Thursday, May 30, 2013


It's really hard to start a post about trust because there are so many different levels.

From the very basic level, blog readers! Ha! If you are reading this, it means there is a certain level of trust that I have with you. There are times when I need you to kick me in the butt, and there are times when I just need you to listen to me be irrationally mad. There are times when I don't have the confidence to do the things I want, but you all just manage to say the right thing or make me laugh or bring me back to reality.

Then there are deeper friendships. Although I really don't like social media, and you have heard my rants, there is a good to it all.  It's put me in touch with people, who....if you lived closer, I believe we'd get along smashingly. It's also put me in touch with a couple of old college friends, and like Vegas....if it happened in the dorm, it stayed in the dorm. No vows necessary. It was an unwritten rule, and we can all laugh about the stories now. 

I have a very small circle of very good friends. In fact, I can count them on one hand. I prefer it that way. These people know my sense of humor. It's completely off color and usually has a lot to do with sex. In other words, about the level of a teenager.

THESE people know me better than I know myself. When I get wrapped up in life or stress, and I am ready to throw in the towel, these are the people who say, "Come on we can do this. You've come this far. Don't quit now."

Even though I say I want to quit. I don't really. I just don't think I can handle anymore.

For about a month, I've been working on my "schedules". 

I'm 45....and in case you haven't noticed, I'm of the female variety.  I won't bore you with all of the hormonal challenges that presents. I truly feel bad for all of the men who are dealing with this issue with their Significant others.

If it makes you feel any better, she can't control it. It's a horrible feeling being completely out of control of your emotions. For me, the worst part is the "rage" and the sleep issues. Please try to remember this when she is going through it.
Anything can set her off. Anything. You can simply ask her if she wants sugar in her coffee. It's not you. And yes, she feels horrible about it after it passes.

This isn't a blog post about hormones though. Fortunately for me, I have it.....not controlled.....maybe "maintained" is a better word. At the end of last year, I was at wits end. I started using a hormone cream to get me back to normal, but I'm not really a fan of using hormones. So, I did a lot of reading and went completely organic, non-processed, new water filters, personal care items, etc. It took about 3 months when I was able to go off the cream. For me, this is what works. Not everyone can do this, and I understand this. 

But hormones aren't a perfect science, and I still have moments. However, I've gotten much better at knowing when it's a hormone issue or when it's a stress issue. 

This brings me back to the issue of trust. I have a hard time trusting people, but I'm fortunate to have a few people in my life who I do trust.

They will accept me whether I am happy or angry or sad or whatever other mood is thrown at me.

For a month, I've been working on my work schedule and sleep schedule and training schedule. I can't get anything to jive. I move workouts around. I move work around. I'm tired all the time.

Last week was my breaking point. 

I wanted to throw everything away. I didn't want to listen to anyone anymore. 

Yesterday, two different people who I trust, said two completely different things, and not at all related to my to speak. (It was and it wasn't). I've found that it's often these little comments said in an offhand kind of way, that get to me. I wasn't looking for advice, and they weren't giving it. Sometimes, I just need the encouragement. Sometimes, it's the simple fact that someone shows that they care. It doesn't matter what they actually said.

And as tired as I was and as guarded and tightly wound as I was, the message got through.

It's physics, equal and opposite forces. Or if you recently read one of the triathlon focused magazines, it's the "knot in the rubber band". The more you stretch it, the tighter the knot gets.

To loosen the knot, you have to let go.

I can't fight it.

I have to go with it.

Some of the things that are going on in my life, I wouldn't have chosen, but it's what I have to work with. 

I can work against them. Or I can work with them.....I really don't want to quit.

This is my perfectly imperfect life.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Would you rather "place" and miss your goals? Or would you rather hit your goals and come in last?  I've thought about this a lot over the past few days.

In true form, the saga continues. 

Let's recap the past couple of months:
1.) Work was really busy.
2.) I quit cycling. (Maybe it was only for a day, but I DID quit).
3.) The cycling that I did was on the trainer. I didn't get on the road until a week ago.
4.) No open water swimming places have been open. All my swimming has been in the pool. But, it's been really good.
5.) I'm still very happy with where my running is going. 
6.) Coach still hasn't fired me.

This year, I'm making the move to the Olympic distance. There hasn't been a day gone by that I've thought I made the wrong decision.

Still, there I was on May 19th ready to do this race....not a big race for me. It was more about doing the distance and getting a feel for being on a course for a long time again. 

Goals: I had goals ranging from 2:35-2:55. 

Immediately before we got into the water, the RD announces that we're running a completely different route.


