Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Growth



"If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you"---Every Coach since the dawn of time.


For a couple of months, we've been doing entirely new types of run training. There were times that I was getting so frustrated with myself because I couldn't get it.

I kept working on it; until I didn't anymore. I gave up. I couldn't get it. I couldn't figure out how to get it. I couldn't figure out how to get my body to move the way I was supposed to move it. 

Full speed ahead, I ran into a mental block. I started questioning all my training. Maybe I'm not meant to do this. Maybe I should just give up hope. Why do I even bother? Obviously, these training practices are made for other people, not me.

At the same time, my swim coach took a day and told me that we were going to work on my fly. My fly looks like I'm having a seizure. I'm ok with that. I'm a freestyler. Still, I could tell that my Coach had grave concerns about my fly.


We spent an hour, working on fly.

An hour.

At the end of the hour, I don't know if I'd made any progress. In fact, I felt like my stroke had disintegrated a bit. My mind was completely overwhelmed. I CAN'T GET THE MOVEMENT.

My mind shutdown.

I wanted to throw in the towel. I was beyond frustrated. I'd run head first into a brick wall with my running and now swimming.

The next day, I had a couple of workouts and an optional workout. I was contemplating skipping the optional workout.

Mr. Tea saw me and asked what I was doing. I explained that I was thinking about skipping my optional workout.

He said, "You'll do it. That's who you are. If a Liz says to run 30-40 minutes. You'll run 40. You're THAT person. I'm the other person".

Despite making me laugh out loud.

He had a point. That's exactly who I am. I don't give up when I run into obstacles. I always find a way.

Two days later, we had a giant IM set at masters. The entire workout was 4000yds. 

Without thinking, I took off for the first 100 IM. I left without fins (for fly). I left.without.thinking.

I took off from the wall and did fly, not poorly.

Then, I did it again. And again. And again. I wasn't thinking about what I was doing. My mind relaxed, and I swam fly.

Over the weekend, I had a race. The point of the race was a pacing exercise. The race was fine. 

Liz and I talked afterward. She said something along the lines of "You've got to work on this".

I got SO mad. "I'm FUCKING trying. I really am."

I took a step back.


I wasn't mad at Liz. I was frustrated with myself. 

These are my goals. Liz is telling me exactly what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. She is not going to let me off the hook that easily.

Once again, what do I need to do to make this work?

I'm in great running shape. I can run long distances or speed work. I have the fitness I need to do these workouts.

I thought about learning fly.


My inability to do what I needed to do wasn't a result of poor fitness.

It was a result of what was going on in my head.

Where your head leads, your body follows. Your body will do whatever you tell it to do.

I went running today. Instead of trying to figure out how to make my body move. I did one thing. I told it to run the way I need to run. 

Guess what?

It worked. 

I've taken the next step in my development.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

F is for Favorites

It's time for a list of my favorite things!

Like most people, I like to try new and different things, not because I have any problem with what I'm currently using....I just like to try things. However, some things I stick with for a long time. Sometimes new companies start.

ROKA everything. I've been doing triathlon for 11 years. I have tried just about every wetsuit, goggles, etc. I have never been a fan of Xterra wetsuits. Until ROKA, I was a fan of blue seventy. (Keep in mind, I've also tried very small brands). Three years ago, I got my first ROKA suit. I decided to give the goggles a try as well.

Important note about the goggles: while you can't go wrong with ANY styles, if you are a woman, the one piece goggles tend to be too big and leak horribly. Get the goggles with the changeable nose piece. Given that I race all over the US, I've had different lighting conditions when swimming: from swimming in the dark, to swimming directly into a rising sun--unable to see any buoys. These goggles are absolutely amazing. In the past, I used to load up with different goggles, not really seeing any difference. ROKA goggles, while not cheap at around $30, are SO WORTH THE MONEY.  I love them so much that I lost a pair at the National Championship last year and was devastated. How often do YOU cry over a lost pair of goggles? Yeah. They're that good.

Let's get to the wetsuits. First of all, I swim sleeveless. So, I can't speak to the full suits.

