Monday, June 30, 2014


I'm posting this in case you are not a FB friend and therefore, missed it. That, of course, begs the question: Why aren't you a FB friend? Prefer to stalk? That's ok too. You do You.

This is the week of going rogue. I finished my A race and will be starting my next training cycle. Coach told me that this is my mid season break to mentally recharge & get away from structured training before we head into a big training block. Her only requirement is that I don't sit on my ass all week. Of course, to prevent any said "sitting on my ass", she was kind enough to enter some low key, non structured workouts. 

Midseason break: WHAT AN AWESOME IDEA. Seriously, I tend to get burned out during the season. I don't mean the dangerous "burn out". I mean that early mornings, driving to races, constantly negotiating my schedule; that combined with the fact that I race once a month (or in this case every other week for a few weeks), all that takes a toll on me.  I never really thought about taking a break before.

How does going rogue work? I'm really not very good at that part, I'm pretty happy with swimming, biking & running. I know that it is a good idea for me to take a couple of days to do something different. It's summer in CO. It's not like I can't find something to do.

Sunday was a day off. This was definitely "sit on my ass day". We went to the race track and basic movements were uncomfortable: going from sitting to standing---NO. Decending and climbing that giant flight of stairs: I look don't want to talk about it.

Monday, Coach recommended a super-dee-duper-easy bike. AH! My opportunity to GO ROGUE! I really didn't feel like getting on my bike. Instead, I thought, "I'm going to take the dog for an easy hike."  Yes. That sounded much more rogue-y. So, after the wrestling match that is bath time, we hit the trail for about 45 minutes.

(The dog officially hates me now).

For Tuesday: She recommends 30 minutes at masters....swimming super-dee-duper-easy. Like my lane mates are going to believe me when I say, "My COACH SAID SO."

JMan and I are going hiking on Wed.

Then, it's back to Boulder for the Thursday swim. Sadly, My giiiirrrrllll won't be there this week. I had a great time last week, and I love getting out to different open water venues. 

Saturday, it's back here for the MHM Cancer Sucks swim.

All in all, a fun week of being a little rogue-y.

After that, it's back to "work".

Over training & Over reaching

This is a sensitive subject because we want to think we are strong. We want to think that we'll know when there is a problem. Sometimes we don't know until we are sidelined or until something happens.

It's easy to point the finger at someone and say, "They are clearly overtraining."

But are we willing to analyze ourselves so critically; especially when we have a big race coming up?

Recently, Precision Nutrition wrote an article about this very topic. Quite honestly, I know what the symptoms of over training are, but I had never heard of the term over reaching. I'm going to bring up a few things directly from the article. I strongly recommend that you read the article. I'm just going to summarize a few things.

First of all, we should define a couple of things. We all know what training is. We put in the work. Then, there are rest days and recovery days. These are different.

Rest means rest. It's a day off.

Recovery means a lower level of intensity and duration, active recovery.

Our muscles grow, and we become stronger when our bodies have the opportunity to recovery from the stress of training.

If you read this blog post, you understand that based on our abilities, ages and genders, we all have different requirements for recovery and intense training. When our training exceeds our abilites or we aren't providing enough calories to support our level of training, we fall into body debt.

Precision Nutrition defined over training and over reaching as such:

Overtraining is the most serious version of this “body debt”, and it happens often to bodybuilders and other athletes who reduce their calories too drastically while training heavily and frequently.
Overtraining can involve:
  • serious loss of strength and fitness
  • significant and chronic joint and muscle pain
  • serious changes in mood, such as major depression or other psychiatric issues
  • significant sleep disruption
  • major immunity problems — frequent and serious illnesses (e.g. bacterial/viral infections, etc.)
  • hormonal suppression (e.g. low thyroid, low sex hormones, amenorrhea or irregular periods in women, etc.)
Over-reaching — the milder version of overtraining — is a far more common and insidious problem for recreational exercisers.
Over-reaching can involve:
  • low energy and mojo
  • persistently “meh” workouts; not really feeling into training
  • feeling sore and achey all the time
  • feeling mildly irritable, moody, or anxious
  • minor, nagging injuries
  • not feeling 100% — catching minor bugs, feeling run-down
Basically, in both cases, you feel like crap.

The problem with understanding the definitions is that we then have to apply them to ourselves. If you are a woman or man over 45, that's not easy to do.

I am the perfect example of this. For a few years, I was having the worst sleep ever. I started monitoring my sleep. I was moody alot. Although, I rarely get sick and hadn't been injured, I often felt like "meh" and had low energy. And, my performance was suffering. I am too young to be slowing down.

The problem comes in with the fact that these are the same symptoms of perimenopause. I assumed that's what it was. I tried everything possible to counteract the "hormonal issue" I was going through. For 3 months, I tried a hormone cream, but that didn't work. I switched to non-processed & organic foods. I did everything, but I still had problems.

Then, I was "forced" to take a week off from training....not because of sickness or injury but for other reasons.

That week, I slept better than I had in the previous years.

I realized that I had been on the verge of over training/reaching for a long time. Now, I know that I was probably bouncing back and forth between over training and over reaching. I could see it in my races: my 5k speeds had slowed. I could see it in my lack of sleep. I could see it in my moodiness. I had virtually every single symptom.

Hindsight is always 20/20. I didn't want to think that I was over training or over reaching. I wanted to blame something else. It's always easy to blame aging or hormones. It's harder to look at ourselves and admit that we have to back off or change something.

As I mentioned, I was forced into taking action. Otherwise, I would have kept plugging forward. At the time, I was upset about being forced to stop training. Now, I look back, and I think it was the best possible outcome for me. (I'm using the word "forced" because that's how it felt. I didn't want to stop. I wanted to keep going.)

The good news in all of this (for me) is that now that I am sleeping well, my hormones are better regulated. I don't have any of the symptoms that I had before. When I do have sleep problems or mood swings, they are short lived, and they follow a cycle. That's how I know they truly are "hormonal". I just need to wade through a day or two of feeling "meh" to get back to my normal mode of operandi.

