Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The honeymoon is over...

I had a few days of basking in the glory.

Monday was a full on rest day. Tuesday: recovery workouts. Today: back to work.

As great as I felt about my race, it doesn't mean that it was perfect. I still have a lot of work to do, but attitude is everything. Some athletes disagree with me when I say, "The only thing you can control is your attitude."

That's what works for me. Think you can control your fueling? What happens when you drop your bottle on the bike course?

With that said, I have things I need to work on:

1.) I can improve my pacing and overall speed. At the race, I didn't realize that the first buoy was the halfway mark. My goal was to pick up speed 2 minutes into the swim. Well, I went halfway at an easy pace which was 4 minutes. That's 2 minutes too long in a sprint. I know I have more speed in my swim. I know I can do a 1:15 pace for a sprint (maybe even better).

For my upcoming Oly: I believe I can swim a 22-23 1500m. Based on my sprint, that's realistic. Again, it requires me to PULL HARDER TEA, not faster (ie: frantically).

2.) The bike:  I have YET to get to threshold in a sprint. That's my goal! I know I can get there. I have a problem with focus on the bike. At the race last weekend, I saw what I could do if I stay focused.

For my upcoming Oly: The bike course is made for me. It's rolling hills with the last 2 miles being uphill. A lot of athletes blow up on the hills because the hills can give you a false sense of security on the way out. It's the return that can get you. The return is rolling hills increasing elevation with the last mile uphill.

3.) The run: my limiter. Clearly, the biggest area of improvement. Look, it didn't escape me that I lost the overall podium because of my run. My swim/bike/transitions were are equal to #53. If we were equal on the run, that would have been an entirely different race.

For my upcoming Oly: I started the Peak (my last oly) too fast. I'm going to start my next one slightly more conservatively but then pick up the pace. As I told my coach, I ran consistently at the sprint. Consistency is better than slowing down but not as good as redlining. 

My next step is to get faster throughout the run.

Once again, no real time goals, instead I have a few Process Goals just like I did at the sprint.

Now excuse me, I have some training to get done.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Oh, and there's also this....

Learning how to race

The day after my race, and I'm still all smiles about how I did. I can't think of anything in recent history that has given me such a sense of satisfaction.

I started in triathlon in either 2005 or 2006. I can't remember the year, but I certainly remember my first race like it was yesterday.

I want to stress something. Coming in 1st place, doesn't matter to me. Placing has never mattered to me. Yesterday, it was the icing on the cake. For everything that I did right, my day ended with a HUGE 1st place. It was pretty cool.

It was the first time where I felt like I really deserved that win. I worked so hard for it on every level. I didn't feel like I just "got lucky". I didn't feel like a poser. I worked hard. I deserved everything I got yesterday.

Believe it or not. It wasn't that I PRd across the board. It wasn't that I came in a commanding (if I do say so myself) win. It was that the door opened.

That is the greatest feeling I've ever had in my triathlon experience.

It wasn't that I did a negative split. It wasn't that I paced correctly because I didn't.

I feel like I've been learning so much. It's all the intangibles that I've been learning.

We all do basically the same stuff: we do power intervals and tempo runs and long runs and master's swims.

We take recovery & rest days. We eat well. We get sleep.

Those are like the pieces of the puzzle that fit together nicely. But if you don't want the puzzle to fall apart when you lift it up, you need glue to hold all the pieces together.

The glue is the intangibles.  It's all the other stuff that is equally.....I could argue, it's the most important part of racing.

It was what I was missing. The intangibles are what I needed to make the jump from "doing" triathlon to "racing".

Trust me. For years, I thought I was racing.

I really think getting to this point was a mental jump that I couldn't have done by myself.  I couldn't do it without the help of my Coach. I didn't know what I was doing wrong. I didn't know I was doing anything wrong because I was doing all ^^that stuff above^^. What else is there?

I'm excited because I took the first step to finding out who I can be as a tri-athlete.

I have an Oly race coming up. I'm excited and anxious for it just like I was for the sprint.

I'm not hoping for any magical PRs or huge wins.

I'm just going for seconds at the Eat Pain Buffet.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Eat Pain: A Race Report


I don't know where to begin with this race report. Even though this was a sprint race, I can't guarantee that it won't be long. A lot happened leading up to this race.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon is known as the highest triathlon in the world at about 9000ft. I'm not really affected by altitude, or at least, I don't let it enter my mind. I go into this race every year as a race that I want to perform well at. 

