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January « 2011 « Brandon Marsh's Blog


Archive for January, 2011

LoneStar Party Bus

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Yep, a party bus.  2 weeks ago a friend of ours was celebrating his 40th b-day and wanted to cruise downtown Austin on a party bus.  So, Amy and I joined him and several others on the Lonestar Party Bus…

LoneStar Party Bus

LoneStar Party Bus

Not quite our scene…and I think that I asked before we got on the bus if this was going to be an old school bus or an old church bus.  It was a cross of the two!  So, we were off to tour the best that downtown Austin has to offer.  Anyway, sometime after our 9pm start time, a friend of ours who is running the Houston Marathon this weekend started talking about hitting his goal of 3:10 to qualify for the Boston marathon.  Blah, blah, blah, that turned to training talk and an email that I sent him a couple of months ago that compiled some email responses to help him hit 3:10…some of the gems in the emails…

- Run lots of miles fast

- Tempo runs don’t “hurt” you

- Do you long run on Sunday and like Brandon says finish strong

- Don’t run with other people that are going to bring you down.

The gems didn’t end there.  Shawn asked if I’ve read “Once a Runner”.  I’ve read a lot of books…fiction and non…but this was not one of them.  So, I went to half price books and bought it.  Great book.  Some of my favorites from “Once a Runner”…

- Training is training, it all seems to blend together after a while.  What is going on inside is just a big puzzle.

- But your sights have always been too low.

- The awful truth would begin to dawn on him: there was no Secret!

- “You are speaking no doubt of the fabled ‘third wind’.”…”I’m not sure. I haven’t read Runner’s World lately so I don’t know what they are calling it this month.”

Sorry you didn’t get the “what happens when you mix a bunch of triathletes and non-triathletes on a party bus in downtown Austin” or “triathletes gone wild” blog.  Instead you just get some more training talk.  As a side note, “Once a Runner” was written in 1978.  So, I have to ask…how far have we come?  The same questions asked in the book are the same ones that are still being asked 32 years later.

Digital, Analog, Go on the Green, Pace Clocks

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Many of you read Doc’s write up of abandoning his stop watch.  If not, you can find it here.  Many of you also read Doc’s write up on the superstition of ‘going on the green’ here.  Anyhoo, combine that with an update I got from one of my athletes, and I’ve got a blog post.

Swimmers say things like ‘go on the top’ or ‘on the bottom’ or maybe even ‘on the side’.  I hadn’t heard the ‘on the side’ moniker too often, but one of the programs that we occasionally swim with uses it.  So, just what does it all mean?  Well, it kind of depends on what your swimming history might be.  Seems like there are generally a few types of ‘swimmers’ in triathlon…

- those who come from a swimming background of sorts whether it be age group swimming, summer league swimming, or even full on college and post college swimming;

- those who have no swim background whatsoever and learned as an adult and mostly swim on their own;

- those who have no swim background, maybe learned as an adult, and swim with a masters team or other group.

So, what did Doc mean when he said ‘go on the green’.  Well, here’s the pace clock in Switzerland…

OK, it’s not the actual clock, but pretty much the same model.  Notice that the green ‘hand’ is on the 22.5 seconds.  So, we would not go ‘on the green’ which typically meant when the green hand was on the 60 seconds.  Some smart Aussies or Canadians but never the Brits or Swiss and seldom the Americans would go on the ‘blue’ 15″, but they’d never say the ‘green’ 60″.  In some circles, the 60″ marker would be called ‘the top’.  That makes the 30″ marker the ‘bottom’ and the 15″ and 45″ markers ‘the side’.  Get it?  It is all very intuitive, but when you have been chlorinated for over 1/2 your life…things can get a little bit fuzzy!  Those who fit into group 1 above feel very much at home using the clock above.  So do some in the other groups, but ‘swimmy swimmers’ as a friends of ours calls them, like the comfort of the old skool pace clock.  It is also very easy to figure out when to leave on various ‘intervals’…another post all together!  If you are doing a set of 50s on the 50″ and the first one starts ‘on the top’…#2 starts on the 50″…#3 on the 40″…etc.  You can just count back 10″ off of each swim to figure out when to go next.

