Monday, April 25, 2016

The ramp up

I'm calling it.

The countdown is on. Although I'm on a recovery week, I opened up TrainingPeaks hopes of seeing what my training looks like for next week.


Last week, Dina and I met to talk all things nutrition. Because we all know how I typically start eating during long course training.

We talked daily nutrition and training nutrition and fueling for those (in particular) loooonggg weekends. You know. The Trifecta.

She really opened my eyes to things I'd never considered before. She gave me a plan to follow for the weekend; what I eat in the morning; what I have prior to training; how I carry my fuel (since I've jumped off the gel crazy train).

Nowadays, I'm using UCAN.

For the rest of the time, she'll have me practicing every little thing I do. 

Repeat the behavior. Make it second nature, so I don't have to think about it.

Then, there was Liz, giving me feedback on my workouts. Do THIS every single time on every single run. Get your body used to it. 

I know. It seems like I should already know all this. And, I did. The difference is that I never did any of this prep at this level of detail. I never really thought about most of it.

I never looked at nutrition as a whole. I used to eat the same thing for breakfast every day. Now, I change my breakfast depending on what training I have going on. It never occurred to me to take in bike calories before a running race to test how bike fueling will affect my run.

I used to feel pretty freaked out at this point in training.  

Now, I'm more cautiously optimistic.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Phase 2: Nutrition



This long course thing? It's hard work.

I should say. It's hard work to do it correctly. I might make mistakes....hard to believe, but yes, I have made mistakes.....BUT, I'm finally doing everything the way I need to, to get the results I want.

That includes nutrition.

In the past, when my volume picked up. If you crossed my path after a long workout, I would eat off your face.

My long course fueling consisting of brownies & scones & all that super yummy stuff. It also consisted of weight gain, troubles with recovery, sleep and the list goes on.

I didn't want to go through that again. I wanted to be fueled up to support a high level of volume, to allow for recovery, and to get me to the next level of performance.....all without weight gain.

That can't be too difficult, right? In the past, it was stupid hard because I'd given up. Calories in and calories out was bullshit. I was mentally done with it all.

I worked with Dina last year. I lost over 26lbs. I shaved time off my running paces. I got stronger on the bike. The changes were amazing. I was recovering fast. I was sleeping better.

I followed her recommendations through half marathon training (PR); through 5k races (PR); and she helped me before, during & after surgery. (Seriously, I feel like I had a record breaking recovery from surgery).

It was only expected that we'd work together for long course fueling.

The timing was perfect. I was just starting to feel a little lost. I was doing more trial and error than I wanted. 

She and I met today. 


AND A PLAN for my upcoming long workouts!

Are you as excited as I am?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The long & short of it.

It occurred to me that I've never trained this hard for a 70.3.

Then, it occurred to me that I've never been able to train this hard for a 70.3.

For my last 70.3, I had only been with Liz 9 months. Of course, that's PLENTY of time to train for a 70.3. Knowing what I know now, she got me to the start (healthy). She helped me get a 40 minute PR.

BUT....I'd only been with her a short time. We didn't have that time to build a foundation. We didn't have the time.

And I still PR'd.

It's interesting. I can look back, and see what we've done. I can see the plan, and how it unfolded. But, I'm no coach. I know we have a plan. I see the BIG stuff, but the devil's in the details. I don't worry about the details of how we're going to get there. That's her job. I don't question it. I do what she says.

With my training, Liz is sweet enough to give me a Friday, Saturday, Sunday trifecta, which is probably considered torture in 48 countries.

You know I totally get off on this shit.

Every once in awhile, Liz will throw a workout at me. These aren't the challenge workouts that I've told you about.

Challenge workouts are unique, in that, not even Liz knows if you are going to make it through the workout. And she knows everything. They are THAT hard. 

Those are different. 

In fact now that we've been together for 2.5 years, there is a difference in the workouts that I'm doing. Her expectations have changed. 

Back to the Trifecta. The trifecta hurts physically. It hurts. On Sunday, I had a 1:40 run. The run included intervals of hill repeats. In other words, her long runs are NEVER.....go ramble about for 1:40 in zones 1-3. No. Nope. Her long workouts require concentration.

I knew Sunday's workout was going to be probably the hardest long run I've ever done. As I was running, I was in a level of pain that I had never experienced before.

