Friday, August 28, 2015

It feels good to feel good

It won't be easy, but it will be simple.

That's what I keep saying to myself.

I had my first meeting with my nutritionist this week.

Leading up to the meeting, I had to track my food for a few days. First, there are a few things that I loved about her right off the bat.

No calorie counting.
No weighing myself on the scale. I can if I want to, but I don't. I hate the scale. As I've gotten older, I know that due to those crazy hormonal fluctuations, I have about 2 weeks of the month where I can get a pretty good weigh-in. The rest of the time, I can go up as much as 3lbs in one night. Excuse me, but I don't need that kind of stress in my life.

I signed up with a nutritionist for several reasons.
1.) I want to lose that 10lbs that I put on.
2.) I want to know how to get the best out of my nutrition now that I'm heading into long course.
3.) I want to make sure my race and training fueling are where they are supposed to be. (How can I improve my race day fueling?)

We talked for an hour. I thought I knew a lot about nutrition.

Then, she started talking.

My world was turned upside down.

The first week, we're restructuring what I eat and when I eat. It's about making my body more metabolically efficient, burning fat at a higher rate than before. This isn't a low carb/no carb nutrition. It's about timing my intake of carbs to maintain steady blood sugar and giving me fuel for my workouts.

Honestly, there are quite a few changes that I need to make.

Yesterday was the first day I was on my own. (She and I talked weekly, and I email her with questions).

Yesterday was a disaster. I didn't eat enough. I thought I had it when we got off the phone on Wed. Sure enough....I didn't, and it cost me a run. No big deal. That's why I'm doing this during my off season, and I'm not even "training" for anything right now.

I woke up this morning with a renewed sense of making this work. Rome wasn't built in a day.

I figure if I can get it 90-95% right, I'm already WAY ahead of trying to do this on my own without a nutritionist.

Today, I nailed it. I couldn't believe how good I felt all day. I went for a swim and felt great. My mood was awesome. My blood sugar was steady all day. I had none of those mood swings because I wasn't eating right. I wasn't tired at all during the day. My energy has been better than it has been in years. Best of all, last night, I was out cold.

I felt great. Technically, it's only been one day, since I messed up the first day.

It's not easy. It takes work. It takes focus. It takes dedication. It takes discipline.

It's not really any different than training.

I can say feeling as good as I did today, kinda makes this whole thing easier. I won't be perfect. She doesn't want perfection. As she says, "Food is meant to be enjoyed. Don't give up the things you really love."

If I can get it right 90% of the time, I'm in a pretty good place.

It feels good to feel good.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Defining Success

I've been doing a lot of thinking the last 24 hours. Thanks, Jason

He asked something along the lines of what my limiter is because apparently.....I'm so awesome, it's hard to identify.


The conversation started me thinking of my 2 year plan, where I started and what my goals were for this year, looking at them from a BIG PICTURE view.

How did what I did this year help me with my 70.3 and Ironman plans?

Last year, I podiumed at every race. This year, I podiumed at about half my races. This was intentional. I didn't slow down this year. I didn't have any set backs. 

I intentionally registered for races where the competition was significantly higher. I podiumed at half my races this year, going up against some seriously amazing athletes.

And guess what? I qualified for Nationals FOUR TIMES between last Aug and April of this year. FOUR TIMES. 

And let me tell you, every single time I got the was emotional, probably because I'm a big baby but also partly because it was something tangible, something that I could touch that showed all the work I put in, finally paid off. 

That's not a fluke. The women in the 45-49 AG are some of the most incredible athletes around and to have the privilege of racing with them, learning from them, and having them push me to NEW levels....sometimes it's humbling.

I put myself (well....admittedly, it was Liz that recommended I do most of the things I do) in the situations where I knew I wouldn't be a contender just to see how I react. Will I give up? Will I fight for a PR when there's nothing else on the line?

It comes down to "HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?"  I was willing to forego any age group wins to win in ways that were going to help me down the road.

What were my wins?

1.) Finally pacing a 10k off the bike LIKE A BOSS. It might not have been the fastest that I could run, but I had to prove to myself that I could pace it correctly. It's a baby step but a necessary one. It was something that no one will see in my finish time. Anyone looking up my time will say, "oh....5th place....she must have had a bad day."

