Sunday, April 28, 2013


I have this friend. We'll call him "Jeff".

Because that's his name.

And this blog is now PRIVATE. 

I'd like to give a shout out to my SIX followers.  Let's address that issue first. Why did I make my bog private?

As my company has grown, I've also found myself more and more in the public eye. Customers have been finding me on various social media. They've (somehow) found my personal email addresses and cell phone number. Over the past year, I've locked down everything. blog. I just forgot about it. 

In effort to protect myself and the company, I've decided that only people that I know should really have access to it. After all, I have been known to sling a few curse words around.

Back to "Jeff" who shall be known as just Jeff.

Jeff is one of the guys that I swim with, and he is the unoffical leader of our cycling group...which I have yet to actually show up for.

Yesterday, as Jeff was heading off to his ride, and I was heading off to swim, he says, "You are a BEAST." 

Of course, I rolled my eyes and said, "Jeff, I'm NOT a beast. I'm just Tea. Use that word for OTHER people. All I do I train the best I can. Sometimes I miss workouts, but I get 99% of them. I'm not the fastest person, but I'm not the slowest. It's taken me a year to get my long runs to a 10:30 pace. I don't think of myself like that. Really, I just take orders well. If Coach Mike tells me to do something, I'll do it. I don't even ask questions. In fact, I'm sometimes surprised that he hasn't fired me yet. I don't think that's how the BEAST population works. Oh, and I'm completely mental...most of the time. Seriously. You should read my blog. No.wait. Don't."

Of course, HE just laughed at me. Then he said, "Don't you get it? That's EXACTLY WHY you're a beast! BECAUSE YOU DON'T EVER GIVE UP! You just keep going. Nothing phases you. You have good races and bad races, good training and bad training, but you keep going. Don't think of it as a bad thing. Take it as a compliment."

Riiiiight.....because I take compliments SO easily.

With that little discussion on my mind, I woke up this morning ready for my 5 mile race. As I'm waiting for my race to start, I get an email. All it says in the subject line is:


So.Yea. I'm gonna get t-shirts made. Really, a KRACKEN is a Beast anyway. I've never really been far off the mark, right?

That email....along with a text from my most favoritist person in the whole wide world
and I was off for my 5 mile race. Is that creepy? Did you think I was talking about the cashier at Whole Foods? Because he's my BFF, as soon as they lift that restraining order, I'll tell him.

Those of you reading this know that I have been doing this race since the 1980's. I've had to miss a few due to travel or illness or that whole being pregnant thing. For the most part, I've done this race....a lot.

And, I suck at it. It's cool. I have a love/hate relationship with this race. I never run it fast. I always walk those ridiculously small hills and then tell everyone that the hills were GINORMOUS.

THEN, last year I ran my fastest time ever, coming in around 54:30.

I know I've gotten quite a bit faster over the past year. But THIS race. FOR GOODNESS SAKES...IT HATES ME.  

And every year, I go back for my ass-whupping.

Still, I was pretty confident that I was going to PR. 

And of course, I have my STRATEGY...that I ONCE AGAIN screwed up.  (I'm telling you. It's the RACE'S FAULT).

But nevermind all that. Here's my race report:
I ran 1.5 miles too hard.
I ran the next 1.5 miles, right about where I should have been. 
I thought I was going to pass out because of the first 1.5 miles.

You know when you yo-yo people? Well, there was this GUY with an IM Augusta shirt on. Everytime I passed him, a few minutes later he'd come running up really fast and stop to walk as soon as he got to me.

And he started walking a lot. 

You know me....being the motivational speaker that I am. I turned to him and said, "I bet you didn't walk the last mile at Augusta".

I almost called him "Punk", but then I thought it might be taken the wrong way.

But, It got him running....really hard. No "thank you". Not even a F*CK YOU. But whatever. You're welcome dude.

And what about me? 

How about an official time of 48:16?!  OH YES I DID! That's +6min PR for those of you keeping track.

So, I screwed up. WHATever. Next Saturday, I'm running an 8 mile race.

PR GUARANTEED....because I've never run an 8 mile race before.

I am SO ready for this.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Over/Under and Bad Math

I'm sure you understand what I mean when I talk about fake fitness and real fitness. You have probably experienced some variation of this.

Fake fitness is when you have a really great workout. Maybe you went faster than you ever had before, but it was out of the norm. It was outside of the bell curve. 

Real fitness seems like fake fitness at first. The difference is that it's REAL. How do you know? 

With fake fitness, you run :30 seconds per mile faster....ONCE. Don't ever get excited about something that happens once.

Fake fitness is just having a good day. Maybe you fueled really well or got more sleep....whatever. The deal is that you don't replicate it. Heart rate don't lie.

With real fitness, you'll notice a jump (maybe smaller than the one above) then another jump and maybe even another jump. The thing is that it isn't a one time event. You can go months without seeing anything then boom, boom, boom. There it is. The fitness jump.

All of a sudden, your long runs are being run a minute per mile faster.

That's awesome. Trust me it is. This is what I've been going through recently.

My long runs are now about a 1 minute per mile faster than they were when I was training for RNR Vegas back in December.

In other words, if I ran a half marathon right now, I'd have a 13 minute pr without really trying. Trust me. I'm training. In that regard, I'm *trying*. And running a half marathon is NEVER a joke. It's a tough distance and my favorite distance to run. But YOU know what I mean. 