You all know that I have been incredibly frustrated with my inability to race well. Over the past two weeks, I've had a few conversations with my Coach about this.

She told something....some things...that no one had ever said to me before. When she said it, it was like years of frustration finally explained themselves. 

I knew what I had to do. She and I talked. I said that now that I know what I know....I wanted another shot at an Oly. She said, "Do it. THIS year." I signed up for a race later in August.

This weekend, I had a sprint on the schedule. Deep inside, I've always known that I'm a better athlete than my race times. I sent her yet another email, wondering if I could pull this off. Not because I physically couldn't do it....

but because I was afraid of taking the easy way out...."doing" a triathlon instead of "racing" it.

I read her response this morning. Among other little snippets of advice, she ended the email with:

Go back for more

When I read, I immediately laughed and thought, "wow....that's exactly it. That's EXACTLY what racing a sprint is!"

I was ready to do this. I didn't worry about pace so much. Yes, I had a strategy to follow, but my goal EAT PAIN.


This race has a very short swim. So, yeah...take one of the things that I'm good at and shorten it.  I knew that I could swim a 1:20 pace, but I had yet to show it. I kept screwing up my swim. I would swim too frantically. My last two open water swims, I worked to slow my to speak....slow down to speed up. PULL HARD....NO HARDER. The speed would follow.

As we lined up, one woman pushed me out of the way and said, "I really need to be in the front. I'm one of the best swimmers."

Ok. Fine by me. You do you.

When we took off, I felt incredibly calm, like I completely owned this swim. I lost the "fast woman" almost immediately. (Everyone looks alike out there).

I head out on the swim with the first couple of minutes being easy, finding my bearings. NOT peaceful easy let's hang out....sprint easy. I noticed that everyone was shooting off to the right. I looked up. I'm right in line with the buoy. I decided that as soon as I hit the buoy, I'm going to pick up the pace. 

I made the turn and really started pulling hard. I had already passed the previous wave, and now I was in the slowest men. I held my ground and swam straight toward the finish. If the first part was easy, the second part was definitely hard.

All I could think was, "This really hurts. THANK GOD IT'S A SHORT SWIM."

I exit the water and forget to look at my watch, so I have NO IDEA how fast I swam. I look up for Mr. Tea. He's nowhere to be found.

"Oh duh," I think, "He'll meet me at the bike. He knows I'll run through T1 faster than he can get there. That's where he is."

I get to T1. Mr. Tea is, again, nowhere to be found. 

I look around. A lot of bikes are gone. That doesn't help me. I was the last swim wave. ALL the bikes should be gone. 

I ain't got time for this. I hop on the bike.


I ride for a few minutes. My HR is through the roof. I take a few drinks of water and settle into a rhythm. I'm blowing past people. 

The course is 6 miles downhill, 6 miles uphill. 

As I pass people, I'm checking out everyone's ages. I can't find anyone in my AG. I should find SOMEONE in my AG. I'm a pretty good swimmer, but I'm not normally #1. I keep riding thinking that at some point, I will find the women in my AG.

That's when I see her.

Up aways on the road, a woman in a blue swim suit. She is hauling ass, passing people like they are standing still. 

Right then, I decide that I'm going to catch her. She's moving. I've never raced anyone like that before. She might be better than me. But, I'm gaining on her. It takes me 2 miles to over take her, and I know I shocked the hell out her.

Then, she passes me. She has a 53 on her calf. She's not in my AG.

Then, I pass her. That's when I said, "Dammit! As soon as I lose focus, you're right there."

She passes me. That's when I notice there are NO woman in front of us. There are NO women going the other way.

I catch her and say, "We're in first. We've got this. PUSH IT."

Then, there is another woman. She also has a 53 on her calf. I make my move to go as hard as I can to 1.) Drop 53 and 2.) Pass the NEW 53.

That worked for a short time. My 53 catches me. I say to her, "I knew you could do it. You are now officially in 1st place."

She says, "We'll see. The run isn't my best thing."

I say, "Let's make this happen."

We take off. It's uphill into a headwind. She takes the lead on me. I'm right behind her. We make the sharp left and head to transition.

Just then, I see Mr. Tea. He has a look of shock. I think I'm racing pretty well. He gives me a huge smile and two thumbs up. 


