Thursday, April 30, 2020

So You're Saying There's a Chance

It's amazing how much can change in a month.

At the beginning of April, I launched this Gold Star Project for TeamBSC. My vision was that maybe each athlete would pick 1-2 specific targets (short ones) and train specifically to hit a personal best (as recorded in Training Peaks) at that target. Training Peaks keeps track of specific distances/durations for bike and run so those were the ones we were going to use. Since races are far away, I figured focusing on short distance peaks (5" up to 10min) made more sense bc long distance peaks would mean you're in race shape (!) and well, we don't really want to be in peak race shape when there are no races right now!

This project taught me so much this month... Both as an athlete and as a coach. Initially I just sort of thought maybe it would be a decent distraction from the wacky world we all find ourselves living in right now, but it morphed into a motivating quest for personal bests! It also ended up being a really great team building thing as we cheered each other on with our attempts.

As a 46yo athlete with 20+ years training for triathlon and 8+ years of pace/power data recorded in my Training Peaks account, some of my All Time Peaks are pretty solid. In all honesty, I looked at my top 3 all time run splits for 400/800/mile and thought there wasn't a snowballs chance in hell that I was going to be able to hit those this month. I mean, no way. I was way too far off. Part of me definitely thought that it was silly to even try.

But here's the thing. My athletes were trying! And many of them were surprising themselves! It seemed like every time I logged into Training Peaks, there was another file from an athlete who had just achieved a new personal best at a short distance. I do believe that leaders should model the behavior they expect from their people, and I decided that the behavior I wanted to really emphasize was the effort... I kept saying, The value is in the attempt. And I totally meant that! Some of my athletes have crazy huge peaks in their past. I definitely didn't want them to be discouraged if they were trying but not hitting them. So I figured that it truly made sense for me to try as well, even if I didn't really believe I'd hit any running peaks.

So 4 weeks ago I headed out and attempted a 'fast' mile. I was almost a full minute off my best mile time! Ha! Kevin attempted a mile as well. His initial report was that he wasn't even in the ballpark. Casey had a similar story the first time he tried. I kept preaching that it was fiiiiine... the value is in the attempt! So we all tried again the next week, and we got a little closer.

After one of my key runs, I studied the file and thought, I'm in the ballpark here... Like, not that far off... Maybe there's a chance? At the same time, some of my athletes were posting files that showed giant gains in their fast running paces. If they could do it, maybe I could too? Heidi knocked out a run where she just nailed it- fastest splits ever from 400 up to the mile! She's turning 50 next week and she also has a long history of training recorded in Training Peaks... She was making my excuses invalid. Hmmm.

So then a few days ago Casey posted a run file that showed he'd hit All Time PRs at the 400 all the way up to the mile. Wow! Solid Gold! Casey is also my age, with a long history in Training Peaks. What was my excuse again?

Momentum is a powerful force, you guys.

Today was officially the last day of the Gold Star Project. Last night, as a team, we had 185 total stars (counting 1st, 2nd, or 3rd all time bests as recorded in Training Peaks). I mused that it would be fun if we hit 200! Could we hit 15 more today?? That seemed like kind of a big ask. Several of us had planned attempts on our schedules but I wasn't sure if those would be successful attempts or not? Maybe? I threw it out to the team thought that if anyone had any more that they thought were possible to get today, take one for the team and go get it! Monika and Michelle both did that (!) so we ended up with 7 bonus stars that hadn't even been planned attempts... That put us right in the ballpark to hit 200. So you're saying there's a chance?

I was so inspired. I got all dressed up in my Coeur team running kit and I planned my route and I ripped my own legs off (panting wheezing breathing hands on knees afterward kinds of efforts) but I managed to get Top 3 All Time stars in all 4 distances today. What?!! I wasn't actually planning on going for all 4 distances but I was motivated to help the team get over 200 and I thought maybe I could... Its amazing what happens when you start to truly BELIEVE. Then I got home and checked Training Peaks again and saw that Kevin went out and did it tooooooo. In all we had our biggest day in star collection today, with 25 more stars collected. 210 in total!

I am incredibly impressed and inspired by this team. I feel like this project was a success beyond my wildest dreams and that's a credit to the tenacity of the athletes I have the honor of being able to work with. On Saturday we're going to have a team Zoom Party to celebrate everyone's accomplishments (there are so many individual stories of success!) and to share some 'war stories', because isn't that the best part of racing? Sharing your stories afterward?

I'll keep processing the valuable lessons learned this past month. But off the top of my head right now, I'd say that success seems to come from an idea/goal that you find motivating... believing that it might be possible to achieve... watching other people do it... and being motivated to contribute to a cause bigger than yourself.

Congratulations to everyone on TeamBSC! I'm super proud of you all. ⭐

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Inspiring a Sense of Personal Pride

We're half way through April!

I feel like I'm settling into a new routine of sorts. I sense that we all are. Much of the unsettling upheaval feeling has dissipated and now things are sort of rolling along in a way that feels like a new normal has been established. It's one I think my family and I can live with for a while.

How have things shifted for you? Generally speaking, these things come to the top of my head:

~Everything in our days (speaking about my family here) seems to have been shifted back an hour or so. We wake up a little later (ok I don't but husband/kid do), lunch is a little later, dinner is a little later, bedtime is a little later, etc. I don't feel like I'm in as much of a rush to get things done 'on time' bc time is so abundant. That said, sometimes days just FLY by and I'm like HOW is it 4:00 already!?!

