Sunday, September 29, 2013


I have a lot of complexity in my life. I've raised two sons and run a company.

In the rest of my life, I like simple things. I like sitting on patio having breakfast in the morning or reading a book by the fireplace during the winter....simple.

Although it might seem counter-intuitive, structure makes my life easier. I like to know what time I'm supposed to be some place. I like to know how long it will take, etc. It doesn't mean that things won't happen and my structured little world gets blown up. It just means that 90% of the time, things go pretty smoothly.

I started as a runner. I moved to the glamorous sweaty, dirty, bike grease, gel covered world of triathlon in 2005.

Because apparently running was too easy.

As much as I like structure, I also like challenge.

Accommodating the training schedule for triathlon is a world unto itself. I have a lot of flexibility and can schedule my training. I can't imagine training for triathlon with a job has regular work hours or irregular work hours. The trade off for me is that I'm often working early in the morning or late at night or on weekends, but it's at my own discretion.That schedule works for me.

It's simple. It's easy to understand.

That was all good when I started working with Coach Mike. We worked on sprints. I could easily manage the training volume. The "fueling" was easy.

Piece o'cake. I thinks to myself. I can easily move to the Oly.

And I did. Initially, it wasn't easy as I had to figure out how to negotiate more hours for training. By the middle to the end of the season, I was doing pretty well.

The complexity for me with this distance, is in the nutrition aspect. I haven't been able to figure it out. I've screwed up many times.

One of the reasons that is has been difficult is that I want to keep it simple. I refuse to count calories and macronutrients. It takes all the fun out of eating as far as I'm concerned. If I want a cupcake, I'm going to have a cupcake without worrying about how much BAD stuff is in it. My problem isn't eating so called bad stuff. My problem is eating enough in general.

I don't want to sacrifice training and racing because I haven't eaten enough. One of my issues is that I'm not really big on carbohydrates....problematic when training and racing exceeds 2 hours at a time.

In a way, I feel like I never really left square one. I think I have things figured out only to have my energy levels crash two days later.

Maybe the irony in all of this is that my race day and training "fueling" is pretty much spot on. But that only works if I've eaten correctly the rest of the week. Trust me. I've been thinking about this non-stop all season. The reason training and racing isn't a big deal is because of all the options out there: drinks, bars, gels. All of these options to keep my macro-nutrients where they need to be to support my activity level.

Here I am, once again, trying to figure out yet another piece to the puzzle. All is not lost though, I clearly understand what doesn't work. After all, it took 99 wrong ways to make a light bulb, right? Since my biggest challenge is taking in enough carbohydrates, I recently came up with a simple solution for my lack of love of all things bread and pasta: THE POTATO which I love (and not the french fry version).

Maybe I have moved from square one on to step #2. Hey, it's a start.

As I was running yesterday, I thought, "How can something I love so much, frustrate me this much." It's simply because I love it that it does frustrate me. It's no different than any other relationship. When you stop caring, it's time to move on.

I don't know just yet what type of volumes I'll be doing over the winter, but I have my own goal: get a little closer to better fueling.

For the first time in several years, I want to do a 70.3 again. I just can't do it until I can get this other stuff worked out. It's one thing to bonk on a 10K run. It's quite another to have it happen 40 miles into a 70.3.

Of course, this upcoming weekend will be the perfect ground to get my nutrition nailed down. I have my 41 mile bike tour through the Colorado monument on Saturday and an Olympic distance triathlon on Sunday. Neither of which, am I doing for any PR attempt. It's more of a "training day" (yea, I know that sounds somewhat ridiculous). But, when Coach put it on my training plan, I could only laugh...knowing that I'd do it. That IS our agreement after all. (And one that I might want to look into amending).

Hopefully once I get home, I won't be too tired to write up an appropriate novella of the weekend.

Until then....

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Highs and Lows

Last night, I sent an email to my riding group saying that I wasn't going to make it today.

Unexpectedly, I awoke to messages like this: "NOPE. You can't abandon us like that. We'll wait as long as it takes for you to get there. Besides, we're riding commando."

Of course, I can't turn down an offer like that. 

