Saturday, December 10, 2016

Stay the course

If I wrote this post a week ago, it would have gone like this.

I hate off season.

I hate running.

I hate swimming.

I hate everything.

I hate the cold.

I want to crawl under my covers and stay there until June.

Instead, I waited a week.

Mr. Tea was sick in Oct. My entire masters team was sick in Oct. I got sick in Oct. This wasn't any normal cold. It was the worst cold I've ever had in my life. I could barely walk from the couch to the kitchen. It lasted a full 3 weeks.

You might also remember we had several people we know pass away.

The week I felt better, I sprained my ankle when I stepped into a snow drift. Fortunately, it wasn't a bad sprain. It was minor all things considered. I started rehabbing immediately.

But THAT day is the day I caught my next cold. WTF?!?! The last time I was sick was 2014, and I get sick twice in two months, not to mention my ankle sprain.

Oh but it gets better. As I was dealing with that I had the worst hormonal issues I've ever had....because 49......I sat in the kitchen one morning in tears as I watched the hot flash and ensuing rash cover my body. It was the most painful experience I've ever been through. I went into the bathroom and stared at this body that I no longer knew. My body was betraying me. This phase of hot flashes lasted a week. Each *flash* lasted 45 minutes and left me completely depleted of energy. It would take me 2-3 hours to recover. That week, I lowered my intensity and did one workout a day until I got through it.

Then our treadmill died. Any off the bike runs meant I had to put on layers to run outside. Running in the cold when I was already sweaty was not at all fun, easy or warm.

And until you have attempted to take off a completely drenched running bra only to put a dry one on a sweaty don't know what it really means to be a contortionist.

During this time, it is our busy season at work. We attempted to hire two people. Neither one worked out.

Then, the staff stepped up (again).

Then, Mike hit his 3 month recovery mark. The 3 month mark is a really big deal. They are the hardest months of recovery. We started noticing that he hadn't been in pain. He was hardly ever coughing. He was walking regularly. (Although, he can't walk outside in seriously cold weather).

My hormones mellowed the fuck out. I doubt they'll ever go back to the nice predictability I had before. At least, for now.....I have re-set my expectations. I'm doing more from a training and nutritional perspective to help me with those times.

If you didn't know this, women and men need to train and fuel differently. Peri-menopausal women need to fuel differently than women under 45 (possibly 40 depending on the woman). AND menopausal women need to fuel differently than all other women.

Did I mention, we need different fueling for different times of our cycle?

In other words, just when we're feeling like we have a handle on things Mother fucking nature throws a curve ball at us.

Most importantly, no woman is the same as another. Each experience is our own unique experience. I'm not like your wife or girlfriend or you. You, your wife or girlfriend are not going through the same thing I am.

Please don't group us together. There are few things that will piss off a perimenopausal woman more than a guy saying, "Oh yeah. You're just like my wife".

I will rip off your fucking face if you ever say that to me. (Yes. I have had men say that to me. Although they lived to tell about it.....they aren't the same person anymore).

But, I digress.

Things improved.

Mike is getting better. We decided to get ourselves a new treadmill as a Christmas present. It arrived on Friday, and I get to use it for the first time today.

In the past 3 days, I feel like my 2nd cold might actually be over.

My ankle is all healed up.

I went to masters 2 days this week, since I hadn't been in a couple of weeks. Nothing will make you feel more loved than a bunch of swimmers running up to you asking, "Where have you been? We missed you"!

I've been figuring out my nutrition and finding new things that work. Two months ago, my old fueling stopped working, meaning that it was making me sick. I couldn't even put it in my mouth with gagging.....which is another very normal thing for women my age.

I'll continue to experiment.

In all that, I'm still on my quest of 235 miles. Back in January, I set a swim goal of 235 miles for the year. (Keep in mind, I only do sprints and oly distance). With my half marathon, surgery, and being ridiculously sick for two months, I didn't think I would hit my goal.

Last week, I realized that I was 20 miles from my goal. I could still meet my goal. I hammered off an email to Liz saying, "You know I don't stray from my plan.....yadda yadda.....but this was my goal....yadda yadda....could we bump up my swim volume?"

She said, "You know what, Tea? Swim as much as you want (up to 5 days a week), until 1/1/2017. Do what you want when YOU have time to do it".

This past week, I swam +5 miles. I now have only ~13 miles left to hit my goal.

Next Saturday, I am running a 10k. It will be stupid cold and probably below 0 for the race.

This will be my first stand alone 10k in YEARS. Originally, I thought it would be a PR attempt. Now, I don't care about that.

The 10K race, my swim goal....they are about what happens when I stay the course; go with life's ups and downs. It's ok to get mad or frustrated but STAY THE COURSE.

Everything is temporary.

Monday, December 5, 2016

It's gone

If you're looking for the "perceptions" post, I've already taken it down based on the feedback I was getting.

We all understand things with our own set of blinders on. With that in mind, the post needed to come down.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Find your anchor

I follow Dwayne Johnson on Instagram. I've always liked him. I gravitate toward people who take what they do seriously, but they don't take themselves seriously.

