Monday, May 16, 2011

rebuilding confidence/seeing clearly

Since the disappointment of St.Croix it has been hard to get my mojo back. Like most sports the mental side is very important to any success. With a bit less confidence and uncertainty I have wondered whether this quest is even possible after failing a couple of weeks ago. It has been a lot more difficult to get out the door for workouts. Bunches of you have sent nice notes on what happened and I really appreciate the kind words. But it is hard to put in such hard work and get a bad result. I loved endurance racing from the start because for the most part if you worked hard you were rewarded with good results. However, the circumstances are a bit different now and I will have to deal with the other variables involved with my body and somehow find the best way around them. My patterns of recovery with certain loads of training is a lot different than every before and it has been difficult to read how to plan for these ups and downs.

In the past few weeks there has been a change in my guidance. I am now working with Mike Pigg on my training. so far the main difference between Mike and Dave Scott has been the more organic(I will try to explain this) nature of the coaching. Dave's workouts and coaching were great and they were very challenging to say the least. I feel they definitely got me to a new level of fitness. Just getting through those workouts gave me a degree of confidence in my comeback.

The Intensity of Mike Pigg racing

For those of you who don't know of Mike Pigg. Mike is a triathlon Icon. One of the best of all Time. His resume is dense and the Story of Mike Pigg's career is an amazing one which is documented in this 2001 story when he retired from the sport. I got to know mike in 1993 at the multi-sport camp of champions camp in San Diego. The recently passed Dr Hilton Kort and I attended the camp and met Mike for the first time there. Mike is a regular guy with an incredible enthusiasm for sport. His heart is huge and his ability to suffer is legendary. Dave Scott told me recently that Mikes suffer quotient was off the charts. But beyond his desire to win, his attention to detail in his training and his vast knowledge and experience with the process is an incredible resource.

Later in Mikes career we collaborated on a couple of projects including a Triathlon camp in Atlanta/ North Georgia and even produced a cycling video together(which by the way I don't even have a copy of --long story) So it was the logical choice to have Mike work with me on my vision quest.

I have been coaching folks in Triathlon for 20 years now and over those years much has changed in my life. And of course with those changes come the way I look at coaching and my methods. I used to coach by the motto that always got me my results--- "out work the other guy" and that philosophy has served me and my clients well over the years. Now of course there is more technology, more gadgets, and a very different and increasing triathlon crowd. In my my older and hopefully wiser years I have found that there is more to coaching than just placing an incredible work load of swimming, biking and running on an individual. Don't get me wrong now--- if you want to be good at this sport you still have to do a bunch of hard well placed and well paced work in all three sports. However, what has become a bunch more evident to me now, more than ever is how this workload fits in someones healthy life.

Mike Pigg is very conscience of this fact as well. Mike raced for money and that was pretty much it. When he couldn't make a living doing it, he was done. Now Mike loves to be active and still does events for fun, he is planning on doing the Leadville 100 Mtn bike race this summer among other events and adventures. but he doesn't need to do it at his best level anymore--He has been the best-- There are other things more important for him to spend his hours on. Mike and his wife have a real estate business and he has 2 kids of 14yrs old. his daughter Chloe is one of the best distance runners in the state, you can view her racing at Hayward field in Oregon a couple of weeks ago. (on the important docs page of this blog.)

I and most of us are not pro's and don't make a living racing triathlon, so for us amateurs there is a difference in the picture surrounding training and our lives. I asked Mike once in an interview back in 2002, what he would miss from racing, his response was "being super fit". Super fit is what it takes to be competitive on the national stage in Triathlon. I too will miss being "super fit" after this is all over. It makes you feel like superman compared to others. However, I do know that post competitive racing that exercise in many forms will continue to be a big part of our lives and just "fit" will be just fine, and in most respects much healthier for me and my family.

While working with me, Mike asks me every week about how I feel, whats going on with my physical and mental state and what's going on with my life other than training/racing. This week I have Chloe with me for the next 3 days, while Sarah and Cale are in Bozeman for a work conference, and Mike takes this into consideration with my training. He makes it a positive by suggesting spending quality time with your daughter and take some easy days around the extra responsibilities. Today I see this lack of training as a positive, while in previous years I certainly would not.

You see I believe that training for Triathlon at the high level while having a family(not to mention a job) is nearly impossible to really have a healthy balance. I came to that conclusion a while back, based my 20yrs of experience and hundreds of examples of bad outcomes. I know there are exceptions but when I look through all the folks I have worked with over the years( and there is a wide cross section of people in that crowd) I see a huge majority of bad outcomes or troubling circumstances that have occurred as a result of obsessive triathlon training. And let me be clear I include myself in that crowd. What Mike is communicating to me and in a large part what I have been trying to communicate to my clients in the past number of years is that you need to look beyond the training to keep a healthy balanced life. A life that is not clouded by the pull or what I refer to as "the crack pipe"(triathlon addiction).

I have said to many folks in recent years that training 15-25 hrs a week for Triathlon doesn't make me a better father or husband. It flat out doesn't. It costs a ton of money, it makes you tired( with all this affects) and it is a serious time suck even outside the actual hours of training(travel,planning, etc..) With all that said, this is the path I have chosen. I don't fold folks who want to get fit and do a triathlon for a goal to get to better health, into this crowd. I encourage people to race for a way to motivate toward a healthy goal. We are talking about the group that wants to get competitive at the national level and what it takes to do so.

I still love to work with the beginner who sees triathlon as a mode to lose weight and get fit. I was that person back in 1986. I am also taking increasing pride in my work with other heart patients who are battling back from getting knocked down. Inspiring folks to see that anything is possible after being really sick or hurt. I am really looking forward to running in the ironheart classic 8mile race this weekend in Seattle and visiting with other folks that have had similar challenges to mine.

4 months into my personal quest I am trying my best to do what it takes to make the results I seek happen. The training is taking a sacrifice that I am not at all comfortable with. I am looking forward to after it is all said and done that I will be back to having a better balance in my life, spending more time with my family and being fit albeit not super fit. This much is clear


  1. Love it! Finding the balance is so hard sometimes when we're so driven to succeed. Wish you all the best in this new phase!!

  2. Wow I like your picture its so intense and amazing. I can see the perseverance and endurance. Love it