Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lanikai Triathlon

About a week ago I jogged ~20' super easy and since my calf didn't hurt I sent an email to Marilyn telling her that I thought I could likely get through Lanikai Triathlon without injuring myself... until then it was very much up in the air about whether or not I'd even attempt to start. So even though I had no options at this race but to simply jog the run course, I'm REALLY glad I was able to do it!

Lanikai is just a fun little local sprint race but it's done in the town next to mine and the course is good and many of our friends show up and it just feels like the kind of event I want to support going into my Golden Years of triathlon. (Ahem, my first race officially as a MASTER now that I am 40!!)

I haven't yet seen many pics of the swim show up on FB so I found this one from 2011. Fwiw, this is not at all what the water looked like for us this year! It was drizzling rain at the start and there was a high wind advisory so we had some legit chop and water that was moving to play in. Honestly, those were my preferred conditions and I was happy! The swim was fun. Short, but fun!

Anyway, I don't have a ton to say about this race other than I'm just really glad I got to do it! I swam, I biked, I jogged, and I enjoyed it. And I came out of it without hurting myself- that's the biggest reason for my giant smile at the finish line. :)

The bigger story is about my new little flock of local BSC athletes... all 3 racing on Sunday are new to me this year and across the board had great success! Sergio won the whole race OA(!!!), Kelly won her age group and Heidi finished right behind me in ours (We went 1-2!). I left there feeling super proud but also quite confident that we are once again on the right track for success this year. It's funny sometimes when I start with new athletes and they think maybe they know what to expect from me as their coach... But it's not always the same protocol, you know? Some athletes need to be pushed for sure... so I push them well outside of their comfort zone and teach them that they are stronger than they thought. With others, right away I see it's better to strap that HR monitor on and use it as a leash and their calendar is filled with words that I feel I need to scream like EASY, RELAXED, HR CAP, etc. Kelly has been one such athlete and I think she shocked the hell out of herself in actually still being able to race strong/fast yesterday even though a big majority of her training has been, in her view, uncomfortably slow. It's good though as time goes on and athletes see for themselves that the program is working for them then they resist less and that makes my life/job a ton easier. :)

After the race a group of us ignored the small craft advisory conditions and went out for a swim to the Mokes. We may or may not have brought along a cooler with some adult refreshments and hung out at the little island a mile off shore happily celebrating Sergio's win... The ocean was indeed as crazy as ever out there with bigger than normal waves crashing everywhere but for experienced ocean people it was absolutely awesome and really fun. I think the key there though is experienced ocean people. Unfortunately not everyone has the experience to be out there on days like that and Sergio and Vicky ended up spending an hour or so sidestroking some stranded kayakers/kids back to shore. I won't go into the whole story here, but suffice to say they saved the lives of 4 family members before the fire department was able to arrive and I am super happy to call them both friends. They are heroes.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Raising A Wild One

Ok this post is really only for those of you following the chicken stories. If you're here for training/racing stuff, come back in a few days I'll have a story for you about my first sprint 'race' of the year. But for today, we're talking chickens!

Yesterday morning I went out back and opened the coop door for my three girls. They flew out immediately. It's a rare treat to come out in the morning- usually it's late afternoon when they get out. But what the heck, it was Aloha Friday and all! Ozzie was actually out in the yard when they flew out and I sort of wanted to watch what he would do. It was sort of funny when they flew across the yard he  ducked down like he was afraid! Eventually he came out from hiding under a chair and just watched them intently from afar. He might have been slightly conflicted because I would scold him if he started looking too much like a pounce attack was pending... it seemed clear he knew that I was not going to let him get those birds but all of his evolutionary tendencies were saying get those birds... After a few minutes I gathered him up and brought him inside, leaving the chickens to their peaceful search for worms and bugs.

