Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Sometimes it's painful. Lessons from the past. Triggered by present activities.
I was reminded this morning that the actions of others should not impact mine. Unless of course they are exemplary, super-human or otherwise inspiring.
When training or racing it is about competition. You versus me. Us versus them. Or in training me versus me. If, in a competitive situation, you quit, does that give me permission to do likewise? If I see you having 'mental toughness issues' does that give me impetus to back off? If it's detrimental, 'everybody is doing it', is not a valid response. Ask Lance.
I want your best. I want to taste the effort necessary to over-achieve. I want all-out. If you quit in the heat of battle, you have diminished my victory. We have even come up with some politically correct ways to ease this. Mercy rules, put in the second-string, don't run up the score, TKO, tap-out.
When we continually witness others giving up it can make that decision in us a little, or sometimes a lot, easier. Here was my example from this morning.
It was Ironman Canada 2005. I went in with solid fitness and a good race plan. Coming off my fourth place finish the prior year, I should have hit top three (and qualified for Kona). That was (and remains) the goal.
After the usual so-so swim, I unluckily flatted three times in the first 56 miles. Some local jerk(s) had strewn the course with thumbtacks and I found three of them. Cost me almost 30 minutes in wrench time. Deciding to fight on, I SERIOUSLY HAMMERED the final 56 turning my right foot into a hot skewered slab of throbbing flesh in the process. The self diagnosis was a stress fracture and there was NO WAY I was going to run a marathon as a mono pod. In the T2 tent Tim Horton's were free and plentiful. Thinking my day to be over I had one. And another.
Sitting on a folding chair with a doughnut and cup of steaming coffee, a training buddy was rushing towards his run gear and pulled up alongside. He asked somewhat incredulously, "What the fuck are you doing?"
I told the tale as concisely as I could knowing that he was in a hurry. Transitions are like that. He said. "Come on, give it a try"
Yes you can, come on.
I have a stress fracture, no go.
Try, just one mile, it might loosen up.
I just rammed five THs, it's over.
We are slogging it out Lakeshore Drive. My foot, now inside a new, cushioned Mizuno Wave Runner, kinda feels OK. If not for the fact that my GI is now uproariously laughing at the prospectors of digesting all that dough and sugar, it would have been manageable.
We get to mile seven. It hurts, and I look at my watch and do some calcs, all leading to the conclusion that even if I run a PR, it will fall well short of needed time to qualify.
And who do I see across the street, at that very moment, walking back towards town, head down and limping?
I hollered, how are ya?
Not good, calling it a day. Knee.
That was good enough for me. if my coach can do it so can I.
I stopped running, crossed the street and walked back to town with Simon.
His decision had directly influenced mine.
That was seven years ago, 2,555 days.
I have spent 2,555 nights since regretting that decision. Living the nightmare, seeking redemption. I quit. Took a DNF. It will say so in the results FOREVER.
Do not let the actions of others influence your decisions.
Unless they make better decisions than you.
Then by all means.
Monday, October 29, 2012
It was supposed to be low key. A fun run. With the option to dress for the occasion. The Spooky 12K. Off road, local and inexpensive. No race clock, one aid station, T-Shirts extra.
One of the many reasons I love racing so much is that regardless of the distance, discipline or demands, one can enter a special space while undertaking the event. One can witness first-hand the power and value of that place known affectionately as 'The Zone'. Yesterday, although I downplayed the speed-time aspect prior to the start and for the fist ten minutes, by the time we finished the single track into the woods section and hit the fire trail road, all doubt as to the purpose of the run had been completely removed. It was now a foot race, full on. Rod Serling commentating.
And for 50 minutes and a relentless series of climbs, switchbacks and hardscrabble descents, it was me against my heart rate, whining hip flexors and ability to transport oxygen to faltering big muscle groups. The old me vs me all over again. What have I learned? How have I improved? How can I put into play the myriad lessons gleaned from months of training, testing, resting and recovering? Can I sustain this output? Am I doing EVERYTHING right now to positively impact my performance?
I love the paradox. I love the cosmic. I love the humor and I love the challenge. Those in the know simply smile with the empirical understanding of what is taking place. They know the feeling. There is great empathy among participants. If I go my best I can help you get to yours. You being faster makes me better. The race is on and it has absolutely nothing to do with time. Time is suspended when you enter the max zone. There is only now. THIS breath, THIS footstrike and THIS heartbeat.
As a result of my choosing trail shoes instead of running shoes, I had to stop five times to re-tie laces in the last 2.5 miles. I was being stalked. Each time I begrudgingly knelt to secure the laces she gained on me. I could hear her footsteps from behind keeping syncopated time with mine. I remember thinking that this might conjure some suffering I haven't felt in a while when running. Because now the focus had shifted from me vs me, to me vs her.
And I vowed to not allow her to pass me with anything but her best effort. Which, of course, would require mine. This for another uphill mile or seven minutes, whichever would come first.
