Got Coaching

Got a Coach ?

I am accepting a limited number of new athletes for 2015 starting now. Never though you could afford a pro level coach? I am ONLY 95 bucks a month! Why? because I was a dirt poor punk pro who thinks this sport isn’t only for the super rich. I am far more interested in working with people with a good work ethic and great attitude than someone with deep pockets.

My coaching a program includes:

1) An hour long meeting, call or skype to assess you as an athlete; to discuss goals, plans, strengths and weaknesses.

2) A 100 percent custom plan to help you meet you goals and built around your life and other commitments.

3) unlimited contact via phone, email, text, and instant messenger.

4) A free nutritional assessment with Christine Lynch, A certified holistic health counselor and sports nutritional consultant to countless pros and elite athletes as well as people looking for meaningful heath changes.

5) discounts on the CREW’s many sponsors.

Email me at evilracingcult (at) Gmail (dot) com or drop me a line in the comments section.

“If you are not afraid of getting hurt; then I am not afraid of how much I will hurt you.” – Marylyn Manson

 

 

Savageman

This race is awesome but also awesomely hard. I had peaked for Challenge Atlantic City on. 6/28/14 and instead of taking a break I just kept racing. I knew what I was doing, all my favorite races were in the summer and I wanted to do them rather than try to peak late in the fall. Also I am likely racing in Israel in January and so racing now then taking a break was a better idea for that race too.

My results had gone from 1st, to 2nd to 3rd heading into this. The downward projection of a post peak athlete. But I had to try, Savageman is one of THE races. It’s got it all. Brutal boarding on insane climbing on the bike. A picture perfect venue and swim. Top race organization and the vibe and feel of people who love the sport. And fan. Oh my gods the fans! They line the “wall” half like Tour de France fans looking to cheer you up the hill and half like Nascar fans looking for a crash. They get more crashes as only a hand full make it up the “wall” a 30+ percent climb that starts the 8 miles of misery to the top of Savage Mountain. It’s so insane that if you get over it they put your name on a brick at the top.

All that and they treat pros well. And we rolled deep to this event. John Kenny of the US Pro Tri Team took the swim out like he was a fish-man. The day before he was hanging at the pro house in USA Swim gear. Dead giveaway that he would win the swim. I tried to go with him for 100m then realized if I wanted to race beyond 150m I should let him and the other super swimmer that was with go. Tom Wood, winner of Beach 2 Battleship came by me and he new the course which was thankful because there was smoke on the water and fire in the sky? Ok, bit of light fog. Nevertheless he swam and sighted well and we came in together. I beat him out of t1 and was in 3rd. By the Wall which comes at mile 19 I had been passed by Andrew Fast, and Kelly the two time defending champ and maybe one other.

As the wall approaches you head the crowd. The noise. Both sides lines with people. The wall was hard and spiked my heart rate and making matters worse the road surface at the steepest section is really rough so I had to pick my line perfectly. People who aren’t in the pointy end of the race would be wise to not follow too closely to anyone as they may get taken out by toppling athletes or get forced to take a crappy line which could also force you to not make it.

I road the rest of the race solo. It was sublime. It was stunning. It was peaceful and pretty. I suffered like a dog and tried my best to really push the ups and bomb the downs. With 7000 feet of climbing it had bunches of both. A nice cheer section was on “killer miller” which is near the end and has 22 percent grade. I got a split that I was 5 minutes back from the next guy and realized the racing part of the day was over but I wanted to go hard and not truly stroll it in.

The run is woods and a mix of road trail and camp grounds and I loved it so I just ran for me and kept a pace that was respectable but took no risks of a DNF. I clearly didn’t have it mentally or physically to move up in the field. I was spent from a long season but was inspired to just keep running and ultimately finished inside the top 10 beating some great athletes that I had admired in the past.

So now it’s time for a break. Then back to work for 2015, and a very early start of the season in Eilat Israel. Anyone wanting to join me should let me know as I am looking for travel buddies.

