Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Be a machine



Some people make resolutions. I don't make them. Every year is a continuation of the previous years.

In 2014, I was doing a lot of rebuilding.

In previous years, because this had been going on for quite awhile, I had noticed that although I could swim, bike & run forEVER, I was losing basic mobility.

It really bothered me.

I couldn't go down stairs without some sort of knee pain. I didn't have the leg strength to go from sitting to standing without having to use something to help push me up. I'm not even talking about post race struggles.

It's like my body was aging before it was supposed to. I knew I needed strength work, but I didn't know WHAT I needed to do.

When I signed up with Coach Liz last January, she immediately started me on a very basic program. (The link takes you to her most recent blog post. It's a worthy read.) It was hard for me. She had me doing the most basic of exercises, and I still had to modify the exercises. (She is a functional strength specialist. My plan was to trust what she said, no matter how hard the exercises, no matter how many modifications I had to do).

I, mean, I couldn't even GET into position to do the exercises.

Last January, I was unable to do one lunge. Not.even.one.

A year later (yesterday), I had a on/off bike workout that consisted of Zone 3 and 4 intervals, hop off the bike do lunges, core, squats, core, lunges....and repeat that 3 times. The workout took me 1:30. Immediately after it, I had to run 25 minutes.

It took me a year to here. It took me a year to do this type of workout. Last January, I couldn't do ONE lunge. I could barely bend my legs to do a squat. I could hardly do any pushups. Instead of box jumps, I had to do step ups on a very low step.

Then, I graduated from going up and down steps to holding on to the wall and doing a "box jump". I held on to the wall and jumped with both feet on to the bottom stair.

And I felt incredible. That little 6 inch jump, and I felt like I could accomplish anything.

I wanted to write about this today because there are a lot of people in the same place. It doesn't matter that you can run super far or bike crazy fast.

What matters is being able to MOVE. It takes time. It takes a very long time to see improvements. I had to start with the most basic of exercises. Now, I'm doing box jumps and v sits on a stability ball and core work that I used to think that I'd never be able to do.

It doesn't matter if you are coming back from and injury, want to lose weight or are trying to slow down the aging process, START TODAY. I beg you.

It WILL take time. Results will not happen over night, but they happen.

One day, you'll run up a flight of stairs. When you get to the top, you'll realize that you used to be out of breath walking up the stairs...or maybe you couldn't even walk the stairs.

One day, you'll see muscles peeking out....in places you never saw before. One day, you'll notice that your pants fit a little looser. One day, you'll realize that you are walking faster than all your friends.

The good news is that once you show consistency with doing your workouts, the improvements start happening faster and faster. Day one is easy. It's days 5-6-7-8 and on that are hard.

Stick with it. It's slow in the beginning, but the results are well worth it.

You don't need a resolution to be successful. Surround yourself with the people who will help you get there. We ALL need support systems. Cut out the toxic people. Dream Big and Be a Machine. Machines don't think. They just do. 

And remember, I never said it would be easy. I said it would be worth it.








Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Out of ashes

My off season officially ended on Sunday.  It ended after I took a week off, which was fantastic.

The off season....the time of gluttony (sort of), the time of skipping workouts when I just don't feel like doing them (definitely), the time of sleeping in (most definitely).

This off season was particularly relaxing. I think I mentioned that we've....well....actually...I've been redecorating. Redecorating/remodeling, but the first part is the clean up.

You'd be shocked and amazed at the amount of stuff we had from living here for 11 years; the years that the boys basically grew up. Sports equipment, ridiculous numbers of boxes of band aids (because I could NEVER find them when I needed them), presents from people--that we used once or never at all.  Over the last few years, we've stopped bringing in so much.

Anyway, that's how I've spent my time, deciding between trash or someone else's treasure. I'm not done yet, but I'm close.

Ending my training season and then going through my emotional and physical purging was important.

It was an extremely productive clearing out.

I figured out a lot stuff. Letting go of things whether physical or emotional opens the door for the next great thing.

My season started today with a renewed sense of......I don't know....maybe a new sense of calm. This year will bring new challenges personally and professionally, but I feel different.

I've hurt people. I've been hurt by people. I've recovered. This is what is left.

I feel raw.

It's only when we strip down to this level that we can start building something new.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Eliminating noise

I don't know exactly what I want to say, so why don't we just see where this goes?

A little over a year ago, I was doing a race. The CU Tri team was also at the same race. I was texting a friend of mine. That friend had given their phone to one of the members of the tri team. Obviously, I didn't know, at the time, that I was having a conversation with some 20-something year old.

One of the messages that I received was, "We don't play at triathlon".

I never said anything to the person. I mean, they were a 20 something. But all I could think of was, "That is so wrong. So backward."

One of my favorite sayings is "I take what I do seriously, but I never take myself seriously."

You can take your hobby or job seriously, but it should be fun.....it should feel like play.

Without fun or play, why are you doing what you are doing?

Now look, I spent many many years being unhappy in my job. I know what it's like to be miserable. I always believed that work should be fun. Granted, there will be times of stress, but if a job is 90% miserable (like mine was) or even not fun and only 10% fun.....that's a problem.

When winning (or a paycheck) becomes the focus, the focus needs to change. Winning isn't winning.

The journey is winning: the process, each decision, every step we take...that's winning.

Of course, a 20-something year old wouldn't understand that. He was focused on the result, the outcome.

I know I can sound like a broken record sometimes, but there's more.

Recently, as of yesterday, I once again changed my Facebook lists. I'm allowing fewer and fewer people see my posts and even fewer see my blog entries. (Sure you can hit the blog at any time, but most people don't check in like that).

I also noticed that several of my friends have deactivated their FB accounts. They didn't tell me they were, I found out on my own. My reaction was "Good for you".

In addition to that, I've been reading blogs. I've noticed that I'm not the only one having this backlash against social media. However, people are handling it in different ways. Some people are deactivating their accounts. Some people are creating a new account under a nom de plume. Some people are eliminating toxic & negative people from their feeds but keeping their original account. For me, I also had privacy concerns. Repeatedly, I have customers, vendors or other business associates look me up. I put my accounts on lockdown. This blog is unsearchable. My profile on FB is unsearchable (via search engines). If you do find it, you can't see anything. And, I have to "approve" anything that I'm tagged in.

I've done all of that to figure out what works for me. Last week, I was unplugged for week. I'm sure very few people, if anyone, even noticed my absence.

It's about eliminating all that noise. We can disagree on training methods or politics or money management or how to raise our kids, but no one needs negativity or trolls in their life.

If you're reading this post, and you came through FB, congratulations....you are now on the short list of blog readers. If you don't want to be part of the group, drop me a quick message. I'll remove you from the reader list. By now, you know that my feelings aren't hurt by things like that.

Over the past year, I got tired of the "criticism" disguised as "helpful advice".  I have a Coach. If you want to question my training, I will direct you to her. (BTW: No one has ever been critical on my blog. Everyone here is always fantastic. I've seen people--including coaches-- attempting to bully athletes. It's really sad. Who wants to see that bullshit?) I see people (athletes and coaches) giving advice all the time. People have even given me advice that I thank them for and then quietly ignore. (I'm sure most of you understand the subtle difference between questioning someone's training versus asking questions about their training. Hell, I'm often really curious about why people do things. It has nothing to do with being critical but understanding the challenges they are facing.) You ran 27 miles this weekend? In one day? Why? Asking "why" opens the world to a whole lot of, "Wow. That's amazing."