In one of his recent posts, he said, "find your anchor".

I never thought about that before.

What does "find your anchor" mean? To me, it's the people and places and things that keep me balanced.

For me, "find your anchor" is much deeper than a support network which is important but probably includes a dietitian, massage therapist, people you train with (like masters or some running groups)...a group that you probably don't necessarily share you deepest thoughts with.

It's who or what keep me balance; keep me rooted. It's where I go to be who I am at my core. 

When it comes to people, these are the people who like me for who I am, not for who I know or how much money I have, not because of what I've done. These are the people who accept my flawesome.....all my flaws and all my awesome.

Mr. Tea and Coach Liz are my anchors. They are probably the only two people who can give me unsolicited feedback that I will heed....or at least take note of until I'm ready to hear it.

I have close friends that....geez....I don't even know how to describe them. They're my anchors.

Since my tri season ended, I've had a few weeks (here and there) where I was off from training. I would simply go in to TP and tell Liz that I want this week or that week off.

That's when I realized that riding my bike is my anchor. I rode my bike every day when I had those weeks off. When Mr. Tea was at his worst and I had to be at his beck and call, you'd find me in the basement riding my bike. Now, I'm on a run focus. I miss my bike, horribly. I'm still riding 3 days per week, but I miss my bike on the other 4 days.

That simple, little phrase, "find your anchor" was a reminder that I have a place or people that allow me to drop the walls and just be me.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Year 4

A couple of months back, I was having a conversation with my friend Bobo.

I can't remember how we got started on the topic of triathlon.
I told him a story. I gave him the shorter version. He got the short version because he knew about all the stuff from the past anyway.

You lucky blog readers get the longer version.

Several years back, I used to have a friend. I'm specifically talking about one person. To keep it easy and gender neutral, let's call that person Chris.

Chris had a mean streak. The mean streak wasn't directed at me. From experience, I know that mean people tend to be the unhappiest. Chris was a very unhappy person.

As I started to improve in triathlon, I realized that Chris started taking little digs at me (personally), and started justifying my finish times.

At first, I could laugh off everything. That's what I do. I laugh at myself all the time.

After awhile, the comments became more vicious.

I realized that everyone loves a back of the packer, until that back of the packer isn't, anymore.

All of a sudden, the mean streaks were aimed right at me.

It's not a stretch for you to figure out Chris is no longer a friend.

When you have someone who is a good friend, and that person turns against you, their words tend to stick with you a little more.

It's in my DNA to take those words and use them as motivation to go for the biggest successes I could ever dream.

I did the same thing as we were building our company. "That idea will never work". "You're crazy". "You don't know anything about running a company".

Over the years, I often wondered if this negative motivation is a good thing or a bad thing.

In triathlon (specifically), there is always talk about "your why". Why are you doing this sport? The why is important because it will be called into question at your darkest times.

I have had my own dark times.

My truly deep motivation didn't have anything to do with Chris or Chris' words. My own deep motivation comes from this crazy drive of mine. It doesn't matter if we are talking about work or play, I am one of the most dedicated & determined people you will ever meet.

In my conversation with Bobo, I told him that when I step up on that podium, I stomp on it. Even though Chris and I haven't talked or seen each other in years, I imagine Chris looking up my finish time or seeing me on that podium....

After our conversation, I thought about what I had said. I started to wonder, "why would I share such an important moment with my hater when I have an incredible support network in my life"?

My friends and support network deserve all the energy and recognition for what I've done because I can't do any of this without them. 

 In January, I start my 4th year with Liz. Yesterday, I finally had the opportunity to talk with her about my race schedule for 2017. We also talked about our goals for the year. But, I missed a goal.

In 2017, every time I finish a race; every time I have an incredible success, I won't be spending any more energy on Chris.

Every finish will be dedicated to the friends and support network that get me there.

The year 2017 will truly be dedicated to those of you who text me before races; to those you who cheer me on Strava and send me a quick "Ride on" in Zwift. It will be dedicated to all those times when I'm tired, and you say "You got this, Tea. You got this". It's dedicated to those of you who step up to the start line with me (whether in real life or virtually).

You are the people who have been through everything with me. You have supported me through the hard times; you've made me laugh when I'm struggling. You are the ones I will be celebrating.

Friday, November 25, 2016

One more grammar rant

I'm sure you all remember my rant about the overuse of "!!!!". In fact, even a single "!" is not used correctly.

Before that, I ranted (a few years ago), about the "I haz cheezburger" crap that was floating around.

Now, I present you with the "elimination of pronouns".

"Watching the Macy's parade on tv".

"Thankful for all my friends and family this holiday season".

I get it. The whole hashtag phenomenon left us thinking we no longer need to explicitly state, "I'm watching the Macy's parade". Or, "I'm thankful for all my friends and family this holiday season".

Pronouns are implied. 

Social media = the dumbing down of, well, pretty much everything.

Don't be a dumb ass, use proper grammar.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The one that got away

In 2017, I'm moving up in distance.

