Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Backup Plan "S"

"Everybody has a plan until they get hit." - Mike Tyson

I know right... this game was awesome!

This is one of those quotes that has always stuck with me... and not just because I used to enjoy seeing Tyson pummel people.

A good number of my friends competed in the Dirty Kanza 200 over the weekend. It's a gravel grinder (read: not for me) that's about as grueling as a bike ride can be. 3 out of 4 of my buddies made it the whole way, and Jimmy made it 183/200 before being hauled back by a friendly farmer (after he collapsed. Again... he's a tough B@stard in my book.)  due to an unfortunate and untimely loss of a bottle of nutrition and an aggravated stomach.

So, to Team Cycology I say congratulations and huzzah! Well done guys.

Sometimes, we do need to pull out of a race, because we do (whatever endurance event it is) this for FUN, not to hurt ourselves or others. Death before DNF and all the other witty one liners make good bumper stickers and sig lines, but they don't make sense for those of us who have to clock in come Monday morning. I know it stinks, but sometimes prudence is a virtue.

That's pulling the plug on backup plans... but that's not what I'm here to talk about today. Today I wanted to blog a bit on the fall back of all fall backs. The plan you go to when plan b, c, d, e, and all the other plans have gone to hell in a hand basket... Plan "S."


Plan Survival (get it...S) is what you have mapped out for when your big race (or training day... I've pulled out Plan S when I got too hot on a long run before.) goes totally south.

Like Tyson says, everybody has a plan for when things are going good. "I'm going to swim x and bike y and run z and rainbows and ponies and flowers are going to accompany me down the sunshine road!" But it's really for "when we get hit" that we need the plan. How are you going to make it to the finish line of that Ironman you paid hundreds of dollars to do when you've had a meltdown with 40 more miles of activity to go? It's important to know how to handle those situations so that you can salvage a day and don't have to pull the plug.

The biggest problem most of us have is actually accepting we're in "S" mode. We blow up, maybe sit down, barf, work out the cramps or chug some coke and all of a sudden we feel better. So we take off again at the same effort level we were at before the breakdown and then a few miles later they're scooping us off the side of the road totally thrashed... we're out of our "A" race because we didn't have a plan to "complete" when things got rocky.

I can't tell you how to create your own plan S, but I can give a little insight into how I go about it. Let's say we have a bad day on race day at whatever hypothetical 140.6 we're at.

Step 1.) Identify the problem in relation to the situation.
  - I just started puking up everything I've taken in for the last few hours... 14 miles to go in the marathon,         10 hours into the race. Things are bad enough that completing > competing is the primary concern. That         means   there are 7 hours left to cover 14 miles. That's 30 minute miles before missing the cutoff... or             crawling (actually...don't crawl, you could get DQ'd.) pace.

Step 2.) New way of thinking
  - Now it's an arms race. I want to take very easy until the stomach settles, then I want to start getting some   calories back in my body, only then will I consider any "stressful" moving.

Step 3.) Don't freak out
  - Worst thing to do is lose your head. Keep thinking about the positives and keep your mind busy getting       your body back in the game. You can analyze and feel bad for yourself back on the couch... now you've       got a race to finish.

Step 4.) Execute
  - Make forward progress. That's the key to a bad day in endurance sports... keep making forward               progress, even if it's at a snails pace. One more mile, one more aid station, one more step. It doesn't have     to be fast and it doesn't have to be pretty, but if you're going to gut it out it does have to happen.

In our little made up scenario you had a crappy run, mainly a walk/jog the last half of it... but you finished with plenty of daylight to spare. Not the A race you wanted, but not a DNF either. You also didn't try to bury yourself after it was obvious you weren't going to be able to meet your "good day" goals. And hey, everyone loves a fellow out there suffering.

So have your own almost worst case scenario plan thought out beforehand. Just like any insurance, hopefully you'll never have to use it, but if you need it you'll be glad you've got it.


Cobb Mobb kits are in!

Mine just came in earlier this week and I have to say this is one comfortable kit. There is no denying it's a little radical in it's design (I at first thought I had too small a top) - almost a mankini... that's the way they are supposed to be. Supposedly cooler, and most certainly more eye catching. It's also done a great job of letting me know I've still got a few pounds to go before I'm in top race shape! I started fooling around taking silly pictures in it and thought I'd share one of my favorites... the retro style!

These tan lines are going to be EPIC.
If that isn't retro I don't know what is. You can see some of the other pictures on Facebook (you have stalked me on Facebook right? Go ahead... link is over on the side. My non-blog/tri life is even weirder than this sometimes.)

Thank you all very much for reading. I really appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

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