Monday, August 30, 2010

The importance of goal setting...reminder

Two weeks ago I began a "Train just to Train" phase of training in which my goal is to continue to rehab my achilles tendon while maintaining base fitness in preparation of November 1 when I will begin the real training in preparation for the 2011 season. Over these two weeks I experienced first hand why it is important to set goals in training. Two weeks ago I hoped to begin this phase of training but I did not set any specific goals for the week. The result was not good. I rode my bike once, lifted weights twice, and did no other training except for my PT exercises six times. Nearly every day something came up and training took a back seat. I know this is probably the case for many athletes out there but this is not how I have operated over the past year and a half. Over that time training has never taken a back seat. When things came up that interfered with training I always had a plan to fit the training in. Jen and I communicate early in the week what days may be busy and I plan the schedule around those. By not setting any goals I set myself up for a bad week of training. I kept pushing it off the schedule and the result was basically another week off. I knew I could not continue to do that if I want to gain some fitness during these weeks so this week I set some very modest goals...swim two times, bike 100 miles, lift three times...etc. The result was much better. By having those goals I made sure I got on the bike 5 days riding a total of 120 miles. I also swam three times, lifted three times, and did my PT regiment 6 times. The PT exercises are going really well. I'm doing single leg hops with the leg I had my surgery on. I'm also doing some plyometric hops off of stairs. I was allowed to run 10 minutes last night and it was my best run since March before I started having problems. I kept waiting to feel some pain in the tendon but it never came! I was super excited about this progress. The plan is to run 10 minutes every other day this week not so much to gain fitness but to get my achilles ready to slowly increase the running in hopes it is ready to go 100% by November 1. Setting goals ahead of time forced me to make a training plan so I could fit all the workouts in. Jen and I went to Rockford, IL for the weekend spending some time at a water park. I brought the bike with and got a ride in while we were there. Without the goal of riding five times I think I would have left the bike at home. I rode 43 miles on Sunday at 22 mph average. I hadn't ridden that far in 4 weeks. It felt great to be back out for a semi-long ride. My goals for this week are similar to last week but I hope to swim 3 times instead of two. I had a great massage from Laurel Darren on Thursday and my swim afterwards felt awesome. I always feel really smooth in the water after a massage. If you are winding down your season or getting ready for the next remember the importance of setting goals for yourself. Hold yourself accountable for hitting those goals. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Super Mom, Super Weekend

I've been on a break from training for the past 2 weeks. What I've taken for a break my wife Jen has made up for with her own performances. Jen decided to do the "Triple Crown" this weekend. We started things off by driving to Camanche, Iowa where she would run a 5k on Friday night. She won the race, running 18:30 and picked up another $100.00 check for her efforts. On Saturday morning she entered our hometown race, the legendary Le Claire Tug Run. Jen didn't expect a lot of competition at this race and said she would use it to "recover" for her last race on Sunday. She won the Tug Run by almost 3 minutes in just over 19:00. She was actually 3rd overall including the males. On Sunday we teamed up in the Du State Duathlon for her last race of the "Triple Crown". Jen would run 2 miles, I would bike 15 and then Jen would run another 2 miles. This was a race Jen signed up for as a relay long ago thinking I would be competing as an individual. I had won the race the past two years. This past week I said I would be her teammate if Laurel Darren, her registered teammate was able to find another good runner. Laurel did just that allowing Jen and I to team up together. Jen came in off the first run in 5th place and I put the chip on and headed to my bike. Uh-oh, I hadn't even bothered to check where I racked my bike. I was lost in transition in one of the smallest races I've ever done. That is a good reminder to always check the placement of my bike by counting racks. We were taking turns watching the kids while the other competed and I didn't do anything for a warm-up. This would be my first workout in 2 weeks and I knew it was going to hurt. I also knew it would be fun being on a team with Super Mom. Once I located the bike I got on the road and started pedaling hard. By about 2.5 miles I was in the lead and my legs were on fire reminding me they didn't like racing