas sale price of just $75 of your hard-earned green-backs. Be a patron of the arts today and take advantage of our free shipping offer!

THREE: Make it habitual. Exercise physiology holds one premise above all others: The need for consistency. You must DO IT and then DO IT again (and again). That concept is explained very entertainingly in this cool video. It is why we train as often as we do. Making the CompuTrainer Multi-Rider BAC Loyalty Cards (CTMRBACLC) such an outstanding value. For just 50 of your slush-fund-top-drawer-petty-cash dollars you get five sessions. Another one of them is this afternoon at 4:30 in case you forgot. WITH THE SIXTH SESSION FREE!!!!

There you have it folks. The BIG RCVman Three.

Your improved health and fitness at the BAC
A jersey worthy of
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
And a free ride.


Did I mention the free shipping?

Three Perfect Stocking Stuffers include the BAC jersey's and the new CTMRBACLC cards. Bob Cratchit would go.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Iron War





Opening quote from Matt Fitzgerald's coverage of the epic 1989 duel between Dave Scott and Mark Allen in Kona, Iron War, is from Ralph Waldo Emerson,


"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, he is just brave five minutes longer."


Putting this in context is the fun part. That day, and the subsequent TV coverage that I watched on a tiny island in the Indian Ocean in 1990, transformed my life, as I have been in search of those five minutes ever since.


I was given Iron War as an early Christmans present by a special someone who also understands the value of the five minutes, and who knew it would be a perfect and relevant gift for someone still chasing those 300 precious seconds. A chase that is intended to finish at the same spot in Kona where the drama of the 1989 Ironman took place. As exhausted as I was last night after the brutal evening session with the HoM Lab Rats, I stayed up for a chapter or two.


Nice try.


By the time Matt had done an fascinating intro on Dave and Mark it was midnight and I moaned at the thought of the iPhone's marimba jamming in four hours. I suppose it is logical to expect that my REM then included the following:


The taste of salt water

Bottle-nosed dolphins

Shimmering tropical sun

Pressure at the pedals

A tired neck and hot feet

Sweat pouring into eyes

The first few steps after T2

Finding the groove

Ice

Fatigue like never before

Second wind

Pain>Mirth>Suffering>Reward

Tears


If you have the time today take a close look at the IM video of Mark and Dave (the astute will notice that I switched the places) at the finish. It's about at the 3:05 point. Also is this 20 year anniversary interview hosted by Bob Babbitt. After 140.6 incredibly fast and efficient miles, stroke by stroke, turn by turn and stride by stride it came to this. Tears of joy.


Five minutes.


Pix: RCVman, Dave Scott and Simon Ward, The Triathlon Coach in Kona, 2011, 22 years after the Iron War. Tales are still told of that day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oceanside RCV Released!

We interrupt our normal VBA activities to bring you this exciting news from the home office: The 16th CompuTrainer Real Course Video has been officially released. Now you can ride all 56 miles of this fantastic Southern California course, including a swing through a very sensitive, and heavily protected, military base that you can only ride either on race day, or HERE (unless, of course you are a Marine).

My sincere thanks to everyone who assisted with the production of this gem and as the 2012 event is less than four months away, and as tomorrow officially puts us at the tenth day of Christmas, I highly recommend you put this one on your radar. Hint: It is somewhere between Montezuma and Tripoli. OO-RAH

As footnote this highlight video was initially posted back in May of 2010, I simply added the cheeky ending announcement and reloaded, like any good Marine would surely do.



MORE




The printer has guaranteed me that the loyalty cards (punch cards) will be delivered to my door this afternoon. Meaning, that we can now, officially launch the Holiday Promo (crystal glasses clink and ring). Submitted for your approval is the MORE 60sec spot announcing this joyous and festive occasion. Be sure to watch it in YouTube for full HD rez. Just click on the More.mov to go there.


So here we go (laughing all the way) OK, I'll stop that now. The punch cards are $50 and get you five CompuTrainer Multi-Rider sessions of any design. You can individual TT, ride an hour on your favorite course, test your P/W, ride as part of a two person team, race your visiting cousin from Milwaukee, or just get in a super workout as your time and schedule allows. The sixth session is FREE.


The second part of the sale is the BAC jerseys. I am going to conduct an inventory this afternoon to get a handle on remaining sizes, but the super-special Christmas sale gets you a half a cool kit for the cyclist on your list that may not be a member and has yet to see these eye-catching garments. Or maybe you have a sister in Topeka. Or a son in school, or a nephew in Salinas. What a great gift idea!!!! Indeed, the perfect stocking stuffer.


Stuff all the socks you can with this once-a-year deal: CompuTrainer Multi-Rider Punch Card ($50) and a limited-edition club jersey ($75), guaranteed to make you the envy of every rider this side of the North Pole.