I spent the morning mostly inside finishing up work and doing a bit of cleaning (in this house seriously though WHY bother cleaning on a Friday?? It's all for naught come Saturday at noon when the house is full of neighborhood kids destroying the place.) Every once in a while I would peer over the edge of the lanai to see how the girls were doing and all seemed fine... until it wasn't.

At one point late morning I went to check on the chickens but did not see them. Hmmm. So I went down to the backyard and indeed, no sign of any of them. Oh no! Where did they go? I looked over into the neighbor's yards... nothing. They weren't even peeping?? I got a little more frantic. Eventually I heard some scuffling in the coop and interestingly, Big Red and Ellie were roosting up high in their coop. They had put themselves away all on their own, but Snow, who does not go into the coop on her own, was gone.

I'll save you the drama of the rest of the morning, which I spent wandering around our yard and the neighbor's yards, peeping like a psychiatric ward patient.

Then I sent a sad text to Scott.
I went out several more times over the course of the day but no sign of Snow. I thought maybe it was a good sign that I didn't see a pile of her feathers somewhere though... Was thinking that if a neighborhood cat came by and got her that there would be some evidence of a struggle in the form of white feathers somewhere?

Anyway, later when I was bringing Moana home I told her that Snow went missing. :( She was as sad as I was about that and just as we were lamenting the situation I happened to drive by a mama hen who had like 8 new little chicks on the side of the road. Ah ha! Problem solved. Moana and I drove home, grabbed a net and a shoe box and set off on a mission.

It took me like 10 seconds to catch Choco 2.0. These chicks were all really little and when a mama hen has so many it's not hard to catch the one who gets distracted and doesn't follow the flock into the safety of the woods.

Moana was stoked of course and we came home and eagerly took our shoebox into the backyard to introduce our new little pet to her new home and her new big sisters! Oh happy day! So I put the box down in the grass, opened up the top and BOOM! Little Choco flew right out and darted off into the bushes! GAH!

Once again I found myself on a chicken hunt... Choco 2.0 can peep as loud as any, but she's also smart enough to go radio silent when she is being hunted. She went deep into some thick brush in our side yard (note to husband- we you should clear that out!) and I couldn't see her or hear her but I knew she was there and had no real escape route. Eventually I was smart enough to play her game... I also went silent and just waited patiently... eventually I heard some peeping, then some rustling, and then I saw her making her way out of the brush. Long story short, I caught her again and released her into the safety of the coop.

I was super excited to watch Big Red and Ellie act like protective big sisters or something... I figured maybe they'd sit on her to keep her warm... or something like that. Instead, they got tall, fluffed their feathers and silently stared at her. When they finally went near I figured maybe they were interested in getting to know her a bit but instead they pecked her! Choco 2.0 crouched in the corner of the coop and started shaking. Oh no! Moana was super sad watching this unfold and I was thinking I'd possibly made a big mistake in bringing this itty bitty wild thing home. :(

So then Scott came home and saw our new chick, which he thought was fine... I let Ozzie and Tom out of the house (they'd been locked in all day!). Scott then went on his own search for Snow. Turns out, if there's a chicken on the loose, best thing to do is let the cats out and then follow them. Ozzie and Tom are better hunters than I am... they found Snow in the neighbor's yard pretty much immediately. I was cooking dinner and heard Scott yelling to me outside I FOUND SNOW COME HELP! Of course I was stoked so I went running outside and sure enough we had to swat the cats away as they were both cornering her. She came to us eagerly and I held her close feeling her little heart beating 100mph. PHEW! I put Snow in the coop but thought we needed to move Choco out because while that's a good home for the bigger chickens, I wasn't sure it was the best place for a little one?!

