Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bike Crashes - Don't Be That Guy


 


"I got the rockin' pneumonia, I need a shot of rhythm and blues"


                                                                                                                   Chuck Berry


_________________________________________


 Bike riding is serious business and although we do it for fun, exercise and athletic improvement, all too often we see in this blog and other places that there's much that can happen astride a two wheeler.


 In the couple years or so, I've had 3 friends crash and I'd briefly like to share both the details of the incident so you don't let yourself get into the same predicament, and the results of their injuries.  We'll call these friends Moe, Larry and Curly although collectively they are far from stooges.


 Recently, we ran a thread on a tri forum dedicated to those who'd lost their lives while biking in training or racing and the length of the list is astonishing.


 "Moe ' is a plaintiffs attorney who's qualified for Kona in the recent past.  He was riding his road bike down a fairly steep hill on a local dirt road which he knew well from having ridden both his mountain bike and road bike there in the past. While braking, his ram's horn handle bars became loose, rotated forward, and he lost his ability to brake.  He very quickly picked speed, crashed, and suffered a hip fracture - a broken hip! - like you might expect to see at the nursing home.


 



 


At surgery, the fracture was reduced, pinned, and he is now healed.  He had blood clots in his leg post op and had to have blood thinning medicine for 6 months.  Recently he finished the bike leg of an Ironman 70.3 race in 2:27, second by a minute in his age group.  Obviously he's a talented biker.


 "Larry" was riding on a quiet hard surface road having just passed over a small rise.  Attempting to make a turn, he looked back to clear himself of traffic, but because of the small hill was unable to see a vehicle approaching at a rapid pace...and was struck by it going partially over the hood and windshield before striking the ground.  Hard!  He fractured two of the bones in his lumbar spine and had a "slight" nerve injury.


 


 


 He was x-rayed, scanned and braced.  And although this is one tough hombre, he needed generous pain medicine, was out of work and most definitely off his bike for a couple months.  He's returned to finish our local end of summer century ride under 5 hours over a beautiful but hilly course.  He still has occasional back pain.


 Lastly, "Curly" a former near National Champion duathlete, and one of the most careful riders I know, while riding in a populated area on a relatively busy street, had a driver suddenly open the door of a parked car.  And he rode right into it suffering a fractured pelvis in 4 places!


 



 Following x-rays and scanning, he was quite fortunate that no other internal organ damage occurred and that surgery was not deemed necessary.  He was non-weight bearing on crutches until the pain dissipated, was eventually permitted to ride the trainer in his garage, and although now back to riding, has yet to return to his level of peak fitness.


 What do these three riders have in common?  They were extremely fortunate that even though significantly injured, they're alive and making a good recovery.


 Learn from these gents...don't be a stooge.


 


Images 2, 3, 4 from Google Images



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Triathletes Need to Date Their Gear

"When I buy cookies, I eat just four and throw the rest away.  But first I spray them with Raid so I won't dig them out of the garbage later.  Be careful though, because Raid really doesn't taste that bad."  Jeanette Barber



STPT shoes & Bodine 005


 These shoes were purchased December, 2011. I wonder if they still cushion my feet?


 


We've talked about this before.  Humans are notoriously poor at remembering when they purchased things.  I'm no different.  This is why it's critical for performance and injury prevention that you use your equipment in the manner, and for the duration, which the manufacturer intended.  For example, I was wearing an older pair of running shoes the other day, but I didn't think they were that old.  Checking where I had dated them, "Jan 2011" came up.  Really, I'm wearing shoes that are more than two years old?  How did that happen?  I've had two more friggin birthdays since I bought these shoes?  But the good news is, I've also aged up!  As you'd expect, the mesh by the toes was fraying and the sole had lost most of it's bounce.  They've since been placed in the Good Will pile.


While discussing this issue once an athlete tole me, "My new bike is ten years old."  Tempis fugit, or time flies as they say.


A black Sharpie marker can be the triathlete's friend marking dates on the sides of tires,  shoes, straps of goggles or helmets.  A famous, or possible infamous moment in Ironman history occurred in 1997 when German uber bike Jurgen Zack, a favorite to win in Hawaii, streaked through the transition area after a better than expected swim, only to find that when he donned his bike helmet, part of the buckle was missing!  He simply went ballistic!  Screaming "HELMET, HELMET!" (See "Our Top Ten List" from First Off The Bike.  It's #8 at http://tinyurl.com/cyjwduc Eventually the issue was remedied but not until Zack's fellow lead pack triathletes were up and gone.  I wonder how old the helmet was and if he'd personally checked it when he set up T1.  This goes right back to last Sunday's blog where I mentioned being first out of the water at a recent sprint triathlon, not because I was the fastest swimmer but I like to think because I was the best prepared.  No reason that I can see for you to not follow suit and win the "Best Prepared" category at your next race.



