Friday, January 28, 2011

2011 Race Schedule

And without further ado, my preliminary 2011 race schedule.

Spring Thaw 10 miler - February 26, 2011
Oceanside 70.3 - April 2, 2011
Columbia Triathlon - May 22, 2011
New Brighton Memorial Weekend Triathlon - May 28, 2011
Eagleman 70.3 - June 12, 2011
Ironman Lake Placid - July 24, 2011
Portage Lakes Tri - September 18, 2011
October/November - TBD

2011 looks to be another good year racing for the Ballou Skies tri team, with a few new races thrown into the mix and some old favorites. And then of course the hope and goal to be racing late in the season at some championship events. Let's get it on!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Great thoughts on the future of triathlon and our state of the union

Here are a couple links and quotes to two great interviews I read recently. It was really interesting to me as a serious age grouper, one that doesn't really live the life that these two men do as a working stiff, but certainly dreams of and aspires to. I feel that they are both dead-on in what they are saying about the sport as it currently exists, and what needs to change to bring the sport to the high level and even footing that it deserves to be on in my opinion. While triathlon may never equal football in popularity here in the US, there is no reason why it could not and should not exceed "sports" like auto racing and golf. My $0.02.

"Well, the main thing is I believe that the sport belongs in the top echelons of sport. I don't believe for a second it hasn't got there because of the way the sport is. I think it is the premier endurance sport; it mimics our life - 8 hrs of hard toil in a day. This is a sport where for 8 or 9 hours you can go full bore. Who can produce the best performance over a good mix of sports for a working day? I think every working person can relate to that. We just need to explain that and advertise it better, and the masses will get interested." - Brett Sutton, from an interview with Herbert Krabel of Slowtwitch.

Interview with Dirk Bockel on Competitor Europe's site.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Year, news, and big changes

Well it's been two months since my last post, and a lot of things have transpired in that window, but instead of trying to catch you up on everything that I have been up to, I will just leave it that things have been good and busy. Not so busy in November, things accelerated into December, and now life is as busy as ever! The holiday season was very nice and Thanksgiving and Christmas very happy and joyous as they should be, training was very spotty throughout Nov/Dec, but then mid-way through December I got off my butt and started getting serious again. This probably all kicked off around December 18th, a busy triathlon themed day where first I (and just about every other triathlete in Pittsburgh!) attended a swim clinic with Sheila Taormina that was hosted by Team Pittsburgh Masters and Coach Jennifer at CMU. This clinic (old news by now in the blogosphere) was very informative and helpful, even for a "lifelong" swimmer such as myself. Sheila was teaching her style of swimming, which in my opinion is the best adult targeted and taught swimming method out there, which is characterized by a high stroke rate with a high elbow and protracted catch, and is more propulsive than gliding in nature. I picked up some good instruction and mental cues, and from this video that was taken of me, shows I need some work. Next up on the day was a tempo run with Chad afterward, and finally went out to a sportsbar in the North Hills and watched NBC's Kona Coverage. This day very effectively served to jumpstart my motivation and flip the switch in my head for 2011. After a longish two month offseason/transition period, it was time to get back to work.

The following Monday, I ventured out into the unknown and decided to take the leap and start out with a coach for the first time in my triathlon career. After much research, emailing, and interviewing potential coaches, I decided to go with Justin Trolle of Vanguard Triathlon, the coach of my good friend and teammate Kim. Kim had nothing but great things to say about Justin, his knowledge, teaching/training style, and of course results since working with him. In the previous 11 years of triathlon, I was self coached and self directed and while I am totally pleased with my results and progression, and never really had a setback to speak of, I just thought that if I was ever going to get a coach, now would be the time. Call it greed for speed, maybe an early mid-life crisis, who knows, but as I am knocking on the door of really taking it to the next level within triathlon, I thought I would entrust my development for the next year to someone more knowledgable than myself and perhaps more importantly, take me out of my comfort zone. So far things have been going very well and my fitness is coming back and progressing very rapidly. Look out, I have a feeling this is going to be another fun year!

Last Saturday (1/8) kicked off the season with indoor group trainer rides at TopGear, our local Pittsburgh area tri shop.
In attendance was of course Jocey, myself, Burrito Bill,
Matty Mo, and Lisa.
We got in a solid 2.5 hours on the CompuTrainers and the time just flew by. This past week there was more hard running and cycling, but the recovery was still where it needed to be and each session was still high quality. The one drawback was this darn cold that I have been fighting for the past few weeks, but it is somewhat manageable and it isn't really affecting my sessions at this time. Saturday (1/15) we were back at the Holderbaum's for the first time this seasom with Chad, Jen, Whitney, Lisa, Jocelyn, and myself, for a good strength focused 2:20 and then a great brunch, some laughs, and then an afternoon swim.

Today I woke up and did a tough 1.5 hour run with some quality and my legs are feeling a little trashed right now. Thank goodness I have nothing to do but relax for the rest of the day and an active recovery day tomorrow, so it can all begin once again for the new week. The year begins anew and the cycle of work, rest, repeat starts up in full effect!

In other big news, Team Ballou Skies has expanded its roster for 2011 and have added good friends and local rockstars Matt Mauclair, Jason Jacobs, Chad Holderbaum, and Beth Shutt. If you thought the Ballou Skies team was impressive last year, look out once again - 2011 is going to be a banner year for the charity and the team with a record amount of funds raised for the Ross Heart Clinic at OSU and amazing race results out on the triathlon circuit. Here's to a great 2011 for everyone out there and I hope you all are off to a great, consistent start with your training!