Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Where do I go from here?

I was going to wait to post my goals for next year, but it just so happened that Coach Liz and I talked about it today. I thought I'd wait until the end of the year, but why wait?

I didn't like the 70.3. I didn't really enjoy the process. I made the best of it. The fact is that I just don't like going really really far. THERE is no real challenge for me to attempt to PR whilst moving slowly. (I'm only slightly joking. We all know that a HIM pace is slower than an OLY pace regardless of how fast you actually go....your oly pace will be significantly FASTER. If it isn't, then you're not doing it correctly). Going slower for far distances, isn't exactly exciting for me. Why pace myself at 19mph when I can go lungs and legs ablazing at 23mph?

When I crossed the finish line, I didn't feel any kind of joy or elation over such a huge PR....I felt like, "Meh....I'm glad THAT's over." I don't get the woody that other people get about going really really far.

But what I dislike even more is wasting a race registration. I did it because I paid for it. I might as well see how far I've come. In that regard, it was a huge success.

Why am I telling you this?

Because unless my situation at home changes (ie: I have nothing better to do than train ALL FUCKING DAY), then it is unlikely that I will EVER do a 70.3 again.

I know what you're thinking.

Sit down. Take a deep breath. I know this is quite a shock.


I did the HIM. I PR'd. It's done. Now I can go back to what I truly love and enjoy: Sprints and Olympics.


You all know how much I love going really really fast. This year, just as I was really starting to get going, I had to stop to train for the HIM. Even though I did some really incredible things, I felt like I never got the opportunity to really see what I could do. I raced the best CO has to offer, and I held my own....I was top 3 or 4 at every race, after only a few short months of working with Coach Liz.



Next year, we're (coach liz and I and you all) are going to qualify for nationals and make a run at making Team USA to compete at the World Championship.



YES.

That means I get to go back to the gut busting, burning leg, IJUSTWANNASCREAM workouts that I really love.

And YOU get to listen to me ramble on for at least another year about triathlon.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

The WOW PR

Where do I start with this race report? I don't want to give you the blow by blow....for a 70.3...it would take me all night.

I think most of you know that I did this race because I lost a bet last year. Soma 70.3 was selected by my previous Coach. When I lost the bet, I immediately signed up....even though, my heart wasn't really in it.

BUT....I committed to doing the race cuz that's how I roll. I lost the bet. I held up my end of the bargain.

Let me say this: The training that Coach Liz had me do was the BEST training I've ever done for a 70.3.

And, there's more. A week ago, she sent me an almost 6 page email about specific recommendations for the week before, two days before, 1 day before and the day of my race.

All of the recommendations were things I'd never done and in some circumstances, never even heard of. Last week, I was sold. I bought into everything. I did everything she said.

She said, "No sweets or alcohol." I cut out all sweets. (I don't drink anyway, so that was a slam dunk).

She gave me specific dietary guidelines. I followed them to the best of my ability.

For the day of the race:

The swim: She told me to treat it like a warmup. If I wanted to build throughout the swim, that was fine, but ultimately I had to look at the swim as a warmup.

The swim at soma is a deep water start. It was complete chaos. Women took off like crazy fast. I thought, "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?" Me? I just kept saying, "Warmup. Keep it easy." I knew that even going easy, this swim was going to be a PR.

And it was, I passed 3 and 4 (at least) waves in front of me. I didn't care where my AG'ers were. I was here for me. I got out of the water with a huge smile on my face. I was joking with the volunteers, and I yelled at Mr. Tea "Well THAT's the first PR of the day."

(I don't have any times for you because I'm unable to upload my garmin, but I think garmin shows a 1.36 mile swim in 37:XX. I have no idea what pace that was.)

I ran to T1. (By the way, I had one of THE best transition spots. I was at the very end....on the very end of the rack. The people around me were the NICEST triathletes I have ever met).

Liz was very careful about my bike plan. She repeatedly told me to be conservative on the bike because of the heat. Race day temps were supposed to be around 92. I was under strict instructions to not exceed 80% of FTP. She stressed over and over the importance of making sure I hit my fueling.

With that in mind, I head off on the bike. OH! While I was bobbing around in the water at the swim start, I talked to a women about the bike course. I asked, "Is the course as confusing as it seems?"

She gave me the BEST advice. She said, "Use the first loop to get familiar with the turns and uturns. Take the first loop easy. Then, the next two loops will be very easy."