Why is that important? Because I'm heading into longer distances; distances where pacing on the run is critical.

2.) Getting my ass kicked.  This happened a lot. Nothing shows what you're made of more than getting your ass kicked in a race. Stuff happens at races. It can be a fueling issue, a weather issue, a mechanical issue. Hell, you can just be racing the fastest people. It can be anything. But, at some point, you'll have a race where you have to make the decision as to whether you are going to finish regardless of your time or you're going to throw in the towel.

What do you do when none of your plans are working? Plan A, B and C are out the window, and you are straight up in survival mode? Are you going to give it everything you have or do you walk off the course?

When everything was against me, I gave it everything I had for the first time ever.

3.) Renewed confidence. Triathlon is about being the best triathlete, not being the best swimmer, cyclist or runner. It's about playing to your strengths to get your best out of your weakness. This year, I learned that I can push harder on the swim, do what I need to on the bike and know that I will push through the pain on the run. (My old Coach once said that the swim is mis-marked than any other event. I don't know if it's true. He said that a number of years ago, and maybe technology has improved. BUT, I *do* know that I swim pretty damn straight, and my swims are almost always the same pace but different distances....and therefore finish times. Even at Nationals the swim was long. Fortunately, Liz gave me that critical piece of advice). 

Focusing on the Olympic distance (as much as I hate the distance) has taught me more than anything else. I've learned what real pain means. I mean. REAL FUCKING PAIN. I ran through it. I've learned how to pace my open water swimming, which is always tough with no clocks or lane lines and basing my pace on my effort....oh....and is THIS hard....or is THIS? What happens if I hold THIS pace? Will it affect my bike? All those things made sense to me for the first time ever. (I can't thank Coach Andrew enough for his help, and the work he has done with me, forcing me WAY out of my comfort zone at masters; telling me to swim up a lane and get lapped "because it's good for you". And Coach Liz having me swim long open water swims with paddles for goodness sakes. THAT was new....and uncomfortable....)

On the bike, I learned NO FEAR. I love going fast on the bike. In a way, I was afraid of my own power. In fact, Liz said to me once, "Don't be afraid of your power."  Getting the new bike two days before my A race of the year meant a race of ifs and buts and candy and nuts. It took me awhile to get familiar with the sheer speed of my bike, learning how to shift quickly, climb, where should I shift, where should I grind? Toward the end of the season, I started getting comfortable riding at my higher power zones. I was comfortable in those zones. NO FEAR.

She made me train, like she's never done before. The +2 hour workouts of bike/run/bike/run/bike/run/bike/run/bike/run/bike at 100-105% FTP and then run at 7:40 pace. You remember those days? I really did almost cry.


The type that makes you question everything you know about yourself and every one of those damn goals you set years ago. Are they really that important? Maybe you should just give up now....

When I raced and trained at efforts that almost made me cry, There was one thing that I believed with all my heart.

And on race day, the pain finally made sense.


Accomplishing these things made me realize....I've accomplished everything I've wanted to accomplish at these distances. If I want to make a run for Team USA, I can qualify again down the road.

For now, I've done everything I wanted. 

I can race....really race....being not just uncomfortable but being in pain. I know what to do when I'm dehydrated. I know what to do when I can't keep fuel down. I know how to race in +100 degree temps. I know how to race in 55 degree water. I can race in 50 mph winds (thank you Palm Springs). I can race in hail and rain. I can have bad training weeks and keep going. I can block out or accept the distractions.

I looked back over my year. There was nothing else I wanted to do with short course. I wanted to go long again. More importantly, I have the confidence to do it.

I'm going into the next phase of my tri journey armed with so much more confidence than I ever have.

I've taken my time to go long again. I work in goals that last years, not months. My race schedule is set up a year in advance working with Liz. We adjust training and racing as necessary when I'm faced with new challenges or as my schedule dictates. 

I don't jump into anything blindly. 

I do things when the time is right for me.  

Are you ready? The crazy is just getting started.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Colossal Fail

What is off season? For every triathlete, you'll get a different answer.

With tremendous trepidation, I stopped coaching. I thought it would be nice to not be analyzed for awhile.

