Wednesday, November 17, 2010

xcross, snowboarding, and guitar playing?

I was talking to our friends Sue and Paul the other day about how many changes I am trying to make in my life. Even Sarah was saying that maybe I am changing too many things. A few weeks ago Sarah bought me an electric Guitar and amp, having no musical background and never having touched an instrument, I have begun taking Guitar lessons! My goal to be be able to play a song for the family in a few months. -- this is way out of my comfort zone and a whole new challenge for sure!. Along with Guitar lessons I decided it was time( after 45yrs) to stop biting my fingernails. part of that motivation was the need to have fingernails to pick the guitar and the other is it is just a gross habit. Then there is getting my masters degree at MSUB starting this spring semester. Why all these changes? well of course my health issues with my multiple Heart surgeries were a main reason. Fighting through this hardship has been brutal, but our thought was to fill the void left from being a competitive endurance athlete with other challenges.

Jay with his new Guitar

It was just last week when at my last cardiologist checkup with Dr.Sample. That it was reveled to me that the group of doctors here in Billings looked at my case after May's revealing echo and came to the conclusion that I would probably not be coming back from surgery in Chicago. As my hair stood on end I realized that how lucky I am to be changing anything. It also makes you cherish your time with your family and take a new focus on every moment you have with them.

The good news is that my checkup went well and my last Echo looked very good. Dr Sample even said I could start exploring higher heart rates while exercising! it was getting quite boring to stay below 130! Unfortunately, He did say that my capacity to perform would never be quite the same, due to the lack of elasticity in my new( or should I say used) Aortic Root. But I was just happy to hear him say at the end of our meeting that quote" you should be pumped". So for training I will continue to be diligent and try to get the most out of my health with what I have been dealt. Where this process will lead I don't know. I certainly enjoy the process and I will continue to try to improve on my fitness all be it with a limited scope and time.

as most of my triathlon clients end or wind down their season I am constantly urging them to explore something other than the Swim, Bike and run world of triathlon. why? well in my 20+ years in and around the sport and having coached over 300+ folks of all levels, I have seen many a triathlete self destruct from the grind or what I call the "Crack pipe".(Look for a new addition to my blog soon, it will be entitled " tales from the crack pipe") In Atlanta all my boys( training partners and mentors, all of which were national caliber age groupers)to a person are out of the sport all together or what I call "in the graveyard." The grind was eventually too much for them and their lives. And with the popularity of the Ironman distance this is even more prevalent.

In 1995, I got on a mountain bike for the first time. I was horrible! I was a bloody mess and found myself over the handle bars many times. But I was laughing and having fun. The off road crowd was so much different from the roadies and triathletes. you wore baggy shorts, drank beer, and talked about everything except training! I was hooked. every fall and winter I would ride mountain bikes, and I was the only triathlete in the group. 10 of the boys would chase each other on a different route every week for a couple of hours, then we would tell lies over burritos and beer!

the result of changing my mode of training was significant. In fact, In 1997 after almost never getting on the road and riding my mountain bike exclusively, I came out in the spring and won Powerman alabama(overall amateur) and Gulf coast 1/2 ironman( overall including the pros). Not only was I refreshed and happy to get back on the road when spring approached, it actually made me stronger and fitter. You can look at many of the mountain bike athletes who go to the road and kick butt. Its just a super hard discipline and makes you incredibly fit and strong-- and by the way its a gas and in no way like training for triathlon!

Coachjay at the Bozeman cross races

Then there is cyclocross-- which I only took up a few years ago. I call it 1 hour of pain! but for some reason its fun. every course is different and every race a challenge. You ride a kinda hybrid road/mountain bike and you are faced with obstacles( like sand pits, wood barriers, stairs,run ups etc..) and you have to jump off the bike and carry your bike over these obstacles. Sarah and I did a number of races this fall here in Montana. they were real fun with a cross between the cycling and mtn bike crowd again no triathletes here! I was forced to not go real hard on these races this fall since I have a HR limitation to that point but in XC racing this is nearly impossible so I was typically getting last in these events. Sarah and I are even doing a couple of more XC races in December as we head to Florida to see my Parents over Xmas. Back to Back races in Miami florida! Should be fun!

Sarah at the Riverfront cross race jumping a barrier

Chloe likes riding her bike at xc races too!

coachjay laughes( or cries?) as he runs across the sand pit in the Bozeman cross races

Cale is not quite ready to join in on the fun!

another example of off season training especially in the colder climates is skate skiing, there is example after example of athletes using xcountry skiing as a discipline that can improver there other sports during the off season, I was amazed when I was in Boston on how the sport of skate skiing transferred over to my fitness on the bike. And as I researched it I found that many other triathletes and cyclists found the same thing. Many of them never touching their bikes during the winter months. Some of my peers like Pierre Lavoie, Michael Hagen come to mind. there where also legends like Greg Lemond who used skate skiing all winter for his off season fitness.

Sarah nordic skiing at Bohart ranch

heading up to Nixon peak from the cabin

so now its winter and I am stoked to get back on the snow and skate! This past weekend it was snow, snow, and more snow as the family trekked up to the cabin to acclimated for our Thanksgiving day week in a couple of days. I was busy plowing the road all weekend as it dumped 2 feet of fluffy powder! It was amazing. Sarah and I tagged teamed on some Nordic skiing at Bohart ranch and Sunday I did a first by skinning up our mountain(Nixon peak)from our cabin on my split board. put the board together and rode down in the deep powder all the while trying to avoid Gatlin and Teddy as they tried to stay in front of me! It was incredible.

at the top of Nixon peak with my split board and my dogs Gatlin and Teddy

and my trip down

from our cabin porch looking out at Bridger bowl and our new lift chair swing from Bridger's old alpine lift! Thanks Brook and Tex!

Chloe practices her Nordic

So its Thanksgiving and Sarah's Mom and brother are coming in from Boston and with our friends Sue and Paul we will head up to the cabin and again I will be in charge of cooking the Tday dinner! Of course we will be running the annual huffin for stuffin 10k that morning, which is a great event and it somewhat justifies your overeating! after the run it will be making the feast, and of course I have to do the whole thing since that fatal day when I cracked on Sarah's Turkey color some 7 years ago.
Then it will be skiing and playing in the snow the rest of the weekend. can't wait.

and finally a clone report: Congrats to Adam Weaver for a Pr performance in Kona with a 9:52, Adam had some issues in the middle section of the run but fought through it and finished strong the last miles of the marathon. I told Adam that you almost never see someone having nutrition issue slow down to a walk and come back to running 7:30miles at the end-- so kudos Adam!. Also Kevin Welsh had a solid day in the Austin with a 4:48 and along with Kevin, Matt Rosetti finished his first 70.3 in 4:47. Also racing in Texas were Carla Cobb and Sue Balter who raced the San Antonio 1/2 marathon and met there goals with solid runs. Also I have added a new clone from Salt Lake city, Jay Preston. Jay raced in Kona this year and hopes to go back and race even better. Look for great things from Jay in 2011!

have a great holiday


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