after sitting around doing nothing for 2 weeks. This race is the toughest bike course I've ever raced on with 4 really big climbs. I typically climb very well but I wasn't on this day. I was able to open up a pretty big gap with the fastest bike split of the race by nearly 3 minutes. I was about 20 seconds slower than last year. This was actually a pretty big confidence booster for me. Last year I was as fit as I'd ever been and this year I felt as un-fit as I've been in quite some time. To be only 20 seconds slower was a good reminder of how much I've benefitted from time in the weight room. That is the only consistency I've had in my training through this injury. Jen finished off the run with the 3rd fastest split on the second 2 miles and we would win the relay competition completing her 3rd win of the weekend. We took this silly picture in our sweet Du State Du hats after the race. It was a lot of fun watching so many locals compete in this event. Congratulations to Judd Allbaugh on his overall win in the individual race. I've crossed paths with Judd out on the bike quite a few times this year and I know he has worked really hard. Also congratulations to Team Tri-Fit member Luke Cooley for his runner-up finish. He has improved a ton over the past year. Finally it was really cool watching one of my 8th grade students, David Zimmer finish 12th overall. David has a really bright future in the sport if he continues to work really hard. Most kids in my class couldn't run 2 miles, let alone do it twice with a tough 15 mile bike ride sandwiched between the 2 runs. His first run ranked 4th and his second one ranked 12th. I was really excited to see him compete so well. Congrats to all the finishers who did this event.
Today I began a new phase of training that I'm not really used to. It's too early for me to begin hammering away when my next race isn't until May 7th but I also can't keep sitting around doing nothing so I'm beginning a "train just to train" phase in which I'll try to gain some general fitness without putting in big hours. I'm going to start with 10 workouts this week (2 swims, 5 bikes, and 3 lifts). I'll add 1 swim to that in the coming weeks so I'm swimming 3x a week. My plan is to start the real training on November 1 when I hope to be at 17 workouts a week. My achilles is feeling better but is still slow healing. I've begun to do some impact exercises that should get me closer to being able to handle the impact of running. Ironman St. George remains the goal. Congrats to Jen on her 3 awesome runs this weekend (4 if you count both in the Duathlon). She's had an outstanding summer and has now won about 10 races. She's awesome and I'm lucky to have her support. She's constantly told me she would give me one of her good achilles if she could and I believe her. Finally, I never posted pictures of Payton running the Junior Bix a few weeks ago. Last year when she was 1 she finished last in her heat and got beat by some kids in the next heat as they were yelling at me to get her off the course. This year she trained up and down the hallways and ran loops around our island in the kitchen proclaming, "I train for Jr. Bix!". From the pictures you can see the results were nearly identical to last year. We're still proud of her for putting in the effort to prepare. Dream Big!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Suffering...Closing the Chapter on 2010

In a recent interview with pro triathlete Andrew Starykowicz he asked me to define "suffering". It as something I had to think about to come up with a definition. It seems pretty easy to know when you are suffering through a workout or a race. You get to that point when it becomes very difficult and the body begins to really hurt. It's much harder to define. Some days in training my goal for the workout includes suffering a bit. This is mostly the case when I do interval workouts. I intend to suffer for the last bit of the intervals and then recover on the easy periods before putting my body into suffer mode again and again. Suffering is never in the plans for a long ride. Sunday I had my own experience with suffering and it didn't take me long to know it was happening. I'll back up a bit. On Monday I began the week with a goal of getting a lot of miles in on the bike. I didn't put a specific number on it but I was thinking 400 for the week perhaps. I decided after my achilles hurt during a workout last week forcing me to run the 2 mile Quick Bix instead of the regular 7 mile as planned that I was going to stop running for awhile. This would give me more time to ride and swim. Monday was a good 50 mile ride and then Tuesday morning was 40 more. My plan was to get a 30 mile interval workout in Tuesday evening. I picked Payton up from daycare before noon and took her to Happy Joe's Lunch buffet in Le Claire and within an hour of eating my stomach was not happy with my decision. Not only was my stomach going crazy but I had a bad headache, body aches, and I was super