Sunday, June 24, 2012

Transitions are a Skill

Ever feel like you go through lots of transitions? Think back over the course of your life, how many different times have you changed paths, migrated from one interest to the next or chosen an alternative route? What's interesting about transitions is that they're everywhere. We not only make them physically, but we do so mentally. Mental transitions are the toughest.

I used to be an LSD addict. Yes, I measured my success by how many miles I got in each week and how long it took me. The weeks that I got close to 60miles I felt like a rock star. Training wasn't planned back then. The only plan was how many miles seemed right today; How many miles over 10 was I going to run on the weekend? Intriguing structure to training now that I look back. 

For those readers who don't know "What CrossFit Endurance" actually involves, check out the video below. In less than 3 minutes you'll figure out just IMMENSE of a transition I made in my training: 

So what difficulties can you anticipate experiencing when making your transition to CFE? 

1) Its a 180 degree switch - Focus switches from miles to moving better.
2) You'll be a duck out of water - Not many are brave enough to attempt
3) You will look different - CrossFit Endurance athletes actually have muscles (interesting) 
4) People will continue to question your training - EXPECT this ... won't go away for awhile 
5) You'll go back and forth - Most will find themselves out on at least one "long run" the 1st go around. It will take time for you to fully be drinking the "CFE Kool Aid"
6) The workouts will always be tough - If you're doing it right that is
7) You'll have to plan - Establish a base in CFIT, then 3 sport specific wods per week (SI, LI, TT)
8) Struggle with the idea of less is more - focus will shift to how can I recover quicker? 
9) Evidenced based knowledge will flood your brain - your benchmarks will improve, head will start to run out of space with the evidence that less running and more S&C makes you faster 
10) You'll have trouble NOT PRing - Yes this is a difficulty :)) 

Now you're one step in front of everyone thinking about this new way of training. What I want you to compare this transition too is that movie all your friends said was awful, they were adament for you not to go and see it, almost begged you, but then you watched. The movie turns out to be an all time favorite. What do you do? You watch it over and over again and it never gets old. That's what CFE will become for you. You just have to give it a chance...

The best part is once you start watching, the community sees your excitement, potentially thrives off it and before you know it everyone's watching... 

This weekend's triathlon in review:

Race:Tri the Midlands
Place: Northeast Columbia, SC
Conditions: Sunny, Beautiful 
Distance: Sprint 

Swim: 9:20 (19th)
T1: 0:45
Bike: 41:52 (55th)
T2: 0:38
Run:  18:50 (4th)

Overall: 1:11:23 (13th)
Age Group: 3rd 

 Absolutely gorgeous course this weekend. Small lake swim. Bike loop was an out and back that took us thru some rolling hills and pretty neighborhoods. Run took place inside Lake Carolina Development ... man would it be a great place to live. The hills really played a role in my bike performance (that and I need to get stronger) along with the run. At roughly the 1.5 mile turn around, the course featured a steep grade of at least 10% for 1/2 a mile. Yikes!! My legs felt tired going into the day, but all and all happy with the performance.

 Learning experience - Don't ever give up until your drinking water in the post race tent! At the very end of this race, I was gaining on a fellow athlete. Literally about 200meters away from the finish I put a kick on and passed him with force. Unfortunately, I guess he had looked at my calf and saw that I was in his age category (I had no clue) however he decided to kick hard back at me so I had to keep it moving!! I quickly kept the jets on, but here's the kicker. For those who compete in triathlons you've probably noticed 2 strips of finish line mats. Typically one before the ACTUAL finish line. For some reason in my brain, I thought the first met registers the chip time. Now running at about 5:30pace into the finish I ended up slowing up before the OFFICIAL timing mat. Result? P.J. (who I met after the race) ended up finishing 1 second in front of me. Unreal. I like to think I am quite humble guy so I went right up to him and congratulated him on his last minute charge. Fair and square he had scored 2nd place in our age group. The coolest part is we were both psyched. There is not always the opportunity to put in a charge like the one we did at the end so no complaints here. NEXT TIME THOUGH - its hard running all the way to the ACTUAL timing mat.

Anyways that's the report ... fun as usual ... learned ... ready for the next one!

I'm now exactly 8 weeks out from Louisville Ironman. Can you believe how fast time really goes? I simply see August 26th as just one more transition. I'll be going from triathlete to Ironman athlete. My life has brought me to this race for a reason and there's no fighting it. Not fighting is important to note here because life is going to throw you constant transitions. You have to sort through them. You have look at every one as a positive one. Even when you may not believe. Just like in a Triathlon there's a lot that goes into each transition. Whether it's T1 or T2. If you freak out and don't stay calm your going to take longer. You'll do more harm than good and it will take you longer to get out. It's bound to happen every once and awhile, but TRANSITIONS OF ANY KIND ARE A SKILL. The tougher the transition, larger the reward. 

