Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Stuff I love

It's been years since I posted a few of my favorite things! What makes this whole swim, bike & run thing a little more comfortable or fun? (Besides the activities themselves, of course).

Swim:

1.) When I swim open water or with masters, there's a lot going on to keep me focused on my workout. Coach also prefers that I swim on my own, more times than I swim with masters. These are usually pretty long sets at a less intense pace. These workouts can exceed an hour, so how do I keep from going crazy, following the black line, back and forth? I love my waterproof ipod with short headphones (clip them onto your goggles). I don't know if this link is the exact one that I bought. If you buy one, make sure that you get the one that allows you to press the buttons while in the water. Some of the waterproofing companies say pressing buttons will void the warranty. I've been using mine for 10 months now with no issues. OH....and make sure you get the "flipturn" headphones. If you're a runner, having a waterproof ipod and headphones goes a long way when you get caught in the rain.....or even if you sweat profusely....like....ummm....some of us.

2.) SUNSCREEN: I am fortunate that I can swim outside all year long. In Colorado, we have the highest rates of skin cancer in the US. In 2004, I had skin cancer, and my Aunt died from melanoma two years ago. It was a horrible, horrible thing to go through. I've tried every sunscreen out there. They are all pretty much equal, except this one. I love Neutrogena's sunscreen because you can put it directly on wetskin. It's waterproof, so I can use is for Swimming, sweating or even just being in very humid places. 


3.) Just for fun! As a masters swimmer, we get to sign up for the FLOG or Fitness Log. Now, I already log my workouts in Training Peaks, so why would I log it again in the FLOG? BECAUSE I GET FREE STUFF WHEN I HIT MILESTONES! Who doesn't love free stuff? You get swim caps for hitting 50 miles, a string back pack for other miles, swim suits, etc. 

4.) For those of you open water swimmers, I've tried MANY wetsuits over the years. I have to say the BlueSeventy is my absolute favorite. Everyone will have a different preference, but I love the buoyancy of the Blue Seventy over the Xterra. I also love having bigger arms holes and a tighter fitting torso. (Tighter fit = less drag). 
5.) With all that time spent in the pool and bouncing between chlorinated pools and acid pools, and being in my late 40's, my hair gets JACKED UP. That was until I found Sebastian's Penetrait. This stuff has been a savior for my hair. This is supposed to be a weekly formula, but I use it every time I swim, and it keeps my hair from getting the pool frizz.

One warning: Don't google Penetrate....just don't. Trust me.

Bike

1.) Women and men both need a way to carry extra food, keys, cell phone etc. Finding one that's easy to open while riding and big enough without being bulky has been a challenge for me. I LOVE my Xlabs Rocket Pocket. (And lady friends, it's long enough to carry full sized tampons). 

2.) I hadn't bought a bike helmet since I started riding. That's a long long time. When I needed to buy a new racing helmet this year, I was stuck. Do I go with the brand new Rudy Helmet? That bad boy costs around $500-$600. My previous helmet was a Rudy, and I liked it. I started doing some research on helmets. I noticed that some of the pro women at Kona last year were wearing ROAD racing helmets instead of triathlon helmets. Why? Well hell. The triathlon helmets are very hot. When racing in hot weather, it can be uncomfortable, especially since many women opt for long hair---for very good reason. Have you ever notice that women triathletes have long hair? Ever wonder why?It's not a fashion statement. It's purely functional.  It's because we train so much. It's much easier to put wet hair into a messy bun than having to deal with styling short hair. BUT, I digress. While a road helmet, can give a rider air flow and the option of spraying themselves with water. I decided to go with the Specialized for even more reasons: It has a ponytail cut out! This one is their top of the line helmet, and it's still less than half the price of the RUDY. It's so lightweight and comfortable that it doesn't even feel like I'm wearing a helmet. The airflow is amazing and means no more over heating. I bought the white one to deflect the heat even more. (Picture shown is blue...no duh).

3.) Fuel. This crosses all sports. Infinit Nutrition has a number of products that I absolutely love. I need to give you warning. I've gone back and forth between using Infinit and NOT using the product. The reason for it is that their CUSTOMER SERVICE SUCKS. Over the years, I've contacted them 5 times via email and twice via social media. THEY NEVER RESPONDED. NOT ONCE. I would much rather give my business to a company that actually cares about me. Still, they are the only company (that I am aware of) that allows you to completely customize your sport drink. THAT's why I use their products. I need a lot of sodium and a lot of calories. When I order my own custom blend, I have them put very little flavoring in it. This allows me to create a concentrated blend without having an over powering taste. (I'm very taste sensitive). Another reason I love the products is because the product doesn't sour or change flavor when it gets hot. I can go out for a 5 hour ride, the drink will get warm, but it will taste just as good as when it is ice cold. Another product of theirs that I love is the Infinit Mud. It's a mocha flavored protein/carbohydrate drink. I have it every single morning at breakfast. I love it! Mix it with (in my case) coconut milk and ice, and it tastes exactly like an iced coffee drink. 

4.) Hands down the best salt tablet out there with 333mg of sodium per tablet. That's +100mg more than SaltStick. I rest my case. 
5.) More and more women owned companies are getting involved with triathlon. Women have different needs. We have different bodies and need clothes that are cut bigger in the hips and thighs while also giving us support on top. Coeur sports has all of that. I'm bigger on top and have struggled with finding a top supportive enough to hold the girls in place without restricting my ability to breath. Coeur has been the first company to offer a built in shelf bra that is strong enough for those of us who are C cups and larger. No more wearing a running bra that only leads to horrible chafing (after the swim. I mean really. Running bras are made for running NOT running after a swim!) I also need bottoms that are cut larger in the legs. The shorts offer seam free chamois, yoga styled waist band (no muffin top), and best of all....3 rear pockets on the shorts! THANK YOU COEUR!

6.) For fun! Strava started as a tool for cyclists, but it branched out into running. Now, we can upload bikes, runs, swims, and ANY other workout. The amazing thing about Strava is that State Governments are starting to buy their "hot spot" software. The governments buy the software to find where people are being the most active in an effort to make certain areas MORE Safe OR they use it a way to determine were to put in new pedestrian friendly paths. Now, that's the bigger picture. I use strava because it's SO FREAKING FUN. If you have a Garmin, timex or other device, your workouts will/can automatically upload to Strava. Every time you run/ride a segment faster, you get a virtual cup. When you run/ride a segment faster than anyone else, you get a QOM or KOM (Queen or King of the mountain). You can join challenges every month and set goals for yourself. I love it. It's fun. Also, it gives me a way to connect with people directly about their workouts WITHOUT posting it on FB. I am pretty sure everyone was pretty tired of me posting workouts on social media. NOW the only people that see my workouts are my Strava friends who are also currently training. It's a WIN-WIN.  Did I mention that STRAVA is FREE??