I tied my left lace again, gave it all the foot pounds I could muster as efficiently as I could secure the butterfly, took a deep breath and heard her about to draw even as I rose for the final approach. She was wearing ear-buds so I am not sure she heard my compliment on her closing speed. Maybe my 'way-to-go' was muted by Maroon Five or Jay-Z, but it was as blatant as it was obvious, that she was in she vs me mode and we had precious little real estate to play it out.
Aight, let's do this.
Off we go. Shoulder to shoulder and stride for stride. There is no doubt in the entire universe at this moment. EVERYTHING is perfect. No questions, no doubts, no fear, no distraction. Our movement through space and time defines us. I am smiling, out of myself, watching in 3D, one with the moment. I become aware of my breaths and try to ease the impact as I reach down and shift to closing gear. End game overdrive. There is one hill between where we run and the gathered crowd at the finish line. Maybe 500 yards.
My hip flexors and left piriformis feel like flaming kabobs right out of the fire. By habit I reach to adjust my race number despite the reality that there is no announcer. I glance at my watch and shrug with the reality that a sub 60 is now impossible. It's OK I say, probably aloud.
As a volunteer tears the finishing strip from my tyvek number I look back and see no-one.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012
You don't want to miss this one folks. It is earlier this year than year's past (some say as a direct result of the projected participation of LA) the 2012 Ironman World Championship is airing tomorrow in the Seattle area at 1300. That is one in the afternoon. Not a great time slot, but hey at least we get to watch, or tape, or TIVO or use whatever technology available to watch at a more convenient hour. The bar has been set at award winning levels and if I can judge by the awards banquet video, this year will be no exception. It is good. It will be fun and you will come away inspired. Please trust me on this. More here.
We are feverishly working a new angle on the CYCLEVIDZ project. We are now (semi-desperately) seeking the following:
One web-site designer
Two female actors (no prior experience necessary)
One male actor (having uncanny resemblance to Brad Pitt will help)
Four sponsors (or more, there is no limit)
The plan is to cut a pilot and sell the 12 week series. We have the host, we have e-commerce, we have assembled a terrifically talented core group and we have an idea. In broad strokes:
The pilot introduces the three stars. Each has their own distinct personality and life issues. They each want to increase their quality of life. One wants to lose weight, one wants to better manage stress and one simply wants to kick some ass in the local triathlon. There will be conflict. There will be drama. There will be challenge as the three embark on a transformational journey centered in and around their primary choice of exercise and strength gain, the House of Mirth. It's a reality show that brings the audience into the experience, atmosphere and effectiveness of indoor cycle training. The five minute intro sets the stage, we cut to archival footage during the workout portion, asking those watching at home to get off their chairs and onto the saddle and ride side by side, as we bring motivation, entertainment, inspiration and education streaming to an audience hungry for change. After the workout session a five minute cool-down-wrap-up, will close each episode and set the stage for the next. Two a week for the twelve weeks, available only by stream on our site. How exclusive!
Exciting, dramatic, empirical, hyper interactive, effective, entertaining and (I love this one) coming to a laptop near you!!!! Can you hear the big baritone say that?
It is also expensive and time consuming. So if you want to be a part of this endorphinated, Type A, cine-spin squad, please apply today.
If you need an further visual of what we're after, just watch Ironman Saturday and you'll see all you need to know.
Pic: It was a busy one this year in Kona, The sea-wall was jam packed at 0630 for the Pro start. We'll see it all on Saturday.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
I'll save you some time. Page to bottom. See our presidential endorsement. Choose your response accordingly. Either way, you are my neighbor and I respect your choice.
If you want another rich white guy delegating the demands of big business to women, the military, what is left of the middle class, people of color, retirees and folks with disabilities, your vote will help keep the old boy network alive and well.
We have made some headway. We pissed off some very powerful captains of industry. We rattled a few cages and shook the foundations of castle walls housing the one percent. We pulled an upset in just getting to here.
We remain underdogs despite our honorable intentions. We want to end war, ease suffering and prosper at home. We want affordable health care, with want tax relief and a balanced budget. They want power, money, control and profit.
Both candidates are puppets dancing to the tug of corporate America. The game is rigged. I am an Independent Green Alternative Libertarian. I have zero chance. My voice and vote will not change policy. It won't get us alternative energy, a flat tax, successful foreign policy, an end to poverty and pollution, sane social policies and it won't end the inane war on drugs. So I am left with the responsibility to fend for myself. To do the best I can despite these overwhelmingly oppressive and archaic rules by which we have been water-boarded to hail as the best anywhere.
