Saturday, December 13, 2014

Random stuff, goals & things to do

1.) Back to drinking smoothies. WHERE DID MY OFF SEASON GO?

2.) That moment when you're TOTALLY jamming out to a song....and your friend informs you that it's Nick Jonas.
Awww, F*CK it. 

3.) If it weren't for spell check I would always spell "occasion" and "occurred" wrong. Is it 1 c? Or 2? And why can I not remember...EVER?

4.) My Coach is just stubborn enough to get me to reach my goals.

5.) Speaking of goals. Since I started reframing my outlook from results oriented to process oriented, I've found that it's harder to set goals. Maybe it's not that it's harder. Maybe it's that I haven't completely made the jump yet. 

Lemme lay it out there. 
Toward the end of my season, I did a great job in the sprint. Everything just started coming together. I nailed the swim and bikes. The run: I did my best effort EVER. I learned that I had more that I could give. Then my season ended. 

In the sprint this year....or in 2015, I want to pick up where I left off. I really think I can have a fantastic year at the sprint. My swimming is already stronger, and I've only really been at this new masters for 3 weeks. I'm getting so strong and powerful. I think I will be able to take my run to a new level.

Does it matter that technically, it's not a SMART goal? Sometimes, I just can't put numbers to things. 

My goal in the sprint: HOLD ON TIGHT AND DO IT. I know when I'm not. I operate very well on "feel". I know when I can give more, and I'm not....regardless of what the power meter says. Sometimes, you just have to go for it. (Like I did on the bike at Soma.)

6.) The OLY. I love the challenge of the oly. The best part is that I believe that I haven't even come close to hitting my potential at this distance. Truth be told, I haven't at the 70.3, but I don't care about the 70.3.

I have the most work to do at this distance. The swim is fine. 

I never hit the appropriate zones on the bike (for a variety of reasons). I want to fix it this year. I have so much more to give on the bike at the Oly. I know it's there. I just have to call on it on race day.

I ran a 10K PR off the bike in 2014. Still, the run never really came together, but at each race, I was able to see what I did wrong and would fix it at the next race. 

It's really a puzzle for me.

What would I like in 2015? More consistency. My swim is solid. Hit the range for the bike. Don't be afraid to run hard.

7.) My season starts in fewer than 70 days. Can you believe it? I have plenty of time before THE BIG SHOW in August. The first half of the year, I want to take some risks. There is a comfort in racing out of town. No one knows me. I can race without the pressure of having anyone around. I normally don't feel pressure so much. I guess it's more of recognizing people at races. Triathlon is a different animal. In order to progress to Nationals and the World Championships, you have to beat other athletes; athletes who want it just as bad as you do.  There's no such thing as a qualifying time. I want to qualify for the WC. You know this. That means I have to beat other women in my AG. Racing at a new venue gives me the opportunity to race against women I don't know. It will give me the chance to 100% focus on what I need to do.You're a great swimmer? Fantastic. I don't know that when we line up. Focus on the process.

I know that at the Oly distance, it's a long shot for me to qualify this year.

I, also, know that at the Sprint, it's not really a long shot. Oh, I'll have to race like the wind, but it's within my reach.

Then my tri season is over. I'm looking at some new adventures in the Fall. I want to do new things. At first I was planning on a half marathon. But for a couple of years, I've been watching cyclo-cross. I have two really good friends who do it. They have been patiently answering my questions behind the scenes. Not familiar with CX? Watch this.

I just love being on my bike. I thought, "Why would you run when you could do crazy shit on the bike?"

For now, I'll finish up my last few days of off-season and get ready for my first race of the new year.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Inbreeding the business way

A few years back, I was working on my PhD. One of my professors told me that the University didn't hire their PhD candidates because they wanted to prevent inbreeding.

Now, I'm sure I don't have to explain the concept because you, my faithful readers, are an intelligent group....except for that one in the're dumb as shit.

What a brilliant concept this was, to me.

In order to keep fresh ideas coming in, in order to question the current thought.....they would only hire other PhDs.

Ever since he said that to me, I thought about how applicable it is to business.

Do you know those businesses that only post their own stuff? They only post articles their employees have written.