The reason I wrote this post today is because I see many many friends who post these symptoms. Hormones (whether you are +50, in your 30's or female or male) regulate every aspect of our lives. They are responsible for our hunger & appetite. They are responsible for managing stress. They build our strength and allow us to get sleep.

Many of my friends are experiencing these problems because over reaching will put stress on your system causing hormones to back fire in all bad ways possible. BUT THIS IS NOT A HORMONAL PROBLEM IN MANY CASES. IT IS AN ISSUE OF OVER REACHING. 

If you are experiencing these symptoms, and you are blaming hormones, I highly recommend that you take a week off from training and see how you feel. If nothing else, it will reset your body. If it is truly a hormonal issue, it won't necessarily be fixed in the week. If it is a training issue, it will likely be fixed in the week. That's your opportunity to make changes.

Then, get with your Coach to come up with a plan that works specifically for you.

And read this article, it's short but it has some great insight.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Thinking it through

I'm not writing a race report. I did fine. My fueling was perfect. I did a lot right, and I made a few mistakes: typical race stuff. I wasn't disappointed with my race. It made me think about a few things though. That's always a good thing.

Yesterday was a good day. It called to my attention all of the things that I like and things that I don't like.

Let's go back in time, way way back in time.

I've run many distances in my 31 years of running.

What I like:
1.) 5ks, 4 miles, 5miles etc.
2.) Half marathon

What I don't like:
1.) 10Ks
2.) Marathons

I was never one of those people who thought longer was better than going fast. There was always the issue that when I did 20 mile runs, my runs would take longer than many people. But, my dislike of distances never had anything to do with how long it took me. There are plenty of people who run much slower than me who enjoy going long.

I ventured into long distances (half marathons, marathons, oly tri's, HIMs & IM) because I wanted to try something new.

After my DNF at CDA, I swore off long distances for awhile. I went back to the sprint distances. For those runners among us, the sprint distance triathlon will take somewhere between a 10k and half marathon finish time. So, "sprint" is little bit misleading. It still requires a level of pacing. It's a different animal altogether though. In other words, it's quite a bit different than running a 5k.

Last year (2013), I sprinkled in a couple of olympic distance races. One of those races, I finished with either 2nd or 3rd place (can't remember and who honestly cares?) The 2nd olympic distance of 2013, I DNF'd. It was officially the last race of the year, and I did it the day after Tour of the Moon (on a time trial bike). For the cyclists among us, you understand how incredibly difficult it is to ride cat 1 climbs on a TT bike. The following day, I was dead. I wrote about the Tour of the Moon AND the oly race the next day.

Last year, I decided to sign up for a 70.3 for this year. I've waffled back and forth about whether or not I should do it. I made it my A race for the year. I also signed up for an Oly A race (the one yesterday). For the rest of the year, I have a bunch of sprints and one more oly race.

Clearly, this is racing more distance that I have done in a number of years, but I've also spent time building up to it.

Since that time, I have had to defend myself from all the Ironman addicts out there. I've been constantly harassed on social media (as recently as Friday of last week on Twitter) about not doing HIMs and IMs. TOTAL lack of respect for what it means to go really hard.

When I signed up for Soma last year, I kept it on the DL. I told only 2 other people until I announced it here a couple of months ago.

I love triathlon. I love the complexity of putting a swim, bike & run together. If I didn't like any of the events, I could easily become a duathlete (compete in aquathons, duathlons or aquabikes).

Even a week ago, I was gung ho ready to do SOMA. Then, I raced an oly yesterday.

When I was running, I kept thinking, "What the hell am I doing? I could be done now. I am so glad I don't have to be out here for another 2.5 hours."

The 2.5 hours references the 70.3 (half iron: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 run)

I can swim all day every day. I often do 2.4 swim races. I can do a 1.2 miles in my sleep.

I can ride my bike all day. I can ride 56 miles and more. I've done many bike tours ranging from 100-150 miles.

I can run a half marathon. It's my favorite run distance.

But put them together......and I don't know if I really want to do that. I don't know if I want to be on a race course for 6 hours. It's a long long time.

But there's more. The second issue that I ran into yesterday was how much I hate pacing and racing with power. You know this. I hate the power meter. I love training with it. When I race, I just want to GO!!!

All of last year, I raced by feel. Maybe I was successful. Maybe I wasn't, but I felt great about my races afterward.

When you hit distances like the Oly, HIM and IM, pacing is EXTREMELY important. If you don't pace correctly for your course, the run is going to suck or be damn near impossible. In a sprint, if you go way over threshold, you can suffer through a 5K.

Yesterday, I was holding back and holding back. All I wanted to do was go hard, like I did last year.  BUT, I knew that I HAD to do it. (Last year, I faded badly on the run. My legs were just shot). Those climbs are no joke. It worked. I climbed the first hill without even feeling it. It was a long 10 mile climb. The second one was 1.25 miles and much much steeper. That one, I felt a wee bit.

Still, I felt stronger climbing yesterday than I did on the same course last year, and I was able to run. My legs really felt it, but I held pace better yesterday instead of drastically fading.

Comparing this year to last year, I was in much better shape this year than last year for the same race.

Still, there is the issues of time & pacing. Do I really want to plug along a race course for 6 hours? By plug along, I mean at the low HR, low power required to do this distance successfully. Plugging along has nothing to do with a particular pace or speed.

I know I can....hell, I can plug along for over 8 hours! (My first HIM). And 7 hours (My 2nd HIM).

But, I felt MORE success when I broke through 28 minutes at my 5K than I did when I went 7 hours at a HIM.

Do I want to plug along anymore?

That's kind of where I am now.

