Monday, April 30, 2012
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
More on (and pic) Bob here from Pez Cycling News.Each year more than 700 cyclists are killed by drivers on our nation’s roads while another 62,000 are injured. In the United States, the total annual death toll inflicted by drivers averages in excess of 40,000 people. It’s the equivalent of two jumbo jets crashing every single week, all year long, every single year, or entire towns being wiped off the face of the Earth. Salem, Massachusetts last year; Hoboken, New Jersey this year, and Twin Falls, Idaho next year. Every single year. Former pro racer turned bike lawyer Bob Mionske.
In focus. Aware.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
Each runner is unique. You can only get so far as a runner by following cookie-cutting training plans. To become the best runner you can be you must master the mind-body connection and learn what works best for you. RUN shows you how to do that through the examples of mind-body running masters such as Joan Benoit and Haile Gebrselassie, as well as fascinating new research on the role of the brain in exercise. From Run, The Mind-Body method of RUNNING BY FEEL, by Matt Fitzgerald.
Mr Fitzgerald, whom I have often quoted here, is going to be quoted once more. This is a juicy one. Dealing with fatigue (again). Are you tired of this topic yet? No? Good, because it is absolutely critical that we come to grips with what it entails. Which, of course, for the long-course triathlete, marathoner or century rider, is everything. We all know fatigue. As mentioned yesterday, we visit it often. I actually have a frequent fatiguer program available at nominal cost. Works like this: You come in, I add fatigue, you go home. Repeat three times per week (in most cases) and at the end of the FFP block, usually 6-9 months, you are rewarded with membership into the endurance club. Meaning, natch, that you can no go longer, harder, faster as a result of your choice.
Choice, what choice?
You mean, to do or not to do? To face fatigue or quit and go to the bakery? To grow and adapt or slowly lose what we thought we once had? Simply say yes or no?
Exactly. And here is Matt's juicy quote on the subject, just so you know this is his extrapolation and not original thought on my part:
"Fatigue is essentially a choice."
Please allow me to repeat that with a larger font.
"Fatigue is essentially a choice."
That is so large. XXL. Fatigue is a choice. You can choose to understand and embrace (and then endure and sustain) or you can deny, succumb, misunderstand or plead ignorant (and subsequently slow down, quit or seek validation elsewhere.)
He further suggests, and here we start to merge thoughts, that once this premise is accepted, practice soon ensues in order to perfect. We can actually get better, masters even, at the art of fatigue. We practice the push past part. Dealing with the physical manifestations, we know as pain, suffering, intensity and physical discomfort. Because we realize, through this training, that this is the only way to acquire the return on our training investment.
In other words, if you want to run long and slow forever, please continue your practice. If, however, you want to go faster, go longer, achieve your race goals, burn more fat, and actually feel some race day glory (which means more than a medal and a cheap T), we must meditate on Matt's mantra long and deep.
The next time you hear ol man Fatigue knocking on your door, practice some tough love, and DO NOT LET HIM IN. That is your choice. IT IS YOUR CHOICE. Yes or No?
Lastly, my friends, a little goes a long way at this intensity level. If you can hold him off (ol man Fatigue) for just a little while longer, ten seconds at 500 watts, one minute at race pace, or five miles at marathon pace, it is tough love well spent.
Try it and see. Yes or No?
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Answers to this morning's music memory quiz:
Touch of Grey
And please remember that fatigue is a choice.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I stop at the Safeway after our Tuesday and Thursday morning class to grab whatever sundry items are missing from my bodega and to buy a protein drink. After our challenging 'Four Bills' session, I was wandering the perimeter searching for quality, organic, healthy and on-sale foods (try it sometime if you need additional frustration in your morning), when I came upon a touch of chaos in the wine department. Seems the boys are doing a re-set, moving all the fermented grape to allow the installation of new flooring. That is my guess anyway, I didn't spend a lot of time getting official confirmation. Adding sadness to the frustration was the carnage created during the move. Shown is $22.95 of Pinot Nior that has ended it's cycle in a somewhat less than celebratory fashion. My Italian grandfather used to say that it wasn't an authentic Italian gathering unless there was some spilled wine on the tablecloth. I am now sure what he would say about this. Gentlemen, please be careful!!!
In case you are wondering what exactly the Four Bills protocol is, I will detail here:
Five minute warm up.
Seated 400 watts (four bills) for 30 seconds.
