Monday, April 24, 2017

Race Report: The Rage


Normally, I don't like to talk about the week leading up to the race. It's important for other's to realize that shit is going to happen. It all comes down to your attitude.

The week before the race, I was exhausted. I hadn't slept in over a week. This is all cycle related. Normally, the insomnia lasts a couple of days. This time, it just wouldn't end. I tried to take naps to no avail. I thought that once I got to Henderson, NV, I'd get to sleep. I didn't realize that many people who stay in Henderson are there to party in Vegas. The 2 nights leading up to the race were worthless in regards to sleep. Drunk people running around above me. Others banging on doors trying to find their rooms.

In the past, I stayed at the Wynn on the Vegas strip (for those of you outside the US). The Wynn is the quietest hotel I have ever stayed at. I have never had any problems. I just assumed that being in Henderson wouldn't be different. It was closer to the race site. The hotel is a nice hotel. But the Wynn? You'll pay for the luxury, but it is worth it.

Besides the sleep issue, I have to say that Henderson is beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, Mr. Tea and I are thinking of buying a winter home there. It is THAT amazing.

The morning of race, I was able to sleep from about 10pm to 2pm when the drunks starting arriving back at their rooms. Was I mad? No. It's Vegas. Those people are there to have a good time. I didn't really plan it very well.

I brought breakfast with me and turned on the coffee maker. My head is foggy. I went back to read emails between Liz and I from the week. I gave it a lot of thought. I said, "Your body is ready for this. Your head might not be ready. Your head can't think straight. Let your body take over today. RULE YOURSELF."

I'm sensitive to caffeine. I started drinking more coffee than any person should be able to (3 cups....a whole lot for me). I needed all the help I could get.

Because I was up, I head to transition (which opens at 5:30). My wave didn't start until 7:40. I was the last wave (except for the beginner wave).

Have I mentioned that I was nervous AF?!?

When I arrived, I realized that my transition area was going to be near the top of the hill. THIS IS PERFECT. I won't have to run far with my bike either UP or DOWN the hill.

From the second you step out of the water, to about a half a mile into the bike, you are on a steep hill.  The run from the water is on rough, rocky terrain. Last year, I struggled in flip flops. I was slipping and sliding and could barely make it up the hill.

This year, I was ready with my new/old shoes.

This was my first race of the year. Being from CO, I hadn't had any opportunity to swim in open water. I hadn't even tried on my wetsuit. No practice of getting into and out of it. I hadn't ridden my bike outside.

Needless to say, this was going to be a practice run.

I went to the water's edge, praying that I'd be able to fit in my wetsuit after a winter of.....um....well....WINTER.

I got to the water's edge, and people were talking about how cold the water was. I looked out and could see the swells of water and waves coming into shore. Lake Mead is a LAKE, but it is known for it's swells and unpredictable conditions. The previous day, there were wind warnings telling boaters to stay close to shore.

It's cold water and rough conditions.
I've got to get into the water to see what I'm dealing with.

Once I got into the water, I immediately realized that I couldn't see the first turn buoy with the swells. 

One of my coaches at masters is a world champion swimmer in the 1 mile open water event. She has been coaching me on pacing. One of the exercises she has me do (Coach Liz also has me do this), is head out of the water swimming. Different coaches call it different things. This is not a doggie paddle (that's a different drill). This is regular swimming with your head up, looking straight ahead. Some coaches refer to it as water polo swimming (click here if you want to see the drill).

I realized that I can't sight because sighting is a split second, and I couldn't get a visual on the buoys in that split second. I thought, "head out of the water swimming." This would allow me to keep up my speed and look for the buoy. As I was swimming into the swells, I had my head out of the water, staring straight ahead until I got a good visual on the buoy.

PERFECT. I put my head down and started swimming and then turned to swim back to shore.

My wave was already lining up. I wiggled my way to the front.  My wave is all women over 40, relays and athenas over 40.

THE SWIM

I know what you're thinking.

 I'm getting there.

Not a lot of people know this, but I LOVE swimming in rough conditions. I love swimming in cold water. I love swimming in less than optimal conditions. It ignites the fight in me. When I'm faced with a challenge, I bear down and go for it.

When the horn went off, everyone took off. I see the crowd ahead of me. Of course, I can't see the buoys. I start swimming "head out of the water". I catch a sight of the buoy, put my head down and go for it. I see on my right the crowd is veering off to the right.

I'm right on course for the buoy.

When I get to the buoy, there are 3-4 other blue caps with me. I know they can't hold on. This isn't being cocky. You can tell when you're out there swimming, who is the confident swimmer. You can tell.  I turned the corner and took off. At this point, the swells are coming at me from the right, so I have to only breath on the left.

NOTE to you triathletes: You MUST MUST MUST learn to breath bilaterally. 

I turned on the gas and noticed I had left all the other blue caps behind. I turn at the next buoy. My arms and back are really quite uncomfortable at this point from forcing myself through swells and staying on course.

I turn at the next buoy. (The course is rectangle).

And....I see a blue cap in front of me.


Where did she come from?

I had already passed several other waves. I thought, "Make a go at it. Catch her".

As we were coming into shore, I realized that SHE was a HE and was a relay swimmer.  He had either slowed down or I had sped up or a combination of both. 

SWIM: 1st out of the water

I get to shore, shove my feet into my shoes and run full speed up the hill, passing many people along the way.

I get to my bike. As I mentioned, this race starts on an uphill. I have my bike set in smaller gears. I jump on the bike and go.

I stay in aero and pass people like they are standing still, heading out to the main road. I know that once I get to the main road, it's all hills all day. My absolute favorite bike course. 

Here we go.

Slingshot ENGAGED.
I was flying. All I kept thinking about was how much I love going fast. I love climbing. I love descending. I love going fast.

As I was about 3 miles from the finish, A guy in a Team Venezuela kit passed me. 

He was a BEAST. I was watching him ride. I could keep up with him on the uphills, but he was killing me on the downhills. Now, the guy easily had 40lbs on me. Still, I started watching him descend. 

I noticed that his "tuck" was extremely tight and low on the downhills. I decided to copy him. As soon as I tucked more, I was going even faster.

 We turned to head into transition. Curves, downhill and an abrupt stop.

My bike was racked very close to the top. 

Got my run gear, and I took off.

THE BIKE: 1st on the bike

THE RUN

I wear my garmin for my races. However, for the sprint, I don't look at it. 

When I started the run, I had no idea what my time was. I had no idea where I was. This strategy works best for me.

