Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A sort of review of The _________ Lie.

I have said it before semi seriously... there are a couple of topics I don't like to touch other than to very easily poke fun at. Unfortunately, most people who would be reading this have long ago formed their opinion on he who shall not be named, and nothing good can come from starting a holy war on my generally lighthearted blog. That said... it's my blog, I watched the documentary and while I am going to do my best to keep it in "review" disconnect from my own opinions... some will undoubtedly spill through. I don't care what you think overall about the situation... and I'm not going to argue over it. If you want to skip the stuff on Lance, now is the time to Ctrl F "banana" and that'll be LA free viewing of this post.

Looking a little rough after the Oprah interview...
Ok, so Friday night The Armstrong Lie opened in the local back alley theatre. I admit I've been interested in seeing it since it was announced. Like a train wreck... I can't get enough of the better look into "how things are were" in the peloton.  It just so happens that the missus is really into any documentary... so win/win.

Honestly, I didn't have very high expectations of this film, and although it did end up being a bit disappointing overall... it wasn't for the reasons I came in expecting. I had figured that the movie would have a rose colored tint to it, painting Lance as more of the "tragic hero" than the "anti-hero" (If you're into typecast sort of things) which I found wasn't really the case. The film does a good job of portraying it's lead as a deeply flawed human being and not a mythic hero, but at the same time does an adequate job of leaving you just a little hope that he has the potential to right a lot of the wrongs. I may be overly optimistic (and probably am) about that last part, but hey... I'm a dreamer.

As far as the film itself went, it was easy to see that they had done most of the work for the proposed original film (set to be about Lances 2009 return) and then hastily re-edited and added new footage recently. Obviously the film admits doing just that, but a little delay and a bit more meat to the "now" instead of just throwing some interviews over top of the previous footage would have went a long way in my opinion... I mean, if you're watching the movie you probably have a fairly solid grip on everything Armstrong in a historical sense... but I digress.

There was one thing really didn't set well with me. If the movie did a better than expected job of painting Lance as a "bad guy," it did a piss poor job of portraying basically anyone else accurately. You want to sell me on the Andreu's being the victims...fine, I'm not 100% on board with that, but for the films sake I'll take it... but please oh please don't sell me guys like George, Levi, Vaughters, Tyler or Landis (REALLY... REALLY... Floyd Landis??? I at least expected an honorable mention of the Floyd Fairness Fund...) as victims and/or good guys. None of them wielded the same kind of power as Lance to step on the "enemy" but none of them were innocent or deserving the positive portrait they got. This was the big stumble of the movie in my estimate.

Lance looks more human (and older) in these interview scenes than I think I've ever seen before.
Nonetheless, much like "The Secret Race" and other media on the subject, the documentary was entertaining if not overly shocking/revealing. The couple of scenes filmed in the hospital were the most revealing (to me) and did a good job reminding us(me) that there are glimmers of good in everyone.

And here is my dirty little confession... despite a general dislike for the abuse of power... the film reminded me of one thing that has been true since I have been a cycling viewer. I really enjoyed watching Lance race. Watching the clips of the old races... even the 2009 "comeback" I can't help but enjoy watching... I am entertained. :/

The safe word is Banana

Ok, so next week I'll probably not be posting since... it's Christmas! I'll be running the New Years Day 5k the following Wednesday, so I'll probably have a short write/report up sometime before that weekend.

Training this week has really beat me up (so far! and it's only Tuesday night) and next week I plan to back off and recover some. Christmas week is the perfect time to do that since there is so much happening that week and swimming is pretty much cut out (as the gym is closed for holiday hours) No need to overly stress between running to Christmas gatherings and trying to fit a ride in. It's also early enough in the season that a few easy days won't hurt down the road.

I bought myself a new lid for Christmas (making my 4th aero lid, the others being a LAS, a Wingspan and a Selector) mainly because it looks really cool (and it was priced right)

Safety first... always
Drinking that SKY coolaid I snatched up this Kask. Although the stubby tail (although it wasn't a Kask) helmet didn't test the best for me when I was in the tunnel, it did test well. Also, there are claims the benefit is more relevant with higher yaw (and I tested 5° sweeps) so it isn't a bad choice. The helmet is VERY nicely made, leather strap and all. I (unfortunately) only have the clear visor though... that has to be remedied. The Chrome look is just too cool.