Seated light resistance spinout (default) at 120 RPM for 30 seconds.
Add 1 gear, one RPE unit, 50 watts per repeat.
Get to 22 (Keiser), RPE 10 (LeMond) or 650 (CompuTrainer) and then reverse (descending values) until 60 minutes has elapsed.
Visit Safeway for protein smoothie.
In between sessions today (we'll repeat the protocol this afternoon using "Three Queens" power - 300 watts), I will press ever onward and upward on the pizza oven project (now known affectionately as the POP). Both dome archways are in and I have finally found suitable flat iron for the facade arches and oven door frame. If I can finish her by June it will represent bringing it in nearly ten months behind schedule and almost four bills over budget.
Time and cost like spilled wine. Can't cry over 'em. Salute!
Monday, April 16, 2012
My memory of running Boston in 1997 is all positive. I REALLY wanted to go three or less and in failing by 18 minutes, decided that a silly thing like time should't detract from the experience. It was great fun, every minute, every mile. I remember the Wellesley girls lined up a dozen deep screaming non-stop for the two minutes it took me to pass their beautiful campus. I remember finally hitting downtown and seeing the crowds watching and waving, as if I was a parade Grand Marshall, sometimes waving back, sometimes managing a smile, always surging forward. I remember thinking that Heartbreak Hill wasn't so bad, until a mile past it when my legs turned to yoghurt. I remember the final 100 yards on the blue carpet and I remember the finish, the final steps and then the stop. The refresh, the recovery. Ten deep breaths and some leg stretches. Then it was over. Water, a bagel, a banana. Looking for Dad. 3:18.
They are doing it again in Beantown today, for the 116th time. I want to go back again one day and try again, even though now I would be trying to break four hours instead of three. The marathon hurts. Yesterday's half hurt. Ironman hurts. I accept this as part of the price one must pay. I guess it keeps ya honest. At about the half way point yesterday, my right hip flexor was sending neuro-texts indicating extreme tightness, this as my calves and ankles signaled advanced fatigue. My heart and lungs had already surrendered to the grind yet mind was strangely calm. You might say I hurt all over. It was the flow of go.
I remember hurting all over in Boston and thinking that it was one of the greatest feelings one could have. Fatigue. Exhaustion. Effort. Output. The physical price you have to pay. It is unlike anything else, that feeling of success, of completion of accomplishment, of non-quit. You can almost see your soul smiling. It is as alive as you can get.
I still think that to be true and I can't wait for the next run.
Congratulations to everyone who qualified for Boston and ran today. I'm proud of ya!
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Always a chance to get something done when it's so nice out. This helps.
Saturday was our weekly 90 minute spin in which we stretched out the intensity and sincerity via the infamous Double Shot protocol. TWO tunes standing followed by a multi-tasking high cadence sit. Multi is used to represent the duality in a simultaneous recovery from AND prepare for, song. It is work. But, and this is where the magic is pulled from the hat, you get used to it. You can actually feel yourself adapt to the stress and duration, with a very measurable point in the sit song that designates the transition from recovery to prep. It is like seeing your shadow on a sunny spring day, "There it is." Good stuff, and most welcomed.
Later Junior and Michael dropped by for a trail walk to the beach, a little catch in the park and a chili burrito. Junior is honing his baseball chops to the point that a few of his tosses put that old and familiar sting back in the palm of left hand.
This morning we carried the Toe Jam torch into year 32. The field was down slightly from last year (a record six) to just Ironman Bob and myself. Made no difference to either as the 13.1 rugged miles were traversed with relative ease, Bob staying on course this year and taking the TJ32 crown with a snappy 1:42 to my 1:45. As excuse du jour I will claim the four minutes spent in a rather convenient porta-potty at Ft. Ward, dealing with the remains of the chili-burritos.
Tomorrow is Boston. As I sit with muscles in full-on recovery, it is good to remember that this is part of that. If you want to run, run fast or run long, there is going to be some sacrifice. It is going to sting a little. It will not always go exactly as planned. There will be unavoidable stops. But we endure. We accept that the flow isn't always as swift as we had hoped, nor the outcome always jubilant. We learn little lessons along that path, adding to our stores. Trusting that one day, maybe, with any luck at all and with a boat-load of courage and consistency, all the lessons will provide a taste of victory.
Lesson number 438: When Junior asks for chili, that doesn't mean YOU have to have it too.
