Tuesday, May 19, 2015

On Being "Lucky"

I got a comment from a friend yesterday about how I am "lucky" that I'm able to swim. I'm pretty sure I understand what she meant, because I've had similar feelings about those little gals who run a lot faster than I do. I've thought, with a hint of jealousy, about how "lucky" they are. But the reality is that the vast majority of those gals have been running most of their lives. And they probably eat less than I do. Those things aren't luck. They are choices.

To be honest, it bugs the crap out of me when people call me "lucky". I remember when I graduated college and landed my first teaching job. My grandma told me I was lucky. And immediately I thought, NO. I am not lucky that I got that job! I worked my ass off in college and graduated with a 4.0 with a degree in Elementary Education. I took jobs working in after school care positions so I would have something about experience with kids to put on my resume. I sent in a lot of job applications and prepared for my interviews and showed up on time and did everything that was expected of me (and more!). I didn't feel lucky that I'd landed a job. I felt I'd earned it. There is a difference.

Back to swimming. I didn't learn to actually swim until I was 8. I don't remember a lot about that time except that my mom told me she felt bad that she'd waited so long to put me in swim lessons. I got put into the beginner "Minnows" group with all the 5 year olds because that's the level I was at. I learned how to swim that summer and competed in the 8&U division at the swim meets, swimming 25's. I have no memory of how any of that went, but I do know I looked forward to summer every year because it meant I could go back to morning swim workouts.

I continued that summer league swimming through middle school... I'd ride my bike by myself to the pool every morning, do everything that was expected of me at swim practice, then was a pool rat for the rest of the day before riding my bike home in time for dinner. I was never the most talented swimmer but I worked hard and never skipped out on anything. This continued though high school as well. In high school we practiced every day after school. I remember our coach opening up morning swim practices. Some parents thought that was too much (including my own mom), so coach made them optional. I always opted to attend. I got a huge sense of satisfaction from adding up how much I swam each day. Between the two practices it was often 7-8K/day. Am I lucky that I chose to do that? Maybe just lucky in the sense that I enjoyed it?

I do remember feeling a sense of jealousy toward the gals on the team who were more talented than I was. I really wasn't as fast as my friends on that team but I made up for it by working really hard and being willing to swim the events that the others didn't want to do. That's why I swam fly. And the 500. It's where I found I could shine, but only because no one else wanted to swim those events!

I took ~3 years away from swimming as I focused on my collegiate diving career (I had more talent for diving than I did for swimming, so diving paid for my college. No swim coach would have given me a scholarship to swim on his/her team.) But eventually I went back to swimming and joined an adult 'masters' group which rekindled my love for the sport. Since then, I don't think there have been many weeks where I didn't swim at least 3x. I used to teach math but adding up all the swimming I have done in my lifetime would be a pretty near impossible task. Let's just say it's been A LOT. I'd guess I average 10-15k/week now, depending on the time of year. I don't take extended breaks away from the water. I don't skip swim sessions. I don't cut sessions short. I time everything I do. I write detailed notes about every main set I swim.

33 years of consistent work. Does that make me lucky?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Honolulu Triathlon... And On Racing By Feel

Well we are in the thick of the racing season now, eh? Races every weekend are fun to follow along and regardless of outcomes, always a good learning opportunity.

This past weekend we had two races here on Oahu- a small local one up on the North Shore and a bigger one on the South Shore (Honolulu Triathlon). While small local races are always super fun (and racing with your friends is more fun than racing against a bunch of strangers), I chose to do Honolulu triathlon for a few reasons... #1) It's the only race on Oahu all year long that has a legit swim for the bike/run distance. Every other race around here has a short swim, and as a swimmer, I feel it's my duty to support with my dollar the race that is more fair to swimmers. And #2) The feel of the 'big race' environment is a good one two weeks before Honu. Walking around a giant transition area 30' prior to race start, surrounded by a 1500 athletes you don't know, brings butterflies to your belly in a way that little races just don't.

