The ‘Did Well’ Assessment (Part 1.0)

Posted: April 1, 2011 in In Transition, Motivation

The first quarter of 2011 has already passed and with two events securely stashed in my race belt, I feel it’s time again to assess the whole situation in detail.  Hey, I’m a stoner after all…’obsess’ is what I do.

So the first phase of my overall training plan or, what I have also come to affectionately know as ‘The Big Suck’, is now complete and I’m preparing to transition into the subsequent second phase of the Master Plan, or ‘The Big Suck: Part 2’…whichever you prefer.

To Recap: (click here for my current Fitness Goals)

  1. Crushed my Half Marathon PB with a new time of 1:47:05, which surpasses my first goal of 2011 by running a sub-two hour half marathon. Of course, my still being able to do this following a 2k swim and a 90k bike ride still remains the million dollar question but, regardless, good for me.
  2. I also have also met my second goal of this year by successfully bettering last year’s time at the 30k distance by finishing nearly 17 minutes faster with a time of 2:39:04.  Again…Boo-yah, Ironbitches!

But, specifically, what it is that I’m doing so effectively that’s making it all click?  I want to take this opportunity then to peak behind the curtain a little bit, and really evaluate my performance to date and begin assessing how well on track I am to completing my Ironman Wales goal come 2012.

Most of my personal assessments have tended to dwell on the whole “what the fuck just happened?” aspect.  Of course there is value in evaluating and learning from these mistakes to gauge what activity or behavior doesn’t need to be repeated, or consider what else may need to change or be altered going forward.  But I now think that just looking at things in this manner is rather limiting in itself.  At the office we use a Coaching philosophy to more positively address this issue of personal assessment, known as the ‘Did Well’ method.  The nuts and bolts of it is that by self-analyzing what’s going smoothly in my training, I will (hopefully) reinforce those particular actions or behaviors – or “Did Well’s” – that are bringing me this success. I think this method will speak volumes about the overall effectiveness of my training plan.  Later, I can (and will) look at the flip side of my performance, the dreaded “Do Differently’s”. But for now, let’s stoke my ego a little bit and look at what’s going well.

Did Well’s:

1)  Weight. I raced the Bay this past weekend at exactly 192 lbs.  The plan was to race at l90 lbs and I did manage to achieve that weight but, somehow, I managed to gain those last 2 lbs back during the last taper week going into the race.  No big deal, really, as it still represents a 16 lb deficit over last years racing weight at this time and, ultimately, a six minute improvement in my 10k splits.  I have also become as conscientious now about my health and my daily nutrition as I am committed to dropping another healthy 10-15 lbs before the big show in June.

2)  Core. I have spent less time on the heavy weights this year, instead choosing to focus more on my core strength.  I have taken it to heart that by the ‘core’, I mean the vehicle through which all my bodily momentum and mobility originates.  Last year, core work was something I hated and therefore avoided at all costs, preferring instead to participate in the more manly art of ‘pumping iron’; this year, I haven’t lifted anything over 25 kg (my body excluded) in months and yet, I’m infinitely stronger and more capable.  In essence, I’m lifting less to gain more.  Who knew?  I can now do LOTS of push-ups and I am getting closer to my ‘Push-Up Challenge‘ goal of being able to do 40 medicine ball push-ups consecutively.  Also, I can do a shitload of crunches.

3)  Yoga. I’m easily more flexible and balanced this year thanks to my weekly yoga sessions.  I believe this has also helped me to train relatively injury free up to this point (knock on wood).  I have relied on my yoga sessions (approximately 2-3 times per week) to compliment my core strength conditioning.  As a result, I am beginning to trim down and am even starting to take on the build and shape of an endurance athlete (if I do say so myself – and as it happens, I do).  Where once it was completely void of angles my body is beginning to develop into an efficient perpetual motion machine with strong, efficient muscles and a powerful core.  Yoga has assisted me in getting my weight back in check, helped strengthen my core, tone my muscles, provided me some added focus, as well as giving me an opportunity to work on the more mental aspect of conditioning.  I have learned the importance of breathe control and my ability to focus through and deal with the many vigorous stresses of Ironman training has definitely improved.  In other words, I’m developing ‘mental toughness’.  Yoga has provided that much-needed ying to the tied ‘ol yang I have become accustomed to, so to speak.

4)  Group workouts. I credit my beginning to run with other people for much of my success this year.  Last year, I embarked on all these long training days on my own making for some very long, mentally taxing Sufferthons.  Beginning this year, I (reluctantly) took up running with my coach and our mutual dog-hating friend and I found there was a particular accountability to running with faster, more accomplished runners and it definitely provided that added push and encouragement I sometimes need during these types of long workouts.  Running with others gave me that inspiration from time to time to maintain a quicker pace over long distances where I might have petered off or quit altogether (see ‘When Is It Okay to Quit?’) while out on my own.

