Tuesday, March 24, 2015

WTC Lack of Response to #50WomenToKona (Just My Opinion)

I've been hesitant to write anything about this #50WomenToKona thing... probably for a couple reasons... First, lots of people have already written (very well, I might add) all the reasons why it should be so... and really, who am I to think my opinion matters much in the big picture? I'm not one of the pros fighting for my career, and I'm not coaching any of the up and coming pros fighting for their careers (those people, it seems to me, should be freaking SCREAMING from the rooftops).

But then I thought that well, maybe my opinion does matter, because maybe I represent a lot of people who WTC might consider to be it's 'customer base'. Shoot, triathlon has been my lifestyle since 1995. And I've heard the phrase YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!! (13x since 1997.) I've lost count of how many athletes I've guided into completing their first and/or their best Ironman races... I'm signed up to do another Ironman race later this year and I really want to be excited about it. But this whole #50WomenToKona thing is leaving a very bitter taste in my mouth.

So let's see if I can sum up why WTC as a brand feels tarnished to me... Essentially I think it boils down to this: WTCs customers have spoken. Loudly. They've said over and over and over and in a variety of ways what they want. They've listed out every imaginable reason for wanting it. And it seems to be a majority opinion. So why the complete silence and inaction on the part of WTC? Is it really just that the CEO doesn't agree that it should be so? I mean, is it possible that he actually doesn't believe in gender equality? Or maybe he does believe in it, but feels that if he grants the wishes of the masses that he has somehow 'lost' a battle? Is it an ego thing?

My problem, really, is that the solution seems SO SIMPLE. Like, they could fix it tomorrow. And because it is so simple, it's unfathomable that no statement at all has been made by anyone at WTC about the issue. No one at IRONMAN will even acknowledge that there's a critical mass forming. Instead they just remain silent. Are they hoping the critical mass just eventually disappears? At this point it seems the movement is too big for that. It's going to need to be addressed. And really, sooner is better than later.

So I think that's it. It's the big picture of the way this organization is being run that is blowing my mind. When a huge section of your customer base is calling for action, and you flat out ignore them, they're probably gonna get pissed off. And if they get pissed off enough, they're probably going to stop being customers at some point. What organization runs itself like that? No matter what the issue actually is, whether you agree or not, an organization that ignores the wishes of its consumer base is not going to succeed in the end.





Here's the thing. I have loved Ironman. I have lived Ironman. I have worn the Ironman symbol around my neck every day for 10+ years. Yesterday, for the first time since my wedding day and the day I gave birth, I took it off. A symbolic measure only to myself I suppose, but I think it's representative of how customers are starting to feel about this organization that is ignoring the massive cry for change. And in all honesty, it made me really sad. It's sad to me to watch this organization that I have loved act in a way that alienates half of its customer base. I hope they do the right thing, and I hope they do it soon. The longer they hold out, the harder I think it might be for me to forgive. But maybe that's just my opinion.

Monday, March 2, 2015

#ECTucson… The Nitty Gritty

Endurance Corner Camp 2015 is in the books. I was planning on blogging about it nightly, but missed the first 2 nights… Then thought I'd write a mid-camp update on Thursday but that day turned out to be the nadir of my week and I was in no shape to write anything. So here you go- all at once! In good news, I'm on a very long flight so I have time to write details vs simply glossing over the whole experience in 140 characters like I did on Twitter.

This is the 2nd time I'd been to Tucson for a training camp (last time was in 2012 with Hillary's Smashfest camp). Given that, I was somewhat familiar with most of the riding we were going to do (Madera Canyon, Gates Pass, Mt Lemmon) but I was really looking forward to spending more time with Marilyn and getting to know some of the other Endurance Corner athletes and coaches (most of the athletes at this camp were EC folks but not all). I've been reading everything Alan Couzens has written since 2009 so meeting him felt like a giant honor. Also, I consider myself to be a 'student of the sport', so the nightly educational talks on the schedule were a big draw for me. 

I figure there may be some people who are curious about what actually goes on at these triathlon camps, so I'll get into some of the nitty gritty inside scoop details here.

ECTucson is an all-inclusive type camp, which I think is great! At first glance it seems a bit pricy but once you take into consideration that everything is taken care of, it's actually quite reasonable. They've been running this camp for 8 years now and all the details are dialed in. They had airport shuttles lined up for us to/from the airport. When I arrived at the hotel I dropped my bike bag off in the mechanics room and they built it all up for me. (Packed it again too- this was especially nice b/c I borrowed a Ruster Sports "Hen House" case for my travel which meant essentially disassembling my whole bike to fit it in the case- easy for some but a daunting task for me.) All of our meals were taken care of and they had plenty of food/gels/drink mix available to support all our training needs. Every night after dinner there was a different speaker talking on a topic of interest (long term athletic development, mobility, running economy, heart health, etc). They organized transportation to/from the pool and the track, had sag vehicles following 3 separate groups on every ride, provided laundry service for us mid-week, scheduled a massage toward the end of the week, and a group dinner out on the last night. Organizing all of this to flow seamlessly for 25 (very) Type A athletes is no joke but Sue nailed it all. It was impressive!

