St Anthony Triathlon 2007

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Oddly, one of the most memorable moments of the 2007 St Anthony’s triathlon, (my best performance in a long time) was the night before the race.  I will never forget how I felt.  It was late and I was comfortably wide awake with only my thoughts…  My wife and I were lucky enough to stay with Shirley, who at 68 had the energy and look of someone in their 40’s.  This was to be her 20th St Anthony’s race!  She housed a number of professionals but since Hortense came with me, we got the ‘penthouse sweet’ as Shirley called it.  The room was upstairs and had its own bathroom allowing for a very comfortable stay.  Not to mention it was only 6 blocks to the race venue.  Hortense was not tired either and she watched a movie on her laptop, The Last King of Scotland.  I opted to meditate.  I don’t usually consider myself the Dali lama when it comes to meditation but on this night, I was on par with the best of them.  It was the most lucid, calming, serene, state of being I had felt in a long time.  I did not want it to end.  Euphoria.  Here I was, healthy and doing what I love to do with my favorite person in the world there to enjoy it with me.  It was powerful feelings of being ‘right’ with my place in the universe.  I knew the next day was going to be fun. 

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We awoke at 3 am MST to prepare for the 7am Eastern start.  I felt pretty good considering that I was usually enjoying some serious REM sleep at this time.  My circadian rhythm was a bit out of whack the rest of the day.  At about 6:30 I got in the bay and warmed up.  In hindsight, I should have swum much harder than I did. 

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I lined up to the far left for the beach run start and was calm before the start.  GO!  Game on!  Finally, racing at the elite level for the first time in almost a year!  In the second photo I am in the upper right corner, farthest away; diving in.  I think I know why all those guys line up on the right?  Maybe it is shallower for a longer distance.  Because it looks like they run farther out?  I’ll have to test out that theory next year… 
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I knew I was going to have a good race because I was healthy and my training had been going well, but the way I felt the first 800 meters of the swim had me wondering why I felt so awful?  It wasn’t until half way through the race that I got in any kind of rhythm.  It makes sense to me now, 1st race in 10 months, early start, and a lethargic warm-up.  The second half of the swim was pretty smooth; I could see the 4 leaders just ahead of the pack I was in. 
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Exiting the water with Greg Bennett in hot pursuitI had a good neutral T1 where I didn’t gain or lose anytime.  Once on the bike I felt tremendous.  I pushed a hard pace with reckless abandon.  I felt I was in good enough shape to get away with it and it paid off.  At mile 10 I was with the likes of Greg Bennett, Chris McCormack, Craig Alexander, Brian Fleischmann, and Richie Cunningham.  It was satisfying to be able to bike with these guys and be at the front of a triathlon with such great competitors.  We were under the constant supervision of 2 and 3 marshals and I never saw anyone abusing the 10 meter drafting rules.  Everyone was very careful, swerving and maneuvering to stay out of draft zones.  As Macca said, “…we are weaving around so much to avoid a penalty I think I rode 41 kilometers today!”  Somewhere past the 20 mile marker Andrew Starykowicz was the only rider to pass me on the bike never getting more than a few seconds up and being the 2nd racer to start the run.

I thought I was going to have a great run as the bike was no where near a max effort.  But I think I may have been a little over confident, assuming a fast run time would just happen for me….it didn’t.  My big mistake was not even trying to stay with the elite runners I was just biking with.  To have that fighting mindset would have helped the rest of the run.  Not that I could have ran with them but I should have tried to keep them close.  I felt good for the 1st three miles and past mile four I was still running in 8th place.  Alas, my mental strength was not where it needs to be and my pace diminished greatly after getting passed and hearing some footsteps.  The humidity took a toll on me, being a desert dweller who trains in dry air all the time.  But I finished out the last half mile strong and enjoyed the cheers of the crowd signifying a successful completion to my race. 
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I learned more about racing in this sport and what I am capable of than in any other race I’ve done.  I look forward to taking these lessons and pulling them out in the future.