So. I decided that I am going to continue on with training as is because I have another OLY tri in 2 weeks. This one is a true oly with a 1500m swim, 40K bike, 10K run. I've never done this race, but I have ridden the bike course many times. It's the old IM Boulder 70.3 bike course, which is CRAZY FAST.

And we all know how much I like going fast on the bike.

My PR for a "true" oly is 2:55, on a hilly bike course...nothing like what I rode yesterday but a course that is known for being tough.

Once I'm done with the Peak, I can decide if I want to keep training for the 70.3. The way I see it; I don't really have to decide if I want to do the 70.3 until the week of the race.

There you go. I'm on a week to week plan now.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Coaching Counts

I'm going to take some heat for this post.

WHO coaches you matters. If you're a woman it really matters.

I used to think that men coaches were just as good for women as women coaches. I was wrong. The flip side, however, is true. Women coaches are equally good for men as they are for women. The reason for this is that historically all research has been done on male athletes. Women coaches have as much access to this existing information as do their male counterparts. In fact, training plans are built completely around men.


There are very few male coaches who are willing to put in the time, to go out of their way to learn about how women and men are different. Also, how women and men are different as they age and how it affects training, recovery & nutrition.

CASE IN POINT: Several months back, USAT offered several seminars aimed at women's needs. Coaches did not earn CEU (points) for attending these seminars. In other words, for a coach to attend, it meant they really cared about their female clients.

I follow MANY coaches on Twitter and Facebook. I did not see ONE male coach advertise the fact that he attended these seminars. Now, they could have gone in silence. But, if you were a coach, would YOU want half the population to know that you are taking a course to help them? Yes. You would. You would take pictures. You would thank USAT PUBLICLY. You would do everything necessary to show HALF the population that you take their training seriously.

In the past 6 months, I've learned all of this after doing all the research that I have been doing. I do this research because my training is important to me. I have goals. I want to accomplish those goals. I'm in a position where I can do what I need to accomplish those goals.

Recently, my Coach wrote this post about the differences between ages, genders & abilities.

Of course, there are bad female coaches out there, just like there are bad male coaches. Not all women are going to go through the process of learning. BUT, if they currently train and race triathlon, the likelihood is good that they stay up on all the current research because it affects them. The BEST of coaches stay up on research because it affects their clients.

If you are a woman, and you are looking for a coach, here are the questions you need to ask (in my opinion):

1.) How will you assess & determine what my individual training will look like?

2.) How will my training differ from a woman who is 10 years younger? How will it differ from a man the same age?

3.) How do you stay current on research that benefits women (and men)?

4.) How do you respond when I question the training tactics?

5.) How will you respond when I have a bad workout? How will you respond when I quit a workout? How will you respond when I have a great workout?

6.) What percentage of your female athletes podium, qualify for nationals or world championships, etc. as compared to your male athletes? If a lower percentage of women qualify for big events, that demonstrates the point.

Of course, there are the basic questions such as: cost, communication, etc. My goal is to get you to ask the questions that are really going to matter. These are the questions that you need to ask early.

GREAT Coaches won't mind answering.

BAD Coaches will take offense.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Time to Wax Poetic

I guess it's time for me to wax poetic.

My A race is finally here. Six months after I started with my Coach, I never would have imagined that I ended up where I am. I'm staring down at a race that I feel 100% ready to take on. The olympic distance race is tough. It doesn't get much respect from age groupers. It's a balance between holding back and putting everything on the line the last few miles.

How do I feel? Great.

Am I nervous? No. Not at all.

That doesn't mean I don't care. It's an expression of confidence more than anything. I know the race will be hard. But so was training. When Coach had me start mile repeats (or build sessions) at race pace and get faster from there, I don't have any doubt that I'm going to do well.

Six months ago, I wasn't anywhere close to where I am now. I wasn't anywhere near as confident (particularly with my running). Every time I ran, it was more of  "ok, how is this going to go today." I don't feel that way anymore.

And don't be fooled, her training was some of the hardest training I've ever done. There were days that I would look at my training and think, "If she thinks I'm ready for this workout, then I am."

And that's how I handled it. Day after day, I would say that to myself. Day after day, I would do the workout.

But training is always more than the workouts. She built in plenty of recovery days. And there were days, trust me, when the recovery day was SO MUCH HARDER than the hard days, as I would run at paces that I was sure was slower than I could walk.

One of the things that I am most grateful for is that I have no pressure to place.  I get to go out and race. I'm a better runner and better cyclist than I have ever been. (Better swimmer too, but I've made the biggest improvements in running/biking). I enjoy the training and seeing all the pieces come together. I'm not worried about running off the bike anymore. I know I'm going to push hard the second half of that 10k because I've already done it.

As far as I'm concerned, I've already had the best of success because I know how much I've improved. Saturday is just the icing on the cake. I'm going out there. I'm going to have fun and PR's will be had.

The race isn't a time for me to prove myself to anyone. The race is a time to show off what I've accomplished the last 6 months.

The best part is that I know I'm only going to get faster and get stronger.

So, No. I'm not nervous. I'm not nervous because I know I'm ready.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Today's rant brought to you by the Hangry

Let me be clear about something, when I get consumed by the hangry, it is NOT A GOOD THING. It means I f*cked up my fueling for the day.

Next, if you post pictures of your breakfast, lunch and dinner, YOU HAVE AN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD


You are putting your issues on display for everyone else.

But apparently that doesn't seem to matter.

NEXT, if you are training for Ironman, and you post THIS picture of your breakfast





If you post the picture of a bowl of fruit and call it breakfast and you weigh 50lbs more than me and are almost 10 years younger AND are training for HIMs and IMs.....I'M CALLING BULLSHIT.

Here are the facts, I train (for oly distance) up to 13 hours a week. And I'm hungry all the damn time. So much so that it has to be the single most frustrating part of training. No matter HOW MUCH I eat in the morning, I'm hungry again a few hours later (as in 3 hours later).