~I spent a lot of time learning how to use new apps. Its easy to see why Zoom is popular. It's so simple to use. No learning curve required! Just download the app and put the meeting code in and you're there connecting with your people! I've started hosting weekly TeamBSC Zoom meet ups just so we can connect and chat and that has been a positive change that we will keep going even after society goes back to 'normal'.

~I've also been playing around with the new 'group ride' option on Trainer Road. This one was a lot more complicated for me, but I think it was because the new desktop app that is required had some bugs when it was first released. After ripping my hair out in frustration trying to get it to work, eventually I did, but not without unloading and loading the app a bunch of times. That said, once you get it set up, I think its potentially quite a 'value-add' for coaches and athletes because we can be riding at the same time together. I've sort of come to the conclusion that for *us* *right now*, the best use of these group rides is just to do our aerobic rides together. That way we can actually talk! We tried a harder ride but I think most of us are pretty good at pushing hard on our own so we'll probably do more of our aerobic riding together and consider them more like social hour spins. :)

In a weird way, I feel like this recent upheaval has actually been a good thing for me as a coach. It's forced me out of my comfort zone, forced me to find new ways to connect with my athletes and motivate them since races (as we are used to them) seem to be a ways off. Though maybe not too far off?? WTC announced a new dates for Puerto Rico 70.3 today (Sept 6) so there must be some officials somewhere in Puerto Rico who are at least mildly optimistic that they'll be allowing travelers in by then. So maybeeeeee....

It's been good for my kid (in some ways) too. Right now, as I type, she is on a Zoom Meeting with some of her neighborhood friends as they conduct a "Book Club". They came up with this idea all on their own... They picked a book, gave each other time to read two chapter, and are meeting right now to discuss it. They are 8-11 years old. So impressive.

So we're half way through the month with our TeamBSC #GoldStarProject and I have to say, I have been FLOORED by the peaks my athletes are achieving right now. I mean, ok maybe some have some low hanging fruit if they've never *really* attempted specific peaks for short durations, but I'd say the vast majority of the stars they are earning are just outstanding efforts and its been so inspiring for me to open files all day long and see star after star after star pop up. ⭐ We're mostly going for short distance peaks from 5" to 10min on the bike, though some people have earned peaks over longer distances if they're jumping into other challenges like the IM Virtual races and such... I don't think anyone has earned Gold Stars for all 4 short power peaks YET (5sec; 1min; 5min; 10min) but a few are close with 3 achieved already! Personally, I've got my 1min and 5min peaks... I've earned a 2nd and 3rd best all time 5 second sprint peak and am still trying to mentally prepare myself for the effort required to hit my 10min one... I have a distinct memory of the effort I put out to achieve the one I did several years ago and would be lying if I didn't admit I have a little bit of fear about whether or not I can do that again! I will give it a go though! If I hit my all time 5min peak then it makes sense that I have the fitness to hit the 10min one too so... #confidence

Keeping track of the peaks on the graph Moana created has been a fun project too! I swear, I thought *MAYBE* if we had a great month we might collectively hit 50 peak performances by the end of the month... But here we are half way through April and we have 67! I've had to rescale this graph several times already to make sure all the stars can fit. #triathloncoachproblems

Some of these are short distance running peaks as well. I'm a little more hesitant to tell some athletes to go after the shorter run peaks bc the potential to hurt yourself is way higher... I don't want anyone ripping their hamstring or groin in an effort to get Training Peaks to award them a gold star! But as they're ready some are going for it and its been invigorating! Truly. The feeling of personal pride is something everyone cherishes regardless of the crap that's going on in the world around them. I'd argue that the feeling of personal pride might be even more important now than it's ever been. I mean, you can just feel how stoked Casey is with his shiny new All-Time 5min peak power effort!! This is what I was hoping this project would inspire...

Monday, April 6, 2020

In Hindsight...

When I was a freshman in college (at University of Hawaii), I lived in a little dorm room (Johnson Hall B, baby!). I had a really great roommate from Kauai. This was 1992 (I'm aging myself, yes!) so internet was only just sort of becoming a thing. I didn't have a TV. I didn't have a computer nor a cell phone. How did we even survive? Can you imagine? Lol. Somehow though, we managed. I even had a social life! It was called, go to the one bar that most of my friends would go to most often and see who else might happen to be there. That was our social life. If we needed to communicate with each other, we used landline phones and left messages on answering machines.

One early morning I remember hearing a really loud siren... over the public emergency broadcast system. I don't have a great memory of a lot of past events, but I have some vivid memories of that. It was a Friday morning, around 4AM. Someone went running down the hall shouting HURRICANE IS COMING! HURRICANE HITS AT 4! CLASSES CANCELLED!

I was from Ohio and honestly didn't really even know what a hurricane was, but I remember feeling somewhat grateful that classes were cancelled, because I was kind of hung over.

With absolutely ZERO understanding of what was coming, we did all the dumbest things one might think people could possibly do in that scenario. I remember watching one of my friends get on the bus with his boogey board. I was like, "Where are you going???" He replied, "To the beach! Surf's up!" The rest of us headed to the store and got cases of beer and spent the day drinking together. Things get a little fuzzy in my memory around that, but I do remember that night being outside as the wind was ripping and it was DUMPING rain and the street outside my dorm had morphed into a raging river and we danced outside in that rain and honestly I remember it being super fun.

