Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Slowly but surely, I'm getting back to "that place" where multiple daily training sessions are once again becoming the norm. A couple of months ago, I felt like my days as a competitive triathlete were pretty much over. Funny how your perspective can change so dramatically in such a short period of time; I was flying high after Muskoka 70.3, down in the dumps and hopeless 6 weeks later (feeling like this knee would NEVER heal!) and back at it and looking forward to all that '09 holds in store shortly after New Years.

Knee felt good on today's intensive 9 mile run (executed over hilly terrain) and I'm excited to hit the bike and weight room this afternoon.

Seems like the knee issue was petellofemoral syndrome all along as it's responded VERY positively to the 2 simple exercises I've utilized to get the patella tracking correctly again: nothing more than squeezing a blow up med. ball between my knees (until the adductors are screaming!) and locking the leg out/contracting the quad to help develop the VMO. I wish that the doctors would have recommended this to me back in September, but oh well.

My competitive schedule might have to be pushed back by a month or 2 so that I can prepare correctly and bring the fitness up to par, but surprisingly, I'm pushing watts and paces on my easy days that are either on par or faster than what I was hitting in season. A lot of this has to do with the fact that all of my work is sub threshold right now though, so I credit fresh legs with what I'm seeing. I won't hide the fact that I'm also deriving a lot of "inspiration" from the daily reports, or should I say, taunting, that soon to be short course/TT specialist turned long course triathlete Dean "the machine" Phillips keeps sending my way. I wake up to email based updates that let me know "how easy it was to pump out 2 hours @ 300+ watts" or "how much faster I'm running than last year." I can't just sit there and take that kind of abuse of course, so I have no other option than to prepare to the best of my abilities. I'll have my hands full with this 185 lb.+ monster this season, as I expect to see him lay down some of the fastest bike splits on the 70.3 scene (i.e. I expect a sub 2:10 bike split out of him at Timberman) but... There's nothing better than a good fight, so onward I shall roll!

IM might have to wait until the end of '09 given another BIG personal development that has recently come about for Michelle and I; one that will require a lot of the time and energy I'd need to pump into the IM prep. This being said, it's looking like RI 70.3, Timberman 70.3, Muskoka 70.3 or Pumpkinman, Austin 70.3 and, perhaps, IMAZ to end the year. Throw the new Commonwealth tri series into the mix and Rev3 if I'm ready to roll by early June, and I've got myself a full season.

It's good to be back!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Game On

Training for '09 has officially begun. I was able to build back slowly to 40 miles of running per week over the course of November and December and have inserted suspension training into the mix as well.

I'll be taking more of a "strength" oriented approach with my training this winter as I build towards Ironman this summer. I'm not sure which one I'll hit yet, but I think it's easy to guess which one I'm tentatively targeting given it's proximity to Gloucester.

It's good to be back at it.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Nothing Left To Prove

Although 2008 didn't end quite the way I had hoped it would, the past few months certainly have provided me with a lot of time to think about things.

I'm rolling into 2009 busier than ever on the coaching front. I'm currently working with 32 athletes, many of whom are showing some real promise! I'm very excited to watch my crew in action this year and am expecting some great things. I never lose sight of how lucky I am to do what I do for a living and am at all times driven by my love for the work. I get up every day and do what I've always dreamt of doing. It doesn't get any better than that!

Personally, the forced down time I've taken thanks to the knee injury has allowed me some time to reflect on my own athletic undertakings. The bottom line: I can honestly say that I don't feel as though I have anything left to prove to myself or anyone else now. I think that I finally got that monkey off my back. For far too many years, I was motivated to train and race by a constant feeling of inadequacy. I was trying to make up for lost time and lost opportunities; a high school and collegiate running career that fell short, my first go around with triathlon back in the mid - late 90s - 2001. You name it. I wanted to prove that I could hold my own against the best. So... I set out back out in 2006 with one singular objective: To beat as many people as I could and to ascend the tri ranks as quickly as possible.

Fast forward to 2008: After 2 years of great AG results I turned pro and started racing head to head against the big boys. Although I took my fair share of lumps, I also more than held my own, routinely laying down some of the fastest run and/or bike splits on the 70.3 circuit every time out. Out running Galindez (split wise) at RI 70.3 and out biking guys like Alexander and Cunningham (once again, split wise) at Muskoka 70.3 left me, more than anything... satisfied. I don't care that I "only" came in 6th and 5th overall (respectively) in those races, I had finally proven to myself once and for all that I could at least hang. And for me... that's enough.

At this point in my life, I'm really not interested in flying all over the world to race. I love Gloucester and hate being away. I also hate flying, staying in crappy hotels, eating on the road, and wasting my money paying for all of these things!

In the end, life as a "pro" really isn't all that it's cracked up to be. As a matter of fact, there's no difference between racing pro and age-group. Outside of the occasional comped entry and homestay, you have to deal with the same travel related B.S., the same bad food, the same pre-race stress, etc. The only thing that changes is your position on the bike racks and the fact that you leave shore in the first wave every time out.

Well, at 33, I find that I'm more excited by the thought of having a nice home here in Gloucester; perhaps a place with a small on-site office/testing center and a free room that my athletes can crash in when they come to visit. I'm also interested in making time to pursue other interests that are in no way related to triathlon. Given the nature of my work, I spend almost every waking hour either talking about triathlon, writing about triathlon, or physically preparing to compete in triathlon. For most people, it's their hobby. As a full time coach, it's my job. Like any job, no matter how much you love it, if you don't make time for other things, you're on the fast track to burn out.

I was talking with one of my new athletes the other day, former Pro tennis player and rising tri star (watch out for this guy in '09, he is going to be GOOD) Quinn Borchard, who hails from CA. He was asking me about Ironman. Yes, I've hinted that I plan on hitting at least one Ironman in '09. But this year, I find that I'm motivated to compete for different reasons. When I started in with triathlon back in 1995, I was was motivated to do so because I craved the pure adventure of the sport. I didn't care about sponsorship, beating people, media exposure etc. I just wanted to ride my bike and run. And yes, some things never change: I only swam (and continue to do so!) because it was a necessary evil. Outside of distance swimming in the ocean, I'll NEVER like swimming. It's THE worst and mind numbingly boring. But I digress; I find that I've come full circle.

I'm looking forward to all that 2009 holds in store and a return to my roots. I'm going to pick a handful of the most challenging long course tris I can find (all preferably within driving distance of Gloucester!) next year and have at it, my only motivation being the simple challenge that I'll face by pushing myself on a bunch of rugged courses against good competition.

It's as simple as that.

Happy New Year!