We all have different goals. We all need different approaches. What works for you, might not work for me and vice versa.



Thanks for being part of my process.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

OSF 2015


Operation Super Fit is Back!

Well, it WILL be after Christmas. Let's not be hasty.

This morning, due to a smart ass comment from one who will not be named, I ended up reading through some of my old blog posts.

I realized two things:
1.) I'm really damn funny.
2.) WHAT a process triathlon has been.

Sadly, this blog only goes back to 2008. My entire start to triathlon is missing because in a fit of passion I mean rage no...definitely loss after CDA, and I deleted my previous blog and entries.

Reading some of those old entries is really fun. When I have the opportunity to step back and look at my last few years, I realize just how much I have accomplished. After doing that, I no longer felt like writing a Year in Review. (I enjoy reading them from other people, though). For the first time, I'm not writing a year in review. It's ok. Really. I know this is hard for you to hear. But, it's not you. It's me.

I feel like I'm making progress, so why stop now only to look back?

You know the saying, "When the past calls, don't answer. It has nothing new to say."

I'm ready for 2015!

BUT....there was one little thing that I remember enjoying. Even though I never truly accomplished it.

That's operation super fit.

What is operation super fit? It's exactly what it sounds like, duh.

Last year at this time, I was going through a BIG FAT GNARLY change in my life. I was unable to do operation super fit.

Instead, I did OPERATION HOLD YOUR SHIT TOGETHER. I didn't even, really, do very well at that. In fact, I pretty much went through a suckfest for a few months and put it all on display for you.

Wrapped up in my little blanket of feeling bad for myself, I couldn't really put OSF expectations on myself.

THIS YEAR....or the END OF THIS YEAR, I read my OSF post from 2012.

And I thinks to meself: "Hmmmm."

That was it, "Hmmmm."

For the past few weeks, I've been all about POWER. Running SUPER FAST SPRINTS. Doing box jumps and lunges and squats and core work and run sprints again and burpees and skips and and and 
I cut out cookies. I really did. Cold turkey, bitches.

and  and and

Mr. Tea says, "Wow. You are getting lean."

I think, "I'm probably in the best shape I've.....(wait for it)....EVER BEEN." Sure, maybe I've been lighter. Maybe I've even been leaner.

BUT, I've never been in this shape before. I've never been able to do things that I can do now.

OPERATION SUPER FIT.

The most exciting part is that things are just getting started. Over the coming weeks, the intensity ramps up, the power moves get bigger and harder, like....you know....bigger and harder things.

I've made some very small dietary changes. It's mostly about getting back to what I need to eat. That time between Thanksgiving and Christmas I eat EVERYTHING and ANYTHING and tend to skip some of the good food that I normally eat. I do that intentionally. It's fun, and it's a mental break from the structure.

I feel very strong, very powerful and like I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to.

Who needs a year in review when I'm starting the year like that?


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Maybe I need to change


This holiday season has been really tough on me. I realized that way I was doing things was no longer working. Granted for 3 weeks, I was sick and getting over being sick. That type of thing drains me emotionally....on top of being really busy at work....and trying not to be frustrated at missing workouts that I really wanted to do.

In order to get done everything I need to get done, I had to change how I do things. I would say that this week, it wasn't perfect but it was more or less a success.

On Tuesday, my day started early working in the warehouse, walking miles upon miles on a concrete floor, packing boxes and boxes and more boxes. I got away for an hour (threshold) run at lunch. I drove to Ft Collins (3 hours round trip), got home at 5pm, just in time to have dinner, so I could leave for masters at 6:15. Finally, my day ended with me getting home from masters at 9:30pm. (1:30 Masters) It's not my preferred way of doing things, but it's what I have to do in order to meet my goals.

Was I tired? You bet. I ate a late snack and went to bed.

Even more than that, I've completely had to change how my day is organized and take advantage of gaps of time when I can knock out a big chunk of a project.

More or less successful.

Although I might sound down, I'm just tired. There's a huge BONUS to being busy. Other than my little quips on FB, I'm not on it very much. I got rid of Twitter over the summer. (Have I already mentioned that a few hundred times?) I like to keep up on my friends, and I check in....even when I might not say much.

The change is good.

**

When I'm training on my own, I realized that I'd been wanting to fill a hole that was vacated awhile ago.

It's like having a big tree in your yard. Maybe the tree has some sort of disease, and it has to be removed. When it's gone, there's this giant hole. I was trying to find the right tree to be a replacement. This week, it occurred (1 c or 2?) to me that I replaced the tree with not one tree but a bunch of new little plants.

Instead of having a giant tree that takes up the entire yard, I have new plants that I can watch grow. Each one is different.

One of those plants is my new masters swim. I haven't quite found my place yet, but I've met a few people. It's really nice to be around hardcore swimmers, not triathletes, hardcore ultra long distance swimmers. They are amazing people. My last masters group was almost entirely triathletes. It's nice to show up, and not have one person ask me about races. I can just be another swimmer.

The change is good.

**

No one asks about races. No one cares. Yet, I registered for my entire year over a month ago. I debated if I should post my race schedule. I posted it. I took it down.

I know people who don't post their race schedules. I thought, "Maybe I shouldn't". The reality is that no one really cares what my specific race schedule is.  I don't mean this in a negative way. I read a number of blogs. I couldn't tell you what any of my friends are racing.

No one cares. I'm your average age grouper. There aren't any competitive spies out there wondering what my schedule is. I don't feel any more or less pressure to perform because people know my schedule.

All I personally care about is that my friends ARE racing. They ARE training. I am equally excited for them if they are running a 5k or swimming a 10K.

That's exactly how they feel about me. We are there to support each other through all of the rough days and celebrate the great ones.

Because no one actually cares what my race schedule is....I decided to post it.

I used to feel pressure. I used to regret posting my schedule when everyone could see when I had a bad race or a good race. I don't anymore because good and bad races are going to happen. They are part of the process.

I have goals. Every single race is a step toward reaching that goal. Races shouldn't even be labeled as good or bad. How can a race be bad when we learn so much when things go wrong? Do you really think we learn from good races? Of course not. We only really learn when we're faced with adversity.

I'm going to be racing on the biggest stage in the US: at the AG National Championships.

The most public forum with updates being posted by USAT on Twitter and Facebook and results being posted on the website every time we hit timing mats and throughout the entire race....I can't hide. There's no reason to try.

That is why I decided to post it. I'm not posting it to show you what an awesome schedule I have. I'm posting it, so we can go through the year together. I'm posting it as a reminder to myself of what I want to accomplish. I'm posting it, so you know when to tune in for the insanity that is a Tea Race Report.

But mostly, I'm posting it, so I can check off the boxes....which each box representing the next step in my journey.








Saturday, December 13, 2014

Random stuff, goals & things to do

1.) Back to drinking smoothies. WHERE DID MY OFF SEASON GO?


2.) That moment when you're TOTALLY jamming out to a song....and your friend informs you that it's Nick Jonas.
Awww, F*CK it. 

3.) If it weren't for spell check I would always spell "occasion" and "occurred" wrong. Is it 1 c? Or 2? And why can I not remember...EVER?

4.) My Coach is just stubborn enough to get me to reach my goals.

