Thursday, November 10, 2011

Penn State & Childhood

An Internet "blogger" friend wrote a very good blog about his childhood and how sports and watching sports affects him and his life.  He wrote it so well - I will just post the link.  My dad did his best with my brother and I.  We didn't have much, but we didn't know the difference because our mom and dad cared about us.  In that respect we were very well off.

Lorrie and I don't have children.  We do have many nieces and nephews and friends with kids.  We love kids and bought our house assuming we would have kids.  That won't happen for us.  When we see abused kids it rips out our heart.  Our dog gets more love and attention than a lot of kids - and we treat her like a well cared for dog - not a kid.

I challenge you to read the entire 23 page indictment of Jerry Sandusky here.  At this time 17 victims have come forward; and this thing is still expanding.  Remember... Mr. Sandusky started his "charity" in 1977.  There is a lot more coming out.  My blog and sports junkie friend Pat (who works for DCFS in IL) told me that the AVG pedophile assaults 117 kids.  Mr. Sandusky's situation wasn't average.

If you are still with me, you understand this isn't about winning college football games.

While Mr. Paterno did what was "legally" required the DA in Pennsylvania clearly called him out that he didn't do what was ETHICALLY correct.  Same for the wide receivers coach and "witness".  If you see a 10 year old boy getting assaulted are you going to make a phone call to someone other than 911?  There appears to be a lot of blame to go around and with PSU being a state run university - that puts the state and trustees in the legal line of fire.  This is why Mr. Paterno (and anyone else around) should have been fired.  If the university doesn't fire him - they are accepting his judgement and legally the university is certain to face civil legal action.  This is a risk management move.

When did we stop being human for the sake of "the program"?

We see similar reactions in business.  People protecting bad managers because they are a friend.  A real friend would get them training while hiring or promoting a qualified person.

Go hug your kids.  Talk to them about the types of people they may see.  Explain why they need to be aware of where they are (as much as a kid can).  This is an atrocity that all people should be disgusted at - regardless of which football sweater you wear.

There is more to life than sport.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This 'n That

Very busy getting new athletes up and running.  This time of year is the most exciting as many athletes are dreaming of future finish lines and accomplishments.  This is the time of year we work on form, diet and strength while building that aerobic engine.

Downtown Chicago at 5:15am headed east.
Last weekend I went to Annapolis, MD to attend the celebration of one of my athlete's and friend's wedding.  I've blogged about Ken before.  Ken is one of several clients who have become family.  I've coached Ken since he was in the US Naval Academy.  If you are in his age group you should be nervous - very nervous.  We had a great time.  I got to meet Noelle (now, Ms. Ken) and her family as well as get speak to Ken's family again.  I hadn't seen them since 2005 at Ironman Wisconsin!  It was a very enjoyable weekend.  I even got to run around the US Naval Academy and downtown Annapolis.


A US Navy fly over as part of pre-game festivities.

USNA Football team lining up for an extra point. 
Downtown Annapolis.
The evening was a great time meeting other friends and family of Noelle and Ken.


Upon my return... Greta was ready to play.  I managed to snap this shot just before she hit the camera with her nose.


Triathlon isn't everything in life.  Get out and live it.  "How do you know a triathlete is at a party?"

- Don't worry.  They will find you and tell you.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Early Morning Triathlete Experiences


It strikes me as funny how some people always want to get into a pissing match with you regarding your training (time, distance, power) and groups.  This morning I was running (before masters swim practice) and had an Ironman knit cap on.  To be completely honest - I didn't even remember it said "Ironman".  I grabbed it because it had my two top requirements for a run at 31 F: 1) it was clean 2) it is a warm hat.