He says, instead of going along the reservoir and turning right, you're turning left....and well, there are hills. Lot's of hills. 

uh whut?

Too late.....the swim is starting. 
The swim:
Cut to the chase: I just plain swam too slow. The first lap (750m) in 14 minutes was fine. My goal was to get faster on the second lap. I never really got out of the "taking it easy mode". I, also, got wrapped up with this one guy for a bit. I just couldn't get away from him. My triathlete friends know what I'm talking about. 

T1: Pretty decent run uphill to T1. (Aren't they all though?) The difference nowadays is that I've figure out how to RUN this without killing myself. Since run is my weakness, I rip the wetsuit off right when I get out of the water. This makes it easier for me to run. First time ever, I actually caught up to people and wasn't passed.

Simple pleasures.....that's a pretty big improvement to me.

The bike:

This is where things get good. The bike (being my strength).....YET, I haven't done a whole lot of training. I thought worst case 1:30, best case 1:20.  A few minutes after being on the bike, I noticed that my garmin wasn't displaying anything except time elapsed. 

I messed with it for awhile then gave up. AWESOME. I have no idea how far I'm going, what my speed is, what my cadence is or what my heart rate is. The funny thing about this is that not even two weeks ago, I'd mentioned to coach that I did a training ride by "feel" because "What happens if my Garmin stops working mid-race?"

As it turns out, this is a very small race. I'm riding, and I passed a lot of people. I look up, and there's no one in front of me. I glance backwards and no one is behind me. 

And I have no idea where I'm going. I'm glancing down different turns looking for other cyclists. 

Nothing. I glance at my watch and I *think* it says 30 min. I make the decision to ride about 5-6 more minutes and turn around. 

At 5-6 minutes with still no one in site....I decided to turn around and head back. 

As I'm riding back, still no athletes....I'm starting to think "I'm f*cked. I'm out in the middle of no where. I have no cell phone. No idea where I am. Not even a freaking good ole boy that I could flag down."

Just then, I see the turn that I missed. As I was focused on the upcoming turn, I missed a hole in the ground that I hit at about 35 mph and heard the bike crunch.

WTF? I manage to stay up on the bike. My water bottle goes bouncing far far away. 

And, I haven't seen one single aid station on the course. 

I'm completely rattled.

At this point, I have a decision to make. I have no water. I've already gone off course by who knows how much.

Do I cut the course, call it a day, and take my DQ? Or do I continue on?

"You should just call it a day. Head back. You're not going to place anyway."

"Who said I wanted to place? I just wanted to hit my goals. Those are probably out the window now too. Especially after that slow swim"

" still have a chance to PR"

"How do you know that? I have NO IDEA how long I've been out here. I have no idea how far I went off course."

I don't care. I'm continuing on with the race, even if it means I come in last.

I start following people....people that I passed in the first 10 minutes of the race. 

How am I going to explain my bike time to Coach?

All I wanted was to finally show everyone that I REALLY AM FAST ON THE BIKE.

Now, it's a waste of time. Here I am trying to play catch up. Best case scenario, I have to be out here for over 1:30. Mr. Tea is GOING TO FREAK. HE hates long races.


You could have quit.  You could have turned around, but YOU DECIDED TO CONTINUE ON WITH THE RACE.



I catch up to a women and ask if she knows what the race time is. ANYTHING to give me an idea of how long I've been out there.

She doesn't know. 

I keep riding. 

As I pull into the lake, I see Mr. Tea. As I pass him, I SCREAM OUT "WHAT'S MY RACE TIME?'

He gives me this look as if to say "What are you talking about? Look at your garmin."

I dismount and start running toward T2.  As I get there, I yell to the guy "Any idea what time it is?"


He doesn't know either. I look at T2. SO MANY BIKES. I must have been one of the last off the course.  

It's cool. Whatever. I take my time in T2. I am horribly thirsty after losing my water bottle. I see Mr. Tea. I ask him again, "What was my bike time. I'm riding blind. I went off course. I have no information."

He says, "1:24"

I take off running.


That's not even possible. 

I went off my estimate....about 3 miles. There's no way. Sure 1:24 for 40K is MEH.

But 1:24 for close to 28 miles? With the amount of bike training I did? Damn. That's a pretty huge PR.

I start running. When I hit the first downhill and looked up at the monstrous hill that I was about to climb....the only thought in my head was

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME.  I see 10 people ahead of me. They were all walking the hill.

I immediately think "I'm not walking this hill dammit. I'm going to run. No matter how hard."

Halfway up. I started walking.

That's pretty much how the race went. UP and Down. The only easy way to get through it was to keep moving forward, whether you had to walk or run slow.