Few things make me as crazy as people pushing these unhealthy and unrealistic images of what they supposedly eat on a daily basis. Then, I see other people "liking" the status or saying, "OH YOU EAT SO WELL."


Look, I love fruit and salad and all that but I would pass out if that's all I ate during the course of a day.

Meanwhile, I try to fill gaps with smoothies, and I get tired of smoothies. But they are necessary. I tried cooking all day long, and that was even worse. It's a ridiculous amount of food. So much so that Mr. Tea has almost begged me to eat convenience foods. I've tried them, but I can't stand frozen meals or anything that comes in a box.

Anyway, here's a picture of what I had for 2nd lunch today.

Oh, and I had these (2 of them):

Sunday, June 22, 2014

This is how we do it.

Your daily dose of GET PUMPED. Thanks LBTEPA

So, yea. I've gone from ~12 hours of weekly training to 9:30 to 7:15. 

Are you tired of me yet? 

I guess it's time for RACE STRATEGY! WOOO HOOO! I'm posting this because I have a lot of people who read my blog because they love them a good train wreck are interested in multisport but don't currently participate. 

For those of you in the know, the race is a 1500m swim, 30 mile bike + 10K run. This is the bike elevation profile: 

Warm Up:
10 minute swim.

1500m Swim:
Before starting: 1 gel + salt tablets.

As far as finish time, last year was my fastest swim ever. Still, I made a few mistakes. The first mistake was that I did not situated myself correctly at the start, and I started with the men in 45-49 ag. This year, I am going to start in the front. I've been practicing sprinting for the first 100m or so and then finding a rhythm. These guys are big and strong, and last year I got run over too many times. I can compete with the top 3 men, so I am going to start with them. 

We all know the saying, "You can't win a race on the swim, but you can lose it." My goal for the swim is hard & controlled. 

Last year, I was 4th on the swim, and that's because of the very long run to transition. My swim alone put me in 2nd. I was passed on the way to transition. This year, once I get out of the water, I really need to run hard to the bike. Once I'm on the bike, I can take a few minutes to calm down.  I'll strip off the wetsuit when I get out of the water. With that long of a run, I know I need to run hard. The best way for me to do that is sans wetsuit.

30 mile Bike:

This is what I really want to focus on because I want to pace this better than I did last year. 

Miles 1-4: Rolling hills. Hold under 90% for the first 4-5 miles. HOLD BACK. 

Miles 4-14: BIG climb (this is the longest climb) followed by a sharp 1 mile descent.  On the climbs, no more than 120% and 120% for only 1-3 minutes at a time.

Miles 15-17: 2nd BIG climb (This is the steepest climb) followed by 1 sharp descent with turns.

Miles 17-30: It's rollers all the way home, a lot of straightaways and very few turns. This part of the course is VERY fast. Last miles are a strong 90-95% FTP.

I have been training with setting my garmin to drink every 10 minutes. I rotate through sports drink and water. 

This year, I must go easier on the first set of rollers and prepare for the climbs. Last year, I hit those first rollers SO hard. I was burned up by the time I got to the 2nd climb.

It was pretty ugly.

The key to my bike is that I've never really raced using power, and I've been learning my zones. This might be hit or miss, but my goal is to get as close to that as I can for the end part.....which is why taking it a little easier in the beginning is really important. I did really well at E-Rock (minus the fact that I went a little too hard at the start). I think I'll be able to pull this off. 

GOAL: Last year, I was on the bike for 1:36:46. I have to plan for about that time. 36-48oz on the bike of water (depending on the heat) and my concentrated drink (which I have been training with) ~400 calories + 750-1000mg of sodium which means a salt tablet in addition to my sport drink.

I feel really good about getting a bike PR, as long as I stick to my plan.

Also, during the last 10 minutes of the ride, I'll take a gel to get ready for the run.

Let me sum up: Take it easy, hold back then hit the 2nd set of rollers. 500 calories on the bike and 36-48oz of water.

10K Run:

Wow. The run. I won't go into all the mistakes I made last year; most of which came from the issues on the bike.

My time last year: 1:05:50. This is a very nice run course with the normal little hills. Nothing significant in regards to hills. I will carry an extra gel with me for the halfway mark. (I will have taken a gel right at the end of the bike). As long as I pace on the bike and fuel on the bike, I'll run well. I know that to go sub 1:00 I need to hit an average pace of 9:39. My goal is to start the first mile around a 10:00-10:15 and pick up 15 seconds or so every mile until the halfway point. Then, the 2nd half will really be about going hard. If I follow this plan, it means that the last couple of miles are really going to have to hurt to go sub 1:00. (I've never gone sub 1:00. Not even in a stand alone 10K. PREPARE TO BE AMAZED).

If you've made it this far, and you want to read last year's race report, you can find it here.

Over the past few weeks and months, I've put so much into training. I'm so excited for this race. For me, it's less about my finish time than it is about following a plan. I know I can run hard at the end of a race. I trust the plan that my coach put together for me. The workouts that she put together for me, showed me how to go hard when it counts. I think the most important thing that I've gained is the confidence to do this, to make this happen. 

This week is all about eating well & recovery & putting it all together on Saturday.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Take look through my eyes

Aren't people awesome?

I mean, not the dumb ones of course.

If you are a FB friend, you might have read my little ditty about what happened at masters today.

If you aren't a FB friend: nanner nanner doo doo

How cool is it to have people around, people that maybe you don't even see as friends.....just offer their support and encouragement.....and you know they are being genuine. You know it's not fake.

If you aren't familiar with masters swimming, it's a little hard to explain the feeling and how it works. Typically, you have a lane leader. That leader is usually the fastest person. Until my crash, that person was me. Since then, I'd been swimming in the back of the lane as I regain my swimming fitness. 

Everyone can hit the intervals, but there is a certain level of pressure on the lead swimmer. 1.) because there's no drafting for that lead swimmer. 2.) You are setting the pace for everyone else. just don't want that person behind you to touch your toes.