The next day, I remember my roommate being super upset. She told me that the restaurant she used to work at on Kauai had been flattened by Hurricane Iniki. That storm brought winds of 145mph and damage to the state of over $1.8 billion. 14,000+ homes damaged. 6 people died. Meanwhile, I was the dumbass out dancing in the rain.

Knowing what I know about hurricanes now, my/our behavior that day was ludicrous. Having full access to news and such now (pick a source! There's access to news everywhere.) I know that they warn about hurricanes coming 24/7 for at least a week before the hurricanes get anywhere near our islands. That day in college, the first I'd heard about any hurricane was when the sirens went off. Seems crazy now, but that's the difference between paying attention to news vs not paying attention to news.

I share this now mostly bc I suspect that even though access to news these days is abundant (for most of us), I suspect there are a lot of people (young people especially) who actively disengage from the news. Shoot, our own president* has tried to drill it into our heads that any news we don't like is #fakenews. Given that backdrop, is it any wonder that we're having a hard time coming together and acting collectively as a society to combat a pandemic virus?

Whenever I read comments people make about this whole thing being over-hyped, my first thought is that they do not watch/read the news. I suppose it's possible they just watch different news, because for sure there are some networks that were actively downplaying the threat of this virus. I think a lot of that has stopped this week, as the death toll across the country continues to rise (and that's hard to lie about). Even then though, watching the news at all has become an act in critical thinking, because there is a ton of bias. Trying to figure out who is telling the truth vs who is exaggerating for effect vs who is just straight up lying to cover shit up is one of the major challenges of our times. Given all that its really no big surprise that many people just tune out the news altogether. That is a big systemic problem in our fight against this new virus.

I suspect that in hindsight, some people might view their actions during this pandemic differently than they currently view them. I can say 100% that I view my actions during Hurricane Iniki differently now than I did then. #themoreyouknow

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Who's Judging Who?

The other day Francesca sent me an article about Moral Fatigue. It was really well written and I think many of us can relate. Like, all of a sudden, every decision we make feels like it takes on a new weight... It's not "just" all the readjusting we are doing right now, but also like all decisions feel like they could be the potential difference between life or death. And what a crazy sentence to even write? I mean, it sounds like a complete exaggeration, but in some ways it's potentially not an exaggeration at all. The decisions we make as individuals and as a society right now are important.

But here's the thing. Guidelines of what we are supposed to do or not do change daily. It's hard to keep up. Should I be wearing a mask or not? Currently people are arguing both sides of this. I suspect that in another week it'll be very very normal to see everyone wearing a mask. Then we'll get to judge each other on that decision as well. Did you see Karen went to the store and she wasn't wearing her mask??? Shame!

Currently in our world (triathlon world), it feels like a lot of our personal moral decisions are about cycling. Most of us (though not all) have accepted that group rides are taboo right now. I don't know what the percentage is (maybe half?) have decided that riding outside at all poses too great a risk, so they're riding 100% indoors now. I understand this thinking, though I'd say personally I'm not there. I guess I think about the number of times I've started a bike ride and ended up in the hospital... Has it happened? Yes. Once. In ~25 years of frequent riding. That's how I justify it in my head that I can ride outside and not have it be an excessive risk. I mean, I ride in my garage probably 6 days a week then on the 7th day, if its nice wether, I go out. I rode outside today and it was glorious. I enjoyed it very much.

When I'm making these decisions for myself, I think about a lot of things... I weigh the pros and cons. Is there a potential to get physically hurt riding outside? Yes. That potential is not actually any different today than it was a month ago though. In fact, in some ways it may be even safer to ride outside now than it was a month ago because there are FAR fewer cars! So what's the risk of catching COVID19 by riding outside? I'd guess that it's very low. Especially if you're riding alone (or with someone you live with). I passed some other riders on the road today but truly just never felt like I was in a position where there would be a possibility of coming in contact with the virus. I didn't stop at any stores. I didn't touch anything other than my own bike. Overall, risk felt low. If I were to rate the risks I encountered today, I'd say my greatest risk were the two off leash dogs chasing me in Waimanalo. They gave good chase! One of my goals today was to try to hit a new peak 5" sprint power so maybe those dogs were just trying to help...

On the plus side, I can definitely say that my enjoyment factor felt high! People who are non-athletes might not understand this, but all athletes know... When we get our 'fix', there's a sense of satisfaction (could we call it "relief"?) when we get to go on a nice long ride in the sunshine. I came home today having achieved most of the goals I'd set out to achieve. ⭐ I felt happy! I was able to then spend the rest of the day working on projects with my kid. I think (and I have always thought) that if we neglect to take care of ourselves- if we skip doing things we love- we are not then 'better' people. If I want to be a good wife and a good mom, its super important that I not neglect my own needs. I'm a good wife and a good mom because I'm a happy person. I think many women give up a lot in an attempt to take care of other people (typically their families) and while the intention there is good, I think in the long run it backfires because at some point she realizes that she's just flat out exhausted. Exhausted women don't make good wives or moms. Take care of yourselves, ladies.

This blog sort of took a tangent! I was planning on focusing on the feeling of excessive moral weight of our decisions right now... Back on task!