The Run

1.) By the time you get to the run, any little thing that can make you more comfortable, the better. To prevent chafing, I use Trislide, It's an anti-chafing product that goes on via spray, so your hands stay clean. The other benefit is that Tri-slide (when you spray your feet), makes getting on shoes a BREEZE. Shoes just slip right on! Wetsuit just slides right off! With other products, I've noticed that when I'm walking down to the shore, the sand will stick to my feet. I don't really want to hop on the bike with gravel stuck to my feet. Likewise, running with gravel stuck to you isn't a whole lot of fun. NOTHING sticks to trislide. NOTHING. 


2.) Fuel, once again. On the run, I take gels and salt tablets. Since I need 300 calories per hour plus sodium, it's a lot to carry for a half marathon and longer. I also struggle with taste sensitivity. I cannot take in sweet tasting gels. That limits the flavors that I can have. Introducing E-Gel. I can't rave about this product enough. First of all, each e-gel is 150 calories versus most other brands which are 100 calories. (The packs are larger, but I carry fewer, so who cares?). They have more than DOUBLE the electrolytes and have significantly more carbohydrates per pack. BEST OF ALL, they cost almost $1 per gel LESS. When I first bought the variety pack, I was extremely concerned about the taste. I thought they would be thrown away because they were too sweet. To my surprise, the flavors are more tart. They aren't sweet at all. I have had all the flavors now and love all of them! They also have a sports drink. I haven't tried it yet, but I will probably give it a try next year for my shorter distance races and masters swims. If you decide to try these gels, please use my member referral number: Member ID: 471293.  I can earn points which translate into discounts on my next purchase. I think you get a discount too. 

3.) For those of you who trail run or run in snow and ice, you cannot live without IceSpikes. Be safe. Keep your traction. In the winter, I run a series of 5ks often times on sheets of ice. IceSpikes is the BEST product out there to prevent dangerous slips and falls. These are spikes that screw into your shoes and can be removed without harm to your shoes. I just keep them in my trail shoes. There are no straps or coils that can move around while running. IceSpikes are the most stable option and MUCH better than using sheet metal screws because the IceSpikes actually grip the ground. 



WOW! I think that's it for now. Until next time, I'll also leave you with some of my favorite online stores.

Bike Nashbar Probably the best deals on the internet for tires, tubes, cartridges, even sunglasses. Check out their Nashbar brand products. Why spend $200 on sunglasses when you can spend $50 on a store brand?

First Endurance The multivitamin and the OptygenHP are probably the best products on the market. You only take OptygenHP for around 12 weeks leading up to your A race. (Make sure to order the Protype Multi-vitamins. The old version has both calcium and iron. Iron shouldn't be taken at the same time as calcium. The newer version removed the calcium and increased the iron because most endurance athletes have some varying leveling of iron deficiency.)

SwimOutlet Still the best deals for everything swim.

Road Runner Sports Been shopping here for years and haven't found a better source for running gear. It's still the cheapest running gear on the market. Shop the RRS brand. 


Have fun out there!

Monday, September 29, 2014

I can't explain it

Consistency means nothing if you aren't doing the right training. You can train for 10-15-20 hours a weeks and not see improvements. You can train for 10-15-20 hours a week and slow down. 

Coaches will tell you that consistency is the most important aspect of improving. That's because they want your business. I think Coaching is THE most important thing you can do for yourself when you start triathlon, but you need to find the right Coach. Every single person is different. I wrote a lengthy post awhile ago about how to find the right Coach. As soon as I have time, I'll add the link to this post.

Consistency is not the most important aspect. Take it from me. I've been there. It's really frustrating.

Consistency with the right training is the most important aspect.

I started doing triathlon 8 or 9 years ago. I've done just about every type of training available from free plans, to paid plans to forums to semi-coaching plans to 1-1 coaching. I'm now on my 2nd Coach, so I understand how important it is to find the right fit.

If improvement was only about consistency, I'd be running 7:00 miles by now.


Something happened over the weekend.....this is where I am going to struggle to describe what happened. Some of you will see yourself in this post. Some of you won't have any idea what I'm talking about.

For years, I did the training. On the long days, I always felt the same. I was tired and just getting through the workouts was enough for me. I always waited for taper. I mean....that's what taper is for, right? Shed your exhaustion and have your best race.

It never happened that way for me. In races, I felt exactly the same as I did in training. I'd start the day feeling tired and thinking "ok. let's just get through this....but THIS time there will be MAGIC that happens that will give me my best race."

For triathletes, being tired is like a badge of honor. "Yeah, I'm so tired....I trained for 22 hours this week."

I didn't know that was the wrong way to view training. You/we should never be so tired that we cannot give the effort needed on hard days.

Over the weekend, I swam over 3 miles. I biked over 6:15. At the end of that, I ran 45 minutes. Twenty of those minutes were supposed to be at HIM pace.

The loud voice in my head went off, "NO F*CKING WAY. I'm not going to be able to run at HIM pace."

But somewhere inside me there was another voice that said, "Liz has been right every step of the way. Take the warm up slow. She is ALWAYS right. And right now, she knows something you don't."

That first 15 minutes was a suckfest.....but I wasn't "tired". My legs were uncomfortable after doing the HIM bike pacing for 3:30. But the more I ran, the better I felt. My pace started as 12:30. Then it quickly started dropping as I started to shake off the ride.

By the time I got to my HIM pacing part of the run, I was exactly where I wanted to be. That's not entirely true. I thought I was going to run an 11:30. Then, I realized that my pace kept dropping and dropping, but I wasn't struggling anymore. Ideally, I want my HIM pace to be 10:45. That's exactly what I ran.

But it wasn't the fact that I nailed the pacing, it was how I felt. It wasn't a struggle in the way it used to be. Yes, my legs were feeling it, but they should after over 6 hours of riding.

The only way I can describe it is to say that I felt strong.

(Of course, fueling is a big part of this too, but I've already beat THAT dead horse).

