Triathlon Things I’d Buy After I Win Powerball

Like lots of Americans, I like to dream about insane wealth.  Wealth beyond measure.  Beyond my craziest dreams.

Well, dreams could come true tonight when the estimated $1.5 Billion Powerball Lottery is pulled.  I have an awesome chance of winning (something like 1:260,000,000).  So…..when I do win, let’s imagine that I take the cash option – which will net me roughly $850 million prior to paying taxes.  Subtract about 40% for taxes, and that will leave me in the ballpark range of $510 million.

And let’s assume that I want to spend ALL of that money on triathlon related things.  What could I buy?

Of course, I’d want to have everything that I could possibly need to be successful at triathlon, so I’d want to be able to train year-round, in comfort, and have the best-of-the-best.

So….here goes:

Residences:

All good super-rich triathletes need good training locations.  I figure I’ll buy several.

Boulder, CO.  They say that Colorado is prime training ground for triathletes.  Plus it offers training at altitude.  So, I need a place there.  I think I should buy this nice, small 20,000 square foot house with 7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms.  Plus, it’s a bargain at just $7.5 mil.

boulder

Whitefish, MT.  I love big mountains, and I want to be like Hillary Biscay – so I’ll spend some time living and training in Montana.  Plus, this little bungalow is close to Glacier National Park – one of the prettiest places on the planet.  It’s s quaint cottage at 12,000 square feet and 7 bedrooms – for the cheap price of just $8.75 mil.

Montana

Siesta Key, FL.  As much as I love the mountains, Mrs TriMadness loves the beach.  And why not have a house at the best beach in the USA?  We’ll pick up this nice beach cottage on the southwestern Gulf-side of Florida, south of Tampa, and I’ll only drop about $8 million.

siesta

On The Road.  As a super-rich triathlete, I’ll be racing a lot (because I won’t have anything else to do).  I’ll need to have some way to get to and from my races.  Depending upon where in the world I’ll be racing, I’ll take one of a couple forms of transportation:

Airbus ACJ319.  I’ll likely need to fly some – like to Europe or Australia or somewhere.  To do that, I’ll hitch a ride in my $80 million private plane.

airbus

RV:  Featherlite Vantare Platinum Plus ($2.5 million).  This is not quite the most expensive RV out there, but it’ll do for me.  It has Swarovski Crystals all over it, can sleep me and 8 friends, and I can drive it anywhere I need to.

RV

So – now I have a place to live and ways to get around to all my races, and I’ve only spent about $107 million.

Bike:  Naturally, I’ll need a new rig to ride on in my races.  Perhaps I’ll get the Felt IA FRD bike.  Comes complete with Shimano Dura Ace Di2 components, some sleek aero wheels, a power meter, and much more.  Plus it’s only $15,000.  I’ll buy one for each day of the year (’cause you never want to ride your tri bike again after you pee on it).  Total cost: $5.4 million.

Felt

Wetsuit:  Same concept as with the bike.  Once I “warm up” the suit just once, I’ll never want to wear it again.  So I’ll get 365.  I already have a TYR Hurricane Cat 5 wetsuit, and I like it – so I’ll get the next version up….the TYR Freak of Nature.  And at $1200 each, I’ll only have to spend $0.5 million.

wetsuit

Extra Wheels:  It’s probably a safe thing for me to have extra wheels on hand just in case I trash a set or so each day.  I’m not set on any particular brand of wheels – but let’s figure the top of the line set runs about $2500 each.  I’ll buy 500 sets of wheels and spend about $1.25 million.

Other race gear, Swag, Clothing:  I’m going to race A LOT.  In fact, I’ll race so much that I’ll make the Iron Cowboy look like a chump.  And like all good triathletes, I’ll only wear race gear and tri-specific clothes.  I better set aside $1.5 million to cover all of this stuff

Race Nutrition:  I’ll need to eat when I’m training.  I’m partial to Powerbar products, so maybe I should just buy the company.  Nestle bought Powerbar for about $200 million a year or so ago.  Maybe I could buy Powerbar from Nestle.  Or maybe I could buy Picky Bars from Jesse Thomas.  Let’s do that.  I could probably get that for $10 million or so.

Races:  As I said above, I will be racing a lot.  And who wants to pay all those pesky race entry fees?  I’m going to just buy some races.  WTC recently sold out for $650 million – that’s more than I’d want to pay for races.  Maybe I could buy a bunch of other race series (maybe all the independent triathlons in the country).  Let’s earmark $200 million for that.

Coaches, Nutritionists, Chefs, Massage Therapists, etc.  I’ll need a stable of support people to help me get ready to do all this racing.  I should hire the best of the best.  Michael Phelps can be my swim coach.  I’ll also have Andy Potts on retainer (because he’s an awesome open water swimmer).  Meb Keflezighi will be my running coach.  Maybe I’ll hire Jan Frodeno to be my bike coach.  Great people, but in reality people are cheap.  All of these folks should be attainable for $5 million per year (total).

