Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Polar Opposites

Unlike swimming, I have no natural ability on the bike. Everything that I do on the bike is the result of hard work and stupidity.

I don't know where I am on the learning curve, but I still refer to my chainring as "y'know the big circle in the front" and I could never intelligently discuss the benefits of carbon over steel, unless maybe you're a clydesdale. BUT, I can tell you what the BEST girl-seat around is and where to put those much needed femine products when you have a long ride (cough...saltstick...cough).

I'm not fast, but I'm not slow either. This year I finally made the move into the upper 30% of my age group after floundering around in the bottom 20% for awhile.

In the begining of my tri "career", I made progress quickly. I learned that there is a big difference between riding your bike out to the lake and home and training.


My first years, I spent "reading" about training more than actually doing it, but I didn't understand the language. ILTs? high cadence? grinding? I didn't know WHY those things were important. I mean, really, don't I just get on the bike and go as hard as I can?

After two years of poor showings on the bike, I came to the painful realization that I couldn't become a better cyclist by osmosis.

It was hard. Cycling is still hard. I sweat. My legs burn. Sometimes I go really far and want to take a cab home. Sometimes I spent a stupid amount of time on the trainer. I've fallen over sideways. I've crashed. I've dropped my chain. I've dropped my water bottle...and watched it go bouncing....bouncing....bouncing....down the side of a mountain. I've gotten saddlesores (once). I've gotten chafed. I've peed myself. I've miscalculated nutrition. I've dressed inappropriately. I've put my helmet on backward, and I've jammed my aero-waterbottle up my nostril so hard I thought it would come out my eyes.

Sometimes I think....I just can't pedal anymore.

Then, something else happens.....and I just keep going.


in the pool, I stare at the stripe along the bottom of the pool...while running I see pretty much the same 50 square miles.

On the bike, I see the most beautiful landscapes that I could never run to. I can ride through counties, over mountains, around lakes. I can stop at coffee shops that give out free snacks to cyclists.

And I meet other cyclists.

I couldn't do that if I didn't face my bike-demons: those voices that want to tell me "the hill is too big" or "that's too far" or "your legs are too tired." or "maybe you should just swim today."

Fortunately for me, I've got my girlfriends "Grit" and "Determination" on my side. It might not be pretty, but I'm not a quitter. Work ethic. I got a wholelotta that. Again unlike the swim, I don't miss a bike workout. Every time I get in the saddle, I am reminded of how much work I have to do to get where I want to be.

But I don't mind. I like it. When I look back over the past few years, I have a sense of accomplishment. Sure the accomplishment is only about 1mph per year over the course of the race, but each year new people join the sport. Each year, I begin passing others. Each year, I can climb better and manage my heart rate, cadence, and power better than previous years.

The gains may be small, but they are all mine.

Not a darn person can take that away from me.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's knowing what you are capable of

I had a moment the other day.

I went swimming for the first time in months. Then, I did it again.

This rather odd behavior went on for two weeks.

Then, I had longer swim to do...3800m. The workout took me roughly 1:20 to complete, including break times inbetween intervals.

I feel good about swimming. Of the three events, it's the one that I feel I have natural ability. In June, several people asked me what my goal time was for Ironman. I said that I knew I could hit 1:20 easily. 1:15 on a good day. 1:10 with adrenaline.

Of course, they rolled their eyes at me.

After almost 6 months off of no swimming, I jump back into the pool with a 1:20 time.

Let's just keep that our little secret.

Friday, November 28, 2008

living the life of luxury

I can't remember a better Thanksgiving holiday.

Special note: this Thanksgiving also happened to be Slin's 13th birthday. In 1995, after a huge dinner and much dessert, labor pains kicked in immediately. In the middle of a snowstorm (both boys were born during snowstorms), and without a 4 wheel drive, Mr. Nuk drove me to the hospital....slowly.....while contractions quickly moved from 5 minutes apart to 2. We got to the hospital. The doctor asked if I'd eaten anything, and I gave him that "what planet are you from?" look.

They rushed me to the room and short while later, Slin was born.

On Thanksgiving day, he became a teenager.

