Monday, May 7, 2018

My 1st Duathlon

You might have read my race plan for my first duathlon.

If not, you probably want to do that before proceeding.

Let's see how well I followed the PLAN.

Drive to race:

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

G*D DAMMIT! I'm LATE. 


Really, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? 

Throws bike in back on car. Grabs helmet, throws on front seat. WHERE DID I PUT MY COFFEE? 


Forget it. Frantically pulls out of driveway. Notices coffee cup roll off car engine. Shit. 


Wait. Do I have everything? Mental checklist:

water, shoes, shoes, helmet, bike.....that's enough. I can run a race with that.


Arrive at Race: 

The instructions said this is a half mile walk to the start. I'm turning on my garmin. This is DEFINTELY a mile walk. I don't have time to warm up, get to registration and put up my transition. I'm counting this as my warm up.

(Arrive at transition: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It's packed. Where am I going to put my bike? Great! THere's a spot....in the back....I might as well be in Kansas for as far as this is from the bike/run exits).

HOLY SHIT DO I HAVE TO POOP.  Why couldn't this happen at home? There is NO WAY I'm waiting in that porta potty line.



WARM UP
Ok. I have 10 minutes to warm up. I KNOW There's a "real" bathroom around here. OMG, I need to poop. 

Run and clench on the way to the nearest bathroom.  See a woman coming out and yell, "IS THAT BATHROOM OPEN?"

15minutes later: Geesh, I really need to pee. I just went. How is this possible? 

Head back to start line.

20 minutes later: I need to pee again? DAMN this NO SWIM thing. I can't run with pee running down my legs. Right? I mean. That would be wrong.....wouldn't it? Let's keep an open mind. I wonder if I can hold it for an hour?  Where does all this pee come from anyway?



Start of Race: 

Why is no one lining up in the front? You KNOW all of these woman are going to past me. Why doesn't that Team USA woman line up in front? Isn't this the biggest group of sandbaggers I've ever seen?

F*ck this, I'm lining up in front. 



Run 1:

COUNT THE WOMEN WHO ARE ALREADY RUNNING BACK TO T1. ✅

EVERY SINGLE WOMAN HAS NOW PASSED ME.

Hit the turnaround: Oh....not EVERYONE has passed me. There are two women walking.

Why is THAT woman walking? She looks super fit.

I know. This is bad. I'm now getting, "YOU GO GIRL" cheers. That's always a bad sign.  

Thank volunteers. 

Attempt smile.


T1

ALL THE BIKES ARE GONE. Did I go too slow? Seriously? Even the fat tire bikes are gone?

Ok. Well. What's done is done.


As far as I'm concerned.....



THE RACE STARTS NOW!

You really need to listen to the song to get the full effect.

BIKE:

You are going to chase down EVERY SINGLE PERSON ahead of you.


LEFT
LEFT
LEFT
ON YOUR LEFT
LEFT 
LEFTLEFTLEFTLEFTLEFT
LEFTLEFTLEFTLEFTLEFTLEFTLEFT
LEFT 
LEFTLEFTLEFTLEFT
LEFT
LEFTLEFTLEFTLEFTLEFTLEFTLEFTLEFT

WHY DO THEY PUT +40 WOMEN IN THE LAST WAVE? 

WHAT is that Jeep doing? Why isn't he passing the cyclists? THere is plenty of room.

Awesome, I'm stuck here at 18mph. BEEJEEZUS. COME ON. JUST PASS. I can't get around. 18mph is NOT good enough. You know what? Those people need to get over or I'm going to sit behind this car all ride. 

LET THE CAR PASS. GET OVER! (Hey, look.....not to be rude....but I'm out to win this fucking course).

THERE's MY CHANCE! GO GO GO!

OMFG. I might regret that pass. What were my watts? I'm SURE they were close to 400 on that pass.

CLEAR road ahead. HERE WE GO! Time to make up lost time.

