Monday, October 26, 2009


I read a book a lot of other people read a couple years ago, it was called Freakonomics. It was written by economists Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. I really enjoyed it, it was a great read on how to look at things from a different perspective. Now, my esteemed colleague Ryan Whitenack has sent me a heads-up on the sequel to this book called Superfreakonomics, Why raw talent and genius are overrated". I happen to agree that talent is overrated and that by working hard and working smart, you can overcome any lack of talent to be successful in any field you choose. I am just not a good enough writer enough to create a whole book about it.

But, I loved the short article Whitenack sent me, so much so that I will certainly purchase this book. (Hopefully it comes out in paperback!) It seems similar to Malcolm Gladwell's most recent book, Outliers, and how it equates hard work and dedication with being successful, not necessarily being "born with it". Actually, all of Gladwell's books are excellent reading, if you ever gt a chance to pick one up, do it! There is another newer book out there, called Talent is Overrated, by Geoff Colvin. This looks like it deals with a similar subject, hard work trumping talent, and I would like to read that one as well.

What I am trying to get to is that by working hard every day, doing the little things right, and staying focused on a goal, you will find success much more often than by hoping for the big opportunity and for your natural talent to take over. It has been proven time and time again, as evidenced by the above books, and that is how we must think and act in order to be successful in our own endeavors. That is why we must work hard and work smart every day, so we can be successful when the opportunity comes.

And, while I am pimping products, go to Quite possibly the greatest baby toys for geeky science families like my own! We got Chloe "penicillin" and she loves it!


Last Race Before Arizona

Just a quick reminder to sign up for our last tune-up race before we head to Arizona. The Twin Peaks XC Challenge is Nov. 7th, up in Longmont. Like the Louisville Death March, these races have limited fields, so signing up early is neccessary. I just got my registration in, I am ready to rock on next Saturday! :) Click on the picture below to get to the sign-up webpage. Once we figure out who has signed up and is racing, then we can figure out logistics on race day.

(The start of last year's elite race)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jim Creek Time Trial

Ed's Note: The following post is guest written by Katelyn W. and Tyler B. They participated in an uphill time trial on the Jim Creek trail in Winter Park. About two miles long, well over 9,000 feet at the start line, and about 35 degrees F to start. Not an easy task, to say the least. Here are their thoughts, unfiltered by me.

Nothing against Jim, but he picked the most excruciatingly painful spot in the entire world to name after himself. The first thirty seconds of the time trial felt great, but after that I was taking four breaths for every one that I would take down in Parker. My legs and arms felt fine; it was my lungs and throat that were not happy. The thing that kept me going on the trail was the amazing scenery, I could not believe how gorgeous it is up here. Although this run nearly killed me, I think it will definitely make Tempe an even better race because I know that I will not be racing in the snow, over the ice, through the ice cold water, over long rock piles, a couple thousand feet higher than usual, and it will be twice the temperature it was today. --Katelyn

Wow, I don't even know how to explain how this time trial felt. It was really, really hard. Going through the campground (the first part of the trail) was very tough, then once the boardwalk (the second part) came around I thought I was gonna die throughout the rest of the course!! The Jim Creek Trail is a great trail for HIKING, not running, especially for me. After the exhausting time trial was over I felt great and was glad I did it, now I am really excited to run at lower elevations and pumped to run at Tempe because that course is nothing at all like this one! It has been eight hours since we ran and I can still feel it in my legs!! I am still very glad that we did this and I can't wait to come back next summer and get a better time and run at this elevation again --- Tyler

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


One of the key points I have been trying to stress this summer and fall has been the utmost need for high quality recovery. This level of recovery starts with hydration, nutrition and relaxation (sleep). Ice baths, massage, mental work, etc. are the next level. That means none of that stuff is any good without proper hydration, nutrition and relaxation (H-N-R). The crazy thing is, H-N-R requires no giant tubs, no therapists, no real expensive tools. It requires discipline and dedication to the task. I have said for years that what separates the champs from the almost champs are the "little things" and those athletes who do those little things the best always end up winning.

