Saturday, September 26, 2009

Make it Count

For most of us triathlon season is done. Fall brings a little more time to do whatever it is we weren't doing all summer while swimming biking running, racing, and traveling to and from races. Off season activities for some may include:

~cleaning closets and cupboards
~attending Oktoberfest and sampling German beer
~tailgating at college football games
~picking apples and pumpkins
~vegging out on the coach doing nothing
~even continuing to train like crazy when its not necessary

Insert your favorite! All are quite honorable off season activities the midst of re-grouping, and re-charging it is good to take some time to think about the past season. What worked, what didnt, as well as what next year's ideal season would be. What can change to make the season better. Lets face it we spend an enormous amount of time, money, and energy training. Sacrifices are made by family and friends. Instead of going through the motions in workouts, training, thoughts about goals, make it count.

Some of what I've learned about goals comes from my Dad, (Coach Freeb) Cheryl Hart sports psychologist, and Thomo. I spend a lot of time writing great workouts for my athletes, encouraging and pushing them along, and want to see that they can do everything possible to achieve what they sacrifice, time, money sleep, sore muscles for.

Setting specific goals for your season is an effective way to increase the likeliness improving performance and achieving the desired outcome. Just thinking about some goals and keeping them to yourself, or talking amongst yourself inside your head likely doesn't make it real enough. The best thing you can do is write it down and share it with someone who cares as much as you do about your goals. It makes it real. Real enough to help:

~get you out of bed at 5 am on a cold dark morning
~lift weights even though you despise the thought
~push yourself harder on an interval even though it is hurting
~complete the workout or test set

insert what your least favorite/ you know what it is!

Fear is what holds athletes back from writing down their goals, or sharing them with those who care and will help. Being chicken and scared of failing holds us back. I've been there, it can be scary to find that your friend partner or coach may laugh at your goals. But really who cares. Get over yourself and set your standards high, write them down and share them with a coach, training partner, husband, mom or whoever is your greatest supporter.

If you are an athlete of mine, get to thinking about next year and what you want; I'm coming after you on this no excuses this year! If you're not, I still encourage you to set some goals and share them with someone!

In the meantime, enjoy some off season fun tailgating, sleeping in, buying Halloween candy, or saying yes to the night out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My 360 deg. weekend tour

Straight from Portland OR
360 Deg!
Cheering on State St.

Back in March my brother Mike called me up and asked if I wanted to go see U2 in Sept. The opening night for their U.S. "360 Deg. Tour" was at Soldier Field on Sept. 12th. This is his wife Jen's birthday and he wanted to make it a surprise. We are all very big U2 fans, and actually even know all the pre-Joshua Tree hits! The good stuff! I was in for sure. I don't get to see my brother that much, he lives in Portland OR and I had to be in on a surprise like this. They also have never been to Chicago. After agreeing to this and checked the calendar, I realized it was Ironman weekend. Hmmm. I would have to just drive up race morning for this one.

Mike is a High School football coach for Clackamas High School, so they literally flew in Saturday afternoon and back out early Sunday morning because of Friday night games and Sun. afternoon coaches meetings. I picked them up at the airport and we headed straight in to the city. Jen had no clue where she was headed for the weeks leading up to her birthday. In fact even at the airport she still didn't know where she was going until Mike showed her the concert tickets at the gate to Chicago.

I am not a big concert goer (although this was the 3rd time seeing U2). I don't love huge crowds, traffic, or standing in the midst of a bunch of stinky people bumping into me, but I was soooo excited for this, to see my brother, and to pull off such a cool birthday surprise. I was just as excited for them to see some of Chicago and it was such a perfect day. We parked near the Hilton on Mich Ave, and walked through Grant park to get to Soldier Field. We had just enough time to buy t-shirts, grab a Guinness in honor of Jen's birthday and it also seemed very "Irish". The stage and concert music and everything was phenomenal! It was sooo much fun.

