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. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

12 years a triathlete

If it doesn't challenge you,
it doesn't change you.

A couple of months ago, I mentioned the book Chasing Excellence.  It's a book that really spoke to me because of the no bullshit approach. As a quick reminder, the book is about how crossfit champions become crossfit champions. I do not like self help books, but I loved this book.

I love inspirational quotes.

I love powerful songs.

But, quotes and songs don't cross the finish line.

To accomplish your goals, we always say, "It's the little things".Those little things are simple, but they are not easy to do.

I was one of those athletes who would always say, "Get ready for BIG things from me this year". "This year is going to be HUGE".

I used to think improvements came in leaps and bounds.

This is my 12th year of triathlon. I took some time to look back over my career. I came to this sport with NO athletic background. I didn't know how to swim, and I didn't even own a bike. 

My entire triathlon story is about little steps. I've moved from the back of the pack to the middle to the front to the podium to making Team USA. 

Yet, there is not one single race that I can point to and say "THAT was it. THAT was my breakthrough race". Every year and every race, there were things that I did that built upon my previous years of racing.

If you want to qualify for a World Championship or podium at a World Championship, it will not happen overnight. It won't even happen in a year. It can take years to accomplish your goals. 

We all need BIG goals. More importantly, we need those smaller intermediate goals. Without the smaller goals, we have no plan to reach the big ones. It's sexy to talk about qualifying for Kona. No one wants to know about the boring, little things an athlete has to do daily to make that dream come true. 

Somewhere along the line, reality set in with me. I no longer talk in BIG terms. 

Nowadays, I think, "I would like to do X".  I know that in order to accomplish X, I need to go through T-U-V and W. 

I (now) know how much work it takes to get to those really BIG goals. 

This year, I am taking the opportunity to work on more of the little stuff. 

Because the little stuff is everything. 


On an unrelated note: If any readers want to follow me on Strava, please let me know in the comments. (No one can see your comment unless I approve it). I recently received a request from a guy in Italy. I deleted his request because I don't normally accept requests from people I don't know. He sent me a message saying, "I've been reading your blog for a few years".  

OH. Ok. Then.