Thursday, August 19, 2010


Sometimes it takes an injury to be able to take a step back and remove your head from your own ass.  It's a small price to pay in the big picture.  I had that moment today during an ocean swim and memorialized in on my camera.

Ironman Kentucky, I'm coming, bum hip or not.  I'm giving it my best even if I'm a hobbling train wreck in the end...and I can live with that.

I'm not counting myself out of the race.  I just can't run now, and maybe not next week.  Maybe not up until race day.  But I'll swim hard and hammer the bike.  Then maybe we can all just keep our fingers collectively crossed that my body stays intact for the marathon.

Right now I'm down the shore for two shows during the 7minds reunion.  Have not seen a few of these guys in years and it's great to be playing together and just relaxing with a few beers.

Life's too precious to get all bend out of shape over the unexpected.  Just expect it and you'll move past it quicker.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Relish Vulnerability

Fear is the easiest state of being.  It is the most natural, the truest native experience of homo sapien.

The default setting of our psyche is to stay hidden, veiled, thus avoiding a need to decide between the fight or flight mechanism. Simply rising to that conflict involves the intimation of courage.

Training is difficult but does not engage the mechanisms of fear that accompany the prospect of peak performance.  Training there is always the spectre of tomorrow.  Never the absoluteness of today.

Some where along the line we start looking for a way out as race day leaves the periphery and takes full command of our awareness.

I wonder if I truly am too tired to train sometimes, to take it to the next level.  Instead, am I not just afraid to actualize myself, step out from the cave and embrace vulnerability?  Because through the same window that we gaze at catastrophe, we can also see victory.

 Relish the chance to be destroyed and broken down till there is no shell remaining.

That is how winning is done:  finishing what it is you've chosen for yourself to do.

Play with the deck stacked against you if all you can do.

Win or loose.  Just don't  bitch or offer excuses for not stepping up to the plate.  Let today be the day.

Friday, August 13, 2010

5 Steps

1) Denial and Isolation

I haven't blogged in days.  It's a fact, check the dates on my posts.

Why?  I've isolated myself from having to admit to the truth.  It's easy to deny.  It was just a slightly sore hip after a 21 mile run with some tempo at the end.  A slight tweak in the wrong direction.  It was nothing.  It will be gone tomorrow.  It's nothing ice can't fix.

Ok, two days of pain.  No big deal.  I'll go get some massage and ART therapy.  Fix it up in a jiffy no big deal.

There is no injury here.  Not after 8 months of hard ass training.

2)  Anger

What the fuck?  You stupid fool!  The last long run and you blow it.  You felt a little pinch at mile 19 and you should have stopped!  When in doubt leave it out, right?  You know this but you didn't listen.  You thought you were invincible.

There goes my whole season.  There goes all I worked for!  I hate myself for blowing it after everyone was so supportive.  Only an idiot would injure his hip this close to a race!

3)  Bargaining

I will never push it that hard this close to an Ironman again.  I will go to church on Sunday if I wake up without the pain in my hip.  I will dedicate my race to Sister Theresa if I show up injury free to Kentucky.  I will skip my run workouts this week and everything will be ok.  It's only fair, right?

4)  Depression

What's the point of even trying?  I blew it.  I'm a failure.  I've let everyone one of my sponsors and supporters down.  I invested everything I had in this year and my big race I'm going to be a limping fool 2 miles into the run.  This is a sport for athletes, not screw ups like me.

5)  Acceptance

Almost every elite athlete will battle an injury.  Not only that, he or she will battle it at the worst time possible.  There is no good time!

It happened.  I learned from it.  I am doing EVERYTHING I can to fix the problem.  Lots of rest.  Lots of ice.  Lots of ART therapy.  Lots of happy, healing Buddha thoughts.

People in this world have come over much harder odds than me.  I'm really very fortunate just for the opportunity to toe the starting line and I'm going to give it my best regardless if I'm 100%.

This is the moment that tests one's mettle.  So I might have to taper a bit harder than was planned.  Adaptability is the great athlete's trademark.

