Change, Choice and a Feeling of Running Out of Time

A buddy reached out…

I do not want to derail any of the Twitter conversation regarding fat burning/race fueling/weight loss.

But, I’m suspicious there is a story as to how much impact can be had regarding fat burning in the long-in-sport masters athlete. 

Can you teach a system to burn fat after it has fueled on white hot carbs for years?

Or, am I just too inpatient looking for results?

Some of us older folks don’t have years to figure it out.

I think about these points all_the_time!

  1. Can I change?
  2. Is it too late to change?
  3. What if change doesn’t work?
  4. What’s a reasonable time horizon to give change a chance?

I start by reminding myself of the game I have decided to play.

I am going to spend 1,000 days doing my absolute best to get in shape

That’s my game.

Use my experience, my network, my time… and embrace what’s required, in order to move towards SuperVet Fitness.

Life is not about change.

It is about choice.

Figure out your game, then choose what’s required.


Time.

I am running out of time.

But I have had this “running out of time” feeling since my late-30s…

…and here I am!

So I have both “limited time” and more time than I realize.

Back to Choice.

How will I CHOOSE to use my time?

Play the game, make better choices, accept what the journey requires.


Results, success, achievement, getting somewhere…

Every single day, I am asked a question along those lines

  • How long will it take to improve?
  • What should I expect?

The only way find to find out is to take the journey.

The #1 Thing I Got Right As A New Athlete

I was very fortunate Scott Molina took an interest when I moved to New Zealand.
Not that he had much of a choice, I turned up at his garage (ready to ride) most mornings.
Scott has studied, and applied, what works for his entire life.

One of my favorite follows (Elias Lohtonen) was writing about the differences between Beginners and Elites. The context was metabolic fitness, as determined in his lab.

This got me thinking about my journey as a new athlete.

When I started out, I disliked intense training:

  • It crushed me
  • It hurt
  • I wasn’t very good at it

However, I thought I “needed it.”

Turns out I was lucky I didn’t bother with it for many years.

We now have a better idea why.

I’ll take you back 25 years.


Lactate As A Fuel Source, Not Waste Product

When I learned exercise physiology in the 1990s, lactic acid was presented as the athlete’s enemy – causing pain and slowing us down.

Difficult, searing training was believed necessary to teach our bodies to buffer and tolerate this acidic compound.

We used to think lactate would form crystals in our muscles, causing post-exercise muscle soreness. Hours, and days, later we would “flush the legs” to remove these waste products. We’d get massages to “break up the lactate.”

Turns out we were wrong.

Lactate is essential, and extremely useful, once we’ve trained our bodies to use it.

Roll forward to the present…

From an article written by Iñigo San Millán (Twitter Bio).

Lactate is also a key regulator of intermediary metabolism, regulating substrate utilization. It decreases and inhibits the breakdown of fat for energy purposes (lipolysis), as well as the rate of glucose utilization by cells (glucolysis).

The bold part is mine.

What does this mean for you?

Athletes who start fast, and perform “intense” endurance training impair their ability to burn fat

Every human I’ve ever met (!) wanted to burn more fat.

What are the implications for your training?

  • Slow your endurance sessions down.
  • Endurance training needs to feel light (link is to an article on “aerobic threshold feel”).
  • Endurance adaptations favor duration.

We all share a bias towards thinking that “more intense is better.”

Intensity is not better, it is different…

…and a key difference is you are burning less fat.


Additional resources:

1// Read the first article I linked : focus on training your slow twitch muscle fibers.

You already have plenty of capacity to generate lactate. If you want to improve performance (and burn more fat) then you need to focus primarily on the low-end.

2// Next up, Dr. San Millán’s paper on Metabolic Flexibility is a fascinating read on the differences between three groups: elite athletes, recreational athletes and individuals with metabolic syndrome.


From the article linked above

3// Overcoming our shared bias towards intensity : One of the way’s to retrain your mind is to focus on submax performance. At 53, I’m very interested in my paces, and powers, at 130 bpm. This is ~35 beats below max (the “top of”cap” in the table below, approximately).