Feeling strong. Feeling like for the first time since I started triathlon, that I can DO this. I can accomplish what I have always believed that I could. It was so frustrating for me to believe in my heart that I was a better athlete than my times showed. Even more frustrating was feeling like I was being blamed for my lackluster performances. I knew that wasn't true, but I didn't know what was wrong.....for years and years.

All those years that I wasn't ready, it was because I never had this feeling. I couldn't mentally go through a 70.3 again feeling the way I felt with my previous ones.

For the first time ever, I realized that I could have a huge PR....not "hoping" to have a huge pr....not "waiting for the magic to happen".....I could have a huge PR because I am strong, and my training paces show that I am capable of pulling it off.

*****

If you are new to triathlon, please don't make the mistake I made. Hire a coach. It's worth the investment. I thought I couldn't afford it. Now I realize that with the amount that I spend on equipment, fuel & races, the extra money for a coach would have saved me years of frustration.

If you're a runner, my Coach Liz just coached an athlete to a 1:16 half marathon....and that was just this weekend. Contact her. (And please tell her I sent you, so she knows how much I rave about her).

If you're a triathlete, Coach Liz is not just a World Champ herself, but she coaches World Champion triathletes and many of her athletes podium, qualify for nationals/worlds. She also coaches people who are very new to the sport.

For those of you who are still sitting on the couch, she coaches people just like you too. If you're following the adventures of Mr. Tea, you'll know that when he started with her, he had trouble walking 15 minutes. Now, he's running and walking and strength training for over an hour.

View her athlete's results here. She just had a baby in August, so the results haven't been updated since then.

Follow her on twitter here. She constantly posts excellent research articles, motivational images & cute baby pictures.


Coaches are not created equal. Hire the right one.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Can we just do this thing already?


I'm starting to get impatient.

That's probably because I'm tired. I'm always eating. I'm tired of eating and being tired and doing laundry and finding time to get to the grocery store. I'm tired of getting up on weekend mornings to get my long rides/swims/runs done.

I only have 3 more weeks and really only 1 more weekend of training like this. Then, 1 easier weekend before the race.

I'm at the point where I just want to race, but I know there's a method to all this madness. There are peak weeks & taper. I've followed the plan this long, another 3 weeks is nothing.

It's not the individual workouts that are hard. Those are fine. It's the week after week of bigger volumes.

In the end it will be worth it.

I ran a split run the other day. Total mileage ended up being 10 miles with 6.5 of those miles being at HIM pace and faster, over.and.over.and.over. 5 minutes HIM, 4 minutes faster than HIM....then each interval of 4 minutes had to be faster than the previous one.

After that, I almost couldn't get myself into the car later in the day.

The next day, I could barely run 2 miles.

Friday, I did the hardest & longest swim in a little while, ending the set with 4 x 200 pull at 85%. Not really, ending the set with a 200m IM.....after the 4 x 200 pulls....oh and there were 100's somewhere in there that were all out. Its all a blur now.

Then, I swam early Saturday morning....I could barely lift my arms for each stroke, and my back screamed at me the entire time.

Under all this training and muscle fatigue, there is greatness just sort of laying around, waiting for its moment to show its head.

I know its there. Well, I have to believe its there.

Right now, my mind and body are getting ready to race behind the scenes.My head is foggy. I can't remember the names of good friends. I may have worn the same outfit 3 days in a row. I stared at the cashier at the store yesterday when he asked me how far a half iron is.....did I randomly tell a complete stranger I was doing one? I've had pasta and chocolate milk for breakfast two days in a row because nothing is faster than leftovers...that and I love chocolate milk. Work seems to be going ok, so I'm assuming someone else must be actually doing my work temporarily.

Probably worst of all...I haven't played a word worth more than 7 points on Words with Friends in a week.

No....worst of all...Mr. Tea had to tell me that I had a player on a bye on my Fantasy football team. I'm on a fantasy football league?

Other than my life being completely turned upside down for a short period of time, I have to call this training cycle a success.

It really does feel like my first 70.3 in every way. Although, I'm not yet to the point where I can be nervous, and I haven't had any race dreams yet. I'm just too tired for either of those things, I think.

I do have doubts about my ability to do what I need to do. Then, Liz said, 'I'm taking the thinking out of this for you. I will give you the plan. Just do what I say. Be a machine."

That was like a weight being lifted off me. Simple. I don't have to write a race plan. I don't have to think. I just have to do. I can "do". I've been "doing" for weeks now. She tells me I'm doing something wrong, I don't argue....I just fix it. She tells me I'm doing something right....and I barely notice.

It's a way to deal with the details without getting wrapped up in the details = making the details, habits. Habits that I don't have to think about.

Just do.

Like a machine.










Wednesday, September 24, 2014

BOOSH DAHLING BOOSH



I made it. I'm in my last big push for my 70.3 training.

In a way, I can't believe I did it. It's never been an issue of being physically able to do the workouts. It was always an issue of finding ways to keep me engaged in the process.

In previous years many many years ago, (I didn't have a coach), I would shorten my long rides or skip them altogether because they were boring. I'd do the same route every time because it was the closest to the house if something went wrong.

Long runs were a sufferfest, simply because I had NO understanding of fueling.

The swims were pretty decent, but I was doing no open water swimming. Granted, the swim isn't really a concern for me. Still, we all know how important it is to practice open water swimming pacing. OWS and pool swimming are two completely different animals.

Earlier this year, I talked to Liz about where my known weaknesses are. We set up a plan that included mixing in sprint races. She added in bike tours (to keep me engaged in the long ride process). I did open water swim races and went to different locations to practice in different conditions. My long runs were broken down into different pieces and different strategies to keep even the longest of runs interesting. Most importantly, we worked on my fueling plan, trying many different approaches until we found the one that worked for me.

I got through all the workouts. I didn't miss one. I didn't skip any because I just wasn't feeling it. I found that "I just wasn't feeling it" is all mental. The days that feel the worst are the days that I needed to push the most. I either do the workout or I don't. There isn't any "I just wasn't into it today". NOPE. Not for me. That was old Tea. New Tea runs or bikes or swims no matter how hard it is physically or mentally.

Because that's how you're supposed to feel when training for a 70.3. Carrying your body 70 miles under its own power requires being physical and mentally strong enough to do it. The only way you get that is by doing the training on the days that you feel like you can't.

Here I am. I'm in my last month, 3.5 weeks to be exact.

