Monday, December 10, 2018

Training & the art of letting go

In my little world, I see things like this.

Being active: Taking the stairs, parking in the last parking spot. Walking somewhere when you could drive. Riding your bike somewhere when you could drive.

Exercising: Making a conscious effort to move outside of being active. Taking a walk, going for a run, attending a class of some sort (martial arts, cross fit, TRX, yoga), without a performance goal at the end. (Although, there can be goals: wanting to do 20 pushups).

Training: The focus here is working on a performance goal. Training means following a plan, analyzing data or workouts, adjusting your nutrition to fuel for performance.

None of these are defined by hours of work.

Although, I see each of these in a progressive linear fashion, ie each one is a next step. Each of these is perfect. Each thing is exactly what you should be doing at different times in your life.

Many of you who read my blog nowadays have gotten bits & pieces of what has happened this year.

What you really need to know, is that 2018 was the worst year I've had in a very long time. I can't even think of another year, that was even close to 2018.  In fact, every time something bad happens, I now respond with "because 2018".

Back in June or July, Coach Liz and I talked about how to continue my year. At that time, I decided to continue on with my very watered down training plan.

Looking back now, that was a mistake. I should have stopped all training. The stress took it's toll on me. I couldn't physically get through workouts.

Thank you to those of you who stuck with me; even when I was pushing you away.

When my last race came up, I kept saying "just get through this race. Then, take as much time off as you need".

Liz would check on me to see how things were going; even though I wasn't working with her at the time.

As the weeks and then months went on, I realized that what I wanted to do was stop training. STOP all training and just do whatever I wanted to do when I woke up.

I signed up for a 5k race series, one that I haven't done in years but I love so much.

Of course, the 1st race came up quickly. I realized I hadn't run in about 2 weeks. I hit panic training mode and absolutely surprised myself by running 3 minutes faster than I thought I would. I didn't have any goals or expectations. I knew I wasn't in 5k shape, given that I just did a 70.3, and I was still emotionally recovering from the combination of training and life stuff.

For awhile, there was SO MUCH NOISE about next year. I knew I was nowhere near being able to train. For the first time in awhile, I was starting to enjoy just being active and exercising with no analysis, expectations, or obligations for how long or how hard I went. The last thing I wanted to do was to go back into that world of training again.

But I waited. I waited and waited. Black friday came and went.....a long with it....all those discounted race entries.

Then, I made the decision. I was going to take off 2019.

Believe it or not. I didn't tell anyone. I told a few people what I was thinking of doing. But, I couldn't get to the point where I felt the decision was real.

I think it was because sometimes people have a hard time understanding. I didn't really want to deal with all that.

I don't mean this in a drama queen way. Please understand, that I was getting ready to do something that I hadn't done before. Cutting out something that took so much physical and emotional energy every week, even when it's quite a change.

Over time, I came to realize that "Yes, taking time off is not only what I need to do, I really want to do it".

Then came the next worst part. I was going to have to tell Liz that I wasn't coming back for 2019. I wrote an email and sat on it for 2 weeks, tweaking it. When I read the final version, I was in tears.

That's how you know you have a great relationship with your coach. It gutted me having to write it. She has done so much more for me than just help me achieve my performance goals.

She made me a better person. Knowing her has changed my life.

I sent the email.

Not 30 seconds later, I get a text from her. She was SO understanding. She knew exactly where I was coming from. I told her that I'll be back to the sport, but I need this time off. I don't know how much time I need.

After that, I felt better than I had in a year.

I've always been one to buck the trend. As other athletes kept wanting to go further and further and more extreme, I've held my ground with a focus on shorter distances. There is nothing wrong with going further and further. It just seems like it has become the expectation. I've never done a race because everyone else is doing it.I've always done what is right for me at a particular time in my life. MANY times I've been asked about WHEN I'm going to do IM. The fact is, probably never.

This time is no different. I've already been asked:

Aren't you afraid of losing fitness? 

Uh no.

What about Nationals? 

I've done it many times. It'll still be there when I get back.

You've worked so hard to get where you are, now you're just going to stop?

Well. Yeah. Sort of.

Wait. You're just going to STOP being a triathlete? 

Yep, until further notice anyway.

NOT training doesn't mean becoming a couch potato.

I'm going to work on everything that I haven't been able to because of training. I'm going to do things that I haven't had time for. I'm going to run races and strength train like Ahnold. I'm going to do more open water swimming because I love it.

