Thursday, May 21, 2015

#thestruggleisreal


I had 8 x 400's on the plan today....the day after a really difficult bike, plyometrics and an easier run. (If you can call it an easy run after the bike and plyo's. It was more or less a trudge.)

My legs felt it right at the start. I started trying to convince myself that the physical pain was ok. It would be bearable when I got the to 400's.

Really. Trust me. You can do this.

I did the first 4 intervals. I was mentally losing it. I was thinking, "I can't do this today. I just can't."

It was frustrating. I was getting so mad at myself. I was having a hard time.

For the recovery after the 4th interval, I stood on the sides of the treadmill.

I was all like "What is WRONG with you today? You're not even at threshold"


Then, it become a barter session. "Let's do this. You can do a slower build for the first 200. BUT, if you do that, you really have to run that last 200. This is NOT about how fast you go. This is about NOT GIVING UP."

And, I passed 3 miles in what was my 5k PR. 3 miles in a 5k time that I haven't hit in 3.5 years. A time....that includes really slow 200m recoveries.

All of sudden, the workout that I thought sucked so much at the beginning became a breakthrough day.

Reality Check:

I realized that these sessions don't have to perfect. They are going to be ugly, really really ugly. But it's just me and the treadmill. No one will ever see me give up, but it matters to me. I don't want to be THAT person. Two weeks ago, I did this workout with 6 reps, and I had to walk the last recovery and most of the cooldown. Today, I ran 8, and I ran the cooldown and the last recovery. The last two intervals were faster than I ever thought I could run. A year ago, I wasn't even running 400's at a 9:15 pace.

Today's paces:

2 @ 7:53
2 @ 7:47
2 @ 7:41
1 @ 7:35
1 @ 7:30

BOOM.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Goals


A few years back, a friend and I were talking about long term goals. I told him that I didn't even know what I wanted to do. At the time, I was still struggling with "do I go back to IM or do I leave it alone for awhile?" He had this idea. He said, "Set a goal like this. When you hit X time at the Oly, do the 70.3. When you hit X time at the 70.3, do IM."

I thought the idea was brilliant. But I've accomplished my time goals since then. I realized that the Sprint and the Oly were far bigger than I had realized. There is a lot more that I want to accomplish at those distances.

After doing the 70.3 last year, I learned that I'm still not ready (or even want to) do the 70.3 and full IM again.

In training with Liz, we are just scratching the surface of what I can accomplish. I have really big goals for myself. In fact.....you know....some time down the road....and I mean significantly down the road, I could see going back to the 70.3. Because I think I could do some amazing things at that distance. In order to accomplish THOSE, I have to reach my goals at the Oly and Sprint distances. At the moment, those goals are a moving target.

You could look at it as though I'm really patient. Part of it IS that, but the other part is that I really enjoy short and intermediate distances.

I may have said this already. Our workouts, recently, have gone to a whole new level.  I love it. I love it because I know what she did with me last year and how that corresponded to my faster times and stronger outputs everywhere.

I think about the training that we are doing. The enormity of what I'm trying to accomplish, hit me.

I'm competing at both the Oly and Sprint races at Nationals. Back to Back days of racing AT and OVER threshold.

That takes incredible strength.

Now, I've done this type of thing before. We used to have a race here in which you could do an oly and sat and the sprint on Sunday. The key words, once again, are "doing" the race.....not "racing" the race.

At Nationals, I'm planning on racing.

Besides the physical strength, I've been working on my focus. I know that I lose focus in races. So, I've been training in areas with lot's of distractions. I do my runs in areas of high traffic, kids screaming and chasing each other, horns honking.....so I can learn to tune it all out. Tune out the cheering fans on the sidelines. Tune out the other people racing.....and race MY race. Pay attention to MY body and what it is doing and not be concerned about anyone else. I've also been learning a new level of suffering when it comes to running. In the past, I've been asked, "Did the intervals hurt?" I would always answer, "Yes. Of course they hurt."

I was wrong. They didn't in the way they were supposed to. They hurt now. It's all about learning how to handle extreme stresss. It's about learning how to tell yourself NO when your head is asking to stop.

It takes time getting there. It's not something that happens overnight. Pain tolerance is learned.

I have a dress rehearsal coming up. A swim race next weekend and sprint tri the following weekend.

Let's see how much I've learned.

Sprinkles are for Winners



I have found my people. In fact, they have this blog address. Here's a shout out to you Pathetic Sumbitches. You know who you are.

This group is not like any other group of triathletes. They are the most dedicated, hardworking group of people I have ever met. The group consists of everyone from beginners to the seasoned veteran. We have Boston runners and Kona qualifiers and everyone in between.

We are a group of +1200 strong on FB and even have our own Strava page.