I had two big volume weeks of +15 hours of training back to back. At the end of those two weeks, I was mentally drained. Getting up for long rides and packing up gear and constantly washing bottles and clothes....it just becomes mentally draining for me. I knew I only had to do it for 2 weeks, so I got through it.

Then I hit recovery week (last week). It was just enough to let me recharge. I've never been one of those people who like to do insane workouts for the sake of doing insane workouts. I've always been a "less is more" athlete. Give me what I need to have my best race. I knew that I had to do those +15 hour weeks to meet my goals. That's what I did.

The number of training hours (that I can manage with the rest of my life) always changes as I adapt to new volumes. At the beginning of this year, my max was 12 hours. I knew that I could comfortably train for 12 hours a week. Then, Liz helped me get to 15 hours by creating fun workouts and giving me a lot of recovery. The fact is that I'm a 46 (almost 47) year old woman. I can hit workouts harder than many athletes who are younger than me, but I'm smart enough to know that I also need a lot of recovery from those workouts. I need a lot of sleep and a number of supplements that I was never taking before but need now that I know how my body is changing as I get older.

But maybe the biggest thing that I learned this year is that there is no such thing as being ready for a particular distance. In a way, it's like having kids. Sometimes people will say, "We're waiting until we're ready."  You're never really ready.

It's up to you to take that leap. You know. The one that separates who you are and who you want to be.




Sunday, September 21, 2014

Holy F*cktards, Batman: A Race Report

How do you know a race went well? 

When you finish, and you have NO IDEA what your paces or finish times were. You just know you FUCKING ROCKED IT.

Oh yeah. This is the NSFW version.

Quick background:
This is a crazy competitive race. I know these women. They run SICK fast. They'll run 22:00-25:00 5ks. 

I can't compete with that. 

But, I CAN compete with them on the swim and bike.

Given the number of seriously fast women, I thought I'd make top 15 at BEST. I'm not training for sprints. I want to follow my plan. HAVE FUN.


The Swim

Not my fastest swim at all, but I am thrilled! We are getting ready to start. No one wants to start at the front. This is weird because the strong swimmers ALWAYS line up at the front. Where are the men? They should be in the front.

The swim itself. Pretty awesome. I paced really well swimming into the chop. I wanted to really feel the swim, and I did. I easily caught the waves before me and not just the slowest swimmers. I was swimming right in the muck of two and three waves ahead of me.

I kept the lookout for blue swim caps. Could not find one. I knew I was in the lead. At the last buoy, I took advantage of the tailwind and started really going strong. I hit the beach, stubbed my toe on a big piece of cconcrete and fell back into the water. I got passed by a blue swim cap as I was running toward transition.

I never checked my garmin to see what my pace was. All I knew was that I felt great. I felt like I accomplished something.

T1:
Got to my bike and my helmet and sunglasses are gone again.

SIGH. REALLY PEOPLE? YOU CAN'T TAKE 2 SECONDS TO BE COURTEOUS TO THE OTHER ATHLETES?

I found my helmet AND sunglasses.

That's all I'll say about that.



THE BIKE

Where do I begin? I've been wanting to hit threshold. Today, I've gotten as close as I've ever gotten to that goal. In fact, the first 5 miles were over threshold. 

Right at the beginning, I caught the woman that passed me coming out of the water. I wouldn't say I blew by her....it was more of "HOLY FUCK I WANT TO CATCH HER BUT SHE'S SO DAMN FAST".  That's when I went over threshold. I *did* catch her. Only for her and I to yo-yo the rest of the time. Dammit, she was fast. 

Eventually, another woman caught me, but I don't think she was in my AG. BUT, she passed me like I was standing still, which begs the question:

WHO THE FUCK ARE THESE WOMEN?

Let me talk seriously about the bike for a minute. I have put all of my energy into my running this year, the "mental" side of running. I am fully aware that I am not giving my best on the bike. For now, I'm ok with that.(Next year, that's not OK. It's only on the sprint/olys. I'm doing much better with the 70.3 bike training). I'm making improvements on the bike at every single race, so it's not all bad. The biggest gains I can make are on the run. That's where I've put my effort. 

On the other hand, I rode my best of the year today. I felt like I did anyway. There were times where my legs were just burning, and I kept pushing through it. I backed off a little bit on some of the downhills later. THAT'S something for me to work on next year. I can really take advantage of downhills, and I'm not. I'm so much taller and therefore heavier than most women in my AG that the downhills should be my place to really pass them. I tend to take a breather.

I knew that if I wanted to be a serious contender today, I had to come in at 35:00 and faster. I did not anticipate the dirt road....actually, I knew the dirt road was there. I'd just forgotten about it. I went really slow there. I came in around 36:00.

T2

Dear Bitchface who stole my brand new favorite visor,
YOU suck.
XOXO,
Karma


The Run

A few points to note:
1.) I gave up training with music: HUGE WIN. WHAT a difference. If you are a triathlete and are training with music, unplug! Unless you're a woman in my AG.....I don't need anymore competition.

2) My heart rate monitor is temperamental. Sometimes it works in races, sometimes it says my heart rate is 60. 

3.) I get stressed out when I feel like I need to hit a certain pace. 

With all that said, I decided to run by effort. I could see my lap pace, and I could see my average pace. But how close could I get to threshold by just going by feel?  

I didn't check my garmin until I heard it beep 1 mile. My first mile was a 9:48.  HOLY F......wait that's enough F words for today. 

I'M DOING IT! I'M RUNNING SUB 10 MINUTE PACE.

Systems check:

How do you feel?
My butt and legs are feeling it, but I like it. I know I doing something good.
Can you keep it up?


The course has a half mile long hill, we run up and down and back up and down. My goal was to keep my average pace UNDER a 10:00 pace running up the hill. When I hit the downhill, I was going to get my pace back to the 9:3X.

And I DID IT.

And it wasn't horrible.

And I can't figure out why it wasn't horrible.

I actually had FUN running. Yes, I was uncomfortable. Yes, I was passed on the run. But I felt success. I felt like I had truly accomplished something. It was like all of a sudden I got to see what my next few years were going to be like. I am going to get faster!

It wasn't perfect....I mean, there was that one time at band camp when I lost focus for a few seconds on the downhill and knew I was starting to plod along.

Then, I saw Liz shaking her head and heard her saying, "I don't even know what you're doing right now."