UNLEASH THE BEAST! HERE WE GO BLACK BETTY!

I really need a drink, but I can barely breath. On the next downhill, take a drink. A BIG ONE. Why does my nose run so badly on the bike? There has to be biological reason for this.

Holy SHIT where did that S turn come from? I'm going too fast, too fast. i CAN'T MAKE THAT TURN GOING THIS FAST. 

OMG....OMG...OMG.....I JUST WENT THROUGH THAT S TURN FASTER THAN I'VE EVER GONE THROUGH A TURN! 

FUCK YEAH!!!!!!

I'm close now. Where is everyone? I know I didn't catch everyone.

HEY! There's TOM! HI TOM! GET IT DONE! 

(Tom yells back)

He's such a nice guy.

WAIT. I JUST CAUGHT TOM. HOLY SHIT! I could be first overall. Is that even possible? He started 5minutes before me.


Wait, two women! I see two women ahead of me. GET THEM NOW. GET THEM. GO! GO! GO!

Holy shit! They are in their 30's! OMG! I'm going to have the fastest bike split of the day.

I KNEW IT! I KNEW I COULD DO THIS!

WTAF? WHO PUTS A STEEP CURVY HILL AT THE BIKE FINISH? 

I am definitely going to fall over.

I BEAT ALL THE WOMEN! 

T2:

Thank volunteer.

Attempt smile.



I should take a drink of water. HOLY SHIT! I KILLED THAT BIKE. I am definitely going to regret that decision.

RUN 2:
Is it possible that I could be in FIRST PLACE in my age group? That's not possible right?  

Back up the enormous hill. Take your time up the hill. Everyone said this run would suck. 

At the top LIGHT IT UP. Or well, you know. LIGHT IT UP in your TEA kind of way. 

I forgot sunscreen. How did I forget sunscreen?

I should get a drink at the next aid station. It's hot out here. 

WATER. Thanks. Attempt smile.


Throws water on face.

That didn't go well.

I'll get it next time around. 

One mile until the turnaround. That's like running to the church. You can do this. 

I hate running on gravel.

I hate hills.

It's starting to get hot.

Why do I do this?

IS THAT THE TURNAROUND? OMG OMG OMG. I'm almost there.

WTF? 

That wasn't the turnaround? 

Seriously? The turnaround is at the top of the hill.

Hang on. Where are the women? I haven't seen any women coming back.

There they are.

One. She is definitely younger than me.

Two. Oh yeah. She's in her 30's.

Three. Hmm. I'm guessing 40. 

Four.....I'm pretty sure none of them are in their 50s

TURNAROUND.

About a quarter of a mile after the turnaround. THERE SHE IS. She is about a half mile behind me. She is in my age group. I passed her on the bike.

SHE'S CRUISING. OMG. She is running so fast.

Dammit, I'm going to lose this in the last half mile again. She's cruising.

I can't beat her. She's too fast. She's going to catch me.

STOP IT.

Don't write that story. If you're going to write a story make it a good one. Write about how you're going to tell Liz you came in 1st in your 1st duathlon.

Is that her behind me?

One mile left.

No. It's a guy.

OMG. OMG. RUN. RUN. RUN.

This hurts so bad.

Liz said, "If you feel like you never want to do a duathlon again, you're in the right place".

I'M THERE LIZ. I'M SO FUCKING THERE.

KEEP PUSHING. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET BEAT TODAY.

I am NOT GOING TO CRY.

I'm GOING SO HARD. I'm GOING AS HARD AS I CAN.

I CAN'T BEAR IT. I CAN'T BEAR TO GO AS HARD AS THIS ONLY TO GET BEAT.

RUN HARDER.

I AM NOT GOING TO CRY.

I CAN'T RUN THAT HILL AGAIN.

THERE'S THE FINISH!  JUST HOLD on!

EVERYTHING YOU HAVE FOR 2 MINUTES, TEA.

EVERYTHING! RIGHT NOW!