To be honest, I wasn't even sure I'd be able to get to the start line of this race. Last week Moana got pretty sick (lots of throwing up, followed by some nasty diarrhea explosions). Scott and I thought maybe she'd eaten something bad (??) but then 36 hours later it was my turn to spend some violent time in the bathroom, followed by ~24 hours flat out in bed... Then it was Scott's turn... On Wednesday when I couldn't lift my head off my pillow I pretty much wrote off the idea of racing this weekend. But the good thing about those kinds of viruses that come on really quickly and hit you like a ton of bricks is that they tend to lift just as quickly and then suddenly you're back to normal. I felt normal by Friday and was able to eat again so the race for me was back on!

Since I'm a female, and now that I'm 'old', I tend to get shunted to the last wave with these race starts. As a strong and well trained swimmer this can be frustrating because it means my swim becomes more about dodging all those people who started before me but don't regularly swim train. Yesterday, the horn went off, I ran into the water and swam alone in clear water for ~3 minutes before I started running into the wave that started 3' ahead of me... then for the next 19' passed probably (and I'm not exaggerating here) 500 people. In good news I managed to do this without a) ending up with a black eye or b) getting pissed off, so we'll call it a successful swim. I will admit though I had the thought "These people really need to swim train more."

On the bike it was kind of more of the same... I tend to enjoy racing by feel more than racing with data so I don't start my watch or wear a garmin. At this race I ended up with a false sense of how fast I was actually moving. I kind of knew I wasn't really pushing very hard but I was passing so many people the whole time that it seemed like I was moving really fast! Unfortunately my bike split shows I was not moving as fast as it may have appeared. DOH! The lesson from this race that I'll take with me will be to focus more internally on my own effort and not judge my own bike performance based on the others directly around me.

The last few years I've blown up spectacularly on this run, so on purpose I took it out a good bit more relaxed than normal. This strategy worked for me and I felt like my legs kind of came around and I was able to go a little faster as I settled in. Again, without a garmin I didn't know how fast I was running but I did a few gut checks, asking myself if this was as fast as I could go in that moment and the answer was always yes this is the right effort right now so just kept doing what I was doing. My run is a constant work in progress but for the first time in a long time, I felt like I ran a pretty even/steady 10k that didn't result in any meltdowns. I didn't have the energy to pick it up and go faster at the end, but I didn't feel like I slowed significantly either. Finishing feeling like that left me satisfied with my effort for the day.

In my post race recap to Marilyn, I wrote the following:

Thanks! Ya as I was finishing up yesterday I did not know my time or place, but I had the thought that I was pleased enough with my effort and execution of the day so I figured no matter what the time/place was, I'd be satisfied. It was reminiscent of how I did things toward the end of my diving career in college- I'd gotten to the point where I knew how to do all of my dives really well. Whether or not I executed them well in a meet was up in the air, but I knew I was capable and I always knew if I did them well or not. Anyway, toward the end there I got really tired of 'being judged', which is how we won or lost diving meets. I would, on purpose, hang out under water after every dive and decide for myself if I'd done it well or not (vs coming up in time to see the judges' scores). So I'd go through the meets not knowing what any of my scores actually were! It was my way of judging myself vs allowing others to judge me and it worked well for me once I'd gotten to the point where I was capable of accurately judging for myself how I'd performed. I feel like I'm there with triathlon now too- like I KNOW if I'm moving well and working to the right effort swim bike and run and focusing on that while I'm racing works better for me than focusing on numbers. I think good/fine to watch numbers in training b/c it helps me hone that feel and helps me keep track of how the training is working for me, but racing by feel is where I get the most out of myself (most of the time!)

To be honest, I was shocked when I heard my name coming from the announcer's mic... I wasn't paying attention and didn't even know they were doing awards (they did the OA really early like as soon as I crossed the line?!) and I was like What?! I got 2nd?! Sweet! I hadn't even really had time to digest my race and wonder about placings before I found myself up on the podium. So that was fun!

