Sunday, February 15, 2015

February!

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

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

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


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

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

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

Aloha...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

100 Things About Me

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

1. I grew up in the mid-west.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. I love running in the rain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20. I check Facebook too much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

28. I'm now 15 years cancer free!

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

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

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

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

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

34. I think teachers are underpaid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

42. I'm still pretty flexible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

53. I hate doing laundry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

63. I pride myself on being a workhorse.

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

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

66. My desk is a mess.

67. I suck at paperwork.

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

69. I graduated from Arizona State University.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

81. I don't use chamois cream.

82. I hardly ever wear make up or earrings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

On Posture and Cadence...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 9, 2015

2015... The Process

Happy New Year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers to 2015!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December Ramblings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

One on One With Coach...

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment... not in a bad way but almost like there's so much good going on that my head is spinning a bit!

I just spent the last 5 days with Marilyn here at my home and it really couldn't have gone any better. A while back I threw out the idea to her that I would love to have her here for a weekend and my thought was really so that she could see where I live and train and that we could get to know each other a bit better. I know as a coach that the better a coach knows her athletes, the easier it becomes to coach that athlete, so that's mostly what I was thinking when initiating the idea of this trip. I was really happy when she agreed to come, and we decided this would be the best weekend because it was the weekend of the Double Roughwater Swim so it gave her a goal to target and train for while she was recovering from knee surgery.

We clearly achieved all of our goals (and then some!) while she was here! She got to see me swim in both the pool and ocean. I haven't had anyone give me any stroke correction in YEARS so it was cool when she was able to point out how I was losing my grip on the water with my left arm at a certain point in my pull each stroke. Gave me something to focus on and for the most part it was something fairly easy for me to fix once I knew where to focus. She also took a few short videos of me swimming which was cool- again I hadn't really SEEN myself swim in forever so was good to be able to watch and see what she was seeing.

On the bike we had to figure out the best way for her to get to 'ride' with me- given her recent knee surgery, Marilyn wasn't able to really RIDE again quite yet... we considered renting her a moped but in the end decided an electric bike would be best. So Friday night Scott brought home an electric bike he'd rented... SO classic and we both giggled at how funny our Saturday ride would be with me on my TT bike and her on this machine...
If you're friends with Marilyn on Facebook you can see the video she took/posted while we were out riding. It's hysterical! Anyway, the electric bike was brilliant while I was doing seated big gear intervals up a hill... she could pull the throttle and cruise along right next to me! Good too in that she could cue me to gear down/up depending on the grade of the hill... cue me to push through my heels, etc. Then I got to take her out and show her my standard riding route and where I always go when I have tempo intervals or whatever... was able to do some of those for her as well but unfortunately by then the battery on that electric bike was starting to lose power and we were afraid she wouldn't make it home... Indeed... Turns out those electric bikes are good for ~2.5 hours. We rode for close to 3, so Marilyn got to test her knee out a bit while pedaling that beast of a bike the last few miles (uphill!) to home.

Anyway, over the course of the weekend, Marilyn was able to see me riding easy, doing big gear reps in my aero bars up a hill at 220w/55rpm, riding steady tempo 175w/92rpm, and spinning 110rpm on the rollers... I'm pretty sure that I'll have her voice in my head for the rest of the year when she said "You should have big goals on the bike. You're a good rider." Coming from her, that was probably one of the most motivating and confidence boosting statements I've ever heard.

Yesterday morning the schedule called for the session that scared me the most- A lifting session in the gym with Marilyn. She is a bit of a strength freak so I had some major fears that she might just kill me during that session, but in good news my limbs are all still attached and functioning today. I did lift quite a bit heavier than I had been doing on my own which gave me a nice fat score for the Endurance Corner Steel Challenge (yes I'm playing along!) but overall the session went well and she said she was happy with my squat form so I'm taking that as a giant compliment!