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St Anthony's results

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Race prep for St Anthony’s Triathlon

The last several weeks I have been working on race intensity and I wanted to point out a few key sessions for my own personal reference in the future.  I know that I am going to race fast, I can feel it in my bones, and it is exciting, while also very calming to know this.  Being healthy is the number one reason but having fast training times and recovering well after hard efforts is an enormous motivator.  It is a good thing, St Anthony’s is this weekend and Wildflower is 6 days later. 

On April 15th I did the Chicken Dinner road race; a 42 mile 3 loop course in the desert.  Kind of makes you hungry?  This race was windy; probably the windiest conditions I have ever ridden in.  I think the wind was pretty steady at 30 mph with gusts well above that.  It was coming from the northwest and the two steep hills (one at the beginning and end of each loop) we had to climb both had the wind at our backs!  Our good fortune changed about 2 miles into the coarse as we made a right turn head on into the merciless wind.  It was throwing me all over the road and you needed two hands to steer.  Being in the pack of 35 riders was sketchy, and I didn’t trust some of my fellow peers.  So after 2 miles I thought I would try to stretch out the pack.  There was already one rider way up the road that attacked immediately at the start.  Two riders bridged up to me and we worked well together and ended up getting out of sight quickly.  In another few miles we caught the leader and the four of us ended up staying away the rest of the ride.  Around the end of the second lap 2 more riders were able to bridge the gap.  We all took turns shielding the others from the wind and gained more time on the main pack.  All 6 of us started the final climb together and I ended up finishing 3rd not feeling any serious leg burn until that final climb.  I felt good after the race and had a nice swim later that helped further alleviate any soreness.

Then, later that week I had a key interval workout; running on the greenbelt:  3 x (3dots, 2 dots, 1dot) (1dot recovery)

1:28 –  :56 – :26
1:29 –  :57  – :26
1:30 –  :57  – :26

1 dot = 1/10th of a mile (160 meters)
I felt strong and quick and I wasn’t sore the next day.

The next weekend on Sunday I trained all 3 sports.  I briefly swam and did 5 x 100 on 1:10; I went :57, :57, :56, :55, :55 and they almost felt easy.  After a ride on the trainer I went running and did a 5:20 for my first mile, just out running at a fun speed and enjoying the feeling.

And finally, yesterday I did some intervals on the TT bike (10 x 2 min (1 min recovery) and did my best to draft vehicles when I could.  Then swam, and did the following:
400 warm up
8 x 50 on :50 (easy :29’s)

3 x 400 on 5 min
4:16 HR 21  easy
4:11 HR 23  mod
3:59 HR 28 very controlled pace

4 x 200 (1st 3 were easy)
4th ->1:58 HR 25
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All the swims felt great, nothing all out. 

Now it’s time to reward my body and mind with the upcoming St Anthony’s race and from these training sessions, I know that I will race well..

Mental training: Positive self-talk

By Charlene Waldner

April 24, 2007 — Henry Ford said, “If you believe you can do something or believe you can’t, you’re probably right.” He was right.

Thinking negatively causes failure.  Thinking positively causes success.  The power of positive words and thoughts can improve our experience in a race situation by increasing our self-confidence as an athlete.

Where positive thoughts can help improve our performance, negative thoughts can hinder our mental and physical capabilities.  For example, if you repeat to yourself “I hate my sport”, you’ll feel changes occur to your body.  Now change the phrase to “I love my sport” and see what happens to your strength.  Repeating to yourself a positive thought pattern such as “I love” would improve your strength and better your performance.
Experiment with positive self-talk during training and then apply it to racing.  For example, if you don’t enjoy hills, wind or swimming, try repeating over and over that you “love” hills, wind and swimming.  You will notice a difference in your strength and energy.  The result is a more natural and powerful performance.

Ironman-distance triathlon can be an emotional roller coaster.  It’s a long day with highs and lows and it’s a real challenge to keep negative thoughts away.  One must be strong minded to turn these nasty demons into angels; otherwise you may find a fist of fury coming down on you.