FINISH LINE:

Hold me up.

Please.

We got you. I'm going to take off your chip.

Thank you. Attempt smile.



I need water.

What was my time? Where do I get my time?

Goal time for the race: 1:20 (If everything went well).

My actual time: 1:17.


I just won my age group.

Wait.

I JUST WON MY AGE GROUP.



I HAVE TO TEXT LIZ.

How did that happen? I JUST WON MY AGE GROUP in my FIRST DUATHLON.

I need to check the results again. There's no way.

Wait. I'm the only 50-54 on the board. Was I the only one in my age group?

What about the woman behind me?

I can't really tell Liz I won my age group if I'm the only one in my age group, right?




That's bullshit. You showed up. It's counts.

I'll pack up my stuff and check the board again.

I'm so hungry.

Let's check the board again.

1st place: Tea 1:17
2nd place: 1:32
3rd place: 1:33
4th place 1:35

HOLY SHIT! Not only did I WIN my age group! I killed it!



Tuesday, May 1, 2018

I DU NOT think this is a good idea

Due to this guy's amazing performance at Duathlon Nationals and then the ensuing promise of donuts, between us, I signed up for a duathlon.

Now don't fall out of your chair. I know this seems like it is coming out of thin air. But don't you remember when I SAID I'm doing different stuff this year? 

Coach Liz and I have been training for it. Well, SHE's been setting up a duathlon plan.

I've been sort of picking and choosing what I want to do.

Yeah. So. This has been on the plan. I've been wanting to do one for a couple of years, but I couldn't get it to work with my schedule and plans and goals.

Goals change, and I decided that 2018 would be the year.

When I started with Liz, she had me start writing race plans. Well, I do A LOT of sprints. Last year, I did 9 of them. I don't really write race plans much anymore. 

Since this is my FIRST duathlon, I decided to write a plan and get her feedback.

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

Here's the plan that I sent her:



Drive to race: Think about how fucking awesome I am and how I'm going to dominate the race. 


(Siri, Play Eminem).



Arrive at race: Start analyzing all the women and think about how fast they are.

I'm totally getting my ass kicked today. 


(Possibly talk loudly about what a great swimmer I am).


Warm up: 20 minute run, wondering if it's too late to volunteer for the race instead.

Start Line: Pray to sweet baby Jesus that 1.) I'm not last in my age group. 2.) If I AM last, hope that I beat the only 80 year old who is registered. (YOU ARE GOING DOWN OLD MAN).

Run 1: Go out like a bat out of hell, at a pace that is completely unsustainable for more than about :20 seconds.



Count the women who are already running back to T1.

T1: Start to regret how fast I ran.



Bike: Go into full fledge panic mode thinking about all the women ahead of me. Ride at 130% FTP or until my legs start bleeding lactic acid as I try to catch up.



T2: Being unable to bend over to put on my running shoes, contemplate my poor decision making so far in the race.



Run 2: FUCK FUCK FUCK. I hate this. Why did I sign up for this? Where's the old guy? Please tell me I'm ahead of him. MY LEGS WON'T MOVE. I'm running like I have a stick up my ass. Start to write my own obituary.



At the halfway point, think about how I *only* have 1.55 miles left. I fucking hate when people say that. MY LEGS ARE BLEEDING LACTIC ACID. I wonder if they have a medic on the course.

This course is supposed to be flat. It doesn't feel flat. I'm complaining to the RD.

Think about how much I hate Jason for talking me into this shit.

Cross the finish line:



SELFIE! Send text to Liz, "OMG OMG OMG LIZ. THAT WAS SO AMAZING. I did so GREAT

Post to IG. 








#Nailedit

That was just my race plan.

Or so I thought.

Liz had other thoughts.

STAY TUNED to find out how the race goes.





Thursday, April 19, 2018

Pain is ok.



This morning I was fortunate to be able to spend time at the DMV.