It's one of the ways Liz has coached me over the years. Effort and attitude. Period. I give my best effort.  

Case in point: On the swim, I ended up being 1st. Had I looked at my garmin, I would have seen that it was slower than last year's swim. This year, the conditions were such that a PR or even being a little faster weren't realistic. The next closest person to me was 2 minutes behind me. 

I took off running. This course is basically 1 mile up hill, 1 mile flat, 1 mile downhill.

One mile into the run, I decide to check my garmin (to keep me honest). I'm not really running my best. Then, I remembered something that Liz said to me when I first started working with her (over 3 years ago). At the time, it made sense, but I wasn't at the point where I could implement it.

One mile into the run, I was ready to implement it. From here on out, my goal was to negative split. Now....look....one mile downhill....I get it....pretty easy to neg split. But, I added a challenge. My heart rate had to start increasing as well.

Mile 1: 10:15
Mile 2: 9:28
Mile 3: 8:40

Toward the finish, I was running all out. 

I crossed the finish line and stopped my garmin. 

Still having no idea what my finish time was. I knew that I felt really good about my race. It was my first race of the year, a first for many things, and I felt great about it.

I knew that this is a highly competitive race. Out here, in the west, the Rage is the first real race of the year. People travel to this race in hoards to gauge their early Spring fitness. 

I never think about getting a podium. I don't think of the other women in my age group. I go out there and give the best that I can give that day. The time will be what it will be.

I decided to look at my garmin to see where I came in.

I blinked. I stared at it. I did a double check. That can't be right. a 1:27 finish time would give me a podium. 

I went over to the results table.

Sure enough. I came in first.
I went back to transition to text Mr. Tea and Liz before the award ceremony.

Once again, I had messages from people telling me congratulations! (You freaky ass stalkers).

I head over to the awards ceremony, in shock. I never expected to have a HUGE PR. I never expected to podium.

I am confident in my abilities, but every time I step up on the podium, I'm beyond excited. I'm humbled. I'm honored. Mostly, I'm in shock.

I ran into Sarah. Sarah is a MSM Coach and athlete. She was racing the Olympic distance and came in 1st overall. We saw each other on the run course. She runs like a freaking gazelle. This was a "comeback" race for her as she had to take all of last year off.

 One race, two winners.

I don't think I stopped smiling all day. This was so unexpected. On my drive home, I kept thinking about my BIG race in May.  

I once again learned a lot from this race. I know that I have the physical and mental strength to swim well in rougher conditions.

I learned how to descend even faster.

I learned how to negative split the run and be confident in my run. I learned to trust my body to do what I need to do.

Most importantly, I did WHATEVER IT FUCK IT TAKES.







 

















Monday, April 17, 2017

Taper time

I kept this on the DL.

I'm racing on Saturday.

My first race of the year was cancelled, and I got all {{sadface}}. I found out the race was cancelled around Feb.

After about a month of thinking that my first race of the year wouldn't be until MAY. MAY! And feeling like I really do need as much practice as I can get.....

I talked to Liz about a race. She sent me an email with two simple words:

DO IT!!!

That race is this weekend. My training volume for sprints/olys tends to be very similar (or more) than your average triathlete's 70.3 training. So, I can go about my training with no one really noticing when I'm training or tapering or having a step back week. 

It's actually pretty cool. 

I kept the race on the DL for no particular reason. I race sooooo much that (again) most people can't really keep up with my race schedule. My friends who do long stuff, typically do 1-2 races a year. I race 6-8 times in 6-8 months...sometimes more.

Being that it's taper time, I had to send Liz my race plan. 

It was succinct.


 
 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Ask me anything

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to take part in the AMA on the Multisport Mastery Facebook page.

I was to talk about my experiences going from last to fast. When Coach Liz asked me to do this, I was so touched that she would think of me.

I was also really nervous. I kept thinking, "What am I going to say to people? I'm just me. Nothing special".

I was so afraid of having a "dud" conversation that I asked a few friends to stage questions. As it turned out, I didn't need the staged questions.

It was so much fun.

Here's the link to the conversation. You do not have to be an MSM athlete to be part of our group. You'll have access to great coaches and amazing athletes. Feel free to join the group. I don't think you have to be a member to see the conversation.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Overwhelming gratitude

The longer I do this sport, the more I appreciate some of the very special people in my life.

It's because they have such a profound impact on my life. I am so humbled by this sport. I am so honored to have these people in my life.

You may have read about a recent swim breakthrough that I had.

I had another one (a couple of days later).

I'll give you the short story. At the end of masters, my swim coach came over to me and asked if I'd want to do an 800m time trial. The pool was set up as long course meters. He was going to take my splits for me.

Of course, I said, "YES".

The plan for the time trial was to practice my race pacing. When I race in open water, my plan is to always go out as hard as possible, get to the front (or away from the pack), and then settle into a very hard/fast pace.

I've always been afraid of going too hard. Isn't that a fear we all have?

For the time trial, I decided to give it a try. Who cares if I slow down too much? It's my safe place. This is where I can take those risks, try things out before race day.

I went out like a bat out of hell. Every time, I hit the 100, Coach yelled out my paces, but I couldn't hear him.

The entire time, I kept my eye on the clock, but it didn't make any sense. The times/paces didn't make sense. I didn't judge myself on the times...I was either swimming crazy fast or crazy slow.....I left the labels behind and swam as hard as I could. When I was coming up on the 800, I thought, I think I have 100 more to go. So, I did another 100.

When I finished, Coach told me I did the 900 in 13:20. That's an average pace of 1:21 per 100 and a HUGE new PB.

And that was at the end of my masters practice. A practice, in which, I covered 3600m.

When I finished, we talked about my open water race strategy. He told me that my first 100 came in at a blazing fast 1:10, exactly what I want.

AND I MANAGED TO HOLD ON for the rest of the swim.

I had two other incidents this week. I had run intervals.

Because I do shorter races, I tend to bring my garmin but not look at it when I run intervals. It's really important to learn how to race to feel. For me, knowing my paces and heart rate can be an inhibitor. I use my Garmin selectively.

Liz and I have been talking a lot about running lately because something has been happening. We've seen gigantic jumps in my paces.

The goal for my run intervals was to get outside and run them on the track. The past few months of training have taught me more in regards to mental toughness than any months before.  So, when I got to the track, I knew I was going to run those intervals hard. (technically, they were builds. I didn't start super hard).

I blew away my previous times/paces.

