Take your legs out for a spin and experiment

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As my good friend in Ohio, Jon Politi, says of some of his Spinning classes, “Small, but mighty!”

Sunday morning, Bob, Michelle, Greg, Russ, Ben, Sonja and yours truly set off from 9W/Route 202 for our eight-mile ascent up into Harriman State Park to Lake Tiorati. Now this isn’t an odd occurrence on a Sunday morning, except that we were doing this on our feet rather than on our bikes. After 1,300 plus feet of climbing we all arrived at the top feeling stronger and more empowered of our ability to tackle even the most hilly of courses. Once again Ben took top honors covering the distance in a little under an hour, with the rest of the crew shortly behind.

Arriving at the top we got to see the last of the ongoing participants in the New York Triathlon Series making their way through the bike course. We observed that many of the slower cyclists were wearing the best looking and most coordinated outfits. Michelle, who took second overall in the last running of this race, quipped that her $500 bike beat the heck out of everyone’s $6,000 bikes. We did agree that riding a bike with a banana saddle and sipping a Big Gulp was perhaps a bit overboard, but then felt even sorrier for the one who got passed by that rider.

After trying to identify the category of this particular triathlon, somewhere between a sprint and Olympic distance, we officially stuck our flag in the ocean silt announcing the anointment of a new category of Sprolympic triathlons. All of the bees hovering around us and the propensity for pollen in the air around Harriman gave us the expanded idea to rename this particular race The Sprolympic Wheeze. Laugh now, but its going to catch on.

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Getting back to our own eight-mile run, this was a terrific experience and we all agreed that it better represented the conditions we might face on actual race courses, both for the bike and run courses. In the past the Bear Mountain Ascent has started at the bottom of the hill on 9W/Route 202 and climbed to the top of Perkins Memorial Drive, approximately 4.5 miles and 1,500 vertical feet. Portions of this climb are steep as hell but what makes it really challenging is the run back down to the bottom, which we have appropriately named the Shin Splint Sprint due to its unforgiving nature. Our route this time made for a great time trial, both for the bike a well as the run. For those living in NY, this would be a terrific course to run after completing your base period of training as a diagnostic and then again at the end of your build period focusing on building strength. It would be a clear indicator of gains in efficient technique, leg strength, turnover and endurance.

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One of the things I most miss about not living in California is the lack of access in NY to real hills to readily train on. Living in Pacific Palisades, I took for granted how easy it was to hit one of the trailheads of the Santa Monica Mountains, where I cut my teeth as a runner. Getting older and moving east, I definitely lost my ability to fly effortlessly up those hills, real hills, not the kind that you find in Central Park, but the kind we find in Half Ironman Races or IMLP. These are relentless hills that last for miles and suck the life and enthusiasm out of anyone who is unprepared to embrace them as a well-known friend, who you still want to hang out with, even though you know they have their faults and can make your life miserable for a few tortuous minutes here and there.

The Race with Purpose team training for the fall Chicago and NYC marathons are two weeks into their own strength-build period. This is my favorite period of training, because in training for a single endurance event, we can easily get caught up in spending most of our time on how we are going to perform on race day, and we all know we’re going to run those hills intelligently, using efficient motions, small quick steps keeping our egos under control in a controlled effort to spare limited glycogen resources for the end of the race when we’ll need them most. That’s all well and good but it also can dull our competitive spirit and stifle creativity and experimentation, which are both extremely important in any discovery process. Training for a race, is just that, a discovery process, even for the veterans who may have forgotten just how exciting it is to charge up a hill until they taste metal. Sometimes you just have to take your legs out for a spin to see what they’re still capable of doing. They just might surprise you.

Shin splints – Will I ever be pain free?

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One of the more frustrating of injuries to endurance athletes, shin splints are just a general term to describe a whole host of issues that create pain and discomfort on the front of the leg and, more importantly, interfere with our ability to properly train. Learn the difference between a temporary annoyance and a season ending injury by reading Shin Splints – 10 Steps to Recovery. As always, sharing your own personal experiences can help others to get past their issues a lot quicker.

I'm Snoopy? Must be why Henry and I get along

Which Peanuts Character Are You?

 


You are Snoopy!
Take this quiz!

So I took this “Which Peanuts Character Are You” quiz that a friend of mine sent to me and I came out as Snoopy, but I’m not exactly sure why. Seriously, life of the party? I’m the guy at a party that always jumps up to answer the door, stays busy in the kitchen or spends his time running to the store to get more ice.

There are a multitude of personality and preference tests out there and aside from the temporary amusement they provide, I find the most practical use of these tests is to take them yourself and then ask others who know you to take the same test on your behalf. To clarify, you want them to take the test as if they were you, based on their own personal knowledge of your preferences.Try to get a few people to do this. Ask someone who knows you in your work environment – preferably both a supervisor and a subordinate, another from a social setting, perhaps a family member who’s known you all of your life, an ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend, and lastly the person who you would think knows you the best.

Have them all send you the results and ask them to keep a list of their responses to individual questions – let them know that they don’t have to share these with you. If you get the same results from everyone on the list, congratulations, it means you are a transparent person and remain consistent across a variety of situations.

If you get a variety of responses it doesn’t mean that you are schizophrenic. It simply may mean that you favor certain environments over others and are more natural and comfortable in those situations.

Lastly, compare your own self assessment with those of the people who evaluated you. If they are different it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should change how you behave or that you should challenge the results from these people. It may mean, however that there is a disconnect between how the world sees you and you see yourself. This can be valuable information especially in work situations when you are relying on the perception of a supervisor to give you a raise or a promotion. It’s also valuable information in a group setting when you are trying to create a high performing team by combining diverse resources.

What should you do with the results? Well if you already asked these people to take the test on your behalf and they did, they’re probably more than willing to talk to you about the results. Knowing “what” is a great first step, but knowing “why” is a whole lot more helpful. Now this is critical: when receiving feedback from someone that is personal in nature, do not treat this as a deposition or a debate, challenging their assumptions or views. If you do this, they’ll never play your game again and worse yet, they’ll see you as someone that is not genuinely interested in honest feedback or someone they should necessarily trust or invest their time on. When receiving feedback, listen intently, ask a clarifying question or two if you don’t fully understand what they are saying and then thank them. That’s it. Thank them for taking the time to give you their point of view and change the topic or leave. You can let them know that you’ve asked a small group of people to take the same test on your behalf, if you want to, but don’t tell them you posted it on your MySpace page and are in the process of collecting feedback.

By asking these people to participate, you have made yourself vulnerable and you’ve made them feel that they are an important person in your personal development and growth. Simply saying “thank you.” is a great way to demonstrate that you take them seriously. Lastly, they might be wondering – now that they feel that they are a part of your inner circle – what you are going to do with the results of your feedback. An easy and great way to provide closure is to pick one or two items that you feel you can work on and let those people know how you are committed to working on them – one or two items only. Don’t send people a laundry list of how you are planning on changing your life. It’s boring and it creates the impression that you don’t have focus. Let these people know that they can continue to help you by communicating constructively when you are displaying behaviors that are inconsistent with your goals. By doing this, you’ve just created a network of people all vested in your success. How cool is that!

Now, I’m not endorsing this particular test as one you should base your life on, but you have to admit that it isn’t a very intimidating place to start.

Time for me to go ask Henry what he thinks of me being classified as Snoopy. I’m not sure his paws can click the individual keys to take the test on his own. In fact, I’m not sure that Henry and Snoopy would even like each other.

Cheers,

-Coach Adam