Right then, I decided no one was going to pass me for the rest of the run.

Except THAT guy. 

OK, Now no one is going to pass me.

And, I had my first ever sub 30 minute OTB 5k. BARELY sub 30 at 29:58 (officially it was 29:58), but I WILL TAKE IT. 

Big win. 

I managed to do a negative split. HUGE WIN for Steady State Sally.

I got home and realized that I was very very very close to threshold, so running by effort worked for the first time ever. 

I crossed the finish line. I wish I could tell you I was smiling. Nope. Instead, I'm sure my race photo will show a look of "OhpleaseletthisbetheendbecauseImabouttopassout" Dave W will be happy to hear that I couldn't even form a sentence and had to ask some 7 year old to open my bottle of water. I was downright dizzy for a few seconds.

I calmed down and ran my cool down. Amazing how easy the cool down felt today. When I finished my cool down, I went over to find my results. 

I couldn't find them.

Because I was looking at times 10 minutes slower than where I finished.

And my jaw dropped when I saw that I came in 4th place. 1st, 2nd and 3rd were pretty close. Then, I was 5 minutes behind 3rd. 

I knew these results were correct. I felt it. I knew I had a fantastic race. I will take 4th place racing fantastic competition over a podium any day of the week.

Those women make me better. They help me race harder. I want to be like them. I respect the hell out of them for being able to go out there and run the way they can run. 

Well, I guess that's it. I mentioned last time that I really feel like things are FINALLY coming together for me. Now, I'm down to my very last race of the season. If there's a positive to heading into off season, it's that,  now that I'm really starting to see improvements all the way around, I'll be working my butt off during the off season to get to my next level. 









Friday, September 19, 2014

Racing, lessons learned & next year

So....ummm...did you guys know I have a race this weekend? I sure do. I know. I've kind of kept it under wraps. 

Race week means I had to send my race plan to Liz. 

I present you with My Race Plan. (Please read in a dramatic voice)
********************************


I would like to make it my "What the hell" race, go out there and take some risks. If I go out too hard on the run, who cares? I'd love to try to "go too hard on the bike". I haven't even hit threshold in a sprint. There's no reason for that. So do it. Try to blow the fuck up, Tea. It's a sprint.

I have a better understanding of racing short distances now that I've been training for the 70.3. 

I'd love to finish the year knowing that (it might have taken me 9 months to get here) that I gave it everything I had for the last 2 races of the year.

Swim: HARD, REALLY HARD, leave nothing out there.

Bike: Push the comfort zone. Get OUT of my comfort zone. I know what comfort is now. I'm training for a half. THAT's comfort. I need to want to cry or grunt or make otherwise lady-like noises.

Run: Go hard and hold on. See what happens. So I run out of transition at a 9:00 pace. Maybe I can hold that for a 5k. Maybe I can't but I won't know until I try.

I just want to go out there and have a blast. 
************************************

Of course, this is the short version.

Of course, Liz LOVED IT.

Of course, WRITING a race plan is the easy part. 

I still have to implement that bitch.

In other news, I have been thinking a lot about next year. I think it's been pretty obvious that this year was a transition year. Liz did a great job setting up & spacing my races. I told her what I wanted for A races, and she told me how to backfill with other races. (That's why I'm doing this sprint this weekend).

Still, it's been a huge learning curve for me. Ideally, I would prefer to start with shorter distances with a new coach. “It's not about the cards you're dealt, but how you play the hand.” With that in mind, we both worked through all the issues (mostly on my side).

I've learned a lot this year. At times, it was overwhelming.

I think I've become a better athlete to coach. Liz is very open and honest. At first, I had a hard time saying things to her. Now, I feel like I can let loose. It's been a lot of fun because we both have a sort of twisted, dry sense of humor. On a more serious note, I had to do a lot of self-analysis of sorts, to get there. I needed to look at my previous coaching relationship. I needed to look at where I was as a person and athlete. I had to look at what I was willing to go through and commit to as an athlete. Over time, months and months, those pieces started to fall into place.

Now, I'm getting toward the end of my season, and I feel like I'm JUST STARTING to GET IT all.....and....it's the off season soon. SIGH. 

On the other hand, I'm going into the off season with a new found confidence that I will accomplish my goals next year. This year, one of the things I had to learn was goal setting. I know. That sounds pretty basic. In the past, my goals were always time-based or I felt like I was under a lot of pressure to podium or beat someone else. (This was the result of the people who were in my life at that time. I let them get into my head.)

As a person, that's not who I am. It caused a lot of internal conflict. 

This year, I moved away from that. I moved away from any type of time goals. My goals are strategic now. FOLLOW THE PLAN and the time will follow.

The result was a podium at every sprint race I did this year. I had one 1st place, 2 2nd places and a 3rd place. (ALL unexpected because NONE of them were A races.)

SO NEXT YEAR.  I'm focusing on the OLY. That doesn't mean I'm ONLY doing that distance. It just means that at least one of my A races will be an OLY. The 2nd race is yet to be determined, but I have one in mind that I'd like to do. More importantly, Mr. Tea supports it.

It's so hard for me to keep quiet, but I want to get through this season, take my time off and talk to Liz. I respect her opinions and value her recommendations on how to set up a racing schedule.

Why the Oly?
It's hard. It's really hard. And dammit, I want to be good at it. The training for the Oly was hands down the sickest, hardest training that I've ever done.....and I LOVED IT. (5x bike/run, anyone?) I want to feel like I gave my best at the OLY. I've gotten very close on the sprint this year, but I was *off* with the OLY. It took us time to figure out what I needed to be successful with the Oly. By the time I *got* it, I was done with my last Oly of the year. Now that I've put in time with the 70.3, I feel confident that I can reach my goals next year. 

I plan on doing a number of races out of state...in nearby states, so I can race different venues. Go up against new competition. 

And ultimately....qualify for Nationals. 

That's just step one. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Introducing PoPo & KT

Earlier this year, my dear friend and training partner Jeff went through a tough time. Since last December, he's been through 7 surgeries.

He's done with the surgeries now is doing much better. Unfortunately, he had to deal with the fact that his triathlon life is over. He can mountain bike, but he's no longer able to ride a TT. He's unable to run. But he can swim. Of course, there are a multitude of other activities that he can do to remain active and competitive.

It took a long time to recover from the surgeries. He was able to start swimming two weeks ago. I didn't realize how much I missed him until I saw him a couple of weeks ago. (We were exchanging emails. It's just not the same as seeing someone in person).