And maybe they are. I appreciate that. I love my freedom. I use it by following my own heart. Doing what I believe to be my highest calling. I am sorry but I simply cannot work ten hours a day in a cubicle lining the pockets of a corrupt corporation while getting taxed to the chinstrap for the effort. Sorry. Not me. Do I have that right? Isn't my pursuit of happiness tied to life and liberty? If so, my right to happiness means calling bullshit on the current state of the state. How noble a cause in outing the greedy power mongers who are controlling the strings and calling the shots, bleeding us to death? Behind the scenes. In boardrooms and the inner sanctum of the club that runs things. In the way that brings them the most profit. At any cost to YOU. Your dollars, your labor, your planet, your water and air, your food, shelter and illusion of security and your sons and daughters who march off to war doing the business of America. Protecting its investments overseas. Ask the former VP if this is a profitable endeavor.
So please folks, if you like dangling on the strings of faceless puppeteers who want nothing but everything you have, vote for one who knows. Take it back. Bring back the fear. Bring back man's inhumanity to man. Torture, murder, humiliate. Disrespect, dishonor and lie. Cheat, steal and forbid. Divide and separate. Point and blame. Cover up. Waste, abuse, rape and plunder. Ah, the good old days!
I want hope. I hope we wake up and smell the napalm. Soon. Like tomorrow.
We have made some progress. I was sincerely proud of you four years ago when you selected a black man to do the world's worst job. I am so better off now. Knowing that we evolved a little. Tried something different. Chose change.
We have a long ways to go. Those bastards in the castles are smart. They called in the cavalry and fortified their embrasures. They used distraction in masterful new ways. They got a little riled. They are formidable and powerful. They like their own. It is an exclusive club. They vowed that nothing would pass legislation without their approval. No matter how important, altruistic or beneficial. No matter how logical. And no matter what.
I would like nothing better than to help take down these cowards, crooks and cheats. THAT would be patriotic. A new America, a new land for the free and a new home for the brave. Not just liberty and justice for some, but for all.
Or we can bring in yet another old boy bagman and pretend that things are fine.
This is not the lessor of two evils. It is moving, however slowly, towards the cleansing of the planet. Sometimes it is necessary to bite the hand that feeds. For the greater good. I seriously doubt the former Senator from Massachusetts would even consider it.
I cling to the hope that Obama will one day, with our rabid support, bite up to the elbow.
Therefore, for these selfish reasons, and others I am too ashamed to mention here, The RCVman unilaterally endorses Barack Hussein Obama for a second term. Vote Hope.
I am not alone in this line of thought. See George tell it like it is here.
I am not alone in this line of thought. See George tell it like it is here.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Terrific class this morning my dear friends. THAT was the way it's done. So if someone could please explain to me the difference between this morning and any of the other, proceeding 10 years of spin sessions, for the benefit of all mankind in adherence to the scientific method, please feel free to volunteer an opinion.
OK, I'll start.
We introduced a new theme. No longer is it sufficient to merely sit and spin. The days of grunt and grind are gone. You have now, officially, entered the realms of the superior. Where average, good, medium, okay and normal are anything but. As well as totally unacceptable.
You have now experienced the above average, the better, the higher, the more, teetering on sublime. We have added an element so powerful that it has changed everything. It has pushed you to heights you once thought unreachable, to levels previously inaccessible and to gains once suspected to be impossible.
And we accomplished all this without taking drugs, blood doping or getting therapeutic use exemptions!
We earned it. We worked hard, consistently overloading our systems in order to stimulate muscular adaptation. As we orchestrated this minor miracle, we were simultaneously increasing the performance levels of our hearts and lungs. We are also learning how to breathe properly and to most efficiently impact our range of motion.
But not IT.
The IT is attitude. The IT is enthusiasm. The IT is inviting your gumption to the party. AND DEMONSTRATING IT. SHOWING IT TO THE WORLD. SHARING IT WITH THE UNIVERSE.
That was the difference. The very moment you accepted this premise as truth, everything changed. You were suddenly responsible for its manifestation. You had to prove it. You had to show that you understood.
And you did.
At right: The HoM Attitude Room.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
And all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity. Paul "Rhymin" Simon.
After yesterday's blog rant on other peoples attitudes (how dare I?) where I mentioned the recent post-modern phenomena known as "everything fun all the time" and how subsequently, it compromises our ability to focus and enhance performance, because, well, sometimes hard training just isn't fun. So we run for the cover of distraction. Movies, music, or the worst possible response, choosing something altogether easier. Like eating, watching TV or social media. I know many people that justify making money as a legitimate excuse. THE GALL!!
Imagine my response when this morning I walked into our training center at Avalara and found a book resting on the handlebars of one of our Keiser M3s?
A book! A FAT book. Nicely bound appearing to be a classic, with a beautiful red page marker indicating completion close at hand. After my initial shock (if you need to know the reason behind my shock you probably should exit now), I picked up said tome and held it in my hand weighing the possibility of using it for plyometrics. Curious, I then turned to front cover and chuckled ironically when I saw the subtitle: The Whale.
Do you mean to tell me that somebody was actually sitting on one of MY spin bikes and reading Moby Dick? Heck, why not bring in a tub of buttered popcorn and a couple of diet sodas to get you through those nasty flat sections? OMG.