Brian Mackenzie's book: Power, Speed, Endurance comes out October 1st .. Pre-Order now!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Proud to be a Product

Priority one ... Happy Father's Day to all the amazing Dad's out there. There are a lot of you. This post goes out to all of you who have gone the extra mile time and time again for your kids. Those late nights and early mornings that you cared to your core to provide your selflessness. I am a huge believer that we're all products of our providers, which of course means our parents. The definition of a provider is: one who supplies a means of subsistence. Interesting ... Dad's make such an impact on us, that the pieces of who they are truly get morphed into us. If that's not subsistence, I don't know what is. Whether we like it or not we're products. I'm proud to be a product of my provider.

Today being Father's day I've been thinking nonstop about my Dad. I knew this post had to be about him.  Living away from home has its perks, obviously much warmer here in SC; however its days like today when I wish I could just drive up the street and kick back a brew with my Dad. This is my best way of staying connected to him.

Kids don't naturally understand how much their parents do for them (I know I didn't) until its too late. We start in diapers, hit kindergarten, High School, head off to college, move away from home, get that first job and then we realize how lucky we were. The actuality of how much our Dad's did for us. It really puts it in perspective when it final hits you. My Dad's absolutely amazing and there has been moments throughout growing up and my early adulthood that will sustain in my brain forever. Truly a special guy, so here goes on those moments:

1 - When I was roughly 12 years old my brother, Dad and I were out pond skating on a cold wintery night. In our neighborhood, we would always walk down the street when it got cold enough to skate. This particular night we were going at it for roughly 2,3 hours having a blast and then it started to get Dark. The puck was flung over to an edge of the pond and off I skated to get it. CRACK, BOOM! I fell straight thru the ice. In full out panic mode, I flailed, tossing and turning attempting to pull myself out of the icy water. It wasn't happening (scariest moment of my life). In a mad dash I was starting to migrate under the water until my Dad literally hauled ass to scoop from the other end of the pond to scoop me up and drag me out of the water. A few seconds later, I honestly think I could have drifted underneath the ice. Dad you saved my life. Thank you.

2 - I'm 16 years old, 20 days fresh of having my license. Crashed into the back of my friend Eddie's pick up truck wrecking the Volvo owned by my parents. I had stupidly not been paying attention at the wheel. Car was totaled. Still in the "Cool" phase of driving, I quickly found out it wasn't so cool to turn to the passengers side window and wave to friends. Just enough time with your eyes off the road to get into quite a pickle. So what did I do? Somehow I thought I could hide it from him. Got the car towed to the house and then when he came home I was scared shitless. Those who know me I'm not the type of kid to lie (It's quite difficult for me). He came up to my room and I lost it. Started absolutely balling. Screamed. Mostly being frustrated with myself and my stupidity. He could see I was in the worst of shapes. You know what he did? He understood. He said "It's okay, the important thing is no one got hurt ... you're okay ... it's okay ... forget about it" Dad you understood. Thank you.

3 - It's the first "Parent's Weekend" I had only been away from my Dad for a couple months. Me at Clemson, him up in Massachusetts. I was excited for them to arrive. I'm not going to lie it was weird being so far from home, 18 years old ... 18 hours away .. no joke right?! So I knew they were soon to arrive, but then there he stood. I popped out into the hallway of my Freshman dorm and as he got closer I saw something I had never ever so in my life. My Dad emotional, again those who know him understand that emotions are rarely exhibited :) I walked right up to him and said hey Dad, gave him the hand shake half arm hug and felt him shaking to see me. Dad you missed me. Thank you.

4 - I think what my Dad's always done the best is support. Whether is was getting me to hockey practice, attending a golf match or coaching my baseball team he's been there. Never missing a beat. This moment starts with me in the middle of the New Hampshire Marathon. I'm 23 years old running my 2nd marathon (the most challenging I'll probably ever tackle, HILLS!!). My brother and Dad had this great idea of biking the course while I was out there. They ended up getting lost and put in more miles than me that day haha. What I'll never forget though is that my Dad came buzzing by roughly mile 22 and I was hurting bad. My pace was fading a little bit, but as he brushed by he said "Just keep going buddy, your almost done." Quite simple, but he gave me strength. The quick comment fueled me to keep going. It resonated. Dad you supported me. Thank you.

5 - A mere 6 months ago, I was up visiting the old stomping grounds for the holiday's and I signed my Dad up for his first 5K. The New Year's Day Hangover Classic 5K in Salisbury Beach, MA. It was his present because I knew he would have to do it if I paid for it. When I got into racing he seemed to gradually start running. It was interesting. He continually told me he would never race and was just running to get in shape. I was so excited to share what I love with him and have him in the same race as me. Coming off a stress fracture, I finished close to PR, but that wasn't at all the cool part. I jumped back to the finish line shoot and as I saw my Dad coming in - not only pushing hard, but kicking at the end I got the chills. I was pumped to see him cross the line. Just under 27minutes. Impressive. Dad you ran with me. Thank you.

