Monday, March 24, 2008

Enron Accounting Goes Green

My roommate in San Diego was out one night in a bar – fairly well over-served by the time I got there and he walked up to me and said:

“I (…pause for effect…) have a drinking problem….”

“Right now…(…pause for hick-up…)…that… is NOT my problem….”

“My problem is…I am out of money…”

Then he smiled and said - “Can you please buy me a drink :)”

To this day we laugh about that as one of the funniest things he said to me.

I bought him a drink – Hell – I probably bought him a bunch – for the shrinks in the crowd what does that make me –

(In unison please)


Yes it does…

Point is – Jamie did not have a problem – ok – he did – it was a lack of green backs in his wallet that night… but other than that – his drinking was not a problem – money was and I was happy to be his enabler.


(by the way - this is really him :))

So what the hell does all this have to do with Triathlon, Ironman training or coaching?

Most of you are saying “get to the point – I am reading this on my 3 inch Blackberry screen drinking my coffee while I am knee driving Butler Blvd heading to the pool on my lunch hour :)”

The point is – we are all enablers and we surround ourselves with enablers.

Look at our training groups…our friends

What do you think your training partner (err enablers) would say if you told them you had a long ride and run on Saturday and it’s supposed to be rainy and windy?


Or would your group tell you…

“Dude – you got 6-8 hours workout on Saturday - I got 7 – looks like the hard stuff won’t be coming down until noon – if we start on the trainer at 4:30am we can get it all in before the rain. What time are you leaving – can I come?”

This is a seriously disturbed thought process AND we surround ourselves with people who think that this normal so we don’t have to explain…

A good friend of mine, (Bernadette – and definitely NOT my enabler :)), walked into my house the other day to find me on the trainer early in the morning in a pool of sweat watching movies – yes it was 6:45am – and yes – I was just finishing my 1:15 ride before heading off on my 30 min t-run and then going to work by 8:00am :)

She said, “What the F&*) do you do this for?”

I just laughed – what was I supposed to say?

But the more I thought about it – I couldn’t immediately answer it.

Being that she is a “non” enabler – I actually had to answer.

To all of you - I could just say I have IM Arizona in 3 weeks – enough said…

You would have done the quick enabler translation …(4 x8 w/ 2R zone 3+ - Tempo intervals and t-run – 3 weeks out – up at 4:30am on the trainer at 5:30 – off at 6:45 – T run for 30 – shower and leave for work at 7:30 and work from 8-5 and then dinner – play with the kids and then off to bed – sounds like a perfect day :))

Rich has a picture I love – it says “if you have to ask why – you'll never understand.”


I love that picture and the saying…but what it really says is…

“Don’t ask me :) - I don’t understand either”

So – during my 6-8 hour training session on Saturday (yes – I started on the trainer at 5:30 – 4:30 is just stupid) I thought about the answer and I here is what I cam up with…


That’s it - Accountability.

Accountability to myself…to my coach…to my friends…(errr enablers :))

Wiki says:

Accountability …is often used synonymously with such concepts as answerability, enforcement, responsibility, blameworthiness, liability and other terms associated with the expectation of account-giving.

Accountability is defined as "A is accountable to B when A is obliged to inform B about A’s (past or future) actions and decisions, to justify them, and to suffer punishment in the case of eventual misconduct" [1].
I have a coach. He is a stickler for details and he checks up on me.

I am “A” and he is “B”.

If it says – build for 3 hours and hit these zones – I am going to build for 3 hours and try to hit those zones or I will be “ obliged to inform B” about my actions or lack thereof or puke on the floor trying :)

If I can’t hit my zones – I better have a good reason as I know I will have to explain why – see puke reference above.

I am accountable to “B”.

I was talking about this with a few guys I coach – really top notch cyclists - and I asked them what makes them do the interval work when it hurts like hell…

I expected they would say something like – I know that I need to do this to win…it will make me stronger…

There answer surprised me…

They said because they knew I would look at it.

I am their “B”.

So what if you don’t have a coach to check on you

What if you just have training partners…

There are a few guys I trained with over the years and together – we were collectively both each others “A’s” and the “B’s”.

We told each other what we were going to do and we backed it up.

If we blew it off – we had to face up…answer the mail…email smack kept us in line.

I used to swim 3 days a week with the UNF Masters program – ok – there is no such thing really.

No coach – no attendance – no fee – just accountability to your friends if you blew it off That was a good masters group - 100% accountability by guilt…be there or be talked about :)

I think this all goes back to same point…like Chris Lieto said a few weeks ago – tell someone what you are going to do…put it out there…now you are accountable. This not only works for goals but it training as well.

