Sunday, August 31, 2014

Relationship rules, no guidelines....oh f*ck it.

A few months ago, Coach Mike contacted me. Since then, we talk maybe a once a month, maybe less.

Then there was a race, I knew he was going to be there. I saw him. I purposely avoided him. Maybe he saw me and knew I was uncomfortable and did the gentlemanly thing. Maybe he never saw me. At that time, I wasn't really ready to talk to him in person. What would I say?

Then there was another race. Mr. Tea told me that he saw Coach Mike calling me, but I never heard him. I saw him earlier in the morning when I was doing my swim warm up. He was talking to a bunch of people. I didn't feel right interrupting, so I went on my way. I never saw him again later in the morning.

Then there was yesterday. I told him that I was going to make sure that I didn't miss him this time.

This probably sounds weird because we've talked over email, but email is safe. I hadn't seen him since the Christmas Party....and even then it was only for a minute or so.

I saw him enter transition. But I lost him. (There were almost 1000 people there).

He found me a little while later. I was really uncomfortable. What do I say? What do I do? Do I reach out for a hug? Do I say, "Yo bro. Fistbump".

I'm standing in the middle of hundreds of people, looking at someone I know extremely well and someone who knows me extremely well, and the wall felt huge. We're in the middle of strangers. The small talk felt so...small and pointless.

Maybe I should have asked if we could have a few minutes away from everyone, but I was scared and didn't.

I signed up for SOMA because of Coach Mike. Then I found out he wasn't doing it. About a week ago, he told me he's going to be there.

I'm looking forward to Soma for some closure. The year has had more than it's share of emotional ups and downs. I still have some hurt on my side. I think Soma will help me with that because it was the last thing we had planned together under our old "relationship".

If we plan anything after Soma, it will fall under the "new relationship" WHATEVER that is or is not. For me, it will feel more like a clean slate.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The quickie: Race Report

The quickie referring to the fact that this was a sprint. My race reports are NEVER quick.

Official results are not up, so here's the info from my trainingpeaks log:

Swim: 1:23 pace
Bike: 21.1 mph
Run: 9:18

Finish time: 1:38:03
Last year: 1:46:50

Update: I ended up coming in 3rd place with a time of 1:36:01.

Before the race even began, I knew it was going to be a great day. The women in the 45-49 AG are so incredible. We had so much fun. They are all incredible athletes and great people. Every time I go, I ended up meeting another woman who ends up being a great training partner for me.

I don't even know where to start.


It was an incredible morning. I ran into a few women from other races and from a couple of open water swims. I've made the rounds this year, splitting my time between BAM swims (in Boulder), Grant Ranch & Chatfield. I've had the incredible opportunity to swim with some awesome people.

The Swim

I didn't hit my 1:10 pace, but I had a great swim. It wasn't my fastest, but it was BY FAR my best pacing yet.

We start. Remember my focus SWIM STRONG, PULL HARD. When we took off, I saw the frantic swimmers. They bolted out of the gate. I held my ground. I let them criss cross and swim all crazy like. I just swam, strong. I wanted to pick up the pace before halfway and not make the mistake I did at Rocky. This needed to be really uncomfortable.

Before we got to the first buoy (the first turn), I saw the crowd dropping off. I didn't care where they were, but I suspected they went too hard and were behind me. I passed the women in the previous wave. When I hit the first buoy, I started to turn on more speed....I mean....more POWER, kick kick kick.....not my legs, that's my mantra to remind myself to really PUSH the water at the end of my stroke, really kick it. BOOM KICK BOOM KICK. POWERFUL. All my little swim mantras.

Then, I caught the over 40 men (the slowest swimmers). i glanced to my more yellow swim caps. Then, I saw one ahead of me. I was going to catch her. I don't care how old she is; I will pass her.

And I did. I got out of the water, ripped off my wetsuit and RAN up that damn hill in the sand. I didn't see another yellow swim cap. I kept saying, "They are RIGHT BEHIND YOU, RUN!"

It gave me1st AG on the swim. I know this because I got to transition, and no one was there. 15 seconds later....the woman next to me was there.