People: Do one or the other. When you train indoors, make it count. Dial it up. Go hard like an angry albino sperm whale seeking a one-legged lunch. Or go home.
And sit on your favorite overstuffed chair by the fire and absorb (while trying to appreciate) Melville's symbolism and metaphor. Keep also in mind that this is 2012 not 1851. We have, ahem, bigger fish to try.
So please do not combine your workout sessions with anything other than introspective analysis and dedicated focus as this could systematically confuse your perception of our place together in the universe. Take this time to harpoon the evil distraction of the multi-task. We are here to train our bodies AND MINDS as one. If your legs and lungs are in sync but your head is aboard the Pequod, you have missed a golden opportunity, mate.
Call me old fashioned.
Call me idiot savant.
Call me over zealous.
Call me committed.
Call me ferocious and enigmatic.
Call me a fool.
Just please don't call me Ishmael.
Monday, October 22, 2012
One: This is a difficult one because I actually make my living filling the gap created by this void. The void being that nebulous missing link of visual stimulus while training indoors on a stationary bicycle. Mot of us have two good eyes and we have been conditioned to use them - all the time. Pavlovianly, we seek and respond to the things moving around us as we peddle. A very good habit when riding out of doors. The void is inside. I don't blame you one bit for keeping your head down and avoiding eye contact during spin sessions, I do the same. Unless I plan on going to school on you. If you are faster, smoother, more powerful, capable of enduring focus and with the ability to inspire, I will watch your every move. If your grace and awareness is capable of motivating me for one additional nanosecond, you will be ogled. What gets my goat is when people look for distraction, seeking avoidance of the internal focus by external stimulus. A diversion of intensity, transfer of pain, somewhere to send untrained energy. And the opportunity is lost. So when I see user groups asking for suggestion for movies to watch while training indoors, I wanna shout: YOU DON'T NEED NO STINKING MOVIES, FOCUS ON YOUR RESPONSE TO THE EFFORT, STAY PRESENT, DON'T LOOK FOR A PLACE TO HIDE. BE HERE, USE THIS TIME TO GROW, THIS ISN'T A CINEPLEX.
Two: This one is maybe even worse. It is like listening to bar chat when you're stone sober. People say that they don't train indoors because it isn't like riding outdoors. You like to ride in the rain? REALLY? You will train in the snow at oh-dark-thirty? Your allegiance to the old school is so strong that you will risk life and limb, darting between vehicles that outweigh you by two tons, radio controlled by med guzzling and impaired seniors, stressed out middle managers and jacked up teens? REALLY? It isn't like riding outside because it is not supposed to be. We make no pretension. IT IS INDOOR TRAINING.
Three: It is boring. It is boring because you are. Sorry. If you are easily bored it is because you are undisciplined. You are weak. You need constant entertainment. You have become conditioned to noise. It scares you to be alone with yourself. Please allow me to suggest that having the courage to participate in the physical adaption of your continuing improvement is the most fascinating holistic endeavor one can undertake. It is a complete and dynamic enhancement of everything we know about mind, body and spirit. If you cannot find value and self awareness in that combination, the boring should be conducted between your ears.
Four: I don't have the time. We do it a 0530. We offer private sessions from 7am to 10pm. Please do not verbally insult me by suggesting that you cannot fit the most important element of your existence inside of that window of opportunity. If the only hours truly available to you are between 10pm and 7am, we have home units for sale.
Have you an excuse for that one?
OK, let's quickly review:
You are a successful, professional adult. You do not need Dexter reruns in order to orchestrate a successful training session. Please focus on the process. The process of becoming a better you.
Be smart. Be safe. Be fit. Be productive. Stay around for a while. Change and grow.
Please do not fall prey to the gimmickry of gadgets. Your body is the most amazing creation of all time. Use it. Understand it. Improve it.
Ditch the excuses. You have an hour a day. Or you can make one.
As mentioned this morning, I don't take a lot of things seriously, most of the things men consider important I think are silly. I DO take my health, fitness, vitality and energy creation seriously. This is the quality of my life and I control it.
Please control yours.
Pic: The more quality your indoor work entails, the more fun your out-of-door trails. That is a promise.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
I was reminded last night of how our response to negatives can induce similar internalization. This is not new. We have known about external influences on our behavior for a long time. We have, however, as a society become so used to the banal, the false, the spun, the superficial, that we have adapted a pathetic dummied-down numbness to the truth. This is most apparent every four years as politicians attempt to buy our votes. Sometimes I cringe wondering how these stuffed-shirt spokesmen for big business can address the innocent of America with straight faces. I can only speak for myself and this is what I want from my government: NOTHING.
I don't want to have blood on my hands from the slaughter of civilians who happen to pray to a different God.
I do not want to further enrich a handful of industrialists who profit from war.
I do not want to see women told what they can or can not do with their bodies.
