Thursday, September 30, 2010

Residency 2010

So, this year we have an entirely knew coaching staff which was a lot different for me because I'm used to some stability on the coaching front. This year going into residency I had a lot of different focuses then in years past. This year I wanted to come into residency capable of skating contributing in the distance department. Last year and this year I was able to race the endurance races well, but racing and training are two completely different entities. So far I think I've done well. Throughout most of the year and leading into residency I've felt that I've been strong, but have lacked a little in the speed department. I spent a lot of time doing intervals and sprints trying to fix the problem I feel as if I've been having. I think my training at home before residency has been really good for me. I've been training for worlds, not residency and I think it's been going great.

A few things about myself in terms of an athlete: I analyze everything. I like to work hard, I want my legs to hurt and hurt bad so that I know I'm working hard. I like to bang out my workouts, not drag them along.

The first couple days of residency did not bode well for me. I felt as if we were not going as hard as we needed to, I felt as if we were wasting so much time, and my legs did not hurt enough. One of the easy gauges of if the team is going hard enough is how many people are sore/hurt. It is inevitable for people to hurt their feet, have trouble with their equipment, get sore groins, etc. This is not a knock on any athlete(s) I just feel as if you have to prepare physically and mentally for a training program like this and if it is your first time or if you underestimated anything then you could end up with a problem.

Secondly, I've run into a little bit of trouble in the wheel department. It is not the quality of the wheel as I am still skating on the most impressive wheel out there but more of a problem with people outside of the sport not understanding the needs in terms of wheels especially on bank tracks that gobble wheels for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.. aka Colorado Springs velodrome.

Anyway.. I've gone into residency just wanting to work hard. If I work as hard as I possibly can then I know I will be on an incredible peak for worlds not to mention the mental toughness that you pick up along the way. So far I think I've been working pretty hard, I've yet to miss a drill and I've given every drill everything I've got. After this mornings workout when I got out of the car I'm pretty sure my legs were still shaking, which is a good sign in my opinion.

One of my last thoughts is somewhat simple, I hate when people who are not around the team try to decide just by word of mouth what is the best training method for us. Any good coach will have their athletes do at the least one workout to test the athlete. When I say test the athlete I mean it is easy to see an athlete compete and do well when everything is going well. But if you stick them outside of their comfort zone, put them up against a wall when no matter how hard they try the thought of quitting is always creeping up on them, that's when you find out certain things about athletes. Do you want the athlete who can win as long as nothing unexpected happens? Or do you want the athlete that will grind every possible spectacle of energy and fight out of their body to avoid failure?

I've got just over three weeks until worlds begins. I plan on working on the mental aspect just as much as the physical. I am a quiet athlete, but by the time I get to Colombia I can guarantee I will be confident in my abilities. In terms of my speed and what I thought I've needed to work on a lot, every day I feel tired a little more, but my lap times get a little faster which is what I want to see from myself heading into the stretch run.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Residency Part 4

A new year means a new residency. I'm pretty much ready to start skating. I want the next two weeks to be really really hard so we'll see. New coaches this year means that things will be a little different but we'll see how it ends up biggest different isn't always bad. Staff sat down with every skater today which was definitely a difference.

I want to think this year we have a large group of motivated skaters but that we will find out in the next two weeks. Hopefully, we can just push each other and get to worlds skating well together and strong. I'm really looking forward to Colombia and I'm really looking forward to getting out on the track tomorrow here. I think we are just putting in a lot of laps tomorrow which is fine but we also have to go at a pace that will allow our lungs to begin to adjust to the altitude.

That's about it for now. Looking forward to getting some skating in and working with a completely different staff.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Northshore Inline Marathon

Well, Saturday I skated the NorthShore Inline Marathon for the second time. This time around I was much much more prepared and capable of skating a marathon. I was very excited to skate the race heading into it and I was hoping and hoping it would be dry because my raining marathon record is not very good.

Heading into the race I thought there was only maybe one or two people or could flat out beat me in a field sprint heading into the marathon so I liked my chances, especially because I felt like if needed to I could do some chasing and try to keep some of the top guys with me.