She says, "Well, that was an interesting swim with the choppy water." (Personally, I didn't notice any choppy water, but I'm thinking, "HOLY CRAP WHO ARE YOU? THE BIONIC WOMAN? HOW'D YOU KEEP UP WITH ME?")

"I'd love to chat, but I gots to go if I want to stay ahead of you."--I thought to myself.

I grabbed my bike, and I was out of there like someone lit me on fire.


Still a learning process. I actually thought I did a great job until I got home and looked at the numbers. Then, Coach emailed me and said, "Not a bad day at all. SOLID EFFORT. Work in progress"....which is almost exactly what I said to her.

Did I hit threshold? UGH. NO. Well, I did and even went over, but I wasn't consistent. I'm getting better. Each time, I figure out something new.

The BIG thing I learned today was that the drink I brough (new flavor) WAS NASTY ON THE BIKE. Too sweet. But I drank the whole thing down.

The thing that I really good at on the bike is saying "I'm going to catch THAT person", and I always do. I want to get there on the run. I want to be able to say, "I'm going to catch that person" and then actually catch them.

But I have other work to do on my run before I get there.

I got to transition, and there's no one there.


I PR'd the run, and I'm really happy about it. It's my fastest run off the bike. The only real disappointing thing was that I forgot my heart rate monitor. I've been using it as a reminder that I can run harder when my body is saying, "MEH, I'm feeling a little tired."  I didn't have that. Still, I PR'd the run, but I definitely didn't do the best that I could have done.

The good news is that I really don't mind the discomfort now that I know how I'm supposed to feel when I'm running off the bike.

It's win in my book.


I've accomplished some really great things in a short period of time. In fact, I'm shocked at some of the differences. Those are the things that don't show up in finish times. I can't thank Coach Liz enough for everything she has taught me this year. Most importantly, she understands how much I want to learn and has been so patient in answering my questions...even those times when I'm not really sure WHAT I'm trying to ask.

I don't know what next year will hold for me, but I'm so excited to work with her next year and see all the pieces really start to fit together.

P.S.--I owe you all an update on Mr. Tea's training. Suffice to say, Liz is kicking his ass too. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

It's time for Game Face

Coach asks that we all send her our race plans the week of our race. This isn't just some little ole race plan that says, "Yeah, I'm going to negative split".

She wants details. She wants to know what we're eating the night before, what we're having for breakfast: warm up/cooldown, what's happening from miles 1-3 and 5-6, when are we fueling, how much, what are the temps going to be like, what is the course like, how will you adjust the plan....EXACTLY how we are going to hit our goals.

The race plans are pretty in depth. At first, I didn't really enjoy doing this, and I really didn't completely understand why she wanted it, but I did it anyway.

Then, this week....most of you know Coach went into labor and had her baby on Wed. YAY! (I am now anxiously awaiting the first non-pregnant post. I've only known her pregnant. I guess that means now only one of us will be having hormonal outbursts on a regular basis).

ANYWAY, I never sent her my plan for this week's race. Work was very crazy. My training volume over the weekend was very heavy. I kept putting it off.

Isn't that what we all do?

I want to do well at this race. It's another one of those training races where I get to figure things out.

Of course, being COACH, she said to keep emailing her and or calling or texting.

But y'know what? I'm not like that. She's in the hospital....and yes....she responded to my smart ass message only a few hours after giving birth. (WTF?)

I say...enjoy your first 48 hours with the family. I told her, "I Got this. I wrote a Liz pregnancy plan, which is just like a race plan with less GU." I could manage without her for a few days.


Here I am. On my blog. Writing my race plan because it's become a habit now....with one exception....I'm not putting down what I'm eating. I know. I know. You just can't get enough details of my life.

Warm Up: 15-20min swim.

Pre swim: 1 gel, pre race tabs + salt tabs
I've been working on this, figuring out how to pace the swim. At Rocky Mtn, I did a great job, but I didn't pick up the pace soon enough because of my own miscalculation.