The reason I was going to skip out on the ride was because I went really hard on Thursday then followed it up by a long run on Friday. Saturday, I was in a world of hurt, not soreness as much as just feeling tired.

I ran around the house this morning like crazy trying to get everything done. Normally, I'm all set the night before....but well, I also thought I'd be in my jammies watching pre-game football talk.

When I get there, I was thinking about how I really *did* need to do this ride. I haven't done any significant climbing, and my tour is going to suck.

Just the day before I was saying that I wasn't going to do the tour. I was tired. I was worried about my ability to simply be able to do it.

This got me thinking. We're all riding. There's one hill on this route, and it's a bugger. The last time we did it, I had to stop and walk.

Today, I made it. As small of a victory as it was, it was definitely something that I was proud of. I was the only one who knew about it.....well, not really. My riding group knew. 

I was thinking about my run on Friday. I was so happy on Friday that I did it. I was tired. I ran 10.29 miles. I hadn't done that in a long time. 

The highs and lows of training.

Just yesterday, I was thinking "I can't do the tour." Now, I'm thinking "Yea, I can. The race the next day might be tough, but I can do it."

Blogging isn't really a big thing anymore. Most of the people that I know (myself included) write race reports; or once in awhile, they'll write about a recent training session. We all want to write about the GREAT stuff going on, but I think the bad days equally important. We all have them. Ignoring them (via blog writing) sends the wrong message.

It's not always fun and games. It's not always easy. 

The beginning of last week was NOT easy for me. I knew I needed some time off, and I took it. 

There are days that I would skip masters swim if I hadn't committed to another person to be there.

I would have skipped out today if I hadn't gotten those messages tell me to KIT UP. It ended up being a great day on the bike. Me and my friend didn't get to finish the entire ride with the guys, but we put in exactly the mileage I was hoping to get in.

This is what has been missing for me in the past; having partners to say "I know you're tired, but we're going to wait for you no matter how long you take." These partners aren't just real life friends. They're everyone that I talk to online when I think I really can't do this. OR, I'm just having a bad day and want to skip a doubt I'll see someone else post that they're having a crazy day but they got their run in. 

Instead of getting mad at themselves or frustrated, they just get it done. Meanwhile, I get angry.

I need to work on that. I tend to get mad at myself. I need to stop bottling it all up. If I'm tired or frustrated, I need to just call Coach Mike or ANYONE else---whether they are currently training for a race or not. They know. Sometimes, I just need to know that someone else is tired, or they have no time, so they end up doing a swim at 10pm because it was the only time they could squeeze it in.

All these little things add up to big results. A text message on race morning. Three texts on the day I didn't want to go. A random message in the middle of the day saying "Hey how are you doing? I know you were having a hard time."

I think those things are just as important as those "easy" training days.

How am I? I'm doing well. I had a long ride that I almost skipped, but I didn't. I had a personal "win" on the bugger climb. I had great conversation with friends. 

Best of all, I can't wait to do it again next weekend. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

When we last saw our heroine, she was knee deep in a box of chocolates wallowing in self pity.

Let's see how she is doing today....

in a word


Great, once I took a few days off from structured training and did whatever I felt like doing because Bestest Coach got the 3 alarm fire alert and went into a frenzy clearing out my training plan before I went into full on freak out mode. Let me tell you, he barely made it out in time. 

And yes, there was a LOT of whining like a little baby. Don't believe me? Ask Bestest Coach.

Seriously. No one can throw a tantrum better than me. My thoughts are that if he hasn't fired me in almost 2 years(!) then odds are that he probably isn't going too no matter HOW MANY tantrums I throw or HOW many times I tell him that I'm JUST NOT GOING TO DO something. 

buy a new cassette (sigh, yes, he was right)
or sight more (sigh, yes, he was right)
or pick up the cadence (sigh, yes, he was right)
or kick less (can we be done now, please?)

But enough about that.

I'm better, and I have done stuff this week. It's probably along the volume of work that YE GRANDE MORTALS do. By no means can my "exercising" be counted in hours this week. But still, it might JUST be enough to ward off the red velvet muffins that came into my possession. 