Ultimately, Zack, having improved his swim by over two minutes from 1996, would finish 2nd to countryman Thomas Hellriegel.  We'll never know what role the helmet snafu played but in '96, Zack beat Hellriegel by 6 minutes on the bike.  But in '97?   Only 2.



Saturday, March 23, 2013

She Dropped Me Like a Greased Watermelon- Swim Speed

 


"Found my coat and grabbed my hat.  Made the bus in seconds flat."                                   The Beatles, A Day in the Life


Sounds a bit like a triathlon transition, eh?



DSCN0308


 Swimmers in the water, nervous onlookers, moments after the Ironman gun.


_______________________________________________________


 


I was the first one out of the water in my last non-wetsuit triathlon.  It should be known that the first wave was the more "experienced" triathletes if you get my drift.  Mickey Rooney, on turning 77, said "Age is nothing more than experience, and some of us are more experienced than others."  They kindly put all athletes over 50 first.  Maybe they thought we were all going to drown if we went later.  I don't know.  And in this group, I am not the fastest swimmer.  But maybe the most experienced.


Having done this race before, along with a number of other tris, I knew where to stand at the start. During my warm up swim, I'd gone out to the first buoy very slowly to see what the current was like and to view the 2nd buoy.  While there it looked the blazing sun would be directly in our eyes shortly.  Once the warm up was done, I went back to my bike and switched from clear goggles to tinted.  I didn't see anyone else doing this, and it really paid off later.  I knew I'd have one of the fastest transitions because I practice them regularly (as do you, of course, right?)


That's the good side of all this, and it had a happy ending when I made it first across the swim timing mat, smiling naturally for the race photos, heading toward my bike.  BUT, no sooner was I out of T1 not all that far down the road, when a woman rode past me like a house on fire.  Fame can be short lived.


Take Away Lessons For The Swim


 So, 1) A warm up swim to loosen the muscles, determine the sun, the current, the wind, the competition, let water flow into your wetsuit, take that final pee (yes, into the wetsuit, it'll be washed out shortly) pick the appropriate goggles for the day.


        2) Pick your starting point relative  to the path to buoy #1. Usually being a little off to the side keeping you clear of traffic.  


        3) Pay attention to the starter.  Watch and listen carefully. React instantly! Don't be talking to your neighbor with that nervous pre-race chatter.  If you're at water's edge, run, skip, lift your knees till the water's deep enough to either dolphin dive or swim. Keep your eyes on the first bouy and as you get there, do not touch the buoy like 2nd base.  Swim 10 feet wide, around the coffee clutch that forms there of people who are just glad to be alive by the first bouy.


       4) Lastly, if you have any doubts about the swim at all, try to take a 15 minute swim there the day before the race.  You'd likely do it with a friend (lifeguard), talk over what each of you sees and feels.  This can be an invaluable step for many triathletes.


____________________________________


Race pace advice for your first Ironman.


This will be a very short blog.  But I've been where many of you are and wish that I had gotten this advice.


The main thing I want to say to each of you is to take it real slow for that first part of the swim, the bike, and the run.


How slow?


 In the swim, just start with a relaxed, easy pace, maybe draft off someone you know you can pass, just till things clear out a little. This might be, say the first 600m.  Then you'll have a feel for the day and better judge your pace. 


Don't be fooled by how "easy it feels" as the high dose of adrenaline flowing through your body will overrule and mask your sense of perception on how truly difficult the course is initially.  I can not emphasize this enough.


 It's even harder to back off a little on the first couple miles of the bike but if you race the first 10 - 20 miles too quickly, you will most surely struggle with the last 10 - 20 miles! You can always make up the lost time (because you rode slower for the first few miles) in the run because you'll have the energy to do so.


 Above all else, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor on race day.  And if it rains don't fret as it sure beats a hot, early spring day for racing fast times!


 And you know who will be congratulating each of you at the finish saying, "You are an Ironman!"


 



Thursday, March 21, 2013

Headwork - Your Next Concussion Off the Bike










"Get A Head."


