The Next Level - May 2004

Greetings and welcome once again to The Next Level newsletter. This is Volume I, Issue V. When you say it in Roman numerals it sounds better.

Lots of amazing stuff has been going on around here. Coach Marty, otherwise known as Der UberIch (Freudian for me), got married to his long-time fiancée and favorite training partner Brianne Harrington a few days ago. The wedding ceremony and celebration were, in his admittedly biased opinion, top-notch, and a number of runners and triathletes dutifully attended, some even skipping the local triathlon the next morning - including the bride and groom.

Brianne and I then took off immediately to Aspen for our honeymoon, and below is a brief review of Aspen in the late spring/early summer (also known as the off-season):

Aspen is wicked cool.

If you love the outdoors, enjoy scenic hikes through picturesque mountains, mountain-biking or road riding, and aren’t afraid of spending a few days at 8,000 feet, check this world-famous ski resort out. Aspen would make a great base of operations for a spring training camp, if you have the means and the time. Additionally, the weekend before Memorial Day includes the annual Ride for the Pass, a short charity race to support the Independence Pass (www.independencepass.org). There are more trails than I could throw a stick at, the Maroon Bells hiking area is just a short drive or (tough) ride away, and in a town of around 6,000 permanent residents, at least 5,800 of them own a road or mountain bike.

Additionally, rental rates during the off-season are reasonable (check Priceline), the weather is mild, and for the most part, the locals are glad you’re there, since you’re buying stuff from them.

Did I mention that Colorado has more microbreweries than any other state?

That’s my free vacation review for the day. Onto the racing scene:

You are all kicking some serious you-know-what. Doug C., despite a month without running due to an Achilles injury, won his AG at the scenic Lake Chatuge Half-IM distance race over the weekend. Doug’s foot fell off around mile nine, but he dug deep, gritted his teeth, and carried himself and his foot over the finish line. Great job, Doug.

Thomas W. PR’d the Fifth Third 25k by several minutes a couple weeks ago. This Memorial Day weekend, along with Jill M., he’ll be taking that form into the Bayshore Marathon. Meanwhile, Greg C. will tackle the Lakeshore Marathon. You’ve all put in the miles, now break out the smiles.

Yeah, that sounds cheesy, I agree. ;-)

Mark S and Mike F both drop kicked their first half-IMs out of the park at the Walt Disney World - Florida Half Ironman. Great races in hot and windy conditions.

Next up: Everyone. The race season has fully arrived. Let’s all be smart about our training, rest, and nutrition. Race within yourself, don’t forget to take in the calories you need during the events, and dig in when you need to. My coaching motto remains “I want you to have fun, and I want you to get faster doing it,” but that doesn’t mean you should let the guy or gal beside you beat you to the line while you smile and chatter away about how much fun you’re having. :) We are competing out there, so race your friends and rivals to the finish – then be the first to offer them a handshake of congratulations afterwards.

Thanks to all of you for being patient with my late and partial deliveries over the last few weeks. For future reference, if I happen to miss a delivery to you, please email me immediately and let me know about it, with something like “Where’s my dang schedule!?!” in the subject line. I do have a tracking system, but the system is only as good as its operator.

Finally, I’ll be at the Georgia Rock-n-Roll Man Half-IM distance race on June 13 to test out my fitness and we’ll see if ‘Coach Marty’ can walk the walk as well as talk. Reports indicate this course is hilly on the bike and hot on the run. My goal is simply to finish with a smile on my face.

After racing everyone to the line with everything I have, that is.

Until next time,

Enjoy your sport,
Marty Gaal
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