Archive for August, 2010

Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago. Bernard Berenson

Most of us are creatures of habit – I certainly am.  Repetition is the basis for habits, both good and bad.

A consistent routine allows you to relax and enjoy the familiarity, even in unfamiliar surroundings, like a new race venue or office setting.  I like to lie in bed for a few minutes, squirm and stretch and plan my day before I get up in the morning. Popping straight up when the alarm goes off starts me off in a stressful state that lasts all day.

Over the years I have also developed a very specific view as to how I should be training.  When focusing on a specific goal, the discipline to execute consistently comes fairly naturally.

Let’s parse this though.  The important part to keep consistent is “doing it”.  Working out in the morning before work, swimming with the masters team, Martinis after the Thursday ride.  These all could be important habits which come from consistency.

However, how we go about our specific training should be flexibly adapted to our current goals, ability to recover, other life stress and so on.  My personal pet peeve are those guys who run 5 miles 4 mornings a week and have been doing so for 10 years.  Are they getting better? The answer is no.  In fact with each day the training effect is less.  They are actually becoming less fit.  Is it better than sitting on the couch? duhh, yeah, but let’s all understand what this really does.

Right now, today, I need to rethink my training.  I know more about my body today than I did a year ago.  Recovery is not as quick any longer.  I have different goals and different life stress to manage.  How I train needs to change.  This is the place to be flexible and adapt.

My new habit will be: to consistently re-evaluate and flexibly adapting my training.

Rumors of my premature death have been greatly exaggerated, by me.

With partially cloudy skies, temperatures down 10 degrees and lower humidity, the ride today felt infinitely better than the past few days.  I ticked off a brisk 50-miler with my IOSDT teammates and truly felt great, like I wanted to go again (ok that is a bit of an exaggeration).  It would seem that my attitude has been duly adjusted.

This whole triathlon thing is very much about attitude and perseverance.  Someone should write that down and share it with everyone.

Bring on fall!

I am a cyclist: riding now for 30+ years. When it is no longer possible to hoist my keester atop for a spin, the end will not be far behind.

Swimming, is a recent adventure.  I literally learned how with adult swim classes in 2005.  The sensory deprivation and the rhythm within the comfort of the water can allow for a truly peaceful state.  Of course, all bets are off in open water, because that still scares the hell out of me.

Running, however, is not my thing.  I do it.  I try to love it.  I hang out with people who love it in hopes of it rubbing off.  I have all the cool accoutrement.  Last year I even had a run sponsorship from Under Armour.  How ironic is that?

The first few years I ran, my strategy was to run slowly, concentrating on building distance so that I could run the half or marathon in long-distance triathlons.  It worked.  I have completed all of the essential long races and am proud to be an Ironman.  But, there were certainly no records set.

My current strategy is: avoid signing up for long races (peer pressure is tremendous here); NEVER train over 8 miles; lots of run recovery time; and lastly, run like hell to get the agony over with.

In five years of running, the sacred “high” has almost completely avoided me.  But, with a few weeks in a row of proper training, no injuries, temperatures in the 60’s, no humidity, Carolina blue sky, a good nights sleep, no other life pressure, nothing rubbing or chafing, comfortable socks and new, but broken in shoes, I have experienced 2 to 3 miles of bearable pleasure, where I may actually enjoy it.  And, this, is precisely what keeps me coming back.


Posted: August 13, 2010 in Lyrics & Poetry

The world that was
is painful still
Fresh and present
free of will

Open the view
To something new
Quietly comforting
I still see you

A silent demarcation
Bangs me inside the brain
Thoughts of mine
Once were in vain

A new delivery
A new voice
Uncertain and timid
It is my choice

Jaundice and urge
No longer crowd the stage
blurry becomes crisp
and mellow with age

You Are The World

Posted: August 13, 2010 in Lyrics & Poetry

To the world
you are someone,
but to someone
you are the world.