The swim needs to feel like the end of the swim felt at Rocky. I knew I was pushing the pace. My avg pace for that swim was 1:20, and that was after a much slower first half of the swim. I know I have a 1:10-1:15 pace in me (I've done 1:07 in training for 400m).

The big issue for me is hold my form. If I pull strong and hold my form, I can push my own limits. The hard part about the sprint is that it's short and painful. I have to remember to not try to swim FAST but instead PULL STRONG.

The bike
On the bike, 380 calories of sport drink + 24 oz of water.
I haven't hit threshold in a sprint bike yet. Each race, I've gotten a little closer. Because this bike is ~17 miles, I can afford to take a few extra minutes to get my bearings before I start going hard.

My goal for the bike: threshold and higher.

The run
On the run, shouldn't need anything. 5k
THE RUN is what I am most excited about. If you got caught up on the posts that I wrote when my blog was private, you know that since I started training for the 70.3, I've learned a lot about what it means to race shorter distances.

And of course, there are Coach's words of wisdom: SPRINT, redline, hurt, go after it, turn brain off & GO!

Sprints aren't EAT PAIN races. Hurting and eating pain are different. VERY different. EAT PAIN...that's reserved for the Oly.

I'm SUPERPSYCHED for the run. This week, I had a brick. I nailed the pacing. THAT's what I want to do at the sprint.

In the past, I:
1.) Slow down
2.) Pace too slow


I recently ran a 5k on an extremely tired body. I PR'd the 5k. I know how it's supposed to feel now. Granted, my goal isn't to PR this 5k, but it IS to feel like I did the day I PR'd (a few weeks back). If I do that, it's another homerun.

The plan:
Increase pace :03-:05 per mile each mile. Starting about 10 seconds off of my pace for my PR 5k.

That's it. The goals always seem easy in writing but making myself do them is a different animal. However, I'm a lot stronger than I used to be. All the advice that Coach has been giving me....and the way she explains things to me....I'm learning how to race now.

As Clubber Lang says, "I got a lot mo'. A lot mo'."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The day that FEELS LIKE ASS


The day that Coach says will FEEL LIKE ASS.

78 miles on the bike and 13 miles of running this past weekend will do that.

Doing the workouts, I felt like Wonder Woman. Then, recovery day hits, and I get lapped by the 85 year old guy in the pool....who was walking....with weights on his feet.

I'm sure someone will call 9-1-1 when they see me running later today.

I'm on a recovery week....all week...I just have to get through today feeling like ass, right?


Monday, August 25, 2014

Starting to understand

For months, I was concerned about doing the 70.3. I hadn't hit any goals that I wanted to hit for the oly (yet). I didn't understand the oly, and I thought it was a mistake to do a 70.3 until I started understanding the oly. 

Then I started hitting the 70.3 specific training.

Now, I'm so so excited to do this distance because doing the 70.3 training is the best thing I could have done to better understand the shorter distances.

I thought it was premature of me to do it. Now, I know that the timing was probably perfect for me (personally). I'd spent the last few years doing sprints and olys afraid of moving to the 70.3 because I had yet to get the oly distance. It didn't occur to me that I had to go long to understand the short.

Things are starting to make sense and fall into place. I mean the things outside of power zones and other numbers. I was judging the 70.3 based on the oly. I can't do that. They are completely different races and require very different training. To me, in the past, the 70.3 was just a longer version of the oly. That's because everything I did was wrong. It really was wrong, but that tends to happen when you self-coach your way through a HIM.

I understand why, now, Coach says the Oly distance is the hardest distance. It really is. I understand what I need to do at the Oly year. 

Every time I race or I train, I learn something different. I'm not one of those people who think every race needs to be a pr or a podium. Every race or training has value beyond the finish time. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Behind the eight ball

When I started with my new Coach, I was overwhelmed with all kinds of emotions. One of my biggest issues was the fact that I had this damn 70.3 this year. I signed up for different reasons. I was going to do it with a friend. Then, I had more friends who were going to join me. It was going to be a ton of fun. Then, one by one things happened. I found myself faced with doing a race by myself. I don't know anyone going. Mr. Tea has decided that he won't be going. (In fact, he's decided against going to any races longer than a sprint from now on). Worst of all, I felt so unprepared for this race. There was so much I just didn't know.

