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Archive for September, 2007

Mark Allen’s Total Triathlete

Friday, September 28th, 2007

A friend recently lent me a book: Mark Allen’s Total Triathlete, published in 1988.  As far as I’m concerned, this book is GOLDEN – there is tonnes of excellent info to be taken.  Given that Mark is Peter’s mentor, I read the book with special interest.  Interestingly, I’ve picked up a few things from the book that I’ve heard Peter say at one time or another.

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A few things from the book:

Mark accounts his experience prior to the Nice triathlon in 1985,…he felt like he had the flu in the morning – had he not had a triathlon to go to, he would have turned over and gone back to bed.  Halfway through the race, he went from struggling to gaining his competitiveness,…he ended up winning the race – learning to never predict the day’s outcome by the way you feel in the morning.  This reinforced the Yogi Berra axiom: it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

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And this beauty….Mark Allen’s SAUSAGE PRINCIPLE:

In relation to a super hard workout he had prior to a race, he said this about his next race experience:

“My body was absolutely rejecting that pain threshold I had to reach to maintain contact.  You’ve only got so much physical and emotional energy.  If you spread it out, you’ll have it at the proper times.  but if you tap yourself out, you may not be ready to do it again a week or two later when it’s the real thing.

I knew it was going to be really tough to stay with Mike [Pigg].  During some races, your body almost thrives on the pain, that push, that hunger that will not let anyone get away from you.  You know you’ll do whatever it take until you drop dead.  In other races you start to push, and your body just shuts down.

It’s kind of like having a favorite food.  When I was a kid, I used to love those little link sausages.  When you went to a restaurant, you’d only get maybe two on your plate.  Our family hardly ever went to a restaurant, and we didn’t have link sausages at home.  One time I was camping in the mountains with my grandma.  She bought a pack of 84 link sausages and said, “You can have as many of these as you want, Marky!”.  She started cooking them, and I had one, then five, and finally eight.  All of a sudden, I started feeling so damn sick.  Just the word ‘sausage’ made me nauseated for weeks.  My family would say it just to watch me squirm and turn green.  For years after that, i couldn’t eat a sausage.

This is known as Mark Allen’s Sausage Priniciple of Triathlons.  You love the sport, you love the training, but if you tap into that deep reserve and go too far, your body rejects that pain when you have to do it again.”

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Mark also wrote this on being centered as an athlete:

“You’re also really living if you face your fears.  One of my ultimate fears before the Ironman was that I was going to fall apart during the run.  I thought about being in the lead and having someone come by me.  When Dave [Scott] did go by, I said to myself, “Face your fear.  It’s happening.”   When you avoid a fear, when you’re staring at it face-to-face and you run away, it gets bigger.  “Face your fear,” I said at the time.  “Keep going and no one else will pass you”.

The more of those situations you are aware of and face, the closer you get to the spot I call the center, your energy spot.  For me, there is a point where I can stand and nothing can knock me off.  To find yours, face your fears, and acknowledge that they are there.

If I am centered, if I have reached my energy spot, I should be able to just sit in a corner by myself and be happy.  As an athlete, I sometimes imagine that I’m in a crowd of world-class athletes receiving awards for excellence.  As the awards are presented, everyone claps.   All the athletes in the room receive an award but me, even though I had a fantastic season.  I’d be in my ultimate place within myself; I would be in my energy spot if, after not receiving an award, I could feel sincerely happy for everyone else.  If I know myself what I had accomplished, that it was the best I could do, the praise wouldn’t have to come from an external source.  I should be happy with myself.”

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How may one get to know oneself?  Never by contemplation, only, indeed, by action.  – Goethe’s Worldview, Ungar

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We are born fighters; we will find something to oppose.  If we cannot find a worthy foe, we create one, even if that foe is ourselves.  – David K. Reynolds

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Maturity is not succeeding all the time.  Maturity is continuing to try even when we are failing.  – David K. Reynolds

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Swallowing error or accomplishment of the recent past, we turn to the next moment, always a fresh one, always carrying with it the possibility of new achievement.  – David K. Reynolds

The making of genius: M. Colgan

Monday, September 24th, 2007

I just finished 1 of 2 building weeks. Still not in the clear, but knock on wood – my body is holding up, and I’m more psyched to train than ever. I’m driven by just a wee bit of intensity,…the prospect of finishing the season without a satisfying result has made me a tad edgy. I’m going to IM-Florida with the intent to nail this sucker. With that said, given a most recent over-haul of my bike set up and positioning (much thanks to Gary Alexander), I’m going to have to trust that my body is quick to adapt to fitness with a change in motor programming/patterning. I’ve learned from Peter to avoid changing things, but both he and I agreed that a change in this case was a smart move. In the very least, an entire winter of building fitness with the new position will serve well for the 2008 season.

