It's pretty hard for me to believe I'm typing 35 in the title this week. My how quickly the weeks go by. It's even tougher for me to believe how short a 9 week high school season sounds to me now when I used to think it was a long time. It always amazes me how quickly some of those kids can get in shape. If I had 9 weeks to go from 0 to 60 I think I would be in BIG trouble. Week 35 was a great one. I biked 200 miles, swam 13,000 yards, and ran 59 miles. I am still lifting weights 3 times a week along with doing jump rope, lunges, push-ups, speed drills, and strides. My training buddy Adam Bohach and I like to bounce ideas off each other. We're both self coached and competing at a very high level...he is coming off a 2 hr. 26 minute marathon. We are both doing Racine 70.3 next weekend and we will both finish our year off with an Ironman in the fall...his in Hawaii and mine in Madison. We also both love to train like crazy. The best things we can remind each other are the importance of rest days to allow our bodies to adapt to the training we are doing. I knew it was very important to not go crazy in the weeks following my training camp. I wanted to allow my body to adapt to that crazy week of purposeful overtraining. I have cut my training time the last couple weeks to between 24 and 27 hours. Everything is really starting to click right now exactly how I wanted it to as I enter the last 10 weeks of my training/racing year. Really the first 35 weeks was all about getting my body ready to perform well over these last 10. I couldn't be more confident as my big races of Racine 70.3, Steelhead 70.3 and Ironman Madison loom on the horizon.
The importance of self-confidence is a topic I've addressed often with teams and athletes I've coached. In my opinion it may be the most important factor of racing well. Confidence is faked all the time and fake self-confidence rarely ever works. Kids I've coached often tell me they are ready to run well in big meets but you can tell they are just trying to stay positive and convince themselves they are ready. For self-confidence to be effective there must be a deep inner belief...no doubts about it kind of belief that a great race is going to happen. It cannot be gained from a single "fire them up" kind of speech. Real self-confidence takes time to establish. It can be gained from great races leading up to bigger ones. It can be gained from great workouts. A combination of both is often effective. It can be gained from believing in the plan and then sticking to it. As I approach my biggest races of the year my confidence is at an all-time high. My workouts over the last 2 weeks have gone better than I could have written them up. I am swimming better than I ever have thanks to help from Stacey Zapolski. My last two races have been great swims. I have also benefitted from doing open water swims once or twice a week with Adam. We work on leading and drafting each other as we navigate through courses we lay out on the lake. It's been very helpful. I believe I can keep the gap to the leaders under 4:30 compared to 9 minutes I was behind exiting the water in San Juan. I think I can be 3:00 to the main field instead of 7 minutes in San Juan. The Xterra Vendetta also helps me a lot compared to the non-wetsuit swim in San Juan. I am biking at a level I never have. My body has adapted to the volume of training camp and now with a lower volume I'm getting good quality intervals and my favorite ride which is our local Wednesday night group ride that always turns into a hammerfest. I am running workouts better than ever. Today was 10x 800 meters with 90 seconds rest under the warm sun at Augustana and I got faster on nearly every one starting at 2:37 and cutting down to 2:30. Last Friday was a progressive 6 mile tempo run in 34:22 that I began at 6:00 for the first mile and cut down to 5:18. I'm averaging 62 miles/week over the past month and my body has adapted to that volume very well. I was at a good friend's wedding in Cincinnati over the weekend and I ran 19.5 miles in hot, humid conditions on Sunday and it felt awesome. What I gained confidence from was not the run but how fast my legs recovered. On Monday I wasn't a bit sore from it. I rarely ever train with a heart rate monitor but last week I put it on twice just to check in. The first time was for a workout on the track where I also brought my bike trainer. I did 12x 3 minutes on the bike at 270 watts before jumping off to run 400 meters. I ran them in 76 seconds and the highest my heart rate got was 152. It mostly stayed in the mid-140's. During a very difficult bike interval workout Saturday morning before I took off for the wedding my heart rate maxed out at 142. I don't know a lot about heart rate but I know that's much lower than I was for hard workouts 5 months ago. I also know that on my minute easy periods it would drop from 140 to 115 which also showed me how fast I recover during workouts. I have had complete trust in my training plan. I know I'm ready to race faster than I ever have in the past. Now it's a matter of getting to the starting line without anything crazy happening which is why I got worried when I rolled my ankle pretty hard on my cool down today. It's going to take something like that or a flat tire to keep me from my best race ever next weekend in Racine. My inner-confidence is real. As deep down as it goes I know I'm more fit than I've ever been before.
It has been awesome seeing the number of "Live Uncommon" shirts increase each week at Bix at 6. If you haven't been to the website check out http://www.liveuncommon.net/. It is an awesome initiative created to encourage active and healthy lifestyles. It's been so much fun to see people get excited about working out. Jen said she saw a quite a few new people in Live Uncommon shirts while she was at the Firecracker Run in East Moline on Monday. She won the 5k in 17:45 missing the course record by only 1 second. Super Mom is back! Last week I mentioned the importance of investing in one's health. Over the winter I ran into a guy I went to high school with. I barely recognized him. From a young age he struggled with an extreme case of obesity. He was the kind of kid who was wheezing when he sat down in class just from the walk through the hallways from his previous class. His obesity only got worse as he got older. He probably weighed near 300 pounds entering high school and I bet weighed about 400 last year. When I saw him I could tell he has lost a bunch of weight. I asked him about it and he said he has lost 100 pounds. He said he realized his life was going to be cut short and he wouldn't live to watch his daugther grow up unless he did something about it. He invested in a personal trainer and got a membership to Snap Fitness in our hometown of Le Claire. He said it was the best investment he had ever made and he was going to continue losing weight. That is what Live Uncommon is all about. Make a committment to be active. Not only are you doing it for yourself but for those who love you. If you have children you are setting an example for them that physical fitness is important. They see it and they grow up knowing that it should be part of the daily lifestyle. The reason I love triathlon is because of the healthy lifestyle that is required to see improvments regardless of ability level. It is all about a personal journey to fitness. Check out Live Uncommon and be an ambassador in your community or workplace by encouraging those around you to live healthy by Living Uncommon.
Speaking of Live Uncommon, while I was on my 19.5 mile run in Cincinnati I ran across the Ohio River into Kentucky and I went a few blocks too far into the wrong part of town. I had on a Live Uncommon jersey and I didn't think I was going to escape with it on my back. While running through what I will call a ghetto I began hearing people shouting to me about my awesome Live Uncommon jersey. Long story short is that the jersey looked so awesome they wanted to keep it and I had to drop in a sub-6 mile in the middle of my run to escape with it on my back. You can get your own Live Uncommon shirt at http://www.liveuncommon.net/
Thanks for reading. Keep working hard. And as always...DREAM BIG!!