Sunday, October 30, 2016


I just got home from my longest dog walk yet... 3.4 miles! (Maia is currently passed out cold.) We walked ~2 miles this morning as well so it was a big day of walking. I've started using my garmin on these walks but in 'run' mode. Tonight when I finished it told me I'd earned 2 new badges! Longest run AND fastest 5k! Lol. Ready for it? 48:08! Turns out, I walk ~15:30 pace. I've really been enjoying our evening walks. Have found some good podcasts and I just listen to those and walk... I think I could walk for a really long time listening to those. My current favorite is Michael Gervais 'Finding Mastery' podcast. He is insightful and I like the depth of his conversations with his guests.

Maia and I have been walking 2-3 miles every night, and every other night I've been adding a little bit of jogging to these walks. Started with 6x30 steps then 12x30 steps... Last night I didn't micromanage it at all just did sort of this walk/jog thing as I felt and just made it feel super easy. So as soon as I felt the least bit labored I'd walk, then when I felt ready I would jog, then walk, etc. Tough to tell how much I actually jogged but it was 2.3 miles and avg 13:14 pace so maybe little less than 1/2 of it (total) was light jogging? I've had zero deep bone ache at all this week so what I've been doing hasn't  been too much (yay!).

I've been doing a bit of strength training as well- like 2x/week- and after a couple sessions squatting with 45lbs I went back up to 65lbs today (2x10) and that felt fine. Deadlift up to 95 lbs today and again that felt fine. Added kettlebell swings and step-ups today as well. I like the way strength training with weights makes me feel. It's a different feeling than the body weight functional strength stuff.

Anyway, this week I go back to structured training. It's almost odd seeing a plan in my Training Peaks... after most of this past year just making it up as I feel every day, having something in there to follow feels like a bit of a relief. I am good at following directions when someone else writes stuff in for me so it's nice to not have to think so much. It's motivating too like yay finally I get to start really building back vs just exercising and being fairly random about it all!

Now if only I can avoid the Halloween candy these next few weeks... Ugh. I feel like an elephant. Totally afraid to get on the scale but I don't need to get on the scale to feel how tight my run shorts are. Goal for a month from now is to not feel like my run shorts are all bun-huggers. #goals

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Scientific Process

Last week when I posted, I was pretty stoked about having sort of started the process of returning to weight bearing activity... Unfortunately, some heavier squats and a tiny bit of jogging on Wednesday left me feeling some deep bone ache in my left leg on Thursday. Ugh. It wasn't debilitating, but it was there and it was noticeable and was an indication that the stress I had applied- even though it didn't hurt while I was doing it- was too much. The problem was that I didn't know if it was the squats or the jogging that caused the bone ache? That was the problem with doing them both on the same day. I should have just done one and then waited to see how the legs responded... that would have been more scientific. Call it #hindsight20/20.

Given that, I took 3 days and did no weight bearing activity other than a few short walks with the dog. Not the end of the world because I have other activities that make me super happy! Saturday we went to the west side to swim and found a tons of dolphins within the first 10 minutes of getting in. The water was perfect temp with unreal visibility and the whole time we were just giddy smiles. Its was like swimming in a giant aquarium and after the dolphins we found 2 huge turtles and a beautiful spotted ray.
Honu! This guy seemed sort of camouflaged but the water was so clear we could spot him...
And of course... Swimming with dolphins never gets old. Never.
On Sunday Carly came over and we did a bit of strength training together. I backed the weight off to 45lbs but did 4x8 squats and deadlifts with just the bar. Also did a bunch of 'wall balls' which was one of my favorites from my Crossfit days. We did a few other exercises too but I don't think those would have hurt my hip or leg at all. I felt fine and strong and stable while doing those exercises and once again felt like maybe I could have done a bit of jogging but I learned my lesson from the week prior so I walked the dog but took zero jogging steps. I really wanted to see if I had any deep bone ache on Monday?

Monday came- no bone ache! Yay! Had some muscle ache for sure but it was equally distributed between both legs and felt exactly like what I would have expected to feel after a ton of wall balls. So in my mind, nothing to worry about! Phew.

So I'd ruled out that moderate weights caused deep bone ache. #scientificprocess Last night I took my dog for a longer walk (like 2.5 miles) and I inserted 6x30 steps of jogging on different uphill sections. Felt fine during those short jogs and was curious how I'd feel today. Deep bone ache? NOPE! Woot! It's so funny to be stoked about 30 steps of running but whatever. It's a start!