I ran 1200's, 800's, and 400's paced perfectly and when I needed to go harder, I went harder.

I had the same thing happen for my 2 hour bike.

As I was pushing watts, I kept saying "Fearless". Fearless, as in I'm not giving in. Not this time. Not next time.

I was telling Liz about this change.This is a really big thing for me. I'm not afraid of pain. I'm not afraid of going too hard.

She told me that I've expanded my comfort zone.

I realized she was exactly right. I'm now most comfortable at the top edge....or as some people call it "redlining".

This is a first for me. I can get to a high level of output and hold it. It has nothing to do with physical ability.

It has everything to do with mental toughness.

This is a level of toughness that I've not had before. I wouldn't have it if it weren't for the coaches in my life who constantly work with me, teach me, push me to give my best and believe in me.

That's where the overwhelming gratitude comes in. I'm so humbled by the fact that they believe in me so much, to give me so much of their time.

The results I'm getting are because of them. They've helped me get where I am today.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

From last to fast


I've been struggling in the pool lately. I've been tired and sore and haven't been able to hit any of my normal paces.

This has been going on for weeks. It's been so tough that I surrendered my lane leader role and told the lane that I can't go by pace. I'll give the best effort (sound familiar?) I can and take whatever rest is scheduled. 

The struggle is real. It's hard, and it can really frustrating.

I knew, I KNEW, if I kept at it....kept giving everything I could even though my paces weren't there.....eventually I'd have a breakthrough swim.

Days went by. Weeks went by. I had nothing to show for it, except a growing frustration.

I showed up for masters swim yesterday and looked at the schedule. Great. USRPT (ultra short race pace training) was the training for the day. AWESOME. Another day of of struggling.

At the end of the workout, we had to do 15 x 75's.

My Coach came over to me and said, "Tea, I want these done in 1:00".

I stood there in disbelief. My PR at the 75 was 1:08. That was for ONE interval, and I haven't been able to hit that for a couple of months.

I rolled my eyes and replied, "You realize that my PB is 1:08, right"?

Coach (who is not in the least intimidated by my eye roll) says, "Trust your body. You can do this".

My mind was filled with "but this....and that....and but.....but....I'm tired.....but....I haven't been able to hit any paces in weeks".

I kept my mouth shut.

I turned to my lanemates.  They said, "You're leading. There's no way we can hit that time".

Rather than argue with Coach and my lanemates, I said, "Ok. Interval time 1:20. We'll do the best we can. If anyone misses the interval (thinking it would be me), the next in line takes the lead and the person who misses skips the next one".  (This is how the workout is structured. If you miss your goal time, you sit out an interval, swim an easy 25 to get back with the group. The extra rest is meant, so you can hit your goal for the next intervals).

Let's do this. On the top.

As soon as I took off, I felt different than I have in months. Every stroke was powerful. My kick timing was right on with my stroke.

When I'm swimming inefficiently and wrong, I can feel it, but I can't figure out how to fix it.

Yesterday, I was swimming as well as I could, and I felt it.

I hit the wall in 1:02.

That was a :06 PB at the 75. Of course, I thought, "One and done. There's no way I can do that again".

Then BAM. It happened again. BAM. Again. Over and over, I kept coming in exactly at 1:02, 1:01.....even 3 in 1:00.

The rest of the lane slowed down a chose a slower pace. My friend said, "I can't do this. I don't know what's wrong with me". I told her, "You'll get there. Come in every day and give what you can. You'll get through this".

At the end of the intervals, Coach came over and asked if I hit the intervals. I said, "Yes. I did."

A smile spread across his face as he could see my disbelief.

I have never been so excited about any race or any PR as I was about this PB in the pool yesterday.

It's because I have NO swimming background. I taught myself how to swim using videos.

At my first sprint race, I don't believe I was the last swimmer to exit the water, but I had a canoe escort bring me in (which is what they do with the last swimmers).

At the time, I was swimming about a 3:00 per 100 pace. Yesterday, my time came anywhere between 1:20 and 1:22, which was PB in the 100. My previous best was 1:25.

But, the part that really gets me excited is how this will translate to open water. Last year, I was swimming 1:35's in the pool and 1:20's in open water.

I finished the swim and practically rushed to get out of the pool. I wanted to tell Liz. When I started with her, I was swimming 1:50's. I've now shaved off about :30 per 100.

When it's comes to swimming, there are few people who really understand how much dedicated work it takes to become a better swimmer. Even Mr. Tea. He see's me come out of the water, but he doesn't really get 1:20 per 100, etc. That's because open water swimming has a number of issues: currents, water temps, sun, etc. All of those factors can dramatically change a pace.

So, I sat in my car. I'm sure I had the biggest smile I've ever had.

I'm so excited.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Shaken confidence


I wasn't going to write about this because it seems like a small issue. Then I thought, maybe it was one of those things that every person has to deal with at some time.

Saturday, my confidence was completely shaken.

My races this year have very difficult bike courses. I did this intentionally. The olympic course of Nationals has one climb that we hit twice. Now, this hill isn't substantial for someone who lives and trains on hills.

But, I have a bigger goal on my radar. 

In order to reach that goal, I chose a race schedule that is filled with hills.

In order to race well, we have been doing all new types of bike training.

I saw Saturday's workout. I set it up in Zwift. I looked it over and thought, "a 1 hour and 15 min workout. Ok. I can do that". 

A short workout means there will be some serious intensity. I had 4 intervals to get through.  This is my bread and butter. This is the stuff I love. I don't cringe when I see these workouts. I look forward to them.

When I was 2 minutes into the first interval, I started thinking, "I'm not going to make it through this workout". 

During the recovery, I thought, "WHAT IS THIS WORKOUT"?

WHY is it so hard?

The second interval hit. I check my power. I check my HR. Everything is where it needs to be, but I feel like I'm going to pass out.

There has to be something wrong with me. I can't keep going like this. I need to drop power.

Just keeping pushing. Keep pedaling.

For the last 2 intervals, I used every single mental strategy I had to get through. I was counting down intervals. I was saying, "You can do anything for 7 minutes...anything for 6 minutes. Only 5 minutes left. Chase down that guy".

I was repeating, "You've got this".

On the last interval, my legs were burning like they never burned before. With every rotation, the voice in the back of my head was there saying, "This shouldn't hurt so bad. There's something wrong with you".

At the end of the last one, I collapsed on my aerobars, unable to even spin the pedals. My legs were shaking. My arms were shaking, and I had sweat running off my face like a river.