Scott set up the brooder in the garage again and we got Choco settled in there on her own. I did some reading then about introducing a new chick to an established flock (maybe I should have done that before going out and catching the wild one?? I can be impulsive, I admit.) Turns out we are going to need to let her get a little bigger then maybe put her in there at night when the chickens are sleeping and have them all wake up together... then just sort of let the pecking happen because it turns out, The Pecking Order is not just a hypothetical phrase of speech but a real thing that chickens must establish on their own... Did you know the chicken who is highest on the pecking order roosts in the highest spot in the coop? I did not know that either. #FactOfTheDay

Anyway, through my recent reading I've also learned that chicks really don't like to be alone, and that if they don't have any other chicks to bond with, they may bond most with humans... Sure enough, Moana and I went into the garage to play with Choco this morning and she didn't attempt to run away at all! In fact, she just wanted to cuddle up close to us. It was super cute! Moana gave up one of her little stuffed animals to put in Choco's brooder so she has something to cuddle up with when she wants to sleep. It's a little polar bear, which should serve to further confuse Choco as to her identity as a chicken.

So for now, Moana is pretty stoked at having a new little playmate in the garage. I'm hoping Choco lives. I think if we make it through the first week we should be good, and then hopefully I can get her integrated into the coop with the others as soon as possible so she develops some social skillz as an actual chicken.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Breaking Through

Whole bunch of stuff to write about today!

Let's start with a training update... I'd say the biggest take-away I'm getting from my current training plan is the polarization of EASY vs HARD. I think last year a ton of my training fell into the mod/hard category... I went without data a lot and most days just pretty much gave it what I had that day then backed it up again the following day again giving it what I had and then the next day giving it whatever was left. And after ~a year of that you know what was left for race day? Nothing.

Interesting with my training plan now I get power caps for my long/easy rides. I will be honest- at first I resisted this wondering if there was really any benefit to going that easy?? I mean, you know I am a HUGE fan of aerobic training and all but when I cap my power like that, HR is even like 10 beats below what I would consider MAF aerobic. I'm sort of used to it at this point though and will admit there's a sense of relaxed relief when I see long/easy ride on my schedule b/c I know that even if I'm out there all day it will really take nothing out of me... and I don't really have to think at all throughout the ride just cruise easy and look at the ocean. Then the next day inevitably I get to do something quite a bit harder and you know how much energy I have left for that? All of it! It's pretty cool to experience this polarized type of training and I can absolutely see how this would/could/should result in faster racing. I can see it in training already (at least on swim and bike) that when my easy days are not just easy but ridiculously easy, my hard days end up with a bit of a breakthrough in power/speed which is super motivating! Seeing those kinds of breakthroughs gives me confidence to continue to keep my easy days EASY.

Swimming has been LEGIT lately too. Yikes. It's good of course and I really like the sessions I'm getting but there is definitely more suffering involved in the pool than I'm used to (and I'm used to suffering in the pool!) Monday the main set was 8x250's as first 50 fly straight into 200 steady swim... It's been like 20 years since I've really trained much fly so 400M of it was kind of a lot... and when you're swimming fly longcourse you really miss the wall/turn at the 25! That first 50 swim after the 50 fly was nothing short of hypoxic hell every time but was pretty proud of myself for even making that one without giving up and breaking into 1-arm fly... I was thinking I never would have made myself do that set but since Marilyn wrote it there was no backing out! It was definitely some good practice too in swimming strong even when feeling severely uncomfortable. Swimming butterfly brings out a level of discomfort that goes well beyond what I can do to myself with freestyle.

I think my swimming has been big recently as a sort of replacement for my running not being big... BUT, I've finally had a bit of a breakthrough with this lower leg injury thing. In good news I found a local chiropractor who is also a triathlete so he understands what we're doing to ourselves on a daily basis... If you're local here and need some help with whatever ails you, check out Dr Zen at The Zen Center. I was super impressed with how thorough he was in examining my lower legs and the treatment/adjustment he did was excellent. I could tell he was going out of his way to really help me. I walked out of there feeling better than I had in a long time and have been jogging pain free ever since! Marilyn is super conservative when it comes to building back from injury so my run instructions often include the words WALK and SHUFFLE like a little old lady, etc... But whatever I'm happy to go easy for now and build back the smart way which hopefully will keep me on the roads consistently going forward for the rest of the year. 6 weeks of ZERO running was so shitty I do not want to have to endure that again so if that means starting back with just 20' easy walk/jogging, whatever. I'm game!