5.) Speaking of goals. Since I started reframing my outlook from results oriented to process oriented, I've found that it's harder to set goals. Maybe it's not that it's harder. Maybe it's that I haven't completely made the jump yet. 

Lemme lay it out there. 
Toward the end of my season, I did a great job in the sprint. Everything just started coming together. I nailed the swim and bikes. The run: I did my best effort EVER. I learned that I had more that I could give. Then my season ended. 

In the sprint this year....or in 2015, I want to pick up where I left off. I really think I can have a fantastic year at the sprint. My swimming is already stronger, and I've only really been at this new masters for 3 weeks. I'm getting so strong and powerful. I think I will be able to take my run to a new level.

Does it matter that technically, it's not a SMART goal? Sometimes, I just can't put numbers to things. 

My goal in the sprint: HOLD ON TIGHT AND DO IT. I know when I'm not. I operate very well on "feel". I know when I can give more, and I'm not....regardless of what the power meter says. Sometimes, you just have to go for it. (Like I did on the bike at Soma.)

6.) The OLY. I love the challenge of the oly. The best part is that I believe that I haven't even come close to hitting my potential at this distance. Truth be told, I haven't at the 70.3, but I don't care about the 70.3.

I have the most work to do at this distance. The swim is fine. 

I never hit the appropriate zones on the bike (for a variety of reasons). I want to fix it this year. I have so much more to give on the bike at the Oly. I know it's there. I just have to call on it on race day.

I ran a 10K PR off the bike in 2014. Still, the run never really came together, but at each race, I was able to see what I did wrong and would fix it at the next race. 

It's really a puzzle for me.

What would I like in 2015? More consistency. My swim is solid. Hit the range for the bike. Don't be afraid to run hard.

7.) My season starts in fewer than 70 days. Can you believe it? I have plenty of time before THE BIG SHOW in August. The first half of the year, I want to take some risks. There is a comfort in racing out of town. No one knows me. I can race without the pressure of having anyone around. I normally don't feel pressure so much. I guess it's more of recognizing people at races. Triathlon is a different animal. In order to progress to Nationals and the World Championships, you have to beat other athletes; athletes who want it just as bad as you do.  There's no such thing as a qualifying time. I want to qualify for the WC. You know this. That means I have to beat other women in my AG. Racing at a new venue gives me the opportunity to race against women I don't know. It will give me the chance to 100% focus on what I need to do.You're a great swimmer? Fantastic. I don't know that when we line up. Focus on the process.

I know that at the Oly distance, it's a long shot for me to qualify this year.

I, also, know that at the Sprint, it's not really a long shot. Oh, I'll have to race like the wind, but it's within my reach.

Then my tri season is over. I'm looking at some new adventures in the Fall. I want to do new things. At first I was planning on a half marathon. But for a couple of years, I've been watching cyclo-cross. I have two really good friends who do it. They have been patiently answering my questions behind the scenes. Not familiar with CX? Watch this.



I just love being on my bike. I thought, "Why would you run when you could do crazy shit on the bike?"

For now, I'll finish up my last few days of off-season and get ready for my first race of the new year.




Friday, December 12, 2014

Inbreeding the business way

A few years back, I was working on my PhD. One of my professors told me that the University didn't hire their PhD candidates because they wanted to prevent inbreeding.

Now, I'm sure I don't have to explain the concept because you, my faithful readers, are an intelligent group....except for that one in the back....you're dumb as shit.

What a brilliant concept this was, to me.

In order to keep fresh ideas coming in, in order to question the current thought.....they would only hire other PhDs.

Ever since he said that to me, I thought about how applicable it is to business.

Do you know those businesses that only post their own stuff? They only post articles their employees have written.

AS IF they are the ONE TRUE EXPERT.

Let me give you a couple of examples, I have a business. We write blog articles. Every business does. We post those articles for our customers to read.

However, we are not experts in the field. So, one of my jobs is to go out THERE in the interwebs and find articles from experts in the field. Then, we "re-tweet" or "share" the article with our customers. I don't have a clue what the latest trends are from Italy, but there are people that do that as their full time job.

One of the things my Coach does is post links to the latest and greatest research, training techniques and/or nutrition advice. These articles are not written by her. They are written by the very people who did the research.

That's where I got the swim video that I posted on FB today. (I posted it on my profile and on the IM Boulder group page). My Coach is a Level 3 swim coach (the highest level). Yet another coach created an excellent video. She shared the video with all of us....her athletes.

If you are a business owner or even if you work for a large corporation, keep this in mind. Providing this information is not going to cause you to lose business. You're not sending your customers to one of your competitors.

Just the opposite happens. Your customers appreciate the fact that you are staying on top of research and doing what you can to help them be better or help them make better decisions.

Stop the inbreeding. Bring in fresh new ideas.



Thursday, December 11, 2014

The journey continues



WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS?

Today was the first day that I felt somewhat back to normal. At least my sense of humor started returning. As for feeling 100%, I'm not there yet.

I did, however, swim yesterday. Believe it or not, swimming is the hardest thing for me to do at the moment. I went to masters because I really needed some semblance of normalcy.

Since Justin's accident a few weeks ago, I feel like my life has been chaos with one thing or another happening. Being so sick on top of everything, it's been a rough patch.

SO----that's why masters was important yesterday. I knew it would be hard for me to keep up, and it was, but I needed to feel like I was doing something fun...something that I really enjoy. The men that I swim with are genuinely nice. They kept checking on me to make sure I was ok.

I guess it's a bad sign when someone turns completely white?

Anyway, I was driving home from masters when it occurred to me that my off season is almost over. It ends on 12/31. My season will be starting earlier than it ever has (in Feb) and then my last A race is the beginning of August.

Other than the 2 weeks of being sick, where I barely cracked 4 hours of training, my training hours are coming in around 9:30.

This was my first off season with Coach. I really enjoyed it because it was made FOR ME.

I know many athletes and coaches generically do the swim/bike/run focus in the off season. I was mentally prepared for that again.

When I asked Coach (months ago) if I'd be doing a swim focus, she said, "You don't need a swim focus. We're going to make you into a powerful runner."

You could probably hear my sigh of relief halfway across the world.

It never made sense to me to do a swim focus when that is my strength. Athletes and coaches get so enamored with the idea of doing what's easy, they lose sight of doing what is important. Of course, it's easy to throw swim/bike/run focus into an off season training plan.

But does that really help the athlete? 

We are by no means ignoring my swimming, but it's more of a maintenance mode. I'm going 3x per week. After spending time with my swim coach and then sending that feedback to Coach Liz, my swim coach earned Liz's respect. He gained her respect for the type of workouts and the feedback he has been giving me. She takes that feedback and gives me drills once a week to work on those issues.

You can see it in my swim times which have dropped from 1:35/100 to 1:25/100 in a matter of only a few weeks.

And that's without a swim focus.

The bike has truly been maintenance mode with riding 2-3x per week with it being mostly....I think entirely drills. When the roads are clear (which has been a lot), I take it outside. I love Fall/Winter riding.

In a couple of weeks, however, we have a bike test. I'm looking forward to that. I think I'm stronger on the bike this year than I was last year at the same time.

It's the run that we've been putting a lot of energy. Running + strength work + plyo work + core work. This can be as many as 3 workouts a day. Run, strength, core or run, plyo, core or....well, you get the picture.