I lose 53 on the run, but I know she's just ahead me. I also know she's in first place. I haven't seen any other women in either of our AGs. Me? I have no idea where I am, but I don't care. If the thought pops into my head, I immediately follow it with, "Don't worry about them. Think about you."

I'm running hard. I'm supposed to increase the pace every half mile, but holy beejeezus a half mile feels so long when I'm running hard. 

As I close in on the turnaround, I see 53 heading right at me. I give her a big smile and thumbs up. 

How did I feel? Not so good. There were times I felt like I was going to pass out. I was constantly reminding myself to NOT SLOW DOWN. 

When I get to the last .75 miles, I'm running. It feels like my legs no longer belong to me. I can see the finish line.

I can feel someone right behind me. I think, "NO. You are not going to pass me." What if she is in my AG? What if I am just seconds from missing third place?  Am I going to give up right at the end? NO. I'm going to RUN.

AND I RAN. I see Mr. Tea. I feel like my heart is in my throat. I just keep getting faster. I cross the line in an all out sprint.

Where I almost collapsed if it weren't for the old man who was there to take my chip. 

I have not idea what my time is. I have no idea how fast I swam, biked OR ran. I didn't have my garmin set up that way....not intentionally, I just didn't change the screens when I took off.

Mr. Tea comes running up to me, "YOU WERE SO FAST! I never saw you come out from the swim. I kept waiting and waiting. Then, I went to transition and realized you were already on the bike."

Just then, 53 and I saw each other. She came running up to me and gave me a huge hug. She said, "YOU ARE THE BEST CHEERLEADER EVER. I think I came in 1st OA today because of YOU. Where do you live? We need to train together. I've never had anyone push me like that on the bike."

Sadly, she lives in Silverthorne. I live 2 hours away. I owe her so much for keeping me focused on the bike.

She DID end up coming in 1st OA.

We said our goodbyes, and I told Mr. Tea that I need my shake and some water. He said that he wanted to check out the results.

I didn't go with him. I didn't even care what the results were: I RACED A SPRINT.  The numbers, the finish time could not take that away from me.

I saw him running at me with a huge smile, "FIRST PLACE! YOU GOT FIRST PLACE!"

I may have shook my head. "What? What was my time?"

Mr. Tea: 1:16.

What? 1:16? I'm thinking back to my races....

That means I PR'd across the board. I never saw anyone on the bike. That means I was first on the swim and the bike.....

We waited for the awards ceremony. I kept thinking, "It's wrong. They're going to come back with a correction. I didn't win."

They announce 3rd place: 1:42
They announce 2nd place: 1:32

I came in at 1:16.

They announce, "And Tea's smokin fast time of 1:16 gives her 1st place for women 45-49."

I think Mr. Tea had to push me up to the podium.

My swim pace: 1:20 or 8:00 for 550m
My bike pace: 22mph or just under 33:00
My run: 10 pace or 30:48


I never EVER considered the possibility that I COULD EVER be first overall. But 1st and 2nd OA women were 53 years old. 

Maybe I could....

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's the last time. It's the first time.

I grew up with typewriters. I still couldn't figure out what that picture was.

We are exactly one month out from JMan leaving for college.

JMan is our youngest.

This week, I've found myself thinking about all the last times. I went shopping yesterday and realized that would be the last time that I buy his load of food....boxes of frozen pizzas, snack foods....hey, don't judge, 18 year olds eat A LOT. There's no way I'm going to cook for him because I'd be cooking

So, I bought snack foods.

Then I went to the doctor to pick up his immunization form for the last time.

I know that this month is going to be filled with lasts.

It's overwhelming.

There will also be firsts.

I started thinking of all the different firsts.

Some of them, I can't even imagine what they are going to be like.

The day he moves out (8/21), that night will be the first night me and Mr. Tea will be alone. Because even when your teen hides out in their room, sleeping for 12-14 hours, they are still there. They still have a significant presence.

On 8/21, that presence will be gone. When Googs left for college a couple of years ago, it was a HUGE empty VOID for awhile. He was 25% of the family.

JMan is now 33%.

What about waking up the next morning? The first morning where I won't see him for breakfast.

Or the first time a new Pixar movie is on tv? No one will be there to hang out with me to watch it.

But then, there are the firsts like being able to stay out late or get up early or go do things without having to worry about "family time" or what to make for dinner or if we even eat dinner at all.