In other exciting news, TeamBSC is offering up a pretty cool opportunity right now... If you're an athlete who has been considering hiring a coach but just haven't yet made the leap for whatever reason, check out Krista's latest blog. As she is building her coaching group right now she has offered up FREE coaching to one lucky athlete. I've had the opportunity to watch/help Krista get started with her coaching and can tell you that she is totally 'on it' with her athletes. She pays attention, she communicates well, and she has the knowledge/passion to help her athletes reach their triathlon goals. This is really a great chance for someone to see how much having a great coach can benefit your season. Hiring a coach is not magic, of course- YOU still have to do the work as directed... and you have to communicate feedback after you do your sessions... but taking the thinking/guessing out of it is wonderful and quite energy saving. So stop procrastinating and send Krista your story. Maybe you'll be the lucky one she picks?!? Then you too could be a TeamBSC athlete. :)

Finally, I'll leave you with a little story about our backyard chickens...
Every afternoon I gather up the cats and lock them inside then go open up the door to the coop and the chickens all happy fly right out. They get at least an hour to run around the yard, sometimes more. Did you know chickens eat lizards? Truth. I've seen it. Anyway, at some point before dusk I go back outside to help them back into the safety of their coop. It's easy with the two red ones- I just show them the food and they walk right up the ramp no problem. With Snow though we've had some challenges... She has not yet conquered the ramp (won't even go near it!?!) and consequently I've unsuccessfully chased her around the yard for quite some time (looking like a total moron I'm sure!)... We finally resorted to going with a two person attack where we would corner her and then quickly leap to catch her... Recently though she has made it a bit easier. I think she finally understands that I'm trying to help her not hurt her. The last few evenings I've gone out and just sort of squatted down with my hands out and we have this little stare down contest. Two nights ago she begrudgingly hopped into my hand and then squawked bloody murder while I carefully carried her to the coop... Last night though it took her less time... I held out my hand and she jumped right into it like she completely understood the drill. And she didn't squawk as if she was super scared. I know it sounds crazy to be so proud of a little breakthrough like that with a chicken, but I'm pretty proud of that little breakthrough I had with my chicken. :)

Monday, March 31, 2014

TeamBSC Scottsdale Camp!

Long flights home are the perfect opportunity to catch up on blogging!

I think all my long flights home last year were marred by a sense of disappointment from a lackluster race performance. On this flight over the Pacific the feeling is quite different! This flight, while I feel a bit like a zombie, I have a sense of satisfaction, motivation, and hope for the future.

TeamBSC Scottsdale camp was this past weekend and all along I was not planning on attending (Krista and Kelly did all the planning/prep for that!) but then last week I was overcome by a burning desire to be there as well... mostly just because the idea of riding my bike around Arizona for 3 days alongside some awesome women sounded like it would be My FOMO got the best of me and I called Krista last Monday afternoon- and before I even said hello- I announced I was on She laughed, but said her couch was open for me, and just like that I booked my flight! Where there is a will, there is a way!

We did not tell anyone I was coming because we thought it would be a fun surprise for my athletes… Only two of the campers were actually athletes I personally coach (Monika and Tracy) and I will say, the look on Tracy's face when she saw me standing in Krista's garage on Friday morning getting ready for the bike ride was almost worth the entire price of the ticket. :) I didn't get to see Monika until we were all at the bottom of Bartlett Lake (long story- blame my lack of bike building skills) and she didn't totally recognize me because she didn't have her glasses on (ha!). It was awesome getting to ride with those gals in person and it goes without saying that they both had stellar weekends! Monika is riding like a BOSS. Damn.