That's exactly the point of her workouts. Experience the pain in training, so it's familiar to you in a race. I never used to feel pain in training. When I got to a race and experienced it, I thought it meant I was going too hard. I'd back off.

When I started with Liz and told her, "I don't know how to race". It was completely true. I didn't know. It is not something that can be learned overnight. It takes practice. It takes taking risks. It takes repeat behavior.

I'm not really a warm fuzzy person. I'm definitely NOT a "YOU GO GIRL. YOU'RE A TOTAL BADASS" type of person.

People: other athletes, coaches would tell me to "Dig deep". WTF does that even mean?

Dig deep?

But when it really comes down to it. Digging deep is the last thing I'm thinking about.

I'm thinking about survival. I'm thinking about every step. I'm counting down minutes.

3-Halfway, got this.System check. You hurt, but you're not dead.
2-THIS pain. Embrace it. It means you are strong. When others QUIT. YOU KEEP GOING.
1-I can do anything for one minute. Maybe not. 

Liz isn't a "volume for the sake of volume" coach. Her long training days all have intensity to them.

After the trifecta, Monday, I have strength work and masters. Before Liz, I never considered masters a "recovery" day, but that's exactly what it is. I go hard. I push it, but there's no pounding on the legs or body.

Here we are: TUESDAY.

Tuesdays are tough. Mentally, I'm ready for it. They are usually run/bike workouts.

I open TrainingPeaks. I read the bike workout. I stare at it.


In the notes, after the description, she left me a note.

This is a tough one.

For 2.5 years, I have done her workouts that have left me wrecked. Workouts.....where Mr. Tea asks how it went....and all I can do is stutter and say, "I don't know".

In 2.5 years, the toughest workouts I've ever done.....NONE of them.....NOT ONE TIME.....NOT EVEN FOR CHALLENGE WORKOUTS.....did she say, "This is a tough one."

After today, "getting wrecked" will have a whole new meaning.

Next week is a bike test. This will be my 4th bike test this year. At each test, I've gotten stronger.
In the past 4 months, I have made more progress on the bike than I made in my entire previous 12 years.

So today might suck. Scratch that. Today's workout is going to push me way out of my comfort zone, further than I've ever gone.

I'm going to do it because we have goals and because the simple fact is that if she put it in my plan....that means I'm worthy. I have levelled up.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016


As an introvert, I have always written. When I was young, I wrote in a diary. When word processors came out, I started typing up my entries. When online mediums became available, I jumped(?) on the bandwagon. At the time, did any of us know the impact that blogging would have? I don't think any of us (me or my friends) knew what it would be like to post our thoughts online. I certainly didn't fully understand the reach that my words would have.

I've been fortunate. I haven't been exposed to hate comments on my blog. Yes, people have gotten mad at things I've written. That's ok. I know that sometimes people see themselves in my posts, when my post had nothing to do with them. Other times, people's own feeling of inadequacy come out. 

I never take offense to those comments. I live by the motto that other's actions are a reflection of themselves and have nothing to do with me.

Over the weekend, and since Friday really, my training volume has been increasing. Mr. Tea knows that when I'm done with a long session, I have a million thoughts running through my mind. He sits patiently and let's me ramble on and on and on. I have resolved business problems. I've had great ideas. Anything can happen during a long training session.

This weekend, instead of solving the world's problems, I went inside. I thought about where I was 2.5 years ago, which was when I started working with Liz.

Finding the right coach is really tough. You might need to go through several coaches to find the right chemistry and training methodology that works for you.

Thanks, Dave.

Two and half years ago, I lacked confidence as a triathlete. I lacked ability. I lacked strength (physical and mental). I didn't know anything about nutrition. (And, I have an MS in Exercise Physiology). 

I didn't know how to race. I didn't know what I was doing out there. I had no direction or a mentor to help me reach my goals. These were goals that I was starting to think would never happen. 

This weekend, I was trying to pinpoint the THING that started my own personal evolution. In a way, I was looking for that patient 0. 

Where did it all start? Because this has happened over 2.5 years.

I think it came down to Liz's belief in me. When my goals are X, she believes I can accomplish Z. She believes that I can do things that aren't even on my radar.

Having a coach/mentor like that, built up my own confidence. She would challenge me, constantly....physically and mentally, like I had never been challenged before.