Countless athletes have had break-through performances by focusing their attention on replacing negative thought with positive ones. Sometimes it’s a matter of breaking down the task at hand, giving yourself technical cues and remembering previous peak performances or breakthrough workouts.

We all experience nervousness before big events. It’s a perfectly natural feeling. This is the time to be strong, avoid self-doubt, have confidence in yourself, and know you are prepared.  It’s important when you get to the start line to remember – your body did the work!  Racing is the reward for all the hard training.

I look for ways to be positive in a stressful environment. One-way to combat negative feelings is to take a few deep belly breaths. Doing this provides instant relaxation. Another ways is to write down positive affirmations and read them over at the beginning and end of each day. I also find listening to positive self-talk tapes helps to calm the mind and center the body. There’s some good reading material out there as well. One of my favorites is “Thinking Body, Dancing Mind: Tao sports for Extraordinary Performance in Athletics, Business and Life” by Jerry Lynch.  Another good read is “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. I find reading some of my favorite sections when traveling to races helps me to get focused and less stressed before a big event.
The role of a coach also plays a part in instilling confidence in their athletes. Before a race it’s important to sit down with your coach, go over a race plan, discuss problem solving for unexpected occurrences and review race strategy.

Whichever strategies you chose, practice them consistently.  If we put a fraction of the time into our mental training skills as we did our physical training, one could only imagine how far we could go.  One of the best feelings you’ll have is when your mind is empty and you are totally immersed in the moment. When doubt arises you can accept it and then repeat the following statements:

My mind is quiet.
I am at ease.
My mind is calm & quiet.
I feel an inward quietness.

I accept only positive energies & feelings.
I have great athletic skills.
I am tough and strong mined.
I’m energetic and alive.
I am confident.
I am in control and on a roll.
I am quick to make decisions in a stressful situation.
I see myself getting better and better each day in every way.

Enjoy the journey!
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LifeSport Coach Charlene Waldner is an NCCP certified triathlon coach and champion athlete who has spent several years in the health and wellness industry working as a fitness instructor, personal trainer and coach.
Beginner and experienced triathletes are invited to join the LifeSport Team. Contact LifeSport Coaching (
coach@Lifesport.ca) or visit www.Lifesport.ca.

Spring Sprint 2007

Thanks to Jim & Linda Everett for the photos!

Spring Sprint: 750 yard pool swim, 12.5 mile bike, 3.1 mile run

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I can not tell you how good it feels to be racing in a triathlon and feeling healthy.  It has been exactly a year since my last ‘fit’ race….the Spring Sprint last year.  I have crossed an important milestone and learned much about balancing my life.  This year, I will be putting that wisdom to the test.  I had an excellent Spring Sprint last year; however, this year I was almost a minute faster!

It did not start out so well.  My swim was a whole 17 seconds slower than my 2006 swim, and I know that I am at least as fast as I was then, so……what happened?  Well, I learned a valuable lesson about wearing my TYR Aquashift.  While warming up it seemed tight and constricting, to alleviate this, I pulled the suit up.  Thinking the excess around my chest would make it easier to breathe.  It had the opposite effect.  This actually made the suit pull down on my chest even more.  My race was difficult, in that, I could not catch my breath.  My turns were horrible and my turn-over too fast, in an effort to garner more oxygen.  I felt claustrophobic.  As bad as the swim felt, the 7:47 I swam was OK. 

Upon finishing, I couldn’t wait to have the suit unzipped by Hortense, so that I could fully expand my lungs for a huge gulp of air.  Ahhhhh!  So, because of this incident, a couple days later I wore my suit for several hours.  I wanted to see if I could stretch it out.  In doing so I discovered that pulling the suit up made it more constricting.  So the trick for me is to pull up from the bottom and DOWN from the top to have the excess suit gather just above my belly button.  This made all the difference in the world as I tested out the new technique with a Masters workout the next day.  Phew!  I did not want to have to buy another, very expensive race suit!

