Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve never been a Resolution girl. I think the statistics are pretty grim. I read that only about 15 - 20% of New Year's Resolutions are kept. There are several reasons why people fail to keep their resolutions. One reason is unrealistic expectations; other reasons are lack of planning, not having clear goals, and lacking the knowledge to implement the stated goals.

Based on a few surveys I scanned, it appears American’s top New Year’s resolutions for 2009 are: getting out of debt, losing weight, and eating healthier.

According to a University of Washington study, conducted by Elizabeth Miller, a UW doctoral candidate in psychology, and Alan Marlatt, director of the university's Addictive Behaviors Research Center, "The keys to making a successful resolution are a person's confidence that he or she can make the behavior change and the commitment to making that change," says Miller. In addition, the study indicates that "resolutions are a process, not a one-time effort that offers people a chance to create new habits."

To be successful with your own resolutions, Marlatt, who has studied the subject for more than 20 years, suggests:

• Have a strong initial commitment to make a change.
• Have coping strategies to deal with problems that will come up.
• Keep track of your progress. The more monitoring you do and feedback you get, the better you will do.

I do have goals for this year, whether I think of them as “resolutions” or not. The following tips are supposed to help me attain those goals:

A. Choose an obtainable goal. I have 5 goals for the year. 3 are cycling related, and 2 are just “life in general” things:

1. Get lean. I’d like to lose about 5 – 7 pounds, but more important, I’d like to reduce my percentage of body fat (I’m not going to tell you what it is today – just that I’d like to drop it 4 or 5 points);

2. Ride the 2009 Mt Evans Hill Climb in 2 hours 45 minutes (my current PR is 2 hours 55 minutes);

3. Break 11 hours at Leadville this year (my PR is 11 hours 11 minutes);

4. Be thankful. Consciously choose to focus on all I have to be thankful for;

5. Be more accepting. This will be the hardest of all. I understand that there may be more than one way to do something, but my way is so superior, why would any intelligent person choose another option? Uh huh. Time to get over my bad self.

B. Avoid choosing a resolution that you've been unsuccessful at achieving year after year. Not really a problem for me – yet!

C. Create a game plan. Phil and I have hired a coach for the 2009 cycling season (more on that in later posts . . .) so that will help with goals 2 & 3.

Goal 1 comes down to not being a dumb ass. I need to cut out the 3 pm snack run, eat more vegetables and less bread, and limit my alcohol to one or two drinks one day each week, rather than having wine with dinner every night.

Goals 4 & 5 require me to be mindful – and to have some support from Phil and my friends.

D. Break it down and make it less intimidating. Rather than one BIG end goal, dissect it into smaller pieces. I could say that I want to be fit, fast and a better person. Yeah . . . that makes me want to quit already. Breaking out 5 distinct goals makes it seem more manageable.

E. Give it time. Most experts agree that it takes about 21 days to create a habit and six months for it to actually become a part of your daily life.

F. Reward yourself with each milestone. Bragging rights? Oh yeah, that is reward enough!

G. Ask friends and family members to help you so you have someone to be accountable to. Phil and I count on each other when it comes to making good decisions about skipping a workout or making poor choices at the dinner table. That really helps with our commitment. I don’t want to skip a workout or drink a bottle of wine if that means his performance will improve while mine suffers. Competition is a powerful motivator for each of us.

H. Don't go it alone! Get professional assistance.Phil and I have worked with coaches and trainers before, and each time we take away new learnings and more knowledge. We are very excited about the potential with our new coach. That alone is motivating for us at this point.

I. Limit your number of promises. 5 seems to be a reasonable number . . .

J. Keep a journal This blog will be my quasi-journal, allowing me to honestly report on my progress and my results.

Here's to a safe and healthy 2009 for all of us! Cheers.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Deadlines Approaching

Triple Bypass registration opens on January 1, 2009. Last year the event was sold out in just over a week. If you are thinking about joining "those who dare," don't snooze, or you'll lose out on the chance to challenge yourself on a great ride with superior support.

2009 registration begins January 7th at 10 am for Bikerpelli Sport's Kokopelli Trail Ride. We did the ride in 2006 and again in 2008. It is a no-frills 3-day supported MTB trip. You ride from Fruita, Colorado to Moab, Utah, and then shuttle back to your vehicle. The food is hot and plentiful, the campsights are gorgeous, and the days are long. It is one of the most affordable supported MTB trips you'll ever find.

Finally, the Leadville 100 MTB registration packets arrived in the mail on December 23 - an early Christmas gift for us. "Entry must be received by January 31st. Unsuccessful entries will be returned. Confirmation will be mailed by February 9. We do not keep a waiting list."

Entry in the Leadville 100 is via a registration lottery. Hopefully our prior finishes and our two days of volunteering in 2008 during the MTB race and for the 10K will give us enough of an edge to ensure we get in.

If you need a little motivation before writing the check for Leadville, take some time to enjoy the 2008 Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race Video Collection.

Start your New Year off right - sign up for an event that is hard enough to keep you motivated to work hard and get in shape. We'll see you there!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Leadville Trail 100 – 2005 Race

As I mentioned in a prior post we first attempted to complete the Leadville 100 MTB race in 2004.