I want to work on the details that I have been ignoring.


Sunday, September 9, 2018

My "too damn tired" race report

I'm too tired to write a race report for Kokopelli.

Here's what you get: a nice screenshot.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Eye of the storm

We came through the eye of the storm. We made it. We're on the other side. 

I don't want to go over everything that has happened over the past 6 months.

We have all had to adjust to new schedules and new responsibilities...and do it all while we are still mourning.

Life goes on whether or not we want it to.

Once I scrapped my race season, I talked to Coach Liz.  I was thisclose to canceling coaching. I was at wits end....I really was.

I have been with Liz for 5 years. So making that decision was the worst and hardest decision that I ever had to make.

BUT, Liz and I talked. She recommended that I not stop coaching. In my heart, I didn't want to stop. I needed it, but I didn't think I could do it.

I really really wanted someone to take the decision off my hands.

I decided to keep going. Since May, Liz was scheduling me for about 8 hours a week. I hit about 5 hours on average. I pretty much stopped all swimming. (Part of that was actually for a different reason).

With minimal sleep and even less actual training, I had a race in June. Seriously, I was in no shape to actually race.

We talked about the race, Liz said that I should do it for the sheer fun of racing and try to remember how much I enjoy this sport.

With ZERO expectations, minimal training and sleep and the funeral in the afternoon....I decided to race Loveland lake to lake.


My speeds were nowhere close to what they have been in the past, but I will be damned if I didn't give absolutely everything I had. I raced over threshold for both the bike and the run. Never in my dreams would I have thought I had a shot at a podium.

Even Liz commented, "You are racing very very well. You are doing it because......"

She was right. I'd had two races and two1st place age groups. (One of those was my first duathlon).

The match was 🔥 lit 🔥.

It was the 2nd week of July when I was able to commit to training again. Until this point, I was still skipping whatever I had to skip to get through life, but I had increased my training time to about 7 hours.

Then, this past weekend, I had another race planned: TriBoulder. This race is crazy competitive because it's getting close to Nationals.

With basically one week of true training under my belt, I sent a message to Liz and told her that I was going out there and do my best. No one can ask for more.

I came in 2nd in my age group with a MONSTER bike. 

As I sat on the grass, I sent her a message, "I don't know how I'm doing what I'm doing right now".

Honestly, I don't know. I have no idea. I'm just going out there and giving my best at every race.

Maybe that's enough.

Thursday, June 14, 2018


The universe has been talking to me lot lately. 

The message has been, "Patience, Grasshopper". I can't even count how many times this year has thrown a curve ball at us. 

Twice, I have had to scrap all race plans. 

Ironman Florida 70.3
Age Group Nationals
Ironman Louisville

Summer Open Sprint
Loveland Lake 2 Lake

Twice, Coach Liz has gotten tearful emails from me saying, "I can't go on". 

TWICE, she has talked me down from the ledge. 

I had no choice but to let life run it's course. 

I have taken the downs (not with Grace and dignity) but with tears and tantrums. The good times, I haven't celebrated but instead I felt like I was walking on eggshells afraid that even the slightest wrong step would send us back down the rabbit hole. 

This week, the universe sent me another message "It's almost time, Grasshopper". Each day, I'm getting memories posted in my feed about races at which I SMASHED goals. 
Ironman Boulder 2016: 25 min PR.

Some other random race in 2014. A smile that big = PR.

June is almost over, I know physically and mentally, I can start "training" again, but I need a couple more weeks of "patience" before I can light the match again. 

I think the universe agrees. 

Monday, May 7, 2018

My 1st Duathlon

You might have read my race plan for my first duathlon.

If not, you probably want to do that before proceeding.

Let's see how well I followed the PLAN.

Drive to race:




Throws bike in back on car. Grabs helmet, throws on front seat. WHERE DID I PUT MY COFFEE? 

Forget it. Frantically pulls out of driveway. Notices coffee cup roll off car engine. Shit. 

Wait. Do I have everything? Mental checklist:

water, shoes, shoes, helmet, bike.....that's enough. I can run a race with that.

Arrive at Race: 

The instructions said this is a half mile walk to the start. I'm turning on my garmin. This is DEFINTELY a mile walk. I don't have time to warm up, get to registration and put up my transition. I'm counting this as my warm up.