 

Tuckahoe Tri

Tuckahoe Tri

“We see how it plays out, Exeter the ring and go for blood.” – lorde

I love sprint triathlons. I also don’t do a ton of them, they aren’t something I train for with speed work etc, in fact they are speed work to me. But for that they are perfect, a great swim, bike and run interval. So even if your iron distance focused, its a great and fun way to mix some intensity into your training and this was about get the best out of me.

The race is on he NJ coast, my new favorite place after having a great race and time at Challenge AC. The drive from the city was 2 hours but well worth it and relaxing as I sipped a Red Bull and watched the sunrise spinning some good tunes. Drive like that are made better by the company you keep and I had the best with me.

The swim was .25 and I got a great start and had one person on my feet but clean water ahead. I put in a surge to drop him, “no free rides!” I came out of the water first (thanks Xterra Wetsuits!) had a good transition and was out in the Valdora bike first.

The 20k ride was generally flat with some false flats and a few power climbs. At the half way I saw two other guys within a minute and just kept the hammer down. One guy mixed in with me with 1k to go so I sprinted into T2 doing a bike racer style attack to try to get a gap.

Out of T2 I put in a big first half of the run and tried to maintain the gap I had built but my shadow became two and I could hear his breathing. We ran hard together and he couldn’t drop me.

I didn’t like my odds of a true sprint finish so with 1500m to go I attacked. He matched. With 1000m to go I attacked, he matched. With 500m to go he attacked and I blew up. I was running as hard as I could but it wasn’t enough and 3 steps became 3 meters became 10 and just like that I was looking over my shoulder and realized I could stroll the last 200m. What an exciting race! So much fun!

Thanks to Www.citytri.com for another awesome event!

Photo: CarbBOOM gels! Love these! Made with real food, because I am a real person.

Gonna do it all again this weekend at Heightstown tri, reg is still open so if you wanna come out and race do it!

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Lessons from Challenge AC 2014

“We let our battles choose us.” – Lorde

I set a PR on what was not the fastest course I have ever raced and for sure not fast on that day. I bet it’s Not even the second or third fastest course. With heat and wind it was average for an ironman frankly making my PR feel legit.

I made a lot of changes heading into the race and I think it’s worth noting what I changed and what worked and what things I can do and didn’t.

The first thing was a serious commitment to strength straining. Not just in the off season. Not just going to the gym and hoping by looking at weights I would cause me to absorb their magical powers. I went into the gym like an MMA fighter and got rowdy. I made the gym my key workouts for much of the year and left hobbled. I did work. I went in there will malice and ill intentions to hurt myself. At the height of my strength training it was a non stop 90 minutes of functional strength work and my heart rate never dropped below 140 and hit 180-190 often. It was a crazy productive gym session. I puked, I cried I got stronger and stronger. I think most triathletes I know train at the gym like gym dudes train on a track. They show up and hope without intentional focused motivated work they will get fitted. You get out what you put in. Or you you get out what you put out ( in terms of effort).

I also raced less and kept the strength work right into my taper. In years past I dropped the gym work in Spain and never got back to it. This time I lifted in Spain and right up until 10 days out. I would not lift Bc I was doing early season races and this I skipped those and the excuses they generated in terms of avoiding the strength work.

I also did core core core and strength training up to and during the taper. Looking at the pics from the race I had my best run form. Run strong and you will run fast.

I also cut my final prep down from 21 to 16 days. At my age I don’t think I can do 21 days straight of hardcore training. I did a hard half iron 6 weeks out then took 6 days easier (but lifted twice!) and then did my final prep which was full on.

I also did more speed in final prep with intervals in my race simulators rather than race effort work. Going above and below race effort and pace was good as it gave me a bit more speed on race day.

Don’t think I skipped base! In fact I did one of my longest rides a mountainous 135 mile bike ride on Saturday then a 20 mile run Sunday for a big iron-base weekend 5 weeks out.

I made a few nutritional changes. First I went with real food in the form of Carb BOOM, which is like if nature made a gel. I also switched to caffeine pills during the race.