So my job as an athlete there was simple (not easy). Show up on time (i.e. early) to every session with a good attitude, well fueled, and ready to work. When you see pics and short social media posts of athletes from 'camp' (more and more of these recently it seems!), it appears all glamorous and like it's all super fun and perfect. And while a lot of it is, it's not without some moments of extreme fatigue which leads to pissy mood and sometimes a lot of swearing (sorry mom). I can't speak for everyone, but I can say that personally I was tested and challenged this week in a way I am not tested and challenged at home training on my own, and I found myself digging deep into the question of 'What's My Why?' as Marilyn likes to ask… More on that in a bit. Let's start with the fun/easy stuff- swimming!
Sue organized to have 6 lanes reserved for us at the U of A rec center pool for the 3 days we swam (M-W-F). It's a super nice facility for swimming! Cliff English was on deck coaching us which was cool (I never have a coach on deck for any of my swims at home!) Short course pool was not my personal favorite and circle swimming with 4-5 other athletes in the lane felt crowded to me (something I haven't done in years), but it was all good. I got to mix it up with the boys in lane 1 and now I have a better understanding of how when you're in a swimming situation like this, it's easy to get 'lost' in the set and not know your paces, etc. Going 3rd in the lane behind 2 others made doing the math on the splits more challenging than it is when I'm swimming side by side with my training partners at home, and sometimes I was so tired that I was brain dead and couldn't do math to save my life… What number are we on? I don't know I'm just going 5" after the guy in front of me and swimming until he stops kind of thing which is not how things go at home on my own! I started to lose it during our Wednesday swim when my brain completely stopped functioning, then Cliff gave us a 500TT and OMG does anyone have a gel? Why don't I have a gel in my swim bag??? Justin finally threw me one which (sort of) saved my 500 effort (he only lapped me once) but yikes that was one of the more ugly swim sessions I've done. I found it interesting that Cliff didn't have us doing much pulling at all and I swear I would have killed to be able to grab my buoy for some of the main sets (but I didn't). Our lane swam 4600-4900 each session (x3) and maybe 400 of that (total!) was with a buoy. Out of the norm for me (kicking makes swimming hard!) but I managed and probably have a stronger swim/kick now as a result of not babying myself when I got tired. Hearing Cliff English tell me that I have a solid stroke was motivating and satisfying and all in all we'll call it a solid swim week.

Biking was the main focus of this camp and in total I rode 313 miles in the 6 days (there was one day we didn't ride). On Monday afternoon we rode ~30 miles which included a short but slightly uphill TT effort (~22'). This was just to sort out what groups we would be riding in all week. Marilyn suggested we hold back the first 3' or so in order to avoid blowing to shreds… I managed to do exactly what she said not to do (go me!) and blew up pretty hard in the last 5' or so and that hurt a lot. Nice welcome to camp effort that landed me in the 'B' group for riding. 
Tuesday we rode ~96 miles up to Madera Canyon and back. Forecast called for cold rain, and we got some of that but I think I was mentally prepared for it to be worse all the way out so when it happened to be just cold but not too wet, I was pleasantly surprised. 
That said, we started climbing Madera and hail started to fall and I was like really?! Hail?! Honestly I was in a pretty good mood that day so I just laughed and thought it was pretty epic. It helped that I was dressed in a nice warm jacket so while I was cold, I wasn't upset at all. I felt ok on this day. Ended up doing a good bit of riding solo on the way home because our group didn't do a great job of staying together. I didn't mind riding alone though and at one point got caught by a smaller group of faster guys who had been behind me so I managed to jump in with them and we ripped it home and that was fun. All in all, even with the hail, it was a good day on a bike.
Wednesdays ride was after a strong 6 mile hill run in the morning and then that bonky swim… It was Gates Pass (~30 miles) and somehow I thought maybe it would be a cruisy chill ride but it was not. At all. That ride was full of very hard punchy efforts up steep climbs and shit if my legs weren't just complete toast. I wish I could say I was a happy camper on this ride but instead I was frustrated with my lack of legs and the bumpy roads and low energy and yikes maybe I needed an extra serving of cake that night. 
Thursday was more of the same, except that was Mt Lemmon Day so it was like misery (x 10). Not really misery b/c it was a gorgeous blue sky postcard day and Mt Lemmon is gorgeous BUT since I had done this 20 mile climb a couple times previously I knew as I was riding that I did not have the power I'd had in the past and that was frustrating. All in all a slow ride to the top, turn around frustrated freezing cold and now with a slow leak in my rear tire didn't know where the sag car was so I putzed down the mountain alone hoping to stay upright. By the time I made it to the park (25 miles later) my rear tire was completely flat and I was starving and the group was ready to roll home and I just wanted them to wait 5' so I could eat something and get some air in my tire and I think I told someone to Fuck off. (Ok I don't just think I did- I did- but sort of joking- sort of not- sorry!!!) A really long day on a mountain with energy like I had that day wasn't a super combination. Camp isn't all unicorns and rainbows but in the end I sucked it up and got the work done and that night decided that somehow I needed to turn my ship around if I was going to survive the final 2 days.
Friday morning was a track session, but in good news for me (for everyone I think!), it was not a particularly hard track session. We did drills and some short quickness stuff that was right along the lines of what Marilyn has had me doing for the last few months so this session actually left me feeling better than when I started. (In a last ditch act of desperation I also consumed an obscene- disgusting, really- amount of sugar Thursday night and Friday morning.) One more 4900yd hard swim and we were done for the day. I think some people went out shopping or exploring or whatever that afternoon but I felt like I'd been hit by a truck so I just laid down in my dark hotel room and crashed hard- woke up 3 hours later and just like that, it was time to eat again.

