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Oct
04

By guest KIT blogger, Dave Andersen

Motivation. Where the hell does it come from and how come some folks have so much? I’ve been in the endurance and racing game since 1977. I can vividly recall many times throughout my athletic career where I was so motivated to achieve my best shape and results. At times my motivation to athletically succeed had consumed me, for better or worse. During my high school cross country and track years I was thoroughly driven and wound up with 72 races under my belt. My childhood American heroes, Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter, were on top of the running world and a beacon to my younger self. After high school and some wayward years I was back running. In a 2 year span I raced 35 times and set most of my fastest running times from 5K to the marathon. I trained with other young like-minded athletes and recall we all derived motivation from each other and the group dynamic. Alas, an injury and the desire to do other things squelched my motivation. A few years later it was back. And it was back with a vengeance!

From 1990-1995 I raced 153 times, everything from 5K to the marathon, biathlons, and triathlons. I was fit and in my early 30’s. At times I felt like Superman. As can be the case, an injury knocked me down and took a bite out of my motivation. For the next 5 years I did some short races but my body was not 100% cooperative so I kept it all in check. Fast forward to the year 2000 and the body was ready and then the motivation kicked in…AGAIN. How fast could I run at age 40? I trained harder than ever before and after a few years I found out the answer was pretty fast — almost as fast as when I was in my early 20’s. Sweet! Alas, when you push yourself to the limit things often break, or get so overused they become injured. So, it was time for the serious racing to go on the back-burner again. I stayed fit and did some running races and added more cycling.

By the time I reached 50 years old I decided to try straight-up bike racing…road cycling to be specific. I got a USA Cycling license. Before I even raced I crashed and spent a few days in the hospital. I didn’t let this stop me; I was motivated to see what I could do. Fast forward 3 years and 89 races later and the answer is: fast. In my second year I moved up to a category 3 racer and now on the right (hilly) course in a masters race I have been able to get a handful of top 15’s. Winning, although nice, is not what motivates me. The desire to be as fit, fast and smart as I can be burns within me.

The motivation to be MY best is what drives me. There will always be fitter, faster, and smarter racers but it’s nice to see what you can get out of yourself and to reach your potential. None of it comes easy and the successes are few. Sometimes I think it’s the lifestyle that motivates me. To be a competitive athlete is fun, fulfilling, and hardcore. The older I get the more I appreciate it. And when I see guys that are 60 or 70 and are still super fit, I find that motivating too.

See you on the road soon!

Dave
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*Dave Andersen lives in Boston and works in the educational publishing business. He shares his passion for cycling and sport with a wide range of friends and competitors.

Aug
16

By guest KIT blogger, Dave Andersen

Here we are in mid-August and I can feel a “peak” coming on! Many of us that race (tri’s, marathons, or cycling) have big races coming up. I’ve been racing for 35 years and many of those years have culminated in a big season-ending goal race. This year, for me, it’s the 4-stage, 4-day Green Mountain Stage Race and I gotta tell you, I’m ready to PTHD. The cycling season in New England started in April and it’s been a long and steady progression of fitness for me. Amazingly, at my age, I’m still setting personal records in my interval sessions and hill repeats. This is not only a result of this year’s training plan but from an accumulation of a lifetime of endurance training. You might say, I possess Old Guy Power. I’ve competed in 25 marathons, 6 Ironman triathlons, many multi-day bike races, and about 500 races in all. I’ve done about all I can do to devote time evenly to my fitness, family and work. Bottom line is: It’s an exciting time when the big end of season races roll around so enjoy it to the max!

Unfortunately, all good things, including peak fitness, must come to an end. It can be tough after the end of season goal race is over. We focus for months on intervals, hill repeats, racing, and watching our diet and then the big race is over. For a while we can bask in the glow (hopefully). But then what? There is no need to hammer out the training sessions. But it is so ingrained in our routine that we may feel inclined to keep at it. But then you ask yourself why. It can be a confusing time of the year. You are super fit but the racing is basically over. I know many folks get kind of blue after the racing season is over. I’ve found it’s best to be prepared for this feeling and perhaps bypass it with some “tricks”:

  • Group rides: For us cyclists, group rides with friends over new courses (get lost!) are extremely satisfying.
  • Cyclocross: X-cross is an amazing way to get the endorphins going in a relaxed, grass-roots atmosphere.
  • Running Races: Get out there and do a fall 5K or 10K.
  • Hiking: Put those strong quads to good use and bag a few peaks.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. It’s only August and it’s still hammer-time. I’ve been doing double workouts several times per week and the intensity has been high. I can almost bounce a quarter off my abs. The big race is just around the corner for me..maybe for you too. If you aren’t racing maybe it’s time to throw in an attack on your weekend group training ride (no guts no glory!). Show your training partners on “the big hill” or town line sprint that you’ve just been toying with them all year. Be safe, PTHD and KIT.

See you on the road soon!

Dave
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*Dave Andersen lives in Boston and works in the educational publishing business. He shares his passion for cycling and sport with a wide range of friends and competitors.