Related Blog Posts:

Harsh Truth Vs Loving Lie

Object To Focus

Shoulding On Myself

Whatever The Mind Expects, It Will Find

“I guess I don’t mind so much being old, as I mind being fat and old.” – Peter Gabriel

The incessant heat of this summer is wearing on me.  Last night the heat index was 105 when we left for a “we are taking it easy, because it is so hot” ride.  This lasted about 20 minutes when the group shattered all over the road.

The fastest guys went up the road and the autobus formed at the rear with about 12 guys.  Three of us, with occasional help from others, took turns at the front all the way to the lake and most of the way back.  Each pull was tough and became shorter and shorter.  I don’t remember too many rides with sweat dripping out of my helmet and down my face for 1.5 hours.

Each time I took a turn, I would drift back and think that I couldn’t hang on to the end.  Each time enough recovery came, just in the nick of time, to catch the tail and hang on.  Toward the end the less experienced guys decided to start taking turns at the front.  One would be excruciatingly slow and the next would pull through and immediately crank up the pace 5-6 mph.

I’ll be honest, this behavior pisses me off.  Not pulling all day and then pulling through painfully slow, or worse, jacking up the speed, is just irritating.  Normally, I would have ridden up the line and told the guy doing this to slow back down to 25 mph or so and then resumed my place in line.  It may just be the heat of summer, but I can no longer rapidly increase effort from hard to crazy hard and then quickly recover.

Towards the end of the traditionally hard part of the ride, a complete rookie, with no water bottles on a 105 degree day, comes to the front and amps it up by 5 mph.  Where was this guy when I was taking 5 minute pulls?  I was out of water, dehydrated, beginning to cramp, frustrated, and I let the group go.  Perhaps I could have hung on, but didn’t.  I had simply had enough.

What is really pissing me off is that I am getting old – a few weeks from “the big 5 0” – OMG.  What if it’s not the heat and this is permanent??  AND…I have a bit of chub on my belly that I have never ever ever ever had before.  I am fat and old.  And, it all happened during the summer of 2010.

My apologies to anyone who has had to deal with me through this summer of “discovery.”

Hey, Did I Tear My Shorts?

Posted: August 12, 2010 in Bike Stories

About five years ago…sheez has it really been that long?……I was on the fast Saturday morning CSH ride with a very fun and experienced group, including my good friend Dick White.  If you don’t know Dick, he is a solid 50ish good ol’ southern boy who does not stop telling stories from the time you see him until he waves goodbye.  I have never heard the same story twice from him, because he makes it all up as he goes.

Dick can ride his bike well and has been doing so for a long time.  He is the perfect long ride group companion – safe, takes his pulls and is incredibly entertaining.

This morning the weather was clear and fall was just starting to take over summer.  We had already ridden about 45 miles of a 62 mile ride and just left the store in Wilsonville and headed North on Farrington.  It usually takes about a half mile to warm back up after stopping and we began coming up to speed in a single-file pace line.

Dick was in front of me and in front of him was a young Vet student from NC State.  She was/is a good bike rider, but I can’t remember her name.  You don’t always know what happens in these instances, but someone wiggled wrong and she came off the asphalt into the grass and tried to come back on the road.  As she did, she and Dick touched wheels and she went off into the ditch with a glorious flip.

I avoided the incident, but watched in horror as Dick followed her into the ditch and literally rode right over her back from right hip to left shoulder before tumbling over the other side.  Dick is a big guy and I was certain that she was going to be seriously hurt.  Before the group could even stop to check on her Dick hops straight up, looks right at me and says, “hey, did I tear my shorts?”, then looks down at his ass.

At this point I was thinking that she may have a broken spine.  Literally, she had a tire track, from her right hip to left shoulder, on her jersey and Dick’s first thought is of his shorts.

To be fair Dick did have on a brand-spankin’-new pair of expensive bib shorts and he did quickly turn his attention to her fate.  All turned out fine and we joked about her tire track on her back all the way home.

I love to ride my bike.

“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.” – Albert Einstein

In the Triangle we all benefit from so many who are great examples of people who very positively impact the lives of others around them.  Ron Hamner has raised thousands and thousands of dollars to fight cancer and care for the victims.  At the same time, he has supported, cajoled and invigorated hundreds of people to stay healthy and active with cycling and running.  I have never seen Ron when he wasn’t smiling.  He has a way of “steering” me to do the right things without preaching or telling me what to do. Ron stands out as a GREAT example of a true humanitarian and leader.