I do not want the same industrialists spoiling the beauty of our planet for money.
I do not want lunatics buying automatic weapons.
I do not care for farm subsidies, feeding corn to cows and starving the poor who can now afford neither.
I do not want to be forced to own an insurance policy.
I do not want my phone tapped.
I do not want to be fingerprinted, sampled, stereotyped, or profiled.
I do not want to be taxed until I work more for a bureaucracy than for my family.
I want a level playing field.
I want fairness.
Corporations are not people.
They are in business to make money, we are in business to make life.
Stop trying to control and start trying to cooperate.
I want nothing from you. Keep your power, greed and corruption, just let me be. Not more hallow rhetoric, nor empty promises, no fear mongering, nothing. Leave me alone. I will be fine. Please give me the opportunity to pursue the freedoms that I cherish most: life, liberty and chasing my own personal vision of happiness. You are not leading, you are not even following, so please get the heck out of my way.
Grant me this and you have my vote.
On a (perhaps) lighter note. The following passage caught my attention last night and prompted the above oratory:
Flexibility is the essential quality inherent in all spiritual attitudes, including forgiveness, compassion, empathy, renunciation, humility, faith and hope. To be flexible is to bend like a branch in the wind. It is the ability to accept reality as it is.
Following then, is my prayer for this spectacular fall Sunday, after we danced a splendid 9 miles through the crisp morning light:
My I, may my friends, may my enemies and may all beings,
and be free.
Chop Wood, Carry Water, page 182.
Pix: Me & Frankie in practice. Our waterside campsite in Penticton, our last trip there.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
It was almost real. Like back in school again. I guess this is why we call it spin class and not spin shop. Ninety minutes of testing nerve, ligament and heart. We broke the test into one minute questions. Execute the correct response and move to the next. By question number fifty, most were battling fatigue as well as focus rapidly seeking escape. By sixty the testing advanced into another level altogether. At seventy what was once a picnic had turned to panic. By eighty, even with the light shining brightly at the end of the session tunnel, ten questions remained, the toughest ones of the day.
I believe that everyone recognizes the value in constant improvement, making small positive, consistent progress in the direction of their goals. Oh yeah, that was question three, what are YOUR goals? Why are YOU here? (number five) and my personal favorite of the day, are you willing to do whatever necessary to achieve those goals?
There was also an escape clause. Because with any test there needs to be rules. They were addressed with what I think was appropriate drama and I will repeat them here, as we have the space and time to accommodate. There are only three.
YOU CAN QUIT AND GO EAT PANCAKES ANYTIME YOU LIKE.
YOU CAN QUIT AND GO EAT PANCAKES ANYTIME YOU LIKE.
YOU CAN QUIT AND GO EAT PANCAKES ANYTIME YOU LIKE.
The testing is never over folks. It will go on as long as we are in the game, in class, rocking and rolling, seeking, searching, training, racing, living. The very gerunds of life.
Everyone passed today's test. We significantly increased our ability to withstand pressure and to remain calm under stress. We are stronger. We did it together and we walked away with greater confidence and healthier hearts. Congratulations.
Next quiz is at 0730 tomorrow morning. No pencils necessary, same rules apply.
YOU CAN QUIT AND GO EAT PANCAKES ANYTIME YOU LIKE.
Friday, October 19, 2012
This changes everything. Again.
A world champion age-group long-course triathlete has been suspended for a year for taking illegal substances. I have raced against this guy. He is good. He has set age-group records in three categories. He has been doing this for a long time. How long he has been receiving legal prescriptions for testosterone is now the subject of debate. He is 58. At 58 things are supposed to slow down, not speed up. Growth hormones can dramatically effect racing performance, mostly through shrinking the recover time between training sessions. The hormones enhance muscular repair.
My initial reaction to this news was like listening to a Mitt Romney speech. SNOOZE. Really, who cares and so what. Just go away and take your lies, cheating and deceits with you. I like to compete, and yes I like to win, but the importance to me is in the process, I like the quality of the now. Honesty and integrity are crucial elements for long-term success. I want to look in the mirror and see the face of honest effort and challenge met, rather than the facade of doubt and the dread of being exposed. I can't imagine living with that burden. Can anything be worth that price? That cost? Victory is the only thing? Baloney.
Training with purpose, respecting the process, embracing the challenge and working to be your best is it. The road is the goal. What happens in competition is secondary. I am in competition with me not with you. That is my race, and it will go on forever.
Once all this was processed, I chuckled with the irony that I should be flattered. That a 58 year old grown man feels that he has to take drugs to compete with me.
Other things in flux: We have spun our Lemond Revmasters into the ground. After six years they have passed their utility and are being replaced. Not phased out, but replaced. They have served us well. Thank you for the many, many miles and equal amount of spinning smiles.
The new kids are Keiser M3s, bikes with which I have had the pleasure of riding at Avalara for a year now. They rock. Real wheel, belt drive, and data including power. They are up-town and sexy. The radical difference between RPE and absolute power is like night and day. There is a learning curve but if there is one standard we can apply it is that change is good.