I have tried these last few weeks to consciously not judge other people and their reactions to our world situation right now. But I'll admit, when my neighbors next door (adult, grown men) were having a little day party in their backyard yesterday... drinking beer and smoking cigars and laughing, it was hard to not be judgmental. I looked out my window and just thought Gah! What are you doing?? But then I don't know... They probably saw me dressed in colorful lycra rolling down the road on two skinny tires this morning and thought Gah! What is she doing?? 

And meanwhile I'm over here on my moral high horse because I wasn't the coach out riding with my whole team today. Did I judge them for their group ride? I did. Is it my place to do that? I don't know. I can say that I saw a few of my athletes out riding today and my first instinct was to flip a u-turn and go ride with them for a bit. In 'normal' times I totally would have done that! It felt super sad to think to myself, Wait. No. Don't do that. I mean I guess for both their safety and for mine... I'm pretty confident right now that I do not personally have the virus. I just don't think I'll be an asymptomatic carrier if I get it. But I'm not 100% sure on that so I'll continue to adhere to the current guidelines given to us.

So that said, my plan is that as long as we are allowed to ride outside, I'll ride outside, sometimes. I'll still do the bulk of my riding on my trainer for the same reasons I was doing the bulk of my riding on my trainer last month. It's good training! I will not ride with any other people until this has passed (and I'm actively trying to NOT think about how long that time frame might be). I'll try to not judge you if you're riding in a group, but if I'm honest, I'd admit that I am judging you. But then there are probably people who are judging me for my decision to ride outside at all right now. This is where we are folks. Judge away, I guess. Don't exhaust yourself though in doing so.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Count Your Lucky Stars

I don't know how you're feeling but man I feel like days are just flying by now. Like all of a sudden it's 5pm and I'm like how did that happen?? Must be because we're having so much fun. ;)

I actually feel like I have more to do now than normal, but it might just be that some transitions are still taking place and such. I can say I DEFINITELY have more dishes to do now. Holy cow. I try to be pretty positive and not dwell on negative things but last night I did start to lose my patience and just flat out told Scott and Moana to put their damn dishes in the dishwasher. I swear they make every.single.meal and leave on the counter and I suppose if that's my biggest gripe about this shelter in place situation then I can count my lucky stars. But sheesh.

Speaking of lucky stars... ⭐ Yesterday I officially declared Moana to be TeamBSC's new administrative assistant. She likes her new title! Her first task was to figure out how to make a graph where we could display the stars that TeamBSC athletes are earning this month for hitting ALL TIME PEAKS. Francesca got one yesterday and Heidi got 2 today so we're off to a good start! I figured a graph showing numbers going up in a positive way would be a nice respite from other graphs we're all seeing every day where we don't actually want to see those numbers go up... Anyway, Moana had not actually had any experience yet with Google Sheets but she fooled around with it for a few hours and got it figured out! How cool is this??
She's projecting that we might (as a team) accumulate 50 stars this month... I'll post it each week so we can watch our progress! I've spent 4-5 hours the last few days combing through everyone's files trying to edit out erroneous garmin data that shows false peaks (#fakenews!) I don't think any running peaks/PRs should be counted when done on a treadmill. I mean, treadmills are VERY useful tools, yes, but garmin does a crap job of measuring pace on them so all the peak paces that showed athletes running 3min/mile got deleted in the last few days. Also, sometimes garmins go crazy and spike up to 3000w in the middle of an easy ride- those peaks all got deleted too. I think in a big picture sense, running peaks will be harder to hit than short distance riding peaks. MOST of the running peaks I combed through the last few days were from races. Its hard to hit peak running paces when not racing, but that doesn't mean some folks won't try! Honestly the beauty of this gold star project is the trying part. It's all about the journey, as they say. I look at some of my short distance running peaks (mostly from 2012, but a few from 2017) and think they're way out of reach... but I suppose that's the beauty of this project... and why it would feel so amazing to even get in that ballpark again!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Gold Star Project

I find myself watching the news less and less these days. For a while I was pretty obsessed with the news. I think that's because I was trying to form my own action plan. I felt like I needed to know everything that was happening and I wanted to understand it from all angles so I could make good choices for myself and my family and my athletes. Now, I read and listen to enough that I feel like I know basically what's going on, but then I tune it out and retreat back to my own little world here, focusing on things I can control. I think I feel like I don't need to know every single thing that's happening because I've made the decisions I needed to make and we are taking the actions we needed to take to keep ourselves safe as well as to do our part within society. #stayhome #doingit

Currently my focus is on my athletes and trying to find ways to help them stay happy, motivated, fit etc even when there are no immediate races on the horizon. I understand the feelings and the challenges because I am still a competitive athlete myself! As athletes we need goals, right?

Here's how I'm seeing things currently. Most of my athletes were building super solid fitness because they had spring races on tap. It's possible we'll still get to race later this summer/fall, though I guess if we're honest, we don't even know that for sure. But I'd say I'm planning AS IF those races will happen, because as of right now they are on the calendar and have not been cancelled. So what's the best way to proceed when you've built up solid fitness in anticipation of racing but then races aren't coming for at least several more months? This is the question all athletes and coaches are faced with right now and there are different opinions about the best path forward. I'd say that there is no one BEST path that will work for everyone, because a lot will depend on current mindset of the athlete... What drives them? I'd say that the vast majority of the athletes I work with are driven by just wanting to push themselves and see how fit-strong-fast they can get. So ok. We can measure this without paying WTC a ton of money and putting a timing chip on our ankles.