I was so frustrated. I was mad at myself for a long time. I kept wobbling back and forth between doing it. Then a few months back, Coach gave me the ultimatum, "Are you in or out? I need to know."

So, in June, I was in 100% committed.

I've told you all this before. I've felt like I was cramming for an exam; trying to absorb everything I could to make this 70.3 not my previous ones were.

Here I am, now, in the middle of training. At these times, you can't get wrapped up in training times/paces. Recovery days, you think these should be fantastic workouts, but they feel harder than the tough workouts. Long runs will be slower than you can possibly imagine. Doing ONE more 100m in the pool makes you feel like your arms will fall off. The thought of running one more hill can make you sick.

In other words, you can't allow your training times to define your ego. Your body will take a beating. Instead, you need to keep plugging along having faith that it will all come together on race day.

That's where I was. Every once in awhile, I'd seen a glimmer of greatness. I'd see a faster pace (even if it was only for 5 seconds). I'd notice I was getting a little bit stronger, but I didn't give it more than a fleeting thought.

That's the point of endurance training: Keep working when you're tired. Keep pushing when you feel like you can't. Tell your body "You're doing this no matter what".

On race day, you will be familiar with the exhaustion. You'll know how to overcome. The pain you feel will be familiar.

Over the months, we've been trying to figure out my fueling plan. It's been a moving target. I've tried different things (that made me throw up). I've tried things (that gave me plop plops). We figure out the sodium intake pretty early on, but the caloric intake has been a thorn in my side.

Last week, Coach and I decided to increase my calorie intake again. I decided to try it at this week's long ride.

WE bumped up my calories 100 calories per hour. Granted the goal was 20 calories, but I'm bad at arithmetic. So, I increased my calories by 100.

But that wasn't the only thing I've been doing wrong, or maybe I should say "been trying to figure out".
With a sprinter's mentality, I'm a "surger". I'll plow through hills and passing people at 120-150% FTP. No problem in a sprint.

BIG PROBLEM in a 70.3. Now, it might sound like it's an easy adjustment, right? Just slow down. Don't push so hard.

It's not quite that easy in implementation. For those of you who don't ride, it's a matter of being efficient on the bike just like it is for running. Keeping my pedal stroke smooth, slowly increasing power, maintaining a high cadence....all for 70.3 pacing. For a sprinter, it feels ridiculously slow. YOU WANT ME TO RIDE HOW MANY WATTS?

I can power through anything on the bike, but tell me to do things gradually....that's really tough.

Yesterday, I had my longest ride of the year. My coach gave me a specific workout and told me to go with the flow based on terrain. I thought this would be a good test for me. I signed up for a bike tour. (If you're a FB friend, you probably saw my RAVE reviews. I cannot recommend the ride enough. It was absolutely fantastic).

The first 20 miles, I rode like I always rode (except that I took in more calories~380 per hour, 1000mg of sodium). During the first 20 miles, I paid attention to my mistakes. I hit a hill at 240w. As soon as I recognized the surge, I backed off. I lowered my gears, picked up my cadence and took it easy. When I had my opportunity to pass people, I did it gradually. I didn't hit the power.

Over the course of 57.4 miles, I've never felt better. I felt smooth. I had a ton of energy. My legs felt great. I never felt tired. At the end, I was supposed to throw in some overgeared surges (YESSSSSS). After 50 miles, I still had plenty of energy for the blasts.

The BEST feeling was when I stopped. I actually wanted to ride MORE. I racked my bike and thought, "I could totally run a half marathon right now."


I have NEVER felt that way since I started triathlon.

And another piece to the puzzle fell into place.

I really don't know what will happen on race day. I don't have any time goals. My big goal is to keep my focus the way I have been. Fuel. Correct mistakes when I make them. There's no such thing as perfect implementation. Perfection is in our ability to make adjustments along the way.

That's what is going to determine how my race turns out.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Two years, eight months and 17 days ago, I started on mission to become a better athlete. I tried on my own, and I couldn't get there.