Jeff is one of the truly nice people in the world. His youngest daughter left for college. At one point, he started and sold his own company. We have a lot in common. He's never really liked swimming, but I have a feeling he'll be loving it by the end of the year.

*

When I raced Silverthorne, the woman who came in 2nd behind me, contacted me via FB after the race. She's KT btw. As it turns out, "she could spit to my house" (as she says). We found out that we lived right up the street from each other.

We started talking regularly & now talk all the time. Right after Silverthorne, we were going to start training together....until she had a little accident and hurt her back. She had to cancel the rest of her racing season.....which included....

WAIT FOR IT.


SOMA.

She's out for SOMA and any other races this year. Soon she'll be able to start swimming again. Right now, her time is more or less filled with physical therapy.

I really like her. She is one of those people who are incredibly positive and supportive. When you have someone in your age group who is supportive and pushes you to be your best....well....that's a pretty damn good thing.

*

And finally, we have PoPo. PoPo lives on my street. He's a cyclist and a police officer. When he first moved in, I thought he was more of a casual rider. Recently, I learned that's he actually pretty serious roadie.

I'm sure he had me pegged as the "runner". The only time he ever saw me was when I was taking off on one of my runs, until fairly recently, when we both pulled out of the 'hood for our rides.

PoPo also has a more non-traditional schedule. He's also done a number of the same cycling events that I've done.  He also has a couple of guy friends that he rides with. It'll be nice to ride with a strong group of guys. My old riding group dissolved, and I haven't really looked for a new one.

At first, I was hesitant to introduce myself. Then, I thought "What the hell?" It's always nice to know there is someone else on the block with the same interests.

Besides....I really could have used his man-hands when I was wrastlin' with that tire the other day. Damn thing....made me break out into a sweat.

*

I've always felt that social media is a "nice" way to keep in touch with people, like email. But, I appreciate the personal relationships more. I want those people in my life to go on long rides with or do swims or show up to race together.

High fiving someone during a race or getting coffee together after a long ride....that's the good stuff. I like the conversations about work and family and training or religion or politics or anything. Social media and email are fine for the "safe" conversations.

I don't always want "safe".

I want real people in my life; the ones who are willing to sweat and grunt and talk with me about the things that really matter.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Remember what a dream can do....



I didn't want to send my comments to my coach about my workout. I stared at what I wrote. If I don't submit my comments, I'll hear from her. If I submit my comments, I'll hear from her.

Liz demands the best from her athletes. That's why she coaches World Champions. She IS the best, and she demands your best. That's why I hired her.

I didn't give my best on Sunday. I took a deep breath, bit my bottom lip and hit "send".

Within a minute, I heard my phone make the dreaded "beep"....notifying me that she responded. I stared at the message, not wanting to open it.

I read her response, which was a bunch of questions.

I answered her questions.

BEEP.

"Next time, you'll do......"

It wasn't a question. It wasn't "I'd like to see this". It was....Next time, you will do this.



I went back to my training log and looked at the upcoming weeks. I read the goals she posted in my weekly goals.

"Get ready to SMASH those old times. It won't be easy, but it will be SIMPLE, " She wrote to me.


At my last two races, I ran into a woman that I know. I've never raced with her before. I've only heard her stories and tracked her on the IM website. She is a 70.3 World Champion. I was heading out on the run, and she was already heading toward the finish of the 10K.

I watched her run.

Was it a thing of beauty? Did she look fluid? Did her running look effortless?
NO.

She looked like she was in the middle of misery. Right smack in the middle of serious pain and intense concentration. She had sweat pouring off her face and a look of determination that would scare off the strongest competitors.

Ever since that day I saw her running, I wanted to be like that. I want to be that person that doesn't give up. I want to be that person that can push through whatever level of pain is required to be their BEST.

Yesterday, I felt like the old me.

And I let myself down. I started doubting myself.

Everyone who has been following me for any length of time, knows this 70.3 will be a PR.

But am I strong enough to give my best?

Am I going to fight for it? When I look at my garmin and realize that if I run just a little bit faster, I can run my fastest half ever? Will I run faster? Am I ready for that?


I've been preparing for this 70.3 for a year. I have goals for it that go back 5 or 6 years. For 10 months, I've been transforming into a stronger athlete.

I looked back over my training log. I accomplished more in one year than I thought was possible. I won't allow a training run to ruin all that for me. That's not going to happen.

When I go to AZ, I'm not going for a PR.

I'm going to fight for my best.






Monday, September 8, 2014

Unstoppable

Another love note from Liz to her athletes.


I'm not tireless, but I won't quit when I'm tired.

Unstoppable-Rascal Flatts (The 2010 Olympics version)


I can only describe this weekend as EPIC. I was ready for it.

On Saturday, I had a 45 minute swim, followed by 1:30 trainer ride. We'd been feeling the effects of Tropical Storm Dolly, getting a lot of rain and wind. I thought if I got to the lake early, I could beat any storm coming in that day. 

And for the first 900m, I did. Then, the wind came in and current was horrible. I had to use all my strength to move forward. The swim was supposed to be easy, but this was far from easy. I had been keeping my eye on a guy who was on my right. He was wearing an MHM swim cap. He was my partner in pain. I kept my eye on him. 

We both head back at the same time. A 1:50 pace never felt so hard. Let me put this in perspective. My normal swim pace for this distance is 1:20. The 1:50? It was everything I had, and I felt like I was barely moving forward. I saw MHM on my right. Then he stopped for a second. I realized he was catching his breath. Every time, we looked up, we were getting smacked in the face with water. The sky was dark. I knew it was going to start raining at any minute.

I thought to myself, "You're going to have to do more than that to stop me. I'm on a mission. I am NOT stopping."

MHM and I got back to shore, and we both had to take a minute, looked at each other and just shook our heads. I just wanted to lay down on the beach. A 45 minute swim, turned into 53 minutes and covered 1.8 miles. Was I tired because of how hard the swim was? Was I tired because of that really hard masters swim the day before? More than likely, it was the combination. All I kept thinking was, I can't believe how much stronger I am, stronger in every way. 

I was starving. I had to get home to do my trainer ride. 

As I was leaving, the winds were getting stronger. I saw things flying past me. Then, I saw two cyclists. All I could think was, the swim was hard....but being on a bike right now....that's 10 times harder. Those guys on the bikes....damn....just damn.