Wake up in the morning and R*U*N!!! 

Or go RIDE! 


On my own terms!

The first week off....I did nothing. Granted. I was tired. I've never been so tired in my life. I think all that hardcore training and mental focus 'n shit, finally caught up to me.

The second week: I swam. I started to run again and I rode.....all without a purpose. It was fun for the first two days. 

Then, I got bored with it. What should I run today? How far should I ride? The novelty wore off quick.

Today, I woke up and was buzzing around the house with more energy than I've had in awhile. Mr. Tea turns to me and says, "That's it. I'm calling Liz. I can't handle you with this much energy."

Truth is. I miss this.

So, I humbly wrote Liz an email.


There you go. 

I'm still in my off season, but I need a purpose. I'll be starting with Liz again in Sept.

Oh...and I have goals

But now, hopefully, I'll also remain married.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The next big thing

I keep thinking I should wait to talk about this, but I've waited weeks now. Nothing has changed. Part of the reason I don't want to put this out there is because it's a 2 year goal. Two years is a long time, and it's not a long time. Maybe THAT's really my issue. It will be here before I know it.

As you all know, I have limits to what I'm willing to give up when it comes to triathlon. That means first and foremost, I don't make any race decisions without talking to the family. Over the years, it has worked really well. I have been able to train when I want, without being completely exhausted for family stuff.

For years, Mr. Tea supported me with my short course goals.  A couple of months ago, he came to me and said, "What would you think about focusing on the 70.3 next year? You had such a great race at SOMA. I think that is your untapped potential."

He's right. I had a great race at SOMA. It was an emotionally charged race too. In other words, I wasn't mentally at my best for that race for reasons completely unrelated to training or fueling or anything like that. I, still, had a huge PR.

He surprised me by saying that. Yes, I've thought about it, but that was about it. I didn't have any crazy urge to go back. So, I slept on it for weeks.

I couldn't believe that he was really encouraging me to go long again. It's just me and him. We work in different locations, so he isn't around during the week when I do my training. On weekends, he sleeps so late that even my long days didn't really get in the way of our plans.

Because of my schedule, my training never really interferes with anything. The argument of "cutting into family time" is no longer valid.

I was getting my mind wrapped around this idea, when he brought it up again. "What do you think? What if you did TWO 70.3's next year?"

Me: The timing is right. Next year, I turn 49. I don't know about two 70.3's in a year. I'd want to talk to Liz about that....and also....SOMA wrecked me. I put so much into it. It would have to be a very early season and a very late season 70.3.  But, for a long time, I thought it would be cool to do Ironman for my 50th (when I age up in 2017).

Mr. Tea: YES. THAT's what you should do! Ironman for your 50th birthday.

Obviously, this is a big deal for me. That's why I haven't said anything. I wanted to make sure that I was willing to put the time and energy into this.

This is on my terms, my decision...because I want to do it. 

I asked Liz about my plan, and I think she was genuinely surprised and excited. We need to talk more about it in a few months as we start to hammer out the details of my race schedule.

That's it. It looks like I'll be going back to Ironman.

Beyond racing, I have a few other exciting plans:

1.) A few months back, maybe 6-9 months ago, I was going through a stressful time, and I put on about 10lbs. It sucked. I went through the entire race season heavier than I normally am. Hey, I think I look great. Mr. Tea thinks I look great, but this isn't about vanity. It's about being able to run faster and putting out better power ratio on the bike. I decided that once things calmed down, I would hire a nutritionist to help me get to a better weight.  I researched a number of nutritionists. I got a number of recommendations from friends. I contacted several of them and decided on one. We start next week. I'm so anxious to get started. How awesome will it be to start my 2016 season at race weight with my best nutrition plan already in place? I'm really excited especially since I struggled with eating while I was training for SOMA. It was so hard for me to get it the sheer number of calories that I made some bad decisions along the way. Desperate times call for desperate measures! Ha!

2.) Something old. Something new. Triathlon, old. Duathlon, new. Liz recommended that I race the Duathlon National Championships next year. Take away one of my best events....and replace it with the one that is my weakest???


Duathlon National Championships are next June in Bend, OR.