I posted this on Instagram last weekend. Long story short, I'd say that I had pretty much conceded that my prime athletic days were in the rear view mirror... Training Peaks keeps track of your highest recorded power from 5" up to 90minutes... It keeps track of your fastest running paces for distances from 400M up to the marathon. It gives you this silly little gold star when it detects a new peak performance. I had pretty much conceded that my prime athletic days were in the rear view mirror, and that I'd never see another silly little Training Peaks star <sadface>. But earlier this year I went on a group ride and saw that my peak 1min power was only 1 watt off my 3rd best ever. That sparked a little something in my brain and made me wonder if I could get Training Peaks to give me a silly little star? I told my husband that I was going for it last weekend. When I was doing it I wasn't really sure if I was doing it... all my focus was going straight into my pedals so I wasn't watching my garmin... but I KNEW that effort was a really really solid one and honestly, regardless of what the numbers would have said I would have been proud of that effort. Anyway, I held my breath a bit as my garmin was uploading after the ride, and when the gold star popped up showing that ALL TIME peak power I squealed out loud and yelped to my husband I did it!!! It sounds sort of silly but it was one of the best feelings I've had in a while.

I went for a 5min effort that day as well and while it was my peak for 2020, it was 10w short of my all time peak. Can I get that 5min ALL TIME peak in April? I don't know but I'm going to try. I find the attempt in and of itself to be super motivating. I'm also gong to see if I can hit a top end 5" sprint power. And maybe even a short distance running one too? TBD on that we'll see how the month progresses.

So back to my athletes... I'm throwing the Gold Star Project out to them as well! I've been combing through their Training Peaks accounts the last few days, looking for errant data that is incorrect (ie when you're running on the treadmill and your garmin thinks you're breaking the world record running 3min/mile pace) and I've cleaned up a lot of that, so folks have legit peaks to shoot for. They have solid baseline fitness, so in April we're all going to try to raise our ceilings a bit. Go for those short sharp efforts and see how high we can get them! How many watts can you push for just 5 seconds? Have you ever really tried that? #goldstarproject

I'm hoping this attempt to collect stars will be a little bright spot for TeamBSC this next month. Its perfect timing because we're not screwing up specific race prep by embarking on this project right now. And the goal is really very personal. Its us against ourselves- not us against each other- which somehow feels super cool to me. We can cheer each other on as a team as we reach new personal bests. As a team we'll try to collect as many stars as we can, and while gold stars are coveted, silver and bronze ones count too!

Let's do this, April.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Find New Ways

I swam again today. Got up early and got to the beach ready to start around 7. There weren't many people around at all.

I'm posting a map here of my swim for several reasons. First is to let my dad feel at ease... (love you, dad!) He read my blog the other day about me swimming in the ocean alone and from Ohio was apparently envisioning a scene from JAWS where I was in the middle of the deep blue sea all alone and immediately picked up the phone to call me (in the middle of the night) to talk me down off the suicide ledge. So dad, check this out! You can see I was never really more than ~50m from shore. This is a pretty safe way to swim ocean when you're doing it alone. :)
Secondly, if you have access to ocean or lake right now, this map might give you some ideas of how to manage an open water interval swim right now. I swam ~1/2 mile down the coast line, then did a series of 7 in/outs (buoys not pictured here, but they're out there to use as targets). Then another ~1/2 mile swim along the coast to finish up. I ran a short distance along the beach between swim intervals which worked effectively to get my HR up... I got to practice running in and out of the water, navigating around buoys, etc. It's a great workout (lasted ~45min total). This will probably become a staple swim session for me in April.

I hosted another Zoom meet up for some of my athletes this morning. It's a fun way for us to connect! In a big picture sense, I think this whole change up in how we go about our daily business has been really good in some ways. From my perspective anyway, it's forced me out of my comfort zone. We're being forced to find new ways to do things, and I think its good!

It's helpful that tech companies are evolving to help us meet our needs in changing times. I think people who spend this 'stay at home' time wishing things would just go back to 'normal' are completely missing the boat. As a society right now we are evolving. It's happening fast and some people/companies are jumping on it and seizing new opportunities. <This is the direction we all must go if we want success in the future. Don't hang around and wait and hope that things get better (or just go back to the way they were). Get creative and find new ways to make them better! Trainer Road announced today that they're rolling out a new feature that allows small groups to ride together from their own homes. Perfect example of a company continuing to evolve to meet the ever changing needs of its customers. (And lets face it, they had to do this if they want to compete with Zwift!) WTC has plans to announce their own virtual club or platform (or whatever its going to be) to allow people to train and "race" virtually. Will it work? I don't know but obviously they had to do something because their old business model where thousands of athletes travel from all over the world to race together in person isn't an option right now. So I have no insight at all into what they're up to but I will say KUDOS to the fact that they are trying to adapt and evolve. It's the only way to survive this era.

I'm personally excited about the current evolution of TeamBSC. Like many companies, we're changing up our business model... Krista and Taryn and I have decided to go in our own directions with our coaching businesses. It's all good- a mutual decision that ultimately I think will be really beneficial for us all. They came on board originally in a sort of coaching mentorship situation, but over the years they've developed into excellent coaches in their own right. Now we have different visions about where we see things going and how we want to go about accomplishing things, so it makes sense for us each to go our own ways. I'll keep the TeamBSC brand and have plans to evolve with the times, finding new ways to create community and a team atmosphere that is hard to achieve when groups are too large. More on this to come but I've been feeling my creative juices flowing... Being solely responsible for my own success has always been highly motivating for me. :)

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Are All (Wannabe) Kings That Narcissistic?