It's too damn early...
Out on the trail (remember, it's 4:10 am - even the freakin' coyotes are asleep) a guy runs up to me where the trails merge.  I'm not talkative at 4:10am.  Ever.  Hi.  (I wave.)  I'm doing intervals.  I won't get in your way.  Go ahead.  You ever do Ironman?  Yes.  I'm gonna do Ironman Wisconsin next year.  Cool, fun race. Wanna go with me on this interval?  No thank you, this is an easy run for me.  Come on.  Let's see what you've got.  This is recovery for me.  I need to stick to my plan.  I did a tough session last night.  Oh,  not in shape?  (Now I'm getting pissed.  Get the hell away from me dude.  I want to listen to the wind in the trees and not your yapper at 4am.)  We run all the way back to the parking lot.  He was telling me all about his "master plan" for Ironman and how he knows "so much" about Ironman.  (This came with more and more breaks in his speech.)  We get back to the car and he puts his hands on his head. "That was a hard interval."  I look at my HRM - 137 heart rate at 8:30/mile pace.  Hmm.  He tells me who his coach is (a well known pro who charges about $600/month).  I tell him good luck with his training and before I can close my car door - he is telling me how he is going to qualify for Kona in his first Ironman.  I wish him luck again.  Want to go to breakfast?  Thank you, but I'm going swimming now.  WHAT?! (he exclaims) I'm going to swim with a masters swimming group.  Where do you swim?  Oh, I don't need to swim masters - I swam in HS.  I swim "my" (his words) Olympic distance mile in 28:32.  (This dude looks about 38 and I don't have the heart to tell him it was .9 miles for the OLY.)  I told him that I was a coach and had a lot of athletes in IM Moo last year and if he wanted he could train with us.  Oh, I always stick to my training plan.

A guy... (later this morning)
I'm leaving a business establishment and run into someone I met in triathlon circles I am in.  Guy doesn't recognize me.  No problem - he looks at me and says - I know you from somewhere.  I say I'm "x's" friend.  We met two years ago at his party.  Oh right.  He then asks me if I'm coaching.  Yes I am.  Cool, maybe I'll call you to look at my swim stroke.  I don't swim with a masters group because I'm faster than all of them.  (ALL MASTERS GROUPS!  -->Inner monologue)  Oh, I see.  I'm a better athlete than all these people coming out of "that" club.  Sometimes training on your own is more productive.  I always train alone.  Nobody can hang with me.  I'm a 26 minute swim in an open water mile. (Oh dear Barbara, here we go again.) Solid swim.  I told him about the swim group I am part of.  Oh... I'm faster than everyone there.  (No you aren't... I'm faster than you and in there I'm not the fastest. --> inner monologue again)  Do you do CompuTrainer?  No, I have really high watts and I want to stick to my plan.  (ugh!) I explain how in CompuTrainer classes everyone rides to their FTP.  Oh... well, I'll just go too fast.  Besides, I'm focusing on my running.  Cool.  I run alone because nobody can hold my pace.  (Uh, oh.)  Yeah, I run 9:40s for a 10k - SUSTAINED.  Ah, well done.  You're on the road.  Good luck in your preparation.

OK... I get it.  You're competitive.  Wonderful.  You know what?  Everyone has something to work on.  EVERYONE.  I honestly hope you do great, stay healthy and enjoy the time.  Just don't go around comparing yourself to everyone else - You are a unique person.  (I totally sound like my mom here.)  I coach xx people currently - NOT ONE of them is alike.

Focus on YOUR numbers.  What were YOUR watts per kilogram in the CompuTrainer class last night?  What was your heart rate?  What pace did you hold the 10x 100 freestyle on today @1:30 interval?  What did you hold per mile on your long run?  ...do you enjoy your life?  That is the real question.  If you didn't enjoy being out there then it doesn't matter what you did.  How was the camaraderie during and after practice?  Did you look at the weight room floor and have your entire lane sing "Dude Looks like a Lady" when a guy who looks like Fabio meets Lindsay Lohan (with a 3:00 shadow and rumpled shirt from sleeping on the couch) walks by the pool window to flex in the two way mirror?  (really)  How many folks did you high five and encourage today?  Did you laugh in your workout? 

No matter who the athlete is... my conversation is always about improving THEIR number.  They are the ONE focus.  I don't compare them.  How fast can I get this athlete (and their unique challenges) faster, stronger, thinner, more endurance, etc.?

Talk to people (maybe after 6am).  Just leave out the numbers.