And this changes everything. Again.
Keisers in action in the Avalara corporate spin room.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Thoughts on the way home. Kona is over. We're out. By most objective measurement, and perhaps even some subjective, it was a successful trip. The sub categories of that measurement, of course, create the detail. And we all know who lives there. In our sport, it is all detail. Working as a manufacturer's rep at the most prestigious and important event of the year gets one as close to the action as one can get without actually experiencing the dramatic extremes of racing Ironman. We mix it up pretty tight with the pros and share a precious part of the path with the age-groupers. Having worked Kona since 1998 I remain unconvinced as to which group appreciates our product(s) more. The pros respect our performance related dependability because it has a direct impact on their financial security while those in competition with others in five year age brackets happily see mercurial increases in the single overall determining ranking factor: Speed. The synergy of a podium result by increased biking power is what we do. It is our calling card. A detail that, although seemingly as obvious as lightening, and about as subtle as thunder, often gets missed. Speed through power.
The truly beautiful thing about this foundational truth is in it's relativity. I was watching last night at the awards banquet, how the top ten in every age group demonstrated a metamorphosis of body shape. The 18-21 group, although fast as all get-out, carried the classic traits of youth, musculature still in formation, building, gaining mass and tone. Into the prime years, 30-34, the complete package appeared Vitruvian-ish and close to perfect. After that the inevitable decline began to show. The relativity is in the detail. No matter what your age, and regardless of past success, the power you are able to sustain for a test (a race) will in most cases determine its outcome. And that power can be improved upon, enhanced or polished. All you need to add is the desire to improve and the motivation to engage. Yes, there is a cost. Sometimes we must sacrifice. It hurts. But if your goal is to get to the pointy part of the success chart, to stand upon the podium of champions, your journey truly begins at the end of your current comfort zone.
Step outside. Risk, in this case means leaving normal behind. It means saying goodbye to the middle. It means paying the price on the sometimes scary ride to the top.
This isn't for everyone. The magic moment when you decide to act, to commit, to reach, changes everything. We train 364 days of the year for one moment in the Hawaiian sun. This is the test. There are many routes that lead here, many roads to this Ironman superhighway. You will be challenged. There will be days that you will question your resolve. There will be blood. You will change.
Through all of this transition, the one crystal clear mental picture that is more powerful than any, is of that change from the ordinary to the superlative. You become the hero in your own drama. The image of you finishing the dream you started however many months or years ago, is a powerful answer to the "why" question. To stand before your peers, to be sincerely pleased with your performance, happy with the effort, and satisfied with the quality of the quest, is monumental. Your right to passage.
The thunderous applause from last night still rings in my head. I am re-energized and re-motivated to get this thing done. Again. They might as well call this the deja-vu flight as I often jot similar notes as we return from the Island Paradise.
It has been a long journey. It has been fun, it has presented a plethora of growth and challenge opportunity. It is far from over. I recommit again to training smarter, getting stronger and perfecting those pesky detains that have, to date, kept my ticket for the big dance, so close, yet a thousand miles away. The elusive victory. I'll be back.
Madame Pele, after a dozen years, witnessed the return of the rock on Sunday. A tiny bit of lava that I kept as a memento of my first trip to the sacred grounds. Another ritual. Somewhat sacrificial and partially superstitious. Myth maybe. A curse removed, spell broken? We shall see. Business done.
Details sometimes get a little extreme.
See you next year.
Pix: Maui from 12,000 ft. The curse of Pele, undone. Men's podium:
1. Pete Jacobs (AUS) 8:18:37
2. Andreas Raelert (GER) 8:23:40
3. Frederik Van Lierde (BEL) 8:24:09
4. Sebastian Kienle (GER) 8:27:08
5. Faris Al-Sultan (GER) 8:28:33
6. Timo Bracht (GER) 8:30:57
7. Andy Potts (USA) 8:31:45
8. Timothy O'Donnell (USA) 8:33:28
9. David Dellow (AUS) 8:35:02
10. Dirk Bockel (LUX) 8:36:21
Monday, October 15, 2012
All over but the cryin'. The 2012 Ironman World Championships is in the record books. Terrific show last night at the awards banquet. Congratulations to CompuTrainer sponsored athletes Pete Jacobs and Leanda Cave for their incredible performances. And to all the age-groupers, you have again motivated and inspired me for another year of training, racing and dreaming. The evening ended with the traditional highlight video and this posted mention on the big screen.
October 12, 2013. See you next year!
October 12, 2013. See you next year!
Friday, October 12, 2012
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Another beautifully long day in Paradise. Started down at the beach at 0630 as seemingly every athlete in the area was jostling for access to the swim start bottleneck known as Dig-Me Beach. It was crowded. Managed to squeeze in a photo-shoot with the Mojo rig on Alii Dr.