I rode low aerobic volume the last 3 days in a row on my trainer because I got hooked on TIGER KING and wanted to watch it. When I'm riding hard I can't focus on podcasts or shows... I blast good music ("good" might be debatable depending on your taste) but when just putting aerobic time in, Netflix is my go to. And since everyone was talking about Tiger King I figured I'd check it out. I finished it in 3 days while pedaling and yelling to my husband that HE NEEDED TO COME SEE THIS (and simultaneously telling Moana sorry this isn't a show for kids)...

I have some friends who live in FL and OK so I'll refrain from some comments ... and I'll try to not spoil too much with this blog (in case you haven't watched it yet and don't want to know how it ends??) but I definitely have THOUGHTS about the obvious personality disorders of the people in that documentary. As I was watching all I could think was that there are so many parallels between Joe Exotic and our current President*...

The desperate need for attention.
The narcissism.
The need to feel fame.
The ability to truly 'charm' some people.
The drive to exact revenge on people they feel 'cross' them.
The willingness to burn it all down to prevent anyone else from 'winning'.

It was so clear to see how the more he got backed into a corner the more desperate and crazy he became. A few years ago I don't think I even really knew people like this existed. But they do! And its super creepy. Is it possible to help these people or not really? I'm sort of guessing no. In order for people to learn they have to first accept that they don't know everything.

I'm generally a 'live and let live' kind of person... Meaning I try to not judge if people go about things differently from how I would. I'm generally more likely to try to figure out WHY people made the choices they made because that seems more important in a big picture sense. I have no hypothesis on this one though.

Anyway. Not a triathlon related post tonight. On to another week staying at home staying sane together. :) If you've watched Tiger King though and have thoughts, I'd be super interested to hear them!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Contemplating Swimming

I swam today. Technically it's been 10 days since I last swim, which is about as long as I've gone without swimming in years! I was curious so I went back in my Training Peaks account to actually look... I had to go back to August of 2017 before I could find a week where I had zero swimming recorded. Technically that week in August will remain as my most recent zero week bc TP counts Monday>Sunday so my swim today will prevent this week from technically being a zero. Funny that avoiding a zero was the motivation I needed to make myself go to the ocean today. #whateverittakes

I'd been feeling somewhat conflicted about swimming during this Stay At Home order. Legally, we are allowed to swim in the ocean. Exercise has been deemed 'essential' and swimming/surfing (as long as you're not in a group) counts. It's funny though how my brain has processed a lot of this though... While I know I am allowed to swim, is it really truly 'essential'? I mean, let's be honest. It's not. I could live for a month or two without swimming. Swimming for sure falls into the 'want' vs 'need' category and logically I know this. If I didn't swim for a month or two, swimming would feel like crap when I first started back up but I'm 100% aware of how to get it back and I know I could do it in 4-6 weeks and I def considered just going that route right now vs forcing the swimming issue since pools are all closed. Now that I've done it though I'll probably keep it up a few times/week in the ocean until the pools open back up (assuming nothing changes on the legality of it).

Among my concerns...

1) Can I swim without risking potential exposure to the virus? I worked it out in my head that I could. If there aren't many people at the beach and I go by myself and swim alone, I could easily get it done without coming into contact with other people. Ocean swimming is for sure 'safer' than going to the grocery store right now, if the only concern is potential exposure to virus.

2) Where will I park? Our beach parks are all technically closed and we cannot park in the normal parking lots. I solved this one by parking in a neighborhood and trespassing a short distance through what is technically a private beach entrance.

3) Can I swim in the ocean safely by myself? My preference for sure is to swim with at least one other person when I go ocean. Right now this is weird and I struggle to reconcile it in my head. I know some people are still getting together for ocean swims but for several reasons I just don't personally feel right about doing that. Part of it, for me, is about setting the 'right' example by following the guidelines we've been giving about being physically apart from others. It's super easy to justify that meeting up with a small group of friends is safe, and it probably is, but I don't know. I'm just not gong to do it for a while. I don't actually know though when I'll feel better about this?? That part to me is scary for sure. I've asked myself 100x what it will take for me to feel safe being near other people who I am not currently exposed to here at home and I have not come up with any great answers. Maybe these feelings will change over time. Once I have had the vaccine injected into my body though I'm sure I'll feel fine/normal. But GAH I don't want to have fear of being too close to other people until then??? It would REALLY help my head if everyone who was contagious also had symptoms of the virus. If that was the case things would be WAY easier for me but the fact that people can be asymptomatic carriers and be passing it along without knowing it just throws me for a loop. I've considered sending a note to my Dr and asking if I can be part of a clinical trial on a vaccine. That's probably not even a possibility but this is where my head is at.

Anyway. I swam alone. The water was pretty choppy and there was a solid current but I was happy to be out there. I wouldn't say for a minute though that swimming out there by myself was "safer" than swimming with another person. Especially since there are no lifeguards on duty right now. I try not to let my mind wander too much while I'm swimming ocean, especially when I'm alone out there, but I did have some thoughts like, "What is my biggest risk at the current moment?" Man-o-war? Shark? People? Two of the three were seen in the exact area where I was swimming in the last 7 days. Is the risk of being with another person greater than the risk of being in the ocean alone? I'm not here to judge and I don't have the answers, but I guess the fact that I'll go swim again by myself in the next few days is my answer. For now anyway.