3.) That leaves me with "Which 70.3 do I choose?"  I'm still not sure because there are a few moving parts.

My top choices are IM Miami in Oct and IM Austin in Nov.  Miami is the weekend of my birthday, so that's a bonus. Mr. Tea's vote is for Miami.

Austin....JMan will likely be moving to Austin next year.

Right now, I'm leaning towards Austin, but like I said....there are other moving parts.

Edit: Now, I'm leaning toward Miami. See how this is going to go?

4.) In order to get ready for the 70.3 next year, I decided to run a half marathon in AZ in Jan. I haven't run a half marathon in a couple of years. Getting away from the CO cold in Jan? I'm down with that idea.

5.) That leaves me with, "Which IM do you want to race in 2017?" Anyone who's anyone knows you have to register a year in advance. Which one? That's a slam dunk.  Ironman Arizona. I love racing in AZ. In fact, Mr. Tea and I love it so much that on our last visits, we went house hunting.

The plan is to head down to volunteer at IMAZ in Nov of 2016 and register.

So, that's it; my 2 year plan.

Heat Acclimatization

Re-organizing the blog to make the important stuff easier to find.

Like this post about heat acclimatization.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


I am around a lot of new triathletes lately, and people who are interested in changing coaches. I put together this little post about how to find and select a coach. You can also find it along bar above the posts.

Read the post: How to select a Coach.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dream big, but make sure those BIG dreams are YOURS.

Usually when I write, "you" means "me". Not today. You means YOU, little goal setter.

Goals are YOUR goals: Your dreams that you hope to someday reach. That someday could be next week. It could be in 10 years.

The most important part is that they are your goals. 

When you're setting goals, keep a few things in mind:

1.) Let the dust settle. People get excited when they track their friends at races. If your friends or your spouse or your nemesis or your coach decides to do Ironman. (Ironman....just a place holder. I could easily say 'qualify for Boston' or "Nationals"). Big audacious goals are fantastic, but make sure you own it because you will be put to the test when you are least expecting it.

Don't sign up for a race just because everyone else is doing it. Don't do anything unless your heart is in it because it takes enormous dedication. More than you know.

If you jump on the bandwagon to do Ironman, you will regret it if you're not ready. Just because you're not ready, doesn't mean you're a weak person or don't aim high enough. You have to do what's right for YOU. Remember this, you might NEVER be ready. You might NEVER want to do Ironman. That's ok. Longer is NOT better. Longer is different.

Running a 5k is enough.  You don't have to run a 50k to prove you're a runner.

2.) Be focused. You're going to have distractions. Many years ago, when I decided to focus on short and intermediate distances, I found that I had to explain my position to people. It was a time when everyone was doing Ironman. I guess, the thought of someone going short when they could go REALLY REALLY FAR was quite perplexing to many people.

I could have easily given up on my dream to get faster. I could have easily given up on trying to get to Nationals. I mean, hell, it took me YEARS to finally get there.

But I had a plan. My goals were my own. I wasn't going to go off the path.  The people that really knew me, knew that I had big plans for myself. Nationals was just one of the steps. A step that I had to and wanted to take to do the next BIG thing.

Distractions aren't bad. They simply call into question why you're doing what you're doing. You need to be ready to answer the question.

3.) Choose wisely. It's not going to happen overnight.
If you want to qualify for Boston, you have to be 100% focused on JUST RUNNING. Sure, you can mix in some light cross training. If you're a best be ready to give up the swimming and biking in order to work 100% on your running goal. Likewise, you want to qualify for Nationals, you better be ready to give up those super long runs. Your long runs will probably not exceed 1:20-1:30.

It's going to be that way for awhile.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled not doing anything.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Day 2: Sprint National Championships

Because of few of my friends are not triathletes, I thought I'd explain how the National Championships work.

In order to race the Oly, you have to qualify. Now, you can qualify at either a sprint distance race or an olympic distance race. You have to be something like the top 10% of your age group or top 30% at a regional qualifier. I don't know the exact details, but that is probably good enough.

In order to race the Sprint, you don't have to qualify. You just sign up.

I've said over and over that the oly is NOT my best distance. I have been learning how to race the Oly as a means to help me with my mental toughness, and my ability to push through when things get really tough.