The reason my time was faster then, was due to a bike split that was over a minute faster compared to 2006’s split.  I went a 28:59 for the 12.5 miles and felt strong and smooth throughout.  The splits from the result page include the T1 and T2 transitions, so I subtracted the T1 (:39) & T2 (:49) splits from last years race to come up with my splits.  My run was then 1 second faster than last year for a 17:32. 

It was a beautiful day for racing, clear skies and warm temperatures made for an outstanding day to be outside.  Not to mention the fact that 80 more people signed up than ever before for the race!  Tremendous new, for Boise to have more people enjoying such a wonderful lifestyle…one that is good for the person, the family, and the community. 

Spring Sprint Results

Thanks to the Race Sponsors and Volunteers! powerbar.jpg

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Setting Goals

These are excellent ideas for achieving ones personal success in anything you do: 

The following is an excerpt from Cameron Elford and his experience in a Tri-Training Camp:

Here’s a brief round-up of Chris Lieto’s take-home messages:

Know your outcome: Goal-setting is key. Don’t be afraid to commit your goals to paper or otherwise articulate them explicitly. Doing so will allow you to find focus, create priorities and help you believe in what you want to achieve.

Know why you want to achieve your goals. What do you hope to achieve through your goals and what is the cost of reaching – or falling short of – your goals?

Take action. Once you know what you want, and why you want it, take action to capitalize on the momentum, rather than risk losing inertia.

Don’t allow yourself to be circumscribed by self-imposed limits. Instead, draw positive emotions from past experiences and visualize yourself performing without limitations. By doing so, you can accomplish far more than you’d ever think would be possible.

Find a mentor. Ask someone who has gone before you how they did it and follow in their footsteps, learning from their past mistakes and successes.

Know what you’re getting. If you’re not achieving the results you’re after, don’t be afraid to engage in a bit of introspection and make a few course corrections as necessary.

Break every race down into manageable sections. Especially if you’re hurting, don’t get down on yourself but focus on reaching mini-goals: the next aid station, mile-marker or tree.

Surround yourself with people who share your vision and will encourage and support you.

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Track Work Rules!!

Boise Bloom 

With the start of April; Boise is starting to be in full bloom.  The colors are vivid and the smells refreshing.  Life seems to be a  buzz with new growth and I am a buzz with the quick approaching racing season.  The last weekend of April my wife and I will travel to St. Petersburg for the St. Anthony’s Triathlon.  Only being weeks away, it’s time to focus on more speed.  Although I’ve been doing some interval training for most of March, yesterday was my first Track work out.  We meet at the Boise High track next to the downtown YMCA right at 5:30.  This always forces me to leave work a little earlier to make it there on time.  Thankfully, Personal Shopper allows for a flexible schedule. 

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The running group I meet with has taught me so much about the sport.  They are mostly wily veterans that love to run, with some, like me, just learning the tricks to the trade.  Doing these track work outs with this highly motivated group makes them so much more fun and painful at the same time.  Exactly the recipe I need to run faster.  Emil, our resolute leader, never gives the workout until it is time to do the main set. 

The workout: 4 x (600 @ 5k pace, 200 easy / 300 @ 3k pace, 100 easy). 
My times: 600 -> 1:53  –  1:58  –  1:55  –  1:54
                   300->  :53    –   :54  –    :54  –   :55 

I went out to fast on the first one….then too slow on the second 600, before settling in to a good hard, maintainable pace.  My body was not use to running this hard.  My stomach was getting weak towards the end, and my legs were getting nimble.  My groin and quads had definitely ‘opened up’ and had a lot of micro muscle fiber tears or….a whole lot of soreness.  This prompted me to take my first ever ice bath! 

I filled the tub up with cold water and threw in all the ice from the freezer plus several plastic water bottles that had frozen water in them.  Then, I sat down for my 20 minutes of ‘recovery’.  I read my recent copy of Triathlon Magazine while eating some healthy snacks.  Before I knew it, my legs were numb and it actually felt good.  It especially felt good after the warm shower and then bundling up with some sweat pants and a hoody.  I must say the ice water performed wonders on my sore legs as they feel good today.       