As I recovered and started my cooldown, I started analyzing the ride. Why was it so hard? What am I going to tell Liz? "I did it, but I didn't do it well".

I stared at the treadmill. For the first time I can remember, Liz gave me an out, "OPTIONAL OFF THE BIKE RUN".

I sat there and debated skipping it.

For no reason, except that I was so tired, so very tired. I couldn't even think of attempting to run.

I sat on the edge of the treadmill.

I remembered something. Back in 2008, I was training for Ironman CDA.  There was a day that I wanted to give up. I was on the trainer for hours upon hours. JMan came down to check on me. I told him that I was thinking of quitting.

He replied, "So. Are you just going to quit? Are you going to do that in your race, too? Just get off the bike and walk back"?

That day, I kept going.

I sat on the edge of the treadmill and started getting my shoes on. I started running.

I thought of something that Liz said to me years before, "Your legs won't feel like they are there, but they are. You have to trust your body".

Step by step, I kept going. My legs never felt good; in fact, they felt about as bad as they could feel. I never felt "energized", but my pace and heart rate were right where they needed to be.

I could only think of one thing, "If you don't fight for this now, you are giving yourself permission to quit down the road".

I finished the run. I laid on the couch and thought about the workout. No sense of satisfaction. No feeling like a bad ass fighter. No sense of a job well done; just the feeling of being thankful that I was done.

A few hours later, and after I ate and recovered, I typed up my notes to Liz, telling her everything that went through my head.

The very first thing she said was, "tea, this is an extremely difficult workout". She explained how it was going to help at my races.

There was a lot going on in my head on Saturday. I pulled from every single mental strategy I had to get through the workout.

But this is what I want YOU to know, when you think you are at wit's end; when you think you have absolutely nothing left to give........You ALWAYS have more to give.

Training won't always be pretty. Some days, it will be downright ugly, but ugly counts.



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The end of an era

The end of an era and a new beginning.


As I look back over my time in triathlon, I can see where (for lack of a better word) one chapter ended and another began.

It's not that all those times were monumental. They represented change or a new outlook or something like that.

I think I'm heading into my next new beginning. There are things I'd like to accomplish that I wasn't ready to tackle until now. It's simply because of growth. We all have goals. But reaching those goals takes a plan and steps along the way.

You can't be a podium finisher with the mindset of a middle of the pack athlete. You can't be a World Champion with the mindset of a podium finisher. With each level that we go for, we change. We become better.

It's a long process.

Some of the goals that I've set for myself for this year are things that weren't really on my radar even last year. That's because I wasn't ready for them.

"You aren't given a wish without also the ability to make it true".

That means, as we grow, our dreams can change.

While my big goals are out there on the horizon, I'm taking my smaller goals and making them bigger.

Liz has helped me get to a new level.

When it's my turn, I will shine.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

From here to there

Back in Nov, Liz made a comment about the difference between triathletes and runners (or triathletes with a strong/competitive running background).

I'm sure the comment was an off the cuff observation that she's seen over years of coaching.

That little OTC (off the cuff) comment has stayed with me. Even though it might not be earth shattering for a lot of people, it was something that I'd never thought of before. Honestly, I didn't really think there was a difference. After all, triathletes are runners, right?

For months, I have been working on moving from "here to there". It's a bit of a mindset change. 

Change doesn't happen overnight. It's the result of a bunch of little steps put together. Some days, I think, YES...I'm almost there. Other days, I head back to the drawing board. 
Remove the word "sacrifice" and replace it with "investment".


I know it's up to me to figure out how to get there in my day to day training. 

Three and half years with her, and she still says things that make me stop to think.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Goals

This is me.





These are my goals

I struggled with goals for a long time. It wasn't setting goals that was difficult. It was the implementation. I would set a finish time goal and always be disappointed when I didn't hit it.

One day, Liz asked me what my goals were. Bear with me, this is a little complicated in my head. In order to make Team USA at the standard distance and sprint distance, athletes have to place in a certain position at the National Championship. 

SO. Liz told me to look up the finish times of athletes who finished in X place. 

THAT finish time became my goals for Nationals this year.

I have repeatedly said, "Don't have time goals for races. It's all about effort and attitude". 

That is 100% true. Don't think about the other athletes and their abilities. Don't think about them as your competition because that's false. That is your excuse to fail.

We don't accept excuses here in the Land of Ch.

Can you tell these are conversations I've had with myself over the years?

How do I make sense of all this?

That's where Liz came in. I told her the times. She asked, "What do YOU need to do in each event to make that a reality"?

This also requires a realistic assessment of my own ability. At this time, a 2:15 oly finish is WAY too aggressive. In fact, my goal of 2:35 is going to be hard enough to hit. 

I need to be realistic and aggressive. I have to find that balance. It's not realistic for me to say that I'm going to run a 45 min 10k off the bike when I JUST did a standalone 10k in 59 minutes. An aggressive goal at the Olympic is truly an aggressive goal because of the pain involved. For me, that is what makes this a very tough race. At a 70.3 and Ironman, I could walk the aid stations. (Obviously, I doubt the pro's do that, but I suspect most age groupers DO walk the aid stations). That's not an option at the oly, especially not for me since I will be doing everything I can to hold off the runners breathing down my neck.

I sat down and I scribbled out what times I need to have in order to hit that time goal.

My swim time plus transitions are X.

My bike time is Y.

My run time is Z.

Add them all up, and you have my goal time.

That's what we are training to. 

This isn't just Nationals. I took several other races that I'm doing this year and did the exact same thing.

Now, this is important.....anything can happen on race day. That's why effort and attitude are the most important things to bring to the table. A race can be unexpectedly hot or cold or rainy or snowy or windy or......for a race I've never done.....the course can be unexpectedly difficult. 

Because I primarily do short distances, I can race a lot. I can race 1 to 2 times per month. Although these races are practice races, they are all out efforts to see where I am in the process. 

This is why it's also very important to have a race plan, developed hand in hand with your Coach.

What will you do if you lose your fuel on the course?
What will you do if it is unbelievably hot?
How will you handle rough currents?
How will you pace each event?
What will you do if the aid stations run out of water, food, gels, etc?

What will you do the morning of the race if your race start is delayed?
How will you eat in the morning?
What will you eat the night before?


Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

These things might seem like small details, but you need a plan.
 
This is how I come up with my goals and the plan to get me there. 

I have many races coming up. I needed something to get me back on track and focused on my upcoming races. 