Squats, box jumps, one leg jumps, lunges, plank, side plank, more plank, V sit on a ball? Fuck yeah. Any way you can possibly think of moving my body, I'm doing it.

Powerful runner? Yeah. I think that's right around the corner.

I got a glimpse of it last week. I had a 5k. I knew I wouldn't be able to race it. I ran it easy instead. Easy at a very fast pace....a pace that used to be my race pace.

I want another opportunity to run a 5k, but I need to be 100% before I do. There's a 5k on 12/20 that we're looking at. It's a 5k that I've run many times, so I can compare to previous years. Obviously winter times are tough to compare because the conditions can be anything from a gorgeous 40 degrees to a blizzard with 10 inches of snow. I've done this race in both of those.

Then we hit January/Feb where I have a few more 5ks and a 10k.

Believe it or not, my first Tri is in Feb....in a very nice warm place.

As it stands right now, I'm not sure what I will do after my August race. I'm thinking about running a half marathon in the Fall.

There you go. You're all caught up on my training escapades. I'm sure you were feeling all empty inside.

You're welcome.








Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Oy Vey



1.)For dumb people who think they are smarter than everyone else:



2.) For business owners that CONTINUE to post political commentary on their social media accounts:





Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sliding Doors

One of my favorite movies is Sliding Doors. This movie isn't known for it's incredibly clever dialog or Oscar worthy acting. I love the movie because of it's premise.

Helen loses her job. As she's running to catch the train home, she drops an earring. At that point, the movie splits into two different story lines. The first is the story of her life if she catches the train. The second, she stops to pick up her earring and misses the train.

The movie is about how different her life is because of that one seemingly insignificant event.

I love thinking about things like that.

I had a Sliding Doors moment yesterday.

I went on to Athlinks to look up a race of mine. I noticed that one of my races from January of this year was missing. I went onto the race website to find out what my results were.

I'm scrolling through....and I come to the women/men 45-49, and I notice my results aren't there. I remember that Liz had recommended that I should not race initially (when I first started with her).

BUT there was another name in the results that stood out to me. Remember all my first of the year drama? All the exploding friendships?

We'll call her Beth (since I'm not sure who reads my blog anymore, and I'm a fan of Walking Dead).

Beth knew I was registered for the race. I do the race every year. We had talked about it in December.

I'd asked Beth to do the race with me in previous years. Each year, it was too far of a drive or she got sick. It's winter, stuff happens.

Yet after our argument, she knew I would be there and registered and raced.

But, I wasn't there.

There is no way that this is a coincidence.

I was wondering. I don't know what her intentions were.

But how would things have been different if I had shown up? Would it have been a step toward reconciling?

What if she had called me afterward and said, "I was hoping to see you at the race".


I thought of the movie Sliding Doors. Even those seemingly insignificant events, like skipping a race, are significant. It doesn't mean things would be better. It just means, different.

AND like the movie, sometimes things that start out badly, ending up being the best thing that could have happened to us.




Friday, November 28, 2014

My most awesome day Part 2

The email notification beeps at me, and I open the email expecting to see Black Friday deals.

Instead I saw this

I look at it.

I shake my head.

What?

What does this mean?

I read it again.

And again.

I realized I QUALIFIED TO COMPETE AT THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP IN AUGUST 2015.

I had to fight back the tears.

And I started screaming to Mr Tea and JMan and GOOGS. "I qualified for the National Championships!"

I ran downstairs and I was screaming. I was shaking as I showed them my cell phone with the message.

I know people who qualify for Nationals at their first race. I know people that qualify every year.

I'm not that person.

When I started triathlon, I came in 2nd to last at my first races. Gradually, I moved to around the middle of the pack. Since then, I'd had inconsistent results. Sometimes I did better. Sometimes I did worse.

Until this year when I started to see how the pieces were going to fit together. How do I take advantage of my swim and bike to hold my position on the run? How do I fuel to get the best out of all three? How do I push myself past my comfort level and be comfortable there?

I stared at the email, and my entire triathlon history came rushing back to me.

Liz and I set up my 2015 race schedule to play to my advantages. My A race was set for April in AZ, sea level and mostly flat. The goal for that race was to get an idea of how close I was to qualifying for Nationals.

Then, after THAT race....my 2nd A race would be later in the year....again at sea level....to see how much I've improved and make a real run at qualifying.

But the email arrived yesterday.

I don't need to go to sea level. I don't need to race a flat course. I qualified for Nationals in Boulder, CO.....racing against the fastest women in the state.

I remember the race. I had gotten out of the water, 2nd place was :15 seconds behind me. I beat her out of transition. I remember riding the fastest bike I've ever done. I remember running a PR run, only to have 2nd place pass me at mile 2, like I was standing still.

And I felt great about my race that day. Not knowing where I had finished. I didn't realize that I had podiumed and left the race.

I stared at the email again, still in disbelief of what I accomplished. All those years of getting up early and giving everything I can in training.....it finally paid off, about 2 years earlier than I expected.

I did it.



I emailed Liz. I think she was genuinely THRILLED for me.

We decided that I will compete at both the Olympic distance and the sprint distance (on back to back days) at Nationals.

My next goal is to qualify for the World Championships. It might not happen this year, but I've qualified for Nationals once. I can do it again.



My most excellent day Part 1

This week has been one of the best weeks.

Both Googs and JMan are staying with us from Wed through Saturday. If you have little ones or no kids, it's hard to explain how much fun adult children are. I hate even using the term "children", but you get what I'm saying.

We all got up to run our Annual Turkey Trot on Thursday. I always joke about the RACE of the CENTURY and what it means to have family bragging rights.  I didn't clue you all in, but this year was a little different. About a month ago, Googs dislocated his toe.  He's been unable to run, so the race wasn't really going to be the bloodbath of previous years.

Wed night, the menfolk stayed up late drinking and talking and playing games. I always get worried that I've sort of "forced" this tradition on them. I told them repeatedly that they could all stay home. I was planning on racing, but that didn't mean they had to.

It was a beautiful morning. Chilly at the start (for my little tri shorts and lightweight t-shirt), but it was perfect for running.

The biggest thing that I've gotten from Coach Liz is "goals based on a process". Once again, I didn't have a time goal.

Several weeks back, she and I were talking about the 10K. She told me that a fit person can hold threshold for about an hour. A 10k should be run at threshold. I told her that based on what I see at races, I don't think most people run a 10k that hard.

She said, "That's why people hate the 10k. It hurts really bad."

I (obviously) have never run a 10k like that. Hell, I don't believe I've ever really run at threshold for any particular length of time.

I made it my goal to run the 4 miles at (at least) threshold. I knew it was going to really hurt. 4 miles....longer than a 5k.....not 5 miles. This is going to hurt.

I took the first mile a little easier, intentionally....not slow, but I needed to build to threshold. I've never done this before, so I wasn't quite sure how I was going to handle it. All I knew was that I was going to do it.

And, I did. I ran miles, 2, 3 & 4 at over threshold. Honestly, the first 2 miles were ok. By the time, I got to 2.5 and then 3 miles, I was starting to really feel it. I'd check my HR, if I dropped to threshold, I ran harder.

I didn't mentally give up, not once. I just kept pushing. When I came up to the last half a mile, which is a false flat, I could see the finish. I knew my pace would drop, but I didn't care....the EFFORT had to be there.

People around me started dropping off, slowing down, walking. All I could think was, there was a time I would slow down RIGHT HERE.