Leaving Soldier after the concert was about as tough as waking up at 4:30 the next morning. All 80,000 people leaving at the same time through the gates was a nightmare. It took quite a while for the pedestrian traffic jam to break, we didn't have open sidewalk until almost back at the parking garage. There were so many people, walking out. The steps of the Field Museum were packed with people who had sat outside listening to the show. Luckily the roads were clear and once in the car we didn't stop once until we were home. I crawled into bed at 1:30 with my alarm set for 4:30 to get them back to the airport and be on my way to Madison. When I woke up, I wasn't sure I was going to make it to Madison. I felt so tired and haven't pulled those kind of hours since studying for anatomy exams in PT school. But I knew they HAD to get to the airport and so I figured I'd pound a few gallons of coffee and I'd be fine. I started thinking about the athletes I knew racing and that I wanted to see them and that woke me up a little more.

I drove through a bunch of fog and darkness on my way to O'Hare. It was barely light when I left them curbside, but as I drove towards Madison the fog started to break and the sun was coming up. It was absolutely gorgeous and I was starting to get that nervous excited feeling I get for those I know doing Ironman. That got me the rest of the way there. And by 7:45 I was in Madison hooking up with my friend Deb who lives up there. We headed to Verona and parked it on the hill and waited for all the athletes. We had a great spectating spot on that nasty hill after the hard left. It was warming up, and especially got hot once the athletes started going by. I was cheering like crazy with not much of a voice left after the concert. Its interesting see the expressions on athletes faces, climbing the hill. Hmmm try not staying aero on this one! and...maybe shift up one and it won't hurt so bad! Some athletes were smiling and just glad to be there, some had that look of what did I get myself into! and others were just all business! 2nd time could tell who had either......gone out too hard, or not prepared well enough!

We headed into town for some lunch, I hit the coffee shop for more, and some food. I hadn't had anything real to eat in 24 hrs and was going down! The STarbucks guy was nice and gave me a little extra in the iced coffee, and we were on our way to State St. to cheer on the runners. I took too much time getting coffee and didn't see Adam start the run, but everyone said he looked great. I saw so many friends and fellow MSMers go by, they all looked great! I think there were like 20 racing! The day started getting long and I was starting to worry if I'd make it home. I had to drive solo back home, because of work and a dog.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

R. A. F

Since Chicago I have been participating in R.A.F. Random Act of Fitness.

Adam uses this term to describe the weekend warrior types, who go for it on the weekends,or short periodic bursts of training but are slugs by the week. Train then rest, rest some more then train like crazy. Its a funny term and makes me laugh. Now I feel like I am part of the R. A. F. crowd. A few bouts of exercise here and there. Mostly I just want to be able to wear a swimsuit in Hawaii because I want to go surfing.

I have been enjoying extra time the past week or so, but unlike last year still have the motivation to go out and do something. Simon says (ha ha ha) take another week easy, and do only what you feel like.

So since Chicago my training has consisted of:
* a few easy runs, some with Lucy the golden girl dog. She is always up for a run, no complaints. No Ipod, no watch just out enjoying to run.

* 1 trip back to the personal trainer. This hurt. Just 2 weeks out of the weights, and I am sore from the easy stuff. The pictures doesn't show me out pulling the sled like a football player through the grass. Now I'm walking down the stairs like I just did Ironman. This just reinforced to me how weak I can get if I don't stick to the weights! Note to self, don't tell Mark its too easy.

* 1 ride on the cross bike after dusting off the cob webs and dirt from last year off. On this ride I had with me 2 6 year olds on their bikes, and 2 Ironman athletes doing and easy run. We had 1 pit stop to pull thorns out of a mini skirt, 1 lost streamer, and lots of talk about Ironman race strategy.

* Lots of walks to and from Jack's school. I literally have enough time in the a.m. to walk him to school, then walk fast / jog back home to get in the car and drive to work just in time to see the first patient. Its worth it to walk, once the nasty weather comes, I"m sure I'll be in that car pool line.

* I even managed 1 swim. Kristin, (pro from Norway) is staying with us. She needed a ride to masters, Adam was biking so I opted to go, knowing it would force me to swim a little because who knows when I'll be motivated to go swim again this off season. It was quite nice though to just slack in the back of the lane and observe all the nervous looking Ironman athletes.

Breaks are good. They let let you re-charge the brain, and body and leave you motivated to get back into it. Being part of team R.A.F is fun for now, but I don't see it being a long lasting relationship.