This is killing me, btw. I so badly want to tell you all about my BIG EXCITING plans, but I need to tell you about Day 2 first. In fact, part of my BIG EXCITING plans came up over lunch yesterday. I think Liz was:
1.) Genuinely surprised.
2.) Genuinely happy.....well she said, "good thinking" to Mr. Tea, who came up with the plan.

BACK to the race report.

After following Liz's recovery plan, I woke up feeling pretty excellent. I am usually pretty sore the morning after an Oly.

Now.....there's a big gap between "not feeling sore" and "feeling fresh". My head was in the right place. I was ready to go.

I love the sprint distance. Just love it, but man......It felt really long today. Spoiler alert, it ended up being one of my slowest sprints in a number of years.

But it's ok. It really is. I once again accomplished what I wanted, "Learn to stay tough when things get tough. Stay in the game when a race isn't going the way I'd hoped."

You see. In the past, I've been a quitter. When things don't go my way, when I am going to miss a PR, I mentally surrender.  More than anything else, I have been working on the mental side this year.

I promise. This report will be pretty short.

Based on what happened yesterday, I made a few changes.

The swim. Chaos again, but the gap between the really fast and the slower swimmers is bigger because there are no qualifications. One woman was doing her very first tri today.

As soon as I took off, I could feel yesterday's race. I never struggle on the swim. I love open water swimming. I've learned a ton about pacing. I recently swam my best 2.4 mile swim in 1:06:17. What I'm saying is that I am confident about my swim. When things are tough, I don't sweat it. I know I can get myself out of the mess.

So when I felt yesterday's swim after passing the first buoy, I knew I had to change something. I was going hard, but I didn't think the pace was sustainable. Because I was tired, I knew that my actual pace was quite a bit slower than what my effort was.

I heard Coach Andrew's voice in my head, "Tea. What are you doing?" He would always yell that at me when he saw me "giving up" or my form disintegrate.

What are you doing? I started focusing on my form. I slowed down and worked on my BIG PULL. Like the previous day, the other women started chasing buoys. I went straight at the arches.

I swam very close to 750m. Sorry, I don't have my swim time here. But the pace was almost exactly what it was the previous day.


I got on the bike. Yesterday, I blew through the first 5 miles at 22mph and at 95-100% FTP. Today. It was ridiculous. I decided to work on my cadence. Try to keep the cadence high.

A few miles into the ride I was feeling "ok". At this point, I decided to throw out my PR goal. I know I will get a sprint race PR again, but it won't be today. I was too ambitious thinking I could do it after racing the day before.

Just because I won't PR doesn't mean I'm going to give up. Nope. That's when I thought about a video that Jason sent me.
It's YOU versus THEM.
It's YOU versus Can't.
It's YOU versus No.

For the rest of the day, my mantra became, "It's YOU versus Can't".

I couldn't hold Power, but I wasn't going to let it drop. Every time I thought, "I can't do this", I countered with, "It's you versus can't. It's YOU versus No."

Although I struggled on the bike, I ended up being only a minute off my PR time. Damn....I'll take that!

I pulled in and saw Mr. Tea. I tried to smile, but I was struggling and negotiating my run plan in my head. I gave him a thumbs up.

When I got to transition and was running out, I thought my legs actually felt pretty good. Again, not fresh, but not too bad. 

I set a plan....5k.....every mile drop the pace. My goal: Maintain the pace from yesterday.

Mile 1: Right on target (faster than yesterday).
Mile 2: Getting faster.

and Mile 3.....the wheels came off the bus. My pace was dropping. My legs didn't want to move, not fast anyway. 

I was thinking, "wow. this is so much harder than I thought it would be, but look what you're doing!"

You versus can't.

You versus no.

Just keep running.

With a half mile left, a woman on the sidewalk....I swear she started running. Believe it or not, I thought it might have been Jen Harrison....but I've never met her, and I thought, "no way"....but she stayed with me. Jen is one of Liz's athlete's (Did the double and podiumed both days. Won on Sat. Not sure what she did on Sunday). Jen is also a coach of JHTC. 