When I crossed the finish line, I had nothing left. I ran +3 miles at over threshold. I was weak. I was dizzy. I wanted to sit down, but I knew I need to walk around. I needed water. I had forgotten to hit my garmin. When I looked at it, it said 38:18 which was almost a minute PR. Then I realized I had forgotten to turn it off. When I check my 4 mile time, it was 37:57.

I snuck in just under 38 minutes. I couldn't believe it. I have these goals. 36 min, 37 min, 38 min. I know at some time, I will get there. Yesterday, I thought I could PR, but I never expected over :15 seconds per mile PR.

A few minutes later, Googs crossed the finish line. A few minutes after that, JMan came in. I ran back looking for Mr. Tea. He hadn't done the full 4 miles in years. I wanted to make sure he had support for that last mile. I ran back to mile 3. I thought I had missed him when I saw him on the other side of the street. I ran to him. We finished the last mile together.

We all found each other, and I listened to everyone telling their race stories. Then Googs said the best thing ever.

He said, "Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without this race."

The entire drive home, I got to listen to them talk about how they did and how they paced, or didn't.

When I got home, I uploaded the race. I felt so awesome about how I did. I felt so great about my effort. At every race, I'm showing what I can do. Not every race goes the way I want, but I go home. I talk to Liz. I figure out what I did right or wrong, and I go back out there.

I was typing up an email to Liz.....when I got a notification of a new email.

That's when I saw it.

----to be continued----

Thursday, November 27, 2014

So. This happened.


I can't even begin to tell you how shocked and happy I am. It was my goal for 2015, but I didn't really think it would happen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yo, Tea. Wassup?

I'm sure you're wondering exactly how I've been spending my time lately.

Besides the obvious ranting about the ACA.

And emotionally recovering from JMan's major freaking car accident. Oh you missed that one? He was coming home to drop some stuff off prior to Thanksgiving break. He came home during a terrible snowstorm that dumped quite a bit of snow, ice and cold temps out our way. He hit a turn on the highway, lost control of his jeep, spun around, went into the median, hit the cabling (which is to prevent accidents from going into oncoming traffic....so THAT worked) and his jeep got pretty much sliced in half from the cabling. Fortunately, he DID have a big, heavy duty, older jeep....with a big engine because the engine prevented the cabling from cutting through into the cabin.....or who knows how the accident would have ended up.

He walked away.

His jeep wasn't so fortunate.

If you drive by, you can still see the remaining pieces sitting on the fence.

So. That's fun.

The next BIG NEW THING was that I joined a new masters swim team. I love it so much. I want to give the group a hug every time I see them. They push me harder than I have ever been pushed, and I am rising to the occasion, finding speeds that I never even knew existed. I always believed in my heart that I was faster than I was, but I could never figure out what I was doing wrong.

In addition to that, I am getting 1-1 coaching from one of the swim coaches there. Coach Andrew might be one of the only level 3 coaches in CO. He definitely is in the Denver metro area. He is awesome. I visit Mr. Andrew once a week, immediately before masters....cuz I'm a sick pup like that. I've already made HUGE progress and have surpassed ALL my pool paces from 2014. In addition to that, I've become much more efficient, so those faster paces feel easier.

But all is not sunshine and pixie dust. It's hard work. I have to constantly FOCUS on what I am doing to ingrain the muscle memory.

The good thing is that during our 1-1 coaching, he videos me and gives me feedback. I thought I had a weak kick. Turns out I have a pretty righteous kick....or in swimming terms: I have a strong/synchronized kick. I also have fast arm turnover. (in other words, you don't want me to bitch slap you. you'll never see that shit coming.) Wait sorry. I checked out for a minute. Both of those things are good.

The bad....which is more of tweaking. I need to work on my pull, going deeper, internally rotating my shoulder more and working on my body rotation....both of which work together.

The reality is that I'm not swimming that much: 3 times a week. 1 on my own to go slower and practice my technique and 2 for the sucking wind DEARGODI'MGOINGTODIE sessions.

That's swimming.

The bike: well you know. The bike rocks. I'm doing more of a "general maintenance" there. Doing drills on the trainer a couple of times a week.

Running is where COACH DON'T PLAY. I'm doing some running. Yes.I.AM. Sick shit at that. On Sunday, I ran 6 miles descending with 1 mile cooldown. I ran SO fast. I was sore....for days. Tomorrow, I turn around and have another BEAST like workout....much like Sunday's workout.

In between those, I do easier runs.

I've never run descends before. I think they are harder than mile repeats because there is NO REST. It's constant: GO FASTER EVERY MILE. As Coach says, "Place of Pain? GO THERE."

It's exactly what I need to build the strength and confidence to know that at the end of a race, I will be strong enough to kick into that last gear. Like swimming, I'm finding gears that I didn't know I had. Every time I go, I want more. I want to give more, be faster & stronger.

It's taken me almost a year to get to this point. (Technically, it's been 8 years.) Coach Liz got me there in less than a year.

I race next Thursday. Many of you know the story of the Turkey Trot. For those of you new to my blog, here's the story.

I started running the Turkey Trot when the boys were babies. I would run. Mike would push them in the stroller.

Then they started walking it with Mike. I would run.

Then, they started running. I would run.

Then, I had a target on my back, and the race became more than a fun family Thanksgiving Day run.

SHIT GOT REAL.

Then, Googs beat me. Then, he beat me again. Then, last year, I passed him at mile 3. He yelled out, "YOU GOTTA BE FUCKING KIDDING ME". (The MOUTH on that kid). The last mile was a bloodbath. I would run through tight areas trying to lose him. I would pick up the pace. He would pick up the pace. We stepped on the timing mat at the exact same time. (Technically, I beat him by 6 seconds because I started behind him).

This year, he started training MONTHS ago and has run 5ks. I'm doing my fastest running ever.

I cannot overstate the importance of this race....

Then we go home for a BIG family breakfast and start trash talking next year's race.

WHO WILL BE THE VICTOR? It will be decided in 8 days.


That leaves me with strength training. Coach has me strength training several times a week. I love love love her plan. Right now it's filled with core work but soon we move on to more power moves in addition to the core work. I've gotten strong fast, and I'm back to being able to hold one leg plank for a minute....HUGE Progress. I think next week, I'll move to the stability ball.

There you go.

That's my off season. When I don't feel like doing a workout, I skip it. It's my off season. I take naps on occasion. I sleep in when I can. I drink hot chocolate with whipped cream. I read a lot and watch movies with Mr. Tea. I  It's my time to turn down the volume, eat good food and enjoy life outside of triathlon. I'm not even training 10 hours a week. In January, I start getting focused again because my first race is in Feb.


But first things first, we have a Turkey Trot to run.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

From slogging to sprinting

If I'm going to be slow, I might as well go long.

For a long time, that was my thought process. I wasn't consciously thinking it but looking back that's exactly what I was doing.

It's not so impressive to say I ran a 36 min 5k as it was to say I ran a marathon!

I don't believe I was doing it so much to impress everyone else. Maybe I was. After all, no one is really impressed with someone running a 5k as much as they are a marathon. Maybe I needed to feel like I was accomplishing something because I was so slow.

Over time (and really only in recent years), did I learn that I just don't like going far. It's boring as hell. To me, there's no real challenge in going far....slowly. (Again, I respect people who do go far.)