"I wasn't unconscious more than a couple minutes after the crash."


 


Just chatting on the return leg of a 3 hour Sunday ride, my bike accidentally collided with another and I went careening off in the opposite direction toward a face plant on the asphault-ouch! After regaining consciousness, my face bleeding profusely, I noticed that my helmet was split front to back. This injury could have been a lot worse.


 "There are two kinds of cyclists; those who have crashed and those who are going to." Scott Tinley, winner Ironman Hawaii '82 and '85


 My friend and I were far enough out in the country that we had no cell service or nearby home to call for help. So, we waited it out and very slowly rode back home (10 miles.) When I got there, the kids wanted pictures of Daddy's hamburger face.


 I had a concussion.


A concussion comes from a blow to the head from a variety of sources. Although there's frequently a black out, some of the injured never lose consciousness. Symptoms may include confusion, visual changes, headache, memory loss, (even including details of the crash sometimes!) I asked my friend Mike to describe the accident...and then forget, and ask him again.  And again.  About 8 or 9 times. Occasionally nausea or vomiting will be part of the picture. You'd also look for impaired speech, a vacant stare, disorientation, etc.


I went to the doctor-my wife is a doctor. But, if this happens to you or your riding mate, at a minimum call your doctor and ask for advice. It would not be overkill for a quick trip to the ER and let the medical professionals determine the possible need for a Cat Scan. The more we learn about traumatic brain injuries, the more important we find is the need for an accurate diagnosis and a period to allow the injured brain tissue to heal.  Really.  The days of just toughing it out, "Oh, I just got my bell rung but I'm fine," are gone.  There's no chink in your armor admitting injury, even if you're not sure.  Especially if you're not sure.


Usually there are few long term memory problems. Except for me. I seem to have great difficulty remembering our wedding anniversary, my wife's birthday,...... Just kidding.




Sunday, March 17, 2013

Picking the Perfect Tri-Sports Doc

Bill Vollmar, MD perfect sports doc











 

"Son can you play me a melody, I'm not really sure how it goes. But it's sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete when I wore a younger man's clothes."           Billy Joel

OK.   You didn't have an injury problem until you signed on to this crazy triathlon thing.  Now you might need to seek medical help?

I was asked to write the Medical Care chapter of Joe Friel's new text Triathlon Science.  The publisher describes it as "Leave ’em in your wake, leave ’em in your trail, leave ’em in your dust. Get your brain as fit as your body and achieve your triathlon potential."  One of the points I try to make there is to be ahead of the game.  If you know who you'll choose, should you have an injury, prior to having that unfortunate circumstance, it will definitely help out.

Triathletes are what's known in MBA circles as early adopters.  They'll try things (anything you ask??)  such as compression clothing, Biestmilch or kinesio tape, often with minimal proof/history that the new product/technique is actually beneficial..... but it might be.  An example might be the following: you're on one of the tri forums, and a poster complains of some variety of musculoskeletal problem.   Invariably one of the "expert"  responders - regardless of stated problem or knowledge base - notes the obvious 

indication for ART (Active Release).  Well, ART may be helpful in the right setting but the

nearest practitioner to my house according to the ART website is an hour and a

half away!  Maybe there's a better answer.  Read on.

The March issue of Men's Health has a piece entitled, "Doubting Dr. Google."  The magazine's cover directs you to The World's Worst Doctor, (turn to page 100 and cough, making the point that "A little medical knowledge can a dangerous thing, which makes the Web a virtual minefield."

The two photos above are of Bill Vollmar, MD, seemingly "only" a Family Practitioner from
Lancaster, PA and some would say he might have trouble spelling triathlon.
But he is whip-saw smart, takes care of almost exclusively athletes, and since
unlike me he's not a surgeon, would likely have a non-surgical solution to
almost any injury if it's feasible. Only as a last resort would he consider
involving someone who might want to cut on you!  

And, in my humble opinion, he is so good that he could
take care of me and my entire family. Including my 100 mile/week runner son.

 

And lord knows I've had more than my share
of musculoskeletal problems - compartment syndrome, plantar faciitis, achilles
tendonitis, rotator cuff tear, I could on. The take home point is that, at least
for many of us, we don't have to drive or fly hours to the Pro from Dover with the
treadmill and infra red sensing system for a good portion of our medical needs, we just need to know what's available locally.  In fact, like many locations, the go to guy here for most
running related issues is the owner of the running shoe store. With 29 years of
seeing runners problems, he could take care of the Olympic team! And I'll bet
there are examples of this in your community, possibly the kids swim coach who's been
working on swim strokes for decades for a shoulder related swimming issue.

