Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Runnin’ Down a Dream
The finish line in Kona about 12 hours after race start.
“ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE” This is one of the catch phrases of Ironman, one you hear frequently in Hawaii. You both hear it as well as see it. Some even live it.
There are so many heart warming stories that come out of this race each year. A good number of the first timers do not meet their expectations and on the morning after the race, honest evaluations of the heat and conditions seep into the conversations for the first time. “Mother Nature always bats last,” or some such phrase might be overheard. In spite of this, the athletes share this common bond with the island as they lean back, close their eyes and recall particular portions of their day…both bad and good. And then they smile. That wry smile that comes only with experience. Continue reading
I just returned from Kona on Monday and was thinking about this piece which I previously wrote. Since I stopped competing, I’ve worked for David Huerta and the Transition Team for the last several years transforming the Kailua-Kona pier into a transition area. It’s a good bit of work, but by noon on Friday, when the first athlete show up to rack his/her bike, the pier has come alive and it gives you goose bumps. Here then are Two Ironman Stories.
Sometimes, in surprising ways, the human spirit of kindness saves the day. A triathlete I know, despite his best efforts, is tad forgetful at times. I worked the men’s changing tent in Hawaii in 2010 when this gent came in flying after a pretty good swim. As is custom, he dumped his bike transition bag on the floor, quickly changed in to his biking gear, and was out the door. In a matter of seconds he was back having forgotten an item. Continue reading
Remember when your parents gave you chores & you totally slacked off on the quality you put forth on that chore, and then your parents made you do the chore again & again (& again for the tough-learners) until you did it with superior quality and at a level that they were satisfied with? Yeah, that’s not how your body works. There is a finite amount of quality movement before the movement pattern breaks down, eventually degrading enough that your body is at risk for a variety of issues, including injury, if it continues.
First, what is a movement pattern? It’s a classification of various movements that all humans should be able to do at any age regardless of size/gender, i.e. “push”, “pull”, “squat”, “carry”, etc. When I first meet a new potential client, I evaluate their movement patterns to determine what joints are moving well, which ones are not, and based on that, I know which muscles are either too short & tight or too long & weak – both of which need to be corrected in order for them to move optimally (example: you have bad posture at your desk job?…lots of pushups in your workout does not help you until you fix the icky-desk-posture; AND the pushups can, in fact, hurt you by further increasing the imbalance of the muscles attached to your shoulder, thereby angering everybody inside your shoulder joint). Continue reading
For those of you who are new to ironguides, “The Method” refers to our training philosophy that comprises of at least one training session per day. We mix up Strength, Heart Rate, Tolerance, Neuromuscular and Endurance sessions to create hormonally-balanced training programs tailored to your weekly schedule.
When executed properly, The Method results in significant and sustainable gains in fitness over the mid to long term (months to years). No shortcuts to success here, just the best use of your limited training time.
Occasionally, and unfortunately, some athletes go off the deep end and enter into a vicious cycle of mild injury / sickness to partial recovery, followed by re- injury / sickness to worsening injury / sickness, on to partial recovery and then proceeding to chronic injury / sickness resulting in a long recovery period away from sport. Continue reading
Recently along the Front Range we had our first outdoor Triathlon of the season. Temperatures had been in the 80’s earlier in the week but Friday night the mercury plummeted and the wind started to blow hard from the North. This particular race is held in Longmont at Union Reservoir in open country. There is not much stopping the wind from the North to the South except the open prairie. Air Temperature was just above 50 degrees, and the wind chill, was in the low 40’s. The water temperature was a balmy 65 degrees.
I did a short warm up, but nothing nearly as long as I usually do and that was a mistake! The wind was howling and it was much too cold for anyone to warm up on the bike. What I usually recommend is a routine that I learned from Olympic Coach Bobby McGee. Unfortunately I made the mistake of not following this routine! Continue reading
Race performance is not only about the fitness you have gained through training but it is also about nutrition on the day. Nutrition plays a significant role—get it wrong and all the fitness in the world won’t result in a good race.
Nutrition seems to be a major stumbling block for many athletes come race day, yet is rarely a problem in training. Considering how much we train and how many of our sessions are race specific, it is crazy that nutritional problems are so common in races. Continue reading
“From here on in, I really gets grim. For 99% of the people still left at this point, they are possessed with one thing, finishing. They’re saying to themselves one thing, “If I can just be standing at the finish, I’ve won,” and they’re right.
But, for the gifted few, for our 1% who are still competing, that are still racing, they’re more than standing. They’re wondering, can I catch that guy up there? And what about the guys behind me, are they coming up on me, are they picking up on me, can I get him? Because let me tell you something. This is it. The last hour of this triathlon, on the pavement, at 110 degrees, that’s when we’re going to find out who the hell the Ironman really is!”
Bruce Dern, Freewheeling Films, 1982
Yep, it’s one week till race week in Kona. But it’s early and people are still light, joking, horsing around on training runs down Alii Drive or at the pier. The attitude is almost festive at Lava Java or the King Kamehameha hotel. But it’s early and the nerves won’t start to fray till later in the week or early next week as folks get their game faces on. Continue reading
“Just once in his life, a man has his time. And my time is now, I’m coming alive!” St. Elmo’s Fire
Race Day is October 13, 2012. Batter up!
The above photo of Bill Bell reminds us to learn from those who’ve walked this path before us. A number of years ago at the Thursday evening carbo dinner, they had on stage the oldest man and woman standing with the youngest man and woman in that years race. Emcee Mike Reilly asked the two elders if they had any words of wisdom for their two young counterparts in the event 36 hours hence. Never bashful, or at a loss for words, Bell strode to the microphone and uttered words I’ve never forgotten. “Enjoy your day. You may never come back here or do this race again so I feel strongly that you should just enjoy your day.” He was right of course. Don’t forget. Enjoy your day. Continue reading
I was asked to comment on a piece recently published in the L A Times which noted that cycling, and swimming to some degree, are sports which keep you in shape but are low impact, put little mechanical stress on the skeleton, possible contributing to decreased bone mass. Osteoporosis.
So what is osteoporosis? Essentially it means porous bone, a condition that diminishes bone mass and density. Your bones are not static. They are constantly remodelling related to the stress they undergo. Although we’re used to seeing the sequelae of osteoporosis in the elderly manifesting itself as hip, wrist and spine fractures…why grandma keeps getting shorter…but, in truth, as we age bone formation often doesn’t keep pace with bone loss. In women, this bone loss accelerates after menopause. It’s been noted that in the decade following menopause that women can lose one fifth of their bone density! Definition-wise, osteopenia is diminished bone density, osteoporosis the actual disease state. In osteoporosis, fragility fractures fractures can occur from the simplest of causes, a minor fall, even just sneezing. In fact, I’ve had patients over the years with broken hips certain that the hip “just broke” before they fell. I believe them! Continue reading