The DMV is the place of wonder.....the place where.....like it or not...we get to spend (sometimes) hours waiting for our number to be called to renew our driver's license or license plates.

That means, I had plenty of time to myself, to think.

The trend in 2018 seems to be athletes talking about their lack of mental strength and trying to figure out how to get it.

Sadly, we can't just go to the grocery store and purchase it.

It's across the board and typically follows a race where someone didn't have the results they expected.

There are two issues here rolled into one.

1.) Goal setting
2.) Mental toughness

I'm only addressing mental toughness. Every single athlete is different. Every single athlete has an approach that works for them.

This is why it is so important to have a Coach or a mentor or someone help you find the right strategy.


Of course, I'm in this group. This is the Year of Strong. This is the year that I am working on getting to the next level of my little triathlon hobby.

Inspirational quotes only go so far. When you are out on the course, alone with your thoughts, what happens?

Many years ago, Coach Liz told me (not a direct quote), "The half iron and iron are about outlasting the competition. The oly race is about pain. The people who race it the best either embrace the pain it or ignore it better than others".

I thought I understood what she was saying. Over the 4.5 years that I have been with her, I have found that I only hear what I am ready to hear at that moment and understand it in the way that I can for where I am.

Years later, I understand the deeper meaning of what she says.

A few weeks back, Liz sent me an article about peripheral versus central fatigue.

The article hit me like a load of bricks.

Here's a completely watered down explanation. Peripheral fatigue is the physical fatigue that we get. It's the legs burning feeling when you're pushing hard on the bike.

In other words, peripheral fatigue is PAIN.

But, it doesn't mean you're tired.

Here's where the article got interesting. Central fatigue is along the lines of mental fatigue. But, you're not really tired. Your body is experiencing fatigue/pain, so your central fatigue kicks in and says, "you're tired. slow down. back off".

I remembered Liz telling me, "The oly is about embracing the pain or ignoring it better than others".

And that's when it hit me. Just because I'm in pain, doesn't mean I'm tired.

I sent off an email to Liz with all my thoughts.  We went back and forth for a bit, and she said, " An old Coach once told me, 'The central governor won't let you die' ".

Just like that, I had a paradigm shift.

I started approaching my training with a completely different outlook.

Liz would give me a workout that was really hard. I started constantly saying to myself, "You're in pain. You're not tired. Pain is ok."

I started having incredible success with my running (in particular).

One day, I opened my training log to see that Liz wanted me to run my intervals at a 7:30 pace. I doubted myself and started at 7:57. I ended up building the intervals to the exact pace she wanted.
Throughout the workout, I repeated, "Pain is ok. You're not tired. You're in pain. Pain is ok".

I know. It's not exactly a quote that is going to be posted on an inspirational image of people running.

But hey, it worked for me.

I had another workout. It was my favorite type of workout: one of those run-bike-run-bike-run-bike workouts.

Those workouts are straight up brutal. To make it even harder, my runs were going to be sub 8:30 pace.

I'd never run as far as she wanted me to run at an 8:30 pace. NEVER.

After bike intervals at 105%, I didn't think. I started running at an 8:27.

Trust me. It really started hurting. Over and over, I repeated, "Are you tired? No. I'm not. I'm in pain. Pain is ok. Run harder".

I sped up to an 8:13 pace.

I amazed myself, truly amazed myself.

I know this is just training. I don't get wrapped up in training PRs. Still, they are glimpses that I might have found an approach that works for me.

It's not a natural way to think. In fact, it's not really an incredibly motivating way to work. It's more of a "cut through the bullshit. We have work to do" approach.  I'm a ways off from where I want to be and where I believe I can be, but these are the first steps in the right direction.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

This is where I came from


Some of you already know this story.

Mr. Tea and I have been remodeling our house for an eternity.  This week, I was packing up the "health and fitness" section of our library; which is a fancy word for the bookcases overflowing with books: books piled on top, books sticking out from shelves, books everywhere.