 

Look for Primary Care physicians, Physiatrists (a doc who specializes in physical medicine), etc., men and women in your community who've earned the respect of the running/triathlon world as a care giver and have a major practice emphasis on sports related problems.  They don't necessarily need to be a member of the ACSM, the American College of Sports Medicine, but it's a nice touch.  It's been shown that a respectably high percentage of us are injured annually so simply doing your homework with the other folks at the pool or on the WE long bike ride may give you just the answer you seek.

So, as pointed out in Triathlon Science,
don't be embarrassed to ask around to see what's available, who's available, for
your specific problem.  It very much might not be the local football team doc or orthopedic surgeon, but someone who's just off your radar screen for now.  Help could be right around the corner...and his name might be Bill Vollmar.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ironman, 100 Days

100 days


 Anticipation (emotion): the act of looking forward; especially: pleasurable expectation


 Picture the scene.  It’s snowing like a banshee outside, the wind is blowing off the roof hard enough to cause occasional white outs, and you’re listening to Billy Joel croon, “I’m in a NY state of mind.”  Me?  I’m in an Ironman state of mind.  I shall explain.


 At the Naval Academy, there’s one bright spot on an otherwise dark and dreary winter’s eve during what’s known as “The Dark Ages”, those after Christmas freezing, blustery days in the northern parts of the country where it may even be too cold for snowman building.  All are hunkered down, braced against the frigid snow bearing winds whipping off the Severn River, where the days are
short and the homework assignments long. But then comes hundredth night.  100 days before graduation, the plebes and the soon-to-graduate seniors trade places for an evening of games and minor hazing.  Laughter and  new found respect fill the dorms and when the night is done… 99 days till graduation. 


 Today is 100 days till the Ironman race closest to my house.  Eagleman, which like many events
these days has changed names a number of times but the course, and the mid June heat of Cambridge, Maryland, are always the same.  It can be a real toaster of an event.


 But for now, we’re stuck in that Mobius strip of training days where your ATP says it’s time to pick it up but Old Man Winter, just like in Donnie Brasco, says “fuggedaboutit!”  It’s too early for March Madness.  I’d watch the 2005 Tour de France video on my trainer but those DVD’s have taken on a whole new level of sadness given the used car lot night time search light shining on the transgressions of once super star Armstrong.  At the same time I feel for the likes of Betsy Andreu, Emma O’Reilly and the other little people strewn as the road side litter of the man from Austin.


 But when I’m on Twitter, I send out messages of hope, education, and anticipation, so 100 days gives me that same feel.  I’m sure it’s the same in Lake Placid, Madison, or Frankfurt, Germany and anywhere else a sleeping Ironman race course is simply a thoroughfare today, yet to be race prepped for a wild day this spring or summer.  This March longing for racing – waiting for Macca and Crowie – has a payoff.  That first local sprint tri where the water’s still quite cold, one’s wetsuit inexplicably a little tight in the midsection, and the weather most unpredictable.  A day where those indoor training cobwebs of winter are brushed aside, friends and competitors unseen since the fall, some sporting new beards and some even newer bikes (yikes!), are greeted like long lost brothers and sisters returning home from sabbatical.  It’s the same whether you’re Leanda Cave or Wilbur the pig in Charlotte’s Web


 “But we have received a sign, Edith a mysterious sign. A miracle happened on this farm…in the middle of the web there were the words “Some Pig”….we have no ordinary pig.  “Well,” said Mrs. Zuckerman, “it seems to me you’re a little off.  It seems to me we have no ordinary spider.”


 “Oh, no.” said Zuckerman, “It’s the pig that’s unusual.  It says so there in the middle of the web.”
To some we have an unusual sport, but in 100 days, they’ll be rocking in Cambridge. Even though it’s snowing like a banshee outside, I’m just sure of it.



Sunday, March 10, 2013

Race Limiters and Shotgun Weddings, Kelsey Grammer Style

Comedian Kelsey Grammer and his wife Kayte recently renewed their vows at the Little Chapel of the West in Las Vegas.  Joked Grammer, "We've always wanted shotgun wedding pictures to show the kids later on."