Unlike Slowtwitch and other FB pages which are filled with ALL EGOs/No Confidence, this group is NO EGO/ALL confidence. They are amazing athletes who poke fun at themselves and laugh at all the stupid things that we all do. We cuss (well, I do), we eat foods that are bad for us, we miss training, we do too much, we are coming back from major injuries/illnesses, we have fallen over on our bikes, peed ourselves, we post our pathetic race photos, we've gained weight, we've slowed down when we should be getting faster.....and we laugh about it all.

Nothing is off limits except feeding your ego by insulting another person. That shit will get you banned. 

The group is refreshing to be around.

Finally, I've found people who take the sport seriously and work hard to accomplish their goals, but they never take themselves seriously.

Several months ago, I posted some self-deprecating thing about my race. It was funny. You were supposed to laugh at it. Yet, I received these warm fuzzies from people who were trying to build me up.....{{{{HUGS}}} to them for trying to make me feel good about myself.  But they completely missed the point.

I thought, "AW FUCK". I took the post down.

My Pathetic Group? They get it.

I ♥ them so hard because of it.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Temporarily Wrecked

I've been going along.

I knew what to expect with workouts.

I knew how I was going to feel.

Then

BAM

It hit me like a freight train.

I had a workout yesterdayIt was deceptively hard. I did what I could, but I struggled. I struggled to keep my cadence up. I struggled to go from zone 4 intervals to zone 2 and back again and again and again.

I ran off the bike well. That was the day that I hit that 7:04 interval.

But the bike......it wrecked me.

After the workout, I was tired. No matter how much I ate. No matter what I did. I was tired.

I got up today to do another one. This was a run.

It was hard again. I hit every interval, but I was wrecked.....again.

In my Training Peaks log, I sent a note saying, "I did my best. These workouts are deceptively hard. I feel like overnight we took the workouts up a notch."

"Was it me?" I wondered. "Was I just tired? What happened to me?"

My phone beeped at me. It was Liz, "I can tell. You were challenged by the workouts. We're taking your training to a whole new level."

And I should mention, she ended it with a smiley face.

I remembered that she warned me this was coming. I just sort of ignored the warning.

Today, I thought a lot about the workouts. Rather than get beat down by the feeling of being beat down, I decided to embrace the feeling.

She has decided that I'm ready for the next level of training.

Mentally, I know that the next weeks of workouts are going push me like that. They are going to make me doubt myself. They are going to make think I'm not strong enough. They are going to make me think about quitting or taking it easy here and there.

But I'm not going to do that. I'm going rise to the challenges. I know they are going to open my eyes to a whole new world of suffering, but there's nothing that feels as good as getting through to the other side and realizing that you're stronger, and every drop of sweat, every tired muscle, every mental battle.....was worth it.



Friday, May 8, 2015

The Tough, The Badass & The Beast



Me: OH EM GEE

Mr. Tea: What's up.

Me: I just looked at these workouts. She just changed them. I was supposed to run these intervals at sub 8:00 pace tomorrow. Now, Liz wants me to run SUB 7:30 pace for my intervals. The 7:41 400's on Wed made me almost pass out.

Mr. Tea: I don't feel bad for you. It's your own fault. You should never tell her a workout is too easy. IT'S LIZ we're talking about.


Yes. There are times for a fleeting moment when I think, "can I really do this?"

I've talked about Liz's challenge workouts before. They are not normal workouts. They look normal though. You don't realize until you are into the workout that the workout might just be out of your current fitness. 

She does this on purpose. First, she wants to see how you handle real adversity. She wants to see what you will do when you have given everything you have, and she asks for more. Second, whether or not you actually hit the goals she prescribes, is irrelevant. 

Those workouts are about making you MENTALLY TOUGH. 

My run tomorrow....isn't a challenge workout. It's just a normal stupid hard Liz workout, but I couldn't do it if it weren't for those challenge workouts. So yes, for a fleeting moment, I question whether I can do them. Then, I remember what I have done.

Those of you who have known me for years have seen the changes. Even those of you who have known me just since I started working with Liz, have seen changes in me. I hope you do because I feel different than I did a year and a half ago.

It's because of Liz. It's because of the people I surround myself with. Don't ever underestimate the power that people (you hang out with) have over you.

People who have big HUGE goals believe YOU should have BIG HUGE GOALS also. These are the people that after coming in last.....you can say to them, "I want to podium".....and they won't bat an eye. They will say, "THIS is what is necessary. THIS is what you have to do."

If you are honored to have friends like that, hold on to them. They are the people that won't give you bullshit lines just to stroke your ego. These are the people that will give you honest feedback because they want you to succeed as much as YOU do. They will push you harder than you thought possible. They will push you past what you think your breaking point is.

The people that I hang out with (whether virtually or in training groups) are the toughest, most bad ass people I know. They have learned when to turn BEAST MODE on and when to relax.

