Thursday, August 2, 2012

“The idea that thirst comes too late is a marketing ploy of the sports-drink industry," says Tim Noakes, M.D., professor of sport and exercise science at University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Pretty important book here, especially for me as a coach. I just got my copy of Dr. Tim Noakes newest book and it is an eye-opener. I'll let Dr. Noakes summarize his conclusions which in no way should dissuade you from buying a copy of the book for yourself.

from p.353: Summary
In this book I have described my odyssey of three decades that began when I received Eleanor Sadler's letter in June 1981. During this journey I have learned how science is meant to work and conversely how it often does - a quite different reality. This has been a bitter lesson.
     Over this period of 30 years I did, however, learn the real science of hydration:
• Your body will tell you what it needs, if you just listen.
• So drink only ad libitum - that is, according to the dictates of thirst.
• Dehydration is not a disease. Nor does dehydration contribute in any way to any illnesses associated with prolonged exercise like road, marathon, and ultramarathon running races and triathlons.
• If you are carbohydrate adapted, to optimize your performance during more prolonged competitive exercise, you will need to ingest some carbohydrate or perhaps preferably a favorite food.
• There is no need to increase your habitual daily sodium intake above that dictated by your appetite.
• There is no need to ingest additional sodium during exercise.
• Understand that much of what you believe about your personal well-being is the result of targeted manipulations by industries whose principal focus is their commerical fitness and not necessarily your health or safety.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dawkin's Neologism meets Gene Wilder...

 The first time I saw the Condescending Wonka meme it was the Northface one that one of my kids left on the desktop of my computer. I thought it was extremely funny. So I had to make one of my own:
Then the thought occurred to me...are there Triathlon meme's out there too? Why yes there are! One that applied to me in fact, talking about runners turning to triathlon. And of course, I don't have much good advice on swimming except to say Aqua Sphere goggles are great! I remember loving the 1971 film Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. I still can't decide if I would like the chocolate river or the the Fizzy Lifting Drinks more...or maybe the wallpaper you can lick... wait no that would be really impractical and gross. So to be quite clear, Richard Dawkins' publication five years later of The Selfish Gene in 1976 escaped my attention (I was in sixth grade). In that book he coined the term "meme" which I find today to be both annoying and fun. Annoying because I associate that particular concept with philosophers like Lacan or Baudrillard and semiotics not a biologist like Dawkins but, fun because of this silly sarcastic Gene Wilder pomo mashup. 
So in the words of Wonka himself: "Good Day Sir!"

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympics 2012: opening ceremony

"Pretty sure @AnnCurry knows who Tim Berners-Lee is" tweets Reuter's columnist Anthony De Rosa
'Nuff said.
background in case you missed it: 
During NBC's opening ceremony coverage, Meredith Vieira voiced words that are likely to haunt her for years to come, bringing on a barrage of heckling tweets within the online community. (Photo: Reuters / Brendan McDermid)
"Dear @NBC, Timothy Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web that hastened your network's irrelevance," tweeted one.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Stride Rate X Stride Length = Speed"

Often I will noodle around on the Web before I do a blog entry for a variety of reasons. This morning I was thinking about yesterday's marathon clinic and the workout that we did. We did something called bounding. I think I may have heard of it before in the context of running but I have never done it as an aid to training...and like so many things we do at the clinic, it would probably never have occurred to me either. Owen laid out seven or eight sticks on the ground several feet apart, kind of like a ladder and we hopped through them first on one leg and then the other. After that we used both our legs and ran (bounded) through them all in an effort to increase stride length. Prior to this we were working on cadence. Owen used a digital metronome and we ran in place at 180 beats per minute (BPM) and then up to 200 BPM and back down to 180. Owen also talks about soft knees in promoting good running form. All very interesting to me and new. So to get to my point, I googled bounding and began reading a remarkably good article that mirrored last evening's workout on the Peak Performance web site. Well surprisingly (or maybe not actually) it was written by Owen. I hope it makes you think and gives you something new to try, to keep training fresh. And of course, to repeat Owen's mantra: Stride Rate X Stride Length = Speed...I hope these ideas make you faster too!