I also did a full and meaningful caffeine detox and was off the sauce 5 days out which made the pills work that much better. I did have decaf a few times, but it’s decaf and I didn’t over due it.

A meaningful change was also how little I races coming into this one. I did only two half irons and one of those was my race-simulator 6 weeks out so it did double duty. That’s and the LA tri Championships was my prep races. I love racing but my gun only holds so many bullets…like 2.

I also boosted my hematocrit levels from 42 to 46 using an altitude tent. I didn’t feel different but the science is there and it seems to show that that extra 4 points is meaningful. It’s the same effect (though not as strong, but has the added bonus of being ethical and legal) as taking EPO which sadly works. Amazingly you only need to sleep at altitude for a short period of time to have to work. If you want to rent mine this fall let me know.

Lastly I focused hard on my head. I spent a lot of time seeking motivation. I am going to post about this in a separate post but it was a big part of my taper.

HERE ARE THE THINGS I DIDNT NAIL:

My bike was a disaster coming into the event. I spent the day prior frantically trying to get stuff fixed. That’s so rookie.

I need to eat more on the bike. I think now that I have found Carb BOOM I will be able to get down a lot more calories. AC was the first time with them because they are on course and I loved them but I think I need 2 x the amount I used.

While I need to eat more race day I need to eat less in the months leading up! I was 2-3kg over my ideal race weight heading in makings miserable for my taper.
It also cost me a better Wild Flower. I need to get to race weight in April if not March.

I failed to race my bike enough. Nothing makes me strong like bike races and while I raced some I need more. I also need more ITT races. I did one and it was perfect. I need more of that! All the motivation and effort of bike racing but on my awesome Valdora Tri bike!

I need to spend more time on my tri bike doing big gear strength intervals too. I was comfy on my TT bike and road a PR but need more strength work which I skipped. I did ride huge mountains in Spain which helps a ton. But as soon as I come back I need to jump on my Valdora TT bold and help transfer those gains at SLB to flat land TT riding. AC is a flat course.

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Fun Run

Come out to the Annual Team Continuum Fun Run! Free, free giveaways, great people and a fun way to kick off the 2015 running season!

6:30 PM Central Park on June 18th! Meet at Columbus Circle Entrance to central. Bag waters, and drinks provided.

Www.teamcontinuum.net for more info!

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Harryman Half

“Back to the Front.” – Metallica

I was about to win the Harryman half ironman distance race; when I ran right pasted the turn around while staring at my watch not paying attention to the course. Never mind that it was two laps and I had done this turn before or that it’s clearly marked. Sometimes I am just stupid and 4 hours into a race is one of those times.

Imagines of my four 2nd places came flooding back. I started to question my destiny at this point. I was second at Harryman in 2013 after leading for 4 hours, 2nd at Patriot 2009 losing by 100 yards after leading for 70.2 miles. I took 2nd at the Set Up in event Kentic half in 2008 after leading for all of the bike to a freak young kid I later coached, and in 2005 my pro half debut had me loosing to an ITU guy from Canada at the Montauk Half. Now about to win the hardest of all those courses, the Harryman I thought I pulled defeat from the jaws of victory! Gah!

Harryman is hard. Honestly, it’s brutal though very pretty. The swim is cold, though always warmer than we think it will be and honestly not so cold as to be a problem. It was 60 , I think. This year, like last year I got off the front at the start and stayed there. I swam perfectly straight in the glassy clean water on the well marked course and only saw a pro woman behind me at the 1/2 way point. Thanks Xterra Wetsuits! Warm, fast, comfortable and once again first. WINTHESWIM!

I got out on the bike and tried to just ride hard. The course is a series of downhills and tight turns with some short step climbs until to get to a 180 degree turn at the bottom of the long downhill that causes you to start a massive 2 mile climb. This is what defines this course and makes it awesome. Oh, and it’s 4 laps. Bike racers race here and think this is hard. Bike racers and triathletes are like west coast and easy coast surfers. When west coast surfers or bike racers say a wave or a climb is big you know it’s big! So with 4 laps that’s 8 miles of steep climbs just on this one section! I was doing this race for the 3rd time and for the third time blew up on the bike. Laps 1-2 had me building my lead to 4 minutes and lap 3 had me giving all but 90 seconds if it back. I rallied on lap 4 and pushed again to enter t2 as second place was entering. Once again my Valdora Bike and Evil Racing Cult Wheels got me to T2 first. On a course like that a light bike and wheel set is critical.