No matter what life throws at them, you'll never once hear a "poor me" complaint. They just keep going. They don't dwell on the past. They only work to be the best they can be today. It's as if they see every day as their new starting point; and wherever that is.....is OK....because tomorrow, they will be better.

Those are the people I admire. They are who I want to be.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

So, this happened AGAIN

I opened my email this morning.


BOOM
2 X Qualifier for AG Nationals 2015


Go ahead, I'll wait. I know you want to look up my time. Nevermind, here's the link.
I was really hoping this would rollover to 2016.

Still, I'm very happy. It's amazing. In just my first year of working with the MASTERMIND, I ended up with two qualifications for the same year.

I will be doing both distances. I'm doing the Olympic distance on Saturday and the sprint on Sunday.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Moving at The Speed of Life

I needed a few days to get my head together.

My days are moving at the speed of LIFE.

You know life is a little bit crazy when you have to set calendar reminders to eat during the day.

That's the point I'm at. Every thing has to be scheduled.

I'm holding it all together. It's just another one of those times where several things collide.

In other words, it's just life.

Most of you know the story of how we started the business and then the several years prior to, during and immediately after the recession.

During that time, our house fell into disarray. Now that our sons are both moved out, we have gone back and forth about what we want to do and where we want to live. (JMan will be home for a few weeks and then moves into his first official apartment). We've talked about moving into a high density type of unit. We've talked about building a home on land.

Over the weekend, we decided to stay in our house....the one that is in really bad shape....and remodel it. The reason for the decision is that Googs is in his last year college (in the Fall). He's been on scholarship the entire time. JMan has only 3 years left (in the Fall). Since we had saved for two kids worth of college, well, that put us in a good position when Googs got the scholarships.

This means that when JMan graduates, we can pay off our mortgage (which will have about 10 years left).

After thinking about it, it didn't really make much sense for us to take out of brand new mortgage when we'd have to spend a whole lot more to get the size house we currently have. To make all the repairs and remodel, it won't even cost us $20k....which we can spread out over any length of time that we want.

The decision to stay, ended up being a math equation, after we took all the emotion out of it.

My time has been filled with getting estimates and getting people over to the house to start the work.

Besides work and training (currently 11 hours a week), we moved forward on the purchase of the other company. We ran into some issues at the beginning of the year and negotiations stalled.

Now, it's moving forward. Originally, there were some "location" issues: putting together two different businesses (brick and mortar/internet) with different needs. Neither location worked well for BOTH. The brick and mortar has NO place for customer service/product development team, etc. The warehouse is not zoned for retail. Initially, we were looking at a larger warehouse facility that would function for both. We recently decided to maintain two locations: a retail location that can also function as a warehouse (it's a mullet location-retail in the front, warehouse in the back) and then the office space. When you calculated in buying new furniture, internet, phone (for customer service--so a substantial budget for phone), cleaning services and ALL the other expenses that go along with office space, we found a fully furnished unit that is SUPER nice....very....very nice....that includes all those utilities.

The coolest part is that every single employee gets their own office.....which is kind of a nice thing.

(I don't even want to talk about how difficult it is to hire people right now. The good news, if you can call it good news, is that it's not just us. Every company is having a hard time hiring people. Out of 100 Applicants, only 50% will response to inquires, of that 50%, only 30% have realistic salary requirements, of that 30% only 10% will ACTUALLY show up for an interview. If we get 2 good applicants for every 100.....we're on a roll.)

Right now, we have the best staff that we've ever had. Let me tell you, it was NOT easy for them for awhile. To me, the coolest part is giving employees raises and bonuses.....those employees who have been with us the longest and took the risk on us are now being promoted into the highest level positions.

In fact, one of our employees told us last week that he will be buying his first home ever. That makes me feel really good. We can have such a positive impact on people's lives. They took a risk joining our company. Now, they are getting the pay off.


It's a chaotic time for me. A friend called me on Friday and by Sunday, I still hadn't called him back. Although, I did send a short text telling him I'd get back to him later that day.....which of course, I didn't.

I'm WAY overdue for a haircut and have probably worn the same clothes a few days in a row. But, I make sure to get Miss Ray out for her walk every day and have a few minutes to just be.

In a few weeks, I'm doing an open water swim race. I'm looking forward to it because I get to see people I haven't seen in awhile. I've had to cancel rides with them. I get invitations for coffee and lunch and just plain can't make it.

On a more positive note, it means that I'm not on social media much. I deactivated twitter and check FB about once a week. Although sometimes I feel disconnected from the world, I manage to check Feedly every couple of days to get caught up on news and blogs.

I think I like real life better.

I have to say. Everything is good in the Land of CH. Busy, sometimes chaotic but ultimately very good.