I wrote down my goals for a few races. I picked the first 2 races on my calendar and Nationals. My thought was that I'd get through my first sprint and oly of the year and reassess at that time. Not reassess my goals. Those races will show me where I was strong and what I need to work on. My goals remain constant. I will continue to train for those goals. We all know that every race brings it's own challenges. The more I race, the more I learn about myself and what I need to do to accomplish my goals. 

 
During the year, this is my thought process. This is how I have been setting and hitting my goals.

Of course, I'm leaving out the single most important piece. 

That's heart.

When you're out there racing, you've gotta do whatever the fuck it takes.




Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Pinch me

It was a regular evening. Mr. Tea and I were hanging out.

I don't know why, but I picked up my phone and thought I should check my email.....which I NEVER do in the evening.

An email caught my eye. It was from USA Triathlon, but not a generic USA Triathlon. It was from a PERSON at USA Triathlon.


I read it again.

I started shaking.

I made some weird noise, and Mr. Tea turned around quickly and asked, "What's wrong"?

I had tears in my eyes. I handed him my phone.

I stared at him, waiting for him to tell me that I misread the email.

Slowly, he said, "Oh my god. YOU DID IT"!

I just sat there crying and shaking.


I started triathlon in 2006. From 2006 to 2010, I couldn't commit to it. It was more of a hobby, a way of exercising. I had two sons, Mr. Tea, and we had started a company. In 2010, this were settling down. I decided that in 2011, I was going to really commit to triathlon. I had a dream. I wanted to race as part of Team USA. I didn't tell anyone. At the time, I was a back of the pack triathlete. I'd never even qualified for the National Championship.

To qualify for Team USA there are two layers of qualifications:
1.) You have to qualify for the National Championship.
2.) At the National Championship, you can qualify for Team USA.

I never put on any airs about my abilities. I knew exactly who I was. I always believed, and I've said here so many times.....I always believed I was faster than what my times showed. 

I didn't know how to get from where I was to where I wanted to be.

For the next couple of years, I worked my ass off with no significant gains. I was still a middle pack triathlete with big dreams. That's all I was. 

I listened to people insult my running.  I listened to "well meaning" advice.

People made jokes about my abilities. There was a group of people who called me the "one legged runner" because I ran so slowly. 

At masters, there was a group of gossipy stay at home moms who were out to make my life miserable. I routinely walked in on their conversations about me.

 I had a friend (at the time) that I thought I could trust. I found out that person didn't respect me as an athlete.

Even now, just typing this hurts.

I listened to it all. I smiled, nodded my head and tucked it away. When I trained, I remembered those comments. When I ran on the treadmill, I visualized racing at the World Championship. I experienced the emotions of being part of the parade. I sometimes ran with tears running down my face because I wanted it so badly.

Every morning, I got up and went to work again. 

In December 2013, I left my old coach. I left the masters team. I cut out every single toxic person in my life. At the same time, a brick hit me when I lost my best friend. All of a sudden, the person I would text several times a day was gone. For months afterward, first thing in the morning, I would reach for my phone.....and then it would hit me. 

I was at rock bottom. I felt alone and lost.

That's when I found Liz.

I was truly starting from scratch.  I started working with Coach Elizabeth Waterstraat. I joined a new masters and found a wonderful swim coach. Over time, I met new athletes. 

Liz had her hands full with me. I was an emotional mess. She took me back to square one. We started with very basic workouts. She explained why my old workouts didn't work for me. She explained how we were going to change how I trained. She taught me what it means to be an athlete at the top of your game and also be a class act. She taught me how to race. She coaches newbies, middle packers, pro's and top age groupers, and she treats every single person like they are the most important athlete she has.   That year, 2014, 6 months after starting with her, I got my first 1st place age group. Two months later, I found out that I qualified for Nationals. 

For the first time, I was with a Coach who wanted to help me develop into the athlete I always believed I could be. 

I started seeing that those crazy dreams could become a reality.

I had a plan to get to Nationals in 5 years.  

In my first year with Liz, I qualified for Nationals at every race I did. I stood atop the podium, most of the time, in shock.

You'd be surprised at how success starts to bring out the worst in people. I had cut out all the toxic people in my life. Yet, here we were again:

You're obsessed. You're too hard on yourself. You could be so much more if you just fixed your running. That podium doesn't mean anything. It's all about who shows up on race day. The list goes on and on.

By now, I was used to it. I realized that people will always try to tear you down in order to build themselves up.

What they didn't realize is that confidence comes from reaching your goals. And I was knocking my goals out of the ball park. 

"When voices inside are quiet. The voices outside can do you no harm".

And I went back to work. Liz pushed me harder than she's ever pushed me. She demanded my best, and I did everything I could to be my best. 

Mr. Tea and I built this company together. We've been through very tough times and very good times. We've had the most heated arguments about the company or steps we need to take. It's because we have a passion for what we do. Arguments come out of passion. At the end of the argument, the company and "we" are better for it.

Coaching/athlete relationships are the same way. I think there's a misunderstanding that your relationship with your coach has to be sunshine and roses. It's not. Liz and I have disagreed. Liz and I have been frustrated with each other. It's because we are passionate about what we do. At the end of the day, I'm a better athlete for it.

Last year, I decided to share most of my big goals with Liz. We set on a plan to achieve those goals.

So yesterday, when I read the email, all those horrible things people said and did to me came rushing back. All those years of feeling like I wasn't respected as an athlete....they came rushing back to me.

I MADE TEAM USA.

I sat on the couch and cried. I hugged Mr. Tea, and I cried more. I emailed Liz. I texted JMan and Googs. I texted the people closest to me. I realized that my circle was far bigger than I realized. I took to Facebook to thank everyone.

This was the first of my really big goals. The people who have been there for me and who have never once questioned me or ability were the ones I wanted to celebrate with.

There are a number of you, who have been with me for so many years. We've had our own share of disagreement and "passionate" discussions. I think that's why we've made it so long together.  There are some of you, who I've only known a short time, but you've managed to touch me in some way or another. There's no possible way for me to reach out to you all individually. 

I continue to be humbled by this sport. I'm incredibly proud to be able to represent the USA, but I'm humbled by the sheer number of athletes out there in the world. Working for years on a goal, only to accomplish it....it's overwhelming. I still feel like an underdog when I show up to race. I don't think that will ever go away. I don't think I want it to either.

I want you to know, you are an important part of this journey.

And, we're only just getting started.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Race perception

Are you disappointed with races that don't end in a PR or podium?

