Napa, Pools and Bikes

Over the past few years I have learned and experimented with numerous “tricks of the trade” regarding different aspects of triathlon, from racing to training and from nutrition to travel. The beginning of my career I only participated in a few local races each season. These races were only a couple of hours away at most and required an awfully early wakeup time (usually around 3:30) to ensure that I would arrive at transition with plenty of time to prepare for the race. The travel time to races became an inconvenience especially pertaining to race day nutrition, hydration, bowel movements and amongst other things dragging family members and wives out of bed and into the car.  I have now meet enough people that the early morning, "wake ‘n’ roll", has come to an end.  Now races days have turned into race weekends. At first a bunch of us would rent a hotel room which is a guaranteed hilarious time. I believe for one race in Montauk we even had four people in one room with; one bed, one air mattress, 5 bikes, a surfboard, countless bags of food and enough triathlon equipment to open a store.

Every once in a while I have had the luxury of renting a house with some friends and let me make this very clear, renting a house is worth every dollar.  More times than not a house is cheaper than a hotel room.  Besides coast a house has many perks over a hotel room. First it offers a more relaxing atmosphere. Secondly it provides a bit of privacy if desired. It also allows one to cook your own food which saves a ton of money.  It also allows for a more social atmosphere with teammates, fellow athletes and family members.  And nothing is better than taking a shower/ice bath and relaxing on a deck watching sunset after a race. Case in point for Vineman70.3 in Napa California I was able to get my parents and wife on board with a few other friends and family members and we just rented a house on the Russian  River for a week. The house sleeps 10 people, has a hot tub, and multiple kayaks and canoes, outside grilling and numerous decks. This house will allow everyone an opportunity to relax and vacation.

Head lamp review.
I was initially skeptical of adorning a headlamp while running.  I figured it would be too heavy to stay in place or that I would get sick from watching the light shake.  After a couple of uses my nerves are settled.  I love the light and have had no concerning issues with it. The light is super bright and very light, I barely notice it resting on my forehead.  The lamp has actually added a new and exciting aspect to running, hitting the trails at night. It is a new, exhilarating and relaxing feeling running in the trails at night.

Tuning by Matt
Last night I was able to meet with my coach in the pool to work on my swim.  I know I have plenty of aspects of my swim that need to be corrected and or changed. I also know I have put in a lot of hard work over the past year and have made huge strides with it. Out of the three disciplines I find swimming the most rewarding since I have invested a serious amount of time into it and have been paid back handsomely.  I had very high expectations heading into the pool session. There was no way I wasn't going to improve or create a list of things to work on because Matt was going to videotape me from every  possible angle.  I used a set of fins for the first time for some drill work. I don't have an immediate, overwhelming, positive reaction to them.  I feel that the fins create too much forward propulsion and reduce the feeling of the catch phase of the swim.  At times I almost felt they were detrimental to truly feeling the water over the surface area of my arm.  Will I use the fins again, yes. Am I sold on them and their benefit, no. After the drill sets I did some 100's as Matt watched and critiqued from the pool deck as well as under water with his GoPro.  A few things he pointed out were the movement of my head as well as my arm positioning as they enter the water.  I was totally unaware of my excess head movement while breathing.  He had mentioned that Craig Alexander coincidently had recently tweeted that he had just gotten into the pool and the swim coach said his head was moving a lot, I guess it's a common problem (or im just an elite swimmer).  The remedy for the head movement is fairly simple, rotate your body to breath versus your neck.  The rationale behind limiting your head movement is to be more streamline in the water, more streamline should translate to faster times.

As my commitment to the sport evolves I have come across, use and read about the overwhelming amount of triathlon related mantras, metaphors and symbolisms. I personally have a few and now have an additional one, Superman.  While I'm swimming I need to keep in mind that during the entry phase of my stroke I don't need my hands to meet rather, I need my arms to be parallel like, Superman when he flies.  By keeping my arms in this position I will maximize forward motion and minimize frontal drag. 

Another area I'm attempting to improve on is from my waist down.  Once again in an effort to become more streamline I need to elevate my hips through my toes. The less parallel my body is with the surface of the water the more drag that is created thereby reducing forward momentum and increasing the amount of time swimming. The elevation of my lower half will come with increased core strength as well as a technique explained to me as " pressing the buoy". Essentially I want to press my chest to the pool floor. By pressing my chest down my lower half will have the opposite reaction, raising up to the surface.  The changes I need to make will not come over night, they are going to take a lot of practice.  The amount of time it will take me to perfect these techniques are inconsequential as compared to having the knowledge of the problem areas and the solutions for them.

Yes folks, I picked myself up a mountain bike! After a few days of research and speaking to some friends I am now in possession of a 2011 Trek Fuel Ex 8.  I haven't ridden it yet so I have no reviews to offer other than its blacked out and looks real badass.  Big Up to Dave @ for the hook up and baptism into the world of mountain biking.  I do plan on hitting the trails this weekend at Stillwell Park in Woodbury, there will be a review to follow.


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