Anyway, I think the experience I had out there starting behind all those people was actually a good one going into Honu- they've changed the start format there so that women 40+ go off last... So yesterday was actually good practice for what I'll experience on another big stage in less than two weeks. I'm excited to tackle that challenge!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Two Week Progress: Clif Notes Version

I thought I'd share some of the notes (directly quoted) from my Training Peaks account over the last two weeks as I've been working on fixing this aerobic efficiency thing... It feels weird to share all of this because it's almost like publishing my personal diary, but I think this tells a great story about how much fitness can change in a very short amount of time with high frequency fairly high volume running. I ran a total of ~80 miles over a span of 11 days, and with very few exceptions at HR 140-150. Here are some of my daily notes from some of my runs:

~Kept HR 140's and was strict about this and in great news- didn't have to walk at all! Even up the hills to my house! This might be the first time I've ever 'run' up these hills while also keeping HR from going above 150.

~In good news, my body is responding really well to this aerobic running. This run this afternoon I did pretty much right off the bike and it was 25"/mile faster than the run this morning at the same HR... yay!

~Not a ton to say about this except that I kept HR <150, only had to walk a few times up hills, and had the thought that these long 'durability' days I think give me the most return on race day... As hard as it is to train for 5.5 hours in a day, I think this is the kind of thing that really helps me the most! And really, to avg <10' pace on a run this long at the end of a training day like this with HR low shows giant improvement already over last week when I couldn't run 2 miles at that HR <10' pace... So even though I'm super tired right now, I feel like we are on the right track here so it's easy to embrace the fatigue I'm feeling.

~Since I was in Kailua for the swim (where it is flat!) I figured I'd do this run on that same flat loop where I did the HR Benchmarking last week... just to see how it has changed in the last ~8 days. It's not an exact comparison b/c today was much warmer than last week (9:30-10:30AM and no cloud cover at all!). So still showing a significant slowdown though not as drastic as last week (most of the miles today were 40-50" faster than last week, so, yay).

~HR was much better controlled than it has been recently- and it didn't seem to drift much over the course of this run like it has been drifting lately. I drank a bottle of Osmo before I went then carried a bottle of Osmo and drank that, then refilled 2 more times w/ water... That seems like a lot of fluid but I think it was perfect... staying hydrated helped a ton. also, full cloud cover was nice!! It's still hot out but without the sun beating down on me it was way more comfortable. Anyway, kept HR <150 and didn't have to walk much except on a few big hills (Haiku/Heeia/Lanipo loop is quite hilly) and I slowed at the end to keep HR low but that was mostly a factor of it all being uphill. Today was one of those days where had it been a progression run I felt strong enough where I could have picked it up and run a good bit harder in the last few miles... I wasn't slogging it in just trying to finish today. yay! Left achilles is talking to me. Am taking care of it and just got done voodoo banding it- that took care of it temporarily. will stay on it.

~Headed out around 4PM for this and it was drizzling rain which was awesome. I took really good care of my calf and achilles all day so it was fine during this whole run no issues. And, this was the same route as I ran Tuesday morning but was almost a full minute faster today at the same HR (avg 144). I'm super happy with the progress I've made running this week! Physically and mentally I feel really good and I totally enjoy this game of "How fast can I run while keeping HR <150?" It's addicting b/c I see that almost every time I head out the door I run faster than the last time so it makes me want to head out all the time! :)

~Ran Ben Parker out/back which is pretty much 2 miles down then 2 miles back up. I've done this run a lot over the last 1.5 years since I've lived in this house- often by HR and rarely under 40' when I'm trying to keep HR <150... but today what I was doing was more like running vs slog/trotting and I did it in 38:02. Pretty sure that's the fastest I've run this route while also keeping HR140's. Felt good!

~Did this at ~2:30PM (~3 hours post bike finish) on the TM mostly b/c I was curious about HR drift if I controlled for temperature and hydration... so I had a big bottle of Osmo that I drank during this run and I'm sure that helped. First mile HR 130's was pretty slow like 10:20ish then 5 miles straight at HR148-150 interesting there was very little (if any?) drift going on here... super interesting to see that HR didn't drift when I was inside and not hot. At the end of this run I added in 6x20" strides with 20" straddle TM rest... started at 8:00pace for those and each one bumped up the pace by .2 so finished last one at 7' pace and felt really good. HR got up to 153 on those.