That's me now. But it was a process to get there.

In committing to shorter distances, I was also committing to do things that I hadn't done before. Run for two hours? easy peasey....all day long.

Building output to over threshold for 7 miles? That was going to hurt.

Mentally, it was hard to get there. I would always back off. I'd want to get there, but IT HURTS. I had to be willing to feel like I was going to collapse.

I was NOT at that point.

I wasn't used to it. I was used to plugging along. Speedwork meant going a little bit faster than a long run. It didn't mean gut wrenching workouts that ended with me being dizzy, light headed.

You could always see it in my race times. My 5k was faster than my 10k, but my 10k was not much faster than the half marathon.

Because the 10k is SCARY. The 10K means going super hard for 6.2 miles. With the 5k, you know it's over soon. It's over before you really feel pain. NOT with the 10K. The 10K requires a pacing that starts that a high level and only builds from there. The 10K means jumping in to pain, relishing it, looking forward to it and wanting it more.

It's not until you're miserable, that you know you're racing a 10K.

It's not only running. On the swim, being willing to go there requires strength. Moving your arms fast, doesn't get you anywhere. Pulling hard and pushing off.....it's exhausting.

On the bike, it requires being able to handle the burning in the legs and lungs. Knowing that when you get off, you get to run a 10K.

ALL OF THAT. I wasn't willing to do. I wanted to do it.

I knew I would have to take it in pieces. I couldn't just go from plodding along to being able to handle such intensity.

This year, I made progress getting there.You can see it in my times this year. I can podium at the sprint, but I'd dropped off dramatically on the Oly. I'd hold my own on the swim and bike, but I didn't RUN the way I was supposed to run.

In 2015, I want to make even bigger strides.

When I asked Coach if we'd be doing a swim focus, I was thrilled when she said, "You don't need that. We're going to make you an explosive and strong runner."  I'd always done a swim focus in the winter....but do what you've always done and get what you've always got.

My winter schedule has filled up with 5ks/10ks strategically placed throughout the coming months. I know that this winter is big for me. If I can bust through and learn how to really run stand alone 5ks and 10ks, I can take that to my tri's this year.

In training, I've been willing to go there, go to that place of pain. I've learned that I can go there. I've learned that I can run when I feel like I should fall apart. I just have to embrace the discomfort knowing that it means I'm really racing. THIS IS EXACTLY HOW RACING FEELS. It means that I'm doing things I haven't done before, great things.

Now, that I'm learning how the whole thing feels in training, I know what to expect and look forward to in a race.

Things are looking good so far. I keep making more strides toward racing instead of merely doing triathlon.

I can't wait for my first race.





Monday, November 10, 2014

Fresh Start

Another one from the Great LBTEPA.

Today's post is brought to you by Totally Random Shit.

I joined a new Masters swim team. My first day will be this week. Why did I leave after 5 years of working with the same team? There are two reasons that sort of affect each other. The first is that I just cannot handle the gossipy, rich, stay at home moms who have the same mentality as their 13 year old daughters anymore. The second reason is that I felt like my swimming has stagnated this year because my favorite coach left earlier this year. When you're unhappy because of immature people AND you're not getting the results you want...well, a move is the next step.

The university that I went to has the BEST masters swim team in the State. They have top notch coaches and have won the state championship 2010-2014. They have minimum requirements for being able to join (300yds in 6 minutes rest 1 minute, repeat).  In addition to this, my old school has one of the best D1 college swim teams in the entire US. And WE, the masters swim team, have access to those coaches. The team has level 3 swim coaches. 

The real question would be, "Why didn't I leave earlier?" I have a problem with loyalty. I'm more loyal than a dog. Even when things aren't going my way, I have this profound sense of wanting to make it work. 

Last week, there was an incident at masters. I got to my beep beep, and I thought, "No more. I've had it." I called Mr. Tea, and he said, "I don't care how much it costs....join the new masters team."

That weekend, we went over to the university to check out the pool, get pricing info, etc.

From the minute I contacted them, I was nothing short of impressed with their organization, the coaches and the ability of the swimmers. 

I was so excited that I bought NEW FLIP FLOPS and New SWIMSUIT. If I'm going to have a new exciting fresh start, it was going to be with new flip flops.

Then, I went to the pool, and my jaw hit the floor.

Do you remember the first time you showed up for masters? Do you remember how intimidating it was?

This was like that....ON STEROIDS.

Honestly, that was my very first thought as I watched these part fish humans swimming effortlessly back and forth. THE VERY first thing that popped into my head, "I'm going to show up and everyone is going to see I'm a poser."



Right there. 

STOP.

I CAN SWIM. 

I CAN COMPETE.

I sent an email to the head coach. I told him exactly what my abilities are. I told him that my endurance is pretty solid but my threshold paces are lacking at the moment because of my race and taking a bit of time off. I told him my pace is 1:36 per 100yd normally (the pool is in yards....and I'm used to meters which will really test my math skillz), but right now it's probably slower. I told him I'm a short course triathlete. I told him that I'm pretty good at stroke except for fly which I have a love hate relationship with. 

Before hitting send....I looked at the email. Is that right? I thought to myself. Are those paces right? Why am I so worried about "being found out"?

There's nothing to find out. I go. I show up. Maybe I can swim a 1:36 RIGHT now. Maybe not. But I'm not embarrassed about who I am or what I can do. I'm not going to hide or slink away.

I'm going to show up, and I'm going to improve.

Because I have a goal for this year. I want to consistently be first out of the water. I was first out, probably 95% of the time. In 2015, I want that to be 99% of the time. I can compete with those women in my AG DAMN WELL, if it means I have to suffer a bit in masters to do it; IF IT means I have to start in the SLOWEST lane; IF IT means I'm going to get my ass kicked day after day....I'm GAME.



So, I hit send and sent the email.

An hour later, Coach responded with, "I have the perfect lane for you. See you this week."

That's when I remembered.

When you show up to masters, no one cares how fast you are. No one really cares what your pace is. 

All they care about is how hard you work.

I might not be the fastest swimmer when I go up against "swimmers", but I every time I show up, I give it everything I have that day, so I can be the best when I show up on race day.

And THAT is most important thing. You get what you give.




Monday, November 3, 2014

Beyond training


I rarely talk about work for a reason. I've found that in doing so people often think I'm a lady of leisure or they form whatever thoughts it is that they have. Over the years, people have made some very interesting assumptions about what it is that I actually do.

I prefer it that way.

There are many parallels between my training life and my work life.

In training, I want to become a better athlete. In my work, I want to build a better company.

Ironically....or merely coincidentally, both held big changes for me this year. Some people call it a "transition" year. That's what I called it.

You know what changes I went through this year on a training level.

At the company level, we made some equally big changes. Prior to this year, we had employees scattered throughout 4 different states.

By March of this year, we eliminated those positions and consolidated here. All employees are now located in the same location.

It was time for that change. When we first started hiring people outside of the state, we had very good reasons for doing it. It helped us grow. However, we got to a point where it was no longer feasible and was hurting the company in many ways. It hurt from a financial perspective. It hurt from an efficiency perspective. It hurt from a security perspective.

Whether YOU like it or not.....without profits there is NO company. There are NO employees. So, we made the decision to let those people go and re-hire locally. A company cannot survive in a break even environment or even a small loss fiscal environment.