I reserve the right to wake up tomorrow and be smarter. (Mahalo to Francesca for that quote!)

Friday, March 27, 2020

A Cautionary Tale

A whole ton of groceries from Costco just got delivered right to my door! I ordered it all on Sunday. We ate our way through almost everything in the house over this past week, so when all this food finally showed up it felt like a giant relief. Minus the fact that I ordered eggs but didn't get any. #firstworldproblems I will say, people who don't live in Hawaii might not understand what a giant PITA it is for us to shop at Costco. Even before all this current Covid craziness, Costco shopping was a PITA. Now the lines are so bad (and have been for weeks WTF?) they're showing them on the news. Also, an employee at Hawaii Kai Costco tested positive for COVID 19 and I'd bet anything that there are more who actually have it but haven't been tested so the extra money I spent to have those delivered was worth every dollar.

Anyway. Today I just want to share a cautionary tale of sorts and hopefully you can apply this to yourself in some way. I don't know maybe everyone needs to learn lessons for themselves ... I think sometimes I have to learn the same lessons over and over before I finally get it. It has to do with running, and how to build up volume safely after taking some time off. Now might be a decent time to share it, in case any of you are currently not running very much due to lack of motivation or whatever...

I didn't run very much in Q4 of last year. Oct-Nov-Dec I ran a little here and there but my motivation was low and I just didn't feel like it and everyone was touting off season or whatever so I used that as my excuse to sit on my ass (actually I was riding my bike bc that sounded more appealing) and justified it that it was the smart thing to do so ok whatever. But then January came and I decided that get off my lazy ass and start running again! Yay running! I could tell by how labored everything felt that I'd lost a bunch of fitness but the more I ran, the stronger I would feel and the less I needed to walk to catch my breath so that was motivating to keep running more.

I knew I needed some new/different goals so I decided that I was going to collect vertical. Let's see how much vertical I can run in January! That seemed like a decent goal bc when you're running that much uphill, pace becomes less of a thing to worry about. Ya so the run was slow but it also involved 1500ft elevation gain so get over it, right? So I sought out hills and ran lots of them and felt myself getting stronger each week and all was good, until it wasn't.

What goes up must come down and I suspect all that downhill running was a problem given the lack of fitness I was starting with. At the end of January, Strava tallied my total elevation gain and it was over 10,000ft for the month which I thought was super cool! But that's also 10,000+ ft of downhill. I was feeling a deep ache in/around my hip/groin area and in my gut it was a bad feeling like ugh. It reminded me of the way that hip area felt in 2016 when I developed a stress reaction in my femoral neck... Back then I was completely shocked when the MRI showed a reaction in my bone. But this time I knew deep down that I'd made too big of a jump in my training and it made sense to me that my bones might need some time to catch up on their remodeling processes.

I'd argue that the amount of running I did in January, even with the elevation gain/loss, is a reasonable amount to do, as long as fitness was solid at the start of a block like that. Coming off a couple months of pretty low volume, it was too much. Ultimately it meant that the progress I'd made, the fitness I'd gained, was pretty much all for naught because I ended up taking a lot of February off from running. Total rookie mistake which is actually embarrassing since I've been in this sport for 20+ years and absolutely should know better. I never got an MRI so I don't know for sure what the problem was, but after a few weeks with no running and a visit to a sports chiro and some help from Holli and tons of rolling and mobility work, I cautiously started running again in March. Smarter this time, running every other day, starting with short trots and gradually building back up. After a month of consistency I'm back up to 5-6 miles now and completely pain free. Yay!

I share this story now for a few reasons, but mostly as a cautionary tale to people who might not be running much right now but thinking they'll start back running once this pandemic crisis settles down.  If you want to be running a solid amount this summer, you need to be running at least some right now. You don't have to run long, but keep your frequency up so you don't have to start from scratch when you're ready to train again. Because if you start from scratch and try to jump back into your old routine, your brain will remember what you used to be able to do when you were fit but your bones and tendons and ligaments might not! It's prudent to build back cautiously so you don't end up setting yourself back because you jumped back in too fast. Or better yet, keep running now so you don't have to treat yourself like a fragile egg this summer.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Obstacle Is The Way

I saw a Strava post today that showed a young friend - who flew in from the mainland yesterday - was out running today. She was stoked that she made it back 'home' one day before the 14 day mandatory quarantine order was officially set to kick in (today). She's probably healthy and fine, but what if she isn't? What if she's one of those young healthy people who have no symptoms but she's actually a carrier and ends up passing the virus along to our local community without knowing it? Is it any of my business anyway? Arguments could go both ways on that, I think. These are the things I am contemplating these days. I definitely see a generational divide of sorts taking place. I'm hard pressed to place a ton of blame/pressure on younger people, bc if I'm honest, when I was in my 20s I very well might have conducted myself the exact same way. I view things differently now.