Seriously, the bakery needs to be a little more careful where they place things. THEY WERE RIGHT IN MY REACH for goodness sakes. Am I supposed to just walk right passed something like that?

Anyhoo, you'll be happy to know that I'll be back to my regularly scheduled off season program next week.

Until then, tootles dearies. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Stick a fork in me

I'm done. Toast. Burned out.

I don't know if I've ever been burned out before. I've been tired at the end of a season: normal. I've looked forward to the off season: normal.

But, I've never wanted to give up on everything before. I used to look forward to my half marathons and off season training.

Now, I can't even think of training at any level.

I'm trying to figure out what things will interest me. So far, there's nothing.

After failed workouts yesterday, I'm skipping my long run today.

I've known this was coming. If you are a FB friend, you know how much I was looking forward to off season.

What happened?

I don't know, but I know it was psychological. I feel like the intensity just never let up, like I was still in race season. Hit THESE numbers. Go THIS fast. Do THIS workout.

My mind was thinking "Oh thankgoodness....OFF SEASON. I can let up."

Meanwhile, it "felt" like I was still training for races.  I knew at some point, some thing was going to have to give.

I had a great season. I gave what I could. I was never so happy that a season was over. There's only so much I can give. Honestly, I think that's the sign of a good season.

I'll go into recovery mode for awhile. I was looking at classes at my new gym. Maybe I'll try something completely different. I was planning on signing up with a personal training in Dec, but maybe I'll do it sooner than later. I need something that is not triathlon related but that still allows me to move....because I *will* drive everyone in the house crazy if I'm not moving. Hell, I'll drive myself crazy.

In the meantime, I walked LDG (Little Girl Dog). Now, it's time to get back into jammies.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Self Assessment

In my little Tea world, I have one real binding principle. I take what I do seriously, but I don't take myself seriously.

Someone important said that. I just stole it.

It's true, though.

Last week, I had a "real" reflective week. Real meaning that I found myself in QUITE the quiet mood, thinking a lot about my season. I'd just finished my last triathlon of the year, and I had an entire week to think about the year.

(Before I get any crap about this, let me clarify. I have ONE more triathlon this year, but it doesn't count. It will hardly be race and more of a "let's see how much suffering I can put myself through before I start crying like a man with a cold")  (Oh, sorry guys with colds.) The reason for the sufferfest is that I will be doing a bike tour the day before. Granted, the 41 miles isn't's the route and the fact that combined days bike mileage will be around 66 miles or so. For me, that's a lot.

But I digress.

Back to my reflection.

Just for fun, g'head and listen to a little Delta Rae while you're reading. G'head. I won't mind.

I thought about a lot of things: racing, good, bad, personality flaws (yours not mine. KIDDING. remember the whole "don't take yourself seriously"?)

Here's what I came up with:

1.) I think I come across as a complainer. I'm not. I believe strongly in letting out emotion. I've been known to have a good cry on the bike and run. I've been known to drop F bombs on a regular basis, and I complain. But I always do the workout; unless there is a really good reason for missing it.

I'm not someone who holds back emotion. If I like you, you'll know. (You might even be a little creeped out, but you'll get used to it). If I don't like you, you will DEFINITELY know.

2.) I may very well be a wussie. Now. Now. Don't go all " are so NOT a wussy. You are SO tough and awesome and clever and beautiful and did I mention awesome? BTW, can I borrow $40?"  I'm being serious. Do I push myself hard enough? Am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing? Am I focused?

I don't know. I guess it depends on my goals, right? Maybe I do good enough for what I do? What if I want more?

I need to go through dewussification.

3.)  Next: I talk too much to the wrong people, about training. Imma gonna reel it in a bit and use my blog more for my thinking out loud. Again, I think it sends the wrong message.

Those are the personality issues I'm going to address, just little ways we can all improve. I think I did pretty well with my list from last season. Sometimes, I don't even realize how I come across until I really "see" another person's reaction....or lack of reaction.


I had a few thoughts. These are all good because I learned a lot this year. Every year that goes by, I learn a little more about myself, what I can do, what I like, what I don't like, etc.