Honestly, I don't f*cking care what anyone thinks about my decision to let them go. If I cared about what anyone thought, this company wouldn't exist.  As soon as you build a company that grows at +100% for 5 years running, then we'll have a conversation. Until then. STFU.

In addition to this, we found out that the employees we let go...fired....laid off....choose whatever words you want.....lied to us about a few things.

Let me tell you this, that PISSED ME OFF TO NO END. Why? Because I went ABOVE AND BEYOND to help those employees.

I paid for medications when they were unable to.

I paid for RENT when they were getting back on their feet.

They could work whatever schedules they needed (obviously within reason) in order to go to their kids events at school. The point, here, is that they were never reprimanded for taking time to go to their kid' events. It was something I never had working for DA MAN.

And this is just the short list. I always wanted to have a company that valued employees and gave them the opportunity to be GREAT.

AND THEY F*CKING LIED TO ME.

I don't think people are bad.

I think we hired poorly.

And don't worry, I'm not mad about it at all. It made the decision to let them go that much easier.

And I'm a very passionate person. If I wasn't, I certainly wouldn't be a business owner.

That was merely the beginning of the changes.

In addition to this, we had to cut off a long standing relationship with another small business. We both started around the same time. We've grown up together.

Just like your BFF in high school then college/service.....one day you wake up and realize that the relationship just isn't working anymore.

That's what happened. We cut off that relationship around June.


Most recently, the biggest of all the changes happened. We put in an offer to buy another company. We....sort of....low balled the offer expecting the company to come back to us with a counter.

They didn't. They accepted the offer.

We just purchased a company for 1/3 the value of the company.

This means a lot of work is ahead of us.  We are working on the legal agreements. The contracts. All the details.

We have to merge two different locations. We have two locations worth of merchandise. We have to merge systems. We have to hire personnel. We pretty much need to tear down and rebuild the "new" location (which will ultimately become our main location).

And Fall/Winter/Spring are our busiest times.


It leads me to this. I don't care how big your company is.  You have to constantly be moving. Constantly working. Constantly looking ahead to the next thing. Constantly keeping an eye on your competition. Constantly keeping an eye on what other companies in completely different segments are doing.

And don't take, "No." for an answer.

And don't listen to "well meaning" advice from other people.  They think too small or don't think at all.

YOU need to dream. You need to follow those dreams, but it takes a lot of work.

It's not any different from training.

When I started this company, I was told I was crazy. I was told it wouldn't work.

When I posted my goal to qualify for the World Championship, I got email responses saying, "Nice goal but not sure it's realistic".


Who are YOU going to believe?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

This off season thing



I only realized this morning that my off season is going to be really short this year. Well, short for me. This is because I chose my first A race of the year.

With that said and with the goals that I have this year, it's time to get down to business with my off season.

First things first, I took some much needed down time. I have more scheduled through December. A few days off here and there to get a mental break from year round training.

Next up, strength training. Gotta get STRONG to compete with these women! WE CAN REBUILD HER! WE CAN MAKE HER FASTER! STRONGER!

Finally, I did my every 9 month weigh in. Mr. Tea and I had a conversation. In his brilliance, he said, "You know you'd run faster if you lost weight".



BLEH. It's true. It was time for me to lose the 10lbs that I had put on from Sept-Dec 2013. Also, carrying a little extra weight is ok and even necessary for people going very very far; for those of us who are "sprinters", it's more of a hindrance.

I "weighted" (hahahaha! I just kill me!) until the 70.3 water retention was gone before I hopped on the scale. And BOOM. Over the course of the past 10 months, I lost 4 lbs, so now I only want to lose another 6lbs.

Of course, I hate everything about trying to lose weight. So, my approach will be that I won't try. I'm thinking that with the reduction of calories and pasta, I should be able to drop 6lbs by April.

Believe it or not, my "training" kicks off in January.

What will my off season focus really be about? (And yes, I cringed at ending my sentence with a preposition).


I have no excuses this year. I'm choosing all my own races. I'm choosing the distances that I either love or want to DOMINATE. I chose those big somewhat outrageous and possibly unreachable goals. But they're mine. All.mine.

I take full ownership of the craziness about to ensue.

Monday, October 27, 2014

I gave it everything I had


When you read my blog, I hope you get ^^THIS^^.

I don't think I've ever hidden anything.  I think I've done a pretty good job of showing all the ups and downs that go along with training: the emotional highs, when I think I can WIN! And the low-low-lows-I HATE EVERYTHING.

I think it's important for people new to endurance racing, to see what we go through and understand all those crazy feelings are perfectly normal. For those of you who ARE endurance athletes, you know there are other people going through the same thing. You just ride the ebb and flow and don't get wrap up in the emotion of the minute....or second....as they seem to be when you're racing.

I was thinking about my year.

It was such an incredible, great year for me on every level.


  • I cut free a few Toxic and/or just plain mean people. One in particular, I still see on a regular basis but cutting the emotional cord was everything. Not everyone is going to like you, but not everyone matters.
  • I also lost a really good friend in January, out of the blue, unexpectedly.
  • I met NEW, wonderful people who have become tremendous positive influences in my life. I hope to continue to get to know them during 2015.
  • I finally learned the pacing side of swimming and riding (at all distances). I'm still working on the run, but I've come so far this year; further than I thought I would, in such a short time.
After SOMA, it took me awhile. I'm still recovering. There are days I feel great and days I want to go back to sleep. Whatever, I'm feeling that day, I honor. If I want to swim, I go. If I want to stay in my PJs all day and only move to eat....I'm good with that too.

Emotionally, SOMA was the closure I was looking for in every way possible. I thought when I finished, I would just be glad the season was over. (And trust me, at mile 12.1 on the run, I was MOST definitely glad I had only 1 mile until the end of my season).

This might sound weird, but I wasn't expecting to feel so great, so positive, excited and looking forward to the off season and next season. 

Over the next few months, I'm running a ton of races. In a couple more weeks, I start a more sophisticated strength training regime. I love strength training so much. I am so excited to start hitting the gym.

In January, I'll be with Coach Liz for a year. The year went by so quickly. I can't wait to take everything that I learned about racing this year, into next season. When you start with a new Coach, they have to start you at a certain level or point (based on your own history). Now, that she knows me and what I am willing to do and can do, we can work to get me to that next level. 

I look back over this year. I really think I gave it everything I had. When we talk about racing, you'll hear people say, "I left everything on the course."

This YEAR, I left everything out there. 



Friday, October 24, 2014

Coming back from the dead: 70.3 Recovery

After the race on Sunday:
EVERYTHING FUCKING HURTS. NO. IT'S NOT SORE. IT'S PAIN. PAIN THAT RUNS DEEP INTO MY BONE MARROW. NO. WAIT. PAIN THAT RUNS DEEP INTO MY SOUL. I SHALL NEVER FUNCTION LIKE A NORMAL HUMAN AGAIN. WHAT'S THAT WARMTH? FUCK, I JUST PEED MYSELF WALKING BECAUSE I HAVE NO MORE CONTROL OVER MY BODILY FUNCTIONS. GOOD GOD SOMEBODY GET ME A FUCKING GURNEY BECAUSE I CANNOT DO THIS. Wait. Am I dead? Is this what Hell feels like?

