Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Future

I feel like I'm playing Fallout

I've somewhat prided myself that I've, with few exceptions, kept this blog up to date on a weekly basis for the last couple of years. This post, difficult as it is to make, is an admission to defeat on that level.

I had expected to bounce right back from my previously (at length) discussed ailments. In the past few months I've not improved my situation, despite plenty of rest and some lifestyle changes. Now I'm scheduled for another 8 weeks of no training, some serotonin production helping supplements (5-htp specifically) and some trips to a sports psychologist... who is likely to tell me I'm crazy. (I know.)

This isn't me saying this blog is over. It's not. It's not even on hiatus, I'll still be updating as things develop, but honestly I'm having a tough time with content... there's only so much " I feel like crap but hoping for things to get better." That you guys want to read and that I want to write. I also would prefer to take the stress of "I need to get something down before Wednesday" off my shoulders for the time being.

So until further notice, updates will come when I feel like it and/or I have something to say. If you aren't interested in checking back here time to time, I'll post links on my twitter account when something comes up. (You are following me on twitter...right? If not, it's right on the left side of this page! You follow me I'll follow you!)

My takeaway from this so far... be aware that overreaching and over training are real things. Understand the signs. For me, looking back... the classic "I'm not performing as well as I should be for what I'm putting in... so what I need to do is add more volume and more intensity" when I was already on a pretty moderate load and what I really needed was a chance for my body to heal. I just dug in (and dug myself into a hole) and now I just have to wait until I can dig myself back out.

Thank you all for reading and following in this journey with me. In a couple of months I hope we can share the return to training and racing at higher (and much, much smarter) levels than ever before.

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The long road (Knowledge for the Newbie) pt. 1 - the Village

Since I'm tired (and I'm sure you are all VERY tired) of posting about my ailments and the hope that I'll be able to make a comeback for 2015, I think this week would be a good time to start something new, for the new people out there. Of course if you aren't new that doesn't mean there isn't something to learn (or refresh yourself on) here, but the target audience is for the fresh.

Things this post is at least marginally better than...

So you want to be a triathlete do you? The road is long, and depending on what your aspirations are it can be both narrow and lonely. These are some things that, to me, are (or have become) necessary for everyone who wants to take it a step beyond "one and done." These kinds of things never get old to me because they seem to change as times go by. Things I find majorly important now I may not have even been mentioned a few years ago... time bruises all heels or something like that.

1.) Pick your village wisely.
It takes a village to raise an idiot, and a triathlete. I just went on about the loneliness of the path, and now I'm telling you that you need a group around you, your village, and you need to be smart about who is there. Get rid of the bums, crooks and naysayers... this is like Simcity and you don't need Godzilla or Pollution ruining what you've worked for. My village looks kind of like this.

- A Supportive Family & Friends (And Significant Other) are one of the most important pieces to the puzzle. If everyone hates the fact that you go out for a ride on Saturday mornings, or that you eat healthy, or that you don't go out and party every weekend then it's going to be tough to support your lifestyle choices. I have a friend who's wife is vehemently against him riding although he loves it and you know what, he doesn't ride near as much as he would if it were a supportive environment. Life is compromises, but man... that would be tough.

- A knowledgeable Doctor. This is one of those that I probably wouldn't have listed a few years ago but now am paying the price for my hubris. As we get older I think this becomes even more crucial, as your youth can cover up a LOT of mistakes that as we age we start paying the price for. Now, here's the rub... there is a difference between Knowledgeable doctors and doctors who are knowledgeable about Athletes. You can't take your top fuel drag car to the local mechanic... it's not that he isn't a good mechanic or that he doesn't know what the parts on the car are, it's that he likely doesn't have the specialization to know exactly how to get things running optimally. For instance in blood work, a lot of "normal" levels for the American population are either too low or too high for a body that's doing well over the "exercise 30 minutes 3x a week." Yes, doctors are expensive, but... and take it from me from firsthand knowledge... it's better to stay on top of these things BEFORE you NEED to go to the doctor.

- A Coach who is both a friend and a drill instructor. At some point most of us move to the point where we need some bit more individual direction than can be had from cookie cutter training plans. Your coach (in my opinion) has to be a sort of modern day bard, both a soothsayer and a hard ass, able to tell the difference when you are being whiney or when you are at your mental (or physical) end. Of course your coach is limited by how honest with them (and yourself) you are, so it can easily become a very personal relationship. Choose your coach wisely.

