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Sunday, January 31, 2010

My one word: Focus

This marks the final day of my base period of training. Next week will emphasize recovery, ending with Winston-Salem duathlon on Saturday. I'm really psyched to get out there and race again! I'm also excited for beginning the build cycle leading up to Duathlon Nationals on April 25.
On another note, each year our church has a series about new year's resolutions. PC3 (Port City Community Church) is a unique environment and I count myself and family truly lucky to be a part of it. The concept of this series is essentially to choose a key word which will help you grow in your walk with God and become a better person in general. My one word for this year is FOCUS.
To me, this word is a reminder to try and be in the moment, taking in every aspect of what's around me and not missing or rushing through anything. Instead, my goal is to appreciate experiences fully in the present; this will combat my tendency to live in anticipation of the future. Even when I get to whatever I was looking forward to, I often miss out on it because I am already looking ahead to what will be next.
I am not the only person with this problem; many people, triathletes in particular, need to be FOCUSED in the MOMENT. To relate this to sport, it is always, 100% of the time, better to focus on your technique and/or simply appreciate your ability to stroke, pedal or stride when you're hurting than it is to look forward to stopping or get down on yourself with thoughts such as "why am I doing this" or "this really hurts". Many athletes choose to "zone out". This makes your mind neutral, which is better than brining yourself down with negativity; however, if you truly want to achieve your best, you should FOCUS on enjoying the moment and executing optimal technique. This trait is desirable for anyone, whether a sedentary "average Joe" or Olympian. Just something to think about...
Train hard and race smart!
Mason Boyles

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Greenville Duathlon

This morning I started off my 2010 racing season with the Greenville Duathlon put on by the fantastic staff of the FS Series. These guys really know how to put on a great race; thanks! They sure have some enthusiastic volunteers, too.
The race didn't start until 11, so I 'slept in' until 6. I knew it was going to be a good day when I found Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure on HBO- I love that movie! Seeing that the temperature was a balmy 42 (compared to last year's 8 degree weather!) further bouyed my spirits. I ate breakfast and took a caffeine pill, something which I have just begun to experiment with. Caffeine is proven to lower perceived effort, and increase endurance, focus and power.
One upside of not having my license is that one (or both) of my parents comes to all of my races with me and helps me out. This time it was my dad, who helped me put on my aero wheels, figured out how to get to the race site, and, most importantly, was my biggest fan!
I got in a good 15 minute warmup on the bike with some pickups, and then ran a couple of miles, finishing with strides and a few drills on the start line. The gun went off and I settled in to a very comfortable rythm; my strategy was to complete the first run at a conservative pace and really start going for it on the bike. My effort level was low, so I was surprised to see that my first mile was 5:15. I consciously ease off and completed the first 5k run in 16:15, feeling very smooth. I had a small lead on second place, and hopped onto the bike after a quick T1.
I really started hammering as soon as I got my feet strapped into my cycling shoes, using a low gear so that I could flush out my legs with a high cadence. A little while after the 4 mile mark, Will Hauss came flying by. I dropped back about five bike lengths and tried keeping pace for a couple of minutes, but he gradually pulled away. At the turnaround I checked my watch- he was 45 seconds ahead of me, and third place was 1:30 behind me. I put my head down, shifted into a lower gear, and did my best to bridge the gap. With two miles to go, I began to visualize a smooth T2 and switched back to a higher cadence again to ready my legs for the final run.
Dismounting my bike and running into the transition area, I could definitely tell that I hadn't been doing speedwork- my legs were pretty cooked and my body was starved of oxygen as if I was a deep sea diver. The hot spots I had noticed on the balls of both feet weren't helping, either. This is the point in every race that makes or breaks you. This is when I always ask God to give me courage and strength to do my best.
I pulled on my racing flats and focused on running poised and relaxed. I heard my dad shout that I was 80 seconds down. It wasn't until I had about 1200 meters to go that I found my running legs again; unfortunately, there wasn't much to find. I dug deep and just went for it, building to a sprint as I came out of the woods and onto the soccer field with a quarter mile remaining. I finished 2nd overall in 1:01:15 (unofficial), only managing 8:30 on the final 1.5 mile run. Will Hauss won, coming in around 59:30.
Today was a fun start to my racing season. I am relatively pleased with my current fitness level coming off of only basework; however, I know I still have a long way to travel on the road to duathlon nationals. Fortunately, I love every minute of the trip. Congrats to everyone who raced today; next up for me are a few more weeks of base training, and then Winston Salem duathlon. Until next time,
Train hard and race smart!
Mason Boyles

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Early season

Six days left until my first race of 2010, the Greenville Duathlon! Over the past three weeks I've been laying some solid foundations for this season; no real intensity yet, but some emphasis on lifting and logging endurance miles. Next week will be low-key to allow me to absorb the good work and be ready to roll for Saturday's race. I look forward to seeing where I am at this point. I'm just glad there's no swimming involved, because I've got a long ways to go before I'm back to top form there. Thanks to Dave Sokolofsky and the senior group down at CFAC for letting me join their hammerfest a couple of times a week and get my butt kicked! That's just what I need to get in touch with my inner fish.
Until next time...
Train smart and race hard!