So, I posted a quick article about hydration, and the importance of it. Check it out here. But, it seems like we are not doing as well in the other two areas of nutrition and relaxation. Coach Whitneack noticed it, Coach Neale has mentioned it. So, I did some research, and found a some great resources that have lots of information on those two topics for athletes. Some of the better links I found were:

Athletes: What to Eat and When for Top Performance

This is a great article about the protein, the idea of re-fueling, and how to avoid getting into a nutrient deficit.

Recovery Nutrition Guidelines After Hard Exercise

This article covers a little bit of what the first one talked about, but in a broader sense. Still, it is great information, even to hear twice!

Sleep Deprived Tri-Athletes Face an Uphill Battle
This is article is geared towards tri-geeks, but it can apply to us as well. Hard working, dedicated, busy, busy, busy teenagers often sacrifice sleep before anything else. This is the worst option, but read this article to find out all of the negative things that occur with even a little sleep loss.

The first two articles were written by Nancy Clark, a renowned sports nutritionist. You can check out lots more of her nutrition ideas here. I got the sleep article from as well, it is a great site to really dig into to find information on all things training.

But, you can hear it from me, you can hear it from other coaches, you can read about it and study it. But, you still have to do it. This is where the "bad guy coach" comes in. I have instructed all of your coaches; that if any athlete shows up at practice not 100% recovered and ready to work at their maximum, to send them home. No modified practice, no re-scheduled practice, no begging or pleading. You turn right around, and go home. It is our job to coach you two hours a day. It is your job to do all of the little things the other 22 hours to be a ready for the coaching. If you don't fulfill your end of the bargain to the utmost, then we don't now fulfill ours.

The tickets for AZ are purchased, the registration is sent in, the hotels are booked, the rental cars are reserved. But, we will not sacrifice your overall health for any of that. The coaches will get you as ready as we can, but you need to get yourself as ready as you can also. Take H-N-R as seriously as you take hitting your times on intervals, or using perfect technique lifting weights. I believe through dedication, discipline and the proper perspective, H-N-R will become second nature to you. Make it happen.



Coach Hawk discovered this little gem, filmed at the 2008 Nike Cross Regional race.

Go to about 30 seconds in, see who the crazy coach looking guy is yelling at his athletes.

Why was I carrying a clipboard?


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NXN Regional Race

I just signed us up for the race in Arizona in November. No open races this year, we are registered in the "Championship Races"!

Boys go off at 10:15, girls follow at eleven. Should be awesome!

But, before we get to that, we got over a month of hard grinding workouts we gotta run.

No magic bullets, just lots of hard work and dedication!



The following article is by Noah Hoffman, an elite Nordic skier from right here in Colorado. He was not only an elite skier, but also a fantastic XC runner as well as track star. He graduated a few years ago, and the advice he gives is important not only in the summer, but also now as the weather gets colder.

I acquired bad hydration habits for two reasons.

The first was my philosophy on training – I believed that the harder a workout was to do, the faster it would make me ski. I thought workouts that were difficult to endure, such as going on a seven hour bike ride drinking only the two water bottles on your bike or running for four hours with no water at all, would somehow make me faster.
The second reason I didn’t hydrate well was that I had no idea why I needed to stay hydrated.

A couple of really tough experiences in high school should have clued me in to what I was doing to myself. The first occurred during my freshman year. I don’t remember all of the details, but I do remember doing a long tough workout in really hot conditions in the morning. In the afternoon I was sitting on the couch with a splitting headache. Everything noise, sound and touch caused pain. My uncle was in town visiting. He touched my arm at one point and I puked from the pain.

