Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yo, Tea. Wassup?

I'm sure you're wondering exactly how I've been spending my time lately.

Besides the obvious ranting about the ACA.

And emotionally recovering from JMan's major freaking car accident. Oh you missed that one? He was coming home to drop some stuff off prior to Thanksgiving break. He came home during a terrible snowstorm that dumped quite a bit of snow, ice and cold temps out our way. He hit a turn on the highway, lost control of his jeep, spun around, went into the median, hit the cabling (which is to prevent accidents from going into oncoming traffic....so THAT worked) and his jeep got pretty much sliced in half from the cabling. Fortunately, he DID have a big, heavy duty, older jeep....with a big engine because the engine prevented the cabling from cutting through into the cabin.....or who knows how the accident would have ended up.

He walked away.

His jeep wasn't so fortunate.

If you drive by, you can still see the remaining pieces sitting on the fence.

So. That's fun.

The next BIG NEW THING was that I joined a new masters swim team. I love it so much. I want to give the group a hug every time I see them. They push me harder than I have ever been pushed, and I am rising to the occasion, finding speeds that I never even knew existed. I always believed in my heart that I was faster than I was, but I could never figure out what I was doing wrong.

In addition to that, I am getting 1-1 coaching from one of the swim coaches there. Coach Andrew might be one of the only level 3 coaches in CO. He definitely is in the Denver metro area. He is awesome. I visit Mr. Andrew once a week, immediately before masters....cuz I'm a sick pup like that. I've already made HUGE progress and have surpassed ALL my pool paces from 2014. In addition to that, I've become much more efficient, so those faster paces feel easier.

But all is not sunshine and pixie dust. It's hard work. I have to constantly FOCUS on what I am doing to ingrain the muscle memory.

The good thing is that during our 1-1 coaching, he videos me and gives me feedback. I thought I had a weak kick. Turns out I have a pretty righteous kick....or in swimming terms: I have a strong/synchronized kick. I also have fast arm turnover. (in other words, you don't want me to bitch slap you. you'll never see that shit coming.) Wait sorry. I checked out for a minute. Both of those things are good.

The bad....which is more of tweaking. I need to work on my pull, going deeper, internally rotating my shoulder more and working on my body rotation....both of which work together.

The reality is that I'm not swimming that much: 3 times a week. 1 on my own to go slower and practice my technique and 2 for the sucking wind DEARGODI'MGOINGTODIE sessions.

That's swimming.

The bike: well you know. The bike rocks. I'm doing more of a "general maintenance" there. Doing drills on the trainer a couple of times a week.

Running is where COACH DON'T PLAY. I'm doing some running. Yes.I.AM. Sick shit at that. On Sunday, I ran 6 miles descending with 1 mile cooldown. I ran SO fast. I was sore....for days. Tomorrow, I turn around and have another BEAST like workout....much like Sunday's workout.

In between those, I do easier runs.

I've never run descends before. I think they are harder than mile repeats because there is NO REST. It's constant: GO FASTER EVERY MILE. As Coach says, "Place of Pain? GO THERE."

It's exactly what I need to build the strength and confidence to know that at the end of a race, I will be strong enough to kick into that last gear. Like swimming, I'm finding gears that I didn't know I had. Every time I go, I want more. I want to give more, be faster & stronger.

It's taken me almost a year to get to this point. (Technically, it's been 8 years.) Coach Liz got me there in less than a year.

I race next Thursday. Many of you know the story of the Turkey Trot. For those of you new to my blog, here's the story.

I started running the Turkey Trot when the boys were babies. I would run. Mike would push them in the stroller.

Then they started walking it with Mike. I would run.

Then, they started running. I would run.

Then, I had a target on my back, and the race became more than a fun family Thanksgiving Day run.

SHIT GOT REAL.

Then, Googs beat me. Then, he beat me again. Then, last year, I passed him at mile 3. He yelled out, "YOU GOTTA BE FUCKING KIDDING ME". (The MOUTH on that kid). The last mile was a bloodbath. I would run through tight areas trying to lose him. I would pick up the pace. He would pick up the pace. We stepped on the timing mat at the exact same time. (Technically, I beat him by 6 seconds because I started behind him).

