On a Roll…

Posted by on January 29, 2010 in Training

Things have been going great this last week, and there’s no sign of them stopping.  I was in Vermont last weekend to snowboard and spend time with friends, and while that was super fun, I had hoped to at least go for a run or two.  I didn’t, namely because I didn’t bring my run gear or sneakers.  I often think about every action (or inaction) existing by design (vs. luck), and in this case, I chalked up forgetting the gear as a sign that I should just enjoy myself on the slopes and pick things up again when I got back.  Not only did it eliminate any potential guilt or stress, it came true.

This week, I’ve engaged every workout with great energy and with great results.  Of greatest significance is the swim workout the other night with my new tri team.  Not only did that session mark my longest time in the water and not only did that mark the most distance in a session, but I got some valuable technique tips.  As a former Masters assistant coach, I fancy myself as being fairly knowledgeable about form, but it’s easy to dole out advice when viewing an athlete doing laps.  It’s quite another thing to self-diagnosis technical issues.  Having a coach there to point out improvements in head position and other elements was invaluable.  Immediately, things were easier.  I thought at first it would be impossible to replicate some of these new technical elements that I learned doing drills into the longer, endurance swim sets, but I was wrong.  It got easier and easier.  I swam solo again this morning and not only was the swim easier, I swam faster.

During one of the indoor cycling sessions, we were instructed to maintain x percent of our maximum heart rate while maintaining a certain rate of spin (measured as what we call “cadence” or otherwise known as revolutions per minute “RPM”).  After a few minutes, we were told to lower the cadence but maintain the heart rate… which equates to choosing a harder gear.  Several other variations followed, but what pleased me is that I was able to nail the cadence and heart rate combo in each iteration.  And, my legs didn’t feel terribly fatigued.  It was designed to be an endurance session, and not one that would replicate the sense of climbing out of the saddle.  Those days will come and in fact, I often do workouts like that on my own at home.  It simply provided evidence that the legs are getting a lot stronger.

In any event, this week along (it’s Friday as I write this), I’ve gotten in three swims, three cycling sessions, and two moderate runs (as well as sets of sit-ups, pull-ups, etc.).  Tomorrow morning, I’ll do yet another cycling session with the team, then play fourball (a version of 2 on 2 football; see the link above for more info), then play another game of football on my buddy’s team.  On Sunday, it’ll be a morning run workout with the team followed by a swim workout with the team in the afternoon.  Next week’s schedule is also busy with lots of workouts planned as well, but hey, this is the boot camp season and I need to get as many miles in me as I can.  March is going to be tough and I have to know that I will be able to handle the volume.

Finally, while it indeed feels good to feel like I’m making some very good progress, I can’t help but wonder how it will translate to the March races.  The Miami Triathlon is foremost on my mind because my friends will be there with me, and I want to perform well.  Simply hoping that the early-season date of the race will mean that they aren’t prepared enough isn’t smart; I have to be well-prepared irrespective of what they are or aren’t doing.  There’s no doubt in my mind that I could do the race right now, but I want to push hard and feel as if I have the depth of strength to support the hard effort.  I guess that’s the goal of nearly all of us in this sport, but we go after it in different ways.

I may have written this before, but it warrants mentioning again:  I am motivated by the fear of failure.  Why was I focused this week, and why do I expect to be similarly focused in the coming weeks?  Because I refuse to go to Miami and be mediocre (by my standards).  I continue to set lofty and loftier goals, and while it’s sometimes exhausting to contemplate how the hell I’ll accomplish them, the fear of not doing so is like a fire lit under me.

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