Liz wanted me to take the first 30 minutes easy. The loop was about 18.5 miles....so what if I went easier for the entire first loop? I kept my watts at the low end of my range. Took the turns very conservatively, and felt great at the end of the first loop.

At that point, I started thinking, "I'm feeling really great. I mean spectacular. What if I go a little harder for this loop (and stay within my range)??? Yes. Let's do it."

I can't even explain how I felt on the bike. It was downright magical. Coach Liz told me that many age groupers lose focus at "these points". She said I'd hate the bike. She said that my legs would want to stop....that I wouldn't want to eat.....and I kept waiting for all of it....and none of it happened. I was smiling the entire time. I was talking to other athletes and volunteers....

I didn't want the bike to end.

When I got to the third loop, I thought, "What if I went a little bit harder?" At this point, I was catching and passing everyone and anyone. There were women who passed me at the very begining....I blew past them all like they were standing still. I went up the hills in aero the entire time when other people were standing.

I felt absolutely unreal. It was like it wasn't even me out there.

Every loop averaged 18.2 mph. I believe my garmin said my time was 3:04 for the 56 miles. (There's quite a bit of a run from dismount to the timing mat.)

When I got off the bike, I felt fantastic....no noodle legs....no cramping....no discomfort. I felt amazing.

I nailed the bike nutrition. I nailed the watts.

Now it was time for the run. I spent extra time in transition (again) as I reapplied the sunscreen. I grabbed all my gels. I took salt tablets. I put on socks (which I don't do for short distances).

All the while, I kept thinking, "Wow...I can't believe how good I feel".

Another little tidbit from Liz "lose the heart rate monitor,..don't wear it".

That might be the BEST advice I've ever gotten.

We had a pacing plan in place. I was doing really well with it. Then, I had a bathroom emergency somewhere around mile 7-8.....you know the kind.....the BAD kind.

I ran to a porta potty....open the door and immediately shut it. One of the race marshalls saw me, and I said, "FAHGEDABOUDIT" He laughed and said a mile up the road are real bathrooms. Ok....I can wait.

A quarter of a mile up the road, I need to go NOW. ON the bike course, I saw an out house. I made the decision to go off the run course and hit the bike porta potty....I mean NO ONE Ever uses those. I was right. Unfortunately, it was a delay that really slowed my average pace.

AFter that, I just couldn't get my average pace back up to where I wanted it. Granted, I also wasn't giving it everything I had, but my mental state was positive. I was thankful to be there. I knew I was heading to a big PR, and I was STILL smiling.

I kept fueling. Ice in my top. Ice down my back. Water over my head. Coke. Gels. Water. Ice. Ice. Baby. And more ice.

The plan that liz recommended was: hold pace. walk the aid stations to manage your heat level and ICE ICE BABY.

It really worked.

I knew I was going to have  a PR. I knew everyone was tracking me. I ran from aid station to aid station. I only walked the aid stations. I still felt good (well....except for the GINORMOUS blisters on feet that I felt popping one after another). I thought, "Hey. no matter how slow..always run...running is faster than walking. just keep going hold pace."

When I got to 12.1 miles, I had 1 mile left. 1 mile left of my season. I never really thought it would end this way. All I wanted was to break 7 hours. That's it. I would check my garmin every 3 or 4 miles, and I couldn't believe I was going to do it. I was going to have a HUGE PR.

PR's at all three events.  A stellar swim. An amazing bike. And ok....not my best effort run, but my best HIM run ever.

And I couldn't really believe it
I rounded the last quarter of a mile....there was Mr. Tea. I would have smiled, but now I was all about getting the race done.

And I ran. I ran straight down the finishers shoot. People were cheering. It's like 93 degrees, and people are out there screaming and yelling for me. No one else was around. I felt like I was winning the entire race.

I crossed the finish line.

I thought, "WOW." That was it. I mean. WOW. I saw Mr. Tea. He came over and hugged me....I think he did....maybe it was a stranger. I don't even remember now.

Then he asked, "What did you think?"

I said, "Never again."

**********************










Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On my way



I did my last bike workout in the hotbox.

I swapped cassettes and put on the race wheels.

I've printed off my list of mantras and race strategy.

I've packed my gear, snacks & fuel.

After a quick swim tomorrow morning and breakfast with Mr. Tea, I start my road trip to AZ.