The run is hard but nothing like the bike. I dropped the hammer as best as I could for the first out and back and got to the turn to see I had put time in. At the end of lap 1 I had even more time and this race was mine. I kept a good pace and was tinkering with my watch when I ran right by the cone and giant sign that said “turn around.”

The road went to a swamp. When I saw a back of turkey vultures starring at me like “you lost? You look tired. Lay down, we are hungry” I realized this wasn’t right. I was kinda confused bc I had been racing for over 4 hours at this point and simple brain functions kinda get hard. I was like “NO NOT AGAIN!!!! Not another 2nd place!” I finally turned around and when I saw the turn around sign I also saw 2nd and 3rd place who look to be having a nice battle which I was now in. Doh! They looked at me confused. but to end the confusing I ran two sub 6 minute miles until I was out of sight. Didn’t want anyone getting the wrong idea. I was happy to have the legs for that late into the run.

Some races you want to win because it’s a big event. But other races are so hard they stay smaller. Cult like. I dig that. After all, how many ppl will take on a race that’s 1 mile long (57 mile bike) and takes 40 minutes longer than all others because of the course? I loved winning Harryman because I love Harryman. I love that it’s insanely hard and brutally painful. That I did it twice prior only to be so hobbled from the bike to run more of an ironman pace rather than half ironman pace makes it one of my favorites. Long live brutal events!

Thanks to Red11 for keeping my skin happy, and to Champion Systems for making me look good out on the course and podium with the sweetest custom clothing. Also , come join me for the NYC marathon and run with me and www.teamcontinuum.net free coaching by me, entry into this sold out classic and also help people fighting cancer.

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10 Tips for Coaches

Ten Tips for Coaching

I write to and as an athlete a lot. But I recently got recognized by Brooks as a coach and I realized that after more than a decade of coaching and hundreds of athletes in that time, I might have some words of wisdom to share with other coaching out there. Here are 10 ideas on coaching:

1) coaching is 80 percent listening and 20 percent talking. Athletes know themselves best. Athletes will often tell you what you need to know to coach them. You need to ask them; you need to see the process as collaborative. They have critical feed back for you. Listen.

2) ask questions you know the answer to. Having an athlete reach the conclusion will vest them in the process. Athletes need to understand why they are doing something; this is critical if it’s something they don’t want to do. Get them to the answer with the right question and they will do the work and buy into the plan.

3) be emotionally supportive. Athletes need encouragement more than we think. Even top athletes.

4) be motivational. Find out what drives them and go with that. Training plans are important but for the right athlete dropping an f-bomb in the training plan or some other motivational element might be the difference between doing the workout and doing it well.

This is even more important if you call someone out and try tough love. Always add the love. This is as important with men; who don’t want to be honest about how much support they need because it’s “unmanly.” Trust me, they often want high fives and hugs too.

5) it’s not your fault. Don’t blame yourself when your athletes fail. Blame yourself if you fail them; but that is different. Your athletes come to you imperfect as all humans are. They come with mental and physical injuries and limitations that are beyond your control. With lives that can’t mesh with their dreams or expectations. You can’t fix that. We tend to exalt coaches in popular film and tv. I am all for having an impact in peoples lives. But when most of triathletes come to me they are adults. Busy adults with full lives. I am a part of it, but my impact on them is likely limited. You can and should listen, address their concerns and problems and offer help when you can but when they fail it’s easy to blame yourself and easier to accept the blame if they are the type to place blame on you. But you do them a disservice if you don’t make them face themselves and the reasons they failed which is likely their own and not yours.

6) It IS your fault if you don’t make them a training plan and leave them hanging. It IS your fault if you don’t answer emails or texts. It is your fault if you don’t know what the hell you are doing. If you can’t meet those standards: don’t coach.

