Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Be a machine

Some people make resolutions. I don't make them. Every year is a continuation of the previous years.

In 2014, I was doing a lot of rebuilding.

In previous years, because this had been going on for quite awhile, I had noticed that although I could swim, bike & run forEVER, I was losing basic mobility.

It really bothered me.

I couldn't go down stairs without some sort of knee pain. I didn't have the leg strength to go from sitting to standing without having to use something to help push me up. I'm not even talking about post race struggles.

It's like my body was aging before it was supposed to. I knew I needed strength work, but I didn't know WHAT I needed to do.

When I signed up with Coach Liz last January, she immediately started me on a very basic program. (The link takes you to her most recent blog post. It's a worthy read.) It was hard for me. She had me doing the most basic of exercises, and I still had to modify the exercises. (She is a functional strength specialist. My plan was to trust what she said, no matter how hard the exercises, no matter how many modifications I had to do).

I, mean, I couldn't even GET into position to do the exercises.

Last January, I was unable to do one lunge.

A year later (yesterday), I had a on/off bike workout that consisted of Zone 3 and 4 intervals, hop off the bike do lunges, core, squats, core, lunges....and repeat that 3 times. The workout took me 1:30. Immediately after it, I had to run 25 minutes.

It took me a year to here. It took me a year to do this type of workout. Last January, I couldn't do ONE lunge. I could barely bend my legs to do a squat. I could hardly do any pushups. Instead of box jumps, I had to do step ups on a very low step.

Then, I graduated from going up and down steps to holding on to the wall and doing a "box jump". I held on to the wall and jumped with both feet on to the bottom stair.

And I felt incredible. That little 6 inch jump, and I felt like I could accomplish anything.

I wanted to write about this today because there are a lot of people in the same place. It doesn't matter that you can run super far or bike crazy fast.

What matters is being able to MOVE. It takes time. It takes a very long time to see improvements. I had to start with the most basic of exercises. Now, I'm doing box jumps and v sits on a stability ball and core work that I used to think that I'd never be able to do.

It doesn't matter if you are coming back from and injury, want to lose weight or are trying to slow down the aging process, START TODAY. I beg you.

It WILL take time. Results will not happen over night, but they happen.

One day, you'll run up a flight of stairs. When you get to the top, you'll realize that you used to be out of breath walking up the stairs...or maybe you couldn't even walk the stairs.

One day, you'll see muscles peeking places you never saw before. One day, you'll notice that your pants fit a little looser. One day, you'll realize that you are walking faster than all your friends.

The good news is that once you show consistency with doing your workouts, the improvements start happening faster and faster. Day one is easy. It's days 5-6-7-8 and on that are hard.

Stick with it. It's slow in the beginning, but the results are well worth it.

You don't need a resolution to be successful. Surround yourself with the people who will help you get there. We ALL need support systems. Cut out the toxic people. Dream Big and Be a Machine. Machines don't think. They just do. 

And remember, I never said it would be easy. I said it would be worth it.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Out of ashes

My off season officially ended on Sunday.  It ended after I took a week off, which was fantastic.

The off season....the time of gluttony (sort of), the time of skipping workouts when I just don't feel like doing them (definitely), the time of sleeping in (most definitely).

This off season was particularly relaxing. I think I mentioned that we've....well....actually...I've been redecorating. Redecorating/remodeling, but the first part is the clean up.

You'd be shocked and amazed at the amount of stuff we had from living here for 11 years; the years that the boys basically grew up. Sports equipment, ridiculous numbers of boxes of band aids (because I could NEVER find them when I needed them), presents from people--that we used once or never at all.  Over the last few years, we've stopped bringing in so much.

Anyway, that's how I've spent my time, deciding between trash or someone else's treasure. I'm not done yet, but I'm close.

Ending my training season and then going through my emotional and physical purging was important.

It was an extremely productive clearing out.

I figured out a lot stuff. Letting go of things whether physical or emotional opens the door for the next great thing.

My season started today with a renewed sense of......I don't know....maybe a new sense of calm. This year will bring new challenges personally and professionally, but I feel different.

I've hurt people. I've been hurt by people. I've recovered. This is what is left.

I feel raw.

It's only when we strip down to this level that we can start building something new.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Eliminating noise

I don't know exactly what I want to say, so why don't we just see where this goes?

A little over a year ago, I was doing a race. The CU Tri team was also at the same race. I was texting a friend of mine. That friend had given their phone to one of the members of the tri team. Obviously, I didn't know, at the time, that I was having a conversation with some 20-something year old.

One of the messages that I received was, "We don't play at triathlon".

I never said anything to the person. I mean, they were a 20 something. But all I could think of was, "That is so wrong. So backward."

One of my favorite sayings is "I take what I do seriously, but I never take myself seriously."