After that is was a quick cuppa joe and off to the Expo. As a result of Tuesday's footage review and some serious marketing projections, we decided that I could best use my time by capturing more footage, so off towards the Volcanoes National Park I sped. One hundred twisty, one-lane miles later I was navigating up the mountain with parted gray skies and tally light flashing red.
An amazing place, light, flora, volcanic floes, and a snaky, twisting, narrowing path that relentlessly arcs in one direction. The new cam was tested to the max, passing the big three with high-resolution, hyper-pixilated colors. The three thugs that test any shoot are:
1) Available light
2) Point of view, depth perception on turns
3) Response to rain
The 12 miles up Mauna Loa Road took 44 minutes. I will have more of the footage up tonight and you can see for yourself the results. But for today, here is a quick three minute sampler of Part Two: The Return from Hawi, South Point (as far South as you can get in the US) and The Volcanoes National Park and the summit of the ML Road. Hope you see what all the excitement is about.
CompuTrainer Real Course Video, not longer Triathlon only!
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Here is yesterday's sampler/promo/teaser/trailer of the 33 miles from the turn-off of the Queen K up to Hawi, the official IM turnaround, and back. Caught it on a good day for riding, light winds, light traffic and light available. Back to the Expo in 30 minutes, so gotta run. With a successful pitch this morning I might be filming the road to the Mona Kea volcano this morning. It's a 100 miles each way, but I think you will appreciate my efforts upon final render. Have a great day, aloha and mahalo.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
The expo begins immediately after the parade later this afternoon. We are heading down to set up and test run in an about an hour. Simon and myself ran from our house on the hill down to the beach at sunrise, he went with a client for a swim and I ran back up the hill and had coffee.
We had a nice discussion yesterday about coaching services and the myriad ways to promote. We talked about training packages, video, webinars, ConpuTrainer, racing, training, diet and recovery. We even talked, while I was putting the Mojo wrap on, about gradient compression and the many healthful benefits thereof.
At lunch the four of us offered further marketing and promotional ideas, comments and concerns. We added a few interesting component levels to the next RCV phase, the beta of which you saw last night. I am hoping that the model is efficient to get me to Europe next spring for filming.
We are also launching a daily CompuTrainer video piece that will debut later tonight. Each day for the remainder of our tropical assignment we will feature a CT FAQ, complete with commentary and video shot live during the day and mashed-up and uploaded at night. Sound like fun?
I don't mind going into sleep deprivation mode for a few days, so don't worry, we have been here prior and know the drill.
Take a peak at the Mojo website and use the 10% discount code. We are planning on location video of the rig with the Big Island scenery background. That might happen later today.
Pix: Couple of EOS shots as we filmed Alii Dr. last night. Your basic point and shoot. The van, the wrap, my card. 10% for starters.
Monday, October 8, 2012
And throughout it all, if I am correct, we are to maintain a stiff upper lip, keep calm and carry on. Right?
Hammering out my now traditional Kona hill repeats this morning, I was stuck on a phrase. REMO. It popped into my consciousness like a mackerel jumping out of the blue Pacific. There the comparison ends because the fish stayed airborne as I attempted to decode the message.
Leave your element?
By the time I had trotted down the hill (5:05) and started the trek back up (5:10) I think I had it.
REMO, RE-MO, with a hyphen.
Re-motivate, re-motivation. RE-MO
I was reminded of how mine took the last train to heck (in a economy class hand basket) immediately after it became apparent that my quest to compete here THIS YEAR had been derailed. And as much as I continued to train, there was simply something missing. I think you know what that something was.
The motivation to push. To get up and get out when things aren't perfect. To embrace the lifestyle more than the accomplishment. This ain't no bucket list. This is the real deal. This is me doing what I do. And without motivation, I am a fraud.
There is nothing quite like the yearly pilgrimage to the home of the World Championships. As early as 0600 the usual suspects were gathering to polish their campaigns. This is race week, the best of the best are here, from around out beautiful blue planet. The electricity is so thick you can cut through it with a dull spoon. I am here again, with very few exceptions, as doing religiously since 1999.
I get caught up in all the hubris and the energy of this magical locale.
It took me three hill repeats to get mt. REMO back.
And it feels great!!!!!!
Aloha from Kona, day one. Mahalo.
Pix: Remo starts with a fresh papaya and coffee, a block from Dig-Me beach with stark contrast in color, texture and hue. Day one, half done.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Night one back in Kona. Flight over was so smooth and uneventful that I felt like tipping everybody from the baggage handlers to the navigator. With the possible exception of the toddler that was two rows behind us doing a mean Adele screech for about two hours. Roger offered me a hundred dollars for my noise canceling headphones.
We have just ended our first marketing session with the results to premier (right here, as I negotiated an exclusive) Wednesday night. The concept is to film a daily session at the booth using the latest software, RacerMate One, as the point of emphasis, Roger on the keyboard, Simon as emcee, the RCVman behind the lens and a sponsored Pro, or high profile age grouper as in-the-saddle lab rat. We all like the idea.