Training song: Hot Chip, ‘Over and Over’ ….The joy of repitition really is in you; the spell of repitition really is on you; over and over and over. 

Now….go out and enjoy those repeats! 
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Phelps’s achievement lifts us all

Rohit Brijnath

Pigeon toed Phelps

INCREDIBLE: With his recent stupendous performances, Michael Phelps has shown how the boundaries of human excellence can be redrawn.

When Michael Phelps performs he brings his opponents to their knees and the world to its feet. When he commences races, folded on the blocks like a pterodactyl contemplating flight, you are sitting. As he finishes, you feel compelled to award him a standing ovation, to shout your admiration. Even at a television set.

Phelps is exhilarating because he is obscenely fast. Men break records by the length of an unclipped nail; he did last week by an entire body length. Still, to say he swam the 200 metres freestyle in 1:43.86 seconds is meaningless, so let us say this: if Phelps raced Otto Scheff, the 1908 world record holder, he would have won by 62 metres.

As good as Owens’s feat
Phelps’ five world records in winning seven World Championship golds in eight days is an achievement to sit with anything man has done since he invented the athletic contest. You’ll find it there, just below Jesse Owens breaking three world records and equalling a fourth, in a span of 45 minutes, in 1935.

In a time of mayhem in cricket, for instance, Phelps is important. The world record does not change the way we live, but it reminds us of the purity of the athlete, it illustrates the muscularity of the human spirit. Here before us lies the persistent man, the noble man. Occasionally we are shaken by insinuations that the most chaste champion (i.e. Thorpe) may be fake, but still we keep the faith, we have to. Anyway, watching sport as a cynic is to miss half the pleasure.

Phelps is no different from a climber of distant mountains, for he goes where no other has, he is an advertisement to alien civilizations of human potential, of what is possible when body and mind are together tuned. For every 0.05 of a second gained, Phelps must swim hundreds of miles, taste pain and lick it.

How far, we wonder, can we go as a species, and Phelps, right now, is our representative in this process, mankind’s lead scout in discovering the limits of the human body. But every time Phelps goes faster, we also wonder, is there a point beyond which we cannot go, is there a finish line to athletic progress?

Between 1912 (10.6 seconds) and 1968 (9.95), the 100-metre track record progressed by .65. Despite sophisticated spikes, artificial tracks, lycra shorts, sports science advances, from 1968 to now the record has progressed by .18 to 9.77. For some it is little, for others substantial.

In shorter distances especially, on track and in pool, it seems harder to squeeze that little extra from the body. Perhaps improvements will be so slight that the measurements will have to alter, from hundredths of a second to cycling’s thousandth of a second.

But because there is no such thing as the perfect race (in reaction time, in turn technique, in fitness towards the end, Phelps will insist his races were imperfect), man can only go faster. That day in 1935, when Owens broke all those records, he had a sore back.

Meant to be broken
Records will fall because every time progress slows, the planet belches out another freak of physiology, an athlete designed by God for a particular purpose. Phelps has a long torso, a wingspan (six foot seven inches) that stretches further than he does vertically (six feet four inches), and size 14 feet. He is built for speed in water.

In the 200 metres butterfly, the world record improved by 5.29 seconds between 1971-1981, by 2.32 seconds between 1981-1991, by .51 seconds between 1991-2000. The improvements were by smaller margins every decade. Then Phelps, alone, from 2001 till last week, lowered the record by 3.09 seconds! When Phelps is done, we will blithely proclaim we will never see his like again. It’s true. We will see better.

On an iniquitous planet, sporting talent remains unexploited. Out there on the margins, in lands where 50-metre swimming pools are rare, who knows what lies. Twenty-five years hence when opportunity arrives, a gangly-armed hero may come walking out of the warm surf of Bangladesh to remind us we can go faster still. There will be a time, imagine, when Phelps will seem slow.

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