I LOVE THE ROKA WETSUITS. Period. They fit better than any suit I've had in the past. That's a big deal for a cyclist, like me, with bigger legs. The wetsuit fits like a second skin but doesn't restrict motion, like other big clunky wetsuits. The wetsuits are soft and supple. They are easy to remove and (I think) even easier to get on. One thing I love love love is the neck line. Some wetsuits come up over the neck. They can really give the feeling of being choked or claustrophobia. The ROKA necklines (in the sleeveless) are lower and don't come up to the neck at all.

I also have a ROKA swimskin. It was the best investment I've ever made. I've never really been a fan of swimskins. I always thought "why bother"? ROKA changed all of that for me. I honestly feel like I get the same buoyancy with a swim skin as I do with their wetsuits.  I know that can't be possible, but the swimskins are amazing.





Aveda sun care shampoo. With all the time I spend in various swimming conditions, I have struggled to find a shampoo that works for me. I have auburn hair that is wavy/curly and tends to frizz in chlorine. I also don't like how my hair feels after swimming in a lake. Over the years, I've used various shampoos and then offset the drying qualities of that shampoo with a good conditioner. Then, I stumbled upon the Aveda product. I love it because my hair no longer feels "stripped" after a washing. It can also double as a body wash. It's gentle enough that it doesn't dry out my skin. Yet, it gets off the stank.

Sunbasket If you click here, you get 3 free meals. Sunbasket is one of the food delivery services in which you receive a certain number of meals and all ingredients each week. The difference between Sunbasket and other companies is that all the food is organic, and the company shops locals farmers. In addition to this, all shipping material is recyclable. I've tried just about every food delivery service out there, Sunbasket is by far the best. The food is the highest quality. The recipes are delicious. They offer full customization. By that I mean, if you sign up for the Paleo menu, you don't have to order from just the paleo menu. You can order vegetarian options or gluten free. They also recently added a "20 minute meal" option. Who doesn't love a delicious, home cooked meal that's done in 20 minutes?
There's one downside. (You'd have to check out their website to verify this because their policy might have changed). They used to only ship to the west. CO was the furthest east they would ship to. However, that might be different now. I've been ordering food from Sunbasket for over 1.5 years now.

More food fun:
It might surprise you, but I eat quite a bit of food. :) Seriously, triathletes as a whole eat a lot of food. The challenge is figuring out how to eat. How do we get enough GOOD food in? How do we get variety? I mean, just planning dinners can be tough. How on earth do I figure out another 4-5 meals a day

For local people who live south of Denver, you need to check out GoFitKitchen.com. These are precooked, individual serving sized meals. The meals cost just slightly less than going out to eat at a fast casual place. I think it's worth it because you're getting great quality food, great tasting meals without the highly processed foods of eating out. Also, IMHO, the price is easily justified when I don't have to drive somewhere to get food, and I don't have to stress about what I'm going to eat when I'm one step away from the hangry.

Best of all, they travel well for road trips. I bring my cooler, fill it with meals, and I don't have to figure out what to eat while I'm on the road. 


I love me some baked goods. Kodiak Power cakes are (technically) pancake mix, but the batter can easily be made into protein packed muffins. (If you try them, I can send you my recipe. My recipe is different than the one on the box and is sugar free; my recipe, also, does not have any artificial sweeteners.) These muffins are to die for. Seriously, they are amazing. My favorite flavors are the peanut butter and the dark chocolate (which tastes more like chocolate cake, not dark chocolate). There's also a buttermilk. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm thinking the buttermilk with added pumpkin and pumpkin pie seasonings will be ABFAB.


The hardest days for me to plan meals are days that I swim masters. I get really hungry after swimming. My swims are anywhere from 3300-4000 yards 3-4 times a week. I need something to hold me over until I can get to a regular meal. I used to bring sandwiches with me, but many times, I don't have the time to make a lunch before masters.
Now, I have Dale's Raw Food protein bars.
Look at the ingredients. There's nothing bad in there. There's nothing you can't pronounce. There's no added sugar. There are no preservatives or chemicals. Do I even need to point out the fact that there are 22g of protein?  I haven't had all the flavors yet, but my favorites so far: Chocolate mint, raspberry hazelnut, peanut butter/banana. Pumpkin pie is good, too. There are tons of flavors, and I'm working my way through them. (OH. Right now, they have BOGO on the boxes of 12). 