Hope you will too.
We had a touch of evening marine layer tonight, as shown, so tomorrow's trip up the volcano is in jeopardy. We also pick up and wrap the Mojo rig and set sail down that promo road.
Lot's of athletes riding and running down the Queen K on the drive in from the airport. We are six days from the biggest race of the year, yet on a humid Sunday night the shoulders were strewn with Type A geeks trying to cram in one more ride or run. God Bless em all. I wish I had that decision to make.
Maybe next year. Heard THAT somewhere before?
Pix: Smallest heads in the air were not enough to raise my blood pressure and the marine layer from the front of our home for the week. Aloha.
Back again to one of my favorite places. Off to Kona for the 2012 edition of the Ironman World Championships. I have just now finished packing and checked the gear and expo list twice. Good to go. Blogging live from The Big Island will commence tonight after the five hour Alaska Airlines DIRECT flight (mahalo), a run to the grocery store and I am sure a run on the beach.
Stay tuned. The journey begins.
Friday, October 5, 2012
I trust that the phones are ringing off the hook at RacerMate HQ, After the Chicago 19N (ABC) piece yesterday, today we get some ink from The New York Times. This video segment on the Cadillac of indoor trainers, the VeloTron. Additionally the hosts use the high-tech ergometer to as a tool to incorporate their HIIT, high intensity interval training, protocols. Please correct me if I am wrong, but many of these have become bread and butter drills in our sessions. I suppose that playing the "if you only have twenty minutes" card is a decent open, but come on people, even you in The Big Apple, really, you can cut only 20 minutes from your busy schedule for the most important activity of the day? REALLY?
Out of 24 HOURS every day, you can find only 20 MINUTES to improve your body, health, fitness and vitality?
Something out of balance here. Seriously out of balance.
Maybe the addition by subtraction example from yesterday should be examined, again.
Please look (examine) your schedule and see if you could carve an additional few minutes a day for exercise. Do a pie chart if you like, or itemize, or build a spread sheet, whatever works. Here is mine from yesterday as an example*
0500 - Rise and shine cowboy
0630 - Spin class
0800 - Shopping for veggies, protein shake
1000 - Training by Power session, 2x20
1200 - lunch, lentil soup and brown rice
1300 - Edit video
1600 - Visit Junior
1700 - Indoor Time Trial
1800 - Watch twenty minutes of SC vs Utah at the club
1900 - Burn expo video to DVD (in the can)
2000 - dinner, baked tofu with black bean and garlic sauce
2100 - Start Kona packing prep
2130 - Post TT video
2200 - Yummy old vine Zin, Unberto Eco and out
* So much for balance.
Twenty minutes? REALLY?
Thanks to Tony for the FB link to the NYT.
Thanks to Tony for the FB link to the NYT.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
View video here.
As we put the finishing touches to the K12 CompuTrainer Expo Video for Ironman week in Kona, this gem of a TV promo was sent our way for approval. Comes from the fine folks at the ABC affiliate in the Windy City and depicts the Train Chicago Studios CompuTrainer indoor experience nicely. As an editorial footnote, it always makes me happy when somebody says "Cool, I've never been to Utah" when setting up to ride the IM St. George RCV. More than happy actually.
If you happen to be one of the talented and lucky folks traveling to the Big Island of Hawaii next week, please stop by the CompuTrainer booth and say hello. As well as running the aforementioned video on an endless loop for ten hours every day, the entire week, we are also offering a free FTP test. This for family, friends and those yet to qualify. One's functional threshold power number can be one of the most effective and practical ways to increase your speed on the bike, which we know from over thirty years of testing and training to add significantly to your chances of success over the 140.6 miles of your chosen IM. We do this with such confidence that we offer a money-back guarantee. If you don't improve your FTP by 10% in six months, we'll GLADLY refund every penny of your purchase price.
Heck, those of you training in our center have witnessed more than that in just six weeks!!!!
Bottom line, dear friends, it to make whatever you do, however you train, effective. We used to say train smarter, not harder but even that axiom is subject to change, as we now think that BOTH are necessary. Sometimes MORE is better. Sometimes not. More intensity and less distraction a case in point. Less sugar, more miles another.
We discussed this peripherally in this morning's 2x20 session. You are unique, no one else has your combination of DNA, chemistry, persona or your exact FTP. We need to relentlessly test, see what works, discover what combinations create metabolic enhancement. Maybe the most important variable is to test the addition by subtraction theory. Much as we guarantee power improvements I can also promise increased fitness through a better nutritional strategy and an objective analysis of your current truing regimen. And please try to pick stress reducers that aren't quite so toxic. Testing and training, you could start today, it is very easy.
Perhaps most convenient of all is that you don't need to travel all the way to Chicago (or St. George) to get an FTP test.