Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mental Sprintitude

Swam - some
Biked - some more
Ran - some more but less

Time - a decent bit

Over the past two weeks it seems like I've really let myself go.  No blogging, no nothin'. But today that is changing.  I was reminded the other night by Jenny Leiser - pro triathlete - about what having an "elite" attitude can do to change your performances and this post itself (i.e. actually writing it) was galvanized by me losing the final sprint last night.

I love sprinting on my bicycle.  There is no denying that. The sheer max output of watts for 5-10s is beyond exhilarating.  I think part of the appeal also comes from "realizing" the end-game of a tactical plan.  Sitting in, sitting in, sitting in...UNLEASH. It's all about timing.  Knowing when your opponents are at their weakest, at their strongest, most vulnerable, etc.  It is unlike anything in triathlon, really.

Triathlete, on the front.

One thing that's unique - insofar as this conversation applies to yours truly anyway - is the mental approach to sprinting.  I would imagine that most cyclists of a triathlon bent think of sprinting as "unnecessary," "stupid," "painful," "sucky," etc.  They are not wrong, necessarily.  If you start going for county signs in your triathlon races you are asking for trouble later on in the race...  BUT, talk to any cyclist that is also a "sprinter" and you will find their mindset differs quite a bit.

Triathlete, on the front. 

I doubt any sprinter comes to the last 500m of a race thinking: "I am going to lose."  Or: "I cannot win."  In fact, I would be willing to bet it is the exact opposite. No matter WHAT, the thoughts running through their heads all center around a theme of: "I am going to win. Period." That type of attitude probably holds true for most sports, actually.  That feeling of confidence (not arrogance) that nobody can beat you at what you are about to do...

Too much laughing, not enough sprinting!

This post isn't so much about sprinting, but about that confidence when it comes to sprinting.  Why don't I apply that to all other facets of my life? More specifically, why do I not feel that way about competition in other realms? Triathlons especially.  Why do we (I) approach every workout or competition that way? Why do I feel resigned on race morning, when at the 1-2k to go signs in bike racing I start getting EXCITED...? Adrenaline starts coursing through the body and mental status and awareness goes on high alert!

Triathlete, on the front.

You can FEEL the tension in a bike pack with 5-10 minutes to go in a race.  It's palpable.  On race morning in triathlons there is a lot sad faces, tired faces...and only a little bit of excitement.  That is - in no small part - due to the fact that triathlons "start" at 5:30 in the morning (in terms of getting ready) whereas bike racers get to sleep in, lounge around, and race in the middle of the day.

The excitement is...palpable.

But what keeps us from having that CONFIDENCE with regard to all facets of our workouts.  Why do I feel the need to complain all the time and feel resigned about doing workouts? Why don't I get excited for all of them?? I am #blessed to be able to compete at exercising at the level I am, but that doesn't automatically make me love it.

Should it? Should I (we) love every workout? Love every race? Approach everything like nobody is going to be better than us?  The rational part of me realizes how ridiculous and impossible that is.  I am a smart guy, I cannot convince myself that I am the best at exercising.  Not to any degree.  But I CAN convince myself that I WILL out-sprint you.  Even if I don't always.  Why the disconnect?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What's up?

4.28 - 5.04
Swim - 16,500 yards
Bike - 181 miles
Run - 21.5 miles
Time - 16.3 hours

5.05 - 5.11
Swim - 6,500 yards
Bike - 279 miles
Run - 20.1 miles
Time - 18.99 hours

Store stop of champions

Let's see, what has happened these past two weeks? Well, a lot of the story can be told by embedding videos.  Less writing more watching.  Always a good deal, right?

Huntersville Sprint from James Haycraft on Vimeo.

IOS Sledge from James Haycraft on Vimeo.

A2 Wind Tunnel apparel + helmet testing from James Haycraft on Vimeo.

Morganton Loop 5-11-14 from James Haycraft on Vimeo.

Some things that happened that I didn't video about:

The CMS 10mi TT (number 2 of 6) was last Wednesday the 7th.  I had a fast time and placed well overall in spite of lower watts than I anticipated.

A group of us went up and enjoyed a spectacular ride in the mountains this past Sunday.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day.  I felt pretty good throughout and paced well enough to go as hard as I wanted to the last couple of climbs, namely Shulls Mill and the climb back up the BRP to Linn Cove.

Still no races on the schedule for a bit as I continue to heal fully.  My lower back is still having some issues and as a consequence (and very visible in the training numbers) my running and swimming have been inconsistent or consistently low.  I feel fit on the bike, but that's about it.

See you out there!