ANYWAY, I am not going to go into detail about every training session as I'm sure somebody else will do that but I will bullet point some of my personal thoughts and highlights:

~Attending a camp like this as a camper vs the coach in charge was awesome. I did not feel the sense of pressure and responsibility that I typically do and that allowed me to just relax and have more fun. Don't get me wrong- I enjoy being the coach at training camps- BUT it is very stressful and when you're in charge you feel this huge sense of responsibility to make sure everyone is ok and on track and happy, etc. It takes a lot of emotional energy to do that and I applaud Krista and Kelly for doing it well! But it was nice to not be in that role for once and I have to say, I'm rather surprised at how easily I was able to 'let it go'. I had a remote fear going into this weekend that I might suffer from some sort of urge to step up and play the alpha role but I did not! Yay! That said, being more on the 'outside' gave me better insight into what it feels like to be the camper so I think I learned some things that I/we can do to further improve the whole training camp experience going forward. TeamBSC camps are awesome and they will just continue to get better!

~I love training with other strong women. On Friday we did a lake swim at Bartlett and I found myself swimming in a pack with Erica, Jen, and Robin and it occurred to me WE ARE ALL W40-44 (masters women, represent!) and here we are together ripping through this swim in the middle of a 5 hour bike ride…  The best part is that Erica and Robin and I used to train together when I lived in AZ like 10-15 years ago so it was like some sort of reunion (remember when we were in our 20's and just learning how to do all this and now we are in our 40's and still at it?? Badass, I say!) Then at one point the next day, toward the end of the Saturday ride, I sort of went to the back of the pack and just watched the group ahead of me riding and I felt a major sense of pride at how awesome the group was. Like these are my people and I could not assemble a better group anywhere- which of course isn't even true as there are awesome groups of women training together in every state- but somehow this felt special to me. They weren't just strong athletes, they were awesome people.

~After spending 12+ hours sitting on my Argon up and down mountains over the past 3 days (~14K of climbing!), I can now confidently say that I LOVE that bike. It took me a while to get the fit dialed in the way I want it, but now that it is, I am super happy with it. Plus, now that I've broken it down and built it up to fly with it, I feel less afraid of it, which I think is a good thing. You definitely can't be afraid of your bike if you want to ride it well. This weekend was also a nice opportunity for me to put the Osmo Nutrition line to the test. I've been using it in training quite a bit and feeling good, but my training has not been especially big or hard recently so it's hard to tell if that hydration/fueling strategy is really helping or if I have just been feeling good because I have not been smashed tired. But 3x5 hour training days in a row is a legit test and it was well beyond my current fitness level to actually pull that off! I used the whole Osmo Hydration line all weekend: Pre-load every morning, bottles of Active while riding, and the Recovery afterward. Mostly I ate Bonk Breakers bars but that was not my only source of calories as I also ate pretty much whatever sounded good all weekend (um, hello Cookie Cabin!). In the end, while I was not quite as peppy on day 3 as I was on the first 2 days, I'm happy with how I held up over the weekend as a whole and I'll give Osmo due credit for that!

~We had an opportunity to listen to a motivational speaker via Skype one evening and that was really great. I don't have my notes here in front of me right now but I remember the gist of what she spoke about when it came to motivation. The basic idea of it was that motivation isn't something we just magically have or don't have. It is something we GET when we ACT in a manner that is helping us achieve our goals. What I took from that was that when we feel a sense of possibility- like success is within reach if we just keep doing X, Y, Z- then we are more motivated to make good choices (i.e. skip the ice cream sundae and stretch our hip flexors and go to bed early, etc). Then it becomes a spiral in a nice positive direction because when we are doing the little things that set us up for success> we experience bits of success> we feel highly motivated to keep making the right choices. Contrast that with when we think our goals are out of reach> screw it might as well just eat the ice cream sundae b/c what does it matter we're not going to reach our goals anyway… That is a negative spiral that can be tough to break out of. But all of it stems from our actions and choices and we are in control of those. Good stuff.