No jogging steps today b/c I'm taking the ultra-conservative approach and not running on back to back days for a while. Instead I went for a bike ride. It was a gorgeous day to be on two wheels. I have ridden by this spot countless times over the last (almost) 12 years and only rarely stop to take a picture. Today I just had to. It was stunning and my level of appreciation for being able to be out there was high.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I Couldn't Help Myself

I realized its been a while since I've written anything about how the stress reaction in my hip is healing... I guess I'd say it's healing well? I think? It's really felt nearly perfect for the last 3-4 weeks. I get these weird- seemingly random- moments where I feel a subtle deep ache on that left side. I'm not really sure what that's about but those come maybe 1-2x/week and last maybe 10-20minutes and then seem to just fade away. It's possible I'm just being hyper-aware and if I paid less attention those deep ache episodes might pass by unnoticed...

This week I started doing some moderate strength training. Not sure I'm officially cleared to do that yet? I hope I don't look back on this as a giant mistake, but I'll document it here just in case... On Monday I did 2x10 squats with a 45lb bar (last week I did body weight squats a couple times no issue and prior to that had been doing a 'floor routine' basic strength exercises I put together that were all non-weight bearing). No issue with those squats on Monday (not even a little sore) so today I did 2x12 with 65lbs and 2x12 deadlifts again with 65lbs and it didn't feel hard or heavy and my form felt solid. I genuinely like lifting weights but will try to not over do it at least until December. #SteelChallenge anyone? :)

I've been walking the dog like 20-30min most days for the last few weeks. Tonight I included 6x30 steps super easy/slow jogging. Each of those short jogs were on slight uphills. Zero pain (or even sensation, really- 100% fine). I'm officially cleared to start running Nov 1 so I'm about 10 days early right now, but does 6x30 steps even count? My gut just said I could do that tonight and I wasn't going to hurt myself so hopefully I'm not wrong about that. But just in case, I pinky swear NO JOGGING tomorrow. I think the name of the game with bone issues is re-introducing stress in micro-doses and then allowing adequate time to adapt. 6x30 steps felt like a mini micro-dose of stress.

Besides that, I've been riding and swimming 3-4x/week. Monday I swam alone b/c no training partners showed up to the pool and the water was hot and I just had very little motivation. Muddled my way through 3400 but it was totally uninspired. Today, Mark showed up and the water was maybe a degree cooler and that helped a ton! I'm super spoiled wanting/needing someone to push me in the pool. My 1000 w/u today was nearly a full minute faster than Monday. Main set was short at only 1200m but was quality: 2x400's strong @6:30 straight into 4x100's fast @1:40 and I swam hard enough to make myself nauseous. After that Mark got out but I was on a roll so I stayed in and pulled a 2k straight descending the 500's 7:51 down to 7:24 which was faster than it felt. Goes to show how much performance is in our heads. Physically I was no different today vs Monday but today my head was in the game and it was night and day different.

I haven't done anything specific or structured on the bike. Just been riding maybe 2 hours at a time and it's mostly been low cadence strength work. Some hill climbing but again not structured repeats or anything just out cruising around looking for hills to ride up. Efforts are seated and using heavy gearing low cadence controlled HR and its quite enjoyable. I feel like I'm finally regaining some strength in my legs.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Secret Magic Formula to Athlete/Coach Success...

I was contacted today by a guy I coached several years ago. We worked together for maybe 2 years and in that time he'd improved a lot and set new PRs at 70.3 and Ironman distances and qualified to 70.3 World Champs (it was in Vegas at the time). For whatever reason, he felt like he wanted to experience a new way of going about training, so we parted ways (amicably). I'm typically bummed when an athlete makes a choice to leave, especially when we have had success together (which is ~90% of the time!), but at the same time, I totally understand that "grass is greener" thinking and wondering how things might be different under a different kind of program or coaching... I've changed coaches for those same reasons so who am I to judge an athletes decision to do that?

That said, I find it to be a huge compliment when athletes go check out some other grass but then have a realization that what they had on TeamBSC was really the coach/athlete relationship that made them happiest. This isn't the first time this has happened- I've currently got two other athletes who left in favor of hiring a coach who was local to them, only to come back a year or two later saying that their new coach didn't pay attention like I do. It's validating when I hear these things... That we do something right at TeamBSC. I don't often brag about my coaching business here on this blog, but indulge me for a minute. Or stop reading. Your choice! :)

I feel like over the years I have grown as a coach. I have had some good examples/mentors- specifically Jen Harrison and Lucho. Those two were my first coaches and I can say without hesitation that they both paid close attention and communicated as often as I would have wanted. I was spoiled by that and assumed that's how all coaches are? (Spoiler alert! They're not!) So when I started coaching I modeled myself after them... I write good programs that make sense, I pay attention, and I respond to emails/texts promptly. I think that since my athletes know that I'm watching every day, they're more likely to pay attention to their own training and log in with details that I want to know. They know I read everything they write about every workout, and their weekly programs reflect their personal strengths and weaknesses and goals and schedule.

