Monday, December 26, 2011

Commitment...Beginning 2012

Midnight on Monday marked the kickoff to the 2012 triathlon season. My younger brother Josh joined me for "Midnight Madness" this year to help me get the season kicked off. After 5 weeks of eating like crap and exercising at a minimum it is time to turn this sorry state of a body back into a race ready machine. My goal in the 5 weeks off was to get into terrible shape. It sounds kind of funny huh? For 57 weeks I punished myself on a regular basis to get into the best shape of my life and then I flipped the switch to off-season with a goal of getting into terrible shape. I've always believed that improvement from one year to the next lies deeply in what you do in the off-season and the most important thing to do in the off-season is to get into bad shape so you can build the body back up systematically through the tearing down and repairing process of training. In order for the tear down and repair adaptations to take place at a greater level I think it is important to start with nothing. I am there right now. The numbers don't lie. The day before Ironman Arizona I did one of those blood pressure machines and my heart rate was 50. My blood pressure was 98/58 which was the lowest I can ever remember it being. The highest I ever got my heart rate during the most intense bike intervals all summer was 158 beats/minute. Last week my resting heart rate was 81, my blood pressure was 131/66, and I did some bike intervals last Tuesday night and my heart rate hit 179. My weight for the race was 155 lbs. and today I tipped the scales at 172 lbs. I am out of shape. Mission accomplished. Now the fun of getting back in shape begins. I always love this challenge and I'm confident the race results in the summer will be better because I allowed myself the time to repair itself of all the training and racing trauma suffered last year. Today as a nice wake-up call with a 5 mile run (my first run since Ironman), a 45 minute bike ride, core work, weight lifting (1st since Ironman), a 5,000 yard swim practice with our high school team, and push-ups and more core work this evening. I am sure to be sore this week but sorness is a sign of muscles being torn down which is what I want. When you begin to get over the sorness it's a sign of the body adapting to the workload that caused it to tear down.
I decided to read a book to help get me started in 2012. It is called The New Dynamics of Winning. The author is renown sports psychologist Denis Waitley. Last year I started my year by reading one of his many other books called The Psychology of Winning. I'm about 100 pages in and one of the topics that has stuck out to me revolved around "commitment". Commitment is not just about putting in training hours. It is about how my entire life revolves around my goals. I could train like crazy but continue to eat like I have the past 5 weeks and I'm certainly going to have a terrible year. I have always felt like I'm very committed to my triathlon goals. This year I'm hoping to reach a new level of commitment. My family will always come first and my job will follow. Outside of those two things I plan to be 100% commited to being the best triathlete I can be. It's a tough road to follow. My time is mostly taken by my family, job, and training. Beyond that it is difficult for me to have much of a social life when I am training hard for my goals. I've often debated this it worth it? Is it worth not being able to go out with friends on a Friday night because I don't want to face the pressures of drinking and eating like crap? I would say most people should not give up their social life for the sport of triathlon. It would be quite normal to do a workout with your buddies and then meet up with them afterwards for food and drinks. I can't do this however. Because I'm already spending so much time away from the family training I can't justify to myself spending more time away socializing. So there is the big it more important for me to be focused on triathlon in the way that I am or should I say enough is enough and go back to enjoying life outside of family, work, and training? I'm commited to at least 1 more year of finding out how good I can be in the sport. I guess that means I'll miss out on social events for one more year. I wish I had the talent to have it both ways but I simply don't. I knew guys in college that could go out 3 nights a week, eat like crap at every meal, and still perform well on Saturdays. I was not blessed with that set of genetics. If I want to be successful it means I have to be commited to the sport in other ways beyond training. When this journey is all finished maybe I'll look back and decide it wasn't worth the commitment...maybe not. I'm one of five male professional triathletes from the state of Iowa (6 after Adam Bohach gets his pro card). 3 of the 5 are married. I'm the only one with children. I'm also the only one who has a full-time job outside of triathlon (although Adam will be joining me in that feat). Being able to balance family, career, and triathon with success in all three is what Live Uncommon is about. We hope that busy moms, dads, students...etc. can all find the time to stay healthy and active. Between my family and career I don't have too much other time outside of training. I plan to be more commited than ever this year because I don't want to finish this journey with any regrets. In the book Waitley mentioned how legendary PGA golfer Lee Trevino said "commitment" to him meant not calling a day of practice until his hands were callused and blistered from taking so many swings. Commitment was staying out until dark hitting golf balls while his fellow PGA friends were in the clubhouse drinking beer. I know there aren't many things in life you get to be fully commited to...due to my situation the only way I can be fully commited to triathlon is to give up some other things I would enjoy. I made sure not to miss any of those opportunities over the last 5 weeks because I knew once the season started my commitment would be back to becoming the best triathlete I can be. I'm looking foward to climbing the ladder in 2012. Thanks for following. Make this year your healthiest ever! Challenge yourself to do something you never thought was possible. Be commited to your goals...DREAM BIG!


Thomas Gerlach Professional Triathlete said...

Commitment is what is all about. You will succeed where you teammates failed. Best of luck in preparation for the 2012 Season.


Thomas Gerlach
Professional Triathlete

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Aaron Maurer said...

I received a copy of The Psychology of Winning in high school. It was a team read for my basketball team and each week we discussed a chapter. I still have the book and actually read it every season of coaching basketball. I will have to read the book you are reading. I will add it to my massive TBR pile. I look forward to continuing to watch your journey as motivation to keep on my own path of training.

Jeff Paul said...

Thanks Thomas! You had a great race in Arizona! Sub 9 hours had to feel great. Enjoy the offseason and the work moving into 2012. It will be a great year for you.