Friday, May 28, 2010
Check out some great strategic advice for Monday's Bolder Boulder 10K, courtesy of F4 Tech Advisor Bobby McGee....
The Summer Open Bike Wreck
The Summer Open was not one of my best races, but overall it was a good learning experience.
Many thanks go out to F4 for the support and kind words. F4 helped make what could have been a miserable day, very tolerable. Special thanks to Scott for taking care of my bike, and Dean for going above and beyond with the ride from the hospital. I’ve participated on a few teams throughout the years, and I must say that none of them provided the generosity that I experienced with F4.
What I learned most from the Summer Open accident is to not take for granted the bike handling skills of myself or other competitors. The Summer Open is a great event for all levels of competitors. We were all first time competitors at one time and deserve to participate accordingly. During races such as this it is an opportunity for the more advanced riders to practice the skills that we have learned throughout the years, and at the F4 clinic. Yes, I have crashed before in bike races, and while I‘m not suggesting that anyone practice crashing during a race, I would recommend brushing up bike handling techniques and awareness from time to time.
The first bike crash that I ever experienced was by far my worse (and many years ago) because I didn’t know to what I didn’t know about making the crash less painful. Riding a bike in a pack or at a race takes far different skills than those required for our Sunday long rides. Competitors in the race not only have a variety of bike handling skills, but some have never been on a course with others zooming by at 20+ miles per hours. In my case, the young girl on the mountain bike appeared to be out enjoying the race at a slow pace, and I am guessing that she did not understand the risks associated with riding in a group of type A triathletes. I am also quite sure she did not intend to cut me off.
Perhaps others can learn from my experience, so I’ll explain what happened.
I was approaching a right hand turn; I looked up and saw a mountain bike rider in front of me and to my right. She was staring to move left as I approached her. In order to avoid (as long as possible) hitting her back tire, I started slowing down and moving left with her. As I got close to the cones on the left and closer to the turn, I decided to let the other competitor know I was on the left. I did realize that one risk included her looking left and turning in front of me. In order to mitigate the damage, I moved as far left as possible before letting her know I was passing on the left. I had two reasons for doing this. First, a majority of the other competitors were on the right, and I didn’t want to take them out if/when I went down. The second was it gave me time to slow as much as possible and hit her tire at an angle that would possibly not take her down. The inevitable happened. I hit her back wheel went over the bars. By instinct I let go f the bars, tucked my chin under and rolled. My bike helmet is cracked, my bike has minor damage, the other rider continued on without injury, and I only suffer from road rash. Overall, it turned out OK.
My hope is that others never have to experience a crash in a race, but knowing it’s a possibility and preparing in advance is something I highly recommend.
The bike portion of the ride was just icing on the cake by the way. Prior to the swim the zipper in my wetsuit broke, I hyperventilated during the swim (basically I panicked as people swam over me) and had to grab the kayak for a few minutes, and then the band to my Garmin came loose as I was getting out of the water causing the Garmin to sink to the bottom – but I found it.
Hopefully I got all the “bad” stuff out of the way early in the season.
I was asked to test out a cool pair of before/ after sports shoes from a new company called Todi, and I love them! As a 'sports' clog, they are obviously easy on/ off, but they are so much more theapeutic feeling than just the regular pair of sandals that I'm used to wearing following a track workout, bike race, or multisport session. Check out some pics below, then go to the Todi site to learn more and order a pair at 10% off if you use the code: FliegelmanHasAPair. Also, if you'd like to join their Team, enter their MVP contest here.
Topic Of The Week – The Power Of Words
In a room, subjects wait as part of an experiment. They have not been told what the experiment is about. They have just been told that someone will come and call them one at a time, and when they are called, they should proceed to a room located at the other end of a long hallway, where they will be interviewed. One at a time they are called, and they walk the length of a long hallway to a room where they meet with their interviewer. They have a short interview, and are then excused to go back to the waiting room.
As it turns out, the topic of the interview itself is not really important. What is important is that for half of the subjects, the person conducting the interview purposely sprinkles certain words into the conversation, words like slow, tired, lethargic, sleepy, worn down, etc. The other half of the subject do not hear these words during the interview.
Unknown to the subjects is that the length of time that it takes for them to walk the long hallway is being recorded. The fascinating result is that those subjects who heard the special key words during the interview took significantly longer to walk the length of the hallway after the interview than they took to walk to the interview room before the interview. The group that did not hear the key words had no such discrepancy.
The words that we hear have great power over us. Even if they have no effect at a conscious level, they get imprinted on us at a subconscious level, and have an effect on our performance. If we are not aware of this fact, we are subject to the random words that others say to us, and just as importantly, the words that we say to ourselves. If we are aware of this fact, we can use it to our advantage.