Sure enough, Saturday when we woke up it was raining, and wet, with puddles. I was nervous but I did know that I had the best wheels underneath me so it made it a little bit more comfortable. It's funny how marathons work out.. you can tell early who everyone is paying close attention to and who no one believes has a serious chance of getting away.. this one was not much different.

I don't think I fell any further back then about 7th place throughout the entire marathon. I also benefited from having a few strong guys to skate with on CadoMotus which made bringing a few semi-serious breaks back in with me personally needing to expend as much energy. I knew the marathon wasn't that fast but I blame that fully on the rain. After about half way the pack pretty much realized it was almost impossible to get away especially because of the hills it made it easy for the pack to reel skaters back in.

The second half of the marathon was really slow, like cat and mouse slow. We would crawl, then break for a few hundred meters then crawl, and break little bits and pieces just to keep the field honest really. Once we entered the highway I put the gameface on big time. I moved all the way up to the front of the pack and the furthest back I got on the highway was third place. I figured there would be a lot of fighting for positioning on the highway and I was really surprised the I was not challenged almost at all for second place in the pack.

When we got out of the last tunnel I kept my head on a swivel. I thought a late try at a break from someone that didn't fair well in a field sprint would be coming with less than 2 miles left but nothing happened so I sat patiently. I had the best position in the field I think, sitting behind Justin Stelly just waiting to get closer to the finish.

Coming up close to the off ramp on the highway my teammate, Hank, Gailbraith, made a really strong break at the front of the pack. I started smiling in the pack immediately because my chances of winning the field sprint went up instantly. As soon as he went, Justin Stelly, Julian Rivera, and Juan Tobin went chasing Hank down at full speed. I tucked in behind Juan because he without a doubt had the best field sprint of the field. I felt really really good about my chances especially sitting behind Juan and having the biggest threats of the race trying to chase down my teammate. After the off ramp, we went around a turn that was really slippery and also had a lot of paint lines right around the turn (not to mention it started raining again) and going around the turn I two-footed it to make sure I wouldn't go down, and sure enough.. I went down with probably 700m to go or somewhere around that.

I was very disappointed that I went down. I managed to skate the whole marathon and had no fatigue at the end at all, and then I went down. I felt even worse that Hank broke off the front so that I would have perfect shot at winning and then I fell after he already made his move. I got back up and passed some of the skaters that were off the back of our pack, I finished 9th overall, 8 seconds back from Justin Stelly, the winner.

Next year I plan on returning to Duluth once again.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Well.. by the time September is over I will only have 8 days left in Pennsylvania spread across two months. Home will always be home but its still weird being so close but seeming so far away at the same time. I've spent all of my time since ODN working and skating. Literally, that is all that I've done. I haven't had two days off of work in a row yet (I do for Duluth) and I've been skating the whole time.

I'm excited in the type of shape I'm in right now. I have a lot of work still to do in a little bit of time but I feel good. I'm stronger then I ever have been which is awesome. Strength is always a positive but it doesn't replace the speed aspect of skating. So in return, I have sprints and intervals to do... lots and lots of them which should bring my speed back up. I'm probably the only 'sprinter' who would rather skate intervals then sprints. I hate doing sprint practices because it leads to my demise and by demise I mean me.. on the side of the road/track.. vomiting.

I like the mindset that I have right now. Heading into the stretch run of the inline season I feel strong mentally more than anything which is probably the best. I'm really in tune with my body right now so I can tell when I need to take a day easy or when it wont be really good interval day. Leading into residency I'm happy that I'm pretty strong right now because all I need to do is fine tune which is what residency is all about. Residency is about 85% mental I think. When you get the top skaters in one place, every drill becomes the hardest drill you've ever done and at that point it's a mental game with yourself to continue so going into it with a great mindset should make it easier.

I can't wait for residency, it'll be the first time this year I can train without working at all which should be pretty cool. I'm really excited to get back to Colombia. I hope I don't end up disappointed but I loved it so much the last time I was there so hopefully that will be pretty cool.