"I like you. I'll gladly sit down and have dinner with you after the race. But when the gun goes off, I pretty much hate you, and I want to stomp your guts out. That's racing." -J Rapp

"the best night of my life.....
...in the most beautiful place on earth"

"It's just one, long, tedious conversation with yourself" -Paula Newby Fraser

"Have faith- trust in the plan - the breakthrough will come. I promise. " Woo

"You can keep going and your legs might hurt for a week or you can quit and your mind will hurt for a lifetime.” -Mark Allen

“The only time you can be brave is when you’re afraid.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Endurance Corner is one of those sites I read on a regular basis...lots of very cool stuff on there, and it beats brainless Slowtwitch browsing.  Recently, they backed into a series Limitations in sports, specifically in Triathlon.  The limiters are not simply swimming. biking, and running, but the physiology, etc of the athlete.   Click the links, read 'em over and learn a bit about why just swimming, biking, and running may not be enough when you get to a certain point in your "tri-life" to get the results you are looking for...

Basic Limiters: Overview
This is the first of the series...I always like reading about the obvious because sometimes the obvious gets pushed to the side.  Strength...of course; Aerobic base/endurance....I get it (I can't believe how many people don't); and mobility/stability/muscle balance (the part that I can''t believe I don't put more emphasis on, and Chris is now forcing the point with core/strength workouts 2-3 times a week).  Very interesting...

Basic Limiters: Strength
Strength is such a delicate balance in endurance sports....too much muscle requires too much energy to move it for a decent amount of time (hence sprinters with mammoth quads); too little means not enough mass to match the output required (talking about the bike...) (Kenyan marathoners = SKINNY! but put em in a triathlon and they'll struggle comparatively (which was done a few years back at IM Wisconsin I think).  I think that is what attracts people to triathlon---just by competing in them you tend to look the best you ever have, and your energy levels soar even if you are  getting beat to a pulp a few times a week.

Limiters: Movement Economy
SWIMMING!!!...everything in the pool is trying to stop your body (water resistance), and you become a much faster swimmer by limiting the negative forces versus increasing the positive forces...water is 784 times more dense than air---nuff said.  Every little flaw in your stroke is compounded 784 times versus its effect in air---get skinny and long in the water ;-)  When it is just air (air/wind resistance and contact with the ground (friction), like on the bike and run---less drag (from friction/wind resistance) equals faster at the same output---pointing out the obvious, but hiding from the wind saves LOTS of watts! The friction of a heal striker versus a mid/forefoot striker...it would be interesting to measure...

Of course Alan goes into the detail that really counts---I am a dentist, he is an exercise scientist...all that needs to be said here...

Limiters: Assessing your Limiters
We all think about this, simply because there is no way to be great at all 3 sports all the time..there is always one sport that is lagging, whether it's perception or true.  When I look at my results, I always look at my place per sport (example below), with the goal being to place the same in each one....  When I used to play golf...I could hit 300 yd drives, but not make a 3 foot putt, and when I could hit the 8 footers regularly, it was for a double bogey because I hit my drives OB, into a bunker, or short.  Thankfully, triathlon is not like golf!  But just like this article, my run was what caved (cramping induced...) in Kona, and I have approached my run for 2012 much the way this article states (luckily!)...getting enough sleep is the biggest factor, not simply running more (but running more often is).  The issues in Kona were brought on by external causes (probably heat, loss of electrolytes, hydration), but still, I like to have some part of each discipline that i am working on.  My current example of this:  head position and the pull for swimming, pedaling efficiency with relaxed toes on the bike, and forward tilt/midfoot strike on the run.  A stronger core is part of all these "works in progress,"  so this time of year is when I can improve on these; and NOT try to do it mid season when the miles are up and your form comes from this preseason work.

Here's my example I mentioned above:  As luck would have it, for IMAZ 2011, the "truth": I was 13th out of the water, 9th on the bike, and 10th on the run.  So I was consistent across all three...which means I have to work on all three to simply get faster (or race when I feel 100%...lets just blame that ;-).  My perception of IMAZ 2011:  3rd out of the water, 20th on the bike, and 30th on the run...I'll blame the rest of the 35-39 AG for not being faster than I thought they'd be ;-)  I'm happy with the truth....it just means I need to show up in race form and I should be in the mix.

Basic Limiters: Willpower
the most interesting thing about this article for me is who the author is...Mimi Winsberg MD.  She was behind me at registration for Kona after IMAZ.  We got talking, and she mentioned that she had done Kona, trained just a bit between Kona and IMAZ 2010, and was now in line signing up for Kona again.  Instantly I was thinking:  hmmm, this sounds like a good way to go!  Train for Kona, and do IMAZ off of the same base...she just pulled it off, so why can't I?  Well, I didn't, but came pretty close...and I think it was my willpower that succumbed at IMAZ 2011.  It was almost like I talked myself into tiring out on the last lap of the bike, so by the time I reached T2, I took almost 5 minutes to start the run because I was wanting to find a pillow and take a nap.  And this was with 3 full doses of Pre Race First Endurance Capsules in my system...my brain won the "just slow down" battle.  Fast forward to Kona 2011, IMAZ 2011...and there was Mimi at both races again.  But this time at IMAZ2011, Mimi set the course record for her age group----which tells me to HTFU ;-)  At the highest level, willpower wins races---Craig "The Terminator" Alexander, Chrissie Wellington, Chris McCormack (read his book and you will see why...).  They all put in crazy training regimens---their willpower in races and training sessions to push harder and longer is that 0.1% difference.

The "in-between" season has forced me to think a lot about who or what I am as an athlete...and after a Tweet from Chris:  "The problem with getting REALLY fit? going aerobic no longer feels ez. Outstanding efficiency & economy = endurance zone is FAST & brain on!"   It is easy to think that once you reach your optimal fitness with the engine you have, it's time to work on the engine itself---the form, the muscle, and withstand the pain.  It's what you do when your mind is telling you to stop that determines your fate.

So while this entry is entirely different than all my others, it's here for information purposes so I have all these articles in one spot when I need a kick in the butt...