As a continuation of the story regarding my last blog entry, I rode the same route last wednesday. Wishing I had brought a camera, it was remarkable to see the stark difference a few days could make. This time, I headed out from Calgary at the freezing mark. Surprisingly, beyond Bragg Creek was snow covered,…the higher I climbed, the snowier it became. I was constantly thinking in my head,…”is this smart?”,…”would Peter ride in conditions like this?”,…my biased answer continued to be a justifiable YES,…and so I forged on. As I approached Elbow Falls, I found myself biking against two long rows of cows,…there were hundreds of them, walking together, sometimes running along both sides of the road. I’ve never seen them out all together in such numbers before — my first thought was that they must be on a migrating mission for a southern continent. Regardless of intent, it was certainly an interesting experience to bike amongst a herd of cows in a winter-wonderland. As long as I was training in my intended zones, and kept my hands and feet warm, I was a happy camper. I felt it was good for me to connect with the earth in this way.

I just read an article by Michael Colgan, titled “The Making of Genius” published in the Sept/Oct 2007 Vista magazine. Awesome read. More on it later.

Scott

Come take a tour of a day riding with me!

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

My day started how any day preceding a long ride starts: fueling for the day. All Sports Quest products, including 3 tablets of Vantage, 3 capsules of Recover, a fruit/Interphase protein smoothie, and 3 Motivator capsules. I was buzzing, and chopping at the the bit to get out.

September 16 ride

September 16 ride

How are the plants??!!! Are they dead??!! No??! Thank god,…do they need water? After a quick check, everything seems okay — this photo is to prove to Allison (while she is away) that I haven’t killed them yet.

September 16 ride

Starting at 9:15am, headed down the ‘hospital hill’ in Calgary to start the ride.

September 16 ride

Hello, my long-time friend. Gosh you’re looking fine!

September 16 ride

Believe it or not, this is Calgary – Beeeeeeeeeeautiful! A bike path leads me to Edworthy park hill.

September 16 ride

There’s some fine homes over-looking the water. Wow.

September 16 ride

My favorite training grounds. This is the base of Edworthy park hill.

September 16 ride

A popular hill for cyclists.

September 16 ride

This is a 1km long hill,…perfect for repeats.

September 16 ride

Oh, I’m a bit late! I’m meeting Greg Bradley for the ride at 9:30am.

September 16 ride

September 16 ride

September 16 ride

Hello big man,…meeting Greg at the corner of Sarcee and Bow Trail.

September 16 ride

The foothills in Kananakis country offer incredible rolling hills, and spectacular scenery. Greg turned around and headed back to Calgary around here – he’s coming off racing Ironman Canada, it’ll prove to be a good ride for him getting back into the swing of things.

September 16 ride

This is the top of the Powderface climb.

September 16 ride

September 16 ride

Continuing down the other side, to the end of highway 66.

September 16 ride

Free range Mountain Cows,…there are no fences to keep these guys from wandering anywhere.  There are tons of them.  It’s not uncommon to have to slowdown to avoid hitting a cow crossing the road.

September 16 ride

Yes,…this a cow rubbing it’s head in the ground.

September 16 ride

What’s all the commotion up the road?

September 16 ride

ah yes,…yummy road salt,…mountain goats taking their daily dose.

September 16 ride

These timid little guys were scared of me on my 2 wheeler (rightfully so – I’m pretty intimidating in spandex).

September 16 ride

Close to the end of highway 66.

September 16 ride

It’s not uncommon to see the real fast roadsters put the pedal to the metal around these parts. It’s unusual for the police to have speed traps way out here.

September 16 ride

September 16 ride

September 16 ride

Bragg Creek: How about this old-school signage!

September 16 ride

I stopped in Bragg Creek for a bit to eat,…this little guy from England was hilarious! With a perfect English accent he asked this woman, “excuuuuuse me ma’am, but may I please stroke your dog?”

September 16 ride

Back to Calgary, at Edworthy park’s bridge over the Bow river.

September 16 ride

September 16 ride

Total ride was from Calgary to end of highway 66, back to Elbow falls, loop back to the end of highway 66 again, back home,…5.5hours.

Thanks for coming on my ride today!

Scott