Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Coach Says...

I have found a very effective way to shut up anyone that wants to add their two cents about my training, my nutrition, dangers of triathlon, etc. All I have to say is "Well, my coach says..." and then I throw out something James  has told me and the other person shuts up. I can't believe how well it works! No one wants to question something your coach tells you. LOL

I've never done a triathlon, but I can tell
you all about them
Here's how a typical conversation goes:

Cliff Clavin Know-it-all: "You know... Someone DIED in the New York Ironman!"

Me: "Yeah? Well, my coach says you're an idiot!"

Just kidding!!! James is too nice to say something like that.  James would probably say something along the lines of "Well, that's why we practice doing open water swimming."


With Barb's Race about a month away, I am full of questions for James. How do I do this? When do I do that? How much should I eat? Questions, questions, questions? Luckily he has an answer for everything I am asking and that has helped put my mind at ease.

Well, my mind was at ease until he said I should finish in under 6 hours. Hmmm. This is coming from the man that told me he wanted to see me on the podium at the Avenue of the Vines. I knew enough about past results and my own capabilities to know that I would not make it on the podium for that race. However, with Barb's Race, I have no idea if a sub-6 finish is possible or not.

Mathematically speaking, I guess it could happen. Mentally? Well, that's another story.

Mind over Matter

I've been reading "Iron War: Dave Scott, Mark Allen, and the Greatest Race Ever Run" by Matt Fitzgerald. It's a fascinating story about two incredible athletes that are able to push themselves harder than most others are willing to do. I say "willing to do", because the book discusses a study by Samuele Marcora. Marcora's hypothesis is that barriers to performance for endurance athletes exists not in their muscles, blood or hearts, but inside their heads.

If you read the book, you can get all of the fascinating details of the study, but here are a couple of excerpts:
"In his published report on this study, Sam proposed that fatigue in endurance exercise is always voluntary and always occurs as a response to an intolerable level of suffering, or what exercise scientists call perceived effort. The problem is never lactic acid buildup or muscle glycogen depletion or any other form of running out of gas. These things happen, but they never become so extreme that they directly stop the muscles from working. They merely force the brain to make a greater and greater effort to keep the muscles working at a desired level until this effort becomes to unpleasant that continuing no longer seems work the agony."
"In endurance exercise the cost is suffering, or perceived effort. The potential rewards are many and vary between individuals, but the satisfaction of proving one's toughness seems to be almost universal among these rewards. The more meaningful the rewards are, the more motivated the athlete will be to tolerate suffering. Perceived effort increases slowly and steadily throughout a race, whereas the motivation level is fixed before the race begins. If the increasing burden of perceived effort eclipses the fixed weight of motivation before the finish line is reached, the athlete raises a white flag, one way or another. He either quits or slows down. Defeat is never death but always surrender."

In Barb's Race, I am going to have to overcome my perceived effort and stay focused on beating the six hour mark. Is going under six hours enough motivation to keep me going? Is concern that James is going to be disappointed if I choke enough motivation? How about concern for all of my family and friends that plan to be at the finish line? (Do I really want to make them wait an extra hour or two?)  What about all the money and time Hot Stuff has put into my training for this race?

My main concern is that it will be very easy to say "Oh, it hurts too much...I'll be happy with six and a half hours".


Results from 2012 - 45 year old female - 6 hours 30 seconds
I swam 1,500 meters at the Tri for Real in 28.55. 1.2 miles is appx. 1931.21 meters.  James says I should be able to complete the swim at Barb's Race in 40 minutes. That means he's giving me an additional 11 minutes to swim 431 meters. This seems do-able.

To finish the bike in 3 hours, I will need to ride at an average pace of 19mph. This is significantly faster than what we did on the practice ride...of course everything changes in a race.

My best half marathon time is 1:51:43. I did this with a pace of 8:31. If I can maintain 10 minute miles during Barb's Race, I may be able to go under six hours.

40 min swim + 5 min transition + 3 hours bike + 5 min transition + 2:10 hour run = 6 hours (that's cutting it close!)

A - Go under six hours

B - Go under six and a half

C - Sub 7

D - Finish


Well, my coach says I should be able to finish in six hours...I hope he's right!