This year, he started training MONTHS ago and has run 5ks. I'm doing my fastest running ever.

I cannot overstate the importance of this race....

Then we go home for a BIG family breakfast and start trash talking next year's race.

WHO WILL BE THE VICTOR? It will be decided in 8 days.


That leaves me with strength training. Coach has me strength training several times a week. I love love love her plan. Right now it's filled with core work but soon we move on to more power moves in addition to the core work. I've gotten strong fast, and I'm back to being able to hold one leg plank for a minute....HUGE Progress. I think next week, I'll move to the stability ball.

There you go.

That's my off season. When I don't feel like doing a workout, I skip it. It's my off season. I take naps on occasion. I sleep in when I can. I drink hot chocolate with whipped cream. I read a lot and watch movies with Mr. Tea. I  It's my time to turn down the volume, eat good food and enjoy life outside of triathlon. I'm not even training 10 hours a week. In January, I start getting focused again because my first race is in Feb.


But first things first, we have a Turkey Trot to run.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

This type of stuff pisses me off

I'm going to talk about the ACA.

When talk about HEALTH CARE FOR ALL BOOYAH started, I supported it. BUT, I want to make a few things very clear. I DO NOT and DID NOT SUPPORT THE PLAN THAT WAS PASSED.

I believe the government should have either gone all in.....or done nothing. This half assed bullshit gets us nowhere. I felt the same way about the bank bail outs. Let the fuckers fail.

I also believe that within this half assed plan, people should be allowed to OPT OUT. SERIOUSLY, I think I know my financial situation better than some person in Congress who gets paid for the rest of their lives and has health insurance for that same time period, even if they are not re-elected.

But, I digress.

The point is WE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO ACCEPT OR DECLINE COVERAGE. Just like it used to be when we went to work somewhere. We could accept the health insurance or say "no".

Now, I want to give you a real life example. I suspect that most people reading this are not paying for their own health insurance. You might be paying for a portion through your employer. That's a different situation.I'm not going to go there. It's similar as for as prices increasing etc, but it's different if you are not 100% responsible for paying for your coverage.

Here's the real life example, but names obviously will be changed: (This info was taken from here.)

I should point out that we're talking about NEXT year. This family bought the required health insurance for the year. It was basically the plan they've had for a few years.

2015 is when the problems really kick in.


In other words, a family of 4, will pay $975 in penalties. If their income is higher, the fee will be higher. For the sake of argument, let's say this is a pretty average family of 4 we're talking about, because they are a pretty average family. A very cool family. But financially, average.

Now, here's a piece of an email they received. (BTW: I asked if I could use this snippet from the email).


If you click on the image, this is what you will see.
A.) The family paid (out of pocket) $103.89 per month for health insurance in 2014.
B.) In 2015, the family will be paying $258.56 per month for the same plan.

This is after their credit is applied. Because the husband received a promotion this year, they get a lower credit.

HOWEVER, this issue here is that the plan they have is CRAP. The plan is the lowest plan they can buy. Pretty much nothing is covered, unless there is an emergency.

This same plan (in 2013 and earlier) cost the family $100 per month with NO government credit. In 2015, this plan will cost $658.07 per month.

A.CRAP.PLAN. A plan that covers nothing with a $6000 per person deductible.

Let's do the math.

If they re-sign up for the plan, out of pocket expenses will be:

12 x 258.56 = 3102.72

If they don't sign up the penalty will be:

$975.00

As a business owner, this is a slam dunk business decision. It's a  $2127.72 savings if they don't re-sign up.

But because there is no OPT OUT option, I was asked "What do we do?"

So, we have a family who was previously saving that amount of money every year. It's not much, but it DID go into their savings account. NOW, that money will be going to the government.

Or will it.

There's this:

How many people are willing to drop their coverage and NOT pay this penalty?

This particular family said they don't really get a refund anyway, but what about those that do?


I think it's going to take 1 or 2 tax cycles before people become outraged.

Then what?