But, since this IS the digital age…we just got a TV that didn’t require an analog to digital converter box…many pools have graduated from the old skool pace clock to a fancier digital pace clock:

I have nothing against the digital clock, but I find that it does make it a little bit more challenging at times to calculate intervals even for my very numbers oriented and mathematical mind.  The ‘top’, ‘bottom’, and ‘side’ are only there in theory.  And, if someone does not have a swimming background or history with a group that uses those terms, it may be somewhat of a foreign language!  Either way, the same principles apply for timing and intervals and such.  If you are doing 100s with 10 seconds (10″) rest, ideally you want to pick an interval that gives you about 10″ rest after each 100.  So, if you complete your first 100 in 1 minute 37 seconds (1:37), you might chose to do the 100s on the 1 minute and 50 seconds (1:50), which means you get 13″ rest on the first one…and ideally about the same on the rest of them.  On a digital clock, if you start the first 100 on the 18:00, you start the 2nd one at 19:50, the 3rd at 21:40, and so on.

Lastly, the bane of many coaches, whether they be swim or triathlon coaches is the following type of ‘pace clock’…

I use it a little tongue-in-cheek, but watching a swimmer stop every 100 to hit the split button on their watch and go exactly 10″ later is a little painful if there is a perfectly good pace clock on deck OR if it is a group workout and your lane is going on a certain interval.  So, if you have a pace clock in your pool, consider using the watch only as a guide to the time of day, and learn to use the pace clock.  You’ll feel more like a ‘swimmy swimmer’ and probably be a little less stressed in your workouts!! If there is no pace clock at all, then I like to use my stopwatch as a digital style pace clock and never really touch a button except to start it at the very beginning of the workout and stop it at the end and usually it’s sitting on the deck so I can see it after each repeat and not on my wrist.

Or go even crazier and just dump the timing all together…especially if it is just an easy swim.  Go as hard as you can on the hard, and take the easy easy!!

More with Less?

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

I already posted the 2010 summary blog.  But, beyond that, what all did I learn?  I’ve posted a lot of that too.  One thing that I learned was that I “need” a lot less than I think to get by!!  This blog was prompted by reading the “tweet” of a fellow pro triathlete who is joining a US-based squad and will be living out of his car or suitcase for the next 10 weeks.

For 2011…”Do Less, Be More”.  Is that how it goes?  Maybe it should read “Have Less, Be More”.

Everytime we got home from a training trip…which was 2x…we ended up getting rid of a lot of “stuff”.  I guess when you live out of a suitcase for 6-12 weeks, you get a new perspective on what you actually have to have to make it!  This is a view of what I fit all of the main things that I needed while on training trips.  I also took a bike case and backpack.  The backpack was for things like the computer and other carry-on necessities.

It 'all' Goes in Here

The trick was to figure out just what was a necessity when traveling.  I don’t know why I took jeans to Thailand!  Probably because it was cold when we headed that way.  I also took way too many pairs of training clothes.  I should have learned from a few week-long bike tours that you really only “needed” like 2 cycling kits.  Three would be good because sometimes we did ride 2x a day…and then the dilemma was new or old clothes for the 2nd ride!

Swiss camp was different because we would need warm and cool weather cycling gear.  So, for that one, the bike case became a bit more important when packing.  Overall though, we both realized just how much less “shtuff” we needed than we thought.  When we got home, we went through all of our stuff and took a pretty big load to the local Goodwill so that some of the clothes could be put to better use.  Anyway, I still have quite a bit of stuff here in Texas, but I have pared down to a small closet and a 3 drawer “Chester” drawers…

Hanging, Race Clothes, Cold Weather Cycling

"Chester" Drawers...unmentionalbes, workout clothes, tees

I’m sure that I could go all philosophical and stuff…but I’ll just leave it as is…

2010 in Review

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Usually I like to end the year with a summary type blog.  It was a year of firsts of sorts.  I competed in 5 Ironman or Iron-distance events.  I was 9th, 5th, 13th, 12th, and 12th.  I did a few other races as well.  I spent at least 5 months away from ‘home’ as I know it back in Austin, Texas.  It was a great year of training and racing.  My results by my standards were mediocre.  I am capable of better.

In all honesty though it will be tough to beat the experience of 2010.  2011 will be better though.  Without a doubt.  Like some of Doc’s blogs…pick and stick.  It’s easy to look at one year of somewhat mediocre results and make a bunch of changes.  Adjustments…small ones.  Big changes…no.

This year being the first year that I have been with TeamTBB I thought I would close it out kind of in pictures if you will.

Krabi...our neighbors!

Singapore view of the Harbor.

Singapore View of ECP at night...very cool at night!

Rural China at its finest.

Not far from the Hotel in Bolton for IMUK

Madison, WI Capitol Building for IMMOO

And maybe my ‘favorite’ video of the year!!

YouTube Preview Image

Stay tuned right here for updates throughout 2011.