My youngest is now a young man. No more little kids in the house.

Because of that, we had a special day planned. Mr. Nuk, Googs, Slin, and my thista were all planning on running, walking or crawling the 4 mile turkey trot.

But first, there was breakfast. We started the day out right with pancakes and belgian waffles, and coffee, and juice, and just about everything you could imagine.

We head to the race. This year we left muchas later....and ended up parking over a mile away from the finish. Not an issue for me. But, come to find was a BIG issue for the rest of the family who was getting ready to do the longest race (and first race) in their lives.

The costumes were off the chart this year. We had a guy on stilts. A guy dressed like pocahontas, a team of women running in turkey feet. Doggies wearing pilgrim hats. Several turkey costumes...and a guy dress as a Moose, who I got to high five several times.

I bet YOU didn't get to high five a moose on Thanksgiving day...

We picked up our t-shirts and race numbers when my thista said she had to use the porta potty. I had to give her a quick run down on porta potty ettiquette, how to hold her breath and still get oxygen, and how to do the

As I was waiting for her to exit the porta potty, the runners started. When she came out, I made sure she didn't have any other questions. She was so nervous. She was really worried about finishing the distance. We had gotten her up to one hour of walking. She was walking with Slin, and I told her she'd do great. then I said, "Well, umm...I gotta go....I'll come back for you."

If you're familiar with the movie Romancing the Stone.....the conversation went as:

I'll come back for you.



How soon?

VERY soon....

and I was off.

I took off fast. Did I mention it was really cold? Well, it always is.

I stuck my garmin in the zippered pant legs and didn't look at it once. I've gotten really good at knowing my heart rate, and I didn't want my attempt at a PR to make me needlessly disappointed if my heart rate couldn't support the goal. My goal was a 4 minute improvement over last year, but I didn't really care.

I took off (as Mr. Nuk says) like someone lit me on fire. I was in the back of the runners with the slower runners, and there were over 10,000 people at the race. Navigating around people wasn't easy.

I kept looking for Googs and Mr. Nuk thinking that they had to be ahead of me. If so, I would have to catch them at some point.

I yo-yo'd for awhile with the women with the turkey feet. then I thought this is silly....they have TURKEY FEET just leave them in the dust.

So, I did.

I felt great. I knew I was moving at a pretty good clip. People lined the streets handing out goodies, water, hot chocolate and even volunteering their houses up for potty use.

As I got to 3.5 miles, I just happened to look to my right, and I saw Mr. Nuk at about the 2.5 marker. I yelled to him. Somehow, he heard me........all the way across the park....and he started waving....then he started running again.

I never saw Googs or Slin or my Thista.

I round the corner and saw the finish line. JAM PACKED. It took me 5 minutes to get to the finish then another 3 to get my chip cut off.

Not only did I PR, but I beat my goal time by 2:30, for an overall PR of 6:30.

As I turned to run back to find Googs, I realized that he was getting his chip cut off.

He finished only 2minutes and 50 seconds behind me. Not only did he PR, but he beat his goal by :10.

I could believe it. I started yelling at him! He was so happy and completely wiped out.

I told him that I was going to run back and look for Mr. Nuk. He decided to go with me.

About .5 miles down to road, we caught up with Mr. Nuk. Googs decided to finish with him.

I kept running, knowing that I should catch Thista and Slin at around 2.5-3 mile marker. Sure enough, I caught them right at the 3 mile marker.

We walked to the finish together. Slin took pictures during the entire course.

The best part was seeing how happy Thista was. She just kept saying over and over, "Two months ago, when I had my accident, I didn't think this could be possible. I never thought I would be able to walk 4 miles."

The she turned to me with this look of amazement and said, "It gives me a whole new appreciation for how far you go."

Slin....well....that was HIS first race too, and I've never seen him so happy.

As we all met up 50 meters from the finish, everyone was talking about how sore, tired, and hungry they were. BUT, they were all smiling the biggest smiles I've ever seen.

For me....I logged a total of 7.5 miles....but a million miles worth of smiles.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Simple Pleasures

We've had very mild temperatures lately. Mild as in....I'm STILL WEARING SHORTS. Long sleeves, but shorts nonetheless.