Speaking of all this, we are trying to put together a couple of races this weekend. After last Saturday's brutal (in an aloha way) Kona fest, I think we'll pedal back to a more sedate 15 miler on either Friday or Saturday at 4:30. If you are interested in racing please hit the post a comment tab below (hereafter referred to as PAC) and let me know your preference, availability and P/W ratio.


And please make sure you have a punch card (and jersey) in hand.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A&E

Which leads us to this very day. Everything that has gone before. Every step has been towards this destination. Here. Now. Today. Maybe you have already made a million bucks and can relax in the rocking chair, maybe you are still struggling with your relationship to money. Maybe you are walking a picket line in defense of the middle class. Maybe you don't put much emphasis on the pursuit of riches. Rich man, poor man, King or pawn, 1% or 99% makes no deference to your body. Your body don't care about your bank account, 401K or golden parachute. Your body cares about awareness and energy. Deepak Chopra says every cell has two invisible things that create either a dynamic flow or constriction and stagnation (health and vitality or disease). Guess what they are?


I was fortunate this morning after our 60 minutes in HoA, (where we did a up/down session upping seated resistance every 30 seconds and standing every 60) to witness a rather spectacular sunrise. Contrasting the vivid brightness of the new moon in the cold and dark Decembral skies, this mornings palate was a show-stopper. Commuters actually getting out of their cars to grab some quick jpegs with phone cams. This, of course, most always gets me to thinking about how often we take our surroundings for granted. It also gives me a good dose of the humbles. And I like feeling small and sub-atomic. It reinforces my cellular belief that small is important and even the tiny and minuscule play a part in glorious contribution to the whole. I don't need to be the ocean, I want to be one wave. One cloud in the sky, one fish in the sea, one note in the scale.


Making my promise to be the BEST wave, the happiest cloud, the lovingest salmon and the most passionate note little me can be. That, I believe, is serving myself as well as the ocean, sky, sea and soul.


Which leads us to this very day. I have my work cut out for me if I am to finish with as much color as we started. I will add some texture, some spice, maintain my awareness throughout and enjoy the process and toss as much creative energy into my work (my life) as I can. Today. Now. Here.


I invite you to do likewise.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Nothing but

The idea being that whatever strengthens the weak will impact the strong, thereby creating more balance and sustainability. We need only go back as far as Achilles to see the beauty in this. That old bad-ass bully Goliath? Brought down by a shepard boy and a single pebble. Everybody has a weakness. The secret is to find it and either improve it or exploit it. Depending, of course, on the subject. It it us (me) or you (them).


In our training, especially if you are a multi-sport enthusiast, or tri-geek as we used to say, this is an important point as we cross train for two reasons, 1) The allow one muscle group to rest while working the others, and 2) your weakness could mean your demise if not properly addressed. The Queen K is lined with strong riders who melt on the run just as IMs are not won in the water.


Let's chop that up a little and focus on the bike, arguably* the most important leg of triathlons trio. We have:


1) Speed

2) Power

3) Endurance

4) Explosive power

5) Climbing

6) Pacing

7) Nutrition/hydration


Of those seven, which is your weakest? Be honest. I would love to say number three, endurance, so I could simply ride at a low heart rate logging mile after boring mile waiting for the day that a century feels easy. That we now refer to as old school base. And unnecessary if you have been riding your bike as long as most of us around here, minimum of, say two and a half decades. Most, then, will answer power, or speed, or explosive power. And they would be right.


Work on your power and by default your speed and endurance is improved. I am quite confident that explosive power max-outs will become a fearless co-pilot when climbing out of the saddle, pacing a billy goat up some brutal hill, with or without sufficient carbs in the tank.


So let's cut to the chase. Something has to change. Personally, while I am happy to be able to compete and finish the Ironman distance, AG top ten isn't good enough anymore. I need to win. Therefor my training needs to reflect that goal, it needs to change and I must accept the new challenge. I need more power. To do that I add frequency and intensity in 60-90 minute blocks. If I can maintain high output for this duration, I will be able to go the 112 (and subsequent 26.2) easier and (hopefully) faster. Learning the lessons of races past, this means that the better my bike fitness, the faster my bike time AND MORE OCTANE STILL IN THE TANK FOR THE RUN.


So we do high-intensity intervals. Lot's of them. And a TT. Because science doesn't embellish. Data no lie. You either have the gas or you don't.


Train your weakness and race your strength. Changing a part of the whole changes the whole. And that, my friends,


is the whole truth. Nothing but.


*It isn't much of one though.


Pic: The world famous House of Mirth Saturday night after a 90 minute spin on the Queen K. If She doesn't kill ya, you'll ride stronger as result.