There's one catch. These are natural with no preservatives. For the longest shelf life, they need to be frozen. When frozen, they last up to 6 months. In the pantry, they only last about a week. In the fridge, they last one month. 

This next item shocked me. JMan got me a cold weather jacket for Christmas. I was blown away by how incredibly thoughtful it was. AND, I REALLY NEEDED A NEW JACKET.

The NorthFace Arcata jacket has become my absolute favorite piece of winter gear. 

Let's be honest. NorthFace just knows their stuff. It's water resistant. There's no bulk to the jacket. I can rave and rave about this jacket, but read the reviews. It has 143 5 star reviews.

Sadly, they don't make one for men, but this looks like it might be similar. 

This list is getting a little long now. I'll stop there. 





Frozen 5 miler

We interrupt the alphabetized topic posts, to bring you important information.

I raced today. 

Yep. Nothing major to report, but it was my first race of the year; and my first race since last October.

It was a little ole 5 mile race.

The good: 
It was the first time I've ever come in top 10 in my age group for the distance.

It was an exercise in pacing, which I absolutely nailed. Run pacing is a big goal of mine this year. I couldn't have paced it any better.

The bad:
There's never any bad when you have a great attitude & a bank of mental toughness that you can pull from.

That's it.

We now return to our regularly scheduled program.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Errry Day



Today's random thoughts are brought to you by the letter "E".

I want to start by thanking LBTEPA for her help yesterday. I did a "test" post, and it worked! Thanks LBTEPA.

Roughly three weeks into my official training, and I'd forgotten how hard it is. I'd forgotten how much work it is.

I ain't gonna lie. The first 2 weeks were an exercise in time management.

This year, I'm moving up in distance. It's been a long time since I've done training volumes of this magnitude and intensity.

In addition to that, I moved my training days around. Liz and I talked about what would work best for me. I decided that my longest workouts would be best done during the week.

Since this is a change, my first two weeks were wrought with stress. I felt like I was rushing around constantly.

Then, I remembered getting my shit together day.

I sat down and wrote out a list of personal things that needed to get done over the next two weeks (or so). Obviously, somethings are more urgent.

I sat down and wrote out my list of work items that needed to be done.

I selected one personal item and one work item that needed to be done with a higher level of urgency and scheduled those items in my calendar.

I did that for every item on my list. We all, always, have unexpected things arise. I don't schedule myself solid for 8-10 hours. I get the 2 most important things done. Then, if anything unexpected comes up, I can fit it in.

Next up: eating and fueling and that stuff.

On Sunday, Mr. Tea and I draw up a rough schedule of what our meals are going to be for the week. We don't schedule the actual meals. We decide which meals we will make. Then on certain days, if we want something fast, we make that. If we have more time, we make a more extensive meal. This is a pretty big time saver because most of the time, we have leftovers which then become my lunch for the next day. I typically eat two lunches and having something I can just heat up really fast is a HUGE help.

I also keep quick snacks on hand: I keep BiPro protein water. (If you are interested in trying BiPro, you can contact me for a coupon code). I also keep Dale's Raw food bars on hand. I have plenty of nuts, fruit, almond butters and even Rudi's gluten free raisin bread (cuz I really like it, not because it's gluten free).

Errry day from here on out, I know what needs to be done, and how I'm going to eat for the day. It sounds like a lot of work, right? It's not. A few minutes of preparation once a week, makes my week a lot easier and a lot less stressful. A few minutes of looking over my schedule each morning, makes my day flow easier.


UP NEXT: My FAVORITE things.






Monday, January 16, 2017

Do's & Don'ts

Do be nice to yourself. Be your own best friend and biggest supporter. YOU are the only person you will know for your entire life. Be your biggest cheerleader.