In my mind, those things above are the BASICS of what every coach should do. What I've found in recent years (from my own experience with the coach search as well as stories I hear from new athletes who come to me unsatisfied with their current coaching situations) is that even these basics aren't often being employed. I've seen programming that is super basic/generic and obviously isn't written for a specific athlete. I'll go out on a limb and say many (most?) coaches these days don't watch on a daily basis but rather check in to TP once/week and read over what the athlete has done. The problem I see with this is that if an athlete knows his/her coach is only checking in once/week, he/she isn't really motivated to log notes every day, right? And I know when I only log once/week I tend to forget details about sessions that might be sort of important. So I really like to give athletes a reason/motivation to log in daily b/c I think THEY pay closer attention to their training when they do this, and that's really a key part of improvement and progress. Plus, when they log in with lots of details, I'm more likely to respond with some sort of comment that's meant to help teach or reinforce something I was hoping they would learn from the session. So the more we communicate, the more the athletes learn, which helps them make decisions going forward about how to go about managing themselves and their training.

The last piece of the puzzle (as I see it) is that a good coach has to genuinely care about his/her athletes. I think most care at least a little, but if a coach has another full time job and is just coaching on the side, he/she probably isn't going to have time to really give athletes the time and attention they're paying for. I think a key piece to my coaching success is that I do it on a full time basis. Which means that when I'm not writing programs or looking over files/notes, I'm furthering my own education by reading articles and journals and listening to webcasts and podcasts and stuff like that. I do this *mostly* b/c I am personally passionate about the sport... so I want to learn because I find it genuinely fascinating. Then I apply the training strategies to my athletes and I watch carefully to see how they are physically (and mentally/emotionally) responding and then we tweak as we go. I take the success of my athletes personally. At the same time, since we communicate so much, we develop genuine relationships which turns out to be a shockingly important piece of the puzzle when you're talking about an individual sport like triathlon.

Anyway. That's it. That's the secret magic formula to coach/athlete success (as I see it!). It doesn't seem like rocket science and yet even though there are a billion triathlon coaches out there right now, it's surprisingly hard to find the right match. Every time an athlete I have coached in the past looks back on our time together as the best of their years as a triathlete, it makes me smile. And I love it when they come back after having experienced something different because it just validates the thing we have going on over here. It's good stuff. I would say I feel lucky to have this situation but I don't think it's really luck. I think I've worked hard to create this unique thing that has become TeamBSC and its a place where athletes can come and know that they are genuinely cared about while they go about shocking themselves about what they are capable of on a race course.

This is possibly one of my most favorite pictures of all time. It's Liz right after she finished Ironman Louisville on Sunday... She surprised the hell out of herself- leading her AG out of the water in 55min then riding a solid neg split 5:42 then running an evenly paced 3:46. She said she cried for the whole last mile because she just couldn't believe she had done that. I remember telling Liz a year ago that Ironman was her thing... I'm not sure she believed me but maybe she believes me now. :) Regardless, this picture still makes me tear up and I think Yep. This is why I coach.
I have 2-3 spots open for 2017. If you want to join our team, shoot me a note and lets chat!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My Needs Are Simple.

If there's one take away I had from this weekend, it's that my needs are simple. If I have my bike, my goggles, an internet connection, and a power source (ok, and my phone, obviously!), I'm satisfied! Turns out, the backyard tent accommodations were perfect for the Kona spectating and training weekend. We did have access to a refrigerator and a toilet and an outdoor shower, so that helped. I would consider staying there again if we ever just pop over for a training weekend and are trying to not really spend any money.

Here are just some tidbits from the weekend:

~At one point we went to a party with some old friends of mine. They'd rented a mansion on the water on Alii Dr. It was all marble and granite with a pool right near the ocean. So ya, pretty much the same as the way we did Kona.

~Riding your bike from the airport with a big heavy backpack is all good until Heather Jackson goes flying by, making you feel like you're going backwards. A few minutes later Jesse Thomas rode by and because I am a #crazyassfan I tried for a brief second to chase him down but to no avail. I did, however, have a #fangirl moment with his awesome wife on race day when I turned around a found her right behind me! Of course I took a selfie.