There comes a time in every race when you know that you are going to hit your goals or not. 

On the run, I knew my shot at 2:35-2:55 was completely blown. 

BUT....I COULD still PR. I just had to maintain better than 12:00 pace. The swim was a 4 minute PR. The bike was a PR (even going off course). 

I was now chasing a PR. The only way I was going to beat it was by running. I couldn't walk anymore hills. This was it.

I started talking to some of the other runners. I ran with a woman for awhile. We talked for a bit then I picked up the pace and wished her good luck. 

For the remainder of the run, I talked with another woman (who I later discovered was 2nd in my AG).

We ran the last two miles together, talking and grunting and pushing each other to get up each hill.

When I crossed the finish line, I grabbed my water bottle and sat down. My legs were shot.

STILL....having NO IDEA what my time was. There was no clock at the finish. I'm thinking it was a PR but a small one. 

A PR none the less.

Not exactly the times I wanted, but the times I got.

I sat there thinking about what I did right and what I did wrong. 

The crazy thing....

I felt pretty damn good about it all.

The announcement was made that the awards ceremony was taking place. Due to a miscommunication with Mr. Tea, I had no idea where he was, and I decided to watch the awards ceremony.

The RD is going through all of the Age groups, and he SKIPS FEMALE 45-49.

WHAT? I've got to find the results. Did they have me in the wrong AG? 

He doesn't say anything about it. I run to find the results table.

Sure enough....there are NO results for my Age group.

Why isn't my ag here? Then it occurs to me....

There are women still on the course.

I COULD HAVE PLACED. As ridiculous as it sounds, because trust this point, EVERYTHING except coming in last sounds pretty crazy.

I go running back to the awards ceremony. The RD is announcing the last of the male winners and he says, "We now have the results of the women's 45-49 category. It was almost a photo-finish as the top three women came in within a minute of each other."

In 3rd place with a time of 3:18....and he announces my name.

For the first time all day, I now know that I PR'd. A 12 minute PR.

I'm stunned. I go stumbling up to the front. I say "thank you" and smile for the photog.

But all I could think of was, "I don't deserve this."

There must have only been 3 women in my AG, right?

I should have been happy, right?

I've told Coach this over and's hard to be happy about a race when it wasn't my best effort.

Later in the day, I found out there were 7 women in my AG. It was a *real* placing.

Still, I don't feel like I deserve it. I can be faster and better. This was a "B" race for me. It was my starter kit. I messed up. So many things went wrong. I can swim better. I can ride better. I can definitely run better. 


Where do I stand now?


Sunday, May 12, 2013

If life gives you lemons, throw them at someone

I can't tell you how much I was looking forward to my long run.

Yea. Can you believe it? This coming from the "I WILL NEVER RUN A MARATHON EVER AGAIN"

I'm NOT training for a marathon, but the reason I hate them is because of the long run. I like long runs now.

HUGE change of attitude. 

I'm not even 10 lines into my post, and I'm already off topic.

The last 2 months have been extremely stressful for me. I've been surviving on so little sleep....I don't know how I'm even functioning. I'm been cranky/irritable/walking in a fog.

so much so that I'm SURE that the people closest to me think I've been PMS'ing for 2 month. 

No. I assure you. This isn't normal Tea behavior. YES. I have a dark side. Yes. I can be horribly sarcastic.

But, I think those are my GOOD points. 

I've covered that enough. You get it. 

Here we are. A week out from my first Olympic distance Tri since 2009. Most of you reading this, remember those days of the *struggle*, the struggle to finish.

I'm past that. I know I am.

BUT, the stress. The stress took a toll on my training. Over the past two months, I can probably count my bike rides on one hand. I've been really good with my swimming. Great in fact.

There have been runs that I've bailed get to a point and realize you don't have the energy to get home. Some people call it the "walk of shame". Walking is never shameful.

Still, I think I've done pretty well with my running.

I'm a week out from my race. I'm concerned. All I wanted was to do well this race, and now I regret signing up for it.

How am I going to do a race in which the ONE THING THAT I FEEL GOOD ABOUT might suck?

Train to your weakness. Race to your strengths.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but the run might just be my strength for this race. 

This is what I thought about during my long run. All of this.

I blathered on and on about why this race was going to suck, and it hasn't even happened yet.

That just got me really mad. WTH was I doing? Who's to say the race is going to suck? Yea. Maybe it will. Maybe I won't even come close to my goals. But that hasn't been determined yet. It won't be determined until every second of the race. Even then, it's up to me to decide if the race sucks, right?

Yea. My training hasn't been perfect. Yea. I've missed a number of bikes. 