The logical side of my brain says, "It took your body a year and half to shave off as much time as you have."

But I've been running the same routes for 8 years. The OTHER side of my brain says, "It takes you this long to get to point A and this long to get to point B."

That's no longer true. An 80 minute workout use to get me to about 6.7 miles and at a MUCH higher heart rate.

Now, I can do 8 miles in the same time at a much lower heart rate.  Good stuff.

I'm writing about all of this not because I want or need any type of of "thumbs up" "nice work" "you're rocking it" type of positive reinforcement.

I'm writing all this because:

1.) Improvement takes time. When I signed up with Coach, I got the initial BANG of improvement that came from having someone create a plan just for me, based on my weaknesses. Instant improvement. However, then there was a gap. And yes, I pr'd at every race last year. Again, that went into the initial BANG and having someone to talk to about my specific nutritional needs or learning HOW to pace a race.

The BIGGER improvements have only come recently. It takes the body time to adapt and improve. That's basic physiology. It's the accumulative effect of a year's worth of training coming to a point. 


2.) Old habits die hard. I still think it takes me 16 minutes to get to the nearest stop light when it only takes me a little over 12. Every time it happens, I think "Oh right. I need to get to X point not Y." The irony is that it has nothing to do with confidence, but everything to do with habit. I *know* how fast I can run. I look at my little graphs in Training Peaks all the time. I've run for so long over the same courses....that I have to adjust everything. 

I have a 5 mile race coming up in two weeks. I have done this race almost every year since the mid 80's. It will be a PR, and it will be probably over a 10 minute PR (over FIVE miles). I don't have a confidence issue. But it WILL be fun to see how my old thoughts and habits come out the woodwork with a race course that I know intimately.....hills that I *used* to walk; aid stations that I *used* to stop at every mile....this is going to be fun.




Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How it all went down...

After my last post, you might have been wondering how I got to this place.

It's funny how timing goes, isn't it?

Toward the end of last week and over the weekend, two people* made several different comments to me that completely demoralized me.

These weren't comments like "You suck. You're so slow." Ha. No. That would have made me laugh.

These were comments that, after I had time to think about them, hit me that I really don't know if I want to continue with my training.

It doesn't matter if I misunderstood the comments. The damage had been done.

The more and more I thought about the comments, the angrier I got. 

And, the more dispirited I became about everything and anything related to triathlon.

Yesterday, I spent the day venting to my girlfriends. I really needed to get everything out there. Sometimes you need to do that. 

I thought they were both going to say "Tea. You were wrong", but they didn't. Instead, they listened to me (what they could decipher inbetween bouts of 4 letter words).

They didn't try to "fix" me. They didn't judge me or tell me that I was being emotional. They just let me get it out there....which really really helped.

As I said to one of my friends, when I started doing this training, I had TWO goals:

1.) To get faster

2.) To have fun

That's it. There were no goals regarding going further. There were no goals about placing.

I have a very demanding life. I use triathlon for stress relief. When the *thing* that I do to get away from my life starts to become more draining than my life.....I have a problem.

I don't feel that I need to cover a certain distance or hit a certain speed to be happy in triathlon. My identity is completely separate from the sport. Trust me, I swim with some people who's identities are completely wrapped up in tri's or Ironman. In fact, if the sport dissolved tomorrow, they'd disappear with it. 

But that is not who I am. If I cannot get faster doing the volume of work that I can do, then I'm ok with it. 

I'm not out to impress anyone. I'm out to have fun (see #2 above).

Now, unfortunately, I have to figure out if I can put the fun back into the sport or decide to bag the year and do some other things.


*Two people who do not read my blog. Although, just to be safe, I'm going to leave out incriminating evidence.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Maybe I was wrong

Maybe I was a bit hasty in moving to the Olympic distance this year (or at all).

Granted, there are times when I was racing sprints, and I wish the bike segment was just a wee bit longer. 

But the fact is that I just don't know if the volume, required to train for oly races,  is something that I can commit to. 

If it were a once in awhile-type-of-volume, it would definitely be manageable. The whole thing came crashing down on me over the weekend. I had a longer workout. The longest workout than I have had in years. That's not an exaggeration. 

I was out there. I was just getting madder and madder. I kept thinking, "WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?" as I started thinking that this is what my year is going to look like. My entire racing season is going to be made up of getting up early and putting in long training days.

Fortunately, there's no such thing as "wasted fitness"....although, you'll hear that phrase thrown around quite a bit in the world of triathlon. 

I have an oly race in a few weeks. What do I do? I can do the race. I already have a room reserved. I could move down to the sprint. Although driving THAT far to do a sprint isn't really my idea of a good time. 

My concern now is the training leading up to the race. Can I do it? UGH. SO UNAPPEALING. Dare I even say "IT SUCKS"? 

In a way, I'm angry at myself. I certainly didn't have to move up. Maybe I should have inquired a little more about what commitment would be required. 

The last thing I want is to do a race that I'm unprepared for....

unprepared as in I quit doing the workouts because I don't want to do them. 

So, I guess. I'll take a few more days to think it through. 

I want to make one thing very clear. 

Doing longer distance training has nothing to do with mental toughness.

It has everything to do with how I choose to spend my free time.