By Saturday morning I was so tired of food I didn't even want to look at it, but feeling bonky is worse than eating when food isn't appetizing so I stuffed a big breakfast down and got back on my bike. In good news, I must have an ideal bike fit and the perfect saddle (and great Coeur shorts! #NoAngryKitty) because I never had any saddle discomfort at all even after all those miles. Kitt Peak was a new route for me. I'd been warned about the 6 miles of "non-stop bumps every 5 feet" section on Ajo Rd and was also told it's worse on the way back (probably b/c it comes at like 85 miles into the ride) and everything they said was true (i.e. if you want to throw your bike in a ditch then you're right on track). So I nailed that part of the ride! Tucson can thrown down some serious wind as well and we got a taste of that on Saturday… 40 miles straight into a 30 mph cross/headwind- that took us forever avg speed was less than 15mph! I managed to get a nice little staple in my rear tire as well (flat #2!) but luckily this time sag was right there to help me fix it. Kitt Peak climb is ~12 miles long, steeper than Mt Lemmon, and on that day was dangerously windy and cold. In good news, I started my period that morning (TMI maybe but it's part of my story so I'm telling it!) and magically my legs reappeared (as they do every month when I start my period) so even though this ride was off the charts on the challenging scale, the fact that I could actually put some power into my pedals felt so damn good that I didn't even mind the conditions. (Plus, I wasn't PMSy pissy/angry bitch anymore!) We were climbing and ~4 miles in most of my group decided to turn around- we could all see that we were ascending right up into an ugly dark cloud and the wind was howling and threatening to blow us into the guardrails. In all honesty it was probably a super smart decision to turn around but I wanted to keep climbing because I felt better than I had in the previous days… so I opted to keep going. The fast guys were up ahead of me so I figured maybe I could ride the 40 miles back with them… anyway, long story short(er), I made it mostly to the top before I saw Justin on his way down (my cue to u-turn), and that descent was quite possibly the worst thing I've ever done on a bike. In 20+ years of riding I'm not sure I've ever actually started hyperventilating or crying while on my bike, but I just completely lost it somewhere down that mountain… I actually stopped riding- just pulled over on the side of the road trying to decide what to do… I was so cold I had no control over my hands and I was just shaking and shivering uncontrollably and pretty much just paralyzed there alone on the side of that mountain. Not too long after I stopped, Jeff rode by and asked if I was ok. When I couldn't speak he figured out the answer was no… and then I felt like such a loser… like what kind of drama queen princess can't even stay on her bike and get down this dumb hill?? GAH! But the reality was I just couldn't that day. Jeff (bless his heart I think he saved my life) took off all his warm clothes and dressed me up (skull cap, gloves, 4th layer jacket) and made me jump around to get some blood flowing and eventually I managed to get back on my bike and safely coast the rest of the way down the mountain. 
Marilyn's car was there at the bottom and we got in and cranked the heat up and I stuffed my face with more food and eventually (after probably 20') stopped shivering. One by one the guys rolled up to the car after the descent and they all had the exact same frozen expression on their faces (one guy said his garmin recorded 37 degrees in the clouds at the top, so add 30mph winds and who knows what the real feel temp was? #StupidCold). They did a Chinese fire drill style rotation in and out of the car (gentlemen that they are just let me stay in the heat the whole time). Finally everyone was down and it was time to motor home. Sun came back out, wind at our backs, we were flying but it was effortless and awesome… Just the complete opposite of everything we'd experienced earlier in the ride. 95 miles later we turned onto the street where our hotel was and I was like we're done already?! So weird to feel such extremes all within one ride.

Anyway, now that it's over (and I survived!) I look back and think damn that was some solid training. The conditions of the riding last week put me right on the edge of my abilities and threw me well past my comfort zone for sure. It's way too soon to say yes I'd want to do it again, but at the same time I'm really glad I did it all. Mostly because it's like well shit, if I can do that, I can do anything, you know?? 