Lately, things have been going really well. I woke up early this morning, had my morning cup of coffee ( I had TWO cups) and felt a relief from the stress that we had been going through.

Do you know that feeling when stress is going away slowly, then one day you wake up and you think "it's all good"?

That's how I woke up.

All all my morning duties were finished, I got set to run. I put on my shorts, long sleeve shirt...then at the last minute opted to pack a hat. I don't know why I did that, but I did.

Again, it was very mild (50F), and very sunny. Unfortunately with the next storm moving into the mountains, it was also an unexpectedly very windy. The wind was SO cold. Out of the north, it was an artic wind. I laughed for a second wondering how that happens.

How can it be so beautiful when the wind stops; yet, brutally cold when it picks up.

I was glad I packed my hat. For the whole run, I was cold. I tried to run into the valley where I knew it would be colder because the trees would block the sun, but there wouldn't be much wind. Today, that wasn't the case. The wind went howling through the valley, and I opted to return to the top where I could at least have the sun on my face.

It was a meditative run. More and more often, my runs are becoming like that. I've found my space where my body can hit and maintain the right heart rate without me thinking about it.

When I head home, I realized how good my training has been going and how great I've been feeling. Was it frustrating at the begining? YOU BETCHA, but I've now been in Phase 1 training since the begining of October. My progress is consistent. (Although it took a good 6 weeks before I saw any consistent improvement. It was rather erratic at first).

I got home and the house felt warm. I took a hot shower, hoping my ears would stop hurting.

Then came the best part of my day. I sat down with a can of coke and Mr. Nuk and I shared a bag of peanut m&ms.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I will sum up


This whole blogging thing is really strange this time around. I'm just not into it. My workouts are going along that I finally know how to upload a workload into You'd think I would have figured that one out a few years ago.


The workouts have been going great. I'm still in my Phase 1 of offseason training. I have a Maffetone test coming up soon, and I know I've made significant improvement in my running speed over the past 8 weeks. My last test was about 4 weeks ago.

Howeva....I might push the test out to the Turkey Trot. It's a measured 4 mile course that is relatively flat.

The bike has been awesome. I can tell that my fitness this off season is tons better than it was last season. Although, I'm playing around a bit with heart rate training on the bike, my legs are strong this off season.

Swimming isn't happening. In an effort to cut costs, we cut out our gym membership. But it's all good. If it's one thing that I'm good at is swimming. I figure that I can do ow swims next season as soon as the lake opens OR I just keep doing what I'm doing. I'm very happy with my running and biking abilities at the moment.

Next year, I have decided to focus on the half distances. I don't think I'll be racing much (if at all), but I am going to work on the half iron (either du or maybe tri) and half marathon distances....just cuz I gained quite an affection for the half marathon at my last race.

So, that's it! Running, biking, and strength/core/flexibility work.

You can stick a fork in me cuz I'm DONE.

Everything good?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Just curious....

Does anyone have WORSE customer service than QWEST?

Besides yahoo small business....oh....and google...Oh....and COMPASS bank (who btw has unethical banking practices). Don't take my word for it. Just search Compass Bank NSF fees.

BESIDES THOSE 3 companies.



Everything Good?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Breaking a mental sweat

I really love this time of year. Post season, off season....the time where I can just do whatever I want whenever I want.

It's such a relaxing feeling.

If I feel like running, I run.

If I feel like cycling, I ride.

If I feel like swimming, I'm out of pool access right now. :)

There's alot to be said for taking a mental break after months of training for specific races, staying focused, and shooting for certain goals.

White Goodman might call that breaking a mental sweat.

Our bodies and minds really need that downtime. Most people understand the need for a break during a particular training period, but they often underestimate the importance of "rest" during the off season. We can't always be training for the next race.

That's why I love this time of year. My mind is freed up to take an honest look at my training, nutrition, personal life, committments, ability to name it, and I'll analyze it.

After talking to Mr. Nuk, I came up with tentative 3 year plan. You might think 3 years is a long time, but it's an important exercise to figure out how you are going to train to build for each training period.