DO get plenty of rest. Strength (physical and mental), power, speed are gained when your body gets rest and recovery.

DO what's right for you and you only. You don't have to make excuses or give explanations for doing what you do.

DO nothing. Have times where you aren't measured. Sit down. Relax. Turn off your phone, your computer, your tv. Meet a friend for coffee and sit in silence. Go outside and take a walk by yourself or with someone with no phone. Trust me. Just because it isn't on Strava, doesn't mean it doesn't count.

DO enjoy food. Food should not be a source of stress that has to be counted and analyzed.Get help when you need it. Hire an RD. Having dessert once in awhile isn't going topple human civilization.

DO SLOW DOWN. We have become a society of NOW NOW NOW. I can work harder and faster than anyone. It's left us tired, stressed and missing the important things in life.

DO the work. When it's time to "train/workout/exercise", do the work. When it's time to rest or recovery, rest & recover

DO use positive language ONLY. Research has shown that we reach our goals and can withstand more discomfort when we only use positive language. When you're racing say, "Hold this pace". Instead of "don't slow down". As soon as you say, "don't slow down".....you do exactly that. 

DO keep your goals to yourself; the really big important ones anyway. Again, research has shown when we share our BIG goals, we tend to miss them. This is because the relief we get when we share them is the same as when we achieve them. Once we share our goals, we take our foot off the pedal. 

DO something that scares you. Your fears become your limitations. 

DO remain humble. Always be an ambassador. Answer the same questions over and over for others. Internal confidence trumps arrogance every day of the week.




Finally...

DON'T QUIT. You are closer than you think. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

C, C, C what begins with C?

Commitment and crew 

Courage and climb

Challenge and change

and celebrate;

Your goals are yours for the taking. Hurry, don't wait!

Sometimes things happen or someone says something at just the right moment. That thing changes my perspective.

I don't live in the past. I don't look back over my life and think "Oh, if I had only done this".  Everything that I have done (right and wrong) has led me to where I am today. I'm happy where I am today. 

This applies to training, too. I don't look back and think, "I wish I had started earlier" or "I wish I had changed that sooner".

This means that I, also, don't look back when I have a tough day or even an unsuccessful training session and say, "But look how far you come".  

I guess it's the "Don't look back. You're not going that way" mentality.

But, sometimes you do need to look back to see how far you've come.  There are incredibly valuable lessons that you've learned in the past. It's those lessons that put you where you are today.

When we started our business, we went through a very difficult time. This was at the start of the recession. We learned more in about 2 years than we had learned in my previous 40. To survive, we had to change. We were committed. It worked. 

But we were never the same. We were better.

You see. There's a difference between changing for the sake of change and evolving

This winter, Liz and I have been doing very different types of training. 

I don't know if it's working. If there are fitness gains or improvements, they're hiding under layers of winter gear or struggling up treadmill inclines. We went into maintenance mode on the bike. My swim coach has been pushing me harder and harder, challenging me to swim with people who are so fast that I have to wear fins on long sets just so I don't hold up the lane. 

Months and months of grueling workouts without any measure of where I am. 

Day after day, I go through the motions, trusting the work; hoping that when April rolls around then I'll see the months of work. 

It's easy to swim masters, lead the lane, knowing you're the fastest person in that lane. 
It's easy to show up to a race and know that you have a good chance at winning.
It's easy to hop on a bike pass other riders like they're standing still (on your easy day).

It's harder to go to masters every day and get lapped.
It's harder to show up to race and think you'll be in last place.
It's harder to get on the bike barely hold on to your old watts.
It's hard to get your ass kicked every day. 

At the same time, it's really good for you. It creates a hunger.

Instead of hoping the training will pay off, it becomes a challenge

Challenge accepted.

After months of taking my beatdown.....

Wait. Did I just swim that 400 faster? What time did I leave?
Wait. Can I really do that strength workout without passing out?
Hold on. Hold on. Did I seriously just run that hill as easy as I did?

The pieces started coming together. 