Pix: RG and me at Boston finish in 1997. Shadows on the deck. Junior at the beach.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Friday's are, as you know, my off-day. Not a day off mind you, but a day for rest and recovery. A day to allow the miracle of rejuvenation to unfold as muscles rebuild and mitochondria multiply. Towards the end of last night's final double-session I was feeling a little 'resistance' from one of the strings that bind the right ham together. Nothing major, more a subtle reminder that a day of R&R is both necessary and timely. It remains one of the great ironies of training that the actual gains are made as we rest, not while we labour.
In between sessions yesterday I continued cleaning Frankie's place. The plan is to get everything out and then make an assessment. Sell 'as is' or repair and hope to attract a higher price as fruit of labour. I moved a dresser and an old work bench from downstairs and loaded up the dishwasher that never saw the light of the kitchen, sitting under a blue tarp on the deck for about five years. I also thumbed through another box of books that are headed to Goodwill. Found a gem called Lists to Live By (second collection) by Grav, Stevens and Van Diest. You know I am a sucker for books and headed back to the cabin leafing through the compilation.
This one caught my immediate attention: SMART GOALS ARE:
I wondered aloud: Are they talking about us? It sure seems like the goals we are chasing in the HoM, with the CompuTrainer Multi-Rider and with our relentless pursuit of power (fitness or optimum health). They fit nicely into the SMART GOALS ARE category.
Tonight is Boy's Night in the HoM. Another set of FTP testing prior to the opening round of the Spring Stage Knock-Out Tournament. Twenty all-out minutes on the CT will specifically measure achievable and realistic goals as accurately timed by the CompuTrainer. There must an acronym for that.
Here is the trending to date on the Boy's being re-tested tonight:
Name First test Post MiM %Inc TONIGHT?
Tony 228 238 4.3
Garry 226 243 7.5
Jeff 250 284 13.6
Chris H 250 261 4.4
I was going to test tonight as well, but then I remembered the R&R principal and decided to go do a few meters in the pool instead.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
This was sent to me yesterday by a great friend, thought I would share the love a little.
A to Zen of Life.
Avoid negative sources, people, places, and habits.
Believe in yourself.
Consider things from every angle.
Don't give up and don't give in.
Everything you're looking for lies behind the mask you wear.
Family and true friends are hidden treasures, seek them and enjoy their riches.
Give more than you planned to.
Hang on to your dreams.
If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.
Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
Keep trying no matter how hard it seems.
Make it happen.
Never lie, steal, and or cheat.
Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
(Good) Practice makes perfect.
Quality, not quantity in anything you do.
Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
Take control of your own destiny.
Understand yourself in order to better understand others.
When you lose, don't lose the lesson. Excel in all your efforts.
You are unique, nothing can replace you.
Zero in on your target and go for it!
Here is something I have to add to this beautiful list. Take the three first letters of your name (or four) and string them together forming your daily mantra of things to be aware of and practice. Here is mine: (which just so happens to be completely appropriate, timely and of value)
Keep trying no matter how hard it seems,
Make it Happen, and
Love yourself. WOW.
Here is another, semi-randomly selected (just to make sure mine wasn't a fluke)
Hang on to your dreams, and
Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer. HUMMMM.
OK one more,
Believe in yourself,
Hang onto your dreams, and
Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values. YESSS
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
It's hard to say, really, what mental toughness is worth. We can't truly measure it, gauge its percentage or place a metric on it. But we know it is important. In that regard it's like trying to define quality. Sketchy at best. So today, after an interesting experience with both these nebulous isolates yesterday the time might be right to toss the double whammy. As in the Quality of Mental Toughness. Because you can be tough, and then you can be TOUGH. The difference is in the quality.
Additionally, we can improve upon whatever level of QMT we currently possess. Regardless if we are sprinters or marathoners, blessed with fast or slow twitch muscle fibers, or prefer anaerobic to aerobic events, at one point or another in every training session, race or event we will arrive at the defining moment. That pressure zone where we face an important decision. Go or no go? Sustain or diminish. Hold or slip. We have all been there. We have all faced this decision. We have all done the best we can. Or have we?
I think the best is yet to come. I am not talking about personal bests, records, times, victories, rewards. I am talking about going further than you did before. Perhaps ever. Holding a speed ten seconds longer, staying with a power number for five additional seconds, keeping in the moment just a little longer. Some call it the extra mile, and it is predicated upon you being able to up the quality of your mental toughness. This is not a beginners drill. This is advanced work. You have spent hundreds of hours honing your physical skills, developing muscle, adding speed, advancing your power to weight ratio, chasing a higher FTP. The next step takes you upstairs. To the attic of your race.