You can take your hobby or job seriously, but it should be should feel like play.

Without fun or play, why are you doing what you are doing?

Now look, I spent many many years being unhappy in my job. I know what it's like to be miserable. I always believed that work should be fun. Granted, there will be times of stress, but if a job is 90% miserable (like mine was) or even not fun and only 10% fun.....that's a problem.

When winning (or a paycheck) becomes the focus, the focus needs to change. Winning isn't winning.

The journey is winning: the process, each decision, every step we take...that's winning.

Of course, a 20-something year old wouldn't understand that. He was focused on the result, the outcome.

I know I can sound like a broken record sometimes, but there's more.

Recently, as of yesterday, I once again changed my Facebook lists. I'm allowing fewer and fewer people see my posts and even fewer see my blog entries. (Sure you can hit the blog at any time, but most people don't check in like that).

I also noticed that several of my friends have deactivated their FB accounts. They didn't tell me they were, I found out on my own. My reaction was "Good for you".

In addition to that, I've been reading blogs. I've noticed that I'm not the only one having this backlash against social media. However, people are handling it in different ways. Some people are deactivating their accounts. Some people are creating a new account under a nom de plume. Some people are eliminating toxic & negative people from their feeds but keeping their original account. For me, I also had privacy concerns. Repeatedly, I have customers, vendors or other business associates look me up. I put my accounts on lockdown. This blog is unsearchable. My profile on FB is unsearchable (via search engines). If you do find it, you can't see anything. And, I have to "approve" anything that I'm tagged in.

I've done all of that to figure out what works for me. Last week, I was unplugged for week. I'm sure very few people, if anyone, even noticed my absence.

It's about eliminating all that noise. We can disagree on training methods or politics or money management or how to raise our kids, but no one needs negativity or trolls in their life.

If you're reading this post, and you came through FB, are now on the short list of blog readers. If you don't want to be part of the group, drop me a quick message. I'll remove you from the reader list. By now, you know that my feelings aren't hurt by things like that.

Over the past year, I got tired of the "criticism" disguised as "helpful advice".  I have a Coach. If you want to question my training, I will direct you to her. (BTW: No one has ever been critical on my blog. Everyone here is always fantastic. I've seen people--including coaches-- attempting to bully athletes. It's really sad. Who wants to see that bullshit?) I see people (athletes and coaches) giving advice all the time. People have even given me advice that I thank them for and then quietly ignore. (I'm sure most of you understand the subtle difference between questioning someone's training versus asking questions about their training. Hell, I'm often really curious about why people do things. It has nothing to do with being critical but understanding the challenges they are facing.) You ran 27 miles this weekend? In one day? Why? Asking "why" opens the world to a whole lot of, "Wow. That's amazing."

We all have different goals. We all need different approaches. What works for you, might not work for me and vice versa.

Thanks for being part of my process.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

OSF 2015

Operation Super Fit is Back!

Well, it WILL be after Christmas. Let's not be hasty.

This morning, due to a smart ass comment from one who will not be named, I ended up reading through some of my old blog posts.

I realized two things:
1.) I'm really damn funny.
2.) WHAT a process triathlon has been.

Sadly, this blog only goes back to 2008. My entire start to triathlon is missing because in a fit of passion I mean rage no...definitely loss after CDA, and I deleted my previous blog and entries.

Reading some of those old entries is really fun. When I have the opportunity to step back and look at my last few years, I realize just how much I have accomplished. After doing that, I no longer felt like writing a Year in Review. (I enjoy reading them from other people, though). For the first time, I'm not writing a year in review. It's ok. Really. I know this is hard for you to hear. But, it's not you. It's me.

I feel like I'm making progress, so why stop now only to look back?

You know the saying, "When the past calls, don't answer. It has nothing new to say."

I'm ready for 2015!

BUT....there was one little thing that I remember enjoying. Even though I never truly accomplished it.

That's operation super fit.

What is operation super fit? It's exactly what it sounds like, duh.

Last year at this time, I was going through a BIG FAT GNARLY change in my life. I was unable to do operation super fit.

Instead, I did OPERATION HOLD YOUR SHIT TOGETHER. I didn't even, really, do very well at that. In fact, I pretty much went through a suckfest for a few months and put it all on display for you.

Wrapped up in my little blanket of feeling bad for myself, I couldn't really put OSF expectations on myself.

THIS YEAR....or the END OF THIS YEAR, I read my OSF post from 2012.

And I thinks to meself: "Hmmmm."

That was it, "Hmmmm."

For the past few weeks, I've been all about POWER. Running SUPER FAST SPRINTS. Doing box jumps and lunges and squats and core work and run sprints again and burpees and skips and and and 
I cut out cookies. I really did. Cold turkey, bitches.

and  and and

Mr. Tea says, "Wow. You are getting lean."