I don't know why I thought it was her, except that she kept running with me, and I was wearing my MSM kit. She kept saying things to me: Do this. Do that. I was listening, but I was now hurting more than I've ever hurt before.

I've done a number of 70.3's....I've never hurt this bad. 

Then, I hit the red carpet, and she disappeared.

I ran as hard as I could to the finish.

I crossed the finish line. I got my towel. I could have sworn I saw the woman again. I turned to see who it was, and she was gone.

Who was she? Was it Jen? 

I don't know. Maybe she was my guardian angel who decided to show up right when I was struggling the most, but I listened to what she said. It gave me just enough distraction.

Once again, I found my Big Indian. 

That's it. I did it. 

Now, I'm in my off season. Liz and I talked. I told her I wanted to take time off from coaching. She said, "Take as much time as you want." She gave me ideas for keeping active without having to report in to someone.

I need that time; time where I can get away from numbers. Time where I can relax and enjoy everything that I've accomplished this year. 

Once I do that and give my future plans one last look over, then I'll be ready to share them with you.

Until then, there won't be many posts in the way of "training" since technically I'm not training. There won't be posts about my crazy tough workouts, but I'll still be around. 

Last but not least. There are people in my life who deserve a huge thank you. I won't name names. You know who you are. 

I want to thank you for your jokes & teasing. Thank you for knowing when I need a shoulder to cry on and when I need a kick in the butt. Thank you for the videos you've posted to my facebook page. Thank you for giving me space to write (here) without judgement. 

Most importantly, thank you for your friendship. You have gotten me through so many good times and bad times. Thank you. I couldn't do any of this without you.

Day 1: National Championships


This was an adventure of EPIC proportions. I admit that I bit off more than I can chew....or I had my goals set too high.....or underestimated how hard it would be.

But that's ok because almost every year (except last year), I find a race or races that sound crazy and do them. I call them my challenge races. A few years back, I did the Tour of the Moon, which climbs the Colorado Monument (which has a 29% incline) and turnaround and did an Olympic race the next day.

Many years ago, I did a double race. I've done it twice, but those were the days where I just *did* the races.

I'm going to try to keep the two races separate, but it's hard since they were back to back.

First of all, my theme song for the weekend, complements of Mark. How can you NOT get PUMPED UP after listening to this?

Pretty much the same goals I always have. I don't have time goals. I didn't want time goals. I wanted to go for a PR. In order to do that, I had some time guidelines. In other words, I knew that if my swim was either x, y and z then my bike needed to be around x,yz which meant my run had to be around x, y and z.

With x y and z being any combination of paces or speeds.

There was one exception. For the run, I wanted to be disciplined enough to get faster each mile. I've practiced and practiced this. Liz had me running miles at a time at speeds faster than my 10k time. Now, I understand why.

Liz was on board with my plan.

She responded with a slightly more specific plan. (As most of you know, Liz requests that we send her race plans before our race. The race plan is incredibly detailed and has everything from paces, speeds, power zones, fueling (race day and leading up to the race), mental strategies.

For the swim, she wanted me to surge to the front of the group, beat the crowd to the bridge (where the course narrows). She also gave me tips such as: Don't chase the buoys, you will swim further. Instead, aim directly for the turn buoys.

These tips proved to be the best advice anyone has ever given me.

She did the same thing on the bike: Turn by turn, hill by hill, this is how you will feel, This is what will happen.THis is what you need to do.

And the run: Again, turn by turn.....mile by mile.

She outlined everything to help me have my most successful day.

The swim:

This year, the course changed and the start changed. The start change was a BIG HUGE mistake. I understand WHY they did it.

My wave was the largest wave of the entire day, with over 200 women in the 45-49 category.

200 women all swimming at the same time in a very small area. The water was 63 degrees. Weaker swimmers or people that don't normally swim in the cold were stressed. Stronger swimmers are trying to figure out HOW hard do we have to swim to get away from the 200 swimmers....

It was like a UFC fight. I'm not kidding. I haven't been in such an aggressive swim since IM CDA when 2000 athletes all hit the water at the same time.

SURGE. SURGE. I SURGED. Taking my straight line. I knew I wasn't the strongest of the swimmers, but I figured I'd be in the back of the lead swimmers.