Monday:
OMFG THE SORENESS. MAKE IT STOP. Pleasebabyjesus. What did I do to deserve this? Shower? Are you kidding? I can't even lift my toothbrush, and I'm supposed to shower? I will never function like a normal human again. Who does this to themselves? This is torture. Oh no. Please, I can't go to the restroom again. I just went like an hour ago. I won't be able to get off the toilet this time. Can we call the hotel to help me get off the pot?

Tuesday:
WHO invented stairs? Really? That's just the dumbest thing ever. At least, I can walk today. If you call it walking. My feet were moving....and forward. That's progress. Yesterday, I felt like I was hit by a train. Today, I feel more like I was hit by a Prius. But why am I so tired? What happened? I was ok.....until....ZZZZZZZZZ.

Wednesday: The depression
I fucking hate life. I hate triathlon. I'll never do this again. WHY AM I SO TIRED? I WILL NEVER DO ANYTHING LONGER THAN A SPRINT AGAIN. This is ridiculous. I hate running. I hate everything. I'm hungry. WHY AM I STILL PEEING? I'm so tired. I just want to take a nap. No. Sleeps. I want to take long long sleeps. I will never fit into pants again. 

Thursday:
Wow--I'm starting to feel better, but I'm so tired. PJ's are ok for the grocery store, right? How many naps can a person take before it becomes a medical condition? Maybe I could ride my bike today. Let's switch wheels and see how I feel. 

Ok.Nevermind switching my wheels took everything out of me. I need a nap. WHY AM I STILL PEEING SO MUCH? Seriously, there can't be anything left. What I wouldn't do for a good poop right about now. Who does this to themselves? Voluntarily? I'm never doing this again. 

Friday:
WOW! I could go for a run today! I'm feeling pretty good. The veil of depression has lifted! And the universe rejoiced! Hey! I'm not even peeing anymore. LIFE IS WONDERFUL! ALL HAIL THE TRIATHLON GODS!

Maybe I should look at races for next year. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What I learned this year


1.) I've always known that I race by feel, but I could never figure out how to make that work. Numbers don't mean a lot to me. They are more of a guideline. This year, Coach Liz really helped me with this. She didn't just say "Hold these watts". She said, "You will feel like this....you will feel like you can't take another step. You will hurt more than you've ever hurt. Take it to the edge. Eat Pain, redline, go back for more. How will you feel? GOD AWFUL".  That's how you get through to me. I like that. Those are the words that I need in order to be my best. Don't tell me it's going to hurt. Tell me it's going to feel like death.

2.) Never underestimate the power of heat acclimation. We had an unusually cool and wet summer here. I spent many hours acclimating to heat: using the sauna several times a week, using two space heaters set to 90 degrees when I was on the trainer. I wore layers when I ran outside. When it came time to race in the heat, I was one of the few people out there who didn't struggle with the heat. Of course, Liz also gave me race day strategies for shedding heat while I was racing. Ice in my bra. Ice over my head. Ice down my back, drink 3 cups at every aid station. Put everything together and it resulted in a 40 minute PR.

3.) The important of POSITIVE language. At one point during the year, Liz sent me a research article about the important of positive language. The Research showed that when athletes use negative words, their performance suffered. For example, when a golfer said, "Don't hit the ball off the green". They would often hit the ball off the green. However, when they said, "Hit straight toward the hole". They hit the ball exactly where they wanted it. I was notorious for this. I thought I was doing the right thing. I would tell myself, "Don't slow down".  Once I read this article, I switched all my verbal cues. "don't slow down" became "hold this pace". "Don't give up on the hills" became "Climb strong". The crazy thing??? IT WORKED. Holding pace became so much easier when I said HOLD PACE.

4.) Using 3rd person language. Another research article Liz sent me had to do with how athletes talk to themselves. The research showed that when "you" used the the word "You" instead of "I", athletes were much more likely to be successful at reaching the goal. When you're struggling with intervals, say, "You've GOT THIS" instead of "I can do this". Crazy huh? It's how I've always done things. I tried it one day using "I".....the workout was much harder....I immediately went back to saying "You".

5.) The unexpected will ALWAYS happen. The sooner you can accept that, the better your race will be. This year, I repeatedly had unusual things happen during training. On the bike, I had mechanical failures. I had nutritional issues. I had stomach problems. I've found that if I allow myself to get stressed or start thinking about how this will affect the "outcome", I would get more stressed and things would spiral out of control. Instead, focus on the task at hand. Focus on fixing that flat. Focus on how you can adjust your fueling. Focus on the task at hand. Focus on the process. NEVER focus on the outcome or a finish time. Again research shows that when we focus on the process, we feel a greater level of satisfaction. This was never more true than my OLY in August. I was late getting to the race and barely made my start. There was a problem with the swim course, and it was chaos. In my rush, I forgot my fuel for my bike. If you look up my finish time, you'll see I had a pretty slow Oly....but it was one of the races that I felt the best about because of how I handled everything. After having a slow bike and a rough ride because I was out of water and fuel.....I spent extra time in transition. Then, I ran a 10K PR. I didn't let the previous events negatively affect my run. I got out there and ran my best run ever.

6.) Effort + Attitude = EFFATUDE.  The only things you can really control when you are training and racing. This year, I learned that I have a ton of EFFATUDE.

7.) Letting go of who you "were" allows you to become who you want to be. It doesn't matter how fast you raced last year. When you believe you are stronger than your race times, you give yourself the room to become who you want to be.

8.) Cut out the "yes" men and surround yourself with the people who will give you honest feedback. Those people are going to see the great things in you that you'll tend to ignore. They will also give you the constructive feedback that you need to be your best.  When I started with Coach liz, I did 2 races with her when I received an email saying, "You're steady state Sally, afraid to bust out." No one ever said that to me before. I never even realized that's what I was doing. As soon as she said that, I realized that I needed to change that in order to be the best athlete I could. My next race I ran a negative split.

9.) You always have another gear.

10.) Don't be afraid to state your goals out loud. No one has to believe in your goals but you. People will try to convince you that you need "realistic goals". FUCK'em. What those people think says everything about them and nothing about you. Because they can't do it, doesn't mean you can't. ALWAYS go for the biggest scariest goal out there and state it with confidence. Embrace it. Sleep it. Post it everywhere. When you believe it, you will attain it. You'll have to work for it, but you WILL achieve it.

11.) Be humble. There will always be people who are faster. There will always be people who are slower.

12.) Do what YOU want not what you think you should do and not what everyone else is doing.

13.) Learn your weaknesses. Accept them and find a way to overcome them when you need to. We all have our challenges. The most successful people have found ways to overcome their weaknesses. I don't like running long. During my HIM, we had a plan. Run to each aid station. Walk the aid station and start running again. Instead of 13.1 miles, I knew I just had to run 1 mile. I didn't think of it as running 1 mile 13 times. I focused only on the mile I was doing. Run THAT mile. Don't worry about the next one. Don't think about the one I just finished. Run THIS mile to the best of my ability.



You are worthy. You deserve this. Don't be afraid of success. Don't be afraid of your power. 




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Where do I go from here?

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

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

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

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

Why am I telling you this?

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

I know what you're thinking.

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


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


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



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



YES.

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

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


Sunday, October 19, 2014

The WOW PR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the day of the race:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I didn't want the bike to end.

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

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

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

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

I nailed the bike nutrition. I nailed the watts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It really worked.

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

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

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

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

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

I crossed the finish line.

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

Then he asked, "What did you think?"

I said, "Never again."

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