I got home and ate. Crazy. Hungry. 

Fortunately, the ride was easy. That meant, I could pretty much eat anything before it. 

When I finished the days workouts, I started eating. I had big workouts the next day: a 3:45 ride and a :45 minute run.

On Saturday night, I was debating if I should go to Boulder the next morning. I was tired. I really wanted to sleep in. 

I remembered (two weeks ago) when I did Venus. I was going to skip it, and I had such a great time.

Without giving it anymore thought, I packed up my beep beep.

Sunday morning, I got up and head to Boulder. 

After the swim and ride the day before, I felt really good. Surprisingly good. We've been hammering my legs this week with rides and runs. They didn't feel "fresh", but hell, I felt good.

I had my training plan loaded into my garmin. My goal was to follow my fueling plan, not take anything from aid stations. Follow my plan.

This week, I started experimenting with the Carbo Pro Meta Salt tablets. They have +100mg MORE of sodium than SaltStick in each tablet. Since I need alot of sodium (especially right now), that means I can take fewer tablets. I LOVE the Meta Salt Tablets. They are slightly more expensive, but for me....I'd rather keep things simple. And, if I can take 1 tablet instead of 2....I'm game.

We started the ride. I wasn't even at mile 4 when I heard a noise. The last time my tire blew, it was like a gunshot. This time, it wasn't like that. I can't explain the sound. Initially, I thought I had something stuck in my brakes. I pull over and saw the shredded side wall.

~3.5 miles from the start. I thought my day was done. I thought it I could change the tube...and use Bill A's little DIY fix a tire cheat, I might be able to ride back to the start, which would be better than walking in cycling shoes.

The other cyclists were awesome. They were all asking if I needed help. And well, you know, if you have a 700x23 tire on you....you could probably help. One by one, everyone was passing me. Eventually, all the 50 milers were gone. 

I changed the tube. Got on the bike. Within 30 seconds, I heard the old familiar sound.  Just then, the SAG wagon pulled up. 

I explained what happened. He left to make a phone call and came back. He told me there's a bike shop up the way. They'll probably give me a tire.

I said, "What? I don't have any money."

He said, "Don't worry about it. You did everything possible to make that flat work. I'm going to do everything possible to make sure you finish this ride."

He loaded up my bike. 

45 minutes later.....I have a new tube and tire.

And I'm dead last. One of the reason I love these rides is because I get to ride with people. Now, I'm riding alone. I really needed to focus on where I was going because I'm not really familiar with the roads.

I look up and I see a rider in front of me. The temptation is so strong to start riding hard to catch the group, but I'm going to follow my plan.

I realized that I hadn't eaten or drank anything in an hour. I have enough fuel for 4 hours, but with the 45 minute delay, I'm going to be on the roads for 5 hours now.

At the next aid station, I'm going to eat like I'm at a buffet to get my calorie count back up to where it needs to be.

You'd think I'd be upset, but this ride was getting done no matter what. I was just out to have a fun day on my bike. 

When I hit aid station 2, I caught up to a bunch of riders....a welcome sight.

The rest of the ride was pretty awesome. I rode with some great people, and we talked about all kinds of crazy stuff. I met one guy who was doing the Epic ride....which I think was 120 miles. We rode together for awhile, then he went up toward Carter Lake, and it was my time to turnaround.

Around mile 40, the rain hit. It wasn't torrential with strong winds, but it was a downpour. I could feel the mud/dirt hitting me. I had a few miles to the next aid station. If it was still raining, I'd take cover there for a little bit. I've done a lot of races in storms. That's a race. No reason for me to take unnecessary risks on a training day.

I pulled into the next aid station with about 20 other riders. There were already a bunch of people under the tents, and we all stayed there for a little while until it looked like the storm had pretty much passed.

I started up again. I realized the ground was completely dry about a mile up the road. I guess the storm only hit on that one stretch of road? 

The rest of the ride was fantastic. I was now on my cooldown, which was an easy spin all zone 1. I took it easy the last 45 minutes. It was a beautiful day. My legs felt pretty darn good given what I had done the last few days.

Now, I was mentally prepping for the run.

Did I make up enough lost calories? Did I drink enough? Did I take in the sodium I needed?

I crossed the finish line. Someone asked if they could take my bike, so I could enjoy the party.  I said, "No thanks".

I had to ride back to my car and get ready to run. 

Again, race day fueling. Race day everything. I loaded my bike. Normally, I run without socks in my racing flats. I decided that for the half marathon, I'd wear my normal running shoes with socks. A few extra minutes in T2 will save me down the road. 

I took a gel, drank water. Grabbed my fuelbelt and took off running.

I've been running 15 minutes, walk 1 minute. This is how I handle races. Run to each aid station. At the aid station, take 1 minute to have a gel and water and start running again.

So, Liz set up my run plan as: 4 min easy, 6 min mod, 4 min easy, walk 1 minute. Do that 3 times.

I don't know my way around the CU boulder campus....and I definitely could have found an easier run, maybe one closer to Soma's course. But, I just wanted to get done. So, I ran out and back....out back a different direction...out and back again. 

And I knocked out the 45 min run.  Now that I understand how running off the bike should feel, I don't even think of how my legs feel....because that's NORMAL.

The big thing for me has been that I stopped running with music 2 weeks ago. I told Coach that I'd been trying to figure out why I don't perform as well as I could on the run. I realized that it's because I can't "hear my own struggle" when I run with music.

For the past weeks, I've been becoming familiar with the sounds of discomfort: how my own breathing sounds when I run normally and how it sounds as I run faster. 

In a race, I'd hear my breathing and think "I'm going so hard!" And I'd back off, but I wasn't really going hard at all.

I'm now matching the exertion to the performance. It's made a huge difference for me personally.

I took a gel every 15 minutes.

I finished the run.

I felt great.

I sat down on the grass on the CU campus for a bit. I watched the students walking by. 

I enjoyed the feeling of feeling good. 

I went back to the car and decided against going into Boulder for something to eat. I brought a recovery shake and some snacks. I wanted to go home and relax.

This process has been absolutely amazing. I never thought 70.3 training could be so much fun. 

This is the best thing I've done in a long time.








Wednesday, September 3, 2014

TrainingFuelRecoverTrainingFuelRecover

I am in my biggest week of training since I trained for Ironman.