She raised the bar for what I thought I could accomplish. When I just wanted to qualify for Nationals, she was making plans for the World Championship. 

And, I started to believe her. I started to believe that I could be amazing. That's what great coaches do.

This year, everything is coming together. I am stronger in every way. I am leaner than I have ever been. I can put out more power on the bike than I thought was possible. I recently ran a half marathon and a 5k 48 years old.

Most importantly, I believe this is going to be my best year yet. On Sunday, I sent Liz an email and said, "Something amazing is going to happen in Boulder."

She responded with, "Next time, you need to run, this type of run, slower."

Because besides building you up, that's what great coaches do, they keep you focused.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Quick note

I have no way of contacting everyone individually.

My FB profile was reported and taken down. I have not unfriended you.

According to FB, it takes 7-10 days for them to investigate. Meanwhile, guilty until proven innocent, I guess.

Yes, this is the personal account that is tied to my business account. I cannot access either.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Levels of crazy


Mr Tea: I could go for some candy. I have to go to the store.

A: Don't you have any at home?

Mr. Tea: We don't have junk food at home. No cookies. No candy.

A: You have chips though, right?

Mr. Tea: No. We don't have chips at home. We have nothing. No junk food at home. No soda. Nothing with added sugar. Tea is pretty particular about her nutrition. We don't keep it in the house. I can have it, but I have to go buy it when I want it.

A....staring.....with her jaw on the floor.


A: Tea exercises a lot right?

Mr Tea: Yeah, she's pretty fit.

A: So, she's a triathlete. That means she does like a run today, a bike the next day, like that?

Mr. Tea: You see. Tea "trains". She doesn't exercise. She does 12-15 hours of training a week. Sometimes she has as many as 3 workouts in a day. Every day has a different purpose.

A.....staring....with her jaw on the floor.


A: Does Tea take vitamins?

Mr. Tea: Yes, she does.

A: I have a friend who sells vitamins. Do you think Tea would want to check them out?

Mr. Tea: No. She won't. I know this sounds strange. Everything Tea does is to be a better athlete. Every thing she eats is to help her recovery from hard workouts and be ready for the next. She doesn't count calories. She workouts more than a week than most people do in 6 months. She has a nutritionist. That nutritionist helps her figure out which vitamins she needs to take and when. Her vitamins/supplements change throughout the year.


That's my level of crazy. For the most part, I surround myself with other athletes. What I do? It's perfectly normal around other athletes. Have you ever been around swimmers? I don't know any group that eats more than swimmers. Do you know runners? I can't think of anyone more particular about what they eat before a run.

I had lost perspective as to how crazy this can seem for people....well.....regular people....people who (on a daily basis).....only get exercise when they walk from the store to the car.

I've raised kids. We used to have cookies and ice cream and candy and soda and frozen pizza all over the house.

Since our kids have moved out, things have changed. We made the changes so slowly that it never occurred to me how insane my lifestyle must look to outsiders.

I think it's a good thing. I think it's good to have people asking questions because it makes them think. It makes them wonder what they could do.

I recently found out that 3 people signed up for races because I said that I was going to do those distances. I have other people who told me that it is now their goal to qualify for Nationals. I also know that people/friends/complete strangers reading this blog have changed their eating habits because of things I have written here.Because....if I can do it, anyone can. Yes, it takes dedication. Yes, you'll have to make changes. Yes, change can be difficult.


But the day you cross that finish line will easily become one of your happiest days in your life.

Mr. Tea said, "How does it feel to inspire so many people".  I've never seen it that way. Yet, I'm inspired by women who I think of as being a much better athlete than I am.

It's a cycle of positivity!


If you are doing something you've never done before....or are striving to be better....because of something I've written here: I can't offer you cookies, but you'll find something much much more satisfying.

Welcome to the crazy.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Once upon a time

I posted this note on my computer.

The date was 10/26/2013.

Two and a half years ago.

I didn't even know what "whatever it takes" meant back then.

I've learned so much since then. I feel like a completely different person, a completely different athlete.

I looked back over a few of my posts. You only see the words on the screen. With every reading, I remembered the emotion behind the posts.

All I could think was "what an incredible journey this has been".

For many years, I just wanted to get faster. I didn't realize this sport would make me a better person. When you find something that makes you a better person, that's something special.