Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What Really Creates Success...For Me (IM CDA Race Report)

I don't think that I need to say that Ironman Coeur d'Alene didn't go how I planned this last weekend.

I think that a lot of times we look in the wrong places for success. I think that instead of admitting we need to change something within the big picture, we'd rather place blame on something that is out of our control and not our judgement, choices and patterns.

The training that I executed going in left me with life best numbers across the board.  4k swims in 50minutes, 112mi rides under 4:50 and 20mi runs under 2:05.  All were very common in the last 6 weeks of training going into the race... So no excuses as to whether or not I was fit. 

Mentally I was up and down heading into the race.  My last training block threw me under the bus big time.  Not because of the training that I had completed, but because I underestimated the amount of recovery needed from the sessions I was completing. It's one thing to plan training for someone else, it's another to integrate it into our own training.

A summary of this race is easy.  I was tired going into it and felt it from the gun. In addition, I didn't have the mental capacity to make up the difference when things got really tough. Though hard to admit, it was the truth...


If i look back on my "better" Ironman performances, this is what I see in relation to my training. Keep in mind that this is over 10 years and 23 Ironman starts.  

The next statement comes from something I read a few months ago and basically it said this:

"When looking for success through comparing, we tend to look at differences.  Instead of doing this, try looking at similarities.  You will have much better results doing this."

What do all my "better" Ironman races have in common?  I had someone giving me guidance and coaching...

IMWI 2003 
Following Gordo Byrn closely and using his ideas as my guide. 10:35 got to Kona as an age grouper in my first real try.

IMWI 2007 
Mark Allen Online lead by Luis Vargas. 9:38 and 57minute PR on this course.

IMCDA 2008
Switched to the power/pace based training with Kurt Perham at Personal Best Multisport Pro Coaching  and finished 10th in 9:26

IMWI 2010
Completed my own training, but used Bobby McGee as a sports psychologist.  Finished 5th in 8:55

I ultimately believed after each one of these races that I could take what I had learned and integrated it on my own...  So why didn't it work? Hard to put it on any one thing, but here what having a coach kept me from doing or gave me.

#1 - Kept me from getting into my own head when things were not going well.

#2 - Trying to beat the training.

#3 - Having an objective eye to keep me from doing too much or not recovering enough.

Having an analytical mind is a great thing...except for me when it comes to my own training.  Carly gave me a great quote when I asked about why she thinks she succeeded at the level that she did.  Here is what she told me:

" I didn't think, I just did..." 

In other words, the coach is there to coach you.  Whether it's as a psychologist or someone writing training, they have a job to do and it's in our best interest to let them do it and do what they say.  I believe that many of us could benefit from taking a page out of this book.

So long story short...instead of being reactive from this race, I am moving forward being proactive for the next one and my future. I'll be moving back to getting a coach...and back on track!

Sometimes admitting we can't do something ourselves and making changes is just what we need to be able to do it...


On a separate note relating to this race. I want to thank everyone who gives me support, especially Carly. Supporting, spectating, doing it "with me" is not an easy task!

Thank you to The Fletcher's for a great homestay, as well as my athletes, friends and family who sent me a hundred (literally) messages. 

Also thank you to my sponsors of Trek Stores of Madison, KSwiss, Saris, Powerbar and TYR.

See you all soon...

Monday, June 20, 2011

A note from the coach...

First, congratulations to everyone who has raced over the last few weeks.  In addition to racing well, we have had some great moments out at the races.  There was no shortage of this yesterday when we spent about an hour joking around under our tent in the thunderstorms. In addition to coaching, the camaraderie and support is what helps us gain strength and confidence. Whether this comes from your triathlon team or your family team, it's a key component to success.  There has been no shortage of this and I have seen amazing growth amongst all of you, both as a team and on individual levels. Whether you live in Madison or elsewhere, it has given me great satisfaction and reward to be a part of such great gains.