Anderson, O. (2003, November 25). Speed training: 
bounding to improve performance. Retrieved 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hawk Island Triathlon 2012

Finally, I got some goggles that actually keep the water out. Some years ago (three, I think) I bought some oversize Barracudas and I've never done a tri without having water get into my goggles. I messed around with the little Allen wrench they give you, and cut the nose bridge piece to fit my face but really those things never worked for me. I guess since I spent what I thought to be a largish sum of money for them I thought I should make them work. Well I was perusing the latest issue of LAVA and read an article/review extolling the virtues of Aqua Sphere goggles. Simple story really. They arrived the day before my Sprint tri. Nevertheless I put them on and they felt really great. The next morning during the swim...WOW! I could see everything around me, no water in my eyes, COMFORT...I am pleased beyond my expectations. It's also nice to buy something that isn't made in China. That may sound a bit provincial. For $18.00 you get a lot of value. Best choice I've made in a long time. And BTW, I cut five minutes off my time this year from the 2010 Hawk-I-Tri. Happy!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hill vs Noakes

Two different models (the homeostatic failure–limitations (A.V. Hill) model and the anticipatory regulatory model (central governor model) are currently used to explain human exercise performance.
I got up early this morning and read Professor Noakes' newish article (2011) challenging the accepted norm in exercise physiology as to what governs pace/fatigue. Of course this was brought to my attention by Owen last Wed at the marathon clinic. We did an interesting workout by using down hill runs as a way to train the nervous system to accept a faster pace. I generally am careful to tell my runners not to go too hard on a downhill so as not to injure a hip flexor. I guess to some extent I'm projecting my fear of past injuries on my team. Years ago, I was training in Northern Michigan (Up North!) on these great long hills on a two mile stretch between Torch Lake and Grand Traverse Bay. I would cool my feet in Grand Traverse Bay after two miles and then dry my feet off and do another two miles back to Torch. Nice workout. Anyway I did tear my hip flexor during one workout and it plagued my whole season that year. However, Owen showed me a more thoughtful way to use hills. The faster pace going downhill, coupled with stridouts once the ground is flat, makes for a workout I would never have thought of much less done before. After that we did a set of down hill runs only to the bottom of the hill and sprinted back up the hill. Killer workout. All based on the science talked about in Noakes's article.

While googling around I noticed that none other than Joe Friel also does a breakdown of this article in his blog. I guess I'm in good company

reference:  Noakes, T. D. “Time to move beyond a brainless exercise physiology: The evidence for complex regulation of human exercise performance.” Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, 2011; 36(1):23-25.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Lansing Marathon Report

Yesterday was the big day for my daughter. I paced her for Lansing's inaugural marathon. The weather was chilly but made MORE chilly by the sometimes 20 mile an hour head winds along the longest straightaway of the course. Nevertheless Lansing's first marathon was a great success. Owen Anderson (Race Director) and Blue Cross Blue Shield (Primary Sponsor) are to be commended for making Lansing into a cooler community by having a signature event like this marathon. The course was great but not without it's challenges. The weather was daunting at times with those northern headwinds. But in the end my 14 year old daughter plowed through 26 miles of pavement to make the distance her own in 6 hours. Without too many miles under her belt, other than her sheer desire to finish the thing, she prevailed. So it goes without saying, I'm proud of her achievement but even more so, I'm humbled by the fact that she would choose to do such a thing in the first place. Daughters are really cool. And for what its worth I cracked 180 this morning: 179.7. Life is good!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lansing Preps For Inaugural Marathon

Runners, volunteers and organizers are busy preparing for this Sunday's first ever Lansing Marathon.
Posted: 1:49 PM Apr 17, 2012
Reporter: Lindsay Veremis 
Email Address:

 Lansing Preps For Inaugural Marathon 

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     The Capital City will be chock-full of runners this weekend, all in town for the first ever Lansing Marathon. 2,000 people are expected to run the full 26.2 mile course, thousands more will participate in the half marathon, 5K and Saturday kids race.
     Richard Helder of East Lansing is one of the determined competitors. Helder has raced in many marathons, but says this one is a bit different. For the first time he'll be running with his 14-year-old daughter Katie and it's the first time he'll be running at home.