It's all the little things. No more dirty laundry laying around. The bathroom that was shared by two boys growing up will be empty.

And clean.

....for long periods of time.

When I open the fridge, there won't be cans of soda or frozen waffles or hot dogs.

It'll be my first time since 1994, that I'm not scheduling my appointments around their appointments or making sure they get up for appointments. I'm not running up to the school because someone forgot a text book on the counter.

In fact, there won't even be school supply shopping.

That last, was last year.

So, I'm trying to imagine life in the next chapter, but it's hard. It's hard to remember what life was like 21 years ago.

I'll just take it one day at a time....and watch Frozen every time it comes on tv, and join him for lunch when he has another frozen pizza...and never turn him down when he asks me to go to breakfast with him, and graciously accept the can of coke that he hands me after my long workouts.

The next chapter can wait 30 days to be started.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I have a secret

My secret?

I don't know how to race.

I didn't know that I didn't know how to race until this past weekend.

The race was fine. I didn't do it to "race". I did it for the experience of doing a larger & highly competitive race. I had one goal for the race, which I accomplished.

It wasn't the race that got me. It was a conversation that I had after the race.

Over the course of the conversation, I learned that I had no idea how to race an Olympic distance tri.

I'm not talking about doing an Oly. I'm talking about racing an Oly.

I realized that there are "aspects" of racing in my own personal strategy. For the most part, I just do Olys.

I finished my last Oly of the year.

But I realized that I wanted the opportunity to race an Oly. I was okay with waiting for next year since I am now into HIM training.

I really wanted an opportunity to have better goals. Granted, I was set to go for Loveland. Things happen. I had a shitload of personal stuff going on. I can't control that. I did the best I could with what I had that day.

Still, I think my goals for Loveland were a little off.

I talked to my coach about wanting another opportunity. I explained how I know what I need to do now.

BUT, I was perfectly ok waiting until next year. In fact, I already had my race chosen. I was going back to my very first Oly race.

Then, of course, she surprised me and said, "Why not do it this year?"

I thought for a minute, "I'm doing so much racing this year. I have 3 races scheduled so close together. Could I handle another race 3 weeks after that?"

I have my 5k run test coming up.

Although it wouldn't be an A race, this could be perfect timing.

I guess I'm adding a race to my schedule.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Nothing beats a 5K

Sex, of course, notwithstanding,

And maybe froyo.

Then again, sex, 5k,, that might be an ideal day.

My coach asked me to do a 5k as a run test. We haven't done one in a bit and need to get some updated numbers.

Given my racing/training/traveling schedule, I have very few days that I'm available. Boulder has those dip n dash things, but who wants to drive 50 min one way to run under 30 minutes? NOT.ME.

I found this!

SOME of you already know my ummmm affinity toward pancakes. (Although, they don't make the sex, froyo, 5k list. I still loves my pancakes).

See you there?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Quick Recap: The Peak

I did the Peak today.
1500m swim/42K bike/10K

This is the race that I wobbled back and forth about doing. Then, Mr. Tea said, "It's an Ironman Race. Just do it for the experience."

That's what I did.

I don't have much to report other than it was a lot of fun.

I swam. I got an unexpected bike PR. I ran.

The best part was that THIS GAL went to cheer me on, and I didn't even see her on the bike! Apparently she was screaming her head off too. Makes me sad that I missed her.

But, I did she her on the run. She yelled out a couple of really funny things. That's always good to hear when you're running up a hill. Ok. Maybe they weren't even meant to be funny, but WTH....anytime you can laugh while running a 10K is a good thing.

I also saw this guy all decked out in D3 gear riding to the race to cheer. I was on the bike racing and thought he looked right at me, but apparently not. (Hey, I get it. All us white chicks looks alike). Then saw him again on the run.

I yelled at this guy when I passed him on the bike. I'm sure he was wondering who the hell knew his name. In all honesty, this guys deserves a superhero award. KUDOS to Dave for doing the Athletes in Tandem. That's a pretty incredible accomplishment on many levels. I also saw him on the run. Let me tell you, running and pushing the heat....not.easy. Respect, Dave. RESPECT.

But the SURPRISE of the day goes to Mr. Tea who decided to go cheer me on. Yeah. The guy got up at 3am to make the drive with me to Boulder.

All in all it was a really fun day, and I'm glad I did it.