~Can definitely tell that we are making change in my fitness- today was the first time I felt like I was more limited by my legs vs my heart rate/breathing- especially on the way back. Ran aikahi out/back from 9-11ish AM... some clouds and I wouldn't say I felt super hot but I was sweating like a fountain and drank almost 5 bottles of fluid during this run (2x Osmo + 3x water). Also took gels at miles 5/9. On the way back I def felt like I had some fatigued legs and had the thought that I want/need to do more long runs until the distance is not hard anymore... come home to log this and see next weeks schedule yikes 2x long runs but yep I'm with you there... anyway, today was almost even split out in 60' and back in 61' avg HR 145 so it was more controlled than it has been for sure.

~Holy cow I feel like a completely different runner than I was 2 weeks ago. Did this in the afternoon after the core work and felt good right from the first step. Was sunny but still super windy so that helped keep me cool. Ran the same hilly loop as tuesday morning but was a full 90" faster today at the same HR. I feel like unless I'm going up a steep hill, I'm actually able to run at an effort that feels comfortable- this feels a lot less like I'm having to hold way back and more like I'm just out for a cruise run. Still have a bit of an issue on the hills but only if/when they're steep. Shallower hills no problem now. I'm super happy with the progress I'm making here. Of note though: I am aggressively managing my left calf/achilles. It's ok but only b/c I'm spending a good bit of time throughout every day being really really nice to it.

Anyway, I'm not 'done' with this process because I'm still seeing improvement just about every time I head out the door... I will caveat this with a couple of thoughts:
1) I think I respond really quickly to this type of training because I have been through the process before (and have seen great results so I truly believe in it).
2) I was super diligent about keeping HR in the right range and I didn't fudge it. Not even on days when I felt really good and wanted to just say screw it and run faster.
3) I have both the available time and the durability to handle a lot of miles. Plus, I sincerely enjoy running a lot.
4) I am a conscientious NUT about doing all the body work necessary to keep myself healthy through a lot of miles. I can pretty much guarantee that had I not pulled out every trick in the book, I'd be nursing a calf/achilles injury right now. Every day I was massaging, rolling, stretching, voodoo banding, and e-stimming my calves... and they responded by letting me continue to run. :)

In good news, I got to test myself out with a little local sprint triathlon this morning. I haven't tried to run 'fast' in a few weeks so wasn't 100% sure how it would go but I figured no matter what it would be better than 2 weeks ago, and I was right. :)
4 weeks till Honu.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hatching The Egg

Alan Couzens wrote a blog last week where he included this quote and it spoke to me...

Hatching chicks is a part of the chicken journey I have not (yet) attempted, but I've read some about it on the Backyard Chickens web pages. Apparently it's really important to let those chicks hatch on their own without any outside assistance, even if it appears that they are struggling and taking forever and might not make it on their own. Apparently, if/when an impatient chicken owner tries to help that chick hatch out of his/her shell, the chick often ends up in more trouble and often doesn't make it out alive. You just can't rush the process.

Anyway, that analogy reminds me of how I've been approaching my run training. I got myself into a bit of trouble in recent months by consistently pushing too much too hard when it came to running. For a while my HR monitor wasn't working, so I did all my easy runs by feel (I wasn't breathing that hard so that was easy, right?) ... then on my hard runs I prefer to focus on pace or effort so I (usually) consciously choose to not use HR during those sessions... Then even when I finally got my HR monitor back up and functioning, I don't know, I think I just figured I was 'past' that stage in my development b/c OMG I've been training for like 20 years now you guys surely my aerobic fitness would have to be really good, no?!? And coach was on the same page there so I think neither of us really worried about that much at all. Run training seemed to be going well and my daily runs were getting faster and while I noted often that I was suffering more, I kind of took that as a good sign b/c (duh!) learning to tolerate suffering is like the key to success in triathlon! I will admit that the thought crossed my mind that I felt like I was working really hard really often on that run, but I thought maybe that's just what it takes to really develop my run into what I want it to be?

So then I got to run a half marathon, and I was sort of excited b/c I thought maybe I was actually going to run a good half marathon... But I didn't run a good half marathon. Instead, I blew to shreds. Damn.