Ever hear about the percentage? That the mental part is 70, 80 or even 90% of the game. If it is that high, how come we don't practice it more? If it is that important, we don't we have a set of drills designed exactly to enhance it? Well we do, sort of.
Anything that challenges you to go a little longer, stay a little longer out of your comport zone, test your ability to sustain, to endure, is that.
It is also helpful to add the cognitive and supportive as motivators:
1) Quit the negative thinking. Quit looking for excuses to justify anything but your absolute best. Stop giving yourself permission to quit. Really, stop it. How? Next time you hear yourself trying to persuade you that you would be better off sipping a diet soda on some sunny beach somewhere, say this: (if you are a polite and demure person), not now, thank you, I have another two minutes on this hill climb. Or this: (if you are motivated by the banal, naked harshness of the real world), shut the fuck up you sissy and get your weak ass up the hill. With some practice you can be eloquent and successful without the vulgarities, but for now, if that helps, so be it, the world isn't all strawberries and rainbows, buttercup.
2) Visualize your success. See you as the you you want to become. We ARE doing this for a reason, are we not? What is yours? You want faster, fitter, stronger, longer or lighter? See you as that when the going gets tough. You have to go through this to get to that. This is the quality. This is the test. Practice this to get that.
Those two alone can make a huge difference in your QMT. A percentage of increase that adds to your growing acumen and motivation.
Try them and see for yourself.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
CompuTrainer Multi-Rider @ BAC
MYTHBUSTER NEWSLETTER NUMERO UNO:
Myth: The CompuTrainer Multi-Rider System is for elite athletes, advanced cyclists and Ironman types only.
Fact: At its essence, the CompuTrainer is a super accurate electric bicycle ergometer. That means that through advanced technology very precise measurements are taken, in real time, to provide the user with reliable and important data that is stored, displayed and used to build fitness and training programs to maximize one's limited exercise time. It makes no difference whether the users are novice or experts, veterans or beginners, racers or riders, fit or not. What we do is provide an enjoyable and valuable exercise experience to enhance one's fitness.
Myth: I have to be fast to use the CompuTrainer.
Fact: Speed is a component of power. Power is what we develop. Makes no difference whether you start with 1 watt or 100 watts. Power, and power to weight ratio, is all relative. YOU HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE. And that somewhere, my friends, is where you are right now.
Myth: I have to have a good bike to use the CompuTrainer.
Fact: You don't have to have a bike at all. Yes, it is one of the myriad functions to train on your bike, in your racing geometry, but if weight loss, or power gain is your primary goal, we have an assortment of bikes you can use to achieve amazing results. Once you are convinced that this is the real deal (and it is) you can upgrade or bring in your new ride.
Myth: I would be embarrassed or intimidated riding with accomplished cyclists.
Fact: I can say this unequivocally; We do not discriminate. We are here to support. You are on our team. Everyone wants you to experience the same thrill and motivation that at one point we all went through. We know how hard it is and appreciate your effort. There is something that you have, a smile, a laugh, a character trait, that you will bring to us reciprocally. I can also say that some of our greatest rewards come from watching and helping others get started and seeing their immediate gains and quantum improvements.
Myth: It is too expensive:
Fact: The CompuTrainer Multi-Rider System costs less than ten dollars per session. Want some perspective? A large pizza at the Tree House is almost $28. A new carbon bike at BI Cycles is four grand. Twenty bucks a week to tune your motor (so you can occasionally enjoy a pizza) is cheap. Ask your doctor.
Myth: I don't want to train with people I don't know.
Fact: One of the beautiful things about the MR System is that we can handle up to four people simultaneously, all training at very precise wattage levels that accelerate physiological improvement. Put together a team of your pals, your tennis partners, your golf foursome, your bingo buds, and call for an initial assessment. Twice a week we'll meet as a group and push you down the path to fitness.
Myth: I can't get to the Gym at 5am or 5pm.
Fact: Another beautiful thing (and yes there are many) about the CompuTrainer is its versatility. We can use the system any time the BAC is open, outside of Spin Class hours. That is roughly 16 available hours per day.
Myth: My butt will hurt.
Fact: Not as much as a heart attack, diabetes, or a stroke will.
Myth: You are too hard to contact.
