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


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. ;)