Anyways, I will take this time to wish you all a happy and safe holidays. May your stockings be filled with bike parts and race entries.

Thanks always for reading

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Disconnected training.

Although you may see me running, and maybe you can even sense that our lifestyles are
probably comparable... I simply am not there.
I know right, sweet movie reference.

So winter has set in, it's getting dark before a lot of us get out of work, the holidays (and the "feasting/boozing" holidays at that) are upon us and to top it off most of our races are seemingly distant and just in the back of our mind as opposed to coming at us full force. It's enough to kill the motivation of many triathletes, and I myself am not excluded.

Don't get me wrong, I love triathlon and especially the training. However, no matter how much you love something, sometimes it just feels like work... it can even derail a perfectly good training block if you let it.

Example: Yesterday

I'm jarred awake at 5a.m. by my alarm. It's time to go run. Unfortunately, my bed is terribly comfortable, I've got a couple of aches from Mondays run/swim, and logically it's just too D*#% early to be civilized. Nonetheless, I gather my composure and turn off the blaring siren. (my alarm is across the room so I have to at least get out of bed to turn it off.)

(*this is something everyone who gets early morning training sessions in should do... it's WAY too easy to just roll over and hit "off" if the alarm is beside the bed.)

Now I'm up. I really don't feel like running today for some reason. Turn on the computer and check the schedule... 50 minutes with 6x3' @ 5k pacing. Bleh, not an easy run either. Look outside... rain. Check the temperature... 22°. Wow. That's a whole list of things that suck.

- Go back to bed
- Play on the computer
- Run in the cold/rain
- Run on the dreadmill

The first two are the most appealing, but then I'll feel like crap the rest of the day, so those are out. I really am not interested in running in the pouring rain at freezing that leaves the treadmill. How I hate that thing.

Nonetheless, I make the short drive to the gym and plug myself in for my run, surrounded by the other early morning denizens of the 24hr gym, Fox News on all the TV's and the constant droning of Lil' Wayne or whatever other terrible music is on the speakers.

And so... I disconnect.

I'm Out.
When it gets right down to it, I'm not a great runner. Not a prodigy cyclist. Certainly not a fish. There are a lot of people that have a lot of talent on me. However, I've got two skills that I really excel at (and compliment each other nicely)
1.) I can suffer
2.) I can turn off pretty much everything except what I'm focused on at that exact moment.

You're probably the same way. How many times this week have you totally tuned your boss/family/friends out. What song was on the radio on your way to work this morning? What did you have for dinner yesterday? Did Santa at the mall say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

You can tune plenty of stuff out without even thinking about it, and athletes (especially type A triathletes... not that that's you...right?) are especially good at it, yet some of the best riders I know can't ride on the trainer for 30 minutes. Why, because they are more focused on what's on the outside than what's on the inside.

I mean really... you have a 2 hour ride. In 2 hours you're going to be done either way... and you (should) be putting in 2 hours worth of work either way... so why is it you're dying to get off the bike before you're halfway done inside?
You're too focused on the wrong thing.

Soon the time has passed. I've got my run in. It wasn't the most fun thing I've ever done, but in another 30 minutes when I'm home drinking coffee...will I REALLY remember that run? Nope. But it'll be done.

So how do you train yourself to disconnect. I usually just focus on a spot on the wall and let my mind drift if I'm doing steady pace (like the treadmill or an easy ride) and if it's sets then I focus on holding a certain pace / watts / stride for the time needed. One thing you don't want to focus on is the clock. Seconds go by INFINITELY slower when you are watching them pass. Don't focus on that.

So suck it up buttercup. Go get it done.


First crash of the year this morning.

Decided to give the Planet X Fixie a maiden voyage... but being cold as heck I thought I might has well try it on my rollers.

Rollers + Fixie + First ride = well it went about as good as you could expect. My wall has a new spot in it and my elbow has a new bruise. Fortunately if that's the worst wreck of the year I'll count myself lucky :)

Bonus: Trainer workout last night
3' Tempo
2' Climbing (similar watts but low cadence)
1' spin
30" sprint

trying to hit higher watts each circuit. That will keep your mind off being on a trainer :)

As always, thanks for reading through my muddled thoughts. I appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"Not that hot" Hot to Trot (race report)

Thanksgiving weekend (along with Black Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, nobody cares Sunday and Cyber Monday) has come and gone. Hopefully you, like me, survived the family gatherings and huge crowds of people searching for the elusive "deal." (Which didn't exist this year... you could have just stayed home and bought most of it online...cheaper.)  I spent most of the weekend like a hermit...watching movies and playing with my Nexus 7 (which I scored for $99 BEFORE the weekend might I add.) However I did make my way out on Thursday morning for the 5th Annual Fleet Feet Hot to Trot 5k.