Our failure in 2004 was a huge eye-opener to us. Phil and I are both fit; we may not look like bike studs, and we aren’t speedy, but neither of us had come up against an event that we couldn’t complete. And we didn’t like how it felt to fail – not only to fail, but to quit.

Again demonstrating that one’s degree of stubbornness is inversely proportional to one’s intelligence, we didn’t accept that Leadville was beyond our ability. Instead, we decided that we were going to try again.

While we are stubborn and some do question our intelligence, we were smart enough to realize that we needed professional help. [Peanut Gallery – shush!]

Finding a coach is a difficult thing. The internet has certainly made it easier to discover your options, but the rule of caveat emptor [buyer beware] comes into play. Anyone can build a website and claim to be a qualified coach. We ended up spending a couple of months doing on-line research and calling various coaches to see if we could find someone who was qualified, available and affordable.

Eventually we hired Bob Seebohar , who at that time was a principal with ATP Coaching in Evergreen. Bob is an endurance-sports coach and sports-nutrition expert. An exercise physiologist and a registered dietitian specializing in sports nutrition for endurance athletes, Bob has been a competitive triathlete and duathlete since 1993. Most important to us, Bob had completed the Leadville 100 MTB race in 2004 (10 hours, 59 minutes).

Working with Bob was extremely valuable. We learned about training using the periodization model ; we also learned that having a structured plan with specific goals for each workout allowed us to become more efficient. The quality of our training improved, allowing us to better manage the quantity. We trusted Bob’s knowledge, and it worked.

I was not panicked standing in the starting queue in 2005. I knew what to expect. I knew that there would be suffering and that I was as prepared as I could be for the event. It was a much different feeling than what I experienced in 2004.

Phil and I both finished the Leadville Trail 100 MTB race in 2005 in under 12 hours:
11:40:20 Joanne Morrow
11:40:54 Philllip Kriz

Remarkably, after nearly 12 hours of racing, we finished only 34 seconds apart.

At the end of the race I swore I’d never do it again. Uh huh. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Training Film

The weather outside is frightful . . . so we have been relegated to riding the trainers in the basement for our long weekend rides. We have watched some Bronco games (sometimes naughty, sometimes nice) and also caught up on several movies. NetFlix rocks.

Here are several films we’ve watched in past month:

Wall-E was really enjoyable – and there was almost no dialog so the roar of the CompuTrainers wasn’t too distracting.

Breaking Away
- a cycling classic from 1979.

Marathon Challenge
- a dozen people, none of whom exercise regularly, train for the Boston Marathon.

Spirit of the Marathon
- follows 6 people during their preparation for the Chicago Marathon.

Both marathon movies are quite inspirational – they mirror in many ways the training that Phil and I endure preparing for Leadville. If you don’t build a proper base, you just can’t finish a long endurance event. Both movies show that motivation matters, but ultimately staying healthy and injury-free makes all the difference.

The Flying Scotsman
- [Johnny Lee Miller was Angelina Jolie’s first husband – which is totally irrelevant, but an interesting tidbit, nonetheless.]
For many of his 37 years Graeme Obree possessed single-minded passion for one thing, bicycling's hour record. Obree broke that record twice--in 1993 and 1994--but instead of being heralded as the revolutionary champion he was, Obree was lambasted and ridiculed. This movie is about him.

Bee Movie was only so-so. I was never a Seinfeld fan, so take my opinion with a grain of salt . . .

I’ve focused on motivating or funny films so far. The dramas might make an appearance as time goes on.

If you have any suggestions for other films to help us endure the hours, drop me a note or submit a comment - thanks!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Now that I’m back on-line I updated the Double Cross post (dated November 13) to add photos from the events. Check it out.

As masters level athletes (for those of you snickering, okay – “mature,” “arthritic,” “past our prime” . . . you get the picture . . . ) Phil and I have found that recovering from hard efforts takes longer than it used to.

When we’re too worn out to give our best effort we have found that failing to allow ourselves adequate recovery time is far more damaging to our training progress than missing a workout. But like many recreational athletes, we hesitate to rest, certain that the workout we skipped is the one we absolutely needed to ensure our ultimate success.

Given that we take over 9 months to train for Leadville, that is a pretty silly notion, but one we battle nonetheless.

So while we struggle to find the balance between proper periodized training and recovery, we have become firm believers in the rejuvenating properties of massage. Most athletes who can afford regular massages swear by them.

The one caution I have for you is that you should allow at least 3 days between having deep muscle work done and any event in which you hope for a good result. The deep tissue work helps to move lactic acid out of the muscles, but it leaves you with legs of lead the next day. If you do plan to have a massage the day before an event, be sure to speak with your massage therapist about keeping the pressure light and focusing on relaxation.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Holiday Miracle



After only 7 weeks (when it was supposed to take less than 10 days) I have my new home computer.

Note to self (and to all readers) do not shop at Best Buy. I have had the privilege of suffering through inadequate and down-right poor customer service experiences in the past, but this experience with Best Buy truly elevated poor customer service to an art.

'Nuff said.

I'm back online and will be ramping up the blog as we head toward the new year and the looming Leadville 100 registration deadline . . .