Hmmmmm.  I’ve only spent about $330 million dollars.  What’s left to get?  What do you think?  Any suggestions?

I’ve got cash to spend….

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Flexibility of a Brick

Over the past two years, I have had a never ending series of little injuries.

The injuries stated with a torn plantar fascia.  That was followed by a wicked bout of peroneal tendinitis.  Then the top of my foot started hurting.  Finally it was a sore hamstring & glute.

I was beginning to think that I couldn’t win for losing.  Seemingly, as soon as I started to recover from one injury, another would pop up.

I’ve been a pretty good patient.  Physical therapy, rolling, trigger point treatment, icing, reducing the length and effort associated with workouts.  You name it, and I’ve tried it.

While there may well be some other underlying issues around my running style and gait, shoe selection, weight (yes, that’s a biggie), and more, I’m becoming more and more convinced that the root cause of many of these injuries lies in the fact that my tendons and muscles basically have the flexibility of a piece of stone.

Some history:  I just turned 46, and have been running or cycling since I was 15.  I ran track and cross country in high school and picked up cycling in college.  In high school, we had a regimented stretching cadence that we followed both prior to and following every workout.  We’d do a warm up run, some core work, and then a bunch of basic (mostly) static stretches.  Fast forward a few years, and I essentially stopped stretching pre or post workout.  To make matters potentially worse, I sit all day long at a computer or conference room table.

Don’t get me wrong – I so some stretching, but whatever I do tends to be centralized on something that is nagging me at the moment.  For example, if my calves are sore, I’ll stretch them.  If my shoulders are sore during a swim, I’ll do some stretching.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I was remembered a comment my teammate Ryan Heisler made earlier this year.  His statement was along the lines that everything is connected in your body, and that if you are having foot issues, the root issue may be someplace other than in your foot.

And if you think about it (and remember that Schoolhouse Rock video about the human body), it’s true.  The leg bone is connected to the hip bone, and so forth.  It only makes sense that foot pain could be the result of something jacked up in your hamstrings or hip flexors.

So, I decided to test this theory.  My going-in hypothesis was that I had at least a modicum of flexibility still.  I was going to test my flexibility through a few simple tests:  (1) crossed-foot toe touch (2) calf-stretch and (3) forward lunge.  The highly scientific benchmark was the range of motion that I remembered having back in my high school running days.  (Let’s just ignore the fact that ~30 years difference might have some impact on my level of flexibility for now).

I decided to do each of these stretches twice each leg, for :30 each leg.  The true test would be the amount of pain I had to endure and at what point I started to feel the “stretch”.

And as you might suspect, I failed miserably.  Essentially, I can’t touch my toes without feeling like my hamstrings are going to rip in half.  The forward lunge (apart from killing my quads) made my groin and hip flexors scream as if someone had forced me into a split.  I literally thought that some giant gorilla was shaking me around like an old Barbie doll or something.

So, how am I going to fix this?

For starters, I’m going to start stretching again.  I’ve read that the static stretching that is near and dear to me is no longer in vogue.  Dynamic stretching is the way to go.  And so, I”ll incorporate some of that into my routine.  I’ll stand more.  I’ll give yoga a try (begrudgingly).

I will become more flexible.

Triathlon Trainer B-I-N-G-O

#TrainerBingo

So my Team Rev3 mate Jamie Bull has got to be a genius.  No, seriously!  The dude has mad skills in so many things – he’s a social media expert, lives in Boston (so he’s wicked cool already), has an awesome pup, likes good beer, and is one of the funnier guys I’ve come across.

I guess living in the cold northeast does funny things to one’s brain, because Jamie came out with a really funny idea the other day:  #TrainerBingo!

This is much like buzzword bingo – you know, the game you play when you’re in some corporate town hall or at a seminar and hear words/phrases like synergy, out of the box, deckware, win-win, payback, innovation, stakeholder, benchmark, runway, except this game is all about triathlon.  And more specifically, the crazy crap that some of us post on social media while we’re spending hours on the trainer watching Breaking Bad.  Or Barney.  Or whatever floats your boat.

Anyway, Jamie came up with a great grid for #TrainerBingo – check out the card over on his blog.  In fact, do more than just check it out – go over there and DOWNLOAD it!  And the next time you’re toiling away on your trainer, why not play along.  The thing is that filling out your card won’t be all that difficult either!

Here’s the catch – if you play #TrainerBingo, you need to play it up on social media too!  Call it out and hashtag it.  “I just saw someone post a picture of their sweaty calf! #TrainerBingo”.  The goals here are to have some fun, get our training on, and make fun of all of us crazy type A triathletes.  Let’s see if we can’t get #TrainerBingo trending on Twitter!