~Speaking of hope and motivation, I had the most awesome opportunity to meet my new coach Marilyn yesterday! Since we were in Tucson climbing Mt Lemmon, I managed to arrange to have lunch with her afterward. That face time with your coach is so beneficial to both coach and athlete… I feel like after our time together yesterday that I understand her (and her methods) better- which will allow me to execute the plan she writes more as it is intended vs simply as my own interpretation of it. Additionally, I'm sure she now understands me better as a person and as an athlete which makes it infinitely easier for her to come up with a plan that is going to best meet my needs both physically and mentally/emotionally. An opportunity like that is such a win/win… It makes me want to save all my pennies so I can attend an Endurance Corner Camp next year… we will see. Anyway, I left our meeting with a sense of optimism and hope that I have not felt in quite some time and that makes me feel motivated to make good choices that will set me up for future success! Hope! Optimism! Motivation! Puppies! Rainbows! These are the things that you get from camp. :)

~Anyway, major congrats to Krista and Kelly for pulling off their first training camp in such a successful organized way. I knew they would, of course, but it was fun and satisfying to watch them deliver from the sidelines. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Mad Calf Disease

I think blogging is easier when you do it often. Then you can just write about what's going on right now instead of feeling like you have so much to stay you don't even know where to start? Like, can I just write about my fun little chickens and how the best part of each day is now when I come home in the late afternoons and pour myself a glass of wine and lock the cats up in the garage so I can watch my little chickens free range in the backyard?

Watching chickens hop and flit and attempt to fly around my backyard is one of the best (and unexpected!) stress relievers I've found. Like my own version of meditation.

Anyway, of course I'd like to just write about how awesome everything is... and for the most part, it really is all good. Just one little thing that's not good. And it's not really a little thing. Well, in the big scheme of life it's a little thing but in my world it feels like a big thing and I suspect if you're reading this blog you're a Type A triathlete like me so it would be a big thing in your world too...

So ya, I've been obsessing over this damn calf thing for weeks now trying to figure it out and FIX IT. In the past I've been magically cured by ART and/or acupuncture... But 2x ART appts and 4x acupuncture appts and I'm now broke not just physically but financially as well. Can't afford any more of those appts for a while so in between water runs I'm Dr Googling myself. A recent history of my searching would include phrases like:

~peroneal tendonitis running
~stress fracture running
~fibular head pain running
~peroneal nerve flossing
~anterior tibialis pain running
~posterior tibialis pain running
~Zappos Hoka one one

I've come to a couple of conclusions. I don't think I actually have a stress fracture. But the root cause of all the bad right now stems from that fibular head below my knee. Lots of stuff connects into that so really could be an old hamstring thing or peroneal nerve thing... and when it gets all irritated in there the rest of everything in and around my calf gets pissed (pick a point, any point, that's where it hurts). I've gone back and forth about icing or no icing. More and more comes out that icing is actually harmful and delays tissue healing, and yet... it makes my lower leg feel better?! So I've iced a few times and heated some too- both make it feel better. I'm afraid to run because I don't want to further piss it off but damn it's been a long time since I've run and seems like it should be better by now. I'm past the patient stage and now just sort of feel sad about the whole thing. I feel like I've done my time... paid my penance for my greedy mistake of running too much in January/Feb... I've done the rehab and taken time off and can I just be better already?? Apparently, not yet.