Monday, November 17, 2014

In case you missed the excitement



THIS GAL, you know the IM 70.3 World Champion of 2014 who also just happens to be Coached by Liz Waterstraat of Multisport Mastery, was 1st OVERALL AMATEUR at Ironman Arizona!




Tuesday, November 11, 2014

From slogging to sprinting

If I'm going to be slow, I might as well go long.

For a long time, that was my thought process. I wasn't consciously thinking it but looking back that's exactly what I was doing.

It's not so impressive to say I ran a 36 min 5k as it was to say I ran a marathon!

I don't believe I was doing it so much to impress everyone else. Maybe I was. After all, no one is really impressed with someone running a 5k as much as they are a marathon. Maybe I needed to feel like I was accomplishing something because I was so slow.

Over time (and really only in recent years), did I learn that I just don't like going far. It's boring as hell. To me, there's no real challenge in going far....slowly. (Again, I respect people who do go far.)

That's me now. But it was a process to get there.

In committing to shorter distances, I was also committing to do things that I hadn't done before. Run for two hours? easy peasey....all day long.

Building output to over threshold for 7 miles? That was going to hurt.

Mentally, it was hard to get there. I would always back off. I'd want to get there, but IT HURTS. I had to be willing to feel like I was going to collapse.

I was NOT at that point.

I wasn't used to it. I was used to plugging along. Speedwork meant going a little bit faster than a long run. It didn't mean gut wrenching workouts that ended with me being dizzy, light headed.

You could always see it in my race times. My 5k was faster than my 10k, but my 10k was not much faster than the half marathon.

Because the 10k is SCARY. The 10K means going super hard for 6.2 miles. With the 5k, you know it's over soon. It's over before you really feel pain. NOT with the 10K. The 10K requires a pacing that starts that a high level and only builds from there. The 10K means jumping in to pain, relishing it, looking forward to it and wanting it more.

It's not until you're miserable, that you know you're racing a 10K.

It's not only running. On the swim, being willing to go there requires strength. Moving your arms fast, doesn't get you anywhere. Pulling hard and pushing off.....it's exhausting.

On the bike, it requires being able to handle the burning in the legs and lungs. Knowing that when you get off, you get to run a 10K.

ALL OF THAT. I wasn't willing to do. I wanted to do it.

I knew I would have to take it in pieces. I couldn't just go from plodding along to being able to handle such intensity.

This year, I made progress getting there.You can see it in my times this year. I can podium at the sprint, but I'd dropped off dramatically on the Oly. I'd hold my own on the swim and bike, but I didn't RUN the way I was supposed to run.

In 2015, I want to make even bigger strides.

When I asked Coach if we'd be doing a swim focus, I was thrilled when she said, "You don't need that. We're going to make you an explosive and strong runner."  I'd always done a swim focus in the winter....but do what you've always done and get what you've always got.

My winter schedule has filled up with 5ks/10ks strategically placed throughout the coming months. I know that this winter is big for me. If I can bust through and learn how to really run stand alone 5ks and 10ks, I can take that to my tri's this year.

In training, I've been willing to go there, go to that place of pain. I've learned that I can go there. I've learned that I can run when I feel like I should fall apart. I just have to embrace the discomfort knowing that it means I'm really racing. THIS IS EXACTLY HOW RACING FEELS. It means that I'm doing things I haven't done before, great things.

Now, that I'm learning how the whole thing feels in training, I know what to expect and look forward to in a race.

Things are looking good so far. I keep making more strides toward racing instead of merely doing triathlon.

I can't wait for my first race.





Monday, November 10, 2014

Fresh Start

Another one from the Great LBTEPA.

Today's post is brought to you by Totally Random Shit.

I joined a new Masters swim team. My first day will be this week. Why did I leave after 5 years of working with the same team? There are two reasons that sort of affect each other. The first is that I just cannot handle the gossipy, rich, stay at home moms who have the same mentality as their 13 year old daughters anymore. The second reason is that I felt like my swimming has stagnated this year because my favorite coach left earlier this year. When you're unhappy because of immature people AND you're not getting the results you want...well, a move is the next step.