Fact: 842.1099 is home. 360.674.8128 is my cell. email@example.com is my email RCVman.blogspot.com is the blog and CompuTrainer Multi-Rider @ BAC is our Facebook site. Those all failing you can leave a post-it note at the Bainbridge Athletic Club front desk.
Myth: I understand you are not a Nike fan.
Fact: I am not, however they once created one of the most successful ad campaigns of all time, of which I AM a great fan:
JUST DO IT.
Cool Nike commercial.
Cool Lance commercial.
Semi-cool CT MR @ BAC commercial.
Monday, April 9, 2012
The Monday Update:
1) Don't forget (how could you with that GIANT RED sharpie circle) around this Sunday, April, 15 at 1000. It's TOE JAM 32. Thirty Two consecutive years we have been running this monster half-marathon and we aren't about to stop just because there is no "official" event for us to run counter to. Although truth be known I always liked the idea of running under the radar as bandits!!! Start and finish is Bethany Lutheran Church on Finch Rd. If you plan on showing please use the comment feature below so I know how many trophies I would have had to buy.
2) We are under way with our FTP testing for the Spring Stage Knock-Out Indoor Cycling Tournament @ BAC. This just in: Tom at BI Cycles has generously agreed to provide a special tune-up service AND awards for this prestigious event. If you plan on participating you MUST go to the FB page and select one of the seven test dates. We did two this morning, with another pair this evening. Just click on the CT club jersey at left for instant transport to the FB site.
3) We have one spot reaming for the Tour of California trip, May 13-21. We have also added a couple of rides, the first being 40 miles from South of San Francisco to Aptos (the finish for ToC Stage Two) and the 33 mile loop around Crater Lake on the ride home Monday May 20. All it costs is your share of gas, food and lodging.
4) I made some serious progress on the PO (pizza oven) over the long sunny weekend. Today the cladding gets installed along with some dome finish bricks. We have hit the home stretch folks, it won't be long before we do the inaugural ride/run brick to celebrate. That's amore!
All for today, I simply cannot allow this ideal workout/workon weather to pass without progress. As mentioned this morning, we have worked hard, diligently and consistently all winter. The time has come to take it to the streets!
Saturday, April 7, 2012
One of my favorite sayings:
It is more important to me to be happy than to be right.
I do not have a compelling need or compulsive desire to be right about everything. Matter of fact, there are precious few things I am 100% right about. This is somewhat akin to the suffering idea. We know that life contains generous amounts of suffering. Once we accept that truth it gets easier. It makes it more palatable if we know what it is. When we train with intensity, or add duration, we know that, at one point or another, it is going to hurt a little. Maybe hurt a lot. We also know that the effect from this will cause growth. We will get better at it by repeating it.
Back to the track and more of the same.
Embrace what once induced fear. Accept the truth. Adaptation requires effort. Effort insinuates 'out of comfort zone' levels. Big gains come from big pains. There is no other way.
Further, I am NOT here to tell you that this is the only way. There are many paths. You can run like Forest Gump, swim like Tarzan, or ride like Lance. You can practice yoga, lift weights, swing kettlebells, zoo-zoo Zumba or split cinder blocks with your Chi. Do what you like. Do it with passion and awareness. Do it with grace and joy. And do it often.
It makes me happy to know that in this specific regard, I am 100% right. It may be the ONLY thing I am 100% right about. I have deep questions, big doubts and serious issues with just about everything else, making my take from all of this two-fold:
One: I need to have the patience and presence to allow others the freedom to choose, to practice and to live their lives as they see best, without judgement.
Two: I will dance to the beat of my own drummer. I will NOT be forced into something in which I am a conscientious objector. This is all-inclusive and self-evident. I gotta be me. It may not always be pretty, but to my own self, I will be true.
Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to just give up and follow. Just shut up and go shopping, watch TV and complain about the gays, or liberals, or blacks, or the cost of super unleaded. Be a NASCAR fan and justify my sloth somehow. Stay numb.
And then I think, sorry pal, you can't do that. Why not? And I hear another of my favorite sayings:
Once begun, better finish. You have things to do, missions to accomplish, goals to achieve. You took that first step. More steps may be painful but they are of great value. There is additional work to be done and nobody is gonna knock on your door and ask if they can do it for you. It is ALL you Bubba. Do or die. Whatsay?
And on that I am pleased to be 100% right. Which of course makes me very happy, completing today's full circle.