So in the meantime I swim and I bike and I water run and I do all those fun functional strength type exercises. Started a little group session at my house on Tuesdays with a few of my local athletes who can make it and that is a highlight of my week!
I should probably write a whole post about what I've learned from Marilyn's coaching in the last 3 weeks... It's good stuff. I feel like I'm doing next to nothing because my total volume is lower than it's ever been (~16 hours/week which after last year seriously seems like nothing) and a lot of it is very easy/aerobic effort. But then every once in a while I get to rip it and when I do, it's amazing! Maybe because I am carrying so little fatigue? I don't know, but I absolutely shocked the hell out of myself this morning in the pool swimming the fastest 800 I've ever recorded in that longcourse pool... came through the 400 and checked my watch... the split totally threw me for a loop b/c the number was one I'd never seen before in a 400... It took me like the whole next 100 to do the math and figure out my pace... then I figured I was screwed b/c clearly that was WAY too fast but I just kept chasing Mark and trying to stay close to him... Shook my head at the end when my watch said I neg split that swim WHAT!? Shocking. So I guess therein lies the benefit to keeping your easy days truly easy... because if you're not carrying a bunch of fatigue into your hard days, you can really reach new heights when you start to throw the hammer. Good stuff.

Now if I could just figure out the cure for this Mad Calf Disease...

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Plan... Reinstated

Feeling some major relief today! You know that saying You Don't Know What You Got Til It's Gone? Ya, well I don't know that I knew how much I really wanted to race Honu until the probability was that I would not actually be racing… Maybe I take it for granted or whatever but yikes the last two weeks I've been in a bit of a haze like I have no GOAL… Trying to envision the month of May if I was not peaking for Honu… That's what I have done during 7 of the last 8 months of May… WHAT would I do with myself instead?? And while part of it is the actual race itself, most of it is the whole race weekend experience… I like that race because so many of my friends/athletes are there. I like that race because the morning before we show up at Hapuna beach feeling fit and spunky and we float around in gorgeous clear warm ocean with our friends looking for turtles (and we always find them)… 

Then when the race is over we drink beer right at the finish line and share war stories about how freaking HOT and WINDY it was… 

I could not think of a 'replacement' race that felt right in my heart, so when I saw a had a phone message from the Ironman Office this morning my heart skipped a beat… b/c surely if they were denying my request they would just send a faceless email, no? And sure enough, she said my email(s) were so genuine that they agreed to make a rare exception and allow me to race… My faith in Ironman has been restored!

So, 12 weeks til Honu! Let's start training! :)

Actually, it's going fairly well on the swim/bike front. Amazing how much differently I approach training sessions when someone else writes them for me. Last week I had my first legit bike training week in a long time (didn't skip *any* rides yay me!) and I just watched my HR/power ratio get better and better with every ride. Turns out, the more I ride, the stronger I get on the bike. File that under #Duh. Same rule applies to swimming… After 4 purposeful swim sessions last week, I actually surprised myself this morning with paces I was able to hold in the pool (this is extremely rare for me to actually be surprised)… but how great is that? Add a coach = immediately get faster. Well, it's really like Add a coach = immediately work harder, so I guess not really the same thing. But close enough!

In case you were curious, that whole do more get faster thing doesn't apply to running. It's my own fault really- part of the mess I created for myself before I hired Marilyn went something along the lines of run run run until your calf gets so pissed you can't walk. Whoops. It's been a couple years since my calf has been this pissed. I'm trying to be patient but water running is getting old. Anyway, I'm working on it and trying to get back to real running ASAP. Marilyn has been quite patient with all this and its refreshing to be guided by someone with that mindset… like these little hiccups are just part of it so we do what we need to do when they come along to maintain fitness and we will get back on it when we can… Keeping my chin up!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Best Laid Plans

So you know how Jan 1 rolls around and we all close our eyes and dream about the year we're going to create for ourselves? Ya. So mine went something like this:

I'm going to coach myself! I know *exactly* the type of training I want to do for myself... and I'm going to show up at Honu fit and fresh and ready for the race of my life!

So with that, I wrote out a rough 5 month plan for myself. It was awesome. Perfect progression of sessions leading into the key ones I wanted to be able to nail 3-4 weeks out... Long sessions, short sessions, hard sessions, easy sessions, hill reps and track workouts... even a rough idea of where rest blocks would best fit were planned out. I loved it and it made me feel so good to look at all that work on paper!