It's one thing to hit an interval ONE TIME. It's quite another to lead a lane for 36 intervals of varying distances.

Today, I saw the intervals and thought, "Ok, I've got this. I'll hang in the back. I should be good there. If I need to slow down, I can slow down. Good. This will be good."

When out of the blue, C grabbed me and said, 'You're leading us today." 

She continued to pull me to the front. And as I continued to argue my point, she pulled a Dr. Evil on me. 

Then, she turned to look me square in the eye and said, "You've got this Tea. You can do this."

OH THE PRESSURE OF BEING THE LEAD SWIMMER. In the past, I loved it.  Today, I was so paranoid of being the ONE to slow down the lane. 

But you can't turn someone down when they say that to you. Or at least, I can't. She believed in me.

Maybe I could too.

I turned the the person 2nd in line and said, "Please give me 10 seconds. There's only 4 of us today."

She rolled her eyes at me but agreed.

The amazing thing is that I hit all the intervals, and I led for the entire session.

I'm still not back to my old paces yet, but that's ok because I'm not that far off now.

As I was leaving, I remembered a quote from an article that Coach posted in my log this past week: "Remember that the feel does not determine your performance… Regardless of the feel, your body has been prepared through systematic training and will give the desired result, but it might not feel great.”

When you've done the training & put in the time, your body is ready to takeover. You just have to let it do its job.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The easy way out will always be there

Your daily does of GET PUMPED

Taper Day 3

Oh the GLORY of taper. I've never understood people who freak out during taper. I LOVE IT. I love the downtime. I love the lower training volume. I love eating. I love sleeping in. I love coming off of peak time and seeing the improvements that were in hiding under workload volumes and exhaustive workouts.

Because then, I have days like today. Something magical happen.

It happened on the bike: 4 intervals of 15 minutes.

I did the first 2 interval sets. Right where I was supposed to be; albeit at the lower end of my power ranges.

At the end of the 2nd interval, I just happen to look up at my computer. My training peaks log was up. Just then, at that exact moment.....trainingpeaks timed out, and my Coach's website popped up in front of I was staring at it.

There SHE WAS....staring at me....I looked at her picture, and I was like, "Hey Coach. How YOU doin'?"

Then, I remembered something that told me, just the other day after a very similar ride. "Don't be a slave to technology. Sometimes you need to let it go. When you feel good, go for it."  I decided to hide my garmin and do the last 2 intervals strictly by how I felt.


The last 15 minute interval, I avg right at threshold, but my heart rate was 9 beats below threshold. I couldn't believe it. I wouldn't have done that if I was staring at my Garmin.

A lot of my training has been learning. I've had to learn how to ride by power zones. It took me awhile to learn how the zones felt. It took me time to learn to trust myself. Trust myself in different ways. Trust that I can push even when I don't have the guide of a garmin. Trust that I have the strength to push. Trust that I won't let up when historically, I would have.

As I did my cool down, I thought back to how I got there. It came from the days that I didn't want to go. It came from the day that I was technically still running, but it felt like I was barely moving. It came from NEVER giving up on hill repeats. It came from climbing monster hills and getting up early to swim.

The easy way out will always be there.

The minute you take it, you've given up on your goal.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

You were warned

In case you missed it, and how could you POSSIBLY miss one of MY posts.

I'm doing the race on 7/13. The interesting part of this is that Boulder County basically called up the Race Director and said, "Yo', y'all gonna have to find a back up plan for your bike route because OLDE STAGE ROAD is JACKED UP."

What does that mean? They took out the hardest part of the race. I'm fine with that. Actually, I'm quite pleased. As much as I love climbing on the bike, my 70.3 is pretty flat. Coming off of Loveland, I wasn't really looking forward to another race with big climbs.

Now ask me how taper is going.....

LET ME TELL YOU. I'm two days into it.

1.) I can't eat enough. I'm slamming down smoothie after smoothie trying to keep the edge off.

I'm failing in that regard.

2.) I pretty much got my ass kicked at masters today.

What else is new?

3.) I started watching Season 1 of True Detective.


4.) I was spaced out at the pool today, just staring off into space, when all of a sudden I realized that I was staring right at my lane mate's crotch.

He didn't really seem to mind.

5.) Another friend dropped out of two races we had planned. Why?

He bought a puppy, and it's so cute. I can't really blame him.

6.) I wrote my race plan.

You are so lucky. I'm going to post it here....just for the helluvit. That and I'm tapering.

7.) I got up this morning and was buzzing around when JMan says to me, "What are you doing? Why are you acting all crazy? Wait. You're tapering. SO HELP ME."

8.) I decided to post songs from my GET PUMPED race list. Eminem always seems to dominate my playlist. And Linkin Park.

Now excuse me. I have to get back to that tapering thing.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

I'd like to poll the audience

My A race is 6/28.

I am registered for an Olympic distance race on 7/13.

Should I do the race? I honestly can't decide.

Comment below or post in the

Friday, June 13, 2014

It's kind of a big deal

Thanks to Ti for this one. My neighbors, in particular, THANK YOU, Ti.

This weekend is my last BIG weekend before I taper for my A race.

Let that sink in....

You understand what I'm saying? You think I post a lot now? Wait until I'm not training X hours per week! You ain't seen nothin' yet.

I'm so excited about this. This was the first time EVER that I put so much effort into getting my training done for an earlier race. 

I've been working on my race plan that I have to get over to my coach. I'm really putting a lot of thought into this plan because last year I didn't do well at this race. No. That's wrong. I did EXCEPTIONALLY well for the amount of training that I put into it. I've already talked about how I was under-prepared (due to my OWN fault) last year. 

Or as I used to tell my coach.....I was going through a phase. Probably very similar to what a 12 year old girl goes through, complete with temper tantrums, foot stomping & pouting.