So that was disappointing for sure and when I have a performance like that it really makes me go back and question what the heck happened... Where was the limiter? For me that day 100% it was my breathing... Breathing was way too labored starting around mile 5 and once I lost that I couldn't bring it back without slowing WAY down. My gut told me that my aerobic efficiency was something I should probably take a look at- I know what it feels like to have super aerobic efficiency and to be ticking along like a machine- working hard but in control- that feels awesome and I love that. But I did not have that with running. I raced again the following weekend (sprint tri) and noted that my run was limited by my panting breathing- I was at my top end limit but I was not going very fast. I knew I needed to go back and fix this the patient way... from the bottom up.

In good news, coach was open to also listening to my gut, and we decided that a 5 mile MAF test was in order. That would tell us what was up. So I did one of those and, um, I don't even know where to start with that?! I expected to see my pace fall off a bit at the same HR but it fell off like 2'/mile over the course of 5 miles and I was in shock. Like, what?! That's like off-the-couch level fitness and it was shocking to me. How that could possibly have happened I have no idea, but the fact that we had that concrete evidence of what was happening with my HR was the key to understanding how we needed to move forward. (See? Bad race results can be beneficial if they prompt you to look into why it went bad!)

Anyway, I got my HR monitor back out and am on a mission to fix this aerobic efficiency thing... I ran 45 miles this past week, all HR 140-150 (diligently!!), and watched my fitness rebound. I actually quite love that process and since I had a lot of time to think while I was out jogging almost every day, I got to wondering why it was that I seem to have a bigger issue with aerobic efficiency than many other athletes I know? I never really figured this one out? My guess is that it's genetic b/c I coach athletes who do a lot less aerobic volume than I do and their heart rates remain in control. I see a lot of files from a lot of athletes and some seem to have a really hard time keeping their HR under control (I fall into this category) while others struggle and have to work quite hard to get their HR up into the right zones. I think those in the latter group can do more hard/fast running and adapt to it just fine, but those of us in the first group need to focus more on aerobic running and that's where we get the most benefit. And when those of us in the first group do a higher % of our run training in the 'hard' category, we have a harder time going back and keeping heart rate under control. Anyway, the learning in the past month or so has been really good and just confirms to me what I thought I knew all along- I am a volume athlete... I respond well both physically and mentally/emotionally to high volume lower intensity work. Some higher intensity work can be good for me but too much of it buries me. These are good lessons!

If you're in the same category as me and feel you are limited more often by your breathing vs your legs, I think the key is actually running by heart rate- not by feel or by pace. Early on in the week I had to run very very slow and stupidly easy to keep HR in the 140's. Today, if I ran that same pace or effort, my HR would have been in the 130's which is too low for me. My goal is NOT to run slow- it's to run easy. And those two are only the same thing if you're missing aerobic fitness and efficiency. Today I was running and was actually able to push a bit b/c my HR was still pretty low and wow that felt GREAT.

I'll try to keep you updated on how this process continues to progress!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Not In Kansas Anymore...

Holy cats... where to start? So this past weekend I had the honor of having two of my athletes from Kansas come out to work/train with me in person. I kind of can't say enough about how great this kind of opportunity is... While I've definitely had some success guiding athletes from afar, getting to know them the way you can when you spend time training together in person is priceless. Ok, well it's the price of a plane ticket and a car and a place to stay for the weekend... But worth so much more than that!

We basically spent the last 4 days swimming and biking and running... I pretty much lived out of my car. Here's proof! (It still looks like this, yes.)
I figured that since they were coming from their Kansas-winter-dark-little-basement training caves,  starting off our training weekend at this location would be pretty cool.
So we did a little Aloha Friday morning swim/run along this beach and the giddy looks on their faces assured me it was a good call. :) Welcome to Hawaii, boys!