~We rode the south loop to Captain Cook and Kealakekua Bay. I haven't had my garmin 920 for very long but that 40 mile ride earned me a new badge for *Most Ascent*! There's some legit climbing on the Big Island and as I was riding (everywhere but the Queen K) I was thinking that they could make that bike course 100x harder if they used any other road. Of course, there's not a big enough shoulder on any other road to support a bunch of riders so a course change will never happen.

~In the past it felt like Kona residents were sort of half/half on supporting the event in their little town (i.e. some love it while others hate it). Seemed like this trip I ran into more residents who fell on the side of get these athletes out of our town already. At one point Carly and I were riding, in a shoulder, single file, and a woman driving a truck going the opposite direction honked at us. We smiled and waved while she flicked us off. Well! Ok then... Aloha to you as well!

~Watching the race was fun. In the past I've often felt envious of the athletes racing but this weekend I didn't. Likely b/c I know my fitness is shit at the moment so I wouldn't have been able to do it well at all. So there were exactly zero thoughts of I wish I was out there racing too... That made for a more fun spectator day than I've had in the past!

~I found it 100x easier to cheer for athletes who managed to smile and acknowledge us. I know how hard Ironman marathons are but the number of athletes running who looked absolutely miserable was interesting. Several times I suggested that they smile and enjoy it best they can b/c there are 10,000 athletes who would have happily traded places with them there on Alii Dr.

~I have respect for the pros who don't perform well but hang in there and jog it in anyway (vs dropping out). I watched Leanda Cave at mile 25.5... jogging and talking with a gal who was at mile 1. Obviously that wasn't the day Leanda had trained and hoped for but the fact that she used her time on course to chat up some amateurs starting their marathons sent my respect level through the roof. #LeandaFan I can say the same about Meredith Kessler and Natasha Badmann. Michelle Vesterby was probably the only athlete who was near the front who seemed like she was enjoying herself. I take that back- Heather Jackson seemed to be enjoying herself as well. The rest of 'em, not so much. I sort of thought that Mary Beth Ellis would maybe smile like for a half a second but she didn't (at least not in the 3 times we saw her and cheered for her on that run). I mean, come on, she announced her retirement so this is the last time she'll be running down Alii Dr in this race... she wasn't in the top 10 so why not maybe ease up a bit and look around and soak it all in since this is your last chance to do so with so many people whooping it up and cheering for you!?

~Clif bar did an awesome job with their marketing and promotions during the weekend. Their reps were everywhere and they were giving out free products at every turn. It was an impressive effort.

~I felt proud to be associated with Coeur Sports over the weekend. They hosted a really nice brunch at Daylight Mind the day after the race and it was a great chance for a bunch of the team members (and their friends/family) to be together and share stories. Thumbs up!

As we were riding back to the airport I had the thought that I'm *really* glad we made the effort and went over there. For so many reasons... Until next year...

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Kona On The Cheap...

I have to admit I enjoy this time of year... when tons of triathletes start showing up on the Big Island and posting horror stories about how hot and windy it is. Lol. Welcome to my life, bitches! And what? There's a chicken at the grocery store? No way! What a pretty sunset. Do you not have those where you live?

Obviously I'm just being snarky, but I find it entertaining to see these types of posts.

I wasn't going to go watch Kona this year... But then this hip thing came up and I wasn't able to run Ragnar with my friends which meant I had a plane ticket that needed to be used... And with 3x TeamBSC folks racing this year I really should be there... But it's so expensive I wasn't sure I could justify it... But I figured I'd at least look into it and see what I could find as far as Kona on the cheap...

So. For a small change fee I had a plane ticket. I texted my athlete/friend Carly and asked where she was staying. She said she'd rented a tent in a guy's backyard via Airbnb. $58/night and yep we could share it. Wait. What!?! Ok. I'm in.
Scrap renting a car. You can't park anywhere in Kona during race week anyway. So we'll ship our bikes- without a box- on Aloha Cargo ($49 each way) and pack all our stuff in backpacks and ride from the airport... Carly says she knows where some CO2 cartridges are hidden at the airport, and I have a few friends with hotel rooms near the swim start where we can stash our bikes when needed... Between the two of us we've got it covered!

So we'll hop over on Wednesday morning and spend 3 days riding and ocean swimming (and she will run!) then we'll drink beer and cheer on Saturday. I'll likely be tweeting my observations on race day, so tune in to Twitter if that interests you. I promise I won't post any sunset photos. ;)