The Journey

The journey is more important than the destination.

Several years ago a friend of mine asked me if I would do the Fairlee Triathlon in Vermont. After training for three months, feeling like I was going to drown in the swim, feeling nauseus on the run, I crossed the finished line and was hooked.This led to my triathlon journey.

Please consider supporting my latest effort to raise money for Bretton Woods Adaptive through the Janus Charity Challenge at Ironman Lake Placid this July. Check out the Links I Like section of the blog or explore the BWA Fundraiser links.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sport specific training

The more years I've spent in triathlon the better I've come to understand the importance of sport specific training.  It's critical that you put the hours and mileage into swimming, biking and running in order to perform your best on race day.

Last night I was brutally reminded of the importance of sport specific training.

I played basketball in high school  and would consider myself an average to above average player.  Every year my alma mater has alumni game in which the "old timers" (those who graduate more than 5 years ago - I just had my 20th HS reunion) play the Junior Varsity team.  I've played off and on over the years depending on which of my friends were also in town.

This year's game was last night and even though none of my high school buddies were in town, I decided to go play.  I just did the Green Mountain marathon the beginning of last month and I've been running, biking and swimming pretty regularly since the race.  What I'm saying is that I'm in pretty good shape and figured I would be able to run circles around those 14 and 15 year old JV players.

The harsh reality of my sport specific training up to this point is that I was not prepared for the short sprints and starting/stopping nature of playing basketball.  To say nothing of the fact that I hadn't picked up a basketball in several months (which also showed dramatically!).

If I go to play at next year's game, I'm going to make sure that I get a little sport specific training in before game day!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Life lessons

I often think while I'm training the value I find in the planning, discipline and execution of preparing for an event.  I'd love to put it all down in this blog but unfortunately no one pays me to write this and I have to balance my desire to write about my experiences with my desire to have an income.

An old high school friend (thanks Diana!) turned me on to an blog posting that does a great job summarizing the life lessons one triathlete learned while training for his triathlon.  It's worth a read:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Drink up put out an article today discussing a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. The study came to the conclusion that recovery can be aided by caffeine. The trick - you have to drink ALOT of it.

I try to keep up on the latest nutritional news and have a pretty disciplined diet. So, I appreciate the studies that are done around endurance sports and nutrition.  When I do read these studies I try to apply a reasonableness test to the articles.  You know...does it make sense?

The caffeine study didn't make sense.  Here's why.  The amount of caffeine used in the study was eight grams per kg of body weight. So for a 165 pound cyclist that would be about 600 mg of caffeine.  How much is that?  As points out, it would be eight (yes that says eight) cans of Red Bull, four Monster Energy Drinks or two Starbucks Grande coffees.

If you are going to do a study it would make sense to me to do it using a dosage that is reasonable.  Drinking eight cans of Red Bull after a workout by no means seems reasonable!

I enjoy a periodic cup of coffee every once in a while but typically not during my peak racing season.  Caffeine has diuretic properties which can lead to decreased hydration levels.  That's one of the reasons I tend to stay away from coffee while training.

So, while there may be some positive benefit to taking in caffeine, I have to believe that any benefit to drinking 8 cans of Red Bull would be offset by the negative effects of such high caffeine levels.

I won't be testing out this particular study. If you do, I'd be very curious to know how it works out for you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Inside Tri - what are you doing?!

Let me preface my comments with the fact that I have absolutely zero experience in the magazine publishing business. However, I'm an avid triathlete and a believer that the web is changing the way how everybody does business. I believe it is pretty reasonable to assume that the print business in general as we have known it is going the way of the newspaper.

So, imagine my reaction when I recently got the latest issue of Inside Triathlon with a special notice on the cover indicating they were changing their format. The message essentially said they are no longer going to be a monthly publication but instead a bi-monthly publication that goes into more detail on each story.

What struck me about the message is they actually use the phrase "Look forward to the anti-Web site print magazine"?! While I can see the value of providing more in depth stories for readers who desire it, is Inside Tri living under a rock? Do they see some movement away from the Internet that I'm missing along with the rest of the world?

There are plenty of other magazine subscribers like me who are letting their subscriptions run out because more timely and accessible content is available. This leads to a more unattractive value proposition for advertisers for several reasons:
  • Lower subscriptions = lower impressions

  • Inferior tracking - advertisers are waking up to the fact that the web allows them to better track their spending and ROI. Can we really know how much business was generated from that full page color ad? Usually not. Can we find out how many prospects clicked on a well placed web ad and how many of those clicks turned into revenue? Definitely. Companies like Hubspot are making this easier for businesses to effectively track their spending

  • Print ads are one way - How I view an ad is the advertiser interupting what I'm doing and telling me about what they want to sell me. But, I can't talk back and tell them that I'm not interested. So, what happens? Now I'm conditioned to ignore all advertisements because I'm sick of being interupted and not having the opportunity to talk back. What the web allows business to do is to have a two way conversation. Whether it is in the blogosphere, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc, etc, etc. there are an ever growing number of tools available for businesses to have a two-way conversation with their prospects and customers.

I sincerely hope that I'm wrong about Inside Tri. Maybe there is some grand plan to incorporate their website with this new format. Maybe my extreme lack of magazine publishing experience will make this blog post pointless. Time will tell...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Running at warp speed

This morning I went for my first run since the marathon, which was almost three weeks ago.  I was a little nervous about how the tendonitis in my left foot would feel, but it turned out to be back to normal. Thank goodness.

I was up early, about 4:30, so after checking my e-mail, the weather and my twitter account, I headed out for my run by 5, armed with my reflective vest and headlamp.  It's an unusually warm morning in NH for this time of year, 57 degrees, and while it isn't raining there is a fine mist in the air.

Well, the effect that had while I was running was a little like seeing the warp speed effect on the Star Trek (my guilty pleasure in college with my roommates was watching Picard on the Next Generation episodes).

The headlamp shines a pretty focused beam of light straight in front my eyes. With the water droplets seemingly hanging in mid-air as I ran throuh them, the effect it gave was like going at warp speed - even though I was far from it. After all, It was my first run in a while.

Another way to describe, if you've ever driven through a snow storm at night (something we get to do plenty here in NH). It's like the snow flying toward toward your headlights with the snow being so heavy that you can't see much further than a few feet in front of the car because the snowflakes are catching all the light from the headlights in a successful effort to blind your driving efforts.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Indian Head Trail

Indian Head Trail

Yesterday I did a hike with Suzan and some of the athletes she coached this year.  We did a relatively short hike up the Indian Head Trail in Lincoln to Mount Pemigewasset.  We ended up with a perfect day that started out in the mid-30's but climbed to the low-40's by the time we got to the top.

Last year Suzan had a similar gathering but we did a trail run.  Having  just finished the Green Mountain Marathon a couple of weeks ago I was secretly glad that she wasn't doing a run this year, but rather an easy hike.  Or so I thought.

It ended up being more of a power walk than an easy hike.  I don't think Suzan could help herself - she normally either power walks the trail, or runs up it.

I knew many of the others on the hike but it was great to catch up with some other athletes and talk tri.  We were treated with the pleasure of seeing Suzan's new bike.  A Guru Crono with customized purple paint job and lettering. I didn't get a picture but here is the model.  

The afternoon was topped off with lunch back at Suzan's house before the drive back to the NH seacoast.  I ended up being more beat than I thought I would and crashed on the couch for the rest of the afternoon.

Seeing the bike, I got the urge to get out on mine so I'm hoping to get a ride in tomorrow even though it is supposed to be pretty chilly.