As we move into the heart of the season, it's important to remember to keep a bit of balance in our lives.  The season is a long one and triathlon is lifestyle that will last for a long time...as long as we keep it at a level that fits our lives.  It's easy to get wrapped up in results, and boy have we had some great ones, but remember that it's about more than winning for ALL of us. Whether it's about a healthy lifestyle, a distraction from work, finishing your first race, proving something to yourself, getting to Kona, or perhaps turning Professional down the road, it's an individual sport.  Challenge yourself, measure yourself against YOU and remember that the number one goal, regardless of your reason for racing, is to enjoy it. Triathlon is a choice.

We all have setbacks and we all know that training and racing never go perfectly, yet many of us have a hard time remembering that perfection is not what it's about; perfection doesn't accomplish goals and is not what creates memorable performances in most people's minds.

Not all of you are sports fans, but many of you may know that the U.S. Open (major)golf tournament took place this last weekend.  You may know that a 22 year old Irishman by the name of Rory McILROY won by a record 8 strokes and broke 12 separate records throughout the weekend.  What many of you may not know is what happened back in April.  He was leading the Master's golf tournament (another major) by 4 strokes going into the final round and had a meltdown. He lost 14 strokes to the eventual winner in that one round alone and went on to finish tied for 15th.  He took a lot heat for it, people said he was too young and that he needed more maturity before he could handle the pressure that comes with leading AND winning a major golf tournament. What did he do? He lapped the field this last weekend and overcame what could have been a career changing blow to his confidence.

THIS was a great performance.  Not because of what he did, but because of what he overcame. You can call it the bounce-back factor, you can call it overcoming a hurdle, keeping perspective, or rising to the occasion. Whatever you call it, remember it and keep it with you.  Triathlon is no different.  Those that accomplish their goals, those who finish and those who win are those who can accept the setbacks and stay focused on the bigger picture.

So take this to your next race.  When those confidence demon's try to creep in, shut them out with perspective, with knowing that perfection is nothing more than a mirage on the horizon. Enjoy the process, enjoy the people, take in the environment and enjoy the opportunity to be doing something that you love.

Friday, June 17, 2011

1 Week To Go...

I haven't posted in a while, mainly due to the fact that I have been extremely busy with coaching, training and life.  All is rolling along very well.  Instead of posting my training, I'll just write a summary for everyone.

I had been seeing PR's in the pool regularly over the last month, but they hadn't yet come through on the bike and run....UNTIL this last weekend.  2 weeks out I typically put in a 4ish hr ride with a 2hr TT at the end.  This is a good session when I can really gauge where I am at.  Let's just say that I was pleasantly surprised.  2hrs later, I had put out a 5+ watt  PR, as well as PR'd (by time) the IMWI loop by a good 2minutes in training.  The next day, a bit tired, I got out on the run found the same thing... a season best long run of 1:45 which I finished with several uphill miles at 6min pace at zone 3 HR.

Now I have started to rest and training is a bit hit or miss, but on a general level, the body is getting stronger and stronger as the days have gone by.  Now just one more mod-long ride today and some tempo work this weekend and it's go time.

I am looking forward to getting out to a place that I love, FINALLY getting to "race" this season, getting to see Carly after a 4 week break and assessing where I am at before I get set for a very busy second half of the season and the all important IMWI.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Training Ending May 29th

This was probably the best week of training of 2011. Some very tough sessions, that all went really well.  I now have a solid amount of recovery in between my key sessions as I head toward my first big races of 2011; Ironman 70.3 Kansas and Ironman Coeur d'Alene.

Monday - Big 4.5k swim today and easy 90minute spin.

Tuesday - 160km total today with 4x10min over geared FTP+ climbing, 90minutes at IM watts home. Short run off the bike. OW Swim in the evening.

Wednesday - Recovery run and 4.5km LCM swim

Thursday - 16km run with hill repeats. 4km in the pool and easy evening spin.

Friday - Race sim day.  180k (NP 270w), rode IMWI course today and 60min off the bike.  Exactly 15km through moderate terrain.

Saturday - 3km LCM swim

Sunday - Madison Half Marathon. 7th overall in 1:15:30.  Lack of warm-up made the first 10k a bit slow, but ended well.

4 weeks to go...