Friday, March 17, 2017

Numbers for Trophies

Not sure where I heard of Steve Abraham first; somewhere between my Youtube TV Shows & various cycling & running podcasts I became interested in the idea of 'volume' the question of how many miles/kilometers you can do in a single moment, streak or even within a year.

Steve Abraham is attempting to ride the most miles by a cyclist (over 75,000) the record is still held by Tommy Godwin from his 1939 attempt. Now before my wife reads this and thinks I'm going on a quest so as to get out of doing the dishes, its ok I have no interest in this sort of challenge. 

Yet with my new look at swimming, cycling & running, coupled with my philosophy of not training for events. Let's be clear when I say 'not training' I am just not buying into a set schedule, instead just getting out and moving. The reality is my volume of work means I will always be fit enough to complete most events with a good time; by taking the pressure off following a training plan it means I'm working more on feel.

Today I feel like intervals or today my body is telling me to rest, or most likely today my kid has some kind of rash, the wife is at a work event & the cat just puked on the floor.

To match this distance/ time training attitude, I started to look further into the the numbers I have done in the past and studied what these days would be described as 'old school' training methods; and the reality is before cycling Team Sky and the phrase 'marginal gains' the tried and true method of finishing a marathon or climbing a mountain was to put in the kilometres. Eddy Merckx the famous all winning cyclist training rides were legendary, not for the complex programs but on distance! Finding his sweet spot in cadence and just spinning those wheels over and over again.

My goals for this year based around numbers are quite conservitive but I feel like the winter could effect them, with no training pressure I"m already feeling more mentally relaxed and enjoying moving again so I have set myself what is generally called a 'stretch goal' this a target to aim for if I feel like its within reach for a little bonus kudos!

Distance Goals:
Cycling for the year 4,500km (stretch 5,000km)
Running for the year 832km (stretch 950km)

Cycling is averaging around 86km per week, which at the moment I"m on 100km average but I have a overseas trip with no bike! and the wet winter may hold me back a little. I'm hoping by racing it will help me stay motivated as well.

Running is averaging 16km per week, I think this goal is pretty obtainable and maybe even the stretch goal. I normally run more on holidays and have been making a habit of taking the dog for a short run most mornings. With me thinking about attempting a Marathon - just the word makes me shudder a bit, it's true I will happily ride 100km in one sitting but 42km on my feet scares me. Plus some on going pain issues from my accident has certainly slowed my running ability at present.

So that is the plan from here to the end of the year, eat up some pathway & chew on some roads. I'm going to still manage my data using Strava as they have a lot of distance trophies to help me stay motivated and monitor my progress in more depth with Training Peaks program which I have mentioned in previous posts, this program will help me adjust my volume so I'm well rested in the lead up to events and hopefully peaking at the right time.

Next up 1st of April is my first cycling road race should be interesting seeing how I've regained my fitness since the accident.

Now I must go, my leg is being licked by the four legged daughter who clearly keen for me to add more KM's to my Strava account and go for a run!

My Strava profile link is below:

Thursday, March 9, 2017

An embarrassing legacy

Post Race chuckles at Active Tri in Brighton 2016 always my first event of the year,
and the water is always cold & choppy 

Having a child gets your brain over thinking, you certainly start to worry more, you turn concern about nothing into something. You lock the door twice at night, you check on them when they stir and if they are awake and not making noise you wonder why. You try to avoid risks, you try to be more organised and you sacrifice so your child can do more or have more, maybe you cancel that night at the pub because you didn't read to them the night before, or you hold back on the 100km bike ride instead to spend 4 hrs with them down the beach on a less than ideal day because you promised them.

You can't be with them every waking moment, and that's why it sucks when you drop them at day-care, or leave them an in-law as you ride off to work, or traffic is bad on the way home and you miss putting them to bed, and I guess at some point you question your on immortality. It's a heavy thing to think of, I'm not a thinker of death everyday sort of guy (that is no way to live) but what if? and when if? 

Stephen Covey of 7 Habits of Successful People book fame famous line:

Begin with the end in mind

That famous self help role play of pretending you're at your own funeral and imagine what people would say about you, it's a pretty heavy and self involved thing to think about. We have all sadly attended the funeral of someone at some point and the truth is it's not nice to hear any of it. Z-Girl has got me thinking about it more and more, what is my legacy going to be.

I had the unfortunate circumstance of being knocked off my bike and suffering what can only be described now as a small inconvenience of an injury; two cracked vertebra in my lower back (L4, L3) and a the tendons of my shoulder busted up a fair bit. At the moment the car turned into me I had no life flashing before my eyes moment, no chance to think about my wife or kid, friends or family; it just struck me and I yelled out 'F#$K' (censored encase Z-Girl reads this) And then I spent 6 weeks in a world of pain, frustration and regret.

That injury gave me one thing I haven't had the past 3 years, time.

Time to think, time to pause & time to work out where I really am at 35 years old. I'm no longer an athlete, and any of my athleticism I did have I think got robbed that morning between the curb and the wing mirror. I'm not going to Kona, its a nice idea when you start Ironman races and its talked about a lot everyone knows someone who has gone or is going to Kona; at 5hrs 20min I'm no threat to the Hawaii Island. I will most likely never ever win a race of any kind ever again in my life time (last time I think was in high school swim sports) So why with all this mind have I entered triathlons at all, and why did I let the convincing of a good friend make me sign up to a Cycling Club for purpose of racing my bike?

It’s the vibe, and…no that’s it…it’s the vibe. I rest my case. - Dennis Denuto (The Castle, Movie)

That's really it. I just like the vibe of it all. Appreciating the effort of the Professionals, the Top Ranked Amateurs. I like the steak dinner & beer after the race, waving at my wife and child on the run leg, the hugs afterwards, the funny stories of things I've forgotten. The effort needed, and dedication to stay fit and be ready for the event. The finishers medal, and sometimes just the free massage & sports drink at the end. I like the smile my wife gives me after the race & I like riding my bike fast even if it's not as fast as the next guy, and I enjoy the occasional PB in training, or finding a new running route on my local trails.

The race really is just the excuse I give my brain to wake up early and suck in the morning air.

My wife when our daughter was born created a email address, and she wrote to her in the early months about things she had achieved and when she is 18 she will look back on it and smile at the things we loved the most about her when she was little. Its amazing how those things start to fade.

I've reopened this blog after almost a year in hibernation as to be exactly that. A place that Z-Girl can turn to and laugh, giggle or smile at her Dads obsession with moving constantly, maybe it inspires her to move, and maybe she wins a race one day or she looks at me, and in that classic teenage tone and just tells me.

''Dad you're so embarrassing''

And I'll take that as a small victory among the many honourable losses.

Off the back of the above I'm going to attempt some weekly journal style entries, maybe on a Sunday evening as a decompression of my week, less training advice as essentially I'm 'training' less and 'moving' more. Will try and get up a few my monthly events schedule. Glad you read this one, no feel compelled to read the rest.