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Archive for March, 2009

Complacency is evil

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Today, in the Salmon Arm community swimming pool, I swam 100x100m,…it was far from perfect.

My intent was to swim the 10km building stronger throughout the set. Knowing it this was going to be a long workout, I prepared myself to make good on swimming with an emphasis on technique in order to decrease the risk of shoulder injury. I also knew that I needed to swim smooth and easy to start, in order to finish strong.

I started the repeats on 1:30, arriving at the wall on 1:25. I didn’t have much rest, but it was easy. No problem,…just worked technique. After a little while later, I was pulling them on 1:25, arriving on 1:20,…then my body and mind got into a funk and didn’t feel like descending from there. All of a sudden, I didn’t feel like swimming anymore. The workout became a chore, and lost it’s meaning to me as an important exercise.

I then thought about something I recently said to someone, “if you ever find yourself simply going through the motions in a workout,…sometimes it’s a good idea to stop for a moment, and ask yourself – am I accomplishing the intent of this workout? if not,…why not? are you really really tired and have nothing to give? or are you just being lazy?”. Hanging my head in self-inflicted guilt, after 50x100m I opted to get out of the pool, go home, and refuel. I was being lazy, and way too naive to think that nothing but a bunch of easy 100s had value. Knowing that I had to return to the pool in order to finish the workout, I also knew that I had to make up for my lack-luster performance thus far, and hit round two with a new attitude.

Remarkably, I had a huge turn-around the second trip to the pool, I was way faster for the next set of 50x100m – I was swimming with anger, and it seemed to really make me move well. 20x100m swim on 1:25 arriving on 1:15, then 10x100m kick on 2:00 arriving on 1:45, then I lit up the last 20x100m pull on 1:20 arriving on 1:10s).

I think it’s a good idea to question the extent by which complacency affects our performance outcomes. I think humans are fallible and flawed in this respect. Perhaps such recognition might help us find motivation to rise to a new level; and/or explain why many of us succumb to performance plateaus.


King of Calgary Pursuit Triathlon

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Date: Sat March 28th

1500m long course swim sponsored by SpeedTheory…Break for 90min-2hours, taking time to arrive at bike TT course TBD.  Time discrepancy from leader after the swim applies to individual bike start times (i.e. swim leader starts the bike TT in first place with appropriate time advantage).  After bike, there will be another break,…transport to run location TBD.   10km run start is pursuit style as well (ie. time advantage/disadvantage after swim/bike will determine individual run start times).

First place wins a comped pro-entry into the Calgary 70.3 IM race.  If weather is nasty, bike will be held at SpeedTheory on Computrainers.

So far, the list of confirmed competitors are Christopher Brown (3rd place Ironman Canada 2007, 2008 National Long Distance Triathlon Champion), Kyle Marcotte (4th place Ironman Canada 2006, many Podium Ironman finishes too great to list, National Champion in Duathlon), Elliot Rushton (12th place World Championships Open Water Swimming 2005, PB of 15min14sec for 1500m freestyle, will be racing Calgary 70.3IM), Graham Hood (2-time Olympian, and Track and Field legend with a one mile PB of 3min51sec, and 1999 Pan American Games Gold Medalist in the 1500m), Trev Williams (1st age-grouper overall at 2005 Ironman Canada), and myself.

No want, just do.

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Over the past couple years, I’ve heard a lot of people speak of me in terms of triathlon racing as someone who puts a lot of pressure on himself.  I don’t ever recall internalizing these comments,…they really meant nothing to me, afterall who cares?  So what?  What’s the big deal?  Maybe I really wanted to perform well at races, and yes, I’d often say things in my head like, ‘yeah, I really want to do well at this race’.  I also recall using this very desire to perform at specific races as motivation to train hard.

So, I’d enter races and focus on performing, with thoughts like, “this is it,…let’s do it…let’s make this race happen”.  Is this a problem?  No – not really,…well, I don’t think so.  Could the more I focus on wanting to do well, act as a distraction from focusing on things that really matter?  I think this could be likely.

So how does someone rid themself of excess pressure?  I don’t know,…does it help that I recognize it as a problem?  I hope it counts for something…

Is it possible to build up, train, load, recover, eat and sleep as an athlete without focusing on WANTING,..while putting all the emphasis on the DOING?  Yes, I believe it is possible, as I know that’s exactly what the winners do.  I don’t ever recall ever hearing a future winner ever say, ‘I really WANT to do well at this race’,…they focus on a concrete vision with internalized confidence; unexplainable by words.   I have a theory that the words come out more when the confidence is less.

You have free reign to give me a good ‘ol slap in the face if I start talking about how much I WANT to perform well this year.  I’ve self-talked myself silly over the years; no more WANTING, DREAMING, and DESIRING.

Do and execute – this is all that matters.  I’ve got a long way to go; and by no means am I pretending that I know anything about what I’m talking about.  But I’m hoping I’m shifting my mental preparedness in the right direction.

Stay in the moment, and don’t fear what you don’t know.