"Finally someone decided to have a Lansing Marathon," Helder said emphatically. 
"Driving to Detroit is nice, driving to Grand Rapids is nice, Chicago of course is a blast but now I can just wake up in my own house and go to it."
The pair is eager for the challenge of the course, which starts and ends at the State Capitol.

"They will encounter a varied course, a very interesting course," Race Director Owen Anderson said. "It's not just a flat course through the city, it does have urban elements, but it also goes out into the country."
     The Sunday race will pass through Lansing, East Lansing, even the Potter Park Zoo. Helder is excited for the home turf. Runners are equally pleased with the cool forecast. Lansing's weekend weather should be a far cry from Monday's Boston scorcher. Thousands dropped out of the famed marathon because of the blistering heat.

"A 40-50 degree day is a perfect day to run and we anticipate we'll have temperatures right around there," Pam Jacoby with the marathon said.
Organizers say the course will be open for seven hours to allow as many runners and walkers to finish as possible.

"I don't talk about times, I just want her to complete it and enjoy doing it," Helder said of his daughter's first run, in Lansing's first marathon.

     Race organizers say the marathon should eventually pump $3-7 million into the local economy. The full marathon begins Sunday at 8 a.m. The marathon is still looking for course marshalls. Those volunteers will help keep runners on track and keep cars and bikes off the course.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cracking 180

Yesterday morning I got on my Tanita (the Weight Watchers version pictured) digital weight scale, which is a super cool scale for getting your BMI which is great...and other measurements I don't really care about. Maybe as IMWI gets closer I may start to care about bone density etc. I doubt it though. Anyway...I can't seem to crack 180. My weight dropped to 185-184 range from 203-200 lbs range over a period of about four months but now even though my wieght is going down I have yet to see any 170 range numbers.
Maybe if I get the Ironman version of the Tanita my weight will continue to get to my goal weight of 175. Well I'm not going to sweat it (mentally anyway). Mostly I'm happy to be feeling more in shape than I have for years. Now I need to start toning up the less porcine mid-section of mine. It just never stops. Maybe that's what I like about all this.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Losing weight and VO2 Max

Well tonight at the Lansing Marathon clinic I was expressing to Owen my belief that at my age and desire to put in training hours, that my biggest weapon in gaining speed in competitive endurance events was to simply lose weight. I could spend thousands of dollars on an expensive wheel set for a triathlon...or I could lose weight. Immediately he said,
     "Well of course you're right. What two things happen when you lose weight to increase your competitiveness?" he asked me.
I didn't really have an answer but I was thinking that losing weight is good because when you don't have as much weight to cart around over 140.6 miles you'll go faster. I didn't really say that because I wasn't prepared for his question anyway. That is what I've thought of since the encounter. He answered:
     "First of all your running economy will be better", (kind've what I was getting at initially).
     "And secondly what?" He asked.
So I really didn't know. I said nothing. He said,
      "Your VO2 Max goes up. Not absolute, but relative VO2 Max."
I've actually done VO2 Max tests on my cross country teams in the past and thought about the merits of doing that kind of thing so I actually knew a little about what he was saying. I guess being a coach you don't always care about the why of things if you know they work, but it really is nice to have the why of things explained once in awhile. What it comes down to is: it's been a long time since I've had a coach and I'm looking forward to running this marathon with my daughter.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hill Training and "The Bounce"

Every Wednesday rolls around and I'm so happy to go to this Lansing Marthon running clinic hosted by Owen (Anderson). Probably part of it is I get to run by him some of the things I've picked up along the way about running and have them challenged by someone who is so respectful. Every teacher and coach says things "as if they were truth" when in reality they can actually be things that are wrong or not as correct as they could be. One thing that I learned about running in a cross country camp from my high school days was the idea of "running tall". Basically the concept is one of running economy. Should you lean a bit or be straight up and down right above your legs. The whole "Good Form Running" plus all the other various incarnations of this movement seem to indicate that there should be a lean. I was taught and consequently teach that people should run tall keeping their bodies squarely over their power plant...their legs. Also that they should run evenly    and not waste energy moving up and down too much. In contrast, Owen talks about taking advantage of elastic energy when running and he says to bounce a bit in your stride. I was resisting the bounce. However he went on to explain that it takes advantage of energy that involves your muscles contracting and expanding naturally during running as opposed to willing your muscles to do the same thing which would interfere with economy. In the end, accepting that the bounce was a good thing versus a suspect thing was one item I came away with from tonight and I feel blessed to have such a kind coach. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Snowboarding as "cross-training"