Now let me start by saying... it was cold. I mean, maybe not you crazy lumberjack hairy knuckle, big beard menly men (and women) kind of cold, but for temperate climate lovers like myself, 20° is pretty friggin' cold.

Not an accurate representation of me. I wasn't wearing a scarf.

So how did it go? Well that's the rant of this post. How do you answer that question to the 'non racers' in your life? Because I spent most of the weekend trying to find the right answer to that question. Of course, if you're reading this blog it's pretty likely I could just say "It didn't go very well" and you'd accept and understand what I meant. My goal was a 19 even or better. I finished in 19:17. End of story, right. Well, in my experience... non-racers want to know three things after the first question. (how'd it go)

1.) How far was it?
2.) How many people did it?
3.) What did you place?

If I've already said "not that great" to answer "how'd you do" then I start getting that sinking feeling.

1.) Well, it was 3.1 miles (reduces redundancy instead of saying "a 5k")
2.) There were a little over 1700 people.
3.) Well I was 10th overall... 1st in my age group.

Yeah yeah... it sounds like bragging (or just being a douche in general) basically however you read it. So in the end I came up with
"I finished well for who showed up, but didn't meet my goal."

Ok, ok... rant ending I promise :)

On to the real report

Turkey Trot 5k
Pre-race standing around (7:12-7:30a.m.)

Where's Waldo? Dead center with the red Oakleys B)

- We get called into the corral a bit earlier than I had hoped. I was dressed fairly Spartan (shorts / sleeveless shirt / gloves / arm warmers / sunglasses / race flats) so to say I was freezing would be a lacking comparison.

I work my way up to the front of the start line... right beside the family of 4...
Rant #2 Go!
Seriously, how are people so oblivious. I mean, the guy with the big microphone JUST SAID that we'd be lining up by estimated finish time. I know there are child prodigies out there, but you're telling me YOU, your wife and two children under 10 are going to run a pace that puts you somewhere even NEAR the front? Let alone first in line? I know you spent a lot of money at Dicks sporting goods trying to look stylish, and I can even appreciate the matching jackets / tights (although seriously dude... wear shorts over those things next time... nobody wants to see that.)

... and after the National Anthem we're off.

Mile 1 (6:00)

We start with a soft downhill. I make a note not to go blazing out of the gates, since a downhill start means an uphill finish. It's amazing the number of people that are falling off before we even reach the 1mi marker. I get into my groove and start making mental notes of what to be looking for on the way back to gauge my distance from the finish.

Mile 2 (6:15)

About 1/4 of the way into mile 2 is the turnaround and I cut it a bit too wide to be optimal. Now it's a drag all the way back up the slight incline enjoyed up to the turnaround. I start hurting about the time I see the flag for the 2 mile point, but it seems like I'm fairly well on pace still. As it turns out I'm a little behind, so boo.

Mile 3 (6:17)

Mile 3 hurt pretty much the whole way. I caught a couple more people who I could tell were really hurting at this point but I was fairly alone overall. At the mile 3 marker I got my first sight of the finish line... and I also realized that I wasn't going to hit sub 19. I still had a shot to PR my 5k time with a solid sprint though.

Being outclassed in sweet apparel by the dude with American flag shorts.

Mile .15 (:50)

My Garmin says that the course was .05 longer than a 5k... but Garmins aren't notoriously accurate... so take what you will. The sprint was sucky and my face was so cold that it hurt to smile, grimace or whatever other face we make when we're in the tank. I cross the line and managed to PR by a couple of seconds. Certainly far off what I came to do, but still an acceptable finish.

As soon as I finished I hugged mom and then made a straight shot  to the car and turned on the heat. I was freezing, and couldn't imagine anything being better than going home and making some coffee. (Turned out to be Irish coffee... ;) )

So, things weren't as perfect as they could have been... but I suppose that leaves some motivation for the New Years Day race.

Hopefully all of you guys had a good holiday break with the family/friends/whoever.

Until next week, thanks for reading!

- Christopher Morelock