That said, I was trying to give my arm warmers away at the end of camp because I swore I wouldn't do another ride that required them… Not for a very very (very) long time anyway. ;) This girl belongs in Hawaii. 



















Sunday, February 15, 2015

February!

Gah! Once again it's been too long between posts and I've got so many things I could write about that I end up paralyzed... not even knowing where to start? Bullet points are best in this scenario, no?

~I raced a little local run>swim biathlon this morning. It's actually a series of races... I missed the first one but did the last two and really had fun! These short races put me outside my comfort zone for sure but that's pretty much the reason I wanted to do them. :) Anyway, have you ever tried swimming immediately following a hard 5K run?? It's hypoxic and hard! Last month I was a bit disappointed in myself for what a wimp I was about the swim... I ran what was (for me!) a pretty solid 5K but then floated through the 1K swim. At the time it seemed right to just swim easy and I had no desire to do it any other way, but 10" after crossing the finish line I was kinda like BLAH I wimped out on myself! That's a crappy feeing, you know? So today my goal was once again to give it on the run but then NOT wimp out of the swim... and I managed to do that. It made the race more fun b/c I stayed competitive in my head and worked in the water to catch/pass athletes who had run faster than me. I don't know how many I passed (a lot!) and I ended up 15th OA, 5th female, and first in my age group. I sort of consider myself first 'adult' female b/c now that I am 40+ (OMG almost 41 more on that next), gals who are "20-somethings" seem so young! That's not meant to be an insult, just me being old. ;)

~Ok speaking of being old, I turn 41 on Wednesday!! Last year my birthday felt like kind of a big deal. This year notsomuch. If you know me at all, you know I always celebrate with a big swim set... Used to be age x 100's... then from 36-39 that changed to age x 200's... Last year we did 10x400's plus a bunch of other wacky fun stuff including a ton of beer all day (proper celebration for a 40th, I think). This year I left it up to Marilyn and she gave me a 4100M TT in the pool! Sweet! I'm not sure I would have thought of that on my own, but now that it's been proposed I'm kind of salivating at the opportunity. Mostly wondering if I can crack an hour? My long course pool is a slow one (no lane lines!) so holding/repeating 1:27-1:28 is a big ask (sometimes achievable, sometimes not). To add to the fun I recruited Lectie to join me and also put it on the schedule for some of my athletes who I thought might get a kick out of it (or fire me, one or the other).


~The last two weeks I had a couple of my athletes from the mainland here visiting and training. It's always great when I have an opportunity to train in person with athletes because we get to know each other so much better... Makes my job coaching them easier and makes their job as athletes easier as well b/c they leave having a better understanding of what I'm asking/expecting during different sessions. Though I guess to be fair, I guess their job as athletes actually tends to get quite a bit harder b/c I see them train and almost always think um, you have the ability to go (much) harder/faster... In the end though Katie left here with an extra suitcase full of confidence and Monika left with a whole bunch of extra fitness (that one was hard to crack, I tell ya!). We put in some solid miles swim bike and run while they were here and it was all good.

~In other news, a week from today I am going to be in Tucson at the Endurance Corner Camp! I am pretty pumped about this. Marilyn bumped up my training volume a lot over the last 4-6 weeks and I finally feel like I am fit enough to not just survive camp but ideally to really benefit from it (vs it being too much and crushing me). So of course I am excited about the training but even more than that I am excited about the learning opportunities presented each evening... This camp is run by a group of coaches for whom I have tremendous respect and I cannot wait to learn from them, even if it means I am going to freeze my ass off all week in 50 degrees. (yes, I know)

Ok so in a nutshell that sums up the last few weeks! This week I'm finally back to regularly scheduled programming which is great because I love my life routine... I feel like my life is really humming along quite nicely recently and my satisfaction with things is running high. I don't take this for granted!

Aloha...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

100 Things About Me

Reading these from my blog friends has been fun. :) So here's goes... my turn!

1. I grew up in the mid-west.

2. I have lived in Hawaii for 10+ years now and can't picture myself moving away back to that mainland.

3. I have an iPhone 4 and feel behind the times, but really it functions just fine for me.

4. I've never been one to care about brand names, though now that I'm an adult I do enjoy good quality clothing.

5. I rarely choose to spend my money on high quality clothing.

6. I work from home so lot of days I just wear training clothes or pajamas.

7. I drink at least 3 servings of coffee each day.

8. If I skip coffee I can still function just fine (no headaches).

9. I procrastinate training a lot, but rarely if ever actually skip a workout.

10. My training is better all around when I have a coach and just do what she says. :)

11. I love running in the rain.

12. I don't like biking in the rain but I do it anyway.

13. I have a set of rollers that I ride sometimes but I don't own a real bike trainer.

14. I am procrastinating swimming right now by writing this blog.

15. I think I eat too much peanut butter. I mix it with honey and Osmo Recovery powder and OMG so good.

16. Sometimes I melt chocolate chips into the above and it tastes like fudge.

17. I think Roka Sim shorts are the best invention ever for swimmers. I am wearing mine right now as I type this (see #14).