5)  Hills. More and more hills…hills until I puked – literally.  Hills was the magic word this year when it came to running.  It was meant to be last year too, but finding hills in the city was rather difficult as highway overpasses seldom offer the types of incline you need to train properly for hills.  When I ran in the city, the total elevation recorded on my GPS looked like a coma patient’s vital statistics…total flatline.  This year, I took every opportunity to venture out of the city into the surrounded countryside on the weekends for my long run looking for steep hills along the Niagara Escarpment.  Not only did this improve my confidence on coping with hills but also trained my body to attack on them while others are suffering.  Moving forward into The Big Suck: Part 2, and in keeping true to this ‘attack while others are struggling’ philosophy, I want to do the same on the bike.  Given my new lighter frame there will no excuses for my not getting my fat ass up that Escarpment quicker than I did last year!  This is also keeping part and parcel with my strategy of completing my 90k bike ride in 2 hours, 30 minutes goal.

6)  Recovery. The Final Frontier of triathlon.  This may be the smartest thing I’ve incorporated into my training plan this year.  All my workouts this year have included adequate amounts of recovery time afterwards.  Where my post workout routine before only included my struggling back up the stairs into my EZ-Boy recliner and reaching for a cupcake, I now spend approximately 20-45 minutes stretching those muscles that I’ve worked and taxed out.  This also includes a light warm-up before actually even starting the workout.

7)  Massage. Where I was skeptical and hesitant at first, being on the receiving end of (now) two amazing massages from Jen, the newest addition to my Team Tigerrabbit (official announcement to come), I have now become a total massage advocate.  Totally converted; if she were selling special flavored Kool-aid, I’d be buying it by the pail full.  Both times, I enjoyed the opportunity to visualize the working mechanics of my body as she worked that whole ‘voodoo that she do’ so well.  Besides the obvious advantages of feeling freakin’ amazing, these massages are very informative and I can assess how well everything is functioning after the fact.  I feel more in tune now with my body than I ever have before.  For example, we have come to the conclusion through these sessions that my right foot is slightly pigeon-footed which may be resulting from a tight piriformis within my right hip adductors.  This is probably the root cause of the tightness I have experienced on my runs and I can now use this information to incorporate the proper stretches and core exercises into my yoga and core strengthening routines to alleviate the resulting discomfort.  Cool, eh?

8)  Smoking less. I won’t deny it – smoking less weed has definitely helped.  It wasn’t so much a strategy as it was an unfortunate necessity but my average daily usage has definitely decreased.  There have definitely been pros and cons to this as I’ve discussed before but, overall, it has aided in my maintaining mental discipline as well as keeping my appetite in check.  I like the current situation as it is but I still absolutely look forward to those occasional random pre-workout buzzes.

9)  Relax. Different than Recovery because I’m still exercising and working out, I’m just doing it in a completely different mindset.  This is the whole Brussel Sprout Philosophy in effect.  Once a week, I simply leave the heart rate monitor and GPS tracking gizmos at home and just go for a jog, or a bike, or a swim just for the hell of it.  There is usually not a lot of intensity to these workouts unless the ‘moment’ seems to call for it, but it does allow me the odd chance to just get out for the sake of getting out.  I think those Kenyans are definitely onto something.

10)  Organized. I’m not sure if it’s the absence of marijuana in my system lately, or if my yoga is helping me achieve better ‘awareness’, or if fat was somehow clogging up and blocking my mental focus, I dunno, all I do know is that I’ve become much more efficient at getting all my workouts in along with all my other commitments in life.  In essence, I have become a time managing machine.  I make lists of groceries in advance, category the importance of particular errands, and even schedule specific ‘Me time’ to spend in the kitchen prepping all my beloved, precious meals.  Fortunately, I have also taken on a cleaning lady to assist with all those domestic responsibilities that I just don’t have time for, or give a shit about for that matter.  I will admit that much of my life has been spent muddling along through a foggy haze of a bong smoke but, lately, it’s just firing on all cylinders.  As I said before, I’m not sure why this has all come about exactly, but if I could somehow manage to figure it out and bottle it I’d make an absolute killing at trade shows.

  1. Carolyn H. says:

    I’d say those are great “did wells.” I particularity like the group runs (reminds me I need to join a running group), the hills (reminds me I need to add them in) and the cleaning lady (need some $ to magically appear so I can hire one).

    Speaking of cleaning, I need to tidy up now. Tomorrow we are headed to the Grand Canyon. Wohoo!

  2. Jeff C says:

    cleaning lady huh? better keep an eye on your stash! lol

    Seriously, bravo on your ‘DW”‘s, I think I will start copying that approach!

  3. Jan says:

    Terry, you have come SO far, have become so much more knowledgable and know your body so well. I see how the yoga and massages have helped and I learn so much from your reporting. Look what you have accomplished in such an amazingly short time!!! I LOVE monitoring how you are doing. Way to go Terry!

  4. […] swim progress so far under the microscope (or swim goggle) in a bit closer detail; a little mini ‘Did Well’ assessment if you will. The Swim […]

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