Sunday, November 27, 2016

Year 4

A couple of months back, I was having a conversation with my friend Bobo.

I can't remember how we got started on the topic of triathlon.
I told him a story. I gave him the shorter version. He got the short version because he knew about all the stuff from the past anyway.

You lucky blog readers get the longer version.

Several years back, I used to have a friend. I'm specifically talking about one person. To keep it easy and gender neutral, let's call that person Chris.

Chris had a mean streak. The mean streak wasn't directed at me. From experience, I know that mean people tend to be the unhappiest. Chris was a very unhappy person.

As I started to improve in triathlon, I realized that Chris started taking little digs at me (personally), and started justifying my finish times.

At first, I could laugh off everything. That's what I do. I laugh at myself all the time.

After awhile, the comments became more vicious.

I realized that everyone loves a back of the packer, until that back of the packer isn't, anymore.

All of a sudden, the mean streaks were aimed right at me.

It's not a stretch for you to figure out Chris is no longer a friend.

When you have someone who is a good friend, and that person turns against you, their words tend to stick with you a little more.

It's in my DNA to take those words and use them as motivation to go for the biggest successes I could ever dream.

I did the same thing as we were building our company. "That idea will never work". "You're crazy". "You don't know anything about running a company".

Over the years, I often wondered if this negative motivation is a good thing or a bad thing.

In triathlon (specifically), there is always talk about "your why". Why are you doing this sport? The why is important because it will be called into question at your darkest times.

I have had my own dark times.

My truly deep motivation didn't have anything to do with Chris or Chris' words. My own deep motivation comes from this crazy drive of mine. It doesn't matter if we are talking about work or play, I am one of the most dedicated & determined people you will ever meet.

In my conversation with Bobo, I told him that when I step up on that podium, I stomp on it. Even though Chris and I haven't talked or seen each other in years, I imagine Chris looking up my finish time or seeing me on that podium....

After our conversation, I thought about what I had said. I started to wonder, "why would I share such an important moment with my hater when I have an incredible support network in my life"?

My friends and support network deserve all the energy and recognition for what I've done because I can't do any of this without them. 

 In January, I start my 4th year with Liz. Yesterday, I finally had the opportunity to talk with her about my race schedule for 2017. We also talked about our goals for the year. But, I missed a goal.

In 2017, every time I finish a race; every time I have an incredible success, I won't be spending any more energy on Chris.

Every finish will be dedicated to the friends and support network that get me there.

The year 2017 will truly be dedicated to those of you who text me before races; to those you who cheer me on Strava and send me a quick "Ride on" in Zwift. It will be dedicated to all those times when I'm tired, and you say "You got this, Tea. You got this". It's dedicated to those of you who step up to the start line with me (whether in real life or virtually).

You are the people who have been through everything with me. You have supported me through the hard times; you've made me laugh when I'm struggling. You are the ones I will be celebrating.

Friday, November 25, 2016

One more grammar rant

I'm sure you all remember my rant about the overuse of "!!!!". In fact, even a single "!" is not used correctly.

Before that, I ranted (a few years ago), about the "I haz cheezburger" crap that was floating around.

Now, I present you with the "elimination of pronouns".

"Watching the Macy's parade on tv".

"Thankful for all my friends and family this holiday season".

I get it. The whole hashtag phenomenon left us thinking we no longer need to explicitly state, "I'm watching the Macy's parade". Or, "I'm thankful for all my friends and family this holiday season".

Pronouns are implied. 

Social media = the dumbing down of, well, pretty much everything.

Don't be a dumb ass, use proper grammar.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The one that got away

In 2017, I'm moving up in distance.

I'm excited, but I'm also nervous. We all have that one race.

The one that got away.

It can leave us with the feeling of needing to go back. For me, it's not about proving anything to anyone. It's not even about proving anything to myself.

It's about wanting to do what I didn't do before. I really hope you get what I'm saying because I'm not really explaining it well.

I guess it's that I feel like I left something there, and I want to go back and do what I didn't do before.

It's something that I am fully capable of doing but didn't do last time.

I decided to go back to the race to do what I know I can do.

I'm nervous because, of all my goals, this race is the biggest goal I have. It's time for me to meet it straight on.

My goal isn't about a podium. It isn't about TeamUSA. It's a very personal goal.

When I told Liz, she said, "You know what's going to be required. This is going to be really painful".

I know it is. I don't care. I told her, "I want to do this for me. I have been waiting for this for a long time".

If you know me, I don't rush anything. I don't do anything before I'm ready to face it head on.

When I finished my 2016 season, I knew the time was right. Each year, I learn a bit more about myself, and I've learned that I can push harder.

I guess, I see 2017 as the real test. Did I really learn as much as I think?

You see. The goal for 2017 (even though YOU might see it is as small and insignificant) will be the biggest confidence boost that I've ever had.  That's the best part of triathlon: setting these crazy goals and reaching them. No matter what you do in life, THAT is the greatest feeling. A year from now, I hope to look back and say, "Wow. I did it. I actually did it".

This mystery goal: I see it as an important step to my other goals. I see it as the mental challenge.

Will I be able to hold on when I need to? Will I be able to do the effort that I need to?

There is so much wrapped up in this one little goal.

Now that I've rambled on senselessly for 15 minutes, how do we accomplish this giant mystery goal?

Liz and I are still working through the details of my actual race schedule, but we are full on in off season training. (Hey! No more reboots).

What do you do right in the middle of a run focus? A BIKE TEST, of course. The bike test is the week after Thanksgiving. We have a few running races planned. We're also continuing with the weird sh*t. She sent me the newest strength training routine, which looks awesome.

Then, we go right into training for my A race in April.