(Arrive at transition: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It's packed. Where am I going to put my bike? Great! THere's a the back....I might as well be in Kansas for as far as this is from the bike/run exits).

HOLY SHIT DO I HAVE TO POOP.  Why couldn't this happen at home? There is NO WAY I'm waiting in that porta potty line.

Ok. I have 10 minutes to warm up. I KNOW There's a "real" bathroom around here. OMG, I need to poop. 

Run and clench on the way to the nearest bathroom.  See a woman coming out and yell, "IS THAT BATHROOM OPEN?"

15minutes later: Geesh, I really need to pee. I just went. How is this possible? 

Head back to start line.

20 minutes later: I need to pee again? DAMN this NO SWIM thing. I can't run with pee running down my legs. Right? I mean. That would be wrong.....wouldn't it? Let's keep an open mind. I wonder if I can hold it for an hour?  Where does all this pee come from anyway?

Start of Race: 

Why is no one lining up in the front? You KNOW all of these woman are going to past me. Why doesn't that Team USA woman line up in front? Isn't this the biggest group of sandbaggers I've ever seen?

F*ck this, I'm lining up in front. 

Run 1:



Hit the turnaround: Oh....not EVERYONE has passed me. There are two women walking.

Why is THAT woman walking? She looks super fit.

I know. This is bad. I'm now getting, "YOU GO GIRL" cheers. That's always a bad sign.  

Thank volunteers. 

Attempt smile.


ALL THE BIKES ARE GONE. Did I go too slow? Seriously? Even the fat tire bikes are gone?

Ok. Well. What's done is done.

As far as I'm concerned.....


You really need to listen to the song to get the full effect.


You are going to chase down EVERY SINGLE PERSON ahead of you.



WHAT is that Jeep doing? Why isn't he passing the cyclists? THere is plenty of room.

Awesome, I'm stuck here at 18mph. BEEJEEZUS. COME ON. JUST PASS. I can't get around. 18mph is NOT good enough. You know what? Those people need to get over or I'm going to sit behind this car all ride. 

LET THE CAR PASS. GET OVER! (Hey, look.....not to be rude....but I'm out to win this fucking course).


OMFG. I might regret that pass. What were my watts? I'm SURE they were close to 400 on that pass.

CLEAR road ahead. HERE WE GO! Time to make up lost time.


I really need a drink, but I can barely breath. On the next downhill, take a drink. A BIG ONE. Why does my nose run so badly on the bike? There has to be biological reason for this.

Holy SHIT where did that S turn come from? I'm going too fast, too fast. i CAN'T MAKE THAT TURN GOING THIS FAST. 



I'm close now. Where is everyone? I know I didn't catch everyone.


(Tom yells back)

He's such a nice guy.

WAIT. I JUST CAUGHT TOM. HOLY SHIT! I could be first overall. Is that even possible? He started 5minutes before me.

Wait, two women! I see two women ahead of me. GET THEM NOW. GET THEM. GO! GO! GO!

Holy shit! They are in their 30's! OMG! I'm going to have the fastest bike split of the day.



I am definitely going to fall over.



Thank volunteer.

Attempt smile.

I should take a drink of water. HOLY SHIT! I KILLED THAT BIKE. I am definitely going to regret that decision.

RUN 2:
Is it possible that I could be in FIRST PLACE in my age group? That's not possible right?  

Back up the enormous hill. Take your time up the hill. Everyone said this run would suck. 

At the top LIGHT IT UP. Or well, you know. LIGHT IT UP in your TEA kind of way. 

I forgot sunscreen. How did I forget sunscreen?

I should get a drink at the next aid station. It's hot out here. 

WATER. Thanks. Attempt smile.

Throws water on face.

That didn't go well.

I'll get it next time around. 

One mile until the turnaround. That's like running to the church. You can do this. 

I hate running on gravel.

I hate hills.

It's starting to get hot.

Why do I do this?



That wasn't the turnaround? 

Seriously? The turnaround is at the top of the hill.

Hang on. Where are the women? I haven't seen any women coming back.

There they are.

One. She is definitely younger than me.

Two. Oh yeah. She's in her 30's.

Three. Hmm. I'm guessing 40. 

Four.....I'm pretty sure none of them are in their 50s


About a quarter of a mile after the turnaround. THERE SHE IS. She is about a half mile behind me. She is in my age group. I passed her on the bike.