The university that I went to has the BEST masters swim team in the State. They have top notch coaches and have won the state championship 2010-2014. They have minimum requirements for being able to join (300yds in 6 minutes rest 1 minute, repeat).  In addition to this, my old school has one of the best D1 college swim teams in the entire US. And WE, the masters swim team, have access to those coaches. The team has level 3 swim coaches. 

The real question would be, "Why didn't I leave earlier?" I have a problem with loyalty. I'm more loyal than a dog. Even when things aren't going my way, I have this profound sense of wanting to make it work. 

Last week, there was an incident at masters. I got to my beep beep, and I thought, "No more. I've had it." I called Mr. Tea, and he said, "I don't care how much it costs....join the new masters team."

That weekend, we went over to the university to check out the pool, get pricing info, etc.

From the minute I contacted them, I was nothing short of impressed with their organization, the coaches and the ability of the swimmers. 

I was so excited that I bought NEW FLIP FLOPS and New SWIMSUIT. If I'm going to have a new exciting fresh start, it was going to be with new flip flops.

Then, I went to the pool, and my jaw hit the floor.

Do you remember the first time you showed up for masters? Do you remember how intimidating it was?

This was like that....ON STEROIDS.

Honestly, that was my very first thought as I watched these part fish humans swimming effortlessly back and forth. THE VERY first thing that popped into my head, "I'm going to show up and everyone is going to see I'm a poser."



Right there. 

STOP.

I CAN SWIM. 

I CAN COMPETE.

I sent an email to the head coach. I told him exactly what my abilities are. I told him that my endurance is pretty solid but my threshold paces are lacking at the moment because of my race and taking a bit of time off. I told him my pace is 1:36 per 100yd normally (the pool is in yards....and I'm used to meters which will really test my math skillz), but right now it's probably slower. I told him I'm a short course triathlete. I told him that I'm pretty good at stroke except for fly which I have a love hate relationship with. 

Before hitting send....I looked at the email. Is that right? I thought to myself. Are those paces right? Why am I so worried about "being found out"?

There's nothing to find out. I go. I show up. Maybe I can swim a 1:36 RIGHT now. Maybe not. But I'm not embarrassed about who I am or what I can do. I'm not going to hide or slink away.

I'm going to show up, and I'm going to improve.

Because I have a goal for this year. I want to consistently be first out of the water. I was first out, probably 95% of the time. In 2015, I want that to be 99% of the time. I can compete with those women in my AG DAMN WELL, if it means I have to suffer a bit in masters to do it; IF IT means I have to start in the SLOWEST lane; IF IT means I'm going to get my ass kicked day after day....I'm GAME.



So, I hit send and sent the email.

An hour later, Coach responded with, "I have the perfect lane for you. See you this week."

That's when I remembered.

When you show up to masters, no one cares how fast you are. No one really cares what your pace is. 

All they care about is how hard you work.

I might not be the fastest swimmer when I go up against "swimmers", but I every time I show up, I give it everything I have that day, so I can be the best when I show up on race day.

And THAT is most important thing. You get what you give.




Monday, November 3, 2014

Beyond training


I rarely talk about work for a reason. I've found that in doing so people often think I'm a lady of leisure or they form whatever thoughts it is that they have. Over the years, people have made some very interesting assumptions about what it is that I actually do.

I prefer it that way.

There are many parallels between my training life and my work life.

In training, I want to become a better athlete. In my work, I want to build a better company.

Ironically....or merely coincidentally, both held big changes for me this year. Some people call it a "transition" year. That's what I called it.

You know what changes I went through this year on a training level.

At the company level, we made some equally big changes. Prior to this year, we had employees scattered throughout 4 different states.

By March of this year, we eliminated those positions and consolidated here. All employees are now located in the same location.

It was time for that change. When we first started hiring people outside of the state, we had very good reasons for doing it. It helped us grow. However, we got to a point where it was no longer feasible and was hurting the company in many ways. It hurt from a financial perspective. It hurt from an efficiency perspective. It hurt from a security perspective.

Whether YOU like it or not.....without profits there is NO company. There are NO employees. So, we made the decision to let those people go and re-hire locally. A company cannot survive in a break even environment or even a small loss fiscal environment.