It became a walk down memory lane as I found a treasure trove of old binders. Before the days of the internet (and then before the days of online tracking such as TrainingPeaks), there were binders. I kept track of nutrition, training, moods, etc.

I found a book of triathlon training plans with hand written notes:

Swim test with results of 2:30 per 100

SHITtake mushrooms.

I found a training plan from Runner's World from 2011.
My goal was to run a half marathon in 2:25.

That got me wondering what race I did. I had no memory of running a half marathon in 2011.

I decided to check my results on Athlinks. I don't really keep athlinks updated very well, but I thought it was worth a shot.

Athlinks has my results back to 2003.

I'm not sure if it is a complete list, but it's good enough.

This is what I want you to see. I regularly talk about coming from the back of the pack.





This is why I am who I am. 

This is why I encourage people constantly. 

THIS is why I take the time to answer questions at races.

I have been there. We have all been new to a sport. Some of us have to learn how to swim or get on a bike for the first time since we were kids. Some of us, spend more time (than others) at the back of the pack.

The first time I went to Nationals, I almost lost my shit. I was so nervous. I looked at all those super fast women and felt like a poser.

I don't belong here. It was a freak accident that I qualified.

At my 1st nationals, I met BD. BD is always ranked somewhere in the top 20 of my age group. I think she could tell that I was a nervous wreck. She spent time with me explaining the course, explaining rules, explaining how things were done.  The last thing she said to me was, "You qualified for this. Take it all in".

The next year at Nationals, we met up again. I took the opportunity to thank her.

The story continues......

I'm happy to say that I will be heading to the back of the pack this year as I venture into new races. This time around, I'm doing it with a new found appreciation for what it takes to get really good at something. I am going back to racing for the sheer enjoyment of racing with no regard for where I place.

This doesn't mean I won't be competitive. This doesn't mean I won't be giving everything I have.

It simply means that I respect those who have worked for many many years to get on that podium.

Maybe I'm not starting at the begining, but I am starting all over again.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Transformation


I started blogging in 2003 as part of a running forum. It's amazing to me that over the years, I've kept in touch with some of those runners. Some of them even read my blog, now and again. 

We've watched our kids grow up; we saw painful divorces together; we've lost family and friends; we've gone through treatment for horrible diseases...and won...and sometimes lost the battle. We've seen the arrival of grandkids.....or multiple grandkids.

We've seen each other go from casual runner to BQ'er to ultra-marathoner to triathlete to cyclist to yogi to cross fitter to Spartan racers to mountain climbers....and on and on.

We have celebrated so many wins together.

During that time, my blogging has changed. When I first joined the running forum, I was a casual runner. I'd done races over the years. I never trained for anything.

My blog posts were all about everything that I'd accomplished. I ran 8 miles, 10 miles, 15 miles for the FIRST TIME EVER.

I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon in 2:21 and my first marathon with those people (5:57---which is actually a lesson in how to "not" actually train for a marathon but run it anyway in a blizzard...because.....what else do you do when you turn 40)?

We've all done stupid stuff and laughed about it.

As I grew as an athlete, my training had to change to meet new goals.

What's that line in Miley Cyrus's song? Something like, "There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move".

I no longer talked about how hard a workout was. They're all hard. It's the nature of short course. We can go harder more days of the week because the workouts are shorter. I'm a triathlete so I'm speaking in terms of managing 4 sports (swim, bike, run, srength). If you are a single sport athlete, the number days of intensity depend on your distance, your age, your experience, etc. Obviously, you can't run hard 5 days in a row. In my world, I can train hard for 5 days in a row. 

I kept this quiet except for a few people. I made Team USA again. When I found out, I thought back to what it has taken to get to this point.

You'd be surprised at the number of people who will put you down for your success. They pretend to be supporters, but their jealousy rings through loud and clear. They see something in YOU that they don't believe they have.

They see your success as their failure.