As many of you know, I’m really tuned into the things that all of you say during our times together, and tend to react strongly when I hear some of you use words in a way that does not contribute to your success. It’s frustrating sometimes to see you all work so hard during your workouts to build fitness, only to sabotage your own efforts by imprinting unhelpful messages onto your subconscious. It makes as much sense as attaching a parachute to your back for race day, or trying to run with a backpack full of rocks.
Here are some examples of statements that do not serve us well:
I could go on, but you get the idea. Most of these statements are made by well-meaning people who may not grasp how much their negative statements imprint themselves on their subconscious, and in doing so, turn their statements into self-fulfilling prophecies.
Note that I am not advocating for ignoring challenging issues, or pretending that everything is always perfect, happy, and good. All I am saying is that we need to be very careful in choosing our words, speaking the real truth, and finding ways of phrasing things in a way that will help, not hurt our efforts. After all, I could argue that none of the above statements are true, and are just exaggerated extrapolations based on an extremely small set of data points that do not necessarily predict the future with any degree of certainty.
The ironic part is that most people are hesitant to exaggerate on the positive side. If we have a bad race, we say stuff like, “I’m so slow. I suck at racing.” If we have a good race, we say something like, “It was better than usual. I don’t know where that came from.” It like we’re afraid of sounding boastful if we say, “Man, I had a great race today. I’m feeling like the training is really working. I’m getting fitter and faster, and turning into a good runner.”
The point is that we don’t need to worry about what is really true, and what isn’t, because our subconscious can not distinguish between the two. It doesn’t evaluate the truth of statements like the rational part of your brain does. It just hears the words, and the words have an effect. Nobody told those subjects to walk slower. There was no discussion on a conscious level about how fast or slow they should walk. It just happened. The words snuck past the logical, and went directly to work on the physical. Imagine if those words had been words like fast, tough, strong, calm, confident, relentless, focused, patient, hard-working, etc.
Real Life Example
Before our 18 Hours of Fruita race last weekend, I went out with my team to pre-ride the course, and check things out. We had heard that they had added a new section of the course, and we wanted to see what that was like. I had done the course the previous year, and loved the course. I was excited to see what they had added.
But when we got there, we found that the new section was almost a mile of trail that had just been cut a few weeks before, and was extremely rutted, bumpy, loose, and dusty. Not only that, but it was a challenging section with so many twists, turns, switchbacks, and hairpins that there was no time during that section where you could mentally or physically relax. Everyone started complaining about it. About half way through the section, I found myself complaining to myself, too. “I hate this new section. The course was perfectly fine. Why did they have to change it? This is going to ruin …”
And then I caught myself. I realized I was doing exactly what I tell you not to do. By telling myself that I hated this section, I pretty much was guaranteeing that I would not be able to ride it as well during the race. So, I made the decision to change my mind, by changing the words I was using. But I couldn’t just tell myself that I loved this section. I needed to find reasons.
I decided that I loved this new section for the following reasons:
And that made all the difference. I did 8 more laps over the course of the next 18 hours of the race. And each time I approached that section, I reminded myself why I loved it. It put a smile on my face every time, and I firmly believe enabled me to ride it more efficiently. It didn’t make the course any less rutted, bumpy, loose, and dusty. It didn’t make it any less challenging. I just made it challenging and energizing instead of challenging and miserable. And if you think that it’s just a matter of semantics, then you are underestimating the power of words.
Hope that helps …
Post Race Review – Ironman Saint George – May 1, 2010 – Gail Matherly
I signed up for Ironman Saint George right when registration opened. At the time, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had not even done a 70.3 distance race yet. I just thought the daunting task of preparing for a race of this magnitude would keep me motivated to stick with a plan to get back in shape. Just over a year later, I made it to the starting line, which people say is half the battle. However, making it to that starting line was in doubt only 2 weeks before race day. I managed to get a very painful knee injury due to some preventable circumstances. Unfortunately, I never got to test the knee on race day, although I believe it may have rallied for the cause. I was pulled to the medical tent upon exiting the water because I was suffering from hypothermia. At least I lived to race another day! This is a review of my preparation leading up to the IMSG race and the attempted execution of the race. The purpose of this review is to document what went wrong, what went right, and to learn how to improve in the future. It is written from the perspective of someone doing an Ironman distance race. Some of the suggestions may be modified for shorter distances, such as wearing the same shoes in racing and training.
WHAT WENT WRONG
WHAT WENT RIGHT
I hope that sharing my mistakes will help someone else avoid the same speedbumps I hit. Happy training and racing!