photo by Linda
Well I don't know how triathlon specific snowboarding is but pretty much that's what I have been doing this winter as I have been for several years chaperoning for my kid's school ski/snowboard club. I'd say I do it to stay in shape but really I just do it because I like snowboarding and it affords me a chance to be around my kids in a non-intrusive way. This picture is from the season-end trip to Crystal Mountain Resort. Very fun this year in light of the freaky weather in Michigan where, on one hand you had "no snow" and the other..."emergency conditions". Some of the BEST snowboarding of my life this past weekend. Note the homage to Roald Amundson with the Norwegian Flag sticker on my snowboard.
Northern Michigan is beautiful! photo by Linda

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

...and whatever else: part 1

Education ain’t Poetry

Because it’s about money, politics, agendas 
Poetry just lays in the sun half-turning itself when it wants

Education requires schedules, busses, and clocks 
Poetry measures time in the slow inches of rainwater caught in a bucket

Education screams “Crisis!” “Reform!” “Crisis!” 
Poetry whispers purple and blue syllables heard by owls

Education craves data, imbibing; spitting it out in triplicate 
Poetry rests under the kitchen table at Grandma’s house noticing dust

Education is about children, the future, the fate of our nation 
Poetry is the sound of the last snowflake striking the ground before Spring

Education is concerned with scores, grades, rankings 
Poetry hides in a swamp breathing through a single reed

Education enables the young to go on in life, have meaningful lives, contribute to society 
Poetry occasionally slides off a bookshelf exclaiming “Wheeeeee” while the librarian fingers “Shhhhhhh.”

submitted by my friend: mitch foster

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sportcount lap counter

I remember the short time I spent on an actual swimming team in junior high (the one I currently teach in as a matter of fact) I learned that we swim "length's" not "laps". Laps are for runners. Maybe that's why I switched to running... more common sense terminology. For Christmas I got a Sportcount lap counter which you can use for running, but I rarely workout on a track anymore. I bought the cheapest one they make so it only counts laps, which I have found to be hard to keep track of in the pool. You're swimming along and..."Oh man, what number was that?" So then I try to lie to myself and say it doesn't matter. But it DOES matter because I want to know how far I've gone. I still think in terms of milage too as a runner. I know the hip thing to do is think in terms of time spent running but I haven't gotten there yet. My friend Kurt says the even newer hipper thing is to keep track of "watts" or maybe "wattage" like a light bulb or something in terms of energy spent working out. I won't make fun of it yet because maybe I'll adopt this new way of thinking and speaking like a triathlete. Which reminds me. Kurt also sent me this funny video too, on that very subject.

So on with the workout. I am quite proud of myself for finding a cheap pool to use. I live right by Michigan State University and they have an uncharacteristically inexpensive deal for graduates to use their facilities. Maybe a last vestige of the "Land Grant University" philosophy. I got an alumni card a year ago and finally got around to using it this past week on Wednesday. My son noticed the lap counter sitting on a bookshelf in my study and asked what it was. I told him and he said (with the trademark adolescent dismissiveness) "When was the last time you've even gone swimming?" So I thought about it and realized it was this past summer during my last triathlon. Wow. Better get crackin'. The MSU pool was clean and uncrowded and I even read the diagrams for pool etiquette before I went. The one thing I noticed about using the lap/length counter while swimming is you actually have to remember to push the button while swimming so Hmmm. Should I have spent $200.00 bucks for the high end counter with the motion sensors that detect flip turns? Ummm no. I'm way too Dutch for that. $24.95 seemed unnecessarily expensive to me when I bought it. But I do have a fun toy to bring with me to work out with and I love pool workouts. Now maybe I need a swim towel and some of those cool shorty swim fins. And maybe an Ironman branded pool rubber ducky too.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Vanderbilt" Miles

Hope defeats Calvin 83-70 in 181st meeting of  "The Rivalry"!

