My body has no concept of anything. It is a machine. Actin sliding over myosin, ATP shuffling through my cells. I race to show the power of the body and of nothing more. I love my machine. I respect my machine. I want to show the capacity of my machine. That’s a powerful goal, one that I can grasp, one that I can massage, one that I can tweak and train and nourish and stress.
I race to show the power of selection. My mom, in the deepest part of her subconscious chose my dad at least partially for the seemingly superficial reason of his muscles and ability at sport. She may not know it, but she did. My dad, maybe more willing to admit to his desires chose my mom partially based off her physique. She’s strong, fit, and capable. Less superficial, they both saw each other’s drive, the work ethic that underlined and highlighted their personalities. It was a process of selection. They wanted strong children and as little as they may have consciously considered this result, in the deepest well of their subconscious it was ingrained: to choose a mate based on strength. Continue reading I am a brute
I wrote a couple posts about lightweight backpacking last week to summarize my preparation for a sweep to finish hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. Having just graduated, I was stoked about my trip. I was waiting for a rain jacket to come in the mail so that I could peace out and get moving. In my restlessness, on the first day of the new year I asked my friend Scott if he wanted to go climb a mountain. Paris mountain sat just across the valley from my home. It stared at me every time I commuted home. Since I moved in I declared my intentions of standing on top of it and with a snowy peak, it was luring me in stronger than ever before. Continue reading Who is better off: the paraplegic or the lottery winner?
I was supposed to take a week off from triathlon at the end of this season. My last race was yesterday. But what I am “supposed” to do did not exactly line up with what I want to do. So I am going to start training again tomorrow. I will have taken a day off and that is plenty for me.
This sport is not a mathematical equation to me. What I am supposed to do has rarely lined up with what feels right. So I am trying something new now. I am going to do what I want to do or what feels right to do. It is going to be a simpler method, one without specific periodization or a daily routine planned out weeks in advance.
Training is part of my life. It is not something to toy with and tweak with.
I wrote the below post to record my initial reaction after an extremely disappointing trip to Burlington, Vermont this past weekend for the Olympic Distance National Championships. With high hopes, I was overcome by illness the day of the race. Below there is a lot of self doubt in the purpose behind racing. I frequently highlight the silliness of the sport and that there really seems no real purpose behind it. I have never been one to remain in bliss to remain ignorant. Instead, I have always questioned things. One question I briefly highlight below is the question of life’s purpose. I essentially leave the question unanswered and establish that simply because I cannot directly pinpoint the answer does not mean I will cease living. Instead, despite a confidence in the near purely physical nature of this universe, I live my life as if I were completely aware of why I am here. The question of purpose is still there and arises every now and then but when the answer does not present itself, I do not hesitate. This is an attitude that I questioned this past weekend. After feeling that winning was the most important thing in the world just a couple of years ago, my attitude has evolved. Every time this doubt arises, training holds firm in my mind as a logical and respectable activity. To work, to test, experiment, challenge, and observe the body and life itself is an amazing, very spiritual process. But the purpose of racing is what was in question. I am an innately competitive being. It is a desire of mine to win and despise being mediocre at anything. The post below is raw and unedited. The words are exactly what was written in the hours after the race. But much of it has evolved in the time since then and I imagine it will continue to do so as the pain of loss fades and the glory of winning again comes into view. The process of answering this question of purpose happened in the amount of time that it took me to write the words below. It is not necessarily defined but when I reread these words, I get excited for my next competition.
Continue reading Finding Purpose
I played it safe. I didn’t want to end up in the hospital. And in my defense, it was pretty damn hot. But this was a race and the only one for over a month on either side. It was what I train for and commit myself to for hours each day. It was money spent on travel. It was the emotional investment. It was my parents, friends, and coach’s support. And I had wasted it all by playing it safe.
Continue reading Never, never, never give up
I don’t believe in working out. This may seem shocking to many of you, especially those who believe I am a working out fanatic. Some people think, “Wow he exercises a lot for someone who doesn’t believe in working out.” But working out is done for the purpose of health. Training is similar to a basketball player practicing free throws or a tennis player working on serves. I don’t work out. I train.
Continue reading Fitness as a consequence, not a goal
I recently read a line in USA Triathlon magazine that I felt needed some correcting. The article, titled Ask the Coach: Bike Training by Greg Mueller, was featured in the April edition of the magazine. Mueller made a pretty serious mistake on the subject of cycling pacing on hills. Mueller stated “if you watch a power meter, athletes tend to increase their effort on hills then decrease their effort descending. This learned behavior carries over to racing, where it is not optimal.” What I intend to point out is that this statement is extremely misguided and give the correct advice.
Continue reading Slow and steady loses the race: correcting Greg Mueller’s mistake
I don’t give a damn how many watts you can put out. In an indoor triathlon, you race in a pool, head upstairs to power out on the cycle ergometer and then hit up the treadmill. Your power matters in there. But in real triathlon, outside, with elements and variables, speed matters, not power. I’ll never forget a question asked to me last year by a fellow triathlete. “How did you go so fast?,” he asked. I laughed for a second before I realized he was serious. I don’t remember how I answered the question but I am sure I said something about training. But, in reality, training alone cannot get you a fast time in triathlon, and definitely is not the only factor in cycling. There are cyclists who are faster than me who are no better trained and many who are slower than me who are stronger. But what is it? How do the pros do it? They train their butts off for sure but alongside that, they take into account four sources of resistance that not many triathletes completely account for or are aware of. While some cyclists only know of one or two of these, weight, aerodynamics, drive train resistance, and rolling resistance all act to slow you down.
Continue reading It’s not about power, It’s about speed.
I’m really struggling to get out the door today. I had an opportunity hours ago to get out on the road and complete my long run for the week. Yesterday I had a slight detour with a planned 60 mile ride ending up being 110 miles. My legs are tired, my skin is burned, and my body is drained. In reality, no one would know if I didn’t do this run but me. No one would have any idea. No one is asking what I am doing day after day. I’m not posting my Garmin files on my facebook page or updating my twitter every time I get out the door. I have no training partner that I need to text to say I am bailing. It is just me.
Continue reading Inspiration
I ran through it three times. And after that, I lay trying to fall asleep, running through it another dozen times. It was one of the only technical finishes to a triathlon I have ever seen. People always practice the bike course, taking the turns at speed or at minimum drive it so they know what to expect. But no one ever thinks the run will matter. I didn’t either, but I thought I better not take my chances. The year before, this exact race was seemingly going to come down to a sprint finish. Ben Bartlett caught me early in the run and we ran together for the next two miles. But not wanting to wait till the end to get the win, I sprinted past him with one mile to go to take the lead. The final sub-5 minute mile was enough to win by a mere twelve seconds.
Continue reading Kinetic Sprint 2012