I'm one of those people who constantly strive to be better. Doing this doesn't mean making big huge ginormous changes. It just means being better. Success not perfection.

However, I had a problem on my hands. I wasn't making any progress toward my goals. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why. I'm doing the training. I have really healthy eating habits and sleeping habits for that matter.

WHAT was I doing wrong? Why are all these women so much faster than me?

When I started with my Coach, I knew it would be months before I got an idea of where I stood. The training was intense. How would it translate into racing? Well, didn't.

I was frustrated. This frustration came through in the comments of my training plan.

I'm busting my ass! WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?

A couple of months ago, Coach posted a podcast (which I then posted on my blog). Today, she tweeted a quote from that podcast.

"An empowering coach does not try to provoke change by telling, but rather evokes change by asking. That is, by being curious." - R. Sugarman

She started asking me a lot of questions.

So many that I said, "I need time. I don't want to talk about this anymore. I can't talk triathlon anymore. I don't know what's wrong with me."

That's what us introverts do. We need time to process whatever format that means. For me, it's writing.

I thought Coach was going to give up on me; throw her hands up and say, "This one is mental."

And she backed off, but she  didn't give up on me. Instead she said, "take a few days. let's talk then."

I had her questions in my hand, and I thought about them every day.

Several days later, instead of answering her exact questions, I responded with, "I don't have any idea how to race. I have NO F*CKING IDEA WHAT I'M DOING when a race starts. I feel like everyone has some secret knowledge that I don't have."

Now, you might think "Damn Tea, just get out there and go hard."

Uh yeah. Right. That tells me a lot. I get the power zones and pacing and perceived exertion. Those are basics.

I wanted to know how to race. For me, it's a completely different question.

Over the years, I've said repeatedly that "I'm not ready" for certain distances.

What do I mean by I'm not ready?


Until I could get to the point where I can trust myself to perform at a certain level and certain distances consistently, I wasn't ready to give the effort that I want to give. Sure, I can put in the training and knock out an Ironman. But, that's not my goal. If my goal was "finishing", I could be doing one a year.

It's THE reason that I had concerns about doing Soma. Ideally, I would have liked another year with this new coaching methodology.
(Transformation by the Women's Bulgarian Choir)

But I'm committed to the training. I committed to my coach to do it. I don't slack in my training. I give it everything I have every day, AND I take recovery seriously.

Taking baby steps here and there and hoping that I take enough steps in the right direction that get me to the start line physically and mentally ready to race.

Because I am not interested in a PR. I'm interested in racing. I want to execute the way I'm supposed to. I don't always do that. I've been inconsistent at best.

That's why the race on Sunday was so important to me. I didn't lose focus. I didn't give up on my entire day because a few things were a little wonky. Then when I got to the run, I kept driving through. I kept doing what I needed to do. Total strangers look at my avg pace of 10:45 and think "I can do that in my sleep." I see my average pace of 10:45 and think, "Consistency is better than slowing down but not as good as increasing pace. I'm ready for the next step."

All these races that I'm doing (they are training races for me to learn), I don't care about the finish times. I care about the details of racing and what it takes to get me to all those big huge ginormous goals of mine.

I will keep working at them because I see progress in the smallest of not giving up when things go badly on the bike and not slowing down on the run.

I don't know what success looks like, but I know what it feels like. It felt like my breakthrough day at Rocky Mountain. It felt like YOLO last weekend.

That's where the transformation is happening. It happens on days that don't necessarily *look* like success.

As for my 70.3, I've been having my fastest swim times ever. I'm stronger than I have ever been on the bike and run. I'm mentally stronger than I have ever been.  When it all comes together, it'll be the BOOM heard around the world.

I might not be ready now, but I WILL be ready by Oct.

Race Report: YOLO--Olympic Distance

First things first: I am very tired. If it doesn't sound like I'm happy, I AM VERY HAPPY with my race because it shows how far I've come.

And you can't see that in my finish time, which was 3:08 (7th place AG). That's not a PR. It's not at all my best time, but sometimes success can't be measured in finish times.