Thank you all for your support over the past few months. Y'all my rainbow.



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

When you're almost there, you're almost home.

Know you're not alone.


11 days until race day.

I'm a little surprised at how I feel. I'm closing in on my longest race in a very long time, and I feel nothing.

No nerves.
No excitement.
No race dreams.

Nothing.

I just feel regular. I don't even feel like I have a race coming up.

I guess the word is "calm". I don't know. I've never felt this way before. I'm not making lists. I'm not panicking. I realized over the weekend that I was out of tubes and cartridges and no freak out. I just bought some.

I don't feel rushed or hurried or like I'm running out of time.

I still need to change my cassette, but I'll get to it. Everything will get done in due time.

I started planning my eating (carbo loading) for next week, making sure that I have snacks for my road trip.

Yesterday, Mr. Tea told me that he wouldn't be going to the race. It didn't really phase me. Of course, it would be nice to have a weekend away, but I'm racing.....so it wouldn't really be a weekend away anyway.

I feel weird because of the lack of bad feelings, the stress feelings.

There is also the lack of "doubt". I'm not doubting myself. I'm not worrying about whether or not I'll hit certain times.

I'm just going to "do" one event at a time to the best of my ability.

Maybe it's too soon? Maybe next week?

On the other hand, I've had unusual things happen all year long. Maybe this is the result of getting used to the unexpected? You just kind of keep moving.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Worthy of your time

Two posts/blogs that are worthy of your valuable time.

The first one is from Amanda. She is coached by my coach and recently won her AG at the 70.3 World Championship. When you read her race report, you will truly understand what racing is all about: the ups and downs and how not to let those things get into your head. Maybe most importantly, how to become the athlete you've always been meant to be.

This week, Amanda is racing Kona. Read her World Championship Race Report here. It will bring tears to your eyes.


Second, Coach Liz posted an excellent article about how to handle your off season. I love this article because she doesn't just say "Do a swim or bike or run focus", she emphasizes the whole athlete. Set up your off season to accomplish the goals that are important to you. Don't just follow the herd. Do you!

Read her off season article here. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Find your Greatness


In 2009, I did my last 70.3 for awhile. I didn't know at the time that it was going to be my last long distance race for 5 years, but it was.

I finished in 7:20.
My swim was 41:31
My bike was 3:26
My run was 3:06

After that race, I took off 2010 from triathlon. I still swam, rode & ran, but I more or less did what I felt like which was a couple of running races here and there.

During that year, I decided it was time for me to stop focusing on going long. It was time for me to spend time working on my speed. I didn't want to be one of those back of the pack age groupers anymore.

I'd done two 70.3's, and let me tell you.....I didn't get a whole lot of satisfaction from "just finishing". It was time for me to take a different approach.

In 2011, I hired a Coach. For the next 3 years, I put all my energy into getting stronger & faster. Stronger: physically and mentally.

Now, I've finished my training cycle. I'm heading into taper.

I walked into the house after my 9.11 mile run with a huge feeling of accomplishment & satisfaction.

When I started the training, I knew what my weaknesses were, and I came up with solutions for addressing them. We all have weaknesses. Learn to work with them or have them work you. It's your choice.

Throughout training, I was tested.....over and over....and I liked it. I liked being pushed. I loved being uncomfortable.

Every time the next challenge came up, I was arming myself with new ways to get through the mental battles.

As our body get stronger through the physical exercise, we have to take extra effort to also convince our minds as to what the expectations will be.

On Thursday, when I had my hardest swim to date.....which in general focused on doing 3x300's....hard....repeatedly.....I turned to my friend Roci. Roci said, "This is where we stop thinking. We go out there, and the only thing we think about is swimming. We don't think about how far we've come. We don't think about how far we are going. We swim."

I swam. Sometimes, it's hard to know how to handle pain. By the 5th 300, my arms, my back were screaming at me to stop....or just give in a little bit....just back off a little. That's when I pushed harder.

I knew that I had been building to this for months. 6 months ago? I wasn't there physically or mentally to handle a hard effort 3500m. Now, my body could handle it. I said to myself, "We're doing this regardless. You don't have a say in the matter." And I focused on swimming. I focused on pulling hard, hitting the wall fast and getting back into my rhythm.

On Saturday, I had a tough, long ride that including 5 min at harder than HIM pacing and 20 minutes of HIM pacing.....over and over again.