I'm excited, but I'm also nervous. We all have that one race.

The one that got away.

It can leave us with the feeling of needing to go back. For me, it's not about proving anything to anyone. It's not even about proving anything to myself.

It's about wanting to do what I didn't do before. I really hope you get what I'm saying because I'm not really explaining it well.

I guess it's that I feel like I left something there, and I want to go back and do what I didn't do before.

It's something that I am fully capable of doing but didn't do last time.

I decided to go back to the race to do what I know I can do.

I'm nervous because, of all my goals, this race is the biggest goal I have. It's time for me to meet it straight on.

My goal isn't about a podium. It isn't about TeamUSA. It's a very personal goal.

When I told Liz, she said, "You know what's going to be required. This is going to be really painful".

I know it is. I don't care. I told her, "I want to do this for me. I have been waiting for this for a long time".

If you know me, I don't rush anything. I don't do anything before I'm ready to face it head on.

When I finished my 2016 season, I knew the time was right. Each year, I learn a bit more about myself, and I've learned that I can push harder.

I guess, I see 2017 as the real test. Did I really learn as much as I think?

You see. The goal for 2017 (even though YOU might see it is as small and insignificant) will be the biggest confidence boost that I've ever had.  That's the best part of triathlon: setting these crazy goals and reaching them. No matter what you do in life, THAT is the greatest feeling. A year from now, I hope to look back and say, "Wow. I did it. I actually did it".

This mystery goal: I see it as an important step to my other goals. I see it as the mental challenge.

Will I be able to hold on when I need to? Will I be able to do the effort that I need to?

There is so much wrapped up in this one little goal.

Now that I've rambled on senselessly for 15 minutes, how do we accomplish this giant mystery goal?

Liz and I are still working through the details of my actual race schedule, but we are full on in off season training. (Hey! No more reboots).

What do you do right in the middle of a run focus? A BIKE TEST, of course. The bike test is the week after Thanksgiving. We have a few running races planned. We're also continuing with the weird sh*t. She sent me the newest strength training routine, which looks awesome.

Then, we go right into training for my A race in April.

I might have forgotten to mention this. Mr. Tea, JMan, Googs & Googs' GF (JEN-NAH) all plan on going to the race to cheer me on.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


As I was running the other day, I thought of this song.

We are now 2 months since Mr. Tea went to the emergency room. We knew there would be many ups and downs during his recovery.  Since then, his medicines have changed multiple times. He has been to the doctor for a variety of other tests. He has one more test to go through, but his system needs to be as "clean" as possible. That test will be in about two weeks. These tests have been for other health issues, unrelated to the pulmonary embolism. I haven't felt like talking about them all. (Weakened right ventricle, weakened arterial valve, liver problems---which is the next test).

The good news is that he is on the mend for the pulmonary embolism. For the other issues, he is on a medication plan. He is feeling better. He has also lost 60lbs so far.

One of our challenges is nutrition. We have completely different nutrition plans. We are kind of at the point where we need to make completely separate meals. They can be the same general meal, but they are prepared differently or with different ingredients. If I weren't an endurance athlete, I'd follow his plan. I am an endurance athlete. I need to fuel for different training efforts & recovery.

That's that.

In my last post, I mentioned that I'm doing a run focus this off season.

If I remember correctly, I've only done a run focus one other time. 

It was nothing like what I'm doing now. I thought Liz would have me running a lot, no a TON, with sprints and repeats, etc.

NOPE. We are doing weird stuff. Training that I have never in my life done. In addition to this, she is augmenting this weird run focus with equally weird bike stuff.

And, I'm strength training a lot.

When I started this run focus, I was getting frustrated. I couldn't do it. In my head, I couldn't get it. It wasn't making sense.

Every day, I would go out there and go through the motions. I figured out at some point, it would all click.

Then, I was at Masters one day. Coach Andrew had given me a goal for an interval set. I was missing the goal. As I was swimming, I thought to myself, "what do I have to do to make this work?"

I figured it out and nailed the rest of the intervals.

When I was resting, Andrew came over and asked me how I did. I explained what happened.

He said, "Tea. That's why you are so fun to coach. When faced with a challenge, you ask yourself, 'what do I need to do'. You don't give up".

So, I go back to running; running these bizarre workouts. Yesterday, I had 10 sets of intervals. The first two didn't go really well. I was close, but I still missed them. I took the recovery period, and I thought, "What do I have to do to make this work"?

All of a sudden, it clicked. It made sense. I tried multiple things and then BOOM. It all came together.

During the cooldown, I realized that the combination of run focus, weird bike workouts, and strength training was starting to come together. For the first time, I understood the connection.

I, also, realized that I'm probably going to be sore for my entire off season.

When I did the bike focus earlier this year, I could immediately see the results in power output & watts to kg. I could see the improvements happening.

With the run, we are handling it completely differently. I'm doing things I've never done before. I can't see results on a weekly or monthly basis.

I don't know if what we are doing is working.

What I do know is that Liz has taken my racing to levels that I'd never experienced before.

I trust her system. I do the workouts.

I believe in her.