A big focus for our weekend was swim speed/technique, and in good news, I think it's safe to say we were successful on this front. We spent a bunch of time in the pool on 3 separate occasions and with some new technique, they both dropped 10-15"/100 off their old paces. I found this process *really* interesting. Especially in Todd's case. Here's a guy who's been working *diligently* on that damn swim yet not seeing any improvement at all in his swim times. In good news, he was swimming plenty of yards consistently every single week, so his fitness was there. He was capable of swimming for a long time at the same steady pace, but he wasn't capable of swimming faster, even for a single 50yd. In a scenario like this, it's 100% technique that is the issue. I know there are a bunch of athletes (and coaches!) who think that an athlete shouldn't just keep swimming if their technique is not good, but here's where I will completely disagree with that. In Todd's case, yes, his technique left something to be desired. Swimming a bunch was frustrating for him b/c he wasn't seeing improvement, but he kept chipping away at that fitness anyway. And you know what? When we finally managed to tweak his technique so he was actually able to move through the water more effectively, all that fitness showed right up, and his 'new' pace was a pace that he could *hold* because his fitness was already in place. So all those hard yards were not for nothing! On the other hand, if/when a swimmer is capable of swimming fast for a 50 (let's say 45" or better), then like it or not the issue is fitness/endurance, so that athlete has to put in more time/volume and that's where the money will be for him/her. Anyway, I'm super proud of the progress we made in the pool this past weekend and will look forward to continuing to push these guys so they get even faster down the road!

Friday afternoon I took the guys for some sightseeing on our local mountain... Apparently in Kansas they have a hard time finding a hill that lasts more than a few minutes, so we looped Tantalus a few times so they would have an opportunity to climb continuously for 30+'. Plus, the views from up there are amazing.

Day 2 started off at the beach again, this time with a lesson on "What is a Portuguese Man-o-war?"
I found a couple of these critters on the beach and feared that our morning swim might end prematurely (and not without some electrocuting pain) but all's well that ends well and by some miracle we all managed to avoid getting stung. We spent a good chunk of time practicing open water starts and finishes and sighting and torpedo turns... super fun and we ended that session with lots of smiles.

The rest of the day on Saturday was pretty much spent on our bikes, where the boys from Kansas got a taste of Hawaii winds, which aren't altogether different from Kansas winds, except that there's no wind when you'r riding on your trainer in your basement because its 30 degrees outside. Regardless, the ocean views were great and we (somehow?!?) didn't even get rained on. #winning

Sunday morning started dark and early. Hey boys! Find your legs because we've got a little race to do! Lanikai Triathlon was Sunday morning, and the race was officially closed, but in a show of Aloha, Raul and Hina graciously let the boys from Kansas into the race, which was a bit of a thrill.

I raced too and it was my first triathlon of 2015. Decent showing I suppose, though if I'm honest I'd admit it left some things to be desired... but it's all good! I have both the time and understanding of where my weaknesses are at the moment so am setting about fixing them... :)
I'm pretty sure this is where I was telling my friend Mike about how much I am completely 100% IN LOVE with my new Enve wheels... Yesterday was the first time I'd tried them Don't try anything new on race day but from the first pedal stroke I knew I was IN LOVE...

In good news, my swim was decent (thumbs up for my new Roka speed suit, which I tested out for the first time at this race Don't try anything new on race day) and my bike didn't suck. Ahem, we just won't talk about that run! This picture makes it look like maybe it didn't completely suck, but don't be fooled- it completely sucked. ;) Ok, well except for the views. The views didn't suck.

In good news, Coeur Sports was well represented on the women's 40-44 podium. Yay Coeur Sports! (and yay Shannon!) These 2015 kits are the bomb. Really, the whole line is just awesome. I train in this gear all.time.time because they are simply the most comfortable kits I have.

My Kansas boys had a blast racing too. Todd ended up on the podium for his age group (!!) and Greg was this.close (4th!). Was a super fun morning but it was all done by 8AM, which meant we had plenty of time for another bike ride, followed by lunch, followed by another pool swim session. #TeamBSC #WeTrainForDurability

Anyway, one more swim/run this morning (where Todd PR'd his 100 swim by like 10 seconds and then hugged me instinctively) and my Kansas boyz are on a plane heading home right now...  I'm sitting here pretty much glowing just so stoked about how great that weekend was. Not only was it fun and beneficial for Todd and Greg, but it was confidence building for me as a coach. More and more I see/feel that coaching is what I was meant to do. Helping athletes the way I get to is 100x more rewarding than standing on that podium.