There was no breaking away. If I slowed down, the 2nd group would catch me. I couldn't keep up with the stronger swimmers (the 20 minute one milers). My one mile speed is around 23 minutes. There was never a clear path for me. I was right smack in the middle of chaos.

Just before the first turn buoy, I saw women starting to chase buoys. Liz had told me to hold my ground and swim right. I couldn't get to the right, but I held my ground. I swam right at the first turn buoy. At the first and second turn buoys, things got violent again. I took a breast stroke kick to the ribs. Hard enough that it took my breath away, I came up for air and got my bearings. I looked up for the finish arches.

DON'T CHASE THE BUOYS. That's when I realized I was all alone. The women were chasing the buoys. Not me. I went directly at the arches.

My swim ended up being almost exactly 1500m. My swim was slower than my normal swim time. I came in at around 27 minutes and part of that was being pulled up and out of the water.

I felt really good about my swim; even though it took me longer. I've been doing triathlon for too long now. I know you can't really compare races. You have to celebrate your wins where you can.

Transition: With the swim changes, the run to transition was considerably longer than it used to be.
I spent 4 minutes going from water to starting the bike.

Yes, I could have gone a little faster, ran out a little faster than I did.

The Bike:

Armed with the info that Liz sent me, I was ready.

The bike was uneventful. There were things I did well. Others not so well. The return offered us a lovely headwind. It was frustrating to see my speed dropping from 22mph to 19mph. I did my best to hold my power where it was supposed to be. But, I found myself grinding and going into survival mode.

I finished the bike in 1:15. My PR is 1:14. I know that I have a 1:11 and better in me. I'm not really disappointed in my bike, but with my x, y and z formulas, I knew that given my swim and bike times.....well, an OLY PR was no longer possible.

BUT, I can still run a 10K PR.

And it was going to be very difficult.

The Run:

Because I need a seemingly abnormal amount of water and salt, I had practiced running a mile, walking for :30 to make sure that I get all the water I need and start running again.

I've practiced this over and over again.

When I hit the first aid station, I walked, I took my one and only gel and started running again. When I got to the second mile, I realized I was going to be racing the clock.

I couldn't walk the aid stations and get my PR. Not only that, but I had to make up what I had lost at the first aid station.

How did this happen? I have my plan. I really have to run, but I can't go too fast and risk blowing up.

Here's the plan, I need to hit these exact paces every single mile.

With a renewed sense of purpose, I took advantage of the subtle downhills and I drove the uphills like I was on a mission.

I checked my my current pace, I should come in right around a PR, but I have to hold the pace or better.

No matter how much my legs hurt, I can't slow down. I can't stop. I have to keep running.

Mile 4 is always a struggle.

I start counting.

I start thinking about mile 5. When I have a half a mile left, I'm going to give it every single thing I have left.

I glanced at my garmin. I am so close. Right now, it could go either way. I could get my PR or not. It's THAT close.

My legs hurt. I make the turn under the bridge, and I see the finish shoot. There are hundreds of people screaming. I mean HUNDREDS. I start running with everything I have left. My legs were screaming at me to stop.

I could feel the emotion building up. I don't know if I'm going to get my PR, but I know a half a mile has NEVER felt so long.

I see Mr. Tea. (I had seen him throughout the entire race. Back then, I was him a thumbs up.) Not now, I felt tears stinging my eyes.

I didn't come this far to miss a PR.

I heard my name announced. I run down the red carpet and cross the finish line.

I crossed and a woman grabbed me, "It's ok. I got you. I got you. We have a towel for you. I'm going to stay with you ok? Are you ok?"

I couldn't hold back the tears anymore. I took the towel, and I cried.

It took me 10 years to get to Nationals. I had no unrealistic expectations. I didn't care if I was the very last to finish. I just raced the National Championship. I just raced with the very best in the country.

And I got a 10K Oly race PR. I don't know what my previous PR was, but I knew that I need a 1:08. I ran exactly 1:08.

When I finally found Mr. Tea. I was completely overwhelmed. I left everything out there, and the emotions were too much. He held me, and I was shaking uncontrollably.

Post race:

Because this race is so HUGE, we had to wait a couple of hours before we could check out.