4// How do you know what’s “intense enough?”

From Last Week’s Thread on Training Zones
The table is a good starting point, you can dial in more accurately using the resources in the thread

5// Finally, this thread contains my favorite lactate resources.


Have questions?

  • Go to Twitter
  • Search @feelthebyrn1 ‘your topic’
  • Reply into my thread on the topic
  • I’ll answer with my experience, or point you towards someone who knows better than me

Four Questions to Help Self-Coached Athletes Achieve Their Best Season Ever

Running to a podium finish at Ironman New Zealand

Each week I post my Training Review on Twitter.

My review is driven by four questions:

  1. What went right?
  2. Did I hit my minimums?
  3. Where can I trade stress?
  4. What can screw things up?

My questions track to actions:

  1. Keep
  2. Add
  3. Trade
  4. Remove and Address

Across the week, I take notes and when I take my back-to-back recovery days, I review the week.

++

What Went Right?

You are going to be tempted to “progress the week.”

Unfortunately, in highly motivated populations, this leads to breakdown, and missed gains!

Better to repeat the week & keep what works

++

Did I Hit My Minimums?

Last Thursday, I gave you a Training Intensity Allocation.

Let’s see what that implies for my last week: 15 hours total => 900 minutes

  1. Strength => 90 minutes
  2. Stamina => 720 minutes
  3. Intensity => 90 minutes
    1. Tempo => 54 Minutes
    2. Threshold => 27 minutes
    3. VO2 & VO2+ => 9 minutes

Is there a training segment that I’m avoiding?

Think outside the box, there are many interesting sessions that are hybrids of strength/intensity.

Use the small allocations wisely and have fun with them.

++

What Trades Make Sense?

First Two Tips:

  1. Repeat don’t progress
  2. Hit the minimums

If I want to ADD then do a TRADE.

Example #1: I like to run in the hills. However, I don’t need to run up a mountain every week! Across a week, a fortnight, a month… I manage my “elevation load” between weeks.

Example #2: I’m relatively strong for my age and category. I trade Strength load to accommodate more Stamina within my week.

Example #3: Max HR test last week? Add more Zone 1 to start the following week. Balance the intensity mixes across more than just the week. Give yourself time to fully absorb your highest intensity sessions. Same thing applies for sessions that cause significant muscle damage (plyometrics, downhill run load).

Example #4: get to the source of your life stress:

  • Sleep
  • Alcohol
  • Energy deficits
  • Spontaneous tempo
  • Over-reaction
  • Excessive load
  • Too many goals

If I want to better absorb training then reduce the stress caused by choices outside my core goals.

Endurance training, done to the best of our ability, offers an incentive to straighten out our lives.

++

Avoiding Ruin – What Might Screw Up Next Week?

In the acute sense… Avoid The Injury!

Take time to address the little niggles while they are still little!

Dial the program DOWN before the injury is created.

Trade low quality days for high quality weeks.

In the chronic sense… going down an unsustainable path feels great, ride up to the day before you fall apart!

Consider, then address, areas of instability:

  • Relationships
  • Sponsors
  • Finances
  • Emotions
  • Habits

How to make this happen?

Put it in your calendar!

Make an appointment with yourself, daily.

Example: 10 minutes every day on mobility and one positive action to reduce long term stress.

Little positive steps have big impacts when applied over long time horizons.


The ability to bring these habits into your athletic life gives you a skill set to improve all aspects of your life.

Coaching Elite Performers

Rolling strong at the swim meet

A coach is someone who can offer correction without causing resentment

– John wooden

When I notice someone has been triggered, I stop.

My life goals do not require me to change other people.

Inverting, being prickly reduces the world’s ability to help us out.


If you struggle to learn from experience then ASK…

  • What is it going to take for me to trust the process?
  • What is it going to take for me to trust the coach?

For me, It was watching Nils & Johan take everything I learned about sport and make it better. I wanted to take my knowledge to the next level.

In February, one small choice by Johan, set off of positive chain that brought us together.



What’s it going to take for you?

If you have no idea then that’s OK!

Think back, who gets through to me, without resentment?