SHE'S CRUISING. OMG. She is running so fast.

Dammit, I'm going to lose this in the last half mile again. She's cruising.

I can't beat her. She's too fast. She's going to catch me.


Don't write that story. If you're going to write a story make it a good one. Write about how you're going to tell Liz you came in 1st in your 1st duathlon.

Is that her behind me?

One mile left.

No. It's a guy.


This hurts so bad.

Liz said, "If you feel like you never want to do a duathlon again, you're in the right place".













Hold me up.


We got you. I'm going to take off your chip.

Thank you. Attempt smile.

I need water.

What was my time? Where do I get my time?

Goal time for the race: 1:20 (If everything went well).

My actual time: 1:17.

I just won my age group.




How did that happen? I JUST WON MY AGE GROUP in my FIRST DUATHLON.

I need to check the results again. There's no way.

Wait. I'm the only 50-54 on the board. Was I the only one in my age group?

What about the woman behind me?

I can't really tell Liz I won my age group if I'm the only one in my age group, right?

That's bullshit. You showed up. It's counts.

I'll pack up my stuff and check the board again.

I'm so hungry.

Let's check the board again.

1st place: Tea 1:17
2nd place: 1:32
3rd place: 1:33
4th place 1:35

HOLY SHIT! Not only did I WIN my age group! I killed it!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

I DU NOT think this is a good idea

Due to this guy's amazing performance at Duathlon Nationals and then the ensuing promise of donuts, between us, I signed up for a duathlon.

Now don't fall out of your chair. I know this seems like it is coming out of thin air. But don't you remember when I SAID I'm doing different stuff this year? 

Coach Liz and I have been training for it. Well, SHE's been setting up a duathlon plan.

I've been sort of picking and choosing what I want to do.

Yeah. So. This has been on the plan. I've been wanting to do one for a couple of years, but I couldn't get it to work with my schedule and plans and goals.

Goals change, and I decided that 2018 would be the year.

When I started with Liz, she had me start writing race plans. Well, I do A LOT of sprints. Last year, I did 9 of them. I don't really write race plans much anymore. 

Since this is my FIRST duathlon, I decided to write a plan and get her feedback.


Here's the plan that I sent her:

Drive to race: Think about how fucking awesome I am and how I'm going to dominate the race. 

(Siri, Play Eminem).

Arrive at race: Start analyzing all the women and think about how fast they are.

I'm totally getting my ass kicked today. 

(Possibly talk loudly about what a great swimmer I am).

Warm up: 20 minute run, wondering if it's too late to volunteer for the race instead.

Start Line: Pray to sweet baby Jesus that 1.) I'm not last in my age group. 2.) If I AM last, hope that I beat the only 80 year old who is registered. (YOU ARE GOING DOWN OLD MAN).

Run 1: Go out like a bat out of hell, at a pace that is completely unsustainable for more than about :20 seconds.

Count the women who are already running back to T1.

T1: Start to regret how fast I ran.

Bike: Go into full fledge panic mode thinking about all the women ahead of me. Ride at 130% FTP or until my legs start bleeding lactic acid as I try to catch up.

T2: Being unable to bend over to put on my running shoes, contemplate my poor decision making so far in the race.

Run 2: FUCK FUCK FUCK. I hate this. Why did I sign up for this? Where's the old guy? Please tell me I'm ahead of him. MY LEGS WON'T MOVE. I'm running like I have a stick up my ass. Start to write my own obituary.

At the halfway point, think about how I *only* have 1.55 miles left. I fucking hate when people say that. MY LEGS ARE BLEEDING LACTIC ACID. I wonder if they have a medic on the course.

This course is supposed to be flat. It doesn't feel flat. I'm complaining to the RD.

Think about how much I hate Jason for talking me into this shit.

Cross the finish line:


Post to IG. 


That was just my race plan.

Or so I thought.

Liz had other thoughts.

STAY TUNED to find out how the race goes.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Pain is ok.

This morning I was fortunate to be able to spend time at the DMV.

The DMV is the place of wonder.....the place it or not...we get to spend (sometimes) hours waiting for our number to be called to renew our driver's license or license plates.

That means, I had plenty of time to myself, to think.

The trend in 2018 seems to be athletes talking about their lack of mental strength and trying to figure out how to get it.

Sadly, we can't just go to the grocery store and purchase it.

It's across the board and typically follows a race where someone didn't have the results they expected.