The Central Governor theory or the idea that the body has a neural governor that greatly influences how we as runners (or triathletes or any kind of athlete I imagine) perceive physical exertion is somewhat new. I've heard enough theories now, having coached cross country for around nine years at the high school level, that at some point you have to look at your own life and develop a "feeling" for what meshes with your own experience and what feels not quite right. I grew up in running with two coaches: my high school and college coaches dedicated to Arthur Lydiard's training principles. Consequently, I have always identified with that school "old school":  high volume, periodization, base phase, etc. type of thinking. Now I see Sports Physiology has moved on (without telling me of course) to this concept of Neural Governor. It is embodied by a particular researcher, Prof Tim Noakes, as well as the host of my Wednesday evening marathon training clinic Owen Anderson. It is both challenging and fun for me to take in new viewpoints about what I take so seriously and also still appreciate as so life affirming and comforting as distance running, whether it is cross country coaching or marathon running or somewhere in between.

Tonight at the clinic Owen was detailing the Neural Governor theory as it applies to running and it reminded me of my college cross country coach, Bill Vanderbilt. We would be running along, hoping to be close to the end of the assigned length of the run, and Coach Vanderbilt would drive by in the bus and say "Okay, 1 more mile". So I would speed up and really try to get it done (my Senior year I was a bit jaded, but I speeded up out of respect rather than naivete). How that fits into the neural governor theory is this: we have an area in the brain that regulates our perceived difficulty. Of course Coach V. was indicating by his announcement of "one more mile" that we should speed up because we didn't have far to go. And of course it was maybe two or three more miles to go: in other words: a Vanderbilt Mile. This is the essence of what the neural governor does. If it was really lactic acid build up causing muscle fatigue, we wouldn't be able to speed up like we do. But we actually do better because our neural governor allows us to feel better for a time to get finished with our physical exertion, even if they are "Vanderbilt Miles". Maybe that seems like a large oversimplification of a respected theory, but it does limn the idea with a concrete example. More on this in the future I'm sure.

Bill Vanderbilt: who coached the Hope cross country program from 1971-87. A 1961 Hope graduate, Vanderbilt guided Hope cross country teams to 17 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) championships, 14 by the men and three by the women.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My First Spin Class

I've got to say that when I first heard about a "spin" class, it seemed a little unnecessary. I couldn't imagine what you would need someone in front of you to say while you were on a bike. When my friend Greg asked me to be part of his Gang Green (an MSU Spartan reference for you non-Michigan readers) to raise money for the local YMCA in his town I said sure. I probably would've gone running today or maybe swam (probably not) but in winter, I KNOW I would not have gone cycling. I don't have a trainer in my basement although my wife has her mom's old stationary bike. I tried that one once but it reminded me of the treadmill. Not my scene. So... off I went to go do a spin class for charity and get a winter work out in on the bike. My first thought when I got on the bike was. Oh yes, I remember toe-clips. I don't like them anymore. I did have the choice of using my biking shoes but I wasn't sure if the cleat was the same. I also noticed I was in the front row and pretty much had to stand or "climb" when the spin instructor said to or be lame. The class instructor was very good about getting people revved up and the music was loud. Her nick name is the machine. I totally get why. I recognized a song from my son's ringtone: LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem"... Every day I'm shufflin'... It was beginning to sound and feel like a Zumba class. In the end, the event raised 5K for their cause and I won a family pass to Potter Park Zoo which is very cool. It was a good workout as well. I may have to look into doing spin classes during the winter months for a change of pace. Now I know what all the fuss is about.
This is MUCH harder than I thought it'd be!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Academic All State: MITCA

I just found out my Girl's XC team just won Academic All State as awarded by the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association (MITCA). Very Exciting for me! I guess the girls will have to either read my blog or wait until the end of the year to find out because I know they will appreciate this further acknowledgment of what an achievement this particular team was. First getting to the MHSAA State XC Meet for the first time in 29 years and then this! Academic All State in our case means that they are ranked as 4th among the smartest teams, by GPA, in Division 4 girl's XC teams that made it to the state meet. If I may use an acting awards analogy: MHSAA is kind of like the Oscars. Everyone knows about them. But the MITCA award is kind of like the SAG awards. More meaningful for the practitioner because you're being judged by your peers, but less well known. As many people know, cross country is not a sport populated by athletes who are slackers anyway so this is indeed a real prize and I'm so proud of them; they are the gift to me that keeps on giving. What a nice piece of cheese paper to put out in the obligatory senior shrine for the open house. I'm happy to have done well my first year coaching at my daughter's school but it will be tough to outdo these ladies in the coming years.
I love my girls!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Owen Anderson