I think, "I'm probably in the best shape I've.....(wait for it)....EVER BEEN." Sure, maybe I've been lighter. Maybe I've even been leaner.

BUT, I've never been in this shape before. I've never been able to do things that I can do now.


The most exciting part is that things are just getting started. Over the coming weeks, the intensity ramps up, the power moves get bigger and harder, know....bigger and harder things.

I've made some very small dietary changes. It's mostly about getting back to what I need to eat. That time between Thanksgiving and Christmas I eat EVERYTHING and ANYTHING and tend to skip some of the good food that I normally eat. I do that intentionally. It's fun, and it's a mental break from the structure.

I feel very strong, very powerful and like I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to.

Who needs a year in review when I'm starting the year like that?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Maybe I need to change

This holiday season has been really tough on me. I realized that way I was doing things was no longer working. Granted for 3 weeks, I was sick and getting over being sick. That type of thing drains me emotionally....on top of being really busy at work....and trying not to be frustrated at missing workouts that I really wanted to do.

In order to get done everything I need to get done, I had to change how I do things. I would say that this week, it wasn't perfect but it was more or less a success.

On Tuesday, my day started early working in the warehouse, walking miles upon miles on a concrete floor, packing boxes and boxes and more boxes. I got away for an hour (threshold) run at lunch. I drove to Ft Collins (3 hours round trip), got home at 5pm, just in time to have dinner, so I could leave for masters at 6:15. Finally, my day ended with me getting home from masters at 9:30pm. (1:30 Masters) It's not my preferred way of doing things, but it's what I have to do in order to meet my goals.

Was I tired? You bet. I ate a late snack and went to bed.

Even more than that, I've completely had to change how my day is organized and take advantage of gaps of time when I can knock out a big chunk of a project.

More or less successful.

Although I might sound down, I'm just tired. There's a huge BONUS to being busy. Other than my little quips on FB, I'm not on it very much. I got rid of Twitter over the summer. (Have I already mentioned that a few hundred times?) I like to keep up on my friends, and I check in....even when I might not say much.

The change is good.


When I'm training on my own, I realized that I'd been wanting to fill a hole that was vacated awhile ago.

It's like having a big tree in your yard. Maybe the tree has some sort of disease, and it has to be removed. When it's gone, there's this giant hole. I was trying to find the right tree to be a replacement. This week, it occurred (1 c or 2?) to me that I replaced the tree with not one tree but a bunch of new little plants.

Instead of having a giant tree that takes up the entire yard, I have new plants that I can watch grow. Each one is different.

One of those plants is my new masters swim. I haven't quite found my place yet, but I've met a few people. It's really nice to be around hardcore swimmers, not triathletes, hardcore ultra long distance swimmers. They are amazing people. My last masters group was almost entirely triathletes. It's nice to show up, and not have one person ask me about races. I can just be another swimmer.

The change is good.


No one asks about races. No one cares. Yet, I registered for my entire year over a month ago. I debated if I should post my race schedule. I posted it. I took it down.

I know people who don't post their race schedules. I thought, "Maybe I shouldn't". The reality is that no one really cares what my specific race schedule is.  I don't mean this in a negative way. I read a number of blogs. I couldn't tell you what any of my friends are racing.

No one cares. I'm your average age grouper. There aren't any competitive spies out there wondering what my schedule is. I don't feel any more or less pressure to perform because people know my schedule.

All I personally care about is that my friends ARE racing. They ARE training. I am equally excited for them if they are running a 5k or swimming a 10K.

That's exactly how they feel about me. We are there to support each other through all of the rough days and celebrate the great ones.

Because no one actually cares what my race schedule is....I decided to post it.

I used to feel pressure. I used to regret posting my schedule when everyone could see when I had a bad race or a good race. I don't anymore because good and bad races are going to happen. They are part of the process.

I have goals. Every single race is a step toward reaching that goal. Races shouldn't even be labeled as good or bad. How can a race be bad when we learn so much when things go wrong? Do you really think we learn from good races? Of course not. We only really learn when we're faced with adversity.

I'm going to be racing on the biggest stage in the US: at the AG National Championships.

The most public forum with updates being posted by USAT on Twitter and Facebook and results being posted on the website every time we hit timing mats and throughout the entire race....I can't hide. There's no reason to try.

That is why I decided to post it. I'm not posting it to show you what an awesome schedule I have. I'm posting it, so we can go through the year together. I'm posting it as a reminder to myself of what I want to accomplish. I'm posting it, so you know when to tune in for the insanity that is a Tea Race Report.

But mostly, I'm posting it, so I can check off the boxes....which each box representing the next step in my journey.

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.