Coach told me this day was going to rough. I trained right through it. Granted, yesterday, I only had an hour workout. Up to that point, I had been doing big training. In fact, I get very little recovery this week with a 13:45 training week.

Coach don't play.

Because she said that, I was mentally ready to handle anything thrown at me. If I needed a day to be mentally strong, this was it.

Somehow....last night, I set my alarm for 10 minutes AFTER I was supposed to leave this morning. Imagine getting up an hour later than you expected. I was in full on panic mode. I threw everything into the car. I grabbed breakfast "to go". I grabbed water and tried to remember all the little things I needed.

When I got to the race site, I was a wreck. I don't usually get nervous before races, but I couldn't calm down. I felt physically sick.

I thought if I could just get into the water, that would calm me down.  It didn't completely take away the nerves, but at least I felt better. Swimming is very methodical for me. The entire process is very zen-like and calming.

Next, something happened with the swim. I didn't hear the announcement....something about missing buoys or something. Instead of having the normal buoys, we had to aim for the one one OUT THERE. We would have the help of a kayaker, who would lead us.'s the deal. I don't get stressed over swimming, under any circumstances. When I explain what happened, I just went with it, but Mr. Tea said there were people getting out of the water in absolute tears, completely frazzled.

I'm going to try to keep this concise: The swim is an out and back, get out of the water, turn around, run back in and do (for the most part) another out and back.

However, because of the buoy issue, we had about 500 people all swimming in different directions, depending on whether you were coming in or heading out.

That means at any time, you could have a head on collision with someone in the water.

I want to stress something. RD's do the BEST they can, but sometimes even they can't predict craziness. I personally think he did a bang up job. It was a tough situation.

For the swimmers, it was absolute chaos. The buoy that we were aiming for was in the sun and laying down, so it was almost impossible to see when you are the water.

Anyway, I managed a pace of 1:31. For those of you who know me, that's no record breaker, but it did give me 2nd place AG for the swim. EVERYONE was slow.

Overall, I was pretty pleased with the swim. I thought for sure I was swimming at 1:47. It really felt slow at some points.

The Bike was my problem today. Now that I look back, in my rush to get to the race on time, I didn't pack appropriate fuel.

This bike course is one of the hardest in CO. It might actually be the hardest bike course because of the unforgiving hills.....oh....and the 13 mile climb on the return.

Coach and I had a race plan and a race plan for the heat. (Since it was supposed to be around 90degrees at race time).

I felt great on the bike....until I got to the halfway mark and realized I was almost out of fuel. I grabbed a bottle of water, but I knew I needed calories. I was, how do the young people say it?

Oh yes....


No. Actually, that's NOT what I thought. I put my head down and gave it everything I had. All I wanted to do was lay down and take a nap. I was SO tired, but I kept going after the hills with whatever I could muster.

I knew I was out of calories. I'm out of water. My garmin is beeping at my to drink.

Dude, I would TOTALLY drink right now IF I HAD SOMETHING TO DRINK.

As I'm getting ready to pull into transition, I remembered that I had a giant bottle of water in transition. (THANK GOODNESS FOR GRABBING EVERYTHING I HAD).

Bike time: 1:24 or around 17.8mph.

I didn't get the swim I wanted, but I got a swim that I felt pretty good about.

I didn't get the bike I wanted, and I didn't just "get through it", I fought for it.

I'll be damned if I don't get the run I want.

I went to transition. I took more time than usual because I drank the entire bottle of water. I threw down some salt tablets and a gel. I grabbed two more gels and head out.

Coach and I had THREE run plans today.

Based on my current situation, I knew the more aggressive plan was out the window.

I opted for plan 2, knowing that I was going to feel some pain today. This wasn't a specific "pace" plan. Rather it was, whatever I run for miles 1 and 2, I had to do for miles 5 and 6 with a range of :03-:05 seconds.

DONE. That's what I will do.

Because I was dehydrated, I stopped at every aid station and grabbed 2 cups of water, drank it and started running again.

Mile 1 was around a 10:37 pace, mile 2 was 10:40.

