Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Mad Science: All Triathlon, All The Time

I'm trying really hard not get off on a four-page rant here.  It's almost Christmas, there's already plenty of really horrible crap going on in the world, and truth is, I don't want to contribute to it in any way.  I don't even want to pay attention to it.  But if I keep following the news as closely as I usually do, if I spend even a few minutes thinking or talking about any of the stuff that's going on, there's really no avoiding a long-winded diatribe that, frankly, you don't want to read, and I don't want to write.  I've started drafting this piece in my head enough times to know that there's no halfway about it, either.  It's all or nothing.  Once we start down the rabbit hole, there's no going back.


*deep breath*

It's almost Christmas, and I have a nice house and a beautiful family.  Thank you, Lord, for the little blessings in life that, really, aren't so little.

I met with Amanda, my contact at the Woodruff Family YMCA, on Wednesday this week, and we talked about the new triathlon season and the Y's Tri Club.  The Club's organizational meeting will be Wednesday, January 9th, at 6:30pm.  We're gonna talk mainly about when and how to design our workout schedule, with an emphasis this year on either adding some more times that folks can meet or otherwise making the Club itself a little more accessible to folks who want to participate.  Also, while I'm thinking about it, the Y-Tri itself is on a different weekend.  It's Saturday, May 11th.  Add that to your Race Calendar.

Woodruff Family, YMCA in Orange, CT

That's me, running for home at the Y-Tri last year.
With that all of that said, my plan—barring changes—is to continue swimming on Wednesday nights and to continue meeting for our main workouts on Saturdays, though whether or not we keep the early morning meet-up times from last season is very much open to discussion.  As with last year, the plan right now is to continue alternating long rides and long runs on Saturday mornings, so that even if you're not doing anythingbesides meeting up with the Tri Club, at least with the club you'll get some exposure to all three disciplines.  That's not recommended, of course, but it is reality.

I'm also going to formalize something I did a lot informally last year, which is plan to meet up with folks who want to do a little more swimming work on Sunday afternoons.  Last season, I went to the pool a lot on Sundays, and invariably someone from the Tri Club was there, and we wound up at least talking about triathlon.  In many cases, I did a bit of stroke coaching, too, especially if there was a drill that I thought might help somebody swim a little easier.  So this year, I'm just gonna put that out there as an actual plan—if you want to meet me for some additional stroke work, or just to swim, Sunday afternoons will be the time.

Some of the other things that Amanda and I discussed included:

•    Making additional use of Facebook.  If you're interested in the Tri Club, do yourself a favor and LIKE the Woodruff Family YMCA and, if you want, join the Connecticut Triathletes (open) Facebook group.  We're planning to make extensive use of FB as a means of communicating with the Club.  It's a little easier to facilitate group discussions on FB that it is over email.

•    Getting young people involved.  I'm not so much trying to spread the gospel of triathlon as I am trying to just give the local kids something better to do than spending more time in front of their video game consoles. 

With that said, one of the things I've noticed consistently at the YMCA is that there are quite a few high school age swimmers that work out there during their offseasons, and a lot of them look like they're a little adrift as to exactly what it is they should be doing. They clearly want to stay in shape, but their training seems to be, at best, a little unfocused.  Moreover, high school swimming doesn't seem to be quite the bloodsport in Connecticut that it was where I grew up—in San Diego and Tampa, Florida—so I don't know that I think these kids are gonna miss anything by spending a few months working on sports outside their specific disciplines.  So maybe triathlon is a good offseason answer for them.  At a minimum, we can help these kids put some structure to their workouts, and trust me on this, structure is the soul of a workout program. 

But I'm not overly sure how to get the kids involved.  For as much as I think we could offer a good program, how we actually reach out to the teenage endurance athletes in our local communities is something of a work in progress.

With all of that in mind, I wrote a bit about Race Calendars and how you can use them earlier this month for Triathlon.About.Com.  Well, just so that you know that I practice what I preach, here’s my (tentative) personal Race Calendar for next year:

Winter Wonderland 5-Miler (Run)
1/27; Milford
We haven’t run this race before, but Sally brought it to my attention, and I’m willing to give it a try.  I have no idea what the course is like.

Stratford Sweetheart Run (4 Mile Run)
2/11; Booth Hill Memorial Park, Stratford
This is the race where Sally won her age group for the first time last year.  The course is a short loop with rolling hills and one tough climb at the end.

Brian’s Beachside Boogie (2M/10M/2M duathlon)
3/24; Hammonasette State Park
This is an off-road duathlon, fat tires mandatory on your bike.  I like this one because it’s practically the only time all season I’ll race on my mountain bike, and plus, the trail running appeals to me strongly.  Great race, good cause.  We’re definitely doing this one.

Westport Minuteman 10K
4/28; Compo Beach, Westport
Compo Beach is a beautiful area, and this is a great race.  The course is mostly gently rolling to flat, though there is one real climb right in the middle.

The Y-Tri (Sprint)
5/11; Woodruff Family YMCA, Orange
This is a 300-yard pool swim, 11-mile ride, 2.2-mile run.  A great race for first timers.  Also a good tune-up race for those looking to race more later in the season.

The Ten-Penny Ale Shamrock Duathlon (5K/20K/5K duathlon)
5/19; Glastonbury High School, Glastonbury
Gently rolling run, followed by a seventeen-mile ride—uphill then downhill—followed by a gently rolling hill.  I’ve only run this race once, coming in at just under two-hours, but I cannot wait to run it again this year.  Great, great race. And it’s sponsored by a local brewery.

Sherwood Island Sprint Triathlon
6/16; Sherwood Island State Park
I’ve not run this race, either, but Sherwood Island State Park is beautiful, and it’s close by.  I really hope I get the chance to do this one.

Greenwich Point One-Mile Swim
6/29; Todd’s Point, Greenwich

Stamford KIC IT Triathlon (Oly)
6/30; Cummings Beach, Stamford
This one’s really tentative.  It’s expensive.  But it’s at a good time of the season, and it looks fairly flat.  I guess we’ll see.

Mossman Sprint Triathlon
7/14; Calf Pasture Beach, Norwalk

Hopkins Vineyard Triathlon (Sprint)
7/20; Lake Waramaug
I probably won’t do both the Mossman Sprint and the Hopkins Vineyard races.  It’ll be either one or the other.

Park City Olympic Triathlon
8/25; Seaside Park, Bridgeport
This is tentatively my “A” race for the season.  That said, if I can find another Olympic distance race at about this same time in the season, I might change my focus.  This particular race has a multi-loop bike and run course that frankly doesn’t excite me very much.

Westport Kiwanus Triathlon (Super Sprint)
9/15; Compo Beach, Westport
This race is always the last one I do in the season, and since it’s got a full half-mile swim, followed by a merely five-mile ride and two mile run, it strongly favors my personal strengths.  I love this race.

I don’t have links for the new articles yet, but as soon as I get them, I’ll let you know.  In the meantime, hopefully I see you out there.

Finally, the good news this week is that astronomers have found what they believe are as many as four potentially habitable planets within relatively short astronomical distances from Earth.  Which means, bottom line, we now have someplace to escape to—at least in theory.  The closest planet was something like twelve light years away—really, right next door as far as interstellar distance is concerned—while the other three were a mere twenty-two light years away.

Sign me up for cryo-sleep now.  I’m ready to go!

And that’s all I’ve got.  Have a good week!

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