Combine with goals & VALUES alignment, and you have the ingredients for a valuable long-term relationship.

  • My marriage
  • My investment committee
  • My close friends
  • My board

All contain people who are able to get through to me. I am surrounded by elite coaches.

In our lives, we will come across people who have the capacity to make us want to improve, and the vision to make incremental suggestions that we can implement.

Pay attention when you feel their positive influence.


Johan’s 2022 Scorecard

Each adjustment, I had been unable to implement previously.

Inside, I feel like I volunteered for all of them.

And I did.

But someone was the catalyst.

Share your story => someone needs to hear it.

Keep Small Promises

July in Boulder

I did the Rich Roll Podcast this past week (not out yet, I’ll let you know).

We started the podcast with…

My story is proof we all have hidden skills, paths we never see, never take.

I wasn’t setting Summer Swim League records as a kid, I didn’t walk-on to the Stanford Swim Team. I thought I was an average athlete. Turned out, I was an Ultraman Champion.

Every single one of us has a skill, a path, that can dramatically improve our lives.

But we have to start.

That was followed by two-and-a-half hours of chatting!

To wrap up, Rich asked me to give him one last tip. I thought a bit and came up with…

Keep small promises to yourself.

Everything I’ve achieved comes from the credibility I’ve established with myself.

When I started my journey, I had no idea where it would take me.


My elite athletic career dates back to a single choice in 1993 (24 yo).

I was living in London and decided to go for a walk.

One walk led to two.

Soon I was bike commuting to work.

Eventually, I was hiking longer on the weekends.

Years later, I made the decision to do “something everyday.”

Many choices, many years.


Roll forward, ~30 years, I have two promises I’m working on:

  1. Try to help someone online via Twitter
  2. Give it my best shot to get back in outstanding aerobic shape

Both done daily, on a 1,000-day time horizon.

I have no destination in mind.

I’m going to do the work, pace myself, and see what happens.


#1 came from calling my bluff with some feelings of envy I had.

#2 came because my life is more enjoyable with superior aerobic fitness.


Where do you need to face your fears and go for it?

What one thing, if it happened, would change everything?

Start small, give it 1,000 days.

Dynamic Loading via Daily Readiness Assessments

Quite a mouthful, that title.

Put simply, I have been adjusting my daily plan based on my morning metrics.

This article will explain those metrics => overnight, morning and active.

For a guy, who used to plan his workouts 7-10 days in advance and his season 13-20 weeks in advance… this is a radical change!

Lots of lingo in this article – Marco’s articles are a big help.


My Readiness Dashboard – explained below

OVERNIGHT via Oura Ring

The overnight assessment is the easiest. I keep my Oura ring charged and download first thing. The ring was helpful getting my health back on track at the end of 2021.

However, for making the decision if I’m ready to absorb load, the overnight reading is not as accurate as my morning test.

I don’t recommend the ring to you. I think you’ll get more useful information using the next two options.


MORNING via Polar H10 Strap and HRV4Training App

My morning ritual:

  • Wake up (no alarm)
  • Head downstairs
  • Drain bladder
  • Relax on my couch (supine) with my pulse oximeter going
  • Take reading via HR strap to HRV4Training app.

The whole process takes ~5 minutes.

If you pay for the PRO level (HRV app), then normal ranges are calculated and shown with baseline (below).


HRV with trend and normal range – you can pinch to show more days

Morning Resting HR with trend and normal range.
COVID recovery was May 25 – June 11

Overnight and Morning are passive metrics – I’m either asleep or lying down. There are good reasons for passive assessments (see Marco’s articles linked at the end).

My advice, start collecting the morning metrics and learn your healthy baseline.

These baseline metrics were a big part of my being able to return to training relatively quickly after catching COVID (link is my day by day return diary).


My active readiness test is based on an Olympic Champion’s warm-up routine.

The 400w segments are done only in Threshold & Specific Preparation
More in Nils’ Document Linked Below

SWEDISH ACTIVE READINESS TEST (SART)

I have been working with an Olympic Coach, Johan Röjler. Johan had the idea for me to perform a daily assessment based on NVDP’s warm-up.