BUT, I've killed it on the swims. I've worked my ass off in the pool. On Wed, I had straight up one solid hour worth of training from one of the master's swim coaches. She gave me detailed, miniscule changes to make. I won't be able to change anything by next weekend, but I CAN focus on my form. I CAN be aware of those changes during the race. I'm already a solid swimmer. But those changes have made me downright fast. 

All I have to do is focus.

And swim as F*CKING HARD AS I CAN.

So I've done very little riding and only TWO rides outside. It is what it is. But it's too early for me to just give up. Right?

Fine. I've missed a few workouts, but I've been training consistently for a year. That HAS to count for something, right?

All I have to do is focus.

And ride as F*CKING HARD AS I CAN.

What's it going to be like running a 10K after a swim and bike like that?




STOP analyzing everything. STOP IT. 

I was making excuses before I even started taper week.

Here we go....I'm going to work on my attitude this week.

And get ready for a GREAT race.

And This is for SOMEONE
Someone from whom I've learned a lot about perseverance and the importance of a great support network. You've got this LBTEPA.

 And THIS one is for ME. I hope Mr. Tea is ready for my race day playlist.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Here Comes the Boom

This post is dedicated to my Twitter Pal Ian.

This post AND this song

The other day, I read Ian's post about running a marathon. The timing was perfect. I was thinking about all the years that I've spent trying to find myself, figuring what distances I want to do, what distances I can do (based on personal obligations) and then also what different type of racing do I want to do.

Sometimes (ok....many times) what I WANT to do, doesn't line up with what I CAN do. 

It causes disruption and stress. How many times have you signed up for a race and only to figure out during training that you really don't have the time to commit to making it a great effort?

Well, I've done that a lot. My time was spent lying to myself, insisting that my fitness level was WAY beyond my actual ability.

I always wanted to be faster or be able to longer.  But wanting it isn't always enough.

For the past year and half, I've peeked out from behind my ego and decided to start from square one.

Many of you, I've known for a long time. You've seen my struggles and success. Unfortunately, I think there have been more struggles than success.

That's why I decided to start over. 

Last year, when I focused on sprint distance tri's, I had a blast. But, I was unfulfilled. I'll do my best to explain.

For me, a race is a success when I feel like I've given everything and I feel "competitive". Not that I have to place, but that I *feel* like I've found my race.

At the sprint distance, as much as I tried, I can't get up to speed like those women can. At the end of every race, I'd say to Mr. Tea: "If the bike portion was just a little bit longer. I could have caught her. I know it."

That's because once we got to the run, I was dust. I don't have any problem with that. We all have our strengths, and mine is the bike and swim. 

It's because my bike and swim are strong that the longer I can be out there, the bigger I can make my lead....the better I'm going to feel about my race.

I don't mind being hunted down on the run, as long as I know that I'm giving everything I've got.

I guess what I'm saying is that I want a fighting chance, and I don't think the sprint gave me that opportunity. It was too short. I need more time for my speed to kick in. On the one sprint with a 20 mile bike, I was first on the bike. FIRST, and I was just getting warmed up. It killed me when I was passing everyone, only to catch two other women and know that I wouldn't be able to catch them on the run. I NEED MORE TIME.

SO---here we are. I've moved up to the Olympic distance this year. (For my non triathlon friends, that's a 1500m swim/40K or just under 25 miles bike/10K run)

As much as I was looking forward to making the jump, I'm nervous about it. Doubling the distance from a sprint to an oly, it seems daunting to me right now.

I've done many many olympic distance triathlons, just like I've done many many sprints. But I never RACED them until last year. 

For me, the most important part is the run pacing. I thought I was doing ok until my race last weekend, where I didn't run my best race. Yes, it was a PR for that race, but we all knew it was going to be. 

Maybe that sounds like I'm being too hard on myself? But I think all my athlete friends know exactly what I mean....placing and PR's don't mean much if it wasn't a good effort on your part. I guess it's a mixed bad. That's how I felt on Sunday. A few weeks early, I'd run a 10K in a blizzard at a faster pace. So, yea. I got a 5 mile PR, but it didn't reflect my current fitness level.

Now, I'm a couple of weeks out from my first Oly race of the year. Coach Mike MADE me set A, B, C goals....which I didn't want to do. And then, he went through and made them even more challenging! WHAT?!

I mean....that means I might have to deal with DISAPPOINTMENT, people! 

I'm going to focus. 

On the swim, it's form, form, form and speed.

On the bike, it's HERE COMES THE BOOM. 

On the run, pace, pace, pace.....RUN HARD, don't give up. 

We'll see where that takes me.