Please thank Ron Hamner by supporting Tour de Femme on October 9th as a rider or contributor.  You can also check out Ron’s other great work at Grab My Wheel.

Multisport athletics such as: triathlon; cycling; running; have a tribal culture.  We all learn from each other.  We have great coaches and clinics and clubs and teams and such, but what really counts, our behavior, we learn from within our tribe.

Undoubtedly, a few people showed up for the Firecracker Ride on July 4th and didn’t register.  Let’s think about that… The Capital Cycling Club is a critical part of our community and each year hosts one of the best rides in the area for our benefit.  Not thanking them for their hard work doesn’t seem to make sense.

And another…there is always that guy, on every ride, dressed like a pro, who insists on riding on the center line, running stop lights and wreaking havoc with the pace.  The longer you have been in the sport and the better you are, the greater is your obligation to demonstrate to others how to behave.  Like it or not, less experienced athletes are going to mimic your behavior.

If you are that new guy on the group run, or swim, or ride, try to be choosy about whom you emulate.  There are lots of great examples, but perhaps, sadly, an equal number of horrible warnings.  Use your good sense and self-confidence to be good tribal citizens.

I highly encourage you to lead with positive examples.

Please leave us a comment and tell us about your “Good Example” of people we should follow.  If you have a “Horrible Warning”, please don’t use real names.

Cannonball by Damien Rice

Posted: August 9, 2010 in Lyrics & Poetry

I recently discovered Damien Rice.  He is an excellent singer/song writer. He has an excellent way of speaking for others.


Still a little bit of your taste in my mouth
Still a little bit of you laced with my doubt
Still a little hard to say what’s going on

Still a little bit of your ghost your witness
Still a little bit of your face I haven’t kissed
You step a little closer each day
Still I can’t say what’s going on

Stones taught me to fly
Love taught me to lie
Life taught me to die
So it’s not hard to fall
When you float like a cannonball

Still a little bit of your song in my ear
Still a little bit of your words I long to hear
You step a little closer to me
So close that I can’t see what’s going on

Stones taught me to fly
Love taught me to lie
Life taught me to die
So it’s not hard to fall
When you float like a cannon

Stones taught me to fly
Love taught me to cry
So come on courage!
Teach me to be shy
‘Cause it’s not hard to fall
And I don’t wanna scare her
It’s not hard to fall
And I don’t wanna lose
It’s not hard to grow
When you know that you just don’t know

Watch The Video

Related Blog Posts:

Harsh Truth Vs Loving Lie

Object To Focus

Shoulding On Myself

Whatever The Mind Expects, It Will Find

Developing goals can be quite difficult.  You need to really think through what you want.  You must also evaluate your support system along with your work and personal life. Look at my previous entry as to to how to stay FOCUSED on the desired outcomes.

Here is what I recommend:

1. Set clear and compelling results for goals. I recommend writing out your expected result(s), in the first person, present tense. Then stand up and read it aloud. If you smile and quake in your boots, then you got it about right.

2. Make sure your goals arise from heartfelt desires, not demands others place on you. This is not a time to say “should.”

3. Make your goals/visions as clear, compelling, and detailed as you can. Include specific success criteria. Exactly how are you going to measure this and know when you are done.

4. Ground your goals in reality. They should be far enough out to really stretch you, yet realistically obtainable in the time frame allowed.

5. Overcome with action. Learn from both your mistakes and successes. Build the momentum you need to work through challenges, overcome inertia, and to finish fully and successfully.

6. Match your values.  Setting goals that don’t match your personal values will bind you with internal conflict and doubt.  These must be consistent.

7. Get buy-in from your support system.  If your spouse, family and friends cannot support your plan then you either need to change your goals or everyone else in your life.  This is serious business – take it that way.

You can do it.  Set your goals, develop a plan to get there and move forward every day.