My bike numbers are FAR below Nils’ level. However, the principles are the same.

  • Six minute steps
  • Start at 50% of “fit” Threshold watts
  • End at 65% of “fit” Threshold watts

Nils did his Threshold at 400 watts. At 53, I picked 300w.

The key isn’t the Threshold number.

What’s important is getting a 50%/65% number that is NOT demanding. You want to have a test you can get through at every level of fitness and fatigue.

I’m using 3 steps (150w/165w/180w). Power via Favero Assioma Duos and total test takes ~20 minutes. Johan is testing himself with a run-based protocol.

We are looking for heart rate suppression and “jumpiness.”

  • Day One of the training cycle – we expect HR to be responsive and jumpy following the 2 off days
  • Across the micro cycle – we expect some HR suppression BUT when there is material suppression, combined with other factors (mood, HRV, MRHR, soreness, energy) we gauge the risk/benefit for loading

The chart shows two cycles – one where I pulled the plug after three days, and the other where I pushed through fatigue (D2 & D4) and finished strong.

The SART is a nice warm up. My total output is 200 kj and no matter how wrecked I am (see June 22 & 23 above) – the test is doable.


With Passive Metrics (HRV, MRHR), the Red & Strong Green days are obvious.

What’s less clear is the signal for the Yellow and Weak Green days. Yellow and Weak Green days are where I make most of my mistakes.

Our hypothesis is fatigue (not-readiness) will manifest via heart rate suppression at submax levels.

By learning my normal response to training, I can decide if I’m in a “better to rest” or “train through” situation. The idea being to back off when my body isn’t in a position to absorb more load.

My readiness metrics, when combined with my training log, let me see the sessions that most kick my butt.

  • Are those sessions “worth it”?
  • Could there be a more effective way of loading?

These are judgement calls and part of the art of loading.

Overall => make mistakes visible, and learn from them.


LINKS

Dead Simple Nutrition

Take advice from someone who has done what you’re trying to do

I started out fat and clueless.

The lessons I learned are different from someone, who grew up a star athlete.

  • If you want to be fast, take tips from someone who figured out how to be fast
  • If you want to lose weight, take tips from someone who lost the weight
  • If you want to improve your healthspan, read Howard’s book!

Know your goal and choose your reference set carefully. So much noise out there.

  • 360 days for health
  • 5 days for performance

Choose wisely


LOW can be better than NO

  • Low glutten
  • Low processed sugars
  • Low manufactured food

Less, rather than total elimination.

Pay attention to the bloat. For me… cereals, pastas and breads

Bloat items are better swapped with something I tolerate. When I swap them, moderate the portion, add a protein source and mix in some veggies.

Pay attention to well tolerated energy sources. For me… rice, rice milk, quinoa, potatoes.


I use Protein differently:

  • Protein with every meal
  • No long gaps without protein
  • ‘Recovery’ drinks across long training days – rice milk with protein powder
  • Real meals between sessions – avoid gel hell

Protein, especially with good fats, moderates my appetite and keeps my digestion happy.


Dairy

I tolerate it well but I’m careful not use as a sugar crutch.

There can be a lot of added sugar in dairy (especially “vegan” yogurts).


There is information in cravings and binges.

Cravings => usually a depletion signal. High-performance athletes need to train the ability to process food for fuel. Long sessions provide enough depletion, even when eating.

Binges => a sign of too much – too much intensity, too much stress, too much load.

To make progress with your body, and counter your binges/cravings, trade stress for the ability to lose fat.


A stable weight is a sign you have your act together.

Get to a stable, strong weight and stay there.

Effective nutrition is defined by what is not there:

  • Swings
  • Cravings
  • Binges
  • Injures
  • Illness

Where to focus:

  1. Eat less sugar – sweeteners are everywhere. Do not restrict whole fruits, they fill you up and reduce processed food intake.
  2. Protein with every meal – all day long
  3. Incremental change – lifetime journey!
  4. Start by improving the quality of your non-training nutrition
  5. Appropriate levels of carbohydrate – fuel the burn

Don’t get hooked on brand names…

Just Keep Winning


The 20K Track Session


The WARM UP for this session is my favorite part.