I'm happy to say that this year was mostly about things I like or things that I'm good at.

This year, I learned just how much I love swimming long distances. I love it. I have no desire to give up triathlon to become a marathon swimmer. But I sure do love doing those 2.4 to 5k swims. I never would have guessed it.There's just something relaxing about swimming. I love swimming with my gang. There's something to be said for training WITH people but being unable to talk or support each other verbally, you just have to know the others are there for you.

It is completely different in that regard.

As for the bike, it's a work in progress. I had some of my best races ever, on the bike. Quite honestly, I have a lot to learn. I think it would be good for me to do more (ie--a lot of bike tours next year). I don't know if Coach will go for it because we probably won't talk for a couple of months (about next year). I think it would be a good way for me to do long rides once in awhile.

On the other hand, I sure do love those threshold workouts. I love them.

But, we can't just focus on what we're good at or what we like to do, now, can we?

Running is an animal all to itself. I've always loved running. I confess, I've never been a fan of track work, but I can work around that. I still love my long runs, slow as they might be. In particular, I love winter running. I'm looking forward to those cold or snowy (hopefully) days.

But, I have a hang up. It's hard for me to push after the bike. I don't know how to fix it.

Those are the sports individually.

Then there are races. No clue what I'm going to do next year. I have plenty of time to figure it out. I just don't know if I should venture back to the oly or maybe stick with the sprint.

That 10K is really a killer for me, and....and.....I didn't enjoy it this year. I loved the swim, loved the 40k bike, but the run? It was so difficult that I've considered (for the upcoming tri) either taking a DNF after the swim and bike OR dropping down to the sprint. Although, I'd rather swim long/ride long. I don't actually have to decide on that until race day.

Remember, this race doesn't really mean anything to me. I just don't know if I want to end the season on another bad run.

This is where I feel I need to stress a point. I'm not at all upset with running. I made big strides this year. DON'T MISUNDERSTAND ME. PLEASE. I call it as I see it when the mood hits. I love running. I'm just struggling with running at the end of a tri. It's frustrating.

But improvements are NOT linear. If they were, there would be no challenge in these sports. We'd know that all we have to do is show up day in and day out, and we'd automatically get faster or go longer.

The CHALLENGE is the reason I do this. That's why I haven't given up. Sometimes, we have to take steps back to go forward. 


Now the one thing that I do think is a good idea is the Challenge Weekend concept. Find a weekend where there are two different types of races and do both.

Suz brought up the idea of the Big Shoulders swim (5k maybe) and the Chicago Half marathon the next day. Great idea, except that they are on different weekends. But, that gives you an idea of the Challenge Weekend. I'm sure one of my training partners will come up with some crazy idea that always sounds AWESOME the day you sign up. I know people who do back to back marathons, but that's not really my thing.

Now that I've completely lost my train of thought, I'm probably at a good stopping place.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ahhhh, the end of the season

In case you are an absolute avid follower of the Tea, you probably weren't aware that I've raced my last triathlon of the season.

And it is a glorious thing INDEED.

As much as I look forward to the start of race season, by the time Sept rolls around, I'm done. Checked out. Stick a fork in me.

It's time to get my run on. It's time for cooler temps (because at some point it will cool down).

No more packing the

What IS up next?

First and foremost, a month of nothing.

Then, of course the Tour of the Moon the first weekend of October (Saturday). 

If you're familiar with this movie, you already know the course.

Which is immediately followed by  Desert Edge on Sunday

Me and my training buddy are affectionately calling it the Challenge Weekend. I have 5 training partners doing the ride on Saturday. Two of them are also doing Desert's Edge with me on Sunday.

Do I mind carrying two bikes, two sets of gear and making a 4 hour drive through the mountains?

HELL NO. I'll do pretty much anything for good food and good company. 

After that, it's Rock n roll Denver Half Marathon for my birthday.

Then, of course, What happens in vegas.....

And finally, Jordan is back to reclaim his title at the Turkey Trot after I beat his best time last year. That should be very interesting since it's only about a week after Vegas.

From here on out, it's all fun and games.

Bring on the off season!