 




Hawaii 2011-STPT 264


A little practice made this Ironman swim a success


____________________________________________


Hey, it's still March.  You still have time to work on that race limiter and have the best racing season of your triathlon career. 


It's human nature.  We like to do what we do well.  What we don't do well, we frequently just tolerate, or worse, we just avoid it. But if we train this way how will we ever improve?  Frankly speaking, we won't.


For example, so many triathletes come from running or biking backgrounds and just make through the swim with the drown proofing they were taught with Boy or Girl Scout stroke technique.  Plus, to add insult to injury, they don't practice their transitions.  No, you say in disbelief, but it's true!  It might even pertain to you.  Disappointing I know.  But just check this.  In my age group in my last sprint triathlon, the cumulative time for T1 and T2 for the winner was 2:31.  Second place had 4:39.  In terms of effort, second place would have to drop his 5K pace by a whopping 42 seconds per mile just to be even.  Or worse, improve 2:08 seconds on a 750 m swim, a tall order for certain.  Another choice #2 could make is to just spend a little time improving transition skills.  I know which one I'd choose.  Even seems a little silly when you put it in these terms.


 


If you live in a cold or moderate climate, there's still time before the meat of the tri season.  And for the ice fishermen on your local lakes, time to figure out a different past time for weekends.  When I asked a friend who lives in WI if he ice fished, he responded that he loved his wife thus eliminating the primary reason to ice fish as he saw it.   And, tongue firmly in cheek, he likened it to hunting ducks by trying to shoot up the chimney as they flew overhead.


 


So, as you plan your workouts for the next, say five weeks, it's probably OK to take a mini holiday from a portion of your strongest discipline to emphasize that limiter.  If indeed, as we started this blog, you're "working on being my best...but I'm not there yet" sport is the swim, consider professional help.  I think that more effective than having a buddy "Look at my stroke will you?" is a one on one with a coach.  Masters coach, local swim team coach, I don't think it matters.  And, it's not easy to do.  You are terribly self conscious at first and just want it to be over.  There's no way to distract the teacher's gaze!  But once you realize that no matter how bad you are, he/she's seen worse, you relax, listen and learn.  You find that you are teachable after all.  And they really do want to help you.  Surprised?


After your session, before you drive home, put into writing each of the points made during the lesson and bring one of them on a 3X5 card to each upcoming swim practice since swimming improvement is repetition of positive change.   And then, like any habit in which you'd like to effect change, you've made that commitment to practice, small bites at first, every day.  Really, practice it every time you swim, as change comes in small increments. 


 Consider setting up a second session in a couple weeks to review everything and allow the coach to see what you've mastered and where there's still room for improvement.  Come summer you'll be ever so glad you took the time to do this when you see betterment in what used to be a part of the race that you just "got through."  And while you may not have shotgun wedding pictures like Kelsey Grammer, it sure would be nice to have a podium picture at the local sprint triathlon.  (And, from my perspective, a faster swimmer is a better, more confident swimmer, and safer in the water.)



Thursday, March 7, 2013

Retire From Triathlon? Sometimes the Injuries Say Yes

"Sooner or later I'm going to die, but I'm not going to retire."   Margaret Mead



DSCN5719


As you might anticipate, I get a good number of e-mails looking for medical advice or medical clarification.  People just like you and me who've been involved with the medical system, usually involuntarily, and have been labeled with a problem that may be difficult to overcome.  Some get a large, economy sized helping of problem that they cannot overcome with the resources at home and they look to me for a sliver of a chance.  Maybe they've already been told that their future in triathlon or marathon running does not look good from a care giver who's not involved in endurance sports - "Why don't you just stop running?"


The response, "Well, why don't you just stop breathing?"


While perhaps early on in your triathlon career, participating in these kinds of athletics is just the next step in sport, something new to do on a Saturday or Sunday morning.  But as many of you know, very quickly it becomes addictive, fun, a way of life, and more.  These sports can be very social, and possibly like being cut off from social networking, if/when eliminated from one's life, what's there to replace it?  It can be a challenging question for sure.


Most often the e-mail question involves arthritis of the knee or a chronic foot problem that they just can't lick.  They've given this a great shot but haven't been successful to date. And most likely, given the information they've shared with me, there's not much of a chance that they will emerge victorious in this battle against disease or Father Time.  What I can give them is hope.  An alternative.  They don't have to just quit and get that volunteer job at the library that they've always wanted.  Maybe qualifying for Kona or the Boston Marathon is out, but there are other choices.  Lots of other choices.