Liz had a big lunch planned for her athletes racing Nationals. There were about 15 people there. Meeting Liz for the first time was absolutely awesome. She had asked me a couple of questions about my race, but I was still processing everything that had happened that day.

I really hope I wasn't rude, but I needed time to get my wrapped around what I did.

(BTW: Liz came in 2nd in the F40-44 Category, and she had two other athletes who also podiumed.)

Then, it was time for us to walk back to the hotel. Liz had given me a recovery protocol to follow after my Oly race to be ready to race again on Sunday. I got back to the hotel and did everything she said to do.

After the excitement of the day, all I wanted to do was lay around and rest.

But at 5pm, I had to pack up my bike and head back to the race site to drop off my bike and get ready for Sunday.

By the time I got back to the room, I packed up my wet wetsuit, fuel, numbers, had Mr. Tea apply new tri-tats.

And I hit the bed and went out cold.

It seemed like it was only a few minutes, when the 5:00 am wake up call jarred me awake.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Leave the past right where it belongs.

If you are looking for my most recent post. You can find it here. I wrote it yesterday.

I recently found out that sometimes people page back through my old posts. (Yes, Dave M, you got me thinking).

Dave was looking for one of my more brilliant posts. At least, that's what I call it.

It never occurred that people would actually go back and read old posts.

1.) That's kind of cool.

2.) I don't want anyone to accidentally find some older posts that were written during a particularly bad time. There was enough hurt when it happened.

Today, I removed those old posts. The other person in the situation will never ever know what I did, but I feel better about doing it. This post, really, means nothing to anyone. I felt it was necessary, for me.

Time heals all wounds.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Pixie dust not needed

IM Boulder is over. With IM Boulder taking place and my own races coming up and so many really exciting plans on the horizon....I don't know where to begin. IM Boulder was so emotional. I had friends qualify for Kona for the first time ever. One person missed the spot by a margin so small it....hurts. I had friends complete their first Ironman; One of them, barely made the 17 hour cut off. Another person had a DNF. As she had said only a week earlier, "Triathlon is a cruel cruel sport". Because of that, I think, it's also the most amazing of all.

Although, I keep swearing that I'm not going to talk about the "exciting plans" until after Nationals. I will say this. I've been having on going conversations with the two people I trust the most. I think you all (err both of you faithful readers) will be really excited for me.

The reason I'm waiting is because I've learned to not to write about the next season or the season after that (in great depth) because training is really hard and really emotional for me. If I write on a bad day (which I do), you could think that I'm giving up triathlon. On the other hand, catch me in a great mood (which also happens), and I'm doing Ironman. Sometimes, it's just best to let the dust settle.

And well, the BiG EXCITING changes are more than training and races. So....get ready to be amazed! 

Or merely entertained.

Interested, maybe?


We'll get to that in a couple of weeks.

Right here. Right now. It's my turn.

I've never been one that expects miracles. I don't fall for flukes. Flukes are those days that for WHATever reason, you run faster than you have in the past. Or you have the best swim of your life. I don't allow myself to fall into the trap of thinking that crazy fast time is the new normal. I've seen so many people who change their goals based on a great workout.

It can happen for many reasons: you got a great night of sleep. You ate well. It can be any of a thousand reasons.

So, about a week and a half ago, when I ran my fastest times off the bike. I tucked it away. I didn't think of it.

It was a fluke. It wasn't real.

Then, I duplicated the effort 3 days later at a 7 mile run. I ran a 10K PR during a 7 mile training run.

Then, 3 days later, I ran off the bike, again, at the same paces.

This isn't a fluke. This is real. I'm running faster off the bike than I ever have.

I've never gone into a race knowing that I'm faster. I always go into a race, hoping for a miracle, hoping that something magical will happen.

Magic has never happened.

I have a plan for my 10k on Saturday. I'm going into this race knowing that I can run a 10k PR.  In fact, the real test will be DISCIPLINE. The discipline to NOT be fooled by feeling good the first mile. The discipline to hold back and slowly build the first 5k.  So, I can really run the last 5k.

I'm not hoping for magic to happen. I can make it happen on my own.

And that's just the run.

....on Saturday.