HOWEVER, that's a one and done. Been there, done it, got the t-shirt, but I respectfully turned down the finishers medal---that's SO me, isn't it? Now, everyone can STFU about me doing it.

I couldn't be happier that it was my last oly race of the year. Bring on the Sprints!

**Why Louie Armstrong? Because I felt really lucky to have such great people in my life that they got up early on a Sunday just to cheer me on. :)

Friday, July 11, 2014

The social experiment

I've about had it with social media.

It shows me too much about the lives of people that, honestly, I just don't care about. Or, I've learned things about people, and I liked them better before I knew so much about them.

Remember back before social media?

We had friends (real friends), acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors, etc. Each of those different groups we knew at certain levels.

How do I get back to that? How do I make acquaintances actually be acquaintances? How do I keep up on the people that I really do like (friends).

Now, you might say, "oh silly, just use 'lists'." Yes, that's part of it, but it doesn't cover everything I want.

So, I started plotting an experiment to see if I could use social media in a way that would bring me back to the way things used to be.

This week, when time permits, I've been going through a FB upheaval. Editing my "lists", adding more people to my restricted lists, turning off notifications and even blocking people.

Here's the deal. This is in no way a reflection upon the people themselves. Not at all. It's about ME and what I want to see and what I don't want to see.

(I can't delete my accounts because they are tied to my work accounts. I could create fake accounts and attach them to work but that's against the terms and conditions of FB and would put my business accounts at risk. So. No. I'm not deleting my accounts besides there are people that I genuinely like. My goal is to minimize my exposure to the ones that I'm not really friends with.)

I'm not even done yet, and I feel so much better.

I'm kind of waiting for someone to email me and say, "Hey, did you block me?" Because explaining it will be rather amusing, "No. It's not you. It's me." I doubt that will happen. Social media is a playground for the passive aggressive personality types out there.

It really is about me and my need to reclaim my "circle of trust" so to speak.

There are just some people that I'd like to keep at an arm's length.

The Body Issue

I can't begin to say how much I love this picture. How many times people have said to me, "You're a beast". It makes me cringe every time. I've written about it here at least a gazillion times.

I'm not a beast.

I'm just me. I do what I do because I want to do it.

The timing was perfect because ESPN's body issue is coming out. If you want to get a glimpse and don't get the magazine, go here.

I love the body issue.

This year ESPN is being celebrated because Prince Fielder is grazing the cover.

Hey ESPN, let me know when you have a female shot putters grazing the cover of the body issue.
Olympian women who have reached the highest level in their chosen sport; and defy the stereotype of how athletic women are supposed to look. Sigh, maybe one day.

Meanwhile, Serena Williams made the issue. I watched her video on the ESPN website. She said one thing that really struck me, "I'm never going to be ripped. Power on the court is all that matters."

For someone her age, she has a fantastic outlook. I wish more women would adapt her view. (Speaking from my own experience, I've noticed that women in their 30's lack confidence and put more emphasis on how they look rather than how they perform at a certain weight. They are the group that are the hardest on themselves. Instead of enjoying what their 30's offer them.)  The body you have in your 30's, you will never have again. So, why don't you enjoy it? Enjoy being able to do the things you can do at that age.

Unfortunately, most women I know do have issues. Triathletes want to be lean, no leaner, no leaner than that. And women who are already at a "perfect weight" and look's not good enough, they go to a race, they see other women, they analyze their race pictures.

At 46, I love what I can do. (I turn 47 in a few months). I love what I am capable of. I have goals. I love wearing a 2 piece swimsuit and not care what anyone else thinks about it. There is a freedom that comes from being in the +45 group.

But what really bothers me is that women in general restrict calories and cut more and more and more...and they're afraid of eating too much before a big race because of weight gain. (NEWSFLASH: Carbohydrates fuel your body. Carbohydrates help you retain the water necessary to race--especially in the heat. If you are not comfortable with carboloading and/or sodium loading before a race, then you probably want to re-visit the idea of going long).

I see this all the time. I hear it at masters swim. I read it on social media. I hear it at races.

Here's the deal, you'll never be comfortable with your outside until you're comfortable with your inside. Accepting yourself means accepting all of your good and bad personality traits. Once you accept who you are, your good and bad....the outside doesn't matter anymore.

And no one can take that away from you. 