- A skilled fitter. When it comes to aero bike, the frame does matter, but not nearly as much as how you are sitting on the frame matters. The Kona Bike course record was set on a decidedly un-aero frame (even at the time) yet, power aside (which was likely nearly inhuman levels) the position was still good and so a lot of sins could be overlooked (especially for a strong rider) There are some true abominations of a "Bike Fit" out there. It's important to have a fitter who knows that fit isn't static, and who isn't going to give you the "initial setup" and then send you on your way forever. Triathletes have it very tough (even worse than Time Trialists) because we must straddle the line between getting as aggressive as we can while still being able to get off the bike and run when we hit T2.

- A group of like minded athletes. Be it a Team, (I may be biased, but I think the Cobb Mobb is pretty excellent) mentor group ( has some going right now actually) Masters swim class, or just some local guys at the park who meet for a group ride/run... it's these guys that will help keep you grounded and feeling like you are at least somewhat sane and/or normal. (Or they'll  at least give you a measuring stick of how insane you are.) A lot of training will be done alone, so when you get the chance to make a social thing, all the better!

That's a good start to your village. Hopefully I can have some more good stuff next week.

Thanks so much for reading!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Getting Swole

It's been a while

Well, week one of my "return" to training has went, acceptably. I'm starting to feel a bit more like my old self, and the deep tiredness that has been plaguing me for... I don't remember how long... is loosening it's grip. I still feel like I'm in the tunnel, but I think I can see light at the end, even if it's a ways off.

One of the key things I'm supposed to focus on (besides short bouts of high intensity running, biking and swimming) is the gym. It's strange how life brings you full circle sometimes. When I got into triathlon, I came from a background of power lifting / bodybuilding. I felt "good" at what now seems a staggering 230lbs. (For reference, I usually race at 145-155) When I started racing, I did a little lifting. Later, I read enough that convinced me my time spent there would be better off sbr'ing, so I cut back significantly, and after breaking my clavicle I gave up lifting period. Fast forward 6 years... I'm told I need to go back to the gym and do a little bit of lifting every week, not only to help shore up some weaknesses in my body, but also to help with the Testosterone (which is an issue I have to address without the help of medication, obviously. Fortunately 500'ish isn't bottoming out or anything, but it could stand being higher no question) So... as things usually end up happening, I'm now again doing something I have spoken against in the past... lifting to go with triathlon training.

Big Chris at Disney
And 70 something pounds lighter

Of course I'm not going back towards 200+ lbs... I'm not even looking to do "too much" time in the gym once everything is back on track. One, maybe two days a week of the "big 3" (Squat, Deadlift, Power Clean) with the possibility of some extra side stuff as I feel necessary.

Still plenty of extra time spent not training, and only so much of it can be spent playing Grand Theft Auto 5, (where I can do virtual triathlons ;) ) so I've been doing some small amount of work getting the Scott finished up. Now I'm waiting on my Jagwire Links to arrive from some Asian country... hopefully they'll be as nice as the Nokon's.

Chevrolet's and Scotts

Here she sits now, waiting for the finishing touches. It's using the parts I have laying around (a mix of Dura Ace 7800 and Ultegra) with a Ritchey stem, 3T bars, KCNC steapost (and clamp) and Enduro Bottom Bracket / Pulleys.

Full rebuild whenever I get the cables in!

Thanks so much for reading and following on my road back to "normal."

- Christopher Morelock

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Comeback kid

Sort of. I was (thankfully) given the ok to return to some short bouts of exercise on Monday. Just as I had about played as much Grand Theft Auto as I could stomach. I can't do anything longer than 30 minutes, and I can't do more than 5 sessions a week, but it's a start. And I can add intensity. Baby Steps :)

Of course I went on a 20 minute run bright (actually still dark) and early Tuesday morning and had to laugh at my current state. It's hard for me to imagine a 2 mile run sticking it to me, but boy did it. By the time I finished my loop I was thankful I had limited myself to 20 minutes... I guess over a month of sitting on my butt did a little bit of damage! At least I'm doing something again though! It felt awesome to be out on the trails again, 20° weather be damned.

And speaking of comebacks, the Scott is being returned to life as we speak!

I know, I know, it's hard to believe it's really happening, but within the next week or two (I had to order a new Front Derailleur, as I've destroyed all my spares) the Scott will be back on the road (or at least on the trainer) Very minimum logo's (it only has the scott logo on the non drive side) and of course, stealthed out. It could have turned out a little better had I went back and filled a few more places in it, but honestly, I just want it to be done and ready to take a beating.

More pictures to come on the buildup!

Hopefully you are all staying warm and safe out there, As always, thanks so much for reading!

- Christopher Morelock