We don't need to go through all the ways I kinda sorta screwed up the race last year. The irony is that I screwed up and still pulled out a PR, so that's kinda cool.

Now imagine, if you will, what I will accomplish this year! I don't know. My goal is simply to execute well. The time will be what it will be.

Here I am, heading into 2 weeks of taper, and I'm struggling with some scheduling issues. It frustrates the hell out of me because this is the stuff that I have complete control over. 

I really need to get my sh*t together in the next month.

Besides these stupid scheduling issues, I think I have a pretty decent plan for my long training days to keep things interesting.

Swimming: My coach told me she wants me to start doing some 4000m swims. I'm game. Long swims will be nice. I'm also going to switch up my open water venues. Besides my regular spot, I'm going to hit up the OWS in Boulder and the Horsetooth swim. I've done these before. It helps me when I switch up locations and see some different people. 

(Speaking of swimming, TODAY I passed the 100 mile marker for the year. Not too shabby given that I couldn't swim much in May).

Biking: Here's the plan, Stan. I already know a certain someone who might ride with me. Hey! I'm not picky. Join me for 10 miles and call it a day. Having company for even a short time, breaks up a long ride. BUT, in addition to that. I might enlist the company of another person who shall remain nameless for the time being....umm....because I haven't asked yet. WHAT I'm trying to avoid is riding with a certain dude who is nice enough....and we're pretty equal on the bike, but I don't think I can handle him for more than an hour at a time. (Do you know those people with ridiculously whiny voices? That's him. Five hours with that? NOPE.)  Again on the bike, I think what I need to do is ride all over the place. Do some different routes to keep things interesting. BIKE tours. Rides like the Buffalo Classic. Best idea ever. 

The jury is still out on Tour of the Moon, mostly because I mentioned it to my Coach and she gave me the, "NOPE." I didn't tell her I was already registered. Fortunately for me, somehow I ended up with a super cheap registration, so it's no big deal if I miss it. I want to go back and tackle the 62 miler, but I don't want anything to interfere with my 70.3 training. 

AND....driving 3 hours to do a bike tour on my matter how badly I want to do it? Not much fun.

See? I'm taking this stuff seriously and finding ways to keep me focused and engaged in the process.

Running: Not really a problem. I mean. Come on. I've been running marathons and half marathons for a long time. I don't really have a problem with running by myself. 

So. Those are the thoughts of the day: Wrap up my last big volume weekend and figuring out ways to get through the next 4 months of training.

That's that. Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, June 9, 2014

The "want" to

I woke up today with a head full of steam.

Or something.

Made me wonder if I had weird dreams that I couldn't remember upon waking. I had two things that were on my mind when I woke up. The first had to do with friendship (sigh....YES....again) and what I'm doing with this whole triathlon thing.

The issue of friendship has become a really big deal to me this year. One of the things that I realized is that it's probably because as of August, my sons will both be out of the house. When you have kids, they take up every bit of your life. Their friends' parents become your friends...even if the only thing you really have in common is that your kids play on the same team.

That part is gone for me. The past year, I've found that these outside friendships (outside of my kids) are people that I REALLY LIKE. People who I don't have to put on a happy face for. They accept me on my good days and bad days. We have disagreements, but we stick it out.

These people, these friends, when I lose one, I really want to figure out what happened. I always take responsibility for my role in the failing; whether or not anyone else does. I mean, it takes two for a relationship to fail. I had a couple of friendships earlier this year that ended. I know. YOU've all heard about this.

For the most part, they were not close friendships. In one case in particular, it really needed to end.

But there was one. I kept going back over what happened. When it happened, I couldn't quite put my finger on what went wrong. I kept journaling about it. I noticed something. I went back, and I re-read some things that I wrote, and I realized that I think we were both trying to "force" the friendship....much like those friends' parents.....we weren't really compatible. We just shared some of the same interests.

I felt a lot better about the friendship ending when I realized this. Of course, there are people that I do things with like swimming races or long rides....and we get along fine, but we're not really friends. I can have that too. I don't have to be BFF's with everyone.

This other friendship wasn't like that. We were really incompatible. In fact, I wondered how we even managed to stay friends as long as we had, before the final meltdown in January.

It's just funny to me. How these things seem to work out.

Anyway, this impact of friends, lead me to thinking about this long course phenomenon that has been happening. In my groups of friends, I'm the only one who doesn't go long.

And recently, they've all been talking about getting out of long course. I can tell that this isn't just a being tired of training thing. These are people that I know. I can tell that they are truly burned out. These aren't people who are distance junkies or ironman addicts. They'll do a couple of 70.3's a year or an Ironman.

In other words, this is something they have never said before.

So, no. The world isn't ending. This isn't the biggest thing since sliced bread.

Because these are people that I like, I listen to what they are saying. I listen to their reasons for getting out of it. They are many of the same reasons why I haven't done long course in years.

It makes me re-assess things.

Am I really ready for the commitment of this 70.3 this year? Did I move too fast in signing up?

After so many years of leaving long rides (because they were riding 100 miles) and I only needed to ride 3 hours and so many years of joining them for their long swims (I can't turn down an opportunity to swim 2.4 miles.)

I guess it hit me that I'll be mostly doing this training on my own.

September and October will roll around, and I'll be getting up on chilly mornings heading out to the lake to swim. I'll pack up my bike and all my stuff I need for my long ride. And turn around on Sunday and get ready for a second round of brick workouts.

Am I really ready for the commitment of this 70.3 this year?

Then, I surprised myself.

And I answered, "Yes."

Yes, because somewhere deep down inside I want to do this.

I want to see what it feels like accomplishing a goal that has been almost 6 years in the making.  I want to see how I handle the challenge of being tired or sore and having to get out there for one more run.

What's my "why"?

Because I want to.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Hold on, Cupcake

I don't think I'm alone when I say that sometimes in training thoughts will pop into my head to help me through the toughest parts of a workout.