Going from harder than HIM to holding HIM pace is tough. Twenty minutes felt like forever, but I broke it down to 5 minute intervals. Five minutes. I could do anything for 5 minutes. Get through 5 minutes. Then, do it again. Then again. Then again. Don't think of the 5 min before, don't think of the next one. Focus on THIS one. My legs and butt were hurting. I knew I wasn't going to back down. I had sweat dripping off me. My legs were tired, but I wasn't going to give in. This is where greatness is made. When other people are backing off, I'm going to keep driving at it. It doesn't matter how much it hurts.  Do you want that PR? Do you really want it? Because if you do, this is what it takes. This is what training for a 70.3 PR feels like.

I like to think of this training cycle as a success. It was physically & mentally demanding. There were good days and bad days, but every morning I woke up and shook off the previous day's training. Every day, I stepped up to the plate with one goal, "Give my best effort that day. Don't think about yesterday. Don't think about tomorrow. There is only today."

FIND YOUR GREATNESS











Saturday, October 4, 2014

Accountability

Accountability is the wholehearted embrace of what you desperately want to ignore.

That quote popped up in my twitter feed this morning. I wrote it down but did not write down who said it. Isn't it just perfect?

Some of you already know this, but I was offered a job on Thursday for....how do I say this....my current salary + an extra zero. When I did the math, that's what the total salary would be.

I promptly turned down the offer.

As I said to one of my friends, my "Happy Factor" was 100% the reason for my decision. If you ever read my About Me page, you know that Mr. Tea and I started a company from the ground up. We survived the recession and have a healthy, fast growing company in a highly competitive market.

I thought back to the idea of accountability because of the years, we've done a lot right, but we've also made a number of mistakes. That's the only way to really grow a business. Take risks, make mistakes and move on.

Think about these situations.

A restaurant owner (A) is the only restaurant on a particular street. A new restaurant moves in. Owner A's business starts dropping off. He immediately blames Restaurant Owner B when he is in fact responsible for his own failings. Maybe he hasn't changed his menu in years. Maybe his prices are too high. Maybe the food quality is poor.

Competition moves in, and it's easier to blame someone else rather than turn the microscope on yourself.

A personal trainer loses a client. He starts complaining about the client when the trainer wasn't meeting the expectations of the client. Again, it's easier to blame someone else for your own personal issues.

Competition makes things better for the consumer. Businesses have to step up, improve their quality, or service to keep and grow a customer base.

A local coffee shop (here) went out of business last year, when we were talking to the owner, he said, "People just stopped coming in. I can't do anything about that." It was the only coffee shop in a 5 mile radius. When the store opened, people were excited. After awhile, they realized they could make better coffee at home at much better price. He blamed the lack of foot traffic on his business closure when it was his own business decisions that caused the business to close.

Now think about this on a more personal level. I'm sure this would never happen. A married Senator has an affair. When the news breaks, he and his wife blame "the other woman" for destroying their marriage. The Other woman was single. Right or wrong, she can sleep with whoever she wants including married men. The only person who destroyed their marriage was the Senator. But it's much easier to blame some innocent woman than to talk about the hard issues in a marriage.

How many times have you been driving, and some one cuts you off? Did you get mad? Did you want to speed around him and do it to him? Did you blame him for ruining your day. Did he piss you off? Newsflash: All he did was make a bad driving decision. He didn't make you mad. He didn't ruin your day. Maybe he did it accidentally. Maybe he did it on purpose, but his reasons don't matter. It's YOUR actions and thoughts that matter. He didn't piss you off or ruin your day. Something is going on in your life to make you feel like that.  Think back to when that happened, there were things going on, weren't there? Maybe you were tired. Maybe you just had a fight with your spouse, but none of that had anything to do with the person cutting you off in traffic.

But it's easier to blame the random stranger instead of doing deep self analysis because when we analyze ourselves, we have to look at the unpleasant, the ugly the dark side of ourselves. That's not easy.

However, that's how we have breakthroughs. We aren't bad people. We are just people. When we accept the dark/ugly side of our personality, we grow and become confident and strong.

If there is no enemy inside, the enemy outside can do us no harm.

When we take accountability of our lives, when we take ownership of our actions, when we accept our whole self as it is, only then do we have the opportunity to become the person we want to be and reach our full potential.