    My Wednesday night marathon clinic is run by Owen Anderson who is quite a knowledgable man when it comes to running. He just got back from a race director's conference in Houston and had some wry observations about the "celebrity" status enjoyed by Dave McGillivray, race director for the Boston Marathon. Owen's sense of humor is definitely one of his strong suits. He promotes an interesting vision for a less is more philosophy in running. Also he was glad to share that there will be some Kenyans running this year at the inaugural Lansing Marathon event and to say that an exciting new running program for kids is beginning within the Lansing schools. Obesity being a problem plaguing Michigan's youth, I'm sure this will be just the thing for some deserving and motivated young people. 
     One thing that Owen talks about, that I've never really heard too much about, is the importance of the nervous system and developing an overall level of fitness to enhance running, not just "heart size and leg speed" development. We did an interesting array of drills tonight that included soccer balls, cones, and a plastic ladder that we basically hopscotched through. Not at all what I was expecting but very fun things to do with my cross country team next fall. As I look back on my running life I realized I've never really been coached for a marathon before. I just went out and did them for fun. Now I think I'd like to qualify for Boston (before they make it even harder) and I think I've found a coach to get me there.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Other Blog

I didn't mean to be inattentive but I've been doing stuff with my other blog. I'm new at blogging and I find it fun and this new one just sort of started up. It's pretty specialized as it focuses on a single WWII unit that my great uncle was part of, but people from across the country who had/have family members in it are sending me pictures and stories and so I've been happily posting all sorts of interesting things there. So now I need to find some sort of balance between the two blogs. And really, I'm not sure what kind of accountability exists in the blogosphere for how often one blogs. So if you're interested check it out: 

If not, I'll be back soon with Age Grouperesque material. So forgive the commercial for the military theme...on the other hand you may like it as well!

Monday, January 16, 2012

National 24 Hour Challenge

Middle age and triathlon have moved me to a different event I never thought I'd be doing. The National 24 Hour Challenge is a cycling specific event that is not a race but "a personal best on-road bicycle ride to test your endurance and determination." It's held annually on Father's Day weekend since 1983. I've never gone 112 miles on a bike before so I imagine if I have 24 hours to ride I should be able to do that at least twice. But hey I've never done it before. It starts at 8:00 am Saturday and ends @ 8:00 am on Sunday. The course features three loops. Loop One is 121.6 miles long and you only get to ride it once and you have to ride it first. There are four checkpoints on this loop. Loop Two is 23.7 miles long. You can ride it as many times as you want but you must ride it once before you ride Loop Three which is 7.5 miles long. There are two checkpoints on Loop Two. Only full loops of Loop Three completed by 8:00 am count. There is one checkpoint on this loop. The Start/Finish area is a common checkpoint for all three loops. You can go to their web site for more details but it seems like my kind of event. Not a cycle race (the thought of being in a peloton scares me) but it does seem like just the thing to get me more into cycling. I love the running and the swimming but the cycling is such a HUGE part of any Ironman. I'll be sure to report on this event.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Sticking Point

A memorable scene from Marathon Man
Parker has a section in his book that is a compilation of observations that "don't seem fit anywhere else," as he says, and the first one really rings true in my experience. He says when he first started using the heart rate monitor (HRM), "I discovered that I seemed to have a pace that felt 'grooved in.' It was several beats above my 70% recovery ceiling, so it was annoying to have to back off from this very natural feeling pace." He calls this a sticking point. It is a HUGE sticking point for me in my present training. VERY annoying because it happens at about the point where your mind begins to wander off into wherever it goes when you fall into a pace and then the beeping pulls you back from it. It reminds me of being constantly awakened right when you're about to go to sleep. He goes on to say not to give in to the desire to ignore the HRM and also that it will eventually go away too. GOOD!