The last few days were a whirlwind but have found their way onto my list of top lifetime experiences. You planned a great schedule, sacrificed valuable family and professional time, and shared expertise, optimism and patience beyond words!
You are so passionate about what you do. Your statement about being invested in your athletes is so true. I have a passion for triathlon and want to push myself. You know this and I believe you know a little more about what makes me tick after seeing me in person.
Thank you so much for a great trip. It's just the start of going even higher.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Back to Blogging... Just a Random Update

I sort of miss blogging. I do it so rarely now it feels like I should have something really big and important to say... or some big event to write about... I don't really have either of those here today so I'm just going to babble randomly sort of like I used to do a lot.

My mom told me the other day that she went back and read my blogs from when Moana was a little baby and how fun it was to read all about that stuff. The little things maybe don't seem "blog-worthy" but in reality they're probably the type of stuff that makes the blog worthwhile to look back on, and made me think I should document more just so it's out there in case Moana ever wants to read it when she gets older.

Anyway, it's Thursday, which most weeks means an easy training day and a day where I'm home mostly in front of my computer checking in with athletes and coming up with programming for the following week(s). Marilyn and I have come up with a good schedule and I'm really starting to like the rhythm of my weeks... We've figured out how to balance a decent amount of training while still allowing me enough time to get all my work done and be the wife/mom I want to be. Sometimes I get tired of course but overall I'd say my 'balance' this year is better than it has been in years past.

One thing that's been different this year is that (Knock on wood! Should I even say this out loud?!) I have not had an injury. I can't remember the last time I got through the winter/early spring without an injury? It's been a really long time. To be honest, I think I can say with certainty that staying healthy is not a fluke this time around. I've prioritized a bunch of things that I used to let slide. Now that I am in my 40's I'm smart enough to not let that stuff slide! :) In a nutshell though, I think the heavy lifting I did from Dec-Mar played a big role in this. I've changed my run form a bit (using higher cadence now) which I think also helps. And, I work on mobility every day like it's my job. The mobility stuff has just become a habit and since I can tell such a huge difference in how I feel if I happen to miss it, I'm motivated to not miss it.

So overall I'd say training has gone pretty well. Seems like I have good days and bad days. My bad days are pretty predictable each month and the #HormoneNerd does a great job of explaining all that. It's funny b/c I know its coming every month and yet every month I get so frustrated and have thoughts like "I'm too old for this shit" or "I've lost it I'm just not strong anymore" and I contemplate my retirement from triathlon and think maybe I should just start lifting weights full time... And then a few days pass and I go out and actually ride my bike in a way that reminds me that I do actually know how to ride a bike and it's all good (for the next ~25 days).

I'm experimenting with things now and trying hard to reduce my overall stress levels in the back half of each month to see if that helps at all. Just started on daily magnesium too b/c I've heard from reliable sources that it could help. So we'll see!?

In good news, coaching is going really well and #TeamBSC is growing/thriving! I feel like Krista and I are doing a really good job working together. Our athletes are happy and getting all the attention they want/need. Every year I feel like I'm able to build on what I've known/done in the past so I feel like I just keep getting better and better at this coaching thing. I really couldn't be happier in this regard. A few of our new athletes who've recently come on board have expressed that they are thrilled with the detail and instruction we provide (a lot through our private team FB page) and that is confidence building as well... To know that we are providing the value we want to provide... It feels good and is a win-win all around for everyone. I've got two athletes from Kansas coming into town next weekend to train in person with me for 4 days- really looking forward to that!

In case you're interested, my chickens are all still alive and well... They lay eggs for us every day, though if they saw what we did with them last week they might go on strike...

The wild ones tend to hide their eggs in my neighbors yard, so I have to go searching, and by the time I find their nest under some bush there will be like 12-16 eggs in it. And then once they realize I found their nest, they go find a new hiding place. Silly chickens. My other 3 girls are easy and lay their eggs in the same spot each day so they're easy for me to find and collect. I don't see Peepers on the street anymore. Not sure if after he went through puberty that he just doesn't need me anymore and is back in the woods living out his life with a group of wild hens (my hope!), or if he's not alive anymore? I still stop on the side of the road up there sometimes though and throw out some chicken food. Last night when I did that, 30-40 chickens came out of the woods. So there are a ton of them still out there. I'm not tempted to bring any of them home though. I'm happy with my little flock of 5.

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.