I'm not talking about training mantras that we can call upon. I'm talking about the random thought that I've never in my life said, but it will infiltrate my thoughts for that particular day.

Today was one of my key workouts of the week. Recently, I've made run and bike breakthroughs.

These breakthroughs are always mental. We are as slow or as fast as we give ourselves permission to be.

I haven't had a swim breakthrough recently. I've had to go easier than I would have liked in recovery. I haven't been able to attend masters. I still love swimming, but I had to take a step back.

Back to the "key workouts".

I had an open water swim on the schedule that was broken into intervals at 1500m pace. The 1500m pace has always been a thorn in my side. I typically go too slow, afraid of blowing up.

When I set up today, I kept thinking about my strategy. I'm fast enough of a swimmer now that I need to focus on all out sprinting the first minute or 100 meters or so to gain position and avoid getting caught in the crowd. One of my challenges has been that I don't go hard at the start. I just sort of plug along and do my "too slow" pace.

I wouldn't recommend this all out sprinting strategy to anyone who is new to triathlon or who doesn't have the swim as their strength. It can cause other problems, like an anxiety attack, going WAY too hard and then dropping pace significantly. It's a great strategy, but you have to manage it correctly and feel super comfortable going all out for a short distance.

But I digress.

I start out with my sprints and settle into a hard but sustainable pace. I have no idea how fast or slow I'm going, but I suspect that I'm moving along pretty quickly.

My arms were burning a bit from the all out sprint. Out of nowhere, the thought that popped into my head was:


How awesome is that? It totally made me smile and got me to really focus on what I was doing, which, at the time was ignoring my burning arms and just pull hard.

It worked. My interval paces came in at 1:19, 1:18, 1:22. At those paces, I can not only hit my 22:00 1500m goal, but I'll also hit my sub 30, 70.3 goal. 

With that, I officially declare it as my new training mantra.

Feel free to use it yourself. 

If I see you at a race, you'll be sure to hear me yell it at you....especially, if you're a guy.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Training Experiment #2

Here's where things got really interesting. 

All of this is going on in the off-season. I can try things. If they don't work out, no big deal.

During the time that I was working through my electrolyte issue, I read this article. The article summarizes Dr. Rhonda Patrick's summary of research done on the effects of sauna use on performance. 

Read the article if you must, but I highly recommend that you take the 14 minutes to watch this: 

Among other things, sauna use POST exercise ( 2 sessions for 30 minutes per week) was shown (once again in men only) to increase blood plasma, oh wait....I'll just cut and paste from the article.
  • Improved cardiovascular mechanisms and lower heart rate.
  • Lower core body temperature during workload
  • Higher sweat rate and sweat sensitivity as a function of increased thermoregulatory control
  • Increased blood flow to skeletal muscle (known as muscle perfusion) and other tissues
  • Reduced rate of glycogen depletion due to improved muscle perfusion
  • Increased red blood cell count (likely via erythropoietin)
  • Increased efficiency of oxygen transport to muscles.
WOAH, wait just a minute. Sauna use in MEN increases blood plasma, lowers core body temp, increases blood flow, reduces gycogen depletion.

Is this starting to sound familiar to anyone?

These are the issues that women are faced with in days 16-28 of their cycles.


What if I could boost my own blood plasma....and yadda yadda during the luteal phase? Would it help my performance in hot training and racing conditions?

That was all I needed to start my own experimenting. 

(BTW-Don't try this at home, and if you do and get sick, pass out or die, that's on YOU. Not me. Take some personal responsibility.)

One of the parameters was that this needs to be done post exercise. Easy peasey. I can go right after a swim.

I started in the earlier part of my cycle. The first time in there I could only handle 12 minutes, and I got out. BTW: My sauna temp ranges from 190-200 degrees.

The next time, I was able to stay in 25. Then, 30 minutes. Unlike the study participants, I did this after my swims which meant 3-4 times per week.

It was actually pretty easy until I got to days 16-28 when all that stuff starts happening in my body. The very first day, I could only handle 20 minutes and had to get out. The next time, I was more prepared. I drank considerably more fluids during exercise. I drank more immediately before getting in. I also took in about 1400mg of sodium during 1.5 hours of exercises.

What happened? In days 16-28, I was able to handle the heat of the sauna.

That's all fine and dandy, but how did it affect my performance?  After using the sauna 3-4 times per week for almost 2 months, I had my first run in over 90 degree temps. It was an easy run.

I never even felt the heat. Keep in mind, I'm also fueling appropriately and according to the recommendations of Dr. Stacy Sims.

The next time, I had a hard workout in the heat. (Rule #1: Don't do hard workouts in the heat until you are acclimated).

What happened? I blew through the workout. 

I was so amazed that I had already acclimated without actually "training" in the heat. 

Even more amazing, it doesn't matter where I am in my cycle....not as long as I fuel correctly during the different phases. I still fuel the same way, but I feel better now that I'm using the sauna than before when I wasn't. I have MORE energy and can handle higher levels of workload.

You might be thinking, "Oh this is no big deal." IT IS A HUGE DEAL for men and women. 

Remember the benefits:
Endurance athletes often bonk when they have depleted their muscle glycogen stores. Hyperthermic conditioning has been shown to reduce muscle glycogen use by 40%-50% compared to before heat acclimation.

Participants in the study were able to run 32% longer than before their sauna experiment.

Exercise causes muscles to grow (called hypertrophy). Heat causes muscles to grow (hypertrophy). The two together cause hyper-hypertrophy. In other words, you're becoming a super-athlete.

oh.....don't be a lazy the video. It will explain everything.

This is incredibly useful for men. As a woman, given the hormonal changes that occur during the luteal phase? THIS IS FREAKING HUGE. 

We can offset (to some extent) the effects of hormonal changes simply by using a sauna? Obviously, this is straight up my own hypothesis. No research has been done on women. All I can say is that I started 2 months ago, and I have been reaping the benefits with no plans on stopping. 