Most athletes would be best served by doing the “warm-up” – the aerobic benchmarking – then hit the trails for a relaxed hour of running.

When I did this workout, I’d run a 2:51 marathon (off the bike) ten weeks earlier at Ironman New Zealand. My LT1 numbers were creeping ever closer to LT2… Scott Molina wanted to give my run training more “headroom.” Scott was right.

What would I do differently? Test lactate: baseline, LT1, LT1+10bpm and end of every 2nd 800. The La- data would have give pace/HR more context.

If you read to the end then you’ll see we were thinking about “the next trip” – Clas and I never got that done.

When YOU get the chance to take the “trip of a lifetime,” I hope you take it.

Take your shot.



gRAAM – Trans USA Day Sixty-One
aiken, south carolina

Wasn’t sure how this workout was going to go. I was feeling pretty good for most of yesterday. Had a false start at one school and also had to negotiate with the facilities manager mid-session. Went like this…

FM – Ya’all CAN’T be here!
B (rippin’ it) – Talk to him, I’m running.
G – I’ll be right there, sir.

FM – Eye, got signs everywhere. No Tress-passin’
G – Well, that big sign says open to the public.
FM – Eye, don’t care what that sign says, I put up them other signs yisterday. We be sprayin the grass tamarra!

G – Oh sorry about that. That gate over there was open.
FM – That was the mower man. Told him to leave it open last night.
G – We didn’t want to cause any problems.

FM – You ain’t from ‘round here, are ya?
G – Nope, we’re from Canada.
FM – That’s a long way. Just passin’ through, eh?
G – Yep, riding to Hilton Head tomorrow.
FM – Well, ah guess it’s OK. Just head out that same gate. Ya looked liked ya needed a break anyhow. See ya.

My session went like this..

Concrete Track
Low 80s, moderate to high humidity, light to moderate winds
Two Miles Easy
Two Miles AeT, 3:51/3:55/3:57 — avgs 141/142/143
Three K AeT+10, 3:46/3:46/3:46 — avgs 151/152/153
Four Strides

<<<June 2022 NOTE – the warm-up ends here>>>

8×800/200 — hr is ending
1-4 & 7/8 2:43H (157,161,163, 167 & 163, 167)
5 — 2:45, 169
6 — 2:47, 171

Not sure why I popped the HR on 5/6. It was pretty hot, maybe I was dehydrated RI was mid 50s to around a minute on the 200, HR might have got a little under 150 but not all the time

2:44 is 34 min 10K pace, I think. Pretty solid aerobic numbers. Morning weight was 78KG. You know, I am aerobically faster and more powerful than I’ve ever been. I know that light is useful but it can’t be the whole story. Baron thinks that I am lighter than I think I am (not sure what that means, it’s the same scale as last summer).

A little bit about why I like this session so much.

First up, I need at least a mile to warm my legs up. During big IM training, it can take a 30 min spin plus the two miles for me to get rolling. Even though I was shelled a couple of days ago, I was pretty fresh (on my standards) for this session.

The warm-up is 10.6K including the strides (and their RI). It lets me check in on my key metrics of AeT Pace (steady state) and AeT+10 Pace (what I like to call max steady state). It also gives me a big dose of running that is at (or above) IM pace/effort. It does it in a way than supports and enhances my run endurance, cardiac capacity, and leg turnover. Also, if I have an inability to get to LT then that is a clear indicator of a substantial training fatigue.

I’ve been doing this session (in various forms) for over a year – I two years ago, I used to do Yasso 800s at a much faster pace but now feel that protocol is sub-optimal for IM (too fast, not enough volume, too stressful). The numbers above represent my best yet performance for this workout.

While a variation of this workout is useful. When I review most athlete’s training performance vis-à-vis their workout performance, they would simply be best riding more and doing the 10K warm-up section as a week day aerobic test set. Why? Because most folks are running IM so far from their AeT pace that their true limiter lies in steady state bike fitness. So they are simply getting themselves tired for no benefit if they did the main set above.