I could go all night on other moments my Dad and I have shared, but bed time is getting close. All I know is that my Dad woke up and took me to 5am hockey practice, cooked and fed me, cared for me even when I was out of line, he took me tubing in the summers and purposely dumped me off, on and on the list goes. The results are in though. HE's BEEN THERE. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have had someone like that in their life. Especially to his caliber. I'm truly proud to be his product. He has shaped me into the man I am today. I'll never forget. I'll never be ungrateful. There are more moments to come. Dad you've always been there. Thank you.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Busy? No Complaints.

Ever think you can't get busier? Oh believe me you'll always find a way. More so than ever did I live the word BUSY this past week. Let's just say my week started with a 4hr delayed flight out of Missouri, CrossFit, Ironman training, HHHealth, complete household move Thursday and Friday night and then a Triathlon to polish it all off today. No complaints.

I think as humans we often assume there are more hours in a day than there actually are. It's unfortunate because there is a fine line between drawing yourself too thin and being busy. I like to think I'm good busy. I don't dismiss opportunities. I find that when you start sacrificing things that you enjoy you begin to take yourself out of the game. Busy? No complaints. Read on...

Race: Festival of Flowers
Place: Ninety Six, SC
Conditions:Light to Heavy Rain
Distance: International

Swim: 29:45 (35th)
T1: 0:43
Bike:1:06:30 (58th)
T2: 0:34
Run: 40:30 (11th)

Overall: 2:18:04 (25th)
Age Group: 2nd

This race marked my second ever international distance and man was it a great arena. The swim was an awesome 1500m loop point to point, bike one big loop and the run finished by overlooking Lake Greenwood we charged up a steep hill to cross the line. I wasn't expecting rain at the race start, but just before they shot the air horn officials mentioned that it was pouring just miles away from us. Turned into a rainy day, but man another spectacular experience.

#1 - I learned today that I need new holsters for water bottles on the bike. It happened again that I lost my fuel source during the bike portion! I wanted to test the SFH in race protein, but unfortunately after one sip it popped right out of the holster. Before Ironman I'll be looking into some more secure options.

#2 - Try not to zone out on the Swim or the Bike. I caught myself a few times getting too comfortable on both portions. I think what separates the pack is athletes who know how to push the pace the entire race. I felt like at a couple points I zoned out and got a little lackluster with my strokes and cadence. Always have to expect more.

#3 - Run technique felt strong, FOOT WAS NORMAL. Very conscious of my posture and pulling of my feet. Additionally, there was no pain in my previous stress fractured foot, which is encouraging. I believe if I continue to think technique first just like I preach I'll be all set at these races and injury free!!

Coolest Race Highlight - Chatting with Nico Felix, Dan Carhart and Chip Collins pre and post race. Just like CrossFit every sport creates a community. When you start attending the same races and have the same dedication that others have you naturally start to bond with them. These are three cool dudes that are double my age, but living the same life and loving the same things. Triathlon is about experience, it's about knowing why you're there and sharing that with others. To sum up the coolest race highlight though I have too quote Nico when he said "Your bike-run transition was a Total Mind Fuck" ... this was him referring to how quickly I got out on the run course (we both go there the same moment, apparently I was so quick it messed with his mind haha) Also need to thank Chip for going "Jeff Ford Style" referring to shirtless for the entire triathlon :)

Anyways, back to the "being busy topic" ... this is where I think CrossFit Endurance gets a few paleo brownie points. Like I've mentioned in previous posts, CFE is far less time, but much more intense when it comes to the workouts. We've discussed how building anaerobic capacity improves aerobic capacity, but what about the benefits to your lifestyle?? Balancing work, kids, training and ally our other responsibilities can be a handful and frankly impossible at times. This is the beauty of the CFE protocol. YOU DO HAVE MORE HOURS IN A DAY and can still get the same results.

I see this type of training as sustainable.It's more manageable for my lifestyle. I like to hang out with friends, I enjoy getting my "me" time and finding that lucky girl wouldn't be at all possible working at HHHealth full time running H3@Home, leading my CrossFit Endurance team "Less Miles, More CrossFit" and now Interning for CFE. Sometimes people ask me how I get it all done. The reality of people that are busy is that they figure out how to be efficient. Do you ever find that you're more productive with a plan? A set of appointments or a bunch of To-Do's? What happens on your least productive days ... notice anything?

This week, I found myself getting close to the spreading too thin line, but I know that things are fine and that it was a result of simply not feeling fulling prepared. Sunday's are key for this. Folks: write down your To-Do's, Hit the grocery store and take the evening to relax because if you're doing things right when Monday hits it'll already feel like Friday.

With that said, I caught myself saying "I'm busy, I'm busy way too much this week", but the fact is I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing. It's a simple equation here. Do what you love, love what you do. There will be plenty of time to take a rest, but for now what's your life calling you to do? Who is it telling you to think about, care about it? Busy-ness will never take you away from the people you care about the most nor will it stop you from doing the things you love. It doesn't work like that. What you have to do here is Answer the call. Find efficiency. If you happen to get a voice-mail make sure to return it. Busy is good and know that it means you're doing something right in your life. No complaints...