At first, those comments really stung. Then, I realized (many years ago) that their words and actions reflect on them and have nothing to go with me. They are toxic people. I cut them out of my life.

Through my blog, I have aired my dirty laundry.

I have put my weaknesses and strengths on display. You've seen me get frustrated beyond anything I'd had experienced before. You've seen me surprise myself.

I have given you all access to all the good and bad about what it has taken me to get to where I am.

This is starting to sound like a Dear John letter.

It's not. It's about transformation.

As I've changed, my blog has had to change as well.

You know that 2018 is the Year of Strong. It's been all mental work this year. The result is that mental gains are being followed up with physical gains.

This is important shit. It's probably the most important training I have ever done. And, I think it is really important to talk about it here, but I struggle with how to do that.  Although, I'm no expert. I certainly have a lot of experience that can benefit others.

Going forward, I don't know if you'll find all this "mental training" incredibly boring. For me, it's another step. I want to continue to share what I'm going through. 

Because not all wins are about a finish time. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

You're fuckin' with a cabbage



Feeling inspired doesn't even cover my current mood.



Yes. That is definitely more appropriate.

In the past month, I've gone from lost to found. Before, I wasn't really sure what I was going to do this year.

During one particularly hard bike session, it came to me. This will be the Year of Strong.

Strong in every way possible. 

It's starting to show. I think the universe sends us signs, and I'm listening.

I have to give credit where credit is due. Everything that is happening because of other people.

Strong.

Coach Liz has me work with a trainer. I also have a massage therapist who is a cross fit coach. Between the two of them, I have been hitting weights hard and have been giving my muscles much needed recovery. Three times a week.

In order to make strength gains, it doesn't matter if you do heavy weights and low reps or high reps and light weights. The single most important thing is that you go to failure

By now, you know that I embrace failure. 

I do the plan from Liz's trainer. I do the specific exercises from my massage therapist (rolling, stretching and targeted strength training).

The result is that I'm stronger than I've ever been.

Raising my own bar.

Probably the craziest thing that has happened has to do with swimming. 
First of all, a woman (now a friend) joined masters late last year. She is an incredible swimmer and (prior to moving to Denver) she was a swim coach in Vegas.  She should be swimming in some of the fastest lanes, but we just clicked....and she swims with me, in my lane.  She pushes me. She coaches me. She's my secret weapon.

Second, a new guy showed up at masters about a month ago. He and I clicked IMMEDIATELY. He is one of the funniest, most intelligent men that I have ever met. He reminds me so much of my Googs (my oldest son). They are very close in age, too. I didn't know what his background was. All I knew was that he is sick fast, and he does things I've never seen another swimmer do.  He's another swimmer who should be swimming with the big guns. But he doesn't. He swims with me. 

Yesterday, he told me he was a Navy Seal and former All American swimmer.  Of course, I said, "Well, I'm a triathlete. So. There."

He replied, "You're a triathlete? Now, I'm REALLY going to push you".  

(He didn't act like it externally, but I'm pretty sure he was secretly super impressed).

Third, my friend Mike is back in the picture. Mike and I had become good friends. We'd swim masters together. We'd do open water swims together. He is another very very fast swimmer. He left our masters team and started dating a non-swimming woman. We saw each other less and less often.

This week, he came back to masters. 

When I say these people are very fast. I mean VERY fast. They can all swim 1:00 per 100's. I can't even get my head wrapped around this. I don't even know why they swim with me.....except for my striking good looks and charasmatic personality.

For the past month, I have been swimming my heart out at masters, trying, and often failing to keep up. 

The result was that I dropped my swim pace from 1:27 to 1:19. I dropped my pull pace from 1:18 to 1:10. These paces are from 250's not 100's.

So, the other day....my masters swim coach asked, "Are you shooting for a 1:30 pace?"

I said, "No. I'm shooting for 1:20 or better".

He said, "We'll see about that".

I swam a 1:14.

