Monday, April 1, 2013

Long Time No Talk!


My intention was to blog weekly in 2013. You see how well that has worked so far. Higher priority has been family, work, clients, workouts and sleep. The hardest thing I’ve had to do is say “no” to a lot of opportunities: to coach more people, events, run special training sessions (sorry Dean). Here is a summary of what has happened thus far and some of my views on things.

Lance Armstrong:
I’ve been warped by doping to believe that anytime you see someone defy what seems impossible, sadly, we now question if that athlete is doping. When it was happening, I thought that it was amazing. Then as the competition got busted for doping I put two and two together. A lot of people made money with this success. That is the issue; follow that trail of money.

Regarding Lance’s punishment, I feel it is too harsh. I used to be a guy who yelled “LIFETIME BAN FOR DOPERS”. Lance could have helped his case if he would have cooperated with officials on figuring out how far the rabbit hole went. I now agree, that a more appropriate penalty would be 8-10 years of suspension. This would mean that LA would be 50+ if he wanted to return to sport. It would also mean, age will have taken any chance of him winning in Kona or being any kind of factor in any race. The Pete Rose of triathlon, cycling and running events; I saw Pete Rose in Las Vegas – just walking by himself. The issue here is that governing bodies have offered other dopers a six month suspension “deal” to narc on LA. Really kind to those men and mean to LA. I’m not sure about the equality in how the cases were treated and sentences carried out. I’m not an insider. Just seems wrong. If people want “lifetime bans for all dopers”, then we need to add a lot more names to that banned list. If it isn’t “life” for everyone – and it clearly isn’t - then we need a better system of punishing these cheats. I would also add some kind of shame that race with them when they do return – a bright red “D” jersey for DOPER perhaps. Those returning from a suspension get to race 2-10 years after their suspension, but get to wear that jersey for LIFE at any event they do and separate them from the results in a different category – because the benefits of doping don’t necessarily “go away”.

Additionally, the governing bodies of races need to then declare a new champion of that year’s race based on the results and the doping results. If your champion was in 27th place because the top 26 guys were doping – so be it Tour de France. Give me the clean champion.

I have to look myself in the mirror. This is how I feel.  I'm not asking you to agree with me.  I feel the sporting community needs to talk about doping. Shine a light on it. Punishments should be harsh, but fair. Over and over, I am hearing amateur athletes say that certain races are not an interest anymore because they are “unattainable” based on doping, wealth and obsessive compulsive behavior of the competition. That is something that race organizers need to pay attention to.

Is triathlon clean? I have my doubts. (Read: Not a chance in the world it is clean.) I’ve seen amazing things from pro and age group triathletes that seem to defy the aging process. Sadly, several pro triathlete friends (guys who raced in the 1980s, 1990s) have told me that they are just hearing from guys about what went on. Additionally, I urge you to pay attention to people who withdraw from competitions when surprise testing has also been announced. Several athletes dropped out of a major race and flew home before the race due to “injury”, but nobody there seemed to believe these individuals were injured.

I’m sure I’ll get comments on these opinions. Consider what supplements you are taking. How much of supplementation is performance enhancing versus health enhancing? Why not just eat your vitamins and eat right? Think about this.

Swimming:
I’ve been swimming (generally) four times a week. I’m still not where I was. This will take at least 18 to 24 months. I am making progress. I qualified for US Masters Swimming Nationals in practice in several events (verified by three watches per the US Masters Swimming rules) back in November. This had me thinking a lot of great thoughts for 2013. Then I hurt my shoulder. Bugger. Since January, I’ve really not swum much at all. I’m kicking the workouts and most of the time, staying with my mates in my lane while only kicking. Safe to say my kick is back.

My doctor told me that it was going to be 8-12 weeks of not swimming. I thought I would be back in 6 weeks. I’m at 11 weeks right now, and I’m still not ready to resume “normal” swim training. Assuming it is another 3 weeks of rehabilitation, I will go into the IL championship with three weeks of training “normally” and nationals with five weeks. Looks like I’ll have to defer some plans.

It isn’t horrible, but very discouraging. I just cannot press with full power (or even 80% power). So 100s freestyle are pedestrian 1:09-1:14 and 100s breaststroke are 1:14-1:24. I’m limited to 1,650 yards in any one session (of swimming) so the balance is kicking (no kickboard). While it sucks, it is part of being an older athlete. I look back and think of all the things I would have done differently. To say I wouldn’t change is ignorant of the results. I get an MRI this week.

Life:
Life in general is good. Please don’t take my frustration about injury as a sign that life is bad. My friends know that I’m doing quite well. Work is cool – both jobs – the day job and coaching. My athletes are achieving great things and less has certainly been more for all of us. I’d like to coach more people and perhaps even go full time – however, there isn’t enough time in the day. Making sure that I’m realistic about my time is the best thing I’ve done in the last year.

Sponsors:
Kokua Multisports is lucky to represent the following companies in 2013:

SRM Power Meters Best power meter in the world
XTERRA Wet Suits Fastest wetsuits in the world
Restwise Smartest use of technology to maximize workout and rest cycles
BodyWerks Physical Therapy Who always put Humpty Dumpty back together again

I’m still waiting to hear from one more company who was with us last year. He has been out of the country and then on vacation. Hope to hear from him today.

I’ll be writing again soon.

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