If you're weight obsessed here's a challenge for you. Have someone hide your scale for a month. If you aren't already, start taking steps to eat organic, non-processed, non-gmo foods. (Take it slow). Then, when you walk into a room, stand up straight and smile. Watch how people treat you when you do it.

At the end of the month, see if you even want your scale back.

Boo on You

I have some negative athletes in my life right now. The problem with negative people is that even if they are just 1 or 2 people, they make if feel like 20 or 30 people.

They constantly complain about how hard training (for a 70.3 or IM) is. They keep warning me that this is no joke. 

They tell me how hard it will be for me. They tell me how much the race sucks. They tell me how sore I'm going to be.

They are trying to ruin my experience under the guise of being helpful.

At first, I was trying to block them out. That really doesn't work for me.

On my run today, I started thinking.

Training for a HIM. Let's start here. This will be the worst possible thing that I've ever been through. It will be the worst conditions I've ever raced in. The course will be hands down the worst course. The race organization will be horrible. Let's talk training. The training will be the hardest thing I've ever done. I'll be sore everything single day of my life. I'll be a nonstop eating machine. I'll be tired. I won't be able to run one more step.

Ok. I got it.

So, this race will be worse than:

1.) My first HIM when on the run course, a thunderstorm with hail moved in, and the tornado sirens went off. I had to take cover in a porta potty along with volunteers until the worst of it passed. Then, I continued running getting pelted with hail.

2.) It'll be worse than an olympic race that I did in 107 degree heat last year.

3.) It'll be worse than last year when I did Tour of the Moon on Saturday and Desert Edge on Sunday. Sat I was on my bike climbing mountains in 20 degrees. Sunday, I got out of the water and onto my bike when it was 30 degrees, and rode and ran one of the hilliest tri's on record.

4.) It'll be worse than (again last year) when I race Rocky Mountain Oly, and I had a 20 mile bike into a headwind in the mountains in yet another hail storm. My glasses, my bike, and I were completely covered with dirt and grime from the highway.

5.) It'll be worse than in 2013 when I ran a 10K in a blizzard with 50mph winds and snow accumulating faster than I could take steps and only 20 of us showed up to race that day. (I had to drive closed streets in order to get home).

6.) Training will be worse than when Mr. Tea had to pick me up when I was training for my last marathon, and I was in pain from piriformis pinching my sciatic nerve. He found me laying on the side of the road because I couldn't even move from pain.

Here's the difference between me and all these negative people. I did these races. I never complained. I never cursed. Although, I did raise my fist to the sky and yell, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" on more than one occasion.

But I don't think about how hard all that stuff is....because those are just diversions from the task at hand.

And you know what? I did them all. I never felt a smug satisfaction because I raced in a such bad conditions. I felt satisfied because I completed something that I had worked for.

This year isn't going to be any different.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

There will be bumps

Do you have people in your life who tell you what you need to hear, no matter how hard it is to hear? Those are the keepers in your life. Those are the people that believe in you the most and are willing to take the risk of being honest with you, knowing that it might hurt or make you angry.

I have enough yes-men in my life. I have enough people who tell me what they think I want to hear. When someone says something that I'm not expecting, I know I found a good one.

I have these people. I'm so thankful for them. I don't have many, but we don't need many. In fact, we really just need one.

Last week was a really hard week on me. It started the Friday before my race. The week was so bad that I knew I was going to need a week to withdraw and not talk to people because I would have said something I regretted.

I also knew that it would be a bad week for making big decisions.

At the end of the week, I got an email from my Coach asking, "I read your blog. I don't know if you wanted me to, but I did. What are you going to do about the 70.3". (That's obviously just a summary of her email.)

First of all, it was incredibly refreshing to have someone call me out about a post; instead of sulking away or pretending they didn't read it.

I responded with a list of reasons why I had concerns about doing it.


Why is that answer bullshit? Because that's the answer that I have been given by all the YES-MEN in my life. It's the generic answer meant to boost someone up. It's the answer given when someone doesn't want to have the honest conversations. Besides that, giving that answer would mean that she didn't read my answers. And trust me, I don't have confidence issues. I don't need anyone to 'boost' my self-esteem. I know exactly who I am as an athlete. I know exactly what I'm capable of doing.

Yet, that's the answer I expected. If I got that response, I would have simply said, "You know what? Let's skip the 70.3. Maybe try again next year."

But, it's not the response that I got. Instead, I got a message saying, "You have some really good reasons for not doing the race. The only piece I can address is the training piece. The decision is yours."