Simply put, they do not have to judge themselves adequate in life, a good father, mother, or brother, a successful human being, by their ability or inability to participate in a certain race.  Really.


But some of us, including this author, have to figure this out for ourselves.  The last time I raced Kona, and I do mean last, you can picture the scene.  You are reduced to walking the last half of the marathon.  A lot of walking.  And it's night, and you're by yourself, in the dark, with only the light from a Cyalume Glow Stick to see by.  (Even though IM Hawaii used to be run on the Saturday closest to the full moon to avoid that, these days the schedule is set not to interfere with cruise ships and other local entities.  Take my word for it.  When it's dark on the Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway on the Big Island, it's pitch.)


And to say that you smell bad, reek in fact, grossly under values the two terms.  But it's here, where you have miles to go before you can just stop moving, and maybe talk to somebody, that you decide, "I do not have to do this kind of racing to measure my manhood."  Thus my retirement from the world of long distance triathlon.  I've never looked back.


But don't get me wrong, I love to race and still do the occasional sprint tri.  I have a ball!  And so can you if you reorient what you see as success just a little.  Lots of folks can swim and bike, but running gives them fits.  Easy answer here, race AquaVelo, or whatever it's called at your local tri.  Swim, bike, eat!  The banana slices are still fresh, the water and Gatorade jugs are still full, and maybe best of all, you're there to watch the winning male and female athletes cross the line.  Get a high five, whoop it up!


Or many locations have lake and ocean swims, plus a host of bike races.  This nut can be cracked.  So when you get to the point where some parts of this sport need to be shed, just like they used to say on TV in the US Army commercials, "Be all you can be!"  It may not be the same you as today but it'll be you.  Note: the AquaVelo finishers get to the local "Y" before the masses do, while they still have hot water!!  You earned that long shower too!




Sunday, March 3, 2013

March Drudgery of Training Getting to You? Here's a Tip

"It's getting to the point where I'm no fun anymore."

                                        Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
















"...were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there."




 The Ironman athlete above hangs his "blue bike bag" 15 hours before the gun.



Michael Phelps was asked if he would trade an Olympic medal to improve his golf game. "I'd give up a bronze to shoot under 70," Phelps said. "I don't know about (the golds). I worked too hard for them."

________________________


It may be time to lead by example

March is a hard time of year to train for those of us in the colder climates.  It takes commitment, perseverance and strength.  Training when you may not really feel like it, or don't have the longer term goal of the racing season clearly in sight.  Even though triathlon produces close and lasting friendships with training partners, the difficulty associated with "maintaining an even strain" as was said in The Right Stuff can be awfully challenging.  I was reminded of a motivational page I'd read a few years ago by sports psychologist Dr. Keith Bell and thought that reproducing it at this time of year might be especially beneficial. The steady efforts of sticking to your ATP here will pay off measurably right around the racing season corner.


"...if your aspirations are high and you act consistently to try to attain them, you sometimes risk straining your friendships.


It's a discouraging dilemma.  And, it would be nice if it weren't that way.  But the fact remains that some of your friends may not have the drive and dedication you do.  Or, they may not share your high goals.  Then, your friends may try subtly coax you into their less hard working ways. It's not that they are intentionally trying to drag you down.  They just don't want to look bad next to you. So, they invite you to join in their rebellion, confusion, bad habits, or low level of aspiration.


You need not reject your friends, but neither do you have to give up your goals to join the crowd and the fun.  If it's hard to do your thing while they are doing theirs, talk to them about it.  Don't scold them for their actions, but ask for their acceptance and encouragement in your quest to reach the top.


And encourage your teammates.  Pay attention to a job well done by them in practice. Encourage them to strive for more.  How you act and what you say to your teammates is contagious and has a way of coming back to you.


Set a norm and get after it: to challenge yourself and others.  Don't let the norm become an avoidance of effort.  Don't make it "cool" or "in" to goof off.


Remember your goals.  And protect them. Take good care of them. You may have to.  Others may not have the same goals."


In short, this time of year proves why you have what it takes to be a winner, a leader, the strongest in the group! 

_________________________________


One of the benefits of triathlon.....


funny-Costa-Rica-bridge-sign 





Dr. Keith Bell, Psychology for Swimmers, 1980

Phelps quote, Sports Illustrated, 3/4/2013