AS IF they are the ONE TRUE EXPERT.

Let me give you a couple of examples, I have a business. We write blog articles. Every business does. We post those articles for our customers to read.

However, we are not experts in the field. So, one of my jobs is to go out THERE in the interwebs and find articles from experts in the field. Then, we "re-tweet" or "share" the article with our customers. I don't have a clue what the latest trends are from Italy, but there are people that do that as their full time job.

One of the things my Coach does is post links to the latest and greatest research, training techniques and/or nutrition advice. These articles are not written by her. They are written by the very people who did the research.

That's where I got the swim video that I posted on FB today. (I posted it on my profile and on the IM Boulder group page). My Coach is a Level 3 swim coach (the highest level). Yet another coach created an excellent video. She shared the video with all of us....her athletes.

If you are a business owner or even if you work for a large corporation, keep this in mind. Providing this information is not going to cause you to lose business. You're not sending your customers to one of your competitors.

Just the opposite happens. Your customers appreciate the fact that you are staying on top of research and doing what you can to help them be better or help them make better decisions.

Stop the inbreeding. Bring in fresh new ideas.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The journey continues


Today was the first day that I felt somewhat back to normal. At least my sense of humor started returning. As for feeling 100%, I'm not there yet.

I did, however, swim yesterday. Believe it or not, swimming is the hardest thing for me to do at the moment. I went to masters because I really needed some semblance of normalcy.

Since Justin's accident a few weeks ago, I feel like my life has been chaos with one thing or another happening. Being so sick on top of everything, it's been a rough patch.

SO----that's why masters was important yesterday. I knew it would be hard for me to keep up, and it was, but I needed to feel like I was doing something fun...something that I really enjoy. The men that I swim with are genuinely nice. They kept checking on me to make sure I was ok.

I guess it's a bad sign when someone turns completely white?

Anyway, I was driving home from masters when it occurred to me that my off season is almost over. It ends on 12/31. My season will be starting earlier than it ever has (in Feb) and then my last A race is the beginning of August.

Other than the 2 weeks of being sick, where I barely cracked 4 hours of training, my training hours are coming in around 9:30.

This was my first off season with Coach. I really enjoyed it because it was made FOR ME.

I know many athletes and coaches generically do the swim/bike/run focus in the off season. I was mentally prepared for that again.

When I asked Coach (months ago) if I'd be doing a swim focus, she said, "You don't need a swim focus. We're going to make you into a powerful runner."

You could probably hear my sigh of relief halfway across the world.

It never made sense to me to do a swim focus when that is my strength. Athletes and coaches get so enamored with the idea of doing what's easy, they lose sight of doing what is important. Of course, it's easy to throw swim/bike/run focus into an off season training plan.

But does that really help the athlete? 

We are by no means ignoring my swimming, but it's more of a maintenance mode. I'm going 3x per week. After spending time with my swim coach and then sending that feedback to Coach Liz, my swim coach earned Liz's respect. He gained her respect for the type of workouts and the feedback he has been giving me. She takes that feedback and gives me drills once a week to work on those issues.

You can see it in my swim times which have dropped from 1:35/100 to 1:25/100 in a matter of only a few weeks.

And that's without a swim focus.

The bike has truly been maintenance mode with riding 2-3x per week with it being mostly....I think entirely drills. When the roads are clear (which has been a lot), I take it outside. I love Fall/Winter riding.

In a couple of weeks, however, we have a bike test. I'm looking forward to that. I think I'm stronger on the bike this year than I was last year at the same time.

It's the run that we've been putting a lot of energy. Running + strength work + plyo work + core work. This can be as many as 3 workouts a day. Run, strength, core or run, plyo, core or....well, you get the picture.

Squats, box jumps, one leg jumps, lunges, plank, side plank, more plank, V sit on a ball? Fuck yeah. Any way you can possibly think of moving my body, I'm doing it.

Powerful runner? Yeah. I think that's right around the corner.

I got a glimpse of it last week. I had a 5k. I knew I wouldn't be able to race it. I ran it easy instead. Easy at a very fast pace....a pace that used to be my race pace.