18. I knew nothing about chickens before I got a few last spring.

19. Now I know quite a lot about chickens, thanks to the Backyard Chickens Facebook page.

20. I check Facebook too much.

21. I don't know most of my Facebook friends. I hide a ton from my feed b/c it's all just too much.

22. When I was 16 I spent a summer in Australia with a group called "Sports For Understanding". We swam with different swim teams there and it was awesome.

23. I went back to Australia after my 2nd year in college and spent 3 weeks being drunk or hungover.

24. Since I'm on an international travel theme now... I went to the Barcelona Olympics with my dad in 1992. We saw some events live but honestly I enjoyed watching them on TV better b/c of the close-ups and slow motion.

25. In 1999 I raced Wildflower 1/2IM with a swollen lymph node thinking maybe I had mono.

26. Four days later I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

27. I spent the rest of that year being sick and got really skinny because I never wanted to eat.

28. I'm now 15 years cancer free!

29. Because of the chemo, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to have kids.

30. I didn't mean to get pregnant and was pretty freaked out when I found out.

31. that said, having Moana was the best thing I've ever done.

32. I know moms tend to beat themselves up thinking they're never doing it right, but I think I'm a pretty good mom. I don't stress myself out about being perfect in this regard.

33. I was a teacher for 5 years. I taught 3rd, 4th, and 6th grades.

34. I think teachers are underpaid.

35. I also worked for Big Pharma where I worked half as much but tripled my income. I kinda felt guilty about that.

36. I love my job as a coach right now. I think it's exactly what I'm meant to do and I think I'm good at it.

37. I hate shopping at Costco but do it every other week anyway.

38. If I have to drive more than 10 minute to get somewhere, it seems really far away to me.

39. I have 2 cats and I admit I love one more than the other.

40. I was a gymnast growing up and spent 15-20 hours/week in the gym as a ten year old.

41. I was a springboard diver in college and won the Big West Championships (on 1-meter) my freshman year.

42. I'm still pretty flexible.

43. I subscribe to MWOD and watch those mobility videos almost every day.

44. I have pretty much every ball or soft tissue 'tool' you could possibly imagine. And I use most of them almost every day.

45. The Supernova ball from Rogue Fitness is my favorite one.

46. This might come as a surprise to some, but if I had to chose only one sport to do for the rest of my life, it would be running.

47. If I ever stop doing triathlon, I could see myself getting into weight lifting.

48. My gym sessions are my favorite sessions of the week right now.

49. I'm excited to race this year, more so than years past I think.

50. When I'm alone I like to turn on a podcast (loudly) and clean my house from top to bottom.

51. Cleaning on Fridays is a waste of time b/c my husband and daughter are home all weekend so the cleanliness doesn't last.

52. A dirty/messy kitchen is a pet peeve of mine.

53. I hate doing laundry.

54. I love the ocean, though I think I like the ocean in Hawaii better than anywhere else b/c it's so swimmable (visibility and temp).

55. I used to hate choppy ocean swim conditions and it took me exposing myself to them all the time for like a year before I finally figured out how to swim through it. Now I go in search of choppy conditions.

56. I hate skiing. Like, can't do it at all and don't even want to try again to learn.

57. At one point I thought it would be cool to be a bad-ass mountain biker chick, but that never worked out.

58. I enjoyed trail running when I lived on the mainland, but Hawaii trails are often wet, muddy, rocky, roots, and straight up/down. So I don't trail run here.

59. My favorite race is Honu. This year is going to be my 9th time racing there!

60. I have to go swim now or else I'm not going to have time to finish my workout before the pool closes.

61. Right now I feel a bit nauseous, which is common after a long/hard swim.

62. I just made 10x400's @6:00 (long course meters, with paddles). First time ever even attempted that send-off for that many. My eyes were closed for most of the last one.

63. I pride myself on being a workhorse.

64. We eat out maybe once a month. I cook all the other nights, and that gets old.

65. We eat a lot of vegetables, and both Scott and I genuinely like them. Not surprisingly then, Moana likes them too.

66. My desk is a mess.

67. I suck at paperwork.

68. And taxes. OMG don't even get me started.

69. I graduated from Arizona State University.

70. I still love Arizona and if there's one place I could see myself living on the mainland, Arizona would be it.

71. When I was done with college I followed a guy to Northern California. That relationship lasted ~3 months and then I was stuck in Northern California without any real friends.

72. I've found that making real friends as an adult is way harder than making friends when I was in school.

73. When I was 26 I spent a year teaching 3rd grade in Jakarta, Indonesia. I learned more that year than any other year of my life and am so glad I did that.