I might have forgotten to mention this. Mr. Tea, JMan, Googs & Googs' GF (JEN-NAH) all plan on going to the race to cheer me on.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


As I was running the other day, I thought of this song.

We are now 2 months since Mr. Tea went to the emergency room. We knew there would be many ups and downs during his recovery.  Since then, his medicines have changed multiple times. He has been to the doctor for a variety of other tests. He has one more test to go through, but his system needs to be as "clean" as possible. That test will be in about two weeks. These tests have been for other health issues, unrelated to the pulmonary embolism. I haven't felt like talking about them all. (Weakened right ventricle, weakened arterial valve, liver problems---which is the next test).

The good news is that he is on the mend for the pulmonary embolism. For the other issues, he is on a medication plan. He is feeling better. He has also lost 60lbs so far.

One of our challenges is nutrition. We have completely different nutrition plans. We are kind of at the point where we need to make completely separate meals. They can be the same general meal, but they are prepared differently or with different ingredients. If I weren't an endurance athlete, I'd follow his plan. I am an endurance athlete. I need to fuel for different training efforts & recovery.

That's that.

In my last post, I mentioned that I'm doing a run focus this off season.

If I remember correctly, I've only done a run focus one other time. 

It was nothing like what I'm doing now. I thought Liz would have me running a lot, no a TON, with sprints and repeats, etc.

NOPE. We are doing weird stuff. Training that I have never in my life done. In addition to this, she is augmenting this weird run focus with equally weird bike stuff.

And, I'm strength training a lot.

When I started this run focus, I was getting frustrated. I couldn't do it. In my head, I couldn't get it. It wasn't making sense.

Every day, I would go out there and go through the motions. I figured out at some point, it would all click.

Then, I was at Masters one day. Coach Andrew had given me a goal for an interval set. I was missing the goal. As I was swimming, I thought to myself, "what do I have to do to make this work?"

I figured it out and nailed the rest of the intervals.

When I was resting, Andrew came over and asked me how I did. I explained what happened.

He said, "Tea. That's why you are so fun to coach. When faced with a challenge, you ask yourself, 'what do I need to do'. You don't give up".

So, I go back to running; running these bizarre workouts. Yesterday, I had 10 sets of intervals. The first two didn't go really well. I was close, but I still missed them. I took the recovery period, and I thought, "What do I have to do to make this work"?

All of a sudden, it clicked. It made sense. I tried multiple things and then BOOM. It all came together.

During the cooldown, I realized that the combination of run focus, weird bike workouts, and strength training was starting to come together. For the first time, I understood the connection.

I, also, realized that I'm probably going to be sore for my entire off season.

When I did the bike focus earlier this year, I could immediately see the results in power output & watts to kg. I could see the improvements happening.

With the run, we are handling it completely differently. I'm doing things I've never done before. I can't see results on a weekly or monthly basis.

I don't know if what we are doing is working.

What I do know is that Liz has taken my racing to levels that I'd never experienced before.

I trust her system. I do the workouts.

I believe in her. 


Saturday, November 5, 2016


Off season started.

Bad shit happened.

Off season started again.

More bad shit happened.

I'm now on my 3rd attempt at starting my off season.

If you're taking notes:

Mike got sick (on top of the whole pulmonary embolism thing).

I got sick.

Then, Mike got sick again.

I'm pretty sure that Mike's 2nd issue was a key player in me having a cold for 3 weeks.

Then, 3 people we knew died in one week. (It was this past week).



Needless to say, I took some time off from training.

There's your update.

This week, I had a mostly successful week of training.

Coach Liz and I talked this week. (When I say "talk", I mean email because I'm an introvert. Introverts hate the phone. But if you heard the conversations in my head, you'd totally understand).

She sent me an email asking how I'd like to handle the off season. We'd had a conversation before, but then life happened. Honestly, I couldn't even remember what we decided in our previous conversation.

With the hands on coaching that I get at masters, it doesn't make sense for me to do a swim focus. Who shaves :30 off their 100 time? Who does that? THIS GAL.

We did a bike focus at the beginning of this year with great results.

It's time for a run focus. I, also, told her that I'd like to strength train more. (Obviously with the race schedule I had, I wasn't doing strength work).

BOOM! My off season is set: run focus and lot's of strength training. I love strength training. I'll be doing a number of 5ks and 10ks.

We'll see how well I remember how to run a 10k.

The next thing we did was talk about my goals.

I want to stress something. There are time goals that I'd like to hit. There are certain finish times that I need in order to reach some goals.

We train to those goals.

BUT when I am racing, I don't think about those time goals. I am always 100% focused on effort & attitude.

No matter how well trained I am, I don't expect a race to be a PR or a podium or to even hit a certain pace or time. There are too many variables.

Compare two races that I did this year:

AG Nationals: I PR'd all over the place. This race is set up for my strengths. I'm great on the bike on hills. That course was perfect for me. The run was awesome. It was a flat, out/back.

Las Vegas: I had an outstanding swim. I always swim well in rougher conditions. The bike had more and larger hills than Omaha and winds. I had an outstanding bike, but it was far from a PR. The run was a technical run uphill out and downhill on the return on mostly loose rock. It was also 98 degrees on the run. That was not a PR run, but I ran as hard as I could given the conditions.

How can you be disappointed with that?

I was equally happy with both. In fact, I might have enjoyed Las Vegas even more because I tend to gravitate towards races that offer more challenges; the races that require more mental toughness than others.

Back to the run focus. There are a number of races here throughout the winter. I love doing them. Last year, I missed the races because I was training for a half marathon. I'm excited to do them again. They are just so much fun.

My next race is the Annual Turkey Trot. Don't hold your breath for a PR with me coming off a cold and taking a couple of weeks off for training. DO expect another crazy fun, family race because JMan and Googs will be running with me once again.