I wanted this to be a huge volume week. I'm planning to take my first 3 day break when Owen arrives...hopefully sooner than later for my training sake but more importantly for Jen's sake and because I can't wait to meet this little guy. I prefer to train in phases, with a solid break ending each phase and I'm getting to the end of my base phase. My body adapts better to the phase by taking mini breaks such as 3 or 4 days off at the end rather than taking breaks throug the phase. My last day of no trainin was November 21. After the 3 day break when I begin my next phase I will be incorporating more race specific workouts. Speaking of workouts...I had a number of good ones this week. Tuesday's bike intervals were killer as always, Wednesday was a great track workout at Augustana, Friday was my longest run of the year at 14 miles and it felt really easy. On Saturday I participated in a charity bike ride to raise money for Haiti relief. It was a 2 hour trainer ride at Kaminski Pain and Performance Care. Thanks to all the riders who showed up to lend a hand for this great cause. We had a great time and a 2 hour trainer ride has never gone by so quickly! Dr. Kaminski has a really sweet new setup at his office. They just added on a great workout room with a projector and awesome sound system...a room big enough to fit 20 bikes. Saturday evening I drove to Glen Ellyn, IL to get a professional bike fit from John Cobb. Mr. Cobb is known as the best bike fitter in the United States. He has fit Lance Armstrong on many occasions and has spent more hours in a wind tunnel than anyone in the country. Check out his website at http://johncobbresearch.wordpress.com/ if you're interested in what bike fitting is all about. When he first saw me on my bike he said, "you're joking, please tell me you don't really ride in that position...it's gross!" After an hour of moving things around it is a total different position than what I was previously in. It is much more aerodynamic and I should get more power from recruiting other muscles besides my quads to help pedal. I'll post pictures next week of how I looked before the fit and how I looked after. The bike shop where the fit was done is going to e-mal them to me. I have to thank the director of TrainingBible coaching, Adam Zucco for getting me this fit. I had a great run with Adam beforehand and he definitely knows a ton about how to train triathletes from the beginner all the way through the professionals that he coaches. If you're looking for a great coach check out http://www.trainingbible.com/ On Sunday I got another great workout at the 4 mile Chili Chase road race in Davenport, IA. I placed 2nd in a time of 21:31...40 seconds faster than last year. Local road racing stud Ben Lloyd won the race, beating me by 20 seconds in an effort that he made look extremely easy as I slowly got further and further behind over the last 1.5 miles.
Last week I was reminded of the inspiring stories that got this entire journey started...they are the stories of so many that made me decide to leave coaching and chase this dream of finding out how good I can be in the sport of triathlon. When I was coaching I was inspired by watching countless kids go from average (sometimes below), to good, and then to great. I watched kids who ran over 20 minutes for 5k as freshmen become all-state runners by their senior year. I saw other kids persevere through injury set-backs only to go on and become all-state runners or in some cases state meet record holders. They inspired me to take this leap of faith on my own journey. Last week I was inspired by another young man who I didn't coach...nor is he a runner. He is a swimmer. I first met the young man named Matt as a student in my American History class as an 8th grader. Matt had a terrific attitude and was a hard working quiet kid. Matt also happened to be quite a bit over weight...I'm sure he was clinically obsese. Last year Matt was on the swim team and I saw him swimming when I worked out with the high school team. He was in a lane slower than the one I worked with but I could tell he was improving and working hard. I also knew Matt was beginning to lose some weight. Matt improved through the season to where he could swim under 7:00 for 500 yards by the end...which really impressed me given his size. This past fall I was swimming with the Stingrays youth club team and noticed that Matt had joined. I hadn't seen him in quite some time and when I saw him he had lost quite a bit more weight. He was swimming much faster and we were now in the same lane. I joked with him about how his mom must not be letting him eat because of how much his body had changed. Fast forward a few months to the high school season...when I began to workout with the team and I was swimming in Matt's lane early in the season. He was still improving a lot. He was leading the lane I was in and it was starting to blow me away by how much he was improving. Along with his improvements Matt was still shedding the pounds. In one of their early season meets before Christmas Matt swam the 500 in 5:46...okay, now I was really blown away! That's 25 seconds faster than I've ever swam a 500. By the end of Christmas break Matt had moved into the next fastest lane and I was no longer able to swim with him even when I tried to draft on his feet. Matt's times continued to drop and I found out last week that he swam a 5:16 in the 500 at the district meet! I was immediately inspired. More inspiring than his time is how much he has transformed his body. He has thinned out so much it is just incredible for me to have seen the progression he went through. He committed to something, changed his body through hard work, and dropped nearly 2 minutes off his time in the course of just over a year. 5:16 is averaging about 1:03 per 100 and I know Matt could not have swam a 100 in that time when he began just over a year ago. Stories of that kind of improvement are what make me believe I can compete with the best if I continue to believe and work hard. Matt probably doesn't realize how much of an impact his story has made on me...but it forces me to DREAM BIG! It forces me to believe that impossible doesn't exist when you're willing to pay the price. Thanks Matt! DREAM BIG!