Think about it in our personal and professional lives we have short term and long term goals. Why wouldn't you have those for your athletic pursuits as well?

It was in thinking through my three year plan when I started thinking about what motivates my athletic pursuits and when I feel the most successful and happy.

I came up with two types of athletes: goal oriented and process oriented. They both have goals. They both have plans. The difference is the focus. Goal oriented athletes focus on the end result: the pr, the new distance. Process oriented athletes focus on the steps (journey) to get to the goal.

Another way of saying it: goal oriented athletes are extrinsicly motivated.
Process oriented athletes are instrinsicly motivated.

This is an important difference. Extrinsicly motivated athletes might often question why they are out there. Or push themselves beyond their realistic abilities in order to reach their goals. Think about this in terms of your professional life. Extrinsic rewards are pay, bonus, etc. When we are faced with being given a bonus, we usually work harder for a short period of time. However, repeatedly researchers have shown that extrinsic rewards do not motivate in the long term and in fact cause more harm than steps are eliminated or teamwork breaks down because the goal is money. The focus is on What is the fastest way that I can get to that goal?

Process oriented athletes are intrinsicly motivated. They rarely question why they are out there because their focus is on being the best that they can be. It's an internal fire that keeps them going. Motivation to deal with challenge and adversity comes from the inside and not from the carrot. The authors of The Leadership Challenge state "....that if people are going to do their best, they must be internally motivated....When it comes to excellence, it's definitely not 'What gets rewarded gets done.', it's 'What is rewarding gets done."(174)

Let me say it this way:

Extrinsic rewards: Doing something to please others.
Intrinsic: Doing something to please yourself.

Extrinsic: Feeling forced.
Instrinsic: Doing it because you want to.

The difference is the motivation behind the goals.

My lofty goal for 2009? Accomplishing extraordinary things.

My more specific goals? Yet to be determined.

Everything good?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Applying the Rules

I don't think I'm off the mark in saying that I think most of us want to feel special. We want to believe we are unique.

And we our own special little ways.

But, we are also human. Therefore, there are certain physical and psychological traits that most of us share. For those of you into statistics, I'm talking about a normal distribution, right? That big group of us that falls under that giant bell curve where 95-99% of us fit comfortably.

This is not a bad place to be. Researchers have and will always do "tests" to find out better ways to do things. Understanding yourself as being "normal" means that you can benefit from the studies that have been done.

If that's the case, why do we think that in order to be "special" or "unique" that we must fall outside the normal distribution and that all those rules and tests that can be applied to humans do not apply to us as individuals.

Case in point....

For many years, I have studied the physical and psychological side of sports. I have helped many people finish their first races, given tips on nutrition, and have pointed out when someone is walking the fine line between pushing themselves and overtraining.

But, I didn't do this for myself.

Afterall, I'm special.

I'm different.

I can train differently than other people do. I can train harder, longer, and ramp up more quickly without worrying about getting injured because I'm special. I'm unique.

That's not true. I'm just a regular person.

There's a word for telling people to do one thing but actually doing something else.

What is it?

Oh yes.

It's called being a hypocrite.

For a very long time, I spoke raves about the benefits of heart rate training, proper nutrition, and setting up a training plan that had significant time dedicated to base training.

That's all good and well.Except that I never followed it myself. I'm quite convinced now that I didn't follow my own advice because what would shine through was the fact that I truly was slow. My ego simply couldn't handle that. Yet at the same time, I wouldn't see significant improvements in my overall speed. For years, I didn't have significant improvements. I told myself that it was because I wasn't training hard enough.

But y'see, I've always been a rebel. You tell me to do one thing. I'll do another.

When I looked back over the studies, had my V02max and max heart rate calculated, determined my zones and then ran using those zones.....I decided that pace was too slow and therefore, the rules do not apply to me. The reality was that I was overtraining, training too hard/too fast, and ignoring all the research that had been done for years.

It became a battle of ego versus research.

The fact of the matter was that the rules did apply to me. I simply chose to ignore them.