Another thing he suggests is to use the heart rate monitor for Daily Real World Biofeedback. In my case I went to the dentist wearing my HRM. I was having a filling replaced and I thought it would be interesting to see how high my heart beats per minute (BPM) jumped when the drilling started. Funny thing here...and this was verified by the dental assistant, whenever the drilling started and all during the drilling, my BPM dropped to a very low level in the 50's. When the drilling stopped my BPM went up to the mid to upper 60's. Very strange. And no I don't like getting fillings. I dislike the sound of the drill as much as anyone. So there you go. A couple of interesting things that Parker brings up in Chapter 15 of his book that have been put to the test of experience. In the future I'll be talking about some other writers I've been reading who come from a distance running background that also do triathlons. In particular Don Fink's Be Iron Fit. Gotta go! Time to run!

Friday, January 6, 2012

ICEtrekking and a Race to The Pole

Amundsen: an endurance athlete of a different caliber!
South Pole and back: 1,860 miles round trip.
Roald Amundsen would be proud. I had the distinct pleasure of portraying the guy in a recent local production of Ted Tally's Terra Nova @ Riverwalk Theatre's blackbox. Even though the show is over I still carry the character with me at odd times, like last night when I went running with my new ICEtrekker Diamond Grip traction slip ons. In Michigan if you run outside during the winter, there are times when the pavement has ice that you can't see or is covered by snow. I put these on my shoes and ran right across some icy spots on the sidewalk and in the streets but there was no slipping. No indication that I was even on ice whatsoever. They are amazing. Since it wasn't overly icy out, I could also test running on bare pavement and the ICEtrekkers didn't feel weird at all. They live up to their advertising. Even though Amundsen used skis and dogs to get him to the South Pole 100 years ago, if he were training for an Ironman today, I'm sure he'd endorse these things (actually if Falcon-Scott had used them it might have turned out differently for the Brits). Also, as it happens when I blog, I sometimes Google two search terms I might not ordinarily think of together otherwise, such as the two words: Marathon/Antarctica. Well what do you know, there IS a marathon on the seventh continent. In fact there are two! The one I want to do would cost me around $12,000 dollars to do, so I may have to wait until the kids are out of college to seriously contemplate doing it. Maybe I'll start a new blog when I'm 59, and do the Ice Marathon when I'm 60. For that I won't need a Norwegian accent.

"You feared life had passed you by, that you couldn't keep pace with the younger men. And yet, you see -- it's the younger men who are falling by the wayside, and you who are still strong. You thought it was a kind of death at the Pole -- yet I tell you, you were never so alive as now, and the moment you were born for is here...Live it well."

A better cast, crew and director I could not ask for.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hawk-I-Tri, Lansing, MI

Hawk Island, 2010 before I added my aero-bars...
     Besides Steelhead, I've also done a local sprint triathlon a couple of times in Lansing called the Hawk-I-Tri.  It's done at a beautiful place in South Lansing called Hawk Island (hence the name). I remember driving by there every morning on the way to work as Ingham County was developing this great venue for all sorts of things and thought it'd be a great home cross country course for the XC team I was coaching at the time. For a few years it was our home course but with the addition of a splash pad, a dog park, more paved trails, and a sledding hill it became too developed for a cross country course, unless I was ok with lots of cement on the course, which I wasn't. Now I take my current team there to train and for that it is perfect. The paddle boat practice is a team favorite.
     The 2009 Hawk-I-Tri was the first time I used a wet suit in a triathlon. I was watching my wave go out ahead of me (my strategy for not getting kicked or swam over) and I thought to myself, "wow look at those guys wheezing and hanging on to the spotters in the paddle boats; is that really my peer group?" Well, as I approached the first turn, my breathing felt really compressed in the wet suit. It was squishing my chest. Not only that, I began to mentally freak out because it felt like I couldn't get enough air. So to make a potentially long story short, I became one of those guys wheezing and hanging on to the paddle boat/spotters on the first turn. I gasped for probably a minute and then regained my composure enough to swim breast stroke for most of the rest of the way. It is only a 400 meter swim so it wasn't too prolonged. That did NOT happen during the swim the following year at Steelhead. Later on I realized I was hyper-ventilating. Pretty scary but lesson learned. If you want a family friendly beginner triathlon, the Hawk-I-Tri is a growing vibrant event you should check out! Congratulations to Kathie Dunbar for creating such an enduring signature event for Lansing!