One day, I went swimming. I was a little early to masters and started my warm up. I watched a woman in the lane next to me. Strong swimmer. I love watching swimmers who look like they are better than me. After a few minutes of warming up, she turned to me and asked, "Do you swim on the (university) swim team"?   (hahahaha.....ok.....age aside).

"No, I swim masters".

"You have an incredibly powerful stroke. I was watching you. I would love to be able to swim like that". 

A few days later, a woman at masters (who has been swimming for a very very long time), says to me, "Your stroke is very efficient. It's very strong. You seem to move effortlessly".

Later in the week, I finished my run on the treadmill. Mr. Tea said, "I was watching you. You are a completely different runner now. You used to plod along. Now, you're so light on your feet. You hardly make any noise when you're running."

I might not see the changes happening. I might not even feel the changes happening, but they are happening.

Yesterday, I stumbled on a blog post. The writer listed all his goals for the year.

I remembered when I started triathlon. I thought, I would have these magical breakthroughs. I thought that as long as I trained, I'd have huge PRs without really having to work hard. When you start, you do have faster gains, but it's wishful thinking that you'll go from back of the pack to podium finisher in one year. 

That's exactly what I thought would happen, though. 

To be successful in this sport, you have to truly love the sport because it will take a very long time of hard work, hard recovery and hard fueling. You can go for very long periods of time without seeing any improvements. That's when you need to adjust, change course.

Improvements will happen. They will not happen overnight. They will happen :01 at a time over a period of weeks and months.

You can reach your goals. It will take everything you have. It'll take commitment, courage, challenge. It'll take your support crew. It'll take patience and perseverance. It'll take time, but you can get there. 






Sunday, January 8, 2017

B is for Basics

When I started with Coach Liz, 4 years ago, we were talking about a plan for some race. She said to me, "It won't be easy, but it will be simple".

No matter what I go up against, I hear those words.

But what I have found, over the years, is that athletes don't necessarily care about the "simple". The simple is boring. It's not glamorous. They want easy.

I have friends who are going through a detox program. It's slick, cool, hip. They are eliminating foods in an effort to to cleanse their system or change their body composition. They're taking ketones, drink shakeology, eliminating real food, looking for the newest miracle pill to make them leaner, faster, stronger.

Case in point, I love eggs and have them for breakfast everyday. A friend of mine told me, as he was inhaling some protein bar, that he won't eat eggs because they are high in cholesterol.

Me being me, I had to pose the question, "So, you'll eat a protein bar that has 20 ingredients that you can't even pronounce instead of an egg"?

Let me let you in on a secret. Getting leaner, stronger, faster is about the basics.

Getting leaner, faster, stronger won't be easy, but it will be simple.

If you've strayed, it's time to go back to the basics.

If you're on the Miracle Pill bandwagon, it's time to try the basics.

Nutrition
How much money have you spent in the last year on supplements alone? I am not criticizing supplements. But how many times have you seen a friend trying some new fangled supplement and tried it yourself? Buying a power or pill is a whole lot easier than making changes to your nutrition and fueling.

I'm not educated in food science. I'm not a registered dietitian. I highly recommend that you work with an RD, like Dina, who helped me get my sh*t together.

Your nutrition and dietary needs should be focused on real foods. It's not about counting calories. It's not about deprivation. It's not about feeling hungry. It's about fueling for performance. It's about enjoying food.

Let me explain how my off season went. Over Christmas, I ate cake and donuts and candy. I didn't do it every day, but I had probably 3 days where I really went for it. I didn't count calories. I didn't obsessively step on the scale. In fact, I didn't step on the scale once because it didn't matter. I see things like that as "treats" not "cheats". If I want, I have it.

Now, that's not how my season goes. Once Christmas was over, I didn't go cold turkey and eliminate sugar and pasta and all that stuff. I took it week by week. My season has started. My first race is in 12 weeks. I know I need to get my nutrition in line with my goals. The first week, all I did was track my food to get an idea of what I was eating and how.  The second week, armed with that information I started making changes, cutting back on sugar, increasing my fruit/veggie intake, paying attention to my hunger cues.

I've gone back to the basic nutrition plan that Dina and I started 1.5 years ago. 