That is why I do it…

I am about one quart of milk short of being Howard Hughes and my Training Peaks log account has to be all green. (If you have never used this site – a completed workout is logged green – check it out – it is excellent – – they offer free 7 or 10 day memberships.) Yellow means not complete and Red means you didn’t do it at all.

There are no deals – no Enron transactions – just simple – did you do it? Then it’s green.

(Is it just me? Enron – “en” ablers – problems with accounting – coincidence? I think not :))

Back to the point…

No yellow – no red…no deals

Green is good – green makes me train – green keeps “B” off my a$$ 

Accountability keeps my “A’s” training.

Accountability makes me train.

Accountability to family – to myself – my coach – my athletes - my friends – my goals.

That is why I do it – even though I know YOU...didn’t have to ask :)

Oh – yeah – almost forgot – my roommate...

Jamie – he is doing great…still in California and flying helicopters…

I think he is dating Lindsey Lohan and things are going really well...

They are talking about having kids...

So jackhammer – I guess that makes you his “Beeeee-acchhhhe”


Love and Kisses - Athlete "A" - Coach "B" and Paris Hilton of the Peloton :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Racing, Racing and more racing :)

It is really early in the season and already the Velocity crew is posting some fantastic results.

First, the cyclists. Curtis and Jeff and the Lindner Capital crew are raking in top results among a top field. Two weeks ago in Albany in the Georgia Cup, Curtis took a 2nd place podium spot in the Criterium race. (Francis - check out the dude’s quads – you are no longer Quadzilla :) - you better get back to the gym and start squatting :)



This past weekend was Perry Roubaix in Perry Georgia which is named this for a portion of the race resembles the famous Paris Roubaix race with a hard packed dirt section. Jeff Kopp took 12th in the TT out of the Pro 1, 2 riders. Curtis Long backed that up later in the day with a strong performance in the circuit race getting in a break that stayed away and lapped the field. In the sprint, Curtis took 5th.

For an outsider to cycling, it is hard to judge how impressive these finishers are or how competitive the fields are. Racing in these events where the guys who literally next week will be on a plane to race in Europe. This is a top notch field and top results from Jeff and Curtis – congrats guys.

In the I smell patchouli land of Mountain biking – fitness is still king. Sean Crichton has been putting in the miles on the bike (both mountain and road) and it showed this weekend. He placed 4th this weekend SE regional MTB race in Gainesville and 4th in the 12 hour in the Pro/Expert Team race a few weeks ago. This guy swims and runs as well so he is going to tear up xTerra Miami at the end of the month and in Panama City for the ½ Ironman in May – congrats Sean and good luck later this month.

The River Run was a suffer-fest for all who ran as the winds just killed the bridges. 25-40MPH winds produced what was at least 3’-4’ surf in San Marco – crazy. Great performances were still possible and Kellie Smirnoff took 2nd in her AG. Finishing strong were Saswata Roy (with a PR), Billy Hart, David Mariotti, Steve Petitt, Susan Wallis. New additions to Velocity crew (you don’t want to have to see these guys at work  ) are 3 ER doctors from Mayo and St. Lukes…Michael Mohseni, Steve Goodfriend and Tyler Vadeboncoeur…these guys went 1:05 each and Tyler hit is HARD and finished in 58:51. These guys are training for Florida 70.3 so look for them in the pool and on the road.



Speaking of the Trifection – the 1st “major” race of the season was the Miami International Triathlon this weekend in Miami. There were 6 local athletes to make the trek south and all came home with “bling”. Top finisher and dominating the dojo was Steve Petitt with a AG win and finishing in 35th overall. Terri Derkum won her AG with Sue Briers right behind her for 2nd. Kellie took 2nd in her AG and Billy took 3rd…it was really cool to have everyone score something in a REALLY competitive field and we went all poser style for the “show me the money” finish line photo :)

Miami International Tri 08 007

If you are looking for a cool venue and good organization – these guys put on a good race. OH – almost forgot…in attendance were Chris Lieto and Brian Fleishmann who finished 3rd and 4th overall scoring some of the $30K prize money. Brian had the fastest run on the day and Chris smacked the bike course with a 27+ MPH average on a course that had 8 x 180 degree turns and 4 times over the Rickenbacher causeway…that dude can ride!!!

That’s all for now…if I missed anyone – I’m sorry but please let me know so I don’t forget again…more racing coming up soon with tri season getting up to speed and cycling hitting a peak next month the Jacksonville Cycling Classic…like the PGA says – check it out – these guys are good :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

AHHHHHH! I feel like hell! It must be a recovery week :)

So what is the deal with all this periodization stuff anyway?