Then I went to implement my perfect plan. At first it went pretty well. But then one day it would rain, and I'd decide that my bike ride might be better done tomorrow instead of today... I'll just run instead... then it would rain again the next day, and the day after that. It's ok though I thought! I'll modify my plan and make this a RUN BLOCK. Bike block can be next week... if it's dry...

Then a dry day would finally come and I would hem and haw and procrastinate until I had like an hour until it was time to pick up Moana... Ok so a short ride is better than no ride... I'll just go do some short hill reps and call it good. Damn, those hurt. 4 is good enough, no? I don't really need to do 8 of those, I justified to myself...

And on and on it went until ~2 months had passed and I found myself modifying just about everything and simply doing whatever I felt like and if I didn't feel like it I just wouldn't go b/c who really cares, anyway? Turns out, being accountable to myself is pretty much like being accountable to no one. And that just doesn't work for me.

My decisions to hire coaches ALWAYS come when I'm out on my bike and wimping out on myself. This time around was no different. It was a couple weeks ago (on a ride that was going to be 2 hours including strength intervals but I modified it to ~1:15 easy spinning because that's how I roll when I'm accountable to myself). In good news, this time around I had pretty clear criteria about what I believe I need in a coach...

~I wanted a woman. Yes I know this is stereotypical but I think most women communicate better than most men. I believe that communication between coach and athlete is KEY for success. I know I am good at communicating with my coach and I wanted a coach who would  also be good at communicating with me.

~I wanted someone who I felt like had a view of training that was very similar to my own. I've tried going out on a limb and doing things differently. That's cool! I love challenging my own beliefs because who am I to say I've got it all nailed?? Except, guess what? I'm 40 now and after 20 years in triathlon and trying a variety of different types of training, I think I have a clear idea of what works and what doesn't work for me. I don't feel the need for some big experiment right now. I just want someone who will write some good solid standard training for me, pay attention to how I respond, and then progress the plan. Don't treat me with kid gloves, but don't try to actually kill me either. Just because I'm durable enough to handle a giant training load doesn't mean it's actually the best thing for me to do in the long term.

Anyway, with those two things in mind, I found Marilyn Chychota with Endurance Corner. For years I have valued the things I've learned at the Endurance Corner website. All their coaches seem so professional and every article I read there just seems so logical and spot on. Then I started following Marilyn's coaching page on FB. She posts a little something every morning and every morning I would read it and think YEP YEP YEP... I will admit, I was also attracted to the fact that Marilyn has started doing Crossfit! Finally I got off my ass and sent her an email introducing myself and promising that I am a low maintenance athlete who will do what she says and I will log in every day I pinky swear and will she please consider holding me accountable to my training because I suck at doing that for myself... In good news, she said YES so YAY I am back on a plan and could not be happier. :)

It is seriously astounding how when the workout is entered in Training Peaks by someone else how I will execute it on point exactly as written... vs if I am the one who put it there it gets modified to something easier almost 100% of the time. But you know, the last thing I would do is hire a coach and then have her spend time creating a program she thinks is appropriate for me and then not bother to execute it as written. I never understand when athletes do that. Maybe money is too valuable to me to waste it like that? Or as a coach myself I have too much respect for the thought that goes into those programs to disrespect the coach by modifying them? Regardless, having a plan to just do, not think is awesome and it is what I need. This morning was Day 1 and my plan called for 6x intervals on the bike and it never once occurred to me to just do 4x. Success!

Anyway, now my only real problem is that the Participant List came out for Honu and my name is not on it. WTF? I entered (or tried to anyway!) last September via way before it filled up. I don't know where the glitch was but I've got 3 plane tickets to the Big Island, a condo/car reserved, TriBike Transport paid for, and a heart set on doing that race for the 8th time. I've sent letters to both Active and Ironman but no one will respond. Unfortunately neither of these organizations is known for their outstanding compassion customer service so I think my chances of having the opportunity to race there may be quite low but if there is anyone out there who has a heart and a voice with Ironman, will you please help??