The track also provides a good opportunity to experiment a bit with cadence and body position – quick light cadence, controlled speed, relaxed speed, long spine, tall balanced athlete.

I’m glad that I have some sea-level data to benchmark against my Boulder numbers.

+++++

Ironspeed

We threw the Baron on the track this morning. I was a little nervous because he’s a real racehorse and you never know what will happen on the track. However, it was a unique chance for us to get some data when he’s heading into a race.

15 min easy
30 min goal IM Pace
15 min goal IM effort
5 min bring it a little over LT
10 min easy

AeT Pace (140) = 3:40 per K, 5:54 per mile
Max Steady State (150) = 3:33 per K, 5:40 per mile
Total session was a Half Marathon run in 1:18:40, 145 avg

+++++

We said good bye to Ben today – like Barry, he found the track session challenging. Muscular fatigue possibly combining with the beginnings of a sore throat made it tough for him to elevate his HR. I’ll let him tell his story but I will give him _respect_ for making it the whole way!

Well done, Amigo.

I’ve extended an invitation to him to come out to Boulder and hang for a bit. Maybe he’ll come out for more action. He reciprocated with an invite to hang at the spacious Casa del Travis during the September Hell Camp.

+++++

After we dropped Ben at the airport. Baron and I headed to the pool. We each had our own lane in a VERY fine 50m pool – Augusta Aquatic Center if you ever get to town. Very nice, $4 for a swim.

LCM with sleeveless wetsuit
400 easy every 4th back
4×100 on 1:30 (1:25 to 1:20)
4×50 on 1:00 (40 to 32)
20×100 on 1:40 (first 10 avg 1:19, second 10 avg 1:17/18 – all three stroke breathing)
450 easy (booted out due to lightning)

No lightning rod on the roof so we were evicted part way through the final 1K steady finale!

+++++

B.D.Gae

Buh-duh-gay! What’s buh-duh-gay? Baron drills gordo across Europe. Even when nuked, I’ve been enjoying this trip. My life might not always be “fun” but it’s certainly rewarding.

At first, we were thinking about Rome to Mockfjärd but that seemed like a long way and I’ve been to Northern Germany in April (wet!).

Next year is Baron’s Zofingen focus year so I was thinking that some climbing might make sense. Also, this trip started getting a bit ‘old’ around eight weeks so, perhaps, that’s a decent length for an extended tour.

So right now, we are considering Gordo’s Latin Extravaganza – start with a swim in the Atlantic (Portugal or Spain) and then rip every major Southern European Mountain Range. Skip the camping and go the pensionne route, perhaps.

I’ve done some riding in the Alpes Maritimes in May before – that would be nice. We could also do Epic France recon and bag most the grand tour climbs (Spain, France, Italy).

Just an idea, for now.

+++++

Final Thoughts

Not much left to go. Hope you’ve enjoyed the ride.

Had a little bit of Krishnamurti run through my head over the last few days. “We can never be deceived if we don’t want anything.” So true, whenever I feel deceived then I try to look to what I was seeking to possess in the situation.

Shaka,
g

A Vision Quest of Fatigue

Hilton Head, end of the trip

Archive Saturday is an extract from my diary when I rode across the USA (March to May 2004).

This entry was written after the end of a big block. That morning, I had briefly fallen asleep swimming. Woke up when my head hit the bulkhead!


Barry was a favorite guest. At the time, we were eating out of buckets.

My buddy, Barry, had saddle sores so bad, he used his menthol lip balm for relief.

Never borrow lip balm from a vegan called Barry!

As an elite endurance athlete, there will be days when the best thing that happens is rolling a stick of lip balm onto your balls…

…and those will be some of the greatest days of your life!


There’s tired and there’s “lie down on a tarp, covered in mosquitoes and immediately fall asleep tired”

Here’s the thing about fatigue, at first we panic a little, eventually we accept it, then we find a way to relax and dance with it.