What types of things do you say to yourself when you racing and training?

Do you refer to yourself as fat or slow?

Do you see yourself as a failure? Your race as a failure?



This weekend, many people raced. There were races from 5Ks to 50Ks to Ironman. I raced, too.

The overwhelming comments that I saw made me realize that "we", in general terms, have become a population that isn't happy or satisfied unless we PR or make a podium regardless of what our training was; regardless of what was going on in our lives; regardless of race conditions.

Let me tell you about my weekend race. I had a 5k. The 5k came after 3 weeks of 12 hour training weeks. I had run for 4 days prior to the race. I hadn't had a day off in a month. In addition to that, I was dealing with some other hormonal issues that strike women as they get older. It is an overwhelming fatigue that makes getting out of bed difficult. Fortunately for me, this usually only lasts one day a month. Sometimes, it ends up being on race day. The weather was brutal. It was so so cold with 40 mph sustained winds, with gusts that were supposed to hit 60 mph.

At the start line, the RD mentioned that going out was going to be great with the tailwind, but OH THE RETURN. The race runs along a dam road. It is fully exposed to the elements.

The second I started running, I could feel the fatigue in my legs. I told myself to fight through it. The race will be over quickly. My legs felt like boulders were attached to them. I was cold. The sun started going behind the clouds.

I was running with the front group. During the first 1.55 miles, the group started thinning out. I wasn't passed once during the first 1.55 miles.

When I hit the turnaround, the wind was so much worse than I could have imagined. My plan was to not worry about pace. I had a goal of making sure not one single person passed me on the second half. Historically, I get passed. I took the opportunity to think of the wind like my hill repeats. Keep up the effort. Effort and attitude are the only things I can control.

I looked straight ahead. I was slowing down, but I was gaining on people ahead of me. One by one, I started passing them.

When I crossed the finish line, I have never been so happy to finish a 5k.

I didn't PR. I had no idea what my finish time was, but I knew I gave it everything I had for the day.

I was happy with my effort. Every race I do is the next step toward my big goals. How I perform during those minor races is more important than my time, a pr or a podium.

Last year, I had a race. In the last half a mile, I was passed by another woman. I came in 2nd that day. I was really angry. I wasn't angry at getting second. I even PRd the course. I was mad because I didn't give my best. I didn't race to best of my ability. I don't mind being beat by better athletes. But I don't like being beat because of something I did....or in this case....didn't do.

Back to my race yesterday, I went to look at the results. I came in 4th place out of 71. My time was 27:57.  This was over a minute slower than my normal 5k time.  Last year in perfect conditions, I came in 7th.

I gave everything I could yesterday. I passed people who started to slow down. I wasn't passed once.

I was happy with my results. My race wasn't going to be on any team highlight reels.

Still, to me, my race was a success. No one can take that away from me.

Yet, I repeatedly saw people talking about their races from the weekend as "failures". "Not my best effort" has come to mean "I didn't PR". Guess what? We aren't going to PR every race. WE aren't going to podium every race.

That's why setting up a race schedule is so important.

That's why it's so important to not just throw races into your schedule.

I have 2 big races planned this year. All other races, leading up to those races, are my practice sessions.

My practice sessions might be A races for other people. Those people will be fully tapered and ready to race. I will be in the middle of a build period. Likewise, my A races might be practice sessions for other athletes.

When you line up for your big race(s) of the year, you need to go into it knowing what your best effort feels like. External factors will always be at play.

You go out there and give your absolute best effort. When you start racing to effort, understanding that finish times are affected by too many factors, you will always be happy with your results regardless of time.

The only time you won't be happy is when you don't give your best.

Isn't that better than giving it everything you had but feeling like a failure simply because you missed a PR? Or a podium?

Yes. Yes, it is.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Whatever the f*ck it takes

My longest workouts of the week are done.

During my long run today, I was thinking of St. George. I came up with a goal for the race.

This goal goes beyond "effort and attitude".

When I first starting thinking about it a few weeks back, it was something that was just sort of floating around in the back of my head.

As I was running today, I thought, "YEAH. FUCK YEAH". 

If a goal doesn't make you throw up a little, it's not worth the time.

The next step was....how to do it....how to make this crazy goal happen.

I know how. This is how.

I'm going to do 

WHATEVER THE FUCK IT TAKES.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

St George

About a month ago, I learned that my first race of the year was canceled. If my race schedule wasn't already jam packed, I probably would be disappointed.

Onward to my May race: St George.

The last few weeks of training have been tough. I never signed up for easy, though. What's the saying?  It doesn't get easier, you get better.

Training has been tough because of the course. All hills, all the time.

I'm doing tough bike workouts. (THANK YOU Zwifters for the RIDE ONS). I'm doing tough runs and a lot of strength training.

Losing out on one race means that we have more time to prepare for a tough race.

I'm tired, often. I'm sore, often. I feel like I'm in an endless hunger pit.

We've changed up a lot, as far as training goes. I'm doing back to back to back to back swims now. I'm running more often, and the bike workouts...well...sitstandgrindforcemorepowermorepowermoremoremore.......THANK YOU ZWIFTERS for the RIDE ONS.

Although I haven't asked, I think she's doing this intentionally. There's a method to the madness, but I haven't the energy to inquire.

It goes back to something I've mentioned before. What do you do when you're tired? Do you quit? Do you back off? That is certainly what I want to do. But there's also that voice that reminds me, "this is the stuff that counts. Any damn fool can train when they're feeling fresh. Giving it everything when you're tired is something that not everyone is willing to do".

It's really easy to just get through a workout.

It's harder to give it your everything when your body wants to stop....and just....rest for a bit longer.

During today's run, 5k pace intervals on an incline (of course on an incline), I felt pretty decent. You know, "pretty decent" for the work I'm doing. I mean, my legs were screaming at me. My heart rate was over threshold. I was drenched when I finished the workout and so badly wanted to lay down when I remembered, "I have to swim".

The swim was brutal. Liz gave me a form swim instead of swimming masters today. Form = easy, but there was nothing easy about it. In fact, lately all my swims have been a struggle.

I went, and I struggled through it. I struggled to hit my intervals. I thought about backing off a little bit, but I didn't. As I was swimming, I remembered that every time I have a few tough swims in a row, I have a huge breakthrough.

My time for a breakthrough swim is coming, but to get there, I have to hold on right now.

My time for a breakthrough race is coming, but I have to hold on right now.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The misunderstood cyborg

"Don't think. Be a machine, Tea. Be a machine."