74. That year I traveled a lot around Southeast Asia by myself. Ignorance is bliss maybe but I was rarely afraid of anything.

75. My house is still decorated with lots of stuff I brought back from Indonesia.

76. I love this house/neighborhood we are living in now and can see us living here for a very long time.

77. I don't skip meals. Like, not ever. I don't understand how or why other people skip meals? I love eating.

78. I have had my Cervelo P3 for years and love it so much that I don't even get bike envy when I see other people get new bikes.

79. The Hoka Cliftons are now hands down my favorite running shoe.

80. I reach for my Coeur Sport tri shorts more often than any other because they are simply more comfortable when I'm riding.

81. I don't use chamois cream.

82. I hardly ever wear make up or earrings.

83. On the rare occasion I do, Moana loves it and always comments about how pretty I look. ;)

84. I don't know how I ended up with such a girlie princess for a daughter?

85. She is seriously such a sweet kid though, and I'm not just saying that because she's mine and I'm biased (though both of those are true).

86. I met my husband on Match.com. True story!

87. We got married less than a year later in the Botanical Gardens down the road from where we live now.

88. I run through those gardens quite often and always think about our wedding day when I do.

89. At 40 (almost 41!) I am more comfortable in my own skin than I've ever been.

90. I started blogging when I was pregnant b/c I saw it as a way to keep my family and friends in the loop with how it was all going.

91. I had no idea at the time how blogging would change my whole world (in a good way!)

92. I like social media, but I have some fears about what it will be like for Moana when she's a teenager and involved in it all. Girls can be so mean.

93. I am actually excited that Grey's Anatomy is finally coming back on tonight. :)

94. I get most of my news via The Daily Show. And Twitter.

95. I don't ever watch daytime television, unless I'm on the treadmill at the gym and it's on.

96. I actually like running on the treadmill sometimes. It reminds me of swimming in the way that it is so controlled with pace and intervals and rest, etc.

97. I have a hard time getting back to sleep if I wake up in the middle of the night.

98. Commonly I don't fight it and just get up and start working. I'm most productive from 3-6AM.

99. I'm in bed (latest) every night by 9PM.

100. I used to love reading books, but read much less often now.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

On Posture and Cadence...

So I just watched this little video clip of Pete Jacobs talking about what he focused on when he was trying to teach himself to run more efficiently. And while I'm no Pete Jacobs, I can nevertheless100% relate to what he's talking about in that video b/c they are the exact same things I've been discovering for myself these past few months!

When Marilyn was here last month she could see right away that my posture and my cadence were holding me back from progressing with my running. So the first thing she did was try to make me move my feet quicker. As I've noted here before, this was awkward and uncomfortable b/c in order to do that I had to take itty bitty short little steps. And I had to be reminded every 15" to keep my hands up! At one point she even took her shoelaces out of her shoes and made me hold them around my neck which forced me to keep my hands up so I wouldn't rub my neck raw.

It only took me ~2 focused weeks to make that cadence/hands thing a habit. Those 2 things alone did not result in me running any faster, but it did seem to make my running more efficient, and for an endurance athlete, that seemed like a worthwhile achievement.

Then I discovered the new Curve treadmill at our gym. I was just sort of curious so I hopped on it. And WOW! Um, Awkward! To be completely honest, I sucked at it! I really couldn't get my balance right at all... step too far forward on that thing and the belt speeds up way too fast and you lose control... Lean back at all and the belt just completely stops. I spent my whole first session (~30') pretty much just oscillating between that belt whirling out of control or just coming to an abrupt halt.

So. Given how much that sucked, seemed like something maybe I should try to work on right?!? I left the gym that day pretty convinced that if I kept trying, I'd learn how to run on that treadmill... This month Marilyn gave us all the green light to go ahead and add 10-20' of relaxed jogging each day if we wanted and/or could fit it in... so I've been using some of these bonus sessions to teach myself how to run on the Curve. I did some research about how to best use the machine, and it seems it's meant for short interval type work for neuromuscular coordination... so that's pretty much how I've been using it. I'll jog for 30-90" at a time (form focus) then walk ~30" then repeat. When I do it that way, seems I'm better able to really focus on posture and foot placement, which seem to be the 2 key elements that allow you to run on that thing while feeling balanced and in control. And balance and foot placement were the things that, even though I'd upped my cadence and could keep my hands high, I still didn't have right.

The most interesting thing has been how I've felt the changes that this Curve mill forces while I'm out running on the road. I'm actually running faster now! But not harder! DING DING DING! So it turns out, if I can get that forward lean, I move forward at a faster rate without working so hard. I feel a bit like a moron that it has taken me what, like 20 years?! to figure this out but hey, at least I finally got it! Or am getting it is probably how I should write that... I'm certainly not a master BUT it is coming. Yesterday I was on a regular TM at my gym and doing some 'quickness intervals' Marilyn likes me to do and I could tell by how easily I was able to run faster than 5k pace (a lot faster!) that the forward balance thing was becoming habit. And now if my weight shifts back at all I can feel it right away which also seems like a giant leap forward.