Being a triathlon coach right now is an interesting challenge. I'm grateful that so many of my athletes have stuck with me to weather out this storm. A few weeks ago I was ripping my hair out, modifying everyone's schedules every day as we learned about another race cancelled or postponed... Text after text would come through.. "My pool is closed." "My race is cancelled." Things seem to be a bit more settled now, because pretty much everything is closed and cancelled/postponed. The reality is that no one has a race coming up any time soon. Very few have access to a pool. Some have access to ocean, but conditions right now are complete shit with high wind advisories and man-o-war blanketing the east side of Oahu. Shoot, there was even a shark right here in Kailua last weekend, cruising just a few meters from shore. Seems like the universe is shouting STOP SWIMMING. Some will still find a way to swim, even if they have to be tethered to a step ladder to get it done.

So there are lots of obstacles right now. But here's the thing- Goals Don't Change. Timelines change, yes, but goals are goals and people who are driven will find a way to work around obstacles. In fact, for some, obstacles present unique opportunities to conquer. I have some ideas flowing that I think will help keep athletes motivated and in the game these next few months. Driven Type A competitive athletes don't just shut down because things are hard. More on this to come very soon.

Personally, I'm still training every day. Mostly riding my trainer, but I'm running too and will find a way to swim again soon too. It's funny. After Kona last fall, my drive to RACE again was really really (really) low. I do love training though, and I told myself that even if I never raced again, I'd train every day just because I like training. It's interesting that I'm being tested on that right now... but ya, even with no races in site, I train every day and still push myself and still go after goals for the fun of it. Like truly, only for the sense of personal accomplishment.

I'm currently on a bit of a bike streak. I actually went back and counted how many days this year (2020) that I had not ridden my bike. You know how many days I haven't ridden? Let's just say that I can count them on two hands. Biking is a very blue collar sport, meaning the more you do it, the better you get at it. So ya we can debate training philosophies and strategies and which session elicits the most benefit for which piece of physiology... but at the end of the day (or year), more is more when it comes to riding. Ride easy. Ride hard. Ride frequently. Ride long. Push big gears. Ride uphill. Learn to descend. Learn to draft. Practice surging. Analyze it some, yes, but not too much. Ride more. That's how you get stronger on the bike. I'm feeling it again too. The last few years I have just watched my cycling become more and more mediocre. That just ATE AT ME because I knew that I still had it in me to be a good rider. So I don't know if I'll get a chance to race this year or not, but I'll keep riding almost every day because I like the way it makes me feel and I like that I'm currently fit/strong enough to ride the way I want to ride. Ten days ago I posted this on Strava. Still stand by it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


Quarantine makes me think about a lot of things. My brain has been running 100mph these last few weeks.

I should clarify. We're not really in "quarantine". Its more that we are adhering pretty strictly to the Shelter in Place order that has been issued by our Mayor and then our Governor. Those orders didn't change much for us when they were issued. I had made a decision for our family 3-4 days prior that we were going to limit our exposure to society for a while.

I'm going to insert a note here to just say how grateful I am that my husband is such a good man. I started reading about this virus a while back- before it was headline news every second- and I read that it attacks lung tissue and is worse for people with pre-existing conditions. That freaked me out personally pretty hard. If I'm honest I'd admit that I have a fear that if I get it, I'd be one of those people in the ICU requiring a ventilator. At first that sort of sounded ridiculous but then once the virus started spreading more and more and we started hearing about people in their 40s on life support, well, I felt less ridiculous for having my earlier fears. It's pretty easy for me to contain myself here at home. I was relieved when school was out for spring break because that meant Moana wasn't out and about potentially becoming a carrier. But then all I could think was that my husband was potentially the biggest threat to me because he was still going to work every day. Even though his office is small and he was being careful, it just didn't seem like the risk was worth it given how the virus was spreading. Once it was confirmed that there were cases of Covid 19 right here in our town, all I had to say to my husband was that I was scared and I needed him to find a way to work from home and that was it. He made it happen the next day. #grateful

So with my personal safety currently pretty well assured, I feel like I can be a fairly objective observer of the situation as a whole. In a big picture sense, this whole thing is like a real life version of Survival of the Fittest. I don't see it as a contest, necessarily, because it isn't us against each other. It's us against the virus, physically. It's us against ourselves, emotionally. People who are the most physically fit will manage to survive the virus if they get it. People who are the most emotionally/intellectually ready to adapt will survive this temporary Physical Distancing thing. Businesses that were set up with safety nets in place will survive, too. I suspect though that we'll never go back to exactly the way things were before, but that doesn't mean we'll never get back to 'good'.

In the meantime, we have a lot of adapting to do. Adapt the way we interact and connect with each other. Adapt the way we train/race. Adapt our business models. I think people who resist the change are going to have a harder time than people who can objectively see the current world for what it is and still find a way to thrive in it. For me this week it meant figuring out how to use Zoom. Spoiler alert- it was super easy. But with Zoom I could see/talk/connect with my athletes from all over. It felt good to do that. We'll keep doing that! Positive change. I suspect there will be a lot more of this kind of thing in the coming months. Adapt.

One last note for today... I can see how people who live alone would potentially have a WAY harder time with the Physical Distancing than families. And potentially, if someone in your household isn't capable of adapting very well, I can see how being cooped up with someone who in angry would be a very serious problem. I am *extremely* grateful for my family right now, and interestingly enough, I think this extensive time spent together (with no alternatives!) has been really really good for us. We talk more. We play more. We get along and genuinely enjoy each other's company. For sure that shapes my outlook on this whole situation.

Anyway, I have a lot more thoughts and intend to share them, ideally daily going forward for a while. I'll tackle some triathlon training topics tomorrow.