A BIG motivator with my Project (to get back in shape) is being able to do adventures with my son.
This is the morning we decided to swim to North Carolina and run up to road to meet our support vehicle.
Clas “the Baron” Bjorling in the middle & Ben on the right.

From back when the magazine business was a business…

They’d be out of business if we just put JFT on the cover and ran the adverts…

Social media wasn’t a thing in 2004 but the “attention economy” endures.

Be wary of sacrificing the quality of your work to offer novelty to the masses, most of whom will never follow your advice and gain The Knowledge.

The Knowledge doesn’t reside in textbooks, blog posts or podcasts.

Just Keep Training


Sam, me, Barry the Vegan // 8 weeks (and most of the USA) between this photo at the one above.
Fuel the work and don’t be a weight nut!
Always remember, NEVER borrow lip balm from Barry

Monday’s blog will be about A Swedish Approach to Athletic Excellence – it’s about creating a life that puts you in the position to do The Block.

The Block – a period of 4 months where you take yourself to the top.

The first half of my “Block” was swim/bike/run across America – 9 weeks.

The second half was a summer inside Dave Scott’s Team World in Boulder.

Barbarian Days!



gRAAM – Trans USA Day Forty-Eight
camden, tennessee

In the end, we were a bit tired to be much entertainment for Andy, but we left him a couple of souvenirs to show our appreciation of his hospitality.

We didn’t exactly rip out of bed. I managed a weak jog to the pool. The swim was even more lackluster. After 2,000 yards, I nearly fell asleep in the water (not a good sign at all). I managed to squeeze out 3,000 yards, but the last 500 was done in broken 25s at easy pace. Not pretty. I got out of the water and sat in the hot tub for a bit (memories of cracking post-Epic NZ #2).

I shuffled back to Andy’s place, where Baron and I conferenced and agreed that the overall run distance was 5.5K.

We had 180K on the ride agenda and I was starting the day highly whipped. Fortunately, we had tailwinds forecast, but there were a heck of a lot of rollers heading my way. I drank a half litre of gordo-brew, straight-up – nothing happened, not even a ripple in my system.

++++

So what does one think about when riding, totally wasted? Here’s a selection – as you can tell, I wasn’t feelin’ the love the whole way…

Jimi and me – hey, there’s a lot going on in the background of those songs. He’s laughing and joking the whole way through. Kinda like a my training days.

Dolan – Tom “Mr. Swimming” Dolan trained 100+KM per week in the water for an event that lasted four minutes. How could anybody reasonably expect to perform a 8-9 hour TT on a low-volume program?

Track Sessions – Who’s %^&*$#@ idea was that anyhow? I’m blown to bits and for what? …and the guy tells me to eat light at dinner. Man-o-man, isn’t he reading my reports? Eat light?! Bet he’s drinking a beer right now.

Training Regime – OK, you come and sit on my wheel for two weeks and then we’ll talk training protocols. Far easier to talk than to do what it takes. Two weeks in my big ring and counting.

Mr. Andersson – The guy chose the large jersey. I had the medium with me and he waived it off. Then he diss’d my gift on my site? Sponsor management? Dude, you can just mail that jersey back to me and I’ll find another home for it.

Lance – People diss the guy on the pride he has in his preparation. I’m shelled to s&*# and I’m a wee minnow compared to those guys. Everyone trains hard at the top? No way, only a few people truly apply themselves in ANY endeavour. The ability to persist beats ability. But they wish it was the other way. They wish that there was an excuse, any excuse, to avoid personal responsibility.

Scientists & Experts – I bet I couldn’t find one expert to agree with my training today but, I bet I could find a dozen world champions.

Coach – Don’t fool yourself. Coaches don’t make athletes. Athletes make athletes. Structure, motivation, objectivity, belief. The nature of a session? Doesn’t matter. JFT.

Fatigue – We’re looking for a new kind of fatigue out here. Something deeper, a pure fatigue. Not one of those bush league fatigues. A whole new kind of fatigue.

Balm – You know, that balm I put on my nads is probably going to be the highlight of this day. The menthol aspect lasted for at least forty minutes. That was nice. My only action is medication for my bag – all part of the elite triathlete lifestyle. Funny old life I lead. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Rights – What am I doing out here? I am exercising my right of self-determination. Perhaps just self-termination.