So, I'm a swimmer, which means that most of the time I am thinking like a swimmer, and relating all sporting things back to swimming... and I had this little A-HA about how swimming faster and running faster are not really altogether different endeavors. To swim fast, you need to be efficient with your stroke... Reduce drag from your lower body by staying 'on top of it'... It's about achieving balance on top of the water and keeping your turn-over UP. I feel this a lot when I'm doing repeat race effort 50's... The Roka Sim Shorts help a ton with this as well... Just putting you in a body position where your balance is better on top of the water so you are set up to execute a stronger catch/pull... Then it turns out, running is the same damn thing you guys! It's about staying on top of it and keeping cadence UP. Too bad there isn't a company making the equivalent of a Roka Sim Short for running...

So there you go... Posture and Cadence. Keys to swimming and running faster and more efficiently!

Friday, January 9, 2015

2015... The Process

Happy New Year!

Jan 1... Started the year with a group run on the most amazing route. I'm seriously spoiled as this route is one I can run right from my front door. It's all hills back there in the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens but the scenery is so gorgeous, you forget how hard it is to run. :)

Starting the year with a solid run felt like the right thing to do, though in all honesty the effort there was probably harder than generally appropriate for a January run. I don't do stuff like this that often so I think it was fine. I will say though, I don't think running like that all the time is the way to reach big goals... I'm really learning and every year more and more I am grasping the concept of The Process... and building as we go... That not every training session is a test and most sessions shouldn't be raced and it isn't best to always be judging ourselves based on our pace/power week in and week out... While seeing glimpses of progress is good, going about The Process of training in such a way as to be at your peak when it matters is better... This is where I think athletes get into trouble when they do all their training as part of group sessions. Or at least, I would get myself into trouble this way!

I find myself feeling exceptionally motivated at the moment. It's not really just this moment though... I've been feeling this way for several months now... Just mentally and emotionally and physically ready to tackle training in a way that sets me up to keep building toward my goals this year. Such a difference from where I was at last year at this time.

I get motivated when I sense a real possibility of 'success', however one might define that. I think for me, success this year will be about pushing through to a new level on my run. Just reaching or maintaining my past levels of swim/bike would be satisfying for me (Funny, I'm not convinced I have a ton of room to grow with swim/bike? Maybe I'll prove myself wrong? That would be super...) but with the run I feel like there's so.much.room.to.grow and I have been focused in a way I have never been before on doing things correctly with my running... I know some believe that focusing on changing run form is a waste of energy and doesn't lead to better/faster running, but I'm not in that camp (anymore). Every run I do now I am focused on my posture, my cadence and how/where my arms are swinging... It was so awkward at first to change and I thought I just wasn't the kind of runner who could run with a cadence of 90 and still be aerobic... But it turns out that I just needed to take a few more steps backward before I could move forward again. So I did that. In fact, I took the smallest little steps you could possibly imagine trying to combine high cadence with low HR. Turns out, it is possible! And if you go all the way back to the beginning teaching yourself this, you'll get it! Trust me if- after 20 years of running with a cadence of 80- I can change, anyone can! I will say though, it requires some patience. Ok, a lot of patience. BUT, I'm seeing glimpses now of the type of runner I hope to become and as the weeks go by and I see it more and more, my confidence grows... And that, I think, is the key for an old dog athlete like me.

I've been spending a fair amount of time in the weight room recently as well. Really enjoying the lifting and I can feel that I'm a ton stronger already. I actually just bought a 45b bar to have here at my house and as time goes by I will likely start adding bumper plates to my collection so I can do weighted squats and lunges and deadlifts right here at home. That's how much I like this stuff. One thing I really like is the feeling I have when finishing up a heavy weights session. Not just the mental/emotional feeling but the actual physical feeling. I think there's a shift in hormones going on b/c the pumped up "high" is super cool.

Speaking of shifts in hormones, holy cow you guys I think I've discovered how to control that PMS roller coaster I've been riding every month for the last 5+ years... 3 months in a row now I've had ZERO issues in this area... and after months where I had such horrible lows right before my period would come (hot flashes, no power on the bike, frustrations at everything from red lights while driving to being out of peanut butter to the sound of my daughter's voice, crying at the tip of a hat for no reason whatsoever, feeling like an elephant while running, not wanting to get out of bed, I could go on and on...) This is such a giant relief I don't even know where to start?!? It's just crazy to me to have days and days of good solid training sessions and then all of a sudden get my period?! Usually I know it's coming b/c everything SUCKS for like 5 days prior... but not anymore. Phew! My gut says I've got my hormonal balance back and this is just essential to feeling good.