There are two issues here rolled into one.

1.) Goal setting
2.) Mental toughness

I'm only addressing mental toughness. Every single athlete is different. Every single athlete has an approach that works for them.

This is why it is so important to have a Coach or a mentor or someone help you find the right strategy.

Of course, I'm in this group. This is the Year of Strong. This is the year that I am working on getting to the next level of my little triathlon hobby.

Inspirational quotes only go so far. When you are out on the course, alone with your thoughts, what happens?

Many years ago, Coach Liz told me (not a direct quote), "The half iron and iron are about outlasting the competition. The oly race is about pain. The people who race it the best either embrace the pain it or ignore it better than others".

I thought I understood what she was saying. Over the 4.5 years that I have been with her, I have found that I only hear what I am ready to hear at that moment and understand it in the way that I can for where I am.

Years later, I understand the deeper meaning of what she says.

A few weeks back, Liz sent me an article about peripheral versus central fatigue.

The article hit me like a load of bricks.

Here's a completely watered down explanation. Peripheral fatigue is the physical fatigue that we get. It's the legs burning feeling when you're pushing hard on the bike.

In other words, peripheral fatigue is PAIN.

But, it doesn't mean you're tired.

Here's where the article got interesting. Central fatigue is along the lines of mental fatigue. But, you're not really tired. Your body is experiencing fatigue/pain, so your central fatigue kicks in and says, "you're tired. slow down. back off".

I remembered Liz telling me, "The oly is about embracing the pain or ignoring it better than others".

And that's when it hit me. Just because I'm in pain, doesn't mean I'm tired.

I sent off an email to Liz with all my thoughts.  We went back and forth for a bit, and she said, " An old Coach once told me, 'The central governor won't let you die' ".

Just like that, I had a paradigm shift.

I started approaching my training with a completely different outlook.

Liz would give me a workout that was really hard. I started constantly saying to myself, "You're in pain. You're not tired. Pain is ok."

I started having incredible success with my running (in particular).

One day, I opened my training log to see that Liz wanted me to run my intervals at a 7:30 pace. I doubted myself and started at 7:57. I ended up building the intervals to the exact pace she wanted.
Throughout the workout, I repeated, "Pain is ok. You're not tired. You're in pain. Pain is ok".

I know. It's not exactly a quote that is going to be posted on an inspirational image of people running.

But hey, it worked for me.

I had another workout. It was my favorite type of workout: one of those run-bike-run-bike-run-bike workouts.

Those workouts are straight up brutal. To make it even harder, my runs were going to be sub 8:30 pace.

I'd never run as far as she wanted me to run at an 8:30 pace. NEVER.

After bike intervals at 105%, I didn't think. I started running at an 8:27.

Trust me. It really started hurting. Over and over, I repeated, "Are you tired? No. I'm not. I'm in pain. Pain is ok. Run harder".

I sped up to an 8:13 pace.

I amazed myself, truly amazed myself.

I know this is just training. I don't get wrapped up in training PRs. Still, they are glimpses that I might have found an approach that works for me.

It's not a natural way to think. In fact, it's not really an incredibly motivating way to work. It's more of a "cut through the bullshit. We have work to do" approach.  I'm a ways off from where I want to be and where I believe I can be, but these are the first steps in the right direction.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

This is where I came from

Some of you already know this story.

Mr. Tea and I have been remodeling our house for an eternity.  This week, I was packing up the "health and fitness" section of our library; which is a fancy word for the bookcases overflowing with books: books piled on top, books sticking out from shelves, books everywhere.

It became a walk down memory lane as I found a treasure trove of old binders. Before the days of the internet (and then before the days of online tracking such as TrainingPeaks), there were binders. I kept track of nutrition, training, moods, etc.

I found a book of triathlon training plans with hand written notes:

Swim test with results of 2:30 per 100

SHITtake mushrooms.

I found a training plan from Runner's World from 2011.
My goal was to run a half marathon in 2:25.

That got me wondering what race I did. I had no memory of running a half marathon in 2011.

I decided to check my results on Athlinks. I don't really keep athlinks updated very well, but I thought it was worth a shot.

Athlinks has my results back to 2003.

I'm not sure if it is a complete list, but it's good enough.

This is what I want you to see. I regularly talk about coming from the back of the pack.

This is why I am who I am. 

This is why I encourage people constantly. 