7) Don’t take too much credit. You didn’t do the work. You didn’t turn yourself inside out to win the race. You didn’t suffer during each workout. When an athlete wins be proud of them for sure but remember this is their moment not yours. It would be great if they shared some of it with you; but they don’t have too; they earned it and deserve it. If this is about you, you are likely missing the fact that coaching is a supporting role and you won’t find satisfaction in this job.

8) Don’t confuse you and them. Your goals and experiences aren’t theirs. Take each athlete on their own terms and know this has nothing to do with you. Coaches in endurance sports are not rock stars; we are roadies. It’s a service industry job. Check your ego at the door because it won’t get much out of it.

9) There is no “one way.” Don’t be afraid to depart from your own ideas. Each athlete is different and needs different things. Sometimes you need to do the exact opposite with one athlete that you do with 95 percent of others or what worked for yourself. Be open to that.

10) Don’t chase fads. After 10+ years I have watched a lot of things come and go. The stuff that remains is what works. Avoid the latest and greatest and settle down your athletes when they read about fads in the sport. For sure educate yourself and be on top of evolution but don’t chase fads. Your job is to know the difference between the two.

A Devotee on a Pilgrimage

“This life choose me. What god could make it stop, make it end / All these years pushed to the ledge?” Rise Against.

In 1998 I did my first tri and got my first copy of inside triathlon (remember the oversize format?) and the first story I read was about Wild Flower. It was THE race. It was the start of the year and the biggest event outside Kona. It drew the best; and had a mix of burning man; Woodstock and tri all in one weekend long holiday to our religion, an evil racing cult. It survived into the modern era despite huge market forces that can’t seem to extinguish one simple truth: Wild Flower isn’t a WTC event; it’s far far far better. Better course, better organization, better treatment of athletes, better crowds and something no WTC 70.3 event has: a history and sense of community. 30000 freaks in the woods bonded by sweat, mud and gears.

For me this is a pilgrimage. A trip across the country to the other coast to pay homage and to circle the sport’s Kabul 3 times (one rotation each of swimming biking and running). I am less concerned about how I race personally and more concerned that I honor this race, with a good effort, good performance and empty myself like the righteous pilgrim I hope I am. Honestly, the 70.3 distance have passed me by. The crop of 70.3 specialists and ITU speedsters dominate this distance along with a handful if freaks that can blaze ironmans too and I need to go twice as long to catch any of them. But it’s a perfect tune up for me as I prep for Challenge Atlantic City in late June and I feel primed for a good race and some fast spits. So with the pressure gone and nothing to lose, I am going into this one for me. To return to Mecca and hear the call to prayer and to once again honor the spirit of sport and to suffer the practices my religion. Sport is good, Sport is great.

Red 11 Sort Product Review

I generally don’t do a ton of product reviews but I don’t have any sponsors that do anti chaffing products and though why not test drive Red 11 Sport in Spain. With 28 days of training there if my flesh was gonna get raw this would be the place. I love doing extreme stuff and seeing if I can break a product.

My first though was how small it was. A nice compact tin, which was great for travel. I opened it and could tell It’s non staining, petroleum free and has a clean smell to it. It says it’s for nipples but most runners will tell you arms, legs and “down there” also need some protection and I put it al the place for my first long run.

I really liked the thickness. It was soft enough to go on easy but thick enough to only need to add a wee bit, in fact one tin lasted the entire month.

So after it passed the run test I figured I would try some off label uses for it. Cyclist have all kinds of creams and honestly they make me feel like I am sitting in a used diaper. I used some on the normal hot spots where the saddle friction can get bad and it worked great. I like it for cycling more than cycling products because I only had to use a thin protective layer and it left me without that wet, cold, weird feeling.

I road 500k a week, ran 100k and for the entire trip didn’t have one bit of skin that was chaffed. I also think it has some skin healing and anti bacteria elements to it that promote healthy skin generally.

You can get yours at http://red11sport.com

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