Speaking of feeling good, doesn't this picture make you feel good? :)

OK- I need to get going to the pool. I'm less motivated than normal to swim right now b/c the heater in our pool has been broken and the water temp has been hovering around 72 degrees. I've never done this before, but I'm actually packing my wetsuit today and I just might cave and wear it in the pool.

Cheers to 2015!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December Ramblings

I'm procrastinating going for a ride... If I blog that'll waste like an hour, right? Lol. I know I should not say this but damn I'm just COLD and the thought of facing that cold wind on my bike right now is not really that appealing... except it's not really that cold. I'm just a complete wimp. It gets worse every year!

I can't believe 2014 is almost over. This fall just completely flew by! Anyway, makes me think I should do a little reflection on 2014... and set some goals for 2015... I've actually done a bit of both already, though maybe not "officially". My goals are mostly in my own head, and if they stay there, they're easier to revamp or reorganize depending on how things are going. Maybe that's a good thing, but maybe it's a cop out? I should probably write them down somewhere even if I don't publish them all on the inter webs... I will write this one down though... I have a goal of getting through an Ironman Marathon without breaking down. A Big Ask, I know, but I think I'm on the right path to breaking that bitch down, so I have some hope that it's possible.

Maybe I'll write all my goals down when my Believe Journal comes? Actually, I think it came already. I made a Christmas wishlist and gave it to Scott so when a package shaped like a book arrives from PickyBars with his name on it, well, I got a little excited. :)

Know what else I'm excited about? I get to be on the Coeur Sports team again for 2015! I really liked that group of gals last year so I'm excited to be a part again this year. Coeur is a company that always seems to be doing the right thing... so having an opportunity to support them, and also be supported by them, is super cool. Plus, Osmo is back as a sponsor of the team and I'm completely convinced that stuff is magic. And at some point my computer will learn that when I type Osmo, I don't mean Oslo.

I feel like I get to associate with a whole bunch of awesome triathlon groups... I've got my group of local friends/training partners here on Oahu, I've got my Coeur Sports team, I've got my own TeamBSC, and I've got the gang over at Endurance Corner. So bases are covered when it comes to surrounding myself with awesome TriGeeks TriPeeps. Feels like I'm having more fun with them now too... we recently started a private Facebook page for TeamBSC athletes. Mostly b/c I made a video last week on a swimming mobility concept I'd been thinking about... then I posted it on FaceBook. It was really just a video I made with one athlete in mind- a concept I wanted to explain to him that I didn't feel I could do in writing- so I made the video and then figured maybe some others would get something out of it too... so I posted it and allowed it to be public. At first I thought it was cool that it got shared a couple of times (cool, people like it!) but then it just seemed like it didn't stop and before I knew it, it had been shared 55x (mostly by people I'd never even heard of) and 5500+ views... and I don't know, that just freaked me out a bit. Like yikes, you know, that wasn't exactly a professional video... I didn't even think very much about it... just set my iPhone up and talked into it for a few minutes and then hit 'post' and once you do that, well, you've lost control of it! (Mamas- teach your teenagers this!) So while I liked the idea and felt like I wanted to make more videos, I didn't want to post them publicly. So now we have a private page and I can quite easily post all my thoughts via video and they only go out to a few, which means I can talk rather freely and not really worry about how 'professional' it appears. Take today, for example, when at the end of my video my chickens came to check the scene... like who is she talking to?! It was pretty funny, I thought. ;) But that's part of the value in those videos I think- knowing they are unscripted, yet from the heart... Just short little lessons about whatever I'm thinking about and because of that maybe more interesting than a professional video made specifically to appeal to the masses? Anyway, enough about that.

I think I may have mentioned once or twice about a 'Steel Challenge' I am participating in- the folks at Endurance Corner came up with this one as a way to encourage us to pick up and put down more heavy things during the month of December... So what the heck, I joined in. I've never exactly added up how much weight I lift in a session but it's been a bit eye opening... so we log all of our sessions and I've been getting ~30,000lbs lifted (total) in each of my strength sessions (2x/week) which is  decent amount. It ranks me sort of in the #3-5 position on the Leader Board... smelling a chance to solidify my position toward the top I sent Marilyn an email asking for a 'Go To The Gym Free' card for the remainder of the month, specifically so I can put more pounds on the board for this silly challenge... I was thinking I KNOW I could lift more if I could go to the gym 3-4x/week vs just 2... Of course she was the voice of reason and immediately said NO (I think she actually called me a 'Silly Goose' for even asking- ha!). Part of me was disappointed but the rest of me understands... and it saves me from spending my New Years Eve in the gym knocking out sets of squats and deadlifts in an attempt to get myself ranked in a competition that means absolutely nothing! Lol. It's been fun bantering back and forth a bit on the EC Forum though- something I've never done before with people I don't really know (yet).

OK enough time has passed and I'm now at the point where if I don't leave the house NOW for my ride, I won't be able to fit it in before I go into Mom-Mode for the rest of the afternoon... So off I go!