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.

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


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!


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 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.