So while all that was awesome, really for me the best part was the coaching I got on my run. That's where the biggest changes need to occur for me and having Marilyn here to really help me fix it was key! We spent a good bit of time doing drills, and of course as you know, drills are only going to be helpful if you're doing them correctly... and I thought I was doing them correctly but of course I was not! So funny- Day 1 running drills she said "show me high knees" and I did like 3 steps of what I'd been doing before she said "Ok stop." Ha! It was like that with pretty much all of them but it's good because I had a very open mind about it all... soaking it up like a sponge- like teach me how you want me to do them and I will do them that way... At one point she resorted to taking her shoe laces out of her shoes and made me run with them to get my hands to do what she wanted them to do (because I could not feel it otherwise). Anyway, lots of form changes to think about on my run but after the last few days I feel like I've got a good grip on what I need to be doing over the next few months to fix it. And I'll get to see Marilyn again in a few months at the Endurance Corner Camp in Tucson so she'll get to see if I've managed to make habit what she was trying to reinforce with me this weekend... It's my goal to make it happen!

And I guess I didn't talk about the Double Roughwater swim here at all yet... Was a good one this year! Conditions were nice- water was mostly glassy until the last maybe 20' or so where we got a bit of chop. We had some currents to contend with as well but that was standard.

Overall I'd say I'm pleased with how I swam and how I kept my mind engaged and focused throughout the whole swim which seemed like a nice step forward. And I finished in 1:57 which is the fastest I've done that course (9' faster than my BLAH swim last year!) so that was cool. The best part though was watching Marilyn come in for the finish- she had never done an event like this one so understandably had some concerns but she had a GIANT smile on her face as she finished which was just awesome. As tradition calls, even though my beloved Nalani wasn't present, we sat on the beach and made our way through a couple bottles of champagne... Pretty fun Sunday morning!

And then of course followed it up with this...

The answer to that question, in case you were curious, is Two.

So there you go! I have to say, if you've never spent time working in person with your coach, it's absolutely worth the time and money and effort to make it happen. There are so many GOODs that came out of the last few days I can't even list them all! But what I know right now is this- my motivation and confidence are both higher than they've ever been, which, given my history with this sport, is amazing. :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Building

I remember last December...  feeling like I was just completely burnt out. I did next to nothing but EAT a bunch of crap for the bulk of the month. Clearly the long break was necessary even if I took it to a rather extreme. :)

This December feels completely different! Granted, this year wasn't as big of a training/racing year as I've had in the past... so that helps. From 2011-2013 I did 5x Ironman races, so a year away from the distance in 2014 was a good call for sure. And somehow because of that, I feel more mentally fresh and ready to GO right now than I have in years past. Which is good, because Marilyn doesn't kid around with training this time of year! She's got me doing some solidly hard bike sessions, lots of skill work, and I'm in the gym lifting heavy things several times/week. It feels good, like she's building me into a different (more complete) type of athlete. And since we are so far away from any racing, now is a super time to be doing this kind of stuff. I can feel some real changes taking hold too- changes in my strength and changes in my form. One of my 'complaints' about this past year was that my biking was only moderately strong, which made sense because I only rode a moderate amount. I felt like I missed being a super strong rider, so recently we've upped my riding frequency a bit. Today was day 4 in a row of riding for me and it feels great... like I'm on a mission... and even though I completely blew myself to shreds today, my motivation is through the roof!

December is a good time to reflect. To figure out what worked and maybe what didn't work... what you want to keep and what you want to change going forward. I just spent a good bit of time writing all that out for myself and for my coach and it is helpful! I thought about just copying/pasting all those reflections here but in the end decided not all my laundry needs to be public.

The conclusion of what I wrote though was about how much I appreciate Marilyn as a coach. I feel like she has taught me a ton, yet I feel like there is so much more I can learn from her. I like the stuff we are doing right now and I sense success in the future- and that is highly motivating.

I know athletes hire coaches for different reasons. Some just need some accountability. Some seek the knowledge. Some seek a close relationship with someone who understands. I think my reasons spill into all of these categories. While I probably know enough about training methods to coach myself, I am not foolish enough to believe that I could do it successfully all on my own (been there tried that!). The truth is, having someone objectively watching is a giant key to success and knowing that I'm set up in a great situation heading into next year feels awesome. And the better that person knows you, the more specifically he/she will be able to help. With that in mind, I invited Marilyn out here to Hawaii to train with me for a few days... and she's coming this weekend!! I'm excited and nervous all at the same time and the truth is, I need to stop writing this blog and go clean out my car. ;)