tired. No more workouts...I suspected food poisoning for the 2nd time this year. Wednesday was awful. I slept 12 hours and felt terrible. I was totally wiped. Thursday morning was more of the same so I went to the doctor and had the food poisoning confirmed. He said it would hopefully run its' course in 48-72 hours. He was correct as I began to feel better on Thursday night. I decided I would resume training on Friday. I swam and biked 40 miles Friday and just felt pretty weak but my stomach seemed much better. Back to my Sunday ride...I left the house at 6:00 a.m. hoping to get in an 80 mile ride with 3 hours in the middle of alternating 10 minutes easy followed by 10 minutes at tempo effort. I did this for 2 hours in a 60 mile ride last Sunday and loved the workout. I began the 3 hours of alternating efforts 6 miles into the ride and I felt decent. At mile 20 I knew it was time to begin refueling with fluids and my Ironman Brew. My stomach did not like this at all. It was like I was filling it up but it wasn't digesting and my stomach grew fuller and fuller. I began dry-heaving with each drink so I stopped drinking. It was super humid as evidence of the huge fog patches I was riding through scared that cars wouldn't be able to see me. Right about mile 50 I felt the suffering setting in. My power numbers on the tempo periods were falling fast and I knew the lack of calories from not drinking was starting to catch up with me. I abandoned the tempo segments and just started focusing on finishing the ride without having to make a phone call for Jen to pick me up in DeWitt, IA. I was sweating so much I knew I needed to drink so I did...and it came right back up. There's nothing like puking on the bike while traveling along at 20 mph. I knew this wasn't good. I also knew it was a sign to put an end to this disastrous 2010 campaign. I was in full suffer mode and I just took one pedal after another until the ride was over. I didn't feel like eating for about 5 hours after the ride.
After the Bix last weekend I ran into local triathlete Derek Radosevich who is preparing for Ironman Wisconsin next month. Derek gave me the lecture that I badly needed to hear about letting my body heal. He reminded me that I only have 1 more year on my pro license and I'll never get to race professionally or realize my potential if I don't heal my tendon now. He was 100% correct. The more I thought about it the more I knew what that meant. I have to take a break now and see if my tendon will get to 100% so I can begin training how I need to if I want to make a pro podium next year. If I wait to take my break I may delay the long break it will need and that could disrupt my training and racing next year. My hope is that I have no trace of an injury by November 1 so I can begin to rebuild my running mileage up towards 65 miles a week in preparation for Ironman St. George which is in Utah on May 7th. So with that I'm putting a close on this disastrous year that started out so promising until mid-March. It's tough to accept how difficult this year has been for me but I know it will make next year all the more enjoyable if my tendon ever heals to 100%. I trust that God has a plan for me and there is a reason for keeping me on the sidelines this year. For now I'm thinking about St. George every day. It will be my 1st professional race, my first Ironman, my first marathon, and I'm also dreaming it will be my first appearance on a podium in a pro race. Although the 2010 chapter is finished this journey is far from over. I have to give lots of thanks to Jen for hanging with me through the tough days this injury has brought me. She always has a great way of putting things in perspective for me. I'm blessed to have a great family and a fun job teaching kids.I'm looking forward to meeting the new 8th grade crew next week as we begin another school year. Watching Payton grow up is a blast and Owen is just getting to the age where he responds to so much. You can see there is a lot going on in his little mind. I recently asked Payton what her dad does for a job and you can find her response in this video I shot on my new i-pod nano. videoI never wanted something as high tech as the nano but sweating through workouts lead to the failure of my last 5 i-pod shuffles. Thankfully I had the Geek Squad protection plan and they gave me free ones each time the shuffle malfunctioned. After the 5th one was destroyed I decided to upgrade to the nano since the nice salesperson informed me they have a protective case that is sweat proof. Hopefully the sound turns out okay since this is all new to me. He sure smiles a ton and still awakens me from my sleep with his bellowing "Young Warrior" cries often. I also have to thank the sponsors that have stuck with me through this injury. It means a lot to me that they haven't given up on my abilities to handle adversity and come out of this stronger than ever. "The road to greatness is never flat." Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!