Hell yes. I can do this. I am not stopping for any reason.

My plan became: hold pace, smile, hold pace. When I thought "this feels a little hard", I smiled and pushed on.

And the damn thing worked.

I can't call this run my "ideal" run where "YES! I FINALLY ATE PAIN." That didn't happen at all. What DID happen was that for the first time EVER, I HELD PACE. I DID NOT SLOW DOWN IN THE OLY 10K.

THIS IS FAHKING HUGE, PEOPLE. It's the first step for me! Next stop: NEGATIVE SPLIT, BABY!

Every mile came in, 10:37, 10:40, 10:46, 10:41, 10: 42....and then of course 10:00 for the last .25 miles.

I'm in shape to run faster than that, but I need to take the steps to get me there. I'm just not going to go from running 11:30 10k's to 9:37. I need to learn how to deal with the process of getting there. Remember, Coach and I only started working on this after The Peak which was in July. In a few very short weeks, I've made huge jumps, not just in pacing but in maintaining a positive, get'er done attitude when things don't go the way I was expecting.

It would have been very easy for me to get frustrated with my bike (given that's pretty good strength of mine), but I didn't. I just battled through it, knowing that today was going to be the day that I fought for my run.

I guess that's it. That's why finish times don't really tell much of a story.

I didn't PR the overall race, but I felt better about THIS oly than any other oly I've ever done. Every time I race, another piece falls into place.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The power around me

Tonight is the night before my race. While I was out doing my pre-race workouts this morning, I was thinking about how fortunate I am now.

You all know about my issues at the beginning of this year. I was devastated after losing some many friends in such a short period of time. Some happened because of HUGE blow ups. Some happened because they moved away. Some happened because of significant health problems.

All in all, I lost people that I trained with several times a week, and I lost the person who (at the time) was my best friend.

Looking back now, I think if it had been just one person, I would have been able to handle things better. Several, put me over the edge.

For a long time, I felt like I had no one. I know. I had people in my life. But to go through some of the situations that I went through, I can't really explain how I felt except to say that I felt so I had been abandoned.

Here I was heading into my first 70.3 in so so long, and I had no one to get through the training with.

Over time, that hurt goes away. I still have days where I'll get mad about something, but it's much less often now.

I was walking down to the reservoir this morning, and I realized how full my life has become since that time.

I feel surrounded by people who support, love & believe in me. The numbers are smaller, but they hold more power.

They helped me go from such a sad, lonely place to a place where I feel like I can accomplish anything.

I don't want to call out anyone here because you know who you are.

Thank you for your support. Thank you for letting me have the opportunity to vent, repeatedly. Thank you for putting up with me during a really hard time. Thank you for giving me my space when I needed it. Thank you for being my biggest cheer leader.

Most of all, thank you for your honesty and making me laugh when I didn't think I could laugh.

Because of you, I feel like I own this shit. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

8 years in the making

*****WARNING: This post takes on a life of its own. Just keep in mind, I'm in a big training block. I'm tired and hungry more often than not.**************

I have a race this weekend.

I know. I should have warned you before I hit you with such news.

I really think I have made a lot of progress in the past few weeks. These changes are not the type you'll see in my training volumes or paces.

They are the types of changes that make me feel really good about what I'm doing. It gives me a feeling of success that I've really never had.

This week is a big one. Don't expect amazing finish times or a podium.....I'm training straight through this race.

I think because of that--because I will not be tapered or rested--I will have the opportunity to really test myself. I'm excited about it.

I really feel good about it. I'm looking forward to really being uncomfortable.

When I was running today.....Tuesdays the days that Coach says "FEELS LIKE ASS".....I was thinking about growth and change. At the time, I was thinking more of the mental/personality aspect. But then, I was thinking about the physical piece.

I came up with this pain = growth. (You can use the word discomfort. I use pain because the workouts that I have been doing are downright painful and THE hardest workouts I have ever done in my LIFE. No. I'm not exaggerating). oh. and I should say, "Yes. I know. I'm not creating any type of brand new psychological theories"

I guess the whole concept came to me when I was running on Sunday. I had brutal workouts on Sat. Turned around on Sunday and ran a 5k with a super long cooldown that put me at 9 miles for the day.