She gave me the choice. Once again, she is allowing me to control my own experience.

Having this control over my own training/racing, really changed my outlook.

I thought about it for a couple of days. I had to talk to Mr. Tea. This is one of the biggest issues for me.

While we were raising the boys, I kept saying, "Once JMan leaves for college, I can do long course again."

But then reality set it.

You see. Mr. Tea and I got married young. In fact, he's 5 years younger than me, so he was REALLY young. A month after we got married, we found out we were pregnant.

We've never had the newlywed stage. We've never had that time where we could just be "us". With JMan leaving, I realized that we waited 21 years for this, and I was going to fill the time with training. It just didn't seem right.

I laid out all of this for Mr. Tea.

And he said, "I want you to do it."

And I said, "But I'll be gone for over 5 hours on a Sunday. That's time we can be doing stuff. After training, I'll be too tired to do anything."

And he said, "Don't worry about me. I have things to do to fill my time."

It's funny isn't it?

Someone tells me, "YOU CAN DO IT. You're stronger than you think you are.", and I'm less likely TO do it.

Someone says, "You make good points. Here are some things to think about. It's your choice", and it makes me want to do it.

Thank goodness for those people who tell me what I really need to hear.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Solo Trek

I was looking forward to my solo trek all week. As you may or may not know, I love hiking. JMan and I would often hit up the 14'ers and 13'ers every summer. As he started getting older, I'd go on my own as he had his own interests.

Given that it is a recovery week, and I really need to take it easy, I wasn't going to attempt an 8-12 hour hike up and down a 14'er. Those hikes are really strenuous.

I thought I'd head down to Castlewood Canyon. It's a short 20 minute drive from my house. During the week, there's no one really there.

This is about as rogue-y as I get this week folks.

I ran into a couple of people but very few.

I love being outside and having time like this. I don't understand people that load up their ipod and listen to music while hiking. To each his own, I guess. There is something to be said for just listening. 

The hike starts at the top of the canyon and winds its way down to the river.
This selfie is for Pamela.

When I got to the bottom of the canyon, it's time for "bouldering".  Do you see the path? No? It's wherever you want it to be. I know it doesn't look like it, but there is a river under all those rocks. It creates a bunch of small dams throughout the canyon. 

Again, a river that you can't see unless you are on the rocks, but you can hear it. Speaking of which, there are few things as cool as the wind blowing through a canyon. You can hear it coming like a tidal wave. It hits you and continues on its way. The sound through the trees has always been one of my favorites. 

Not to be all warm fuzzy. It really is pretty amazing if you haven't experienced it. As I was making my way around, I was laughing at how well I do recovery. In fact, a few weeks back, I mentioned to Coach that "NO ONE" does recovery like me. She responded with, "That is a new low TSS. WELL DONE." 

I take great pride in my ability to go easy.

That made me think of a few people. 

I love doing bike tours and hiking and just enjoying those activities for what they are, without thinking about how fast or far I'm going. A few years back, I did a bike tour with a friend. It was a constant competition. She constantly wanted to beat me to the top of the next hill or down the hills or on the flat. I didn't get wrapped up in what she was doing, but it sure was a buzz kill. I got to the point where I said, "I'm stopping for 15 minutes at the next aid station....feel free to continue on."
(Nature's staircase)
I do wonder what was the tipping point to knock all those rocks down the canyon walls? Think about it. Was it a little bird? After millions of years of snow and rain and wind, a bird lands on the rock....and that's it, down the canyon it goes.

(The original rock climbing wall. You can't tell from the picture, but this is about 40 feet tall)

Besides the bike tour, I've hiked with other people before. It always seems to be an extension of training for people. Instead of hiking, they need to get to the top of the mountain as fast as possible. This isn't a competition, people. There is time for training. There is time for enjoying life outside of training. 

What's the hurry? 

(This is at the very end where you hook back into a walking path. See? There really is a river there....and the bridge is more suspension like and bounces up and down with every step.)

I don't know. I guess I've had my time of rushing around like crazy, trying to get ready for work, getting the boys to practices, squeezing in my own training, being an active member of the rat race. And, I'm just done with it. I want to hang out with friends and have long conversations that go nowhere. I want to climb mountains or ride my bike or take a walk to nowhere in particular.

When I have time off, this is the type of thing that I'm doing. I'm sitting on a rock staring at the water rush by, and I'm not in any rush to get to the top.


