The ‘Did Well’ Assessment (Part 1.1)

Posted: April 6, 2011 in In Transition, Motivation

This post has been dedicated to my Nana…the original ‘Great One’.

The official launch of the next phase this week, or ‘The Big Suck: Part 2’has been temporarily halted and it is with great regret that I am even posting today.  For the past 48 hours I have either been waiting in an Emergency room lobby or at home by the phone waiting for ‘news’ about my nana.  It’s funny that if the situation had been normal and this had just been any other typical day, I’d probably be fantasizing about cheating with an ‘easy’ day or just blowing off the workout altogether but, now, those workouts are all I can think about…now that I can’t do them, of course.  Nothing would please me more right now than to lace up my runners and head off into the cold rain on this dreary April afternoon…no Garmin…no iPod…no complaint…just me and my thoughts.  But, alas, there are responsibilities in life.

So maybe it’s the perfect opportunity to look at the more difficult and critical part of my self assessment; or the nasty “Do Differently’s”. The “Did Well’s” are a regular gigglefest in the whole personal assessment process – its just all back pats and fist pumps – but inevitably, you have to peel back the onion in order to really see what’s going to be a potential problem and then, hopefully, plan a strategy to avoid that pitfall.  This is the real meat and gravy of the ‘Did Well’ assessmentpractice.


So as my run specific focus is about to shift into a more pool and bike orientated routine as training ramps up for the big Welland Half Iron event in another three short months (and then again in six).  So my focus for these particular “Do Differently’s” is to analysis what changes or adjustments I may need to begin looking at to effectively ensure that the next phase of training goes accordingly to the Master Plan and will, ultimately, make my nana proud of me.

Do Differently’s:

1) Loose more weight, chubs.  My realistic weight goal now is to successfully loose another 10 lbs over the next three months.  Given that this next week may bring lots of potluck dinner spreads…let’s safely say I will need to loose approximately 15 lbs by the end of it.  As per my original Fitness Goals post, I wanted to race at 185 lbs, but I now think it’s entirely possible to get down to 180 lbs before June’s event.  I am considering going back on a strict vegetarian diet again, but primarily, I’m going to begin decreasing my calorie intake again while cutting out ‘treats’ throughout the day.  As was the case this past weekend, an additional 42 lbs cost me approximately 10 minutes out on the course to my thinner, fitter peers.  Think of it this way, that would approximately equate to 1 minute of time gained for every 4.2 lbs of fat lost.  So that’s the magic formula going forward if I’m going to stay ahead of some of my faster, skinnier peers this summer.

2) Kicking. I can’t even believe I’m typing that.  I originally believed that kicking during the swim was pointless as I really wanted to save my leg strength for the other two disciplines; the ride and the run.  I realize now that this is only a foolish rookie notion.  Swimmers, as do triathletes, kick while they swim and I have a long way to go before I’m even competent at it, so I foresee a lot of kicking drills in my future.  I need to learn to think of myself not as a “triathlete” (and I use that term loosely), but as a swimmer, a cyclist, and a runner individually.  And if swimmers kick…then so shall I.  I’ve always been a decent swimmer and I haven’t (yet) succumbed to any aquatic panic attacks during, in fact, I kinda enjoy the scrum starts.  So the plan to stay ahead of my peers (and others) this year is to use my strengths to get out to a substantial lead…starting off with a strong swim.  I plan on being very wet in the coming weeks and I will probably evolve gills shortly but I want to focus on my overall stroke development which will be absolute key for my successfully completing my 30 minute 2k swim goal.

3) Nutrition. I have definitely gotten more disciplined with my daily nutritional intake as is evident with my weight loss so far, but I’m now referring to my “race day” nutritional needs.  I would like to begin monitoring more closely what my body requires to function adequately performance-wise as we move into the warmer months and the longer workouts.  I am going to begin experimenting with sports enhancement drinks beyond my usual flavored Gatorade crystals and begin getting a handle on what I should be consuming over long periods to stay effectively hydrated and energized.  Last year, I had no real race day nutrition plan apart from eating when I got hungry and drinking when I remembered to do so.  As a result, I probably wasn’t racing at my optimum output and ended up actually eating way too much and drinking way too little on my way to dehydrating myself out on the run course.  In essence, it was a real learning experience and I do not like repeating mistakes.  I don’t just want to just survive and complete my events anymore but to actually  ‘race’ them, both strongly as well as smartly…and this is going to include having the right fuel in my body to do so.

4) Heat. Yup, that’s right…no foolin’ around.  I’m stepping back into the hot box again for more Hot Vinyasa.  Given that both my A-races this year are quite possibly going to be run in weather that would make any Kalahari Bushman run for the nearest air-conditioned Tim Horton’s.  The Cancun 70.3 has traditionally been run in heat conditions up to 94°, so the ability to deal with these climate conditions is going to play a major role in my success or failure.  Learning proper hydration will be important, as mentioned above, as will my ability to relax and breathe normally when the mercury begins to climb skyward.  I think that to help with accomplishing this I’m going to participate in more drop-in hot yoga classes offered at Yoga by Sarah here in St. Catharines.  I am hoping this will give me a bit of an edge at maintaining a comfort level when the going gets hot and if I’m ever going to manage a 5 hour, 30 minute finish, I will need to make peace with the heat.

5) Speed. These workouts were already factored into my training schedule somewhat, but leading up to the Bay race I began to solely focus on hill work instead.  I would like to return to at least one running speed workout a week as well as on the bike (which is easier accomplished through spin classes, etc.).  Now that I am beginning to run at a lesser weight, I am hoping this speed work is going be a little easier than it has been in the past.  Slow and steady I can do for HOURS but, fast and short…not so much.  Where I would like to continue my hill work on the bike, I would like to specifically begin working on maintaining a quicker running cadence as both the Welland and Cancun 70.3 races are along flat, fast courses.  In it would be no understatement that my body is more designed for comfort than it is for speed, so I am anticipating some very intense Interval sessions this spring.  Fortunately, there is an outdoor track at the high school down the street that I’m sure I can visit once or twice a week in order to suffer through some speed drills.

6) Maintenance. One of the new experiences (and major pains in the ass) about traveling and competing in triathlon abroad is the need to bring your bike with you.  A wetsuit (in fact, Cancun will not be a wetsuit legal event) and running shoes are no big deal to pack and bring with you but $3000 worth of fancy, aero-aligned aluminum-carbon equipment…not so easy.  So between now September, I will need to teach myself basic bicycle mechanics, particularly how to take apart Lucille (my bike) to pack her in what is known as a ‘bike box’, only to then reassemble her on the other side so that she is 100% race ready.  I have had many people tell me this will be no big deal at all but, I don’t exactly have what’s known as ‘mechanical aptitude’ lets say.  I am to DIY what belt sanders are to nipples so I’m very nervous about learning all this and my ability to have Lucille set up properly.  This is why I hire the professionals after all!

So what’s the verdict overall?  Beats the shit out of me really.  All I know is that it’s going to be a very long, sweaty and sore couple of months for this fat guy and my fingers are crossed that it all continues to go as well as it has been going thus far.

  1. Aquaman says:

    Are you referring to West Park/NOC Track?

  2. Nope. Collegiate. Nobody ever uses it. 🙂

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