I remember the second experience more clearly. I attended a Rocky Mountain Select Team camp in Steamboat during my senior year of high school. I hate to drive, so I decided it would be good to shorten the drive to Steamboat by bicycling part of the way. I started at my home in Aspen and would ride the route my coach would drive to the camp. I asked him to pick me up when he reached me five or six hours later. Although it turned out to be one of the hottest days of the summer, I refused to refill my two 16oz bottles. I ran out of water at about 80 miles, but kept plowing along. At around 100 miles I was really suffering. I figured there wasn’t much difference between riding slowly down the road or stopping, so I kept going. I made it to 106 miles before I could barely make it up the hills. I pulled over. About 15 minutes later a motorcycling couple stopped for a break in the same pullout I was sitting in. They generously refilled my bottles, and as I was finishing what they had given me my coach showed up. In the car I plowed through almost another entire Nalgene. Twenty miles down the road I was puking it all back up. I wasn’t able to hold down any liquid for the rest of the afternoon and evening, and I had to skip the workout that afternoon and the running time trial the next day. It was a bad way to start a camp.

This summer I improved my hydration habits. I now know the importance of hydration, and making it second nature has become a huge priority for me. One method we’ve used to make me aware of how much I need to drink is to have me weigh myself and my water bottles before and after long, hard workouts. This has been a real eye opener for me. My worst hydration performance this summer happened on a road bike ride on August 10. During the workout I only drank 1.8lbs of water, I ate .4lbs of food, but I still lost 6.6lbs during the five-hour workout. Becoming more aware of how much fluid I can lose on a workout has has helped me drink more.
My coaches encourage me to drink more by requiring that I always have a water bottle when I work out. I now understand that I need to stay hydrated all day long, not just during a workout. I carry water bottles with me on every workout, no matter how short, and I carry a bottle with me throughout the day.

According to USST physiologist Randy Hill, our bodies can absorb 250ml (8oz) of liquid every 20-30min. If you drink any more or any faster than that the kidneys just remove the liquid and you pee it out. Because of the delay in the intake of water, I now set my alarm on long sessions to beep every 20 minutes. As soon as the alarm beeps I take a couple big gulps of water. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the middle of a downhill or am striding up a steep incline. If I don’t stop right away to drink I will keep putting it off.

Randy has also helped me understand the physiology of hydration. The human body is at best 25% efficient. All the excess energy produces large amounts of heat. The body then produces sweat to cool itself back down. The majority of liquid is lost to sweat, but some is exhaled. This is more the case in drier, higher altitudes.

The better hydrated you are, the more blood volume you have. For the most part, the human body works more efficiently with greater blood volume. The less efficient your body is the harder your heart has to work. That’s why you get cardiovascular drift when you get dehydrated (your heart rate will drift up during a long workout.) Higher blood volume is more efficient because of something called Laminar Flow. Laminar flow has to do with the fact that the blood closest to the cellular wall encounters the most resistance. More blood volume means more blood is located in the middle of the vessel and further from the cellular wall. More blood in the middle of the vessel means less resistance on average.

Blood volume

It’s like adding lanes to an interstate. The more lanes you add, the faster traffic can move.

The last thing Randy emphasized is the need to drink before you’re thirsty. Once the thirst mechanism kicks in, it’s too late. You are already 2% or lower off of your normal body mass when the thirst mechanism kicks it. I am working hard to make hydration something that is a non-issue for me. When drinking before I get thirsty becomes second nature, I won’t have to worry about it, and it won’t hinder my training or performance.

The original form of this article can be found here, at

Monday, October 12, 2009

Change in Race Plans

Originally, I had intended to do the Littleton Stride 5 km race on the 7th of November. This was supposed to be a tune-up race for Arizona. However, I picked up a brochure at the race yesterday for the Twin Peaks XC Rotary Challenge. This is a race up in Longmont on that same Saturday, a little bit longer than the Littleton Race (3.5 miles vs. 3.1 miles), but ten bucks cheaper to register ($15 vs. $25). Alos, the money from this race goes to St. Vrain HS scholarships, which is a very worthy cause in my opinion.

I think that this race will be a better test and a better tune-up for the race in Arizona. I foresee less pavement running, more elevation changes and a looser atmosphere. This is from the same race series as what we did yesterday, and the athletes running enjoyed it very much. I think they will enjoy this race as well. I will have mail-in forms avaiable tomrrow at practice, or you can register through the above link.