Between Training experiment #1 and #2, I raced a couple of weeks back and felt stronger than I ever have. 

Keep in mind, I'm also doing training specifically to help me with what were my own limitations. However, I firmly believe that I would not even be able to make it through those tough training sessions without making the changes that I did.

During my race 2 weeks ago, I could have pushed much harder than I did, and I could have really pushed at the end of the race. 

That's a feeling I have never had. 

I almost feel like I have a secret weapon.

Training Experiment #1

This post is probably going to be pretty boring to 99.9% of you. I'm writing it because it's important; not because it's juicy.

Until very recently, women were given the same guidelines as men in regards to supplementation during exercise. In fact, still, there is very little out there.

First, let me explain how I got where I am.

Last Nov, I ran a half marathon. I went into the half expecting a big PR. I did not get a big PR. I got a 2 minute PR. To say I was disappointed, doesn't even cover how I felt. At my running paces, I should have had a big PR. People who are a lot older than me, people who are much heavier than me, people who have been doing this longer than me.....they were running faster than me.

The good news is that the experience set me on a quest to find out what was going on.

I knew that the way I felt when I was running, wasn't right.

Was it a calorie issue? Was it a carbohydrate issue?

NO. I increased calories and carbohydrates. The end result was a 10lb weight gain that I'm mostly still hanging on to.

It was making me crazy. I started researching.

GUYS: This part will be really boring to you since it's focused on women. HOWEVER Part 2 might be of greater interest to you.

Fortunately, Dr. Stacy Sims had very recently published research findings specific for women. (FUCKING NOVEL IDEA if you ask me).

In a quick recap, this is what she found. (If you are interested in her entire presentation, comment below or email me. I have a copy and will send it to you).

Here are the key points:

  • Women's bodies act completely differently in days 1-12 of our cycles versus in days 16-28. The hormonal changes have a HUGE impact on our ability to handle heat, process fat for fuel, etc.
  • In days 1-12, women actually process fat for fuel better than men do. We also need to take in fewer calories during endurance events. 
  • In days 16-28, women's blood plasma drops and our sodium levels are slightly above hyponatremia on a daily basis. This means we have to supplement our sodium intake significantly.
    • During this time, we do not process proteins as well. It is recommend that we take in protein prior to endurance exercise.
    • We do not utilize fat for fuel as well and need to take in more calories during endurance events.
  • Finally, where men get a fat burn of almost 24 hours post exercise. Women get 2 hours. That's it.
There are more points to her presentation, but that's all I am going into at this point.

Reading this research was eye opening. It completely explained the problems that I had been having in races. Last year, every damn race was at day 21. There I was trying to do races of over 2 hours long in the heat, starting in a state of damn near hyponatremia.

I started testing the research on myself (this year). What I've found is that I need quite a ridiculous amount of sodium even in days 1-12, but in days 16-28, I need anywhere from 750-1100mg per hour, depending on the situation. 

What was the result? I'm no longer running out of energy. In fact, changing my fueling strategy along with some specially structured training, I am able to go hard when I need to go hard (primarily at the end of a race or at the end of a long training session).

I've never been able to do that before. I'd be completely zapped and would trudge along.

I used to think, "What is wrong with me?"

No wonder, I was struggling so much.

But there's more.......coming up next, something that the guys might find interesting.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


There are a few of you, as in maybe TWO, who remember the first time I did Elephant Rock in 2005.

There I am.

Do you see the look of fear?

Actually, I felt pretty good about it, but I had no idea what "being in cycling shape" even meant. I hadn't trained for the ride; unless you consider a few one hours rides, here and there, "training".

This was the bike elevation profile:
Needless to say, I got my ass kicked that day.

A 35 mile ride, turned into an over FOUR HOUR event. When I finished, my legs were like jelly, and my butt hurt we shouldn't talk about it.

I did ERock again today, after missing it last year because I opted to do a tri that weekend.

Even though I've done this tour many times over the years, for some reason, today felt a little different. I was able to remember my very first time, almost every step of the way.

The first time I ever did ERock, Mr. Tea and the boys went to support me. Of course, in my overestimation of my abilities (which I was VERY good at doing), I told them that it would take me about 2 hours.

Three hours in....I had to call Mr. Tea and let him know that I still had about 10 miles to go. If you look at the map, I still had some climbing to do.

Today, I went right through that "checkpoint" at around 1:45.

The first time I ever did ERock, I finished in over 4 hours. Today, I finished in about 2:20.

I think (particularly for people who are new to multisport or running or cycling or swimming or anything) it's easy to think that people have a natural gift for speed or endurance in events. And that IS true in cases. I'm MUCH better on the bike and in the water than I am running.

But people want results fast. It's taken me 9 years to get where I am, and most of my gains have been only in the past few years. I'm not even a top age grouper.

If you really want to get really good at a sport or get fast or be a top age grouper, it takes a lot of work and dedication. In other words, it takes years.

When you first start out, you'll see improvement pretty quickly. Going from a 33:00 5K to a 29:00 5K can happen quickly. Going from a 26:00 5K to a 24:00....not so easy. Going from 10mph to 15 on the bike, easy. Going from 22mph to 26, not so easy. The list goes on and on and on.

The first time I rode ERock as a took me 9 hours and 30 minutes to finish.

That's where "Enjoy the journey" comes from. If you're focused on the end result, you're going to miss out on all the good stuff, where the memories come from. You could have PR after PR; then hit a dry spell and not PR for awhile. It doesn't mean you can't get faster. When that happens, you need to make a change. You're constantly evolving as an athlete. Things that worked for me in 2008, don't work for me now.

When you get to the point, where you really are starting to slow down, that's when "enjoying the journey" because the most important. We all need to enjoy what we do for the sheer reason of doing something fun regardless of the outcome.

When you stop enjoying it, that means it's time for a change.