I get back to the car. I felt so good and relaxed. I turn on Sirius. This song comes on.

I'm singing along at the top of my lungs with the windows down and the sunroof open.
For the first time EVER, I listened to the words.
Wow. Kind of different when you listen to a song with adult ears.

Recovery Week

What my family thinks recovery week is:

What I think recovery week is:

What recovery week actually is:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Athlete:Coach Relationships

Another excellent resource for coaches & athletes. This podcast is one that everyone should listen to. It's 25 minutes long but well worth the time. In fact, it might be the best podcast that I have listened to in over a year.

For information on his lifestyle or coaching books, go here. (They are also available on amazon & kindle).

I have to give credit where credit is due. Most of the articles, videos & podcasts that I post come from my Coach. If you want to get the latest research, follow her on Twitter here. She sends these articles to us in our weekly athlete email, and she posts them to Twitter for ALL THE WORLD to read.

Over the years, I have used various forms of coaching: some with minimal coach contact and some with a lot of contact; some with completely personalized training and some that were more of  asking questions on forums. Outside of my own personal experience, I also know coaches from 5 masters swim coaches that I work with to the running coaches to personal trainers and the list goes on and on.

The differences in styles has always been fascinating to me.

I suspect most people are not going to listen to the podcast. I am going to pick out the things that really stood out to me. As an athlete, I want to know where my strengths and shortcomings are, so I can work through and with them.

Training "should be athlete directed, athlete centered".
Athletes must have a choice and feel ownership in the process & need to control the process.

This concept really goes against the old school thinking. In fact, Dr. Sugarman states that when a coach says, "Because I am the expert, you will do this...." it is provoking rather than evoking an athlete. Coaches need to understand that they are not experts in the lives of their athletes. They are merely visitors in the lives of their athletes.

I think we can all agree, from the perspective of an athlete, that the coach/athlete relationship is one of mutual respect. This is not a hierarchical relationship based on compliance.

"Athletes must have choice & feel ownership in the process". Don't set goals for athletes. The athletes must choose their own path.

This point hit me hard because I have heard many athletes say, "Coach set this goal for me" or "Coach wants me to do this". What about what YOU want to do? After all, that's why we are here. If YOU don't own the goal, you won't work for it. I don't function well having goals forced upon me. I will not have someone else set a goal for me. This was a big issue for me for awhile. I had people in my life who always stressed "placing". I couldn't shake it. I allowed it to disrupt my races. I couldn't focus on the task at hand because I was focused on "what happens if I don't place".  Placing has never been & is not currently my goal. Placing means nothing to me if it doesn't come with some feeling of satisfaction about how a race went. Did I execute correctly? THAT is what is important to me.

However, I do want advice. That's why I pay a coach. When I ask Coach a question about goals or "what's next", I work best when the coach then gives me options. They look at me. They look at my competitors and they say, "Here are the 2 or 3 things I think would work best for you based on what I see from you and from other athletes who have been in your situation. What do you want to do?"

Then, the choice is mine with input from a source that I trust. I am in control of my training. According to Dr. Sugarland, that is precisely what defines a good coach.

"Good Coaches ask, they don't tell."
"Good Coaches evoke, they don't provoke."

The #1 Coaching addiction is dependency. Coaches want athletes to depend on them.
This part is a little more complex. Although "dependency" has negative connotations, it's not a negative aspect as long as the focus is on the athlete.

"When you develop an athlete, they draw upon themselves, their skills. They speak with their own voice, not your coaching."

It seems like a double edge sword, doesn't it?

When an athlete gets to (what Dr. Sugarland calls) the Prepotent moment, the moment comes down to the athlete and their own skills.They aren't thinking about what their coach will say. It is the athlete "being the best athlete." At that point, coaching doesn't matter.

YET, it is the coaching that empowered the athlete to find the confidence to do exactly that.

This is the part that I struggle with the most. Most of the time, I find "my zone". I do my best as an athlete without thinking about what my coach will say. But, I'm not 100% yet. There are times that I still struggle. It shows that this is a long term process that needs to take place.

You can call it "the zone". You can call it "being in the moment". Choose whatever phrase makes you happy, but ultimately, it is that moment in your thinking and being when you will be your best.


This entire podcast perfectly summed up what I want from a coach, "Empower me with the tools I need. Then get the hell out of my way."