I'm writing about this today because yesterday I went running. I follow Maffetone's heart rate training. The run was to not exceed MEP which is roughly equivalent to a zone 2 run.

My area is very hilly. Everytime I run, I have to stop and walk the steep hills because my heart rate goes above the MEP zone. There are times that it has been frustrating. ego. There are times when I just want to say "screw it" and go back to my old way. ego. In the begining, I used to get embarrased because I thought that everyone driving by must think I'm the slowest runner ever. ego. I got over that.

Then, I started noticing that I was getting faster.

Then, yesterday, I noticed that for the first time ever I ran the hills without having my heart rate exceed the MEP zone.

The best part was that I didn't even realize it until I got to the top of the first hill.

I was so excited. I realized that all that time spent running slowly. All that time spent having periods of walking. All those years spent thinking that the rules don't apply to me.....

......and I finally proved to myself that following the rules take patience, perserverance, and the understanding that something bigger lies on the horizon.

Being a rebel is easy.

Following the rules shows your true strength.

Friday, October 31, 2008


I laid in bed this morning wrapped up in blankets. I could feel the cold air on my face. I stared up at the black ceiling deciding if I should get up. I turned to look at the curtains and noticed that the sun hadn't started to come up yet.

I rolled over and watched the glow of the sun start to come over the tops of the curtains. I watched as the length of the light grew longer like a lighthouse shining over the ocean. As it stretch slowly across the ceiling, I decided it was time to get up.

I stood up and noticed how dark the room still was. I looked at the window. It was framed with the glow of the rising sun.

Quietly, I tried to feel my way around the room trying to find a pair of running pants and jacket. As I slipped into my running pants, I realized that it's mornings like this that remind me of why I enjoy mornings.

I haven't always been a morning person. In fact, I don't know if I can say that I am now. It's just the nature of the beast. For the past 15 years, I've risen before the sun and before anyone else in the house to run, swim, bike, hike, snowshoe....even walk the dogs.

Over those 15 years, I remember the winter mornings best. There is something about running in the cold. No one else is out. I can see my breath as I run. I can feel icicles forming on my eyelashes. Maybe it's the feeling of being cleansed. The air feels clean and cold.

After the run, I sit in "my space"(the library) with a cup of coffee, staring out the window enjoying the silence before the rest of the house wakes up.

Today won't be an icy cold run, but it will still be an early run by myself while the coffee brews at home waiting for my return.

Everything Good?

Toilet Paper

I have boys.


Once a week, they bring their dirty clothes to the laundry room to be washed. Sometimes they wash them. Sometimes I wash them. We all share this responsibility.

That's ok. Except that I have boys.


I haven't quite figured out this phenomenon. However, when the basket of dirty clothes arrives in the laundry room, and I find myself sorting the dirty clothes, among the dirty clothes, I find strands of used toilet paper.

Did I mention that I have boys?


I don't know exactly what the toilet paper was used for. I don't know why the toilet papers ends up mixed in with dirty clothes.

I do know that as a parent, I have handled, cleaned up, and disposed of some of the nastiest things ejected from the human body....without wincing, without gagging.

But handling used toilet paper that could have been used for anything from the sniffles to teen spirit is.....just plain gross.

Everything Good?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Everything Good

I had a blog.

One that had been around for several years. It's odd, but I found that my blog didn't change with me. (Please note that I didn't say evolved). Soon I felt like the blog had forced me into a certain category, or label, or though it had a life of its own.

which if you think about it would make for a good book.

Here's the new blog. It's pretty isn't it? I did the banner all by myself. Although, I was a bit rushed, and the sizing isn't quite right.

But, it's all mine.

Everything Good.

Mr. Nuk is the reason for the title. Everything Good does not mean that everything IS actually good all of the time.

It's a question and should be read as "Everything Good?"

Everything Good is the question that Mr. Nuk asks me regularly.

It means "whatever is going on....good or bad...are you ok? Are we ok? Give me the sign." Of course, the appropriate response is "Everything good". The answer is always everything good because if we can control nothing else, we can control our attitude. We can choose to take control or we can choose to be a victim of whatever life throws our way.

--Everything Good?