Tri Mags – It would be pretty thin if you simply put JFT on the cover then ran the adverts. So much time, so much energy, so much money spent on items that have nothing to do with true performance.

I can’t really remember if those were before or after lunch. I do remember that we had 105K on the clock at lunch and my hands were shaking badly on arrival in Bells, TN.

B – I think that we should ride an extra 30K if we feel good.
G – More than 200K?
B – Yes, a good idea?
G – Why not.

So we headed out at 4:30 pm for a second leg of 125K, or so. Somewhere out there I got tired enough to simply relax and resign myself to my fate. Just like the winter storm day. Only this time it was different.

Baron was so shelled that he was pouring water on his head to keep himself from swerving too much. I think we were both beyond caring and feeling – we were simply going to ride until we got to the end or cracked. Neither of us expected to crack, but you can never really be sure.

…perhaps that’s why I did this trip. Because I wanted the knowledge. Yeah, that’s good to know. This could be as close as I’ll be able to come. My personal sixty quarters. Shared with the Baron. The same knowledge but different. I wonder if he understands? He certainly understands but he’d be no more able to explain it then I can. When you have the knowledge you don’t really need to explain it. You just lean back and smile while everyone else hangs at the Mad Hatters Tea Party. Molina has it, sure, but why is he telling me to eat light as well. Is he playing some kind of joke on me? I’m way past simple bean dip fatigue – isn’t he reading these reports. Maybe he’s taking me on the next step. Just keep riding…

…Guess it’s like the quiet power only deeper. If only a few have the knowledge then I wonder why so many of them don’t have the quiet power as well. Perhaps it’s difficult to transfer it across an entire spectrum. Flashes of enlightenment. Wonder how long this will stick with me. Probably be gone tomorrow. But it was nice while it lasted. Keep on riding…

…it’s not the insanity of cities, or the silliness of debate – it’s the total futility of everything. To fight every battle as if it was our last, all the while knowing that it’s really one big joke. A lot of warriors get the first bit but miss the second. Keep on riding…

We rolled into our campsite as darkness fell. Wy asked me a question and I said something along the lines of “I’m OK”. She noted that my reply wasn’t convincing but how to explain without sounding offensive or strange. My own vision-quest exploring the depths of fatigue.

I think we are going to make it, but who’s idea was that track session?

g-man

Setting Up A Lifetime of Winning

May in Boulder

Last Monday, I gave you three things to consider:

  • Face your fear of recovery
  • Consider if you have the muscle mass to achieve your goals
  • Build your capacity for One Big Slow Day

Another way to think about recovery is to invert – give yourself a protocol that you will enjoy regardless of outcome – lack of enjoyment is a sign your approach is unsustainable.

Injury and illness are socially-acceptable ways to manifest a lack of enjoyment.

Work, school, sport… bad luck is less random than it appears.


The best thing I learned about protocol was taught to me by a doctor friend:

Gordo, we don’t heal people. People heal themselves.

The magic isn’t in the protocol, supplement or dogma…

The magic ingredient is YOU!


Step back from all the noise about protocols.

How might we create a lifetime of winning?

  • Consistency
  • Enjoyment

Focus there.


What do we see in every successful person?

  1. Practice often
  2. Devote time
  3. Learn skills

Focus there.


I’ve been reading the literature around SuperElite performance. It gets me fired-up to “practice often, devote time & learn skills” 🙂

However… it strikes me as a lot of narrative wrapped around the complex system of human performance.

The literature lacks self-awareness… despite what you see in the media, you probably do not want to be a Super Elite. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Not our situation to solve.


For the rest of us!

The mental side is what’s going limit.

While we are consistently enjoying the journey…

  • do work
  • take correction

Parents, allocating TIME to have fun while you MODEL these skills is one of the best gifts you can give your kids.

I doesn’t need to be you (but your kids really want you involved).

Teach your kids to be the best version of themselves.


Not better than the rest,
I hope you are the best YOU can be