Liz said those words to me 4 years ago.


I was reminded of this because Mr. Tea and I had conversation. I said, "Liz is really pushing me, right now. I'm doing more at this time than I have done in the past".

Mr. Tea replied, "She's trying to figure out if you're a cyborg".


When Mr. Tea speaks, I listen. Am I that misunderstood? Do I make it seem like this is easy for me? Do I not complain enough about being tired or sore? Should I talk more about how I felt like I couldn't pedal one more stroke during that ride? Should I mention how much planning I have to do to get this all to work? Even then, it rarely goes to plan?

I'm a true morning person. Not the kind that sets an alarm and gets up to be at 6am masters. I go to bed early, naturally, and I'm up hours before sunrise (without setting an alarm). I didn't know I was a morning person until (our youngest) JMan moved out. Back then, my schedule was dictated by our sons' school, sports & other activities.

Mr. Tea, on the other hand, is not a morning person.

Mornings are my best times. Since I'm up early, no one is at work, and Mr. Tea isn't even awake, I can accomplish a lot.

Interestingly, I'm not an early morning workout person. I struggle to get up and start training.

I know this....I'm far from being a cyborg.

Instead of training, I work.

From 4 or 5am to 8am, I work. Around 8am, I do my first workout. When I'm done, I work again. When I'm at a point I can take a break, I do my second workout. Then, I work again. Because I'm up so early, my workouts (with the exception of strength training) are done by 1pm.

Because of the nature of my job and my work schedule, I don't necessarily work 8 hours a day, but I do work 7 days a week. Thursdays and Fridays are my long workout days because I have a shorter work day. Saturdays and Sundays are shorter workouts because I work most of the day.

My schedule is often tighter than I'd like it to be. That's why I schedule out my meals during the week.

Yesterday was a good example of how NOT a cyborg I am. I was supposed to get to the grocery store on Thursday. I knew we were low on food. I was so tired after my workouts, I skipped the store.

I got through Friday ok.  Then, I had a long run on Saturday. The day after long workouts, I tend to be hungrier than normal, and I had a long run.

I got home from my run. We had no food in the house. I had a protein shake to hold me over, so I could figure out what to do. Just then, Mr. Tea walked in the door with a bowl of Turkey chili from Panera, "I knew you'd be hungry when you got home".  That's why he's the Best Man.

That was lunch. It filled me for a bit. Then, we had Googs 23rd birthday lunchner. I was very very hungry at that point and threw down more pizza than you'd actually think a person could eat.

When we got home, I know my carb (and not the good kind) count is through the roof, but my protein intake was low for the day.

We went to the store and picked up enough food to get through Tuesday. I made some quick lettuce wraps (bibb lettuce and chicken) to get in more protein.

I have a hard bike and strength training planned for Sunday. My hope was to get in enough good stuff, so I can handle the bike.

It's not my nature to complain.

I've learned that some of my best workouts are when I'm sore, and I doubt that I'll be able to do anything.

I've learned that some days that effort > pace.

I've learned that training while tired is exactly the point.

I've learned to be nice to myself.

Recently, someone said to me, "You're lucky that you can train in the middle of the day. Having your own business must be really nice".

I thought to myself, "Is it also really nice that I have to pull money from my own bank accounts to keep the business running when bad times hit?"

We are all fighting our own battles. This isn't easy for anyone. Because I don't complain, doesn't mean I'm not facing my own challenges.

I'm not a cyborg. I'm human. Every day, I get up and do the best I can with the hours I have.

It's not easy, but it is simple.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

I'm back....sort of

As you may know, I have a love/hate relationship with social media. Back in the first half of 2014, I closed my Instagram & Twitter accounts and temporarily deactivated my FB account.

I'm a pretty private person (yeah, right? A BLOGGER?). I have always set my privacy settings as high as I could get them. I use FB as a messenger service (which saves me from giving out my cell number) and as a way to keep up Team MSM's activities. I also post blog updates to a very small group of people.

I have a Twitter account. I only use it for Coach Liz's updates. She posts the latest and greatest in training and mental strategies from the experts.

Of course, snapchat....which is fun as hell.

Strava....because.....it took over for FB back in day. People used to post their workouts on FB. Googs once made a comment about posting my workouts on FB. I realized that he was right. No one cares about my workouts on FB. Strava took that over. I can post about my workouts, talk trash with the best of them & know that we're all managing training & life. I get so excited for people when they knock out a huge workout or PR a race. When things don't go your way, your Strava fans will give you support when you most need it. When Mr. Tea and I went through that rough time last year, it was hard for me to get workouts done. The Strava athletes were there when I needed help getting through workouts.

Finally, there's Instagram. Of all of them, Instagram was my favorite because of the lack of political posts. Today, I decided to go back to Instagram. I opened up my old account. (I had deleted everything back in 2014).  I haven't figured out exactly how I want to use it. There have been a lot of updates since 2014, so there's some re-learning on my part. I can't guarantee that I will post anything very exciting, but I'm back......sort of.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What I eat.

Another break from the alphabet to talk about food.

Every week, I get at least two messages asking me what I eat. I feel a little weird writing about this, but ok.

Here you go. Here is a snapshot of what I eat. At the end of the post, I talk about how I make it all happen.

A few things you should know:

I primarily eat organic and pasture raised. Not always. Whenever possible.

I am training ~12 hours a week now. This snapshot is from a day that I trained for 2 hours.

Immediately upon waking up:
1 BiPro protein water

Within an hour of waking up, Breakfast:
Egg sandwhich:
1 egg
1 slice of cheese
a ton of kale
1 slice of Golden age boule bread (1 slice is HUGE)
Half and half for coffee
1 piece or one cup of fruit (whatever is in season)

This breakfast (and the Bipro) is roughly 551 calories. I don't count calories. This is to give you an idea of how my day goes.

Second breakfast:
This depends on my training schedule. I have a number of smoothies that I drink when I need something fast or that I need to bring in my car on the way to swim.