I want another opportunity to run a 5k, but I need to be 100% before I do. There's a 5k on 12/20 that we're looking at. It's a 5k that I've run many times, so I can compare to previous years. Obviously winter times are tough to compare because the conditions can be anything from a gorgeous 40 degrees to a blizzard with 10 inches of snow. I've done this race in both of those.

Then we hit January/Feb where I have a few more 5ks and a 10k.

Believe it or not, my first Tri is in a very nice warm place.

As it stands right now, I'm not sure what I will do after my August race. I'm thinking about running a half marathon in the Fall.

There you go. You're all caught up on my training escapades. I'm sure you were feeling all empty inside.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Oy Vey

1.)For dumb people who think they are smarter than everyone else:

2.) For business owners that CONTINUE to post political commentary on their social media accounts:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sliding Doors

One of my favorite movies is Sliding Doors. This movie isn't known for it's incredibly clever dialog or Oscar worthy acting. I love the movie because of it's premise.

Helen loses her job. As she's running to catch the train home, she drops an earring. At that point, the movie splits into two different story lines. The first is the story of her life if she catches the train. The second, she stops to pick up her earring and misses the train.

The movie is about how different her life is because of that one seemingly insignificant event.

I love thinking about things like that.

I had a Sliding Doors moment yesterday.

I went on to Athlinks to look up a race of mine. I noticed that one of my races from January of this year was missing. I went onto the race website to find out what my results were.

I'm scrolling through....and I come to the women/men 45-49, and I notice my results aren't there. I remember that Liz had recommended that I should not race initially (when I first started with her).

BUT there was another name in the results that stood out to me. Remember all my first of the year drama? All the exploding friendships?

We'll call her Beth (since I'm not sure who reads my blog anymore, and I'm a fan of Walking Dead).

Beth knew I was registered for the race. I do the race every year. We had talked about it in December.

I'd asked Beth to do the race with me in previous years. Each year, it was too far of a drive or she got sick. It's winter, stuff happens.

Yet after our argument, she knew I would be there and registered and raced.

But, I wasn't there.

There is no way that this is a coincidence.

I was wondering. I don't know what her intentions were.

But how would things have been different if I had shown up? Would it have been a step toward reconciling?

What if she had called me afterward and said, "I was hoping to see you at the race".

I thought of the movie Sliding Doors. Even those seemingly insignificant events, like skipping a race, are significant. It doesn't mean things would be better. It just means, different.

AND like the movie, sometimes things that start out badly, ending up being the best thing that could have happened to us.

Friday, November 28, 2014

My most awesome day Part 2

The email notification beeps at me, and I open the email expecting to see Black Friday deals.

Instead I saw this

I look at it.

I shake my head.


What does this mean?

I read it again.

And again.


I had to fight back the tears.

And I started screaming to Mr Tea and JMan and GOOGS. "I qualified for the National Championships!"

I ran downstairs and I was screaming. I was shaking as I showed them my cell phone with the message.

I know people who qualify for Nationals at their first race. I know people that qualify every year.

I'm not that person.

When I started triathlon, I came in 2nd to last at my first races. Gradually, I moved to around the middle of the pack. Since then, I'd had inconsistent results. Sometimes I did better. Sometimes I did worse.

Until this year when I started to see how the pieces were going to fit together. How do I take advantage of my swim and bike to hold my position on the run? How do I fuel to get the best out of all three? How do I push myself past my comfort level and be comfortable there?

I stared at the email, and my entire triathlon history came rushing back to me.

Liz and I set up my 2015 race schedule to play to my advantages. My A race was set for April in AZ, sea level and mostly flat. The goal for that race was to get an idea of how close I was to qualifying for Nationals.

Then, after THAT 2nd A race would be later in the year....again at sea see how much I've improved and make a real run at qualifying.

But the email arrived yesterday.

I don't need to go to sea level. I don't need to race a flat course. I qualified for Nationals in Boulder, against the fastest women in the state.

I remember the race. I had gotten out of the water, 2nd place was :15 seconds behind me. I beat her out of transition. I remember riding the fastest bike I've ever done. I remember running a PR run, only to have 2nd place pass me at mile 2, like I was standing still.