Honestly, I don't f*cking care what anyone thinks about my decision to let them go. If I cared about what anyone thought, this company wouldn't exist.  As soon as you build a company that grows at +100% for 5 years running, then we'll have a conversation. Until then. STFU.

In addition to this, we found out that the employees we let go...fired....laid off....choose whatever words you want.....lied to us about a few things.

Let me tell you this, that PISSED ME OFF TO NO END. Why? Because I went ABOVE AND BEYOND to help those employees.

I paid for medications when they were unable to.

I paid for RENT when they were getting back on their feet.

They could work whatever schedules they needed (obviously within reason) in order to go to their kids events at school. The point, here, is that they were never reprimanded for taking time to go to their kid' events. It was something I never had working for DA MAN.

And this is just the short list. I always wanted to have a company that valued employees and gave them the opportunity to be GREAT.

AND THEY F*CKING LIED TO ME.

I don't think people are bad.

I think we hired poorly.

And don't worry, I'm not mad about it at all. It made the decision to let them go that much easier.

And I'm a very passionate person. If I wasn't, I certainly wouldn't be a business owner.

That was merely the beginning of the changes.

In addition to this, we had to cut off a long standing relationship with another small business. We both started around the same time. We've grown up together.

Just like your BFF in high school then college/service.....one day you wake up and realize that the relationship just isn't working anymore.

That's what happened. We cut off that relationship around June.


Most recently, the biggest of all the changes happened. We put in an offer to buy another company. We....sort of....low balled the offer expecting the company to come back to us with a counter.

They didn't. They accepted the offer.

We just purchased a company for 1/3 the value of the company.

This means a lot of work is ahead of us.  We are working on the legal agreements. The contracts. All the details.

We have to merge two different locations. We have two locations worth of merchandise. We have to merge systems. We have to hire personnel. We pretty much need to tear down and rebuild the "new" location (which will ultimately become our main location).

And Fall/Winter/Spring are our busiest times.


It leads me to this. I don't care how big your company is.  You have to constantly be moving. Constantly working. Constantly looking ahead to the next thing. Constantly keeping an eye on your competition. Constantly keeping an eye on what other companies in completely different segments are doing.

And don't take, "No." for an answer.

And don't listen to "well meaning" advice from other people.  They think too small or don't think at all.

YOU need to dream. You need to follow those dreams, but it takes a lot of work.

It's not any different from training.

When I started this company, I was told I was crazy. I was told it wouldn't work.

When I posted my goal to qualify for the World Championship, I got email responses saying, "Nice goal but not sure it's realistic".


Who are YOU going to believe?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

This off season thing



I only realized this morning that my off season is going to be really short this year. Well, short for me. This is because I chose my first A race of the year.

With that said and with the goals that I have this year, it's time to get down to business with my off season.

First things first, I took some much needed down time. I have more scheduled through December. A few days off here and there to get a mental break from year round training.

Next up, strength training. Gotta get STRONG to compete with these women! WE CAN REBUILD HER! WE CAN MAKE HER FASTER! STRONGER!

Finally, I did my every 9 month weigh in. Mr. Tea and I had a conversation. In his brilliance, he said, "You know you'd run faster if you lost weight".



BLEH. It's true. It was time for me to lose the 10lbs that I had put on from Sept-Dec 2013. Also, carrying a little extra weight is ok and even necessary for people going very very far; for those of us who are "sprinters", it's more of a hindrance.

I "weighted" (hahahaha! I just kill me!) until the 70.3 water retention was gone before I hopped on the scale. And BOOM. Over the course of the past 10 months, I lost 4 lbs, so now I only want to lose another 6lbs.

Of course, I hate everything about trying to lose weight. So, my approach will be that I won't try. I'm thinking that with the reduction of calories and pasta, I should be able to drop 6lbs by April.

Believe it or not, my "training" kicks off in January.

What will my off season focus really be about? (And yes, I cringed at ending my sentence with a preposition).


I have no excuses this year. I'm choosing all my own races. I'm choosing the distances that I either love or want to DOMINATE. I chose those big somewhat outrageous and possibly unreachable goals. But they're mine. All.mine.

I take full ownership of the craziness about to ensue.