When it comes to swimming, don't be a leader. Be a follower. Do everything you can to hold on to faster swimmers. Take breaks if you need them, drop a 50 here and there to keep up. Wear fins, use paddles. Do everything possible to keep up with fast people.


Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

I'm getting stronger. My bike power is improving (still chasing 4%). My swim has taken off.

What about running?

During my particularly dark time, I lost my love for running. Since I've been running for over 30 years, I know that my relationship with running is a lot like my relationship with people. We'll go through good times and bad times, but I don't give up on someone I love.

Liz and I have a completely different plan for running. I'm running less often. 

At first, I didn't even enjoy easy runs. I did them anyway. I ran without technology. I just ran.

There were some intensity to the workouts, but Liz told me, "Run however you feel that day. If you want to run easy, just run easy".

For awhile, that's what I did. I would attempt an interval or 2 and realize my heart and the speed was truly.....not.there.

But, I ran. Whenever she scheduled a run, I ran. 

Then, I started to enjoy running easy again. I started looking forward to those runs.

This week, I had more intervals. I failed the first two. I stopped and thought for a minute. I said, "All you have to do is run as hard as you can for 1:00. You can do that. 1:00 is all I'm asking."

The craziest thing happened. It worked. 

I ran for 1:00 at a time as hard as I could. I ran faster than I have in a very very long time. Although, I'm not sure. It might be the fastest intervals I've EVER run. 


If my race schedule is up in the air, what's the point?

The point is that this is the Year of Strong. I am becoming physically and mentally strong.

When I race, I know what I'm going to focus on for each race. I'm not out to impress anyone. I don't care if someone thinks I'm fast or slow or in between. I'm not out to podium. I don't care where I place. I'm not racing to prepare for Nationals. 

I'm racing for me. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

12 years a triathlete



If it doesn't challenge you,
it doesn't change you.

A couple of months ago, I mentioned the book Chasing Excellence.  It's a book that really spoke to me because of the no bullshit approach. As a quick reminder, the book is about how crossfit champions become crossfit champions. I do not like self help books, but I loved this book.

I love inspirational quotes.

I love powerful songs.

But, quotes and songs don't cross the finish line.

To accomplish your goals, we always say, "It's the little things".Those little things are simple, but they are not easy to do.

I was one of those athletes who would always say, "Get ready for BIG things from me this year". "This year is going to be HUGE".

I used to think improvements came in leaps and bounds.

This is my 12th year of triathlon. I took some time to look back over my career. I came to this sport with NO athletic background. I didn't know how to swim, and I didn't even own a bike. 

My entire triathlon story is about little steps. I've moved from the back of the pack to the middle to the front to the podium to making Team USA. 

Yet, there is not one single race that I can point to and say "THAT was it. THAT was my breakthrough race". Every year and every race, there were things that I did that built upon my previous years of racing.

If you want to qualify for a World Championship or podium at a World Championship, it will not happen overnight. It won't even happen in a year. It can take years to accomplish your goals. 

We all need BIG goals. More importantly, we need those smaller intermediate goals. Without the smaller goals, we have no plan to reach the big ones. It's sexy to talk about qualifying for Kona. No one wants to know about the boring, little things an athlete has to do daily to make that dream come true. 

Somewhere along the line, reality set in with me. I no longer talk in BIG terms. 

Nowadays, I think, "I would like to do X".  I know that in order to accomplish X, I need to go through T-U-V and W. 

I (now) know how much work it takes to get to those really BIG goals. 

This year, I am taking the opportunity to work on more of the little stuff. 

Because the little stuff is everything. 

#chasingexcellence





















***************************************************************************
On an unrelated note: If any readers want to follow me on Strava, please let me know in the comments. (No one can see your comment unless I approve it). I recently received a request from a guy in Italy. I deleted his request because I don't normally accept requests from people I don't know. He sent me a message saying, "I've been reading your blog for a few years".  

OH. Ok. Then.