It's not slick, pretty or easy, but it's incredibly simple.

Training
A few months ago, an Ironman triathlete (who repeatedly finishes close to the 17 hour mark) said to me, "I don't have to ride for 6-7 hours. I have a computrainer. I ride for half the time".

Since she has not improved in the 5 years I've known her, of course, I said, "Yeah? How's that working out for you"?

Needless to say, my response didn't go over well.  Again, athletes are looking for the easy. Buy the fastest bike on the market. Get the newest smart trainer. Buy the top of the line wet suit.

You want to improve your watts/kg on the bike? Instead of spending $7k on a bike, drop that extra 20lbs you're carrying around. Trust me. I've lost over 26lbs. 

Now, there's nothing wrong with buying this stuff. But if you aren't doing the training (or following an appropriate and individualized nutrition plan), it's no better than buying the hottest new supplement.

Some athletes want the convenient, the easy. Doing the real work is hard. It's painful. It can bring you to your knees. Hey, I won't argue that riding for 3.5 hours is a whole lot easier than riding for 7, but is it worth it, if you repeatedly miss the goals you set for yourself?

It's easy to skip workouts.

It's easy to make excuses about why you miss workouts.

In 2016, I knew a woman who was taking care of her school aged kids while also caring for a husband who was going through treatment for Cancer. You never heard her complain. You never saw her miss a workout. She qualified for the Ironman World Championship for the first time.

It's starts with the basics. Instead of setting goals, look at what you are willing to commit to.

Sure. You want to do Ironman. Are you willing to commit to that level of training? Are you willing to get up at 4am to make 6am masters? Are you willing to run or ride after work?

Oh....it's much more fun and pretty and slick to tell your friends that you're doing Ironman.

The commitment is where the work comes in. It won't be easy, but it will be simple.




Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A is for Ambassador


Thanks, Dave. 


Last year, I read a blog post. The author's goal was to write every other week, about topics in alphabetical order. I thought it would be a fun idea. I don't know how long it will last, but I present you with:

A is for Ambassador

We all have those athletes that we've met who have left a lasting impression on us. Over the years, I have too many to mention here. I've talked about the many many many people I've met at races who gave me insight into a course or gave me a tube or gave me a new idea. Sometimes, it's been a kind word at the right time. The list goes on and on.

These are the ambassadors of our sport. We will not be remembered for how much money we have or the type of car we drive. We will be remembered for how we treat others.

Whether you are the first to cross the finish line or the last, you can have a positive impact, and even inspire, other people.

Starting any new venture can be scary and even downright terrifying for some people. When they are starting the sport, that's when they can use the most support and encouragement.

Don't scare someone off by being an asshole.

Back when I started masters, I won't lie. That was the scariest day of my triathlon life. I taught myself to swim. I had heard that masters was the next step to helping me. I stood on deck that day, wide eyed, watching these swimmers who downright looked like Olympians. I didn't know anyone that day, and no one helped me. I didn't know what the drills were. I didn't understand the language. I couldn't read the board.

That day stayed with me. To this day, when I see someone new to masters, I introduce myself. I explain how things work, who the coach is (when they arrive) and help them with the drills. Obviously, people who have a swimming background or who have been swimming masters, really don't need help. For the people who are new, step up. Help them out. It takes some big fat kahunas to walk into masters where you don't know a single person and join the team.

Encourage someone.
Help someone.
Offer words of support.

Let them know that you....we all....have been there.

Be an ambassador.







The New Year Post from Coach Liz

Liz's newest post is up! Go here to read it.

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 Results from Multisport Mastery

It's not just me who has had incredible success. Liz and Amanda have athletes who have accomplished amazing things. It's because of their training methodology and ability to develop athletes of all levels. If you can dream it, you can be it with MSM in your corner.

Join our team. We're a great bunch of athletes who cheer for each other and support each other beyond anything I've ever seen.

*****UPDATED 1/17*****
Ironman AWA results are in. If I counted correctly, Team MSM has 20 AWAs. More keep being added to our FB thread.
***********************