The Next Level - April 2004

Greetings and welcome to the April 2004 version of The Next Level Newsletter. Spring is here, the race season is here, and the taxman has taken his pound of flesh. Now we can all focus on that which is important – discussing The Apprentice.

Just kidding.

In the news:

Congrats to Thomas W., who competed in Ralph’s Half-Ironman in California. Thomas was a bit off his goal time, but after assessing the hills and the heat and comparing it to his training grounds (somewhere cold and mostly flat) his coach thinks he did a great job and is on his way to a Ironman PR later this season. Next up is the Fifth Third 25k, then the Lakeshore Marathon in late May, along with Greg C. and Jill M, who scored a PR at the Flushing Half-Marathon in early April. Nice work, Jill!

Mark S. had a great race at the Tri-America kickoff, taking second in his division and feeling good while at it. Mark is looking to tear up the course at his first Half-Ironman at Disney in a few weeks, and I think he’ll do it.

Meanwhile, Ken M. raced in the Winona Classic Triathlon in late March here in Florida, taking home a division win and bragging rights. I barely covered the spread, but collected big winnings on my trip to Vegas. That’s an entirely different story, really. Ken is looking to take some overall places in the Michigan Grand Prix, so watch out for “the Chief” (sorry buddy) and the rest of the Michigan Outlaws!

Richard S. will be looking for another PR at a 5k on April 24, and then is headed to St. Pete Beach for the always-fun Hurricane Man 2.4 mile open water swim (http://www.stpetemasters.com/hurricane.html) on May 8. For those of you looking for an early season getaway in a nice training location, this is certainly one to consider. Good luck, Richard.

Doug C. will be racing a Half-Marathon on April 24, but the name of the race escapes me. It could be the National City Half, but if not, kick some butt regardless!

On the same day, Jack S. will be competing in his first marathon, Music City in Memphis. Afterwards, Jack will be moving on to some self-directed training for the summer, and we wish him the best both with the marathon and the rest of the season. You’ve done the training, enjoy the day and I still expect my race report! ;-)

Meanwhile, Bert and Ashley may be racing in the Surf-n-Turf Triathlon, part of the North Carolina Triathlon Series (NCTS). They’re both competing for series positions, so good luck to them as well.

Set-Up, Inc. of Raleigh runs the NCTS (http://www.set-upinc.com), and they put on a host of well-run races throughout the spring, summer, and fall. I’ve visited Raleigh several times and am going back for the Duke Liver Cancer Center Half in September, so check into some of these races if you want a break from your local scene.

I’d also like to extend a warm welcome to Mike F., who’s getting ready for the Disney Half-Ironman in a few weeks, and then will be headed to Ironman USA Lake Placid for his first Ironman. I’ll be able to get in a few bikes rides with Mike, so naturally, I expect him to set a course record. Who’s that Steve Larsen guy, anyway?

On to training topics:

Race day performance:

Since the race season is fully upon us, I’d like you all to take a peak at an article I wrote a while ago on the topic of race day performance and results (www.martygaal.com/words/nobadrace.html). Basically, we all have good days, better days, and bad days. If most of your days fall into the first two categories, you’re doing something right.


We’re all motivated differently. Some of us are motivated internally, by the desire to try something new and improve ourselves or self-actualize (Maslow), while some of us are motivated by the desire to win awards and look good while doing it. Let’s be frank, we’re all motivated by the second method to an extent. There’s no right or wrong way, because the important thing about motivation is that it gets you out the door and engaged in a sport that will (most likely) improve your quality of life (physical fitness) as well as the length of that life while simultaneously reducing your future debt burden on society (health) and contributing to the GNP (gear, race fees, and me).

There’s a mouthful!

My big summer 2004 event:

I’ve been preparing for a big event for several years. I’ve put in countless hours of preparation, worked out all sorts of scheduling problems, and have remained on track, never losing sight of the big picture. I’m now in taper mode, and on May 15, 2004, I’m participating in an event so exclusive, there are only two people involved: My marriage ceremony to Brianne Hayley Harrington.

I’m getting psyched, but am also a little nervous. To whit: Have we done enough preparation? Will there be enough aid stations on the course? Will the course be well marked, or will we have to find our own way? How far away is the finish line, and what unknown obstacles will be presented along the route? What happens if my gear breaks down? (That’s a trick question - don’t ask). And the big question: Will there be beer at the post-race party?

Like many other things in life, we’ll cross those bridges when we get there.

Until next time, safe training and happy travels, remember to make the most of your daily lives and best of all, keep having fun.

Enjoy your sport,
Marty Gaal