Friday, June 19, 2009

My Brooks Tapering Camp: Day 2

Today was a special day as the area celebrated the end of a record 29-day "drought." Most of us were not so happy to see the rain come back during our morning run. The absence of sun and the altitude made the run quite chilly and the low ceiling blocked any view of the surrounding mountains. I'm glad I could see Mt. Rainier above the clouds before landing in Seattle yesterday.
After a short night either for the East Coasters who woke early because of the jet lag, or for the ones getting to bed late, we gathered at the Main Lodge at 7 am for our morning run led by Scott. 2 miles down the road before getting on the famous Pacific Crest Trail, and more specifically the steep Morse Peak Trail. We needed to get back to the Lodge by 8:30 for breakfast which was a nice time constraint for keeping the run short as I am, or at least should be, tapering. The funny part of the run was that, for once, Scott was behind us, as he stopped along the way up to provide several coaching sessions to a few of our group members. We were several upfront wondering where "he" was, surprised he was not catching up with us. I put "he" between quotes because that reminded me the story of the Caballero Blanco whom Christopher McDougall chased in the Copper Canyons and recounts in his newly released Born To Run. Here is our very own Caballo Blanco ;-) :
I came back to the Lodge with my roommate Robert Heppell, from Chicago and originally UK, after a 7.5-mile loop.

At 9:30 we played to a get-to-know-you activity consisting in finding others' fun facts, and mapping them on Bingo-style cards. A nice ice-breaker. My fun fact? I had forgotten about what I had sent the Steve actually: I hated cross-country when I was in middle school because it was to muddy. It's not that fun of a fact out of context but my running changed a lot since then: I now log most of my miles on trails, I got through so much mud in Costa Rica's Coastal Challenge, and I'm surrounded this weekend with so many ex super fast high school and college cross-country runners. Anyway, the 64 other fun facts were all over the map, and not just the US map with Dan Shaw who have been kidnapped in Columbia after hiking the tallest mountain there. He is here with his wife, Alyssa, and their 11-week boy, and you can imagine that if was not a fun fact back then when Alyssa did not hear back from Dan for 7 days...
At 10:30 we had a fascinating presentation from Rich Zartman on the ins and outs of the shoe design process. Basically, after re situating what design is about and all the stakeholders involved, Rich walked us through all the steps of the 18-month process in 18 minutes. A process which connects the preliminary product concept and idea to the actual shoes we can buy in retail stores. Fitting the standard sample and wear testing size, I got a chance to try on the coming Green Silence, a super cool concept both from a performance and sustainable development standpoint. Super comfy and super re comforting to learn about all the improvements on the engineering and manufacturing process side to minimize the footprint on the environment. Brooks is really leading the way here, so much that they decided not to patent the BioMoGo technology, making soles biodegradable, so other brands could benefit from this major innovation. See Brooks' Green Room for more on this early 2010 model.
We then proceeded to 3 focus groups on the apparel: learning from the new material, commenting on all the features of new models and participating in a brainstorm exercise led by Beth Brewster who heads the Apparel PLM (Product Line Merchandising). We were also given the opportunity to participate in a contest for new t-shirt designs. This is a competitive group, and the Brooks folks know how to keep us on our toes!

After lunch we could pick 2 out of 3 30-minute long group activities among Yoga for Runners, Sports Nutrition and Sports Psychology. All three activities were contributed by Inspire Daily members. Anne Preisig did a great job at leveraging Yoga techniques to stretch our back, hip and leg muscles, certainly not my forte. After the 10-step ultra success recipe from Scott last night, it was the turn of Stephen Gonzales to share 12 tips on how to develop mental toughness, with examples for each of them. A lot of content for 30 minutes, but a great checklist to keep handy [Connaughton, Wadey, Hanton & Jones, 2009]:
  1. Belief you can achieve your competition goals (and set them right)
  2. Self-belief in abilities that make you better than your opponents
  3. Insatiable desire to succeed
  4. Bouncing back from performance setbacks
  5. Pushing boundaries but keeping composure
  6. Accepting anxiety & coping (caring and getting serious about events, but keeping relaxed)
  7. Thrive on/under pressure
  8. Maintain psychological control with unexpected adversity
  9. Ability to focus during training
  10. Remaining focus during competition
  11. Not being affected by others (their success or failure)
  12. Remaining focused during life stresses
For that, he recommended to work on a few skills:
  1. Goal setting (SMART: Specific, Measurable, Adjustable (mine was Attainable), Realistic, Time-bound), with three dimensions (process, performance, output)
  2. Imagery (in the elements if possible)
  3. Self-talking (shutting the negative voice up)
  4. Control your "controllables" (pre-race routines, dress properly, hydration and nutrition, setting a flexible race strategy, ...)
  5. Arousal regulation (throwing some fun and random elements into training)
A lot of insights to leverage and work on! Stephen also strongly advised reading the book Running Within.
The rest of the afternoon was free, some went for a second run (in the rain and chilly temperatures), others (including me) getting a very professional massage, then hanging out by the fireplace for more blogging and discussions.
After dinner we had an interesting challenge to create a concept for a Brooks running event and the eight groups came with interesting ideas, some groups even sharing similar ideas. I thought our group had done quite well, but we did not even make it to the top 3, probably not enough outside of the box. The party moved from the sun deck to inside due to the bad weather, although we could see stars in the sky tonight, so there is hope for some sun and views tomorrow!

Get to run, or to sleep actually, we are meeting at 7 am again tomorrow morning. Have a good night and talk to you tomorrow after Day 3.

PS: pictures of Day 2 posted in my Picasa album.


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for writing this up! I love the pictures and wish I could have been there. I can't wait till my new Launch arrives!!!

I noticed steve wearing them in the photos...

Brooks are ahead of their time and I feel so lucky to be apart of the ID team...

I'm just bummed I didn't get my ID shirt in time! haha


Brooks running said...

Thanks to your post!I love it"!keep on posting...