And I felt great about my race that day. Not knowing where I had finished. I didn't realize that I had podiumed and left the race.

I stared at the email again, still in disbelief of what I accomplished. All those years of getting up early and giving everything I can in finally paid off, about 2 years earlier than I expected.

I did it.

I emailed Liz. I think she was genuinely THRILLED for me.

We decided that I will compete at both the Olympic distance and the sprint distance (on back to back days) at Nationals.

My next goal is to qualify for the World Championships. It might not happen this year, but I've qualified for Nationals once. I can do it again.

My most excellent day Part 1

This week has been one of the best weeks.

Both Googs and JMan are staying with us from Wed through Saturday. If you have little ones or no kids, it's hard to explain how much fun adult children are. I hate even using the term "children", but you get what I'm saying.

We all got up to run our Annual Turkey Trot on Thursday. I always joke about the RACE of the CENTURY and what it means to have family bragging rights.  I didn't clue you all in, but this year was a little different. About a month ago, Googs dislocated his toe.  He's been unable to run, so the race wasn't really going to be the bloodbath of previous years.

Wed night, the menfolk stayed up late drinking and talking and playing games. I always get worried that I've sort of "forced" this tradition on them. I told them repeatedly that they could all stay home. I was planning on racing, but that didn't mean they had to.

It was a beautiful morning. Chilly at the start (for my little tri shorts and lightweight t-shirt), but it was perfect for running.

The biggest thing that I've gotten from Coach Liz is "goals based on a process". Once again, I didn't have a time goal.

Several weeks back, she and I were talking about the 10K. She told me that a fit person can hold threshold for about an hour. A 10k should be run at threshold. I told her that based on what I see at races, I don't think most people run a 10k that hard.

She said, "That's why people hate the 10k. It hurts really bad."

I (obviously) have never run a 10k like that. Hell, I don't believe I've ever really run at threshold for any particular length of time.

I made it my goal to run the 4 miles at (at least) threshold. I knew it was going to really hurt. 4 miles....longer than a 5k.....not 5 miles. This is going to hurt.

I took the first mile a little easier, intentionally....not slow, but I needed to build to threshold. I've never done this before, so I wasn't quite sure how I was going to handle it. All I knew was that I was going to do it.

And, I did. I ran miles, 2, 3 & 4 at over threshold. Honestly, the first 2 miles were ok. By the time, I got to 2.5 and then 3 miles, I was starting to really feel it. I'd check my HR, if I dropped to threshold, I ran harder.

I didn't mentally give up, not once. I just kept pushing. When I came up to the last half a mile, which is a false flat, I could see the finish. I knew my pace would drop, but I didn't care....the EFFORT had to be there.

People around me started dropping off, slowing down, walking. All I could think was, there was a time I would slow down RIGHT HERE.

When I crossed the finish line, I had nothing left. I ran +3 miles at over threshold. I was weak. I was dizzy. I wanted to sit down, but I knew I need to walk around. I needed water. I had forgotten to hit my garmin. When I looked at it, it said 38:18 which was almost a minute PR. Then I realized I had forgotten to turn it off. When I check my 4 mile time, it was 37:57.

I snuck in just under 38 minutes. I couldn't believe it. I have these goals. 36 min, 37 min, 38 min. I know at some time, I will get there. Yesterday, I thought I could PR, but I never expected over :15 seconds per mile PR.

A few minutes later, Googs crossed the finish line. A few minutes after that, JMan came in. I ran back looking for Mr. Tea. He hadn't done the full 4 miles in years. I wanted to make sure he had support for that last mile. I ran back to mile 3. I thought I had missed him when I saw him on the other side of the street. I ran to him. We finished the last mile together.

We all found each other, and I listened to everyone telling their race stories. Then Googs said the best thing ever.

He said, "Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without this race."

The entire drive home, I got to listen to them talk about how they did and how they paced, or didn't.

When I got home, I uploaded the race. I felt so awesome about how I did. I felt so great about my effort. At every race, I'm showing what I can do. Not every race goes the way I want, but I go home. I talk to Liz. I figure out what I did right or wrong, and I go back out there.

I was typing up an email to Liz.....when I got a notification of a new email.

That's when I saw it.

----to be continued----