Richard Nelson

Archive for the ‘lessons learned’ Category

“6½ Questions for 2007”

In lessons learned, training on 2007 December 18 Tuesday at 15:41:00


One of the senior Triathletes of the Dead Runners’ Society sent “6½ Questions for 2007”. Her questions are in bold italics; my answers are not:

1. What one word describes your 2007 season? Does it match what you said last December in anticipation of this year?

Bittersweet. No.

2. What one word comes to mind when you think about your 2008 season?

Resolution.

3. Did you race any new distance this year or try any new type of racing or sport?

Yes: Ironman.

4. What was your greatest thrill or joy this year from training or racing?

Learning to swim in open water; being able to do the Ironman-distance swim in training and in the race (albeit slower than I wanted).

5. What was your biggest disappointment this year from training or racing?

DNF at IM Wisconsin.

6. What was your favorite race in 2007?

Only did one: IM Wisconsin, which I enjoyed despite DNF.

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Lessons learned from Ironman Wisconsin 2007

In Ironman, lessons learned on 2007 September 19 Wednesday at 22:10:00

In the ten days since the Ironman, I’ve been thinking about what lessons I’ve learned. This is a little different from looking forward, another post I’ll do soon. This is about things I did, or didn’t, do that turned out good or ill. So here’s a cut at what these lessons were.

First, what did we do that turned out right?

1. We stayed in a good hotel. We didn’t “find” it; I reserved late, ’way too late, and the Ironman Wisconsin Web site found us the Staybridge Suites Hotel Madison East, which is a Six Continents/Holiday Inn brand I wasn’t familiar with. The property is an undistinguished box at the corner of City View Drive and High Crossing Boulevard. On paper, it looked ’way too far out of town, but it was a great hotel, really. We were so delighted, we happily booked there again for next year.

2. Do the one-day drive, i.e., through Chicago. On our last trip, we took two days and drove via Sault Ste Marie. Although the one-day drive is long—thirteen hours, even with minimal stops—there’s none of the hassle of checking into a hotel or a bed-and-breakfast, and it is quite doable with two drivers—and it makes us feel better about the time we take from work and our cats for the Ironman.

3. Stay five days and six nights. We drove to Madison on the Wednesday after Labour Day, and drove home the Tuesday after the race. It worked out very nicely, as follows.

4. Pick up my packet about an hour after pick-up opens on Thursday. When I went, 11 a.m. local time on Thursday, the line-up was short. The volunteer told me it was quite busy just an hour earlier. Going at 11 on Thursday meant that I got my kit early, but it didn’t take very long.

5. Spend the Friday before the race obsessing about my bags, and getting things I’m missing. You drop off your bike and the two transition bags the day before the race. Feeling I have a full day to lay out the contents of all my bags, and then to run around getting the handful of things I was missing, worked out really well.

6. Bring our own coffee for the in-room coffeemaker. I’m an early riser, especially when I’m in the Central Time Zone, and it was nice having a decent cup of coffee at 4 a.m. on race morning.

Second, what did we not do that I now wish we had?

7. On Saturday, don’t check in my bike and transition bags until I’ve done my “race prep” work-outs. I don’t think I was as sharp as I could’ve been. (Alternately, I could bring my road bike as well as my tri bike, but that seems like a lot of trouble.)

8. Do all work-outs Coach Steve sets, including the swims.

9. Bring our own food for lunch and dinner. The hotel’s complementary breakfast was perfectly adequate, and it was nice to discover Panera Bread, but my comfortable food would’ve helped me out in the pre-race days.

10. Use a big backpack for my morning stuff. It would’ve made hauling all that stuff around (wetsuit etc.) a lot easier!

11. Look at the picture accompanying this post. The lesson here is that when I see the race photographer, look like an Ironman participant! Don’t give the oh-I’m-about-to-have-my-picture-taken grin!

Lessons learned

In lessons learned, swimming, training on 2007 May 12 Saturday at 17:22:00

One of the things I’ve been doing lately is writing up my “lessons learned”. Most of them are obvious duhs, but even so I find it useful to have them articulated. Here are this week’s, with a note on how I learned each lesson.

Mon., May 7/07: If I’m going to be “on site”, I should bring healthy food. (Did not learn this lesson for Tues., May 8.)

I spent several hours at one of Toronto’s busiest subway stations supervising installation of farecard equipment, and neglected to bring anything to eat; this left me wandering into the adjacent food court and getting something from, er, McDonald’s. Despite doing this two days in a row, I neglected to do anything about it on the second day.

Tues., May 8/07: It may be trying too much to swim Mon. night & do bike work-out early Tues. morning. Alternately, I may not have been well.

After a good swim work-out Monday night I had no energy Tuesday morning for my trainer work-out—but I’m now pretty sure that I was—and to a degree remain—a bit sick.

It’s not worth the dubious “convenience” of wearing business-casual clothes on the bike. I soiled and tore the drive-side cuff of my khakis.

On a beautiful spring day I was trying to save the time of changing from bike clothes to street clothes (& back in the evening) for a mere 4.3-mi, 7.0-km commute. As I note, I just don’t find it so convenient.

Wed., May 9/07: Rest between work-outs is valuable to Ironman training. Standing for 5½ hours without a single break was not wise.

My Ironman buddy is in awesome shape, but takes the elevator & sits when he can. In the presence, I’ll guess, of all those hard workers from the Transit Commission and our contractor, I didn’t want to be sitting down. But I should’ve; between that lack of rest and a virus, I could do nothing: I skipped both swimming and even Pilates.

Fri., May 11/07: No matter how “out of sorts” I feel, a work-out can often be surprisingly good, and feel surprisingly good.

Well before dawn on Friday morning I sure did not feel like a 90-minute swim work-out, but I went with the expectation that I’d quit pretty quickly. Yet the moment I dove into the water I felt good, and in the end had a great work-out—and felt great the rest of the day.

Sat., May 12/07: 40 oz (1200 ml) of beer is not good preparation for an early-morning long run.

monado and I had a nice dinner at Gabby’s on the Danforth that involved sharing a pitcher of beer. Despite my low tolerance of alcohol, I was nowhere near drunk or even tipsy when we got home, and I went to bed pretty quickly, but I’ve been barely motile since—13 hours in bed, and I still feel like having another nap, not doing the 90-minute easy run I’m scheduled to do.