Train hard…all the time…the more the better…no pain, no gain…never let up – days off are for the other guys….just train through it…the pro’s do it…imagine what your competition is doing right now…if 6 is good – 8 is better (I actually did that this morning :))

We have all heard most if not all of these before and probably lived a bunch of them!!!

Point is – it works…it does.

Anyone who has seen Tyler Hamilton climbing with a broken collar bone wearing his teeth down as he clinches his jaw from pain knows you can push through anything. Man, I wish that whole twins thing worked out for him, I really dig that guy and call me crazy but I think he is innocent. I WANT to believe he is innocent but DUDE, a twin? Come on! I can go hit the bean bag chair, turn on the lava lamp and bong out and come up with much better story than that. Sorry, I digress :)

OK, so this works, but only for a short time.

Maybe a couple of months, maybe a year but after that the cumulative effect is just too much and we break down.

In Aviation, my previous life, we were big on this. I still remember a few of things from that life, “Mayday, mayday, mayday!” Wait that’s not it :)

OK, acute fatigue and chronic fatigue.

Acute fatigue lasts for a short duration, only a few days or weeks, and that could be treated with R and R (rest and relaxation) weeks. The military figured this out decades ago; you can not sustain a hard pace forever.

Chronic fatigue was more systemic, lasting years, and could only be managed by a change in duties (job) or assignment or mission. Large blocks of time away from stress.

Unless we want to retire from our hobby (and unless Chris or Brian happen to read this) none of us are making a living doing this, it is a hobby, so it is best to not get into this chronic fatigued state and ruin our hobby.

(Do bowlers get fatigued? Do they have recovery weeks? I need a new hobby!)

OK Focus –

Being the geek that I am, I love being able to track the way training will effect me and the athletes I coach. I use some software from CyclingPeaks which is called WKO+. The newest version gives you the ability to track cycling and running volume and times and create a Training Stress Score (TSS). This TSS/d (pink line – Acute training Load) is charted by the day. The effects of your training can be seen on your fitness (Chronic Training load - blue line). Your form (Training Stress Balance - yellow line) is how you should feel that day.

So, the trick is to get the best (or highest fitness) blue line and the highest form (yellow line) on the key days you need them.

Below is a chart that shows this for the past 14 months with 2 key peaks. I also added the base and builds so you can see how that fits into the year.


Overall, when I look at this chart, I like the trend. Generally upward sloping and the peaks more or less hit the key race target dates. This to me looks like a pretty good annual training plan (ATP).

So, back to where I started!

AHHHHHH! I feel like hell! It must be a recovery week. Check out the far right on the chart. This is the hole that we dig prior to IM races. The crucial part of digging this hole is figure out how deep you can dig it and how quickly you can climb out of it.

A few of are doing IM AZ in 6 weeks and this week is a well needed recovery week. It allows you body the R and R to go back into the “battle” for 2 more hard weeks and then start to taper.

Recover in a macro sense, from the big cycles, helps to prevent the Chronic Fatigue and leads to an increasing (positive) trend in Chronic Load or fitness which is a good thing.

Recover in a micro sense, from the past three weeks of volume, will help prepare for the next phase and bring the TSB out of the depths of hell and back to somewhere closer to purgatory :)

So how do you recover? - shameless plugs still make me laugh :)

This actually works really well and helps tremendously in the acute phase. I have been using them religiously after key workouts and it definitely helps.

In this context - a recovery week should be about aligning the three main components that we need:

For your body: get extra rest and sleep. Relax. Sit around with your feet up. Eat and drink better and in general take better care of ourselves. Get a Massage or Chiropractic care – call it a triathlete’s spa day – hell just buy a new razor…that will help :)

For your mind: enjoy the relief from the hurry to get in a swim, hurry to get in a run, hurry to get in a bike mentality and relax – unwind…yoga works for me….watch a movie and just sit still…yes Starbucks also sells Decaf :)

For your Balance: take some time with the people we see in between when we are in a hurry to get in a swim, in a hurry to get in a run, in a hurry to get in a bike…they need recovery weeks as well. Take a jog instead of a run and have it a family event or just go run on a different route without mile markers and splits. Enjoy the reason we started doing this “hobby”


So, my plane has landed and it is 28 degrees in Chicago and I have done my workouts for the day, eaten a good breakfast, a healthy lunch and finished my 50 to-do’s.

Off to work and then to hopefully a great dinner of Murgh Tikka Masala, Basmati and Pompadons…yes Francis – that is food.

Eat, sleep, hang out – this recovery stuff is hard work – I feel better already :)