46 Furlongs

The Walnut Hills Track Club did another race yesterday, with only the high school athletes competing. Katelyn and Tyler and I went up to Louisville, for the Coal Creek Challenge, a true cross country race.

This race had all the elements of an old school XC race: an extra long distance to race (5+miles), a 3/4 mile trail-less long field to navigate, a steep bushwhack uphill, hay bales to leap, a stream crossing, and extra cold temperatures. I heard the race described as "brutal", "excruciating" and of course, "fun". It was a great test, both mentally and physically. Both athletes said that Arizona is going to be a piece of cake comapred to this race, which is just the feeling I wanted them to get!

As for the results, Katelyn was the 13th female, in a time of 44:27, and Tyler was the 53rd male, in a time of 46:08. Excellent results, I am very proud of that!

I took as many pictures as I could, in-between coaching the kids up and keeping them warm and dry, but I admit, my photography skills are not nearly as good as Beth's.

Getting changed to race in the relative warmth of the truck.

Jogging around the park before the start.

The front group of leaders, very, very fast humans.

Katelyn at the start, in perfect position at the very back of the pack. :)

The icy stream crossing, or a reasonable representation of it.

Katelyn at the bottom of the bushwhack hill, hurdling the hay bales.

Katelyn charging up the hill. You can see the long field they had to navigate in the background.

Tyler, flying up the bushwhack hill, about to leap the second drainage ditch.

Tyler, passing his competition to move up in the overall standings.

Great racing guys, you should be very proud of yourselves! But now, we have another week of hard training, so be prepared!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Great Results - EDIT!

It was a cold morning to start, but the racing from the WHTC kids certainly heated up the place, as we had the second overall male and the second overall female! (How's that for a newspaper intro??)

The race was super fun, but it was not as easy as I thught it was going to be (even though it was only a mile). There was a tough uphill start with a tight left hand corner right off the bat. I almost ripped a guy when he cut me off. No one went down though. Then a long (for a mile race) downhill section. We then weaved through a flat parking lot, and the final road section was an uphill surge to the finish. A quick left at the top of the hill, and the finish was through the stadium. (It was this left turn where Coach Neale slingshot me and passed me at the end! D'oh!)

After the race, the WHTC represented very well at the awards ceremony, with Tyler getting second overall in a 5:20, Katelyn getting second overall with a 5:35, and Coach Neale getting second in his age group with a 6:04. EDIT!! We also had the 1st place overall young womens finisher, in Corrina Carney, with a 6:27. Excellent! As Coach Whitenack commented this morning in a text, "Not bad for a bunch of sprinters!"

Before we get to the pictures, this week's schedule looks somewhat similar to last week. Monday is weights in the morning, hard intervals at Sierra in the afternoon. Easy run on your own on Tuesday. Wednesday is weights in the morning, and then a long over-distance run in the afternoon. Thursday afternoon is double intervals (tempo and speedwork) at the CHS track after school. Friday is a recovery run, and there might be a cool surprise for Saturday, stay tuned. Sunday is the long 5 mile XC race up in Louisville. With the new data points, the times will be faster on all the intervals. Be ready! Get lots of sleep, stay hydrated, eat really well. Do all of the little things that will help you succeed in your practices. Success in practice leads to success on the race course.

Now, onto the great pics taken by the Walnut Hills C.F.O. Beth Seppala

It was pretty chilly at the start, even with all the warming up we did. The sun was doing nothing for me at this point.

Someone got a good fast start! All that explosive strength work paid off!

Tyler finishing first all by himself in the rugby stadium, very cool!

Coach Neale in the foreground, blazing to a strong finish. Thank goodness there are no pictures of him slingshotting me!

This girl passed me on the turn, but I got her back at the finish. :)

Tyler, getting interviewed about his win. I hear he gave all the credit to his coaches. :)

The team after the race, Tyler, me, Katelyn and Corrina. (Corrina just joined the club, she will be a *huge* addition!)

Future sub-five miler.

Hope to see everyone out again next Sunday! Get ready for a hard week of training. Go Patriots!