THIS is why I take the time to answer questions at races.

I have been there. We have all been new to a sport. Some of us have to learn how to swim or get on a bike for the first time since we were kids. Some of us, spend more time (than others) at the back of the pack.

The first time I went to Nationals, I almost lost my shit. I was so nervous. I looked at all those super fast women and felt like a poser.

I don't belong here. It was a freak accident that I qualified.

At my 1st nationals, I met BD. BD is always ranked somewhere in the top 20 of my age group. I think she could tell that I was a nervous wreck. She spent time with me explaining the course, explaining rules, explaining how things were done.  The last thing she said to me was, "You qualified for this. Take it all in".

The next year at Nationals, we met up again. I took the opportunity to thank her.

The story continues......

I'm happy to say that I will be heading to the back of the pack this year as I venture into new races. This time around, I'm doing it with a new found appreciation for what it takes to get really good at something. I am going back to racing for the sheer enjoyment of racing with no regard for where I place.

This doesn't mean I won't be competitive. This doesn't mean I won't be giving everything I have.

It simply means that I respect those who have worked for many many years to get on that podium.

Maybe I'm not starting at the begining, but I am starting all over again.

Saturday, March 31, 2018


I started blogging in 2003 as part of a running forum. It's amazing to me that over the years, I've kept in touch with some of those runners. Some of them even read my blog, now and again. 

We've watched our kids grow up; we saw painful divorces together; we've lost family and friends; we've gone through treatment for horrible diseases...and won...and sometimes lost the battle. We've seen the arrival of grandkids.....or multiple grandkids.

We've seen each other go from casual runner to BQ'er to ultra-marathoner to triathlete to cyclist to yogi to cross fitter to Spartan racers to mountain climbers....and on and on.

We have celebrated so many wins together.

During that time, my blogging has changed. When I first joined the running forum, I was a casual runner. I'd done races over the years. I never trained for anything.

My blog posts were all about everything that I'd accomplished. I ran 8 miles, 10 miles, 15 miles for the FIRST TIME EVER.

I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon in 2:21 and my first marathon with those people (5:57---which is actually a lesson in how to "not" actually train for a marathon but run it anyway in a blizzard...because.....what else do you do when you turn 40)?

We've all done stupid stuff and laughed about it.

As I grew as an athlete, my training had to change to meet new goals.

What's that line in Miley Cyrus's song? Something like, "There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move".

I no longer talked about how hard a workout was. They're all hard. It's the nature of short course. We can go harder more days of the week because the workouts are shorter. I'm a triathlete so I'm speaking in terms of managing 4 sports (swim, bike, run, srength). If you are a single sport athlete, the number days of intensity depend on your distance, your age, your experience, etc. Obviously, you can't run hard 5 days in a row. In my world, I can train hard for 5 days in a row. 

I kept this quiet except for a few people. I made Team USA again. When I found out, I thought back to what it has taken to get to this point.

You'd be surprised at the number of people who will put you down for your success. They pretend to be supporters, but their jealousy rings through loud and clear. They see something in YOU that they don't believe they have.

They see your success as their failure.

At first, those comments really stung. Then, I realized (many years ago) that their words and actions reflect on them and have nothing to go with me. They are toxic people. I cut them out of my life.

Through my blog, I have aired my dirty laundry.

I have put my weaknesses and strengths on display. You've seen me get frustrated beyond anything I'd had experienced before. You've seen me surprise myself.

I have given you all access to all the good and bad about what it has taken me to get to where I am.

This is starting to sound like a Dear John letter.

It's not. It's about transformation.

As I've changed, my blog has had to change as well.

You know that 2018 is the Year of Strong. It's been all mental work this year. The result is that mental gains are being followed up with physical gains.

This is important shit. It's probably the most important training I have ever done. And, I think it is really important to talk about it here, but I struggle with how to do that.  Although, I'm no expert. I certainly have a lot of experience that can benefit others.

Going forward, I don't know if you'll find all this "mental training" incredibly boring. For me, it's another step. I want to continue to share what I'm going through. 

Because not all wins are about a finish time. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

You're fuckin' with a cabbage

Feeling inspired doesn't even cover my current mood.

Yes. That is definitely more appropriate.

In the past month, I've gone from lost to found. Before, I wasn't really sure what I was going to do this year.

During one particularly hard bike session, it came to me. This will be the Year of Strong.