This race is going on, injured hip or not.  Good or bad, I'm in it.  Life goes on.  This is just a part of the adventure.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Northwave Tribute

The Northwave Tribute has exceeded any and all expectations I could throw at it.  I'm pretty demanding on my shoes, maybe a bit finicky.  The Tribute was a nice suprise.

Easy On-Off:  The Tribute has a really snazzy top velco system that allows you to position it in a loose and receptive position that will stay.  Even after the mad barefoot dash and leaping on the bike and pedaling a 1/4 mile or more I still find the shoe ready for my foot.  The pull strap on the back is much better than other tri specific shoes I've used because of its angle, much easier to grab.  Pops off in a jiffy.  T1 just got easier.  The top velcro also is big enough to really 'hug' my foot and allow maximum power transfer. 

Stiff Sole:  Fiber glass and carbon fiber composite.  Super stiff and light. 

Heel Cup:  I really feel this external cupping.  Creates stability for foot in a way that I believe aids in solid power transfer.  It keeps my form effecient even as I'm powering with ragin cadence and biggest possible power.

Ventilation:  Nothing could be worse than putting your wet feet into a shoe and having puddles soak your feet for 112 miles before a marathon.  The ventelation system, which actually starts at the toe tip, keeps your foot in good shape.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Not So Fast...

Sometimes we suck.  Our heart rates are through the roof and we aren't moving.  We hate life, exercise, etc.

Today was one such day.  I didn't hit my pace marks during my speed work at the track.

But circumspection is needed when trying to gage one's fitness by using speed/time over a period of months.  There are a great deal of variables to be taken into account at any given moment.

So before you go hurling yourself over the nearest cliff when the slow bug gnaws off your legs, take a second and look around.  Maybe things aren't so bad

Topography:  In March I was consistently averaging 20mph on my 100 mile + training rides.  This August, I was averaging 18mph.  Did I suddenly start to suck at cycling?  I hope not.  I hope the drop in speed has something to do with the fact that in March I was in Florida and now I'm in North Jersey.

A quick call to my training partner in Florida and a check on showed me something startling:  in Florida a 100 mile ride had about 600ft of total climbing.  My last 100 mile ride in NJ had 6000 ft of climbing.

(This is the perfect case for using a power tap, which would, in fact, give me objective data all the time, but, alas, I can't afford one right now.  Oh well.)

Temperature and Humidity:  You are not going to run PR times when in a sauna.  Just look at professional marathon times when compared to the temperature.  Every Boston Marathon they always put that graphic up on the television telling the average times based on how hot it was.

So in the August death trap, don't be surprised if your speed work turns into a death march.

My coach, Ryan Grote, is very big on making sure I 'don't get to high, get too low'.  He makes sure I move on after a bad day and don't dwell.  This advise is easy to understand yet hard to employ.  We love to self loath.  But sometimes circumstances trump your speed/time expectations.

Get over it.  Try again next time.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Heat Advisory Pt 2

Previously I wrote about the importance at training in the afternoon heat.  Particularly during these wonderful July and August months that accompany heat advisories from various authorities.

The reasoning being that in Ironman, marathons are run in the afternoon heat, and, if we are lucky enough, the afternoon heat of lava fields in 100% humidity.  The previous post might have come off a bit brash.  Something in the order of:  when warned to please stay indoors and check on the elderly, run 20 miles.

I'd like to stand by this verdict but a word of caution should be noted.  Today's experience was a reminder of the precautions and self awareness needed to safely execute such dumb ass training.

I ran 8 miles at a moderate temp today.  I didn't quite fuel up properly and dumbly dumped approximately a 3rd of my water bottle on my head by mile 4.  Only 4 more to go, right?  It's nothing.

Well by the end of the run I was counting my right foot falls.  Must have done it 1000 times!  I was woozy and dreaming of that water.

I still kept my tempo up and finished around a 7.15 pace but I knew I was very close to danger zone.  Actually, I was in it.  I walked straight inside, filled my water bottle, and walked into cool (not cold) shower full dressed.  Even after that the world got a few shades grayer and I nearly hit the deck.

So a little humbleness goes a long way.  But also, I've gained valuable insight into my body that just might keep me out of the medical tent at IM Louisville.