Thursday, November 13, 2008

TDD Part 3: KFC vs. Cooked Carrots (Freebase)

"A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct." - Frank Herbet, Dune

Cruising through the air on my way to Dallas, the chaos of the last few weeks seems almost like a dream now. Balance is probably the least fitting descriptor of my current lifestyle. Working until 3am, sleeping in until 9 or 10, a diet consisting of 90% burritos and 10% coffee, a Verizon bill somewhere in the fog of the interweb that hasn't been seen or paid in over 3 months. One could guess that training has been anything but consistent as of late. I think Keith's world too has been a little less than efficient as well. As he is preparing to enter graduate school, I am preparing to leave.

But all of this will change shortly. Keith will soon have his grad school apps completed (stay tuned for the updates on what he wants to be when he grows up), and following the conference I am attending this week (APS DPP) I will be starting in on my thesis writing, a much more routine business than the frantic preparations for an invited talk. For the sake of not only our training, but of the sanity and the overall health of our psyches, I propose the following lifestyle exercises:
  1. morning sun salutations
  2. complete a soduku per day
  3. limit ourselves to 3 KFC value meals per week
  4. keep road tires inflated to at least 80 psi
  5. memorize world capitals
  6. wash dishes at least once per week
  7. find the (dark) comedy in our lives
Though I suggest these exercises in jest (I doubt if I could ever get Keith to do a sun-salutation, or wash his dishes once per week), the reality of the situation is that these exercises would comprise a significant improvement in our standard of living. I think he and I will be diligent about finding the comedy in our lives, that at least will get us through.

But we're not talking here of just getting through, we're talking of a training program to bring us to the end respectably, aiming even for a stage win, or should we find the strength, a top placing in the GC. Though our FreeBase (TM) training period is an eclectic program composed of introductory strength training, a ramp up of base riding, cyclocross races, and a general attitude of playfulness, it is perhaps most importantly a priming of our mental base for long winter ahead. As one who never adhered to a concrete training regimen, but who took the preparations for nationals competitions with all seriousness, I think it is most important to have the right mindset - the dedication, the passion. Our first task in establishing a training program for the next six months is to find a balance and a space in which we can remain productive.

In terms of standard training regimens, our FreeBase (TM) period might be most akin to a "reverse periodization". That is, we start with honing our high end, acclimating to the intense efforts of intervals and, to some degree, sprints. The idea here is that one's base training period benefits from the ability to sustain a higher intensity. We will brave the cold winds and wet weather. We will remind ourselves of the exhilaration of exhaustion, and relax in the warmth of hard cider. In short, we will shed our mental weaknesses.

As outlined earlier, we will have specific exercises for each period culminating a milestone adventure. In all seriousness I am going to suggest the following training program, though the specifics of the day to day scheduling of these events I think we'll have to defer to a second PBR moderated discussion.
  1. morning sun salutations/touch your toes (daily)
  2. enjoy a well rounded diet (Cooked carrots are make you smart!)
  3. mtb hillclimbs 1 day per week
  4. strength training (gym) 2 days per week
  5. miscellaneous hours during the week
  6. ride long (+intensity) or race on the weekend
The concept of the milestone as a part of the training plan is something I picked up from lab. Each year a committee outlines a few major milestones around which the experimental program is focused. At the end of each year, the lab is evaluated by a number of metrics, one of them being the completion of the milestones. As a psychological tool, the milestone is an effective motivator (especially when accompanied by negative reinforcement, i.e public humiliation when we divulge all via the blog) - it is a definite intermediate goal, a step as compared to a monumental leap. As promised, each of our training periods will incorporate milestones. I have come up with three milestones fitting for the FreeBase (TM) period.
  1. Defend Catan (read all about Catan here)
  2. Dodge the ball at Midnight Dodgeball
  3. Complete a 50 mile mtb ride before the solstice (December 21)

Once I return from this conference training is on. Here's looking forward to my toes, cooked carrots and the trails.

image credit [bus stop yoga]:
image credit [carrots]:

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