Strong in every way possible. 

It's starting to show. I think the universe sends us signs, and I'm listening.

I have to give credit where credit is due. Everything that is happening because of other people.


Coach Liz has me work with a trainer. I also have a massage therapist who is a cross fit coach. Between the two of them, I have been hitting weights hard and have been giving my muscles much needed recovery. Three times a week.

In order to make strength gains, it doesn't matter if you do heavy weights and low reps or high reps and light weights. The single most important thing is that you go to failure

By now, you know that I embrace failure. 

I do the plan from Liz's trainer. I do the specific exercises from my massage therapist (rolling, stretching and targeted strength training).

The result is that I'm stronger than I've ever been.

Raising my own bar.

Probably the craziest thing that has happened has to do with swimming. 
First of all, a woman (now a friend) joined masters late last year. She is an incredible swimmer and (prior to moving to Denver) she was a swim coach in Vegas.  She should be swimming in some of the fastest lanes, but we just clicked....and she swims with me, in my lane.  She pushes me. She coaches me. She's my secret weapon.

Second, a new guy showed up at masters about a month ago. He and I clicked IMMEDIATELY. He is one of the funniest, most intelligent men that I have ever met. He reminds me so much of my Googs (my oldest son). They are very close in age, too. I didn't know what his background was. All I knew was that he is sick fast, and he does things I've never seen another swimmer do.  He's another swimmer who should be swimming with the big guns. But he doesn't. He swims with me. 

Yesterday, he told me he was a Navy Seal and former All American swimmer.  Of course, I said, "Well, I'm a triathlete. So. There."

He replied, "You're a triathlete? Now, I'm REALLY going to push you".  

(He didn't act like it externally, but I'm pretty sure he was secretly super impressed).

Third, my friend Mike is back in the picture. Mike and I had become good friends. We'd swim masters together. We'd do open water swims together. He is another very very fast swimmer. He left our masters team and started dating a non-swimming woman. We saw each other less and less often.

This week, he came back to masters. 

When I say these people are very fast. I mean VERY fast. They can all swim 1:00 per 100's. I can't even get my head wrapped around this. I don't even know why they swim with me.....except for my striking good looks and charasmatic personality.

For the past month, I have been swimming my heart out at masters, trying, and often failing to keep up. 

The result was that I dropped my swim pace from 1:27 to 1:19. I dropped my pull pace from 1:18 to 1:10. These paces are from 250's not 100's.

So, the other masters swim coach asked, "Are you shooting for a 1:30 pace?"

I said, "No. I'm shooting for 1:20 or better".

He said, "We'll see about that".

I swam a 1:14.

When it comes to swimming, don't be a leader. Be a follower. Do everything you can to hold on to faster swimmers. Take breaks if you need them, drop a 50 here and there to keep up. Wear fins, use paddles. Do everything possible to keep up with fast people.

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

I'm getting stronger. My bike power is improving (still chasing 4%). My swim has taken off.

What about running?

During my particularly dark time, I lost my love for running. Since I've been running for over 30 years, I know that my relationship with running is a lot like my relationship with people. We'll go through good times and bad times, but I don't give up on someone I love.

Liz and I have a completely different plan for running. I'm running less often. 

At first, I didn't even enjoy easy runs. I did them anyway. I ran without technology. I just ran.

There were some intensity to the workouts, but Liz told me, "Run however you feel that day. If you want to run easy, just run easy".

For awhile, that's what I did. I would attempt an interval or 2 and realize my heart and the speed was truly.....not.there.

But, I ran. Whenever she scheduled a run, I ran. 

Then, I started to enjoy running easy again. I started looking forward to those runs.

This week, I had more intervals. I failed the first two. I stopped and thought for a minute. I said, "All you have to do is run as hard as you can for 1:00. You can do that. 1:00 is all I'm asking."

The craziest thing happened. It worked. 

I ran for 1:00 at a time as hard as I could. I ran faster than I have in a very very long time. Although, I'm not sure. It might be the fastest intervals I've EVER run. 

If my race schedule is up in the air, what's the point?

The point is that this is the Year of Strong. I am becoming physically and mentally strong.

When I race, I know what I'm going to focus on for each race. I'm not out to impress anyone. I don't care if someone thinks I'm fast or slow or in between. I'm not out to podium. I don't care where I place. I'm not racing to prepare for Nationals. 

I'm racing for me.