Let that sink in.....in other words....it's been a long ass time since I've done 15 hours of training. So far, this week, I feel really good. I suspect I'll start feeling the volume early next week when I have 15:30 training hours.

Back to back 15 hour weeks, I'm actually kind of excited to do it because I've been feeling surprisingly good about the whole thing.

Of course, alot of that has to do with how much I'm eating too. Coach left me a love note saying to CARB UP! this week, and I'm obliging. I'm doing my best to not experience "hunger pangs" during the day and snacking throughout the entire day.

I think it's working. I have yet to feel sore or tired or worn out, even on my previous 14 hour weeks. I've been energized and been able to put in the work when I need to.

Granted, my kitchen counters look like this....

And, the laundry baskets seem to be constantly overflowing with dirty training clothes.

And, I have two full cabinets dedicated JUST to training fuel and supplements.

And, the house smells something like either a sweatfest or shower just took place, depending on the room.

On the other hand, I don't have to get the kids off to school, picked up from school, off to some activity or team practice. I don't have to make sure they have cupcakes for a school bake sale or meet with teachers.

In fact, since JMan left for college, I feel like all I have is TIME. There's still 24 hours in a day, but I HAVE SO MUCH TIME NOW. I think it's something only parents can truly appreciate.

I've always been good at time management, but now I really feel it.

It's good to have Mr. Tea's support. He knows this week and next week are my two biggest weeks. We make plans around my training. It's only 2 weeks. Then, I'm back to my regularly scheduled training volume.

It's funny to me now, but the training was what I was most worried about. I kept saying, "I just want a positive experience."

Yet, I had my own ghosts to deal with AND I had other triathletes telling how hard 70.3 training is.

The entire time I was worried that I wouldn't be able to handle it. I almost skipped it. Until I realized that I needed to do it, so that I could have a "new" 70.3 baseline. It had been a long time.

Now, I'm so glad I did. I am enjoying every step of the way.

I have no reason to think the race will be any different.





Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Taking that risk

One of my biggest issues is that I don't open up to people that I don't know very well. I'm uninhibited. Nothing embarrasses me. I'll talk about anything....except the things closest to my heart.

That's why I've never put my goals out here on the blog.
 I decided that my goals were just that...MY GOALS. It didn't matter if anyone else thought that I could attain them.

It only matters that I BELIEVE I CAN ATTAIN THEM.

Over the weekend, I decided to tell Coach Liz what I was thinking about for the next year or two. I did it because I feel like I'm on track to actually hit those goals. I was going to wait until the end of the year to see if I felt the same way. Instead, the desire to reach those goals is just becoming stronger.

I've never done that before. I've never shared my own thoughts and dreams about what I can accomplish with anyone. 

Would you? HAVE you?

If you run a 36:00 5k, would you tell people that your goal is to run a 21:00 5k?

I don't think I'm alone. I think most people keep those goals to themselves.

This time, I reached out to my Coach, and I spelled out part of my goals/dreams. (The second part, I'm still working on).

I expected her to say, "Ok. You can do it. We have a lot of work to do."

Which is like saying, "Girl you ain't even close!"

But that's not what she said.  Instead she said, "I think those are GREAT goals for you."

That made all the difference.

Now that I've put it out there for her, I'll share it all with you at the end of the season. Sneak Peak: It's BIG people. Real BIG.

If I think I can do it, and my Coach thinks I can do it.....there's nothing really stopping me.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Adventures of Mr. Tea #2

Mr. Tea has now been working with Coach Liz for a month. I'm so happy for him. This is the longest he has stuck with an exercise regime in a long time.

Let me tell you how he ended up working with her.

He has a lot of weight to lose. I'm not really sure if he wants me to talk about how much he wants to lose, so I won't.

He's done everything and tried everything. Last year, he looked into working with a personal trainer. He became very discouraged when it seemed like the gym was trying to sell him on a bunch of stuff, including a liquid detox programs.

When I started working with Liz, I was so impressed with her on so many levels, I thought it would be a good fit for Mr. Tea.

Liz is a Level 3 USMS Coach, Level 2 (unless this has changed) USAT Coach and Certified Functional Strength Specialist. (She might even have more certifications, but these were the most important to ME when I signed up).

Mr. Tea had a lot of pain issues. He had back pain, headaches, feet pain, etc. When he talked to Liz, he told her everything.

She said, "I can help with all that."

So, he started.

The first week, he did 3 hours of training. Since then, he has increased each week with yesterday being a 50 minute walk: the longest he's done so far.

And his pain is gone. The strength training routines managed with walking and running routines has resolved his pain issues.

In addition to this, she has him making dietary changes. Every week or two, he needs to make a change to the way or what he is eating.

To help with this, the day Justin moved out....we got rid of all the "snacks" in the house. You won't believe what a difference this made.

Now, it has it's challenges. You have ME...who can't get enough food and Mr. Tea who needs to watch what he's eating. It has it's challenges. There are days where I want to eat an entire plate of some various form of pasta, and he's best to avoid that type of eating. He can have it and does, but we need to manage the quantity of food.

All that aside, I am enjoying my NEW ROLE as Sherpa. When he has a long workout, I meet him to bring him water. I'm always available to pick him up at the end of his workout.

I want to be as supportive as possible because it doesn't matter how fast or slow you feel, we all feel the same pain when we are pushing our boundaries.

He's out there every day and hasn't missed a day. He's walked/run in pouring rain. He's walked/run late at night. He's walked/run through really bad back pain.

He keeps going on.

Yesterday, he didn't want to go. We've had a stressful August. We both knew that we just had to get to Labor Day weekend.

Well, yesterday was it. He didn't want to go. It was getting late in the evening. I know how that is. I know what it's like being tired and mentally drained and not wanting to go. I knew what it was like. So, I told him that I was going to go with him. There have been many days where I just wished I had someone anyone to go with me to keep me company during those less than exciting runs or those really long rides.

Originally, he was going to skip his walk. Then, he said, "Ok I'll do it." We head out for our walk. Of course, once again, we got caught in the rain.

And it was awesome.

It's hard for me to be "proud" of grown ass adults.

But I was never more proud of him for going last night.

The best part of all of this is that he's now talking about getting a bike soon. He's (I think) starting to enjoy life without pain and starting to appreciate his new found fitness level.

Coach Liz really summed it up perfectly when she said, "The pain you are experiencing is the pain of growing into your new body."

There are days that it is really hard for him, but he keeps going.