Have fun, and good luck.  Anyone seen a recent sweaty picture of someone’s face hunched over their aerobars recently?  I’ve got that space open on my #TrainerBingo card!

Project Swim

credit: dailynews.openwaterswimming.com

credit: dailynews.openwaterswimming.com

As we approach December, most North American & European triathletes begin to hunker down into the off-season.  We use this time to focus on trouble areas, to recharge our batteries, and to take advantages of cross-training opportunities (such as cyclocross, cross country running, and skiing).

For me, this is actually the beginning of my 2014 season.  See, 2013 never really happened due to injury.  I’m still “technically” injured; I can’t run due to ongoing issues with my foot.  As a result of this bum foot, I didn’t race at all this year.  Frankly, I missed racing.  Heck – I miss the simple act of going for a run!

Alas, I’m going to start prepping for 2014 as if I will be healthy.

This winter is the season where I will become a swimmer again.

Over the next three months, I’m planning on swimming a ton.  I’ll do drills.  I’ll do short sets.  I’ll go hypoxic.  I’ll do endurance sets.  I’ll swim with a band.  I’ll do pull sets.  I’ll do swim-specific dry-land exercises.  I may even learn how to do a flip turn (but don’t hold your breath for that one).

More to come, but this week kicks off “Project Swim”

What Makes a Good Runner?

Fall is typically running season.  Triathlon season is winding down for most folks, and there are lots of great local runs – everything from 10k’s to marathons.  Even if you don’t run road races (or cross country races, for that matter), running by its very nature is integral in triathlon.  Remember – swim, bike and RUN.

The thing is, though, that many of us a likely not good runners.  To be good by most folks’ definition today means that we can run a mile/kilometer at X pace.  Or perhaps that we’ve qualified for the Boston Marathon.  By those definitions, I’m not a good runner.  Well – maybe I used to be a pretty good runner…way back in high school.  I ran track and cross country – and while not the fastest kid around, I could run a sub 5-minute mile on the track, and went about 18 minutes for a 5k.  I can’t even approach those speeds today.

But I don’t necessarily define good running by pace alone.  I think that you can be a good runner who runs a 10 minute/mile pace.  Likewise, you could run a 7 minute mile and be a bad runner.

Exactly what do I mean by this?

It all boils down to form.  Essentially, it’s about HOW we run, not about HOW FAST we run.

There’s a plethora of information out on the internet and from coaches regarding proper form.  Should you be a mid-foot runner?  Is heel striking OK?  How should I hold my arms?  Do I need a special shoe?  Should I run barefoot?  You could almost achieve paralysis by analysis if you devoted hours and hours to reading material.  The crux of all the debates, in my mind, all boils down to high run cadence drives good form.

Here’s an example of really superior running form:  Miranda Carfrae.  Just last weekend, she won the Ironman Hawaii race by setting course records in the marathon and overall.  Her form is awesome – even at late stages of the run.  Don’t take my word for it:  check out this video

 

Rinny does a spectacular job keeping her cadence really fast – and that seems to be a common thread among really good runners.

Faster cadence (or leg turnover) is usually more preferred than slower, loping run styles.  What seems to matter less is how your foot lands when you’re running.  By that, I mean that it doesn’t seem to matter so much if you are a heel striker or a mid-foot striker so long as your cadence is high and your feet land generally underneath you – and not stretched out in front of you.

Common thought is that a run cadence around 90 steps per minute is optimal.  How do you know what your cadence is?  Simple enough – set your watch for a 15 second countdown.  Hit start, and count every time your right foot hits the ground.  At the end, multiply that by 4 and you’ll get your cadence.

Mine is generally in the low 80’s.  Way too slow.  I am a heel striker – and I tend to take too long strides – which effectively act as brakes with each step I take.  Long strides could also drive the impact force in ways that might lead to injury – I suspect that this may be a factor in my year-long bout with Plantar Fasciitis.  Remember, 90 is the optimal foot turnover number.

Luckily, there are drills that can help you improve your leg turnover – and I’m hereby committing to start doing these again (I did them back in the day in high school…now I know why).  Some drills you can try are quick foot drills, high knees, butt kickers and skipping.

I found a really awesome video series today called “Ambushed – Extreme Running Makeovers” starring pro-triathlete & Olympian Joanna Zeiger and Brandon Del Campo.  Essentially they spent an afternoon in Boulder going up to random people and offering to help them with their running style.  There are two videos so far – and they are both really great.  Check out episode 1 below

 

To see other videos, check out Joanna’s website.  You could also just Google drills for high running cadence.

If you’d like to learn a little bit more about Joanna, check out a “Ten Questions With…” interview I did with her back in 2012.  You can read that here.