Thursday, February 24, 2011
As I sit here on the foam roller, unable to apply any pressure to my quads, I am thinking about what a great trip we had last week. It was simply awesome to have 10 Team IE members in the mountains together training for a week. The real focus of the camp was to get everyone together in a warm location and get some base miles in our legs. Over four days we did almost 16000 feet of climbing! There were some profound moments for coach over that week! Seeing Nicole and Lauren ride down a 15% graded dirt road, everyone out for a run and seeing peoples breath as we march through an all but desolate city in the cold of the morning, watching my wife descend a 14 mile mountain at 11 % grade in her aerobars, pushing each other hard over steep climbs to prepare for the onslaught of Nationals in 2 weeks. Right then and there, at that moment, we are winning races. We are doing things that no one else sees or judges, the World is totally unaware and yet we are making strides toward being the best in the World. On that trip I saw determination in Laurens heart to bridge a gap, I saw power in Kaleb's legs to drop the pack and I saw pure strength in Nicole's body. In the end all these body parts are working together for one goal,but in retrospect I learned one thing again by suffering and watching and that is that the mind is the most powerful tool we take into battle. There was a moment, a long moment where we were in a pace line for upwards of 3 min and well above 400 watts and you could hear nothing but deep breathing and grunting and see nothing but white knuckles and pain. It is in that moment that I am deeply happy that I can pass on something I love to someone that wants it more than me. In that moment, even though we are still a team we are battling for position and hanging on to pride and ego and suffering for no other reason than that we are alive in that moment and that tire in front of you is your whole awareness. Total focus as they try to take whats mine, something I offer freely in words but they know they can only really have by suffering. 1 mile later you are totally unaware of what you passed or who was watching and you don't care. Its those moments I wont ever forget,but winning is the only thing the World will get to see, these experiences are ours!
Training hard and seeing results is nothing compared to training hard, seeing results, and being a part of something. The sport of triathlon tends to attract athletes who are individualistic and are really concerned only about themselves. Often times it is easy to get lost in training and complete every workout on "auto pilot". The training camp this weekend opened my eyes to how beneficial training with a TEAM can be. The group was very diverse; we had people who went to olympic trials for cycling and we had people who ride once a week. Regardless, everyone finished every ride with determination and a smile. I love training with positive people because it takes the focus off of "what were my average watts, what was my time, how far did I go" to noticing the unthinkable things members of the team are doing. This week I was able to push myself above and beyond because I was motivated by the great efforts of my teammates. I did things I never thought was possible and I saw my teammates excel in ways they never thought they could. It is clear now how important it is to simply live and preform in the moment in order to be successful. Thank you so much to Hammer nutrition for helping me survive the insane climbs and aggressive attacks from coach G! Recoverite does wonders...so do great people ;)
After a week of training hard with the team, I am tired but have a new sense of what my body is capable of. I am used to hard, week long, training camps from collegiate running, but nothing can compare to this last week. With four days straight of riding hard in the mountains my body was worn out each day as we started but I was able to make it up each climb with good power and energy. This may be because of the numerous naps I took or the help from Hammer Nutrition every step of the way, with the gels and HEED while riding and Recoverite and whey protein post. Or the combination of both! A big thanks also goes out to Cobb Cycling for my SHC 170 saddle and Rudy Project for our helmets and glasses. I was comfortable all day! There is a lot that can be said about how the body can rise to the occasion when called, but I think what makes Greg such a great coach is his knowledge of how the body will respond after hard efforts. In college, after a hard week, it was back to the same old schedule. I would always come out of the week stronger but would seem to get sick a few days later or injured. I never realized what caused this, until now. Coming off the week Greg is taking it easy on us and letting our bodies absorb the training. I think this will be very important not only for Clermont, but for the rest of the season as a whole. What a great experience it was to be able to ride in the mountains with some of my best friends.
How was the camp...AMAZING!! I have forgotten how awesome it is to do nothing but eat, sleep and train with people you love to hang out. I do a lot of my training on my own in cville and I felt so so thankful to have Greg, Lauren and Kaleb to drill me for the week...crazy fun! I love greg's blog here- because it really captures something special that happens when other people are driving you to explore your physical and mental limits as an athlete. There are very unique bonds created in those moments and snippets of memories that you will come to fall back on in future races and training when the task gets tough and you have to make a decision about which way to go...these moments in time help you know more instinctively that you can make the right decision and fight back when it comes to that. I have one memory I will revist a lot in the future of kaleb dropping the hammer on the bike in a massive surge and greg yelling at me (in a nice way =) ) because he knew I was about to give up. He could sense it, he knew I was bowing out. I didnt think I could go but he knew I could- so he yelled- and I went. No way you can do that on your own. It was also incredible to see Lauren become a cycling rockstar on the trip, I realized she has made a huge jump from last year when she was hammering me up hill..dang- amazing what happens in a few months. I also second Kaleb's appreciation of Rudy Project and Cobb cycling- the Rudy Project line helmets are incredible this year and I highly recommended checking them out if you havent yet. It really does make a big difference in training when you have the best quality gear and the best quality people to train with. Thanks to everyeone!! Cant wait to go back!!
Next up: Sprint nationals in Clermont, FL! Coach is racing....should be FUN!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Training properly is a mystery. What defines overtraining? How fast is “too fast?" Lately I have found myself looking at other athletes’ twitter accounts to read detailed descriptions about their hard sessions and even times they are dropping in practice. I suppose it is just the nature of the sport. Everyone wants to one up each other and let everyone else know how fast they are in the off season. Yes, I am guilty for reading these things for entertainment; however, since moving to South Bend and training with Greg and Kaleb I have learned quite a bit about this mystery. When I talk and train with others I sometimes get the vibe that every workout is a race regardless if it is a track session or an easy spin. Before being coached by Greg I would get caught up in the “lets go as hard as I can every session” mentality. Yeah, I was happy at the end of workouts because I went fast, but at the end of the day I was not getting much faster. So many triathletes get injured midseason or start slowing down and they cannot figure out why it keeps happening season to season. It is simple, train smart. Patience is hard to come by in triathlon, everyone wants to see results now. Trust your coach, listen to your body, and nose breathe on runs!