On days I swim:
Pina colada smoothie with paleo pure egg white protein powder.
The smoothie consists of:
.5 c pineapple
.25 c of shredded unsweetened coconut
juice from either 1/4 or 1/2 a lime.
1 tsp of maple syrup
1 scoop of paleo pure protein powder
.5c full fat coconut milk

The smoothie has ~320 calories

On days I don't swim, I have a regular meal:
Chipotle seasoned chicken
brocoli
roasted sweet potatoes
1 fruit

~365 calories

Lunch:
Ground turkey tacos
small corn tortillas, ground turkey, hot pico (tomatoes, onions, etc.)
1 fruit

Afternoon tea:
Turkey chili
1 fruit
mixed nuts

~585 calories

Dinner:

Ground turkey burger seasonsed with shredded zucchini, garlic powder, ginger & tumeric
1 slice of cheese
I put it on top of a bed of power greens (kale, spinach, arugula, etc. It's one of those premixed bags).
Sweet potatoes

384 calories

Bedtime snack:
Chicken lettuce wraps. Seasoned chicken in bib lettuce.
150 calories.


I know what you're thinking, "I don't have time to cook all that".

Neither do I.

I present you with:
How I make these meals happen.


Sundays are prep days. I cook all sweet potatoes on Sunday. Then, I easily have it to just heat up.
Chili or soups (which I make a lot) are great for separating into individual portions. (I make soups like turkey meatball soup or other types of meatball meals.)

Some stores sell pre-cooked seasoned chicken breast. If it's available, I pick it up. Otherwise, make the chicken on Sunday also. A quick maranade is tabasco & lime juice. That's my go to seasoning, but you can use anything really. Experiment.

I pre-chop veggies on Sundays, so they are ready to go. (Kale is chopped and ready each morning. Broccoli, also....or use frozen).

I also keep deli turkey on hand and make sandwiches. It's a really fast meal when I'm crazy hungry.

I also make no sugar, protein muffins which are so delicious. I bake on Sunday and freeze them for the week.

During the week, when I make turkey burgers, I make extra. Then, I have those in the fridge for when I need a quick meal.

There you go. There's nothing magical about what I eat.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Oops I did it again: 10k race report


Yesterday on the MSM FB page, an athlete made the comment that Liz is as much a life coach as she is a tri coach. If you aren't part of the group, I highly recommend that you join. You don't have to be coached by the MSM coaches to join. You don't have to see yourself as an athlete. Her scope goes beyond swim, bike, run.

I'm mentioning that because it is so true on every level. The greatest gains I have made are on the mental side. Liz has given me that edge.

She has taken me from an athlete who didn't know what would happen on race day to someone who owns the day.

One of the most helpful things we have done, she calls, "resetting".  Without giving away her trade secrets, the general idea is if you are riding at 90% FTP, she'll interject intervals of +110FTP.  If you are running 400m intervals, she'll interject 100 or 200m intervals. (Those are my own made up examples. They aren't short pops. They are true intervals).

The point of doing this is to reset your mind as to what you think is hard. We do this regularly; 90% FTP might feel hard, until you do 110%. When you go back to 90%, it's not so bad.

Over the last few weeks, we have been doing this with incline repeats. She's been having me run threshold pace on increasing inclines. The workouts have been incredibly tough and mentally trying.

Fast forward to yesterday, I had my first standalone 10k in years. My PR at the 10k was 1:01:25. It's been a longstanding PR.

Before my race, Liz dropped me a note saying, "I'd like to talk about this race". That got my attention because I'm thinking "this is just a run. Why do we need to talk"?

The fact is, when we set my goals for the year, one of them was learn how to run a 10K.  I have a history of running a 5k and fading fast.

We talked and came up with a plan. This time, it was more of Liz telling me what she wanted me to do. That helped me immensely because I trust her. I know she's going to give me the best plan of action.

My plan was simple: 2.5 miles easy, 3 strong, .7 all out.

All week, I was trying to figure out what 2.5 easy would be. Should I look up my last PR? NO. You're not that person anymore.

I had a stroke of brilliance. My incline repeats have been at 6% at a 9:47 pace. My goal will be to start at 9:47 pace. If I'm running 9:47 at 6%, I should be able to do that at a race for the entire time.

Keep in mind, I have no idea what finish time that will give me. I thought, my effort will go up throughout the race. Holding that pace will be hard enough.

I'm no dummy. I know that last mile was going to be unpleasant.

My goals for the race:
1.) Finish before the awards ceremony start. Granted this is out of my control. Still, it would be fun to accomplish it.
2.) Follow the plan, so I don't get in trouble.

For the first 2.5 miles, I stuck with my plan. I was right around the 9.47 mark. I surge on the hills and took advantage of the downhills. There's one hill on this course. I kept saying, "There's no way this hill is 6%. RUN IT HARD".

And, I did.

When I passed the 3.1 marker, I did a system check and thought, "I feel pretty good. I'm going to be able to pick up the pace".  I couldn't believe I was feeling as good as I was. I had no idea what the time was when I passed the 3.1 marker.

Again, I know it's not going to feel super great for long.

At this point, I realized that I could pick up the pace. I set a goal of getting faster for each mile with .7 going all out.

I was going to hit the hill again at mile 5. The second time around, I ran it harder than the first.

I ran the downhill as hard as I could.

With the last .7, I start chugging. I looked ahead and wondered if I could catch a guy in a blue shirt. It took me about .25 miles to pass him. Then, I saw another guy. I wondered if I could catch him. I caught him at about 5.75 miles.
 
I had one more person to catch. A woman was a bit ahead of me. With about .2 miles to go, I was going as hard as (I think) I could. I have no idea if I ever caught her. I had no idea what my finish time was. I was focused on my task RUN HARD. 

I crossed the finish line and had to hold onto the fence. I was dizzy. I couldn't stand up.

Then, I heard, "We're getting ready to start the awards ceremony". I looked at my Garmin so fast. If they started on time, that meant I ran sub 1 hour for the first time ever.

My finish time was 59:19 with an average pace of 9:33 beating my goal of 9:47.  That means I ran faster today than I did at my 5 mile race a few weeks back.

I wasn't trying to get a PR. I just plain did it. I followed the plan, and the result was just over a 2 minute PR, or +:20 per mile.

I had a super secret goal of hitting 9:30 pace. I barely missed it.
 
All I wanted was to hold a 9:47 pace, and here I averaged 9:33.  

I was so excited to see a longstanding PR finally happen that I was was overcome with emotion. All winter long, I've been telling Liz that my fitness gains are hiding under layers of winter clothes, fighting winds and doing balancing acts on snow and ice. 

I knew I was going to see it happen. It takes so much patience to put in the work every day and not know when you will have the opportunity to shine. 

Yesterday was my day. 

It was a huge step for me. On the drive home, I realized what it meant in terms of my big goals. 

THAT little 10K meant that I'm on track. 

I'm right there. I'm right on the edge of reaching my goals, and I'm still 6 months out from my biggest race.