For the 2nd cooldown, which came later in the day, the first step I took.....oh crap....I can't even tell you how much my legs and butt hurt. I took it slow and by the end I had worked through the pain. It still hurt, but I no longer cared. In fact, I was a little bit, ok, REALLY happy to be running in so much pain!

I'm talking REAL pain....not the "Oh, that tickles a little bit." I'm talking about the type of pain where you just want to stop, you don't think you can handle taking another step.

I've never experienced this; not even when I previously trained for Ironman or Halfs.

Pain = growth. I could quit, but I won't grow. I won't be a stronger athlete if I quit.

I ran the 5k on sore/tired legs. I ran later in the day in even worse shape. The previous weekend I raced my best sprint ever.

Can you see it happening? Do I make any sense?

I am becoming a stronger athlete. I've put in so many years of consistent training, and I could never get to this point.

I don't know how it will translate to finish times. I don't care.

I feel like I control my races and training now.

This weekend, I have a plan in place. It's not based on paces or times. Once again, it's a strategy. It's a physical plan and a mental strategy to help me get to the next level.

For the first time ever, I don't doubt myself. I know I can do it. That's why I'm excited.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

You're my obsession

Dear Oly Distance,

I love you.

I hate you.

I can't stop thinking about you.

Some people might call me obsessed, but they don't know you. They don't know the power you hold.

You hurt me; then, taunt me afterward. You know what I want, but you won't give it to me. You make me work and work and work, with no let up.

But things are changing. I will make you mine. I will make pay for those years of bringing me to my knees.

The only question I have for you want to choose a safe word?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

You can cut the tension with a knife

The ONE & ONLY....the world's GREATEST Sherpa signed up with Coach.

And yes, I got his permission to write about this. He's starting on a plan that starts as a walking plan and will become a running plan. His goal is to run the entire Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving in one hour.

Now, you'd think Mr. Tea, being the WORLD'S GREATEST SHERPA, would now appreciate all the work that I do.

Instead, the conversation went like this:

Mr. Tea: Guess how many hours I'm training next week?

Me: How many?

Mr. Tea: THREE. That's the same amount you trained just on Saturday.
(Then he proceeded to slink away laughing)

A few minutes later, he comes back:

Mr. Tea: Guess how many days off I have next week?

Me: How many?

Mr. Tea: TWO. How many do you have?

Me: Zero. I don't have a rest day next week.

(Heee heeee heeee---and he runs off again)

A few more minutes later:

Mr. Tea: What was that thing Liz called you?

Me: Steady State Sally.

Mr. Tea: She doesn't call me any names.....heeeheeeeeheeee.

Oh, this is going to get SO good.

Saturday, August 2, 2014


I blog for a couple of reasons. The first is to get things off my mind. If I have a bad workout or a good workout, I purge here.

That leads me to a second reason, which is less a reason and more of a community service.

Triathlon is hard, from scheduling 2 or even 3 workouts in a day, to managing food to getting enough rest to managing family time and the list goes on.

Invariably, with all that going on, something will get dropped.

But we keep doing it. For those of you that are new to the sport or those of you who have NO desire to do a tri but do enjoy a good train wreck or those of you who have been doing it awhile, reading about my ups and downs: 1.) Makes you thankful you don't do it. 2.) Makes you think you could do it. 3.) Gives you the feeling of support, knowing that someone else is going through the exact same stuff you are.

That's why I blog.

There's another "Why".

I was recently asked, "I have no idea why you do what you do. Have you ever considered doing aquabike? Your swim and bike are SO strong."

This isn't the first time someone has mentioned that I might want to consider doing aquabikes. I'm flattered that they think I'm good on the swim and bike.

But, what I hear is, "Your run isn't very good."

That's ok. It really doesn't bother me.

And I respond with, "Yeah, well, that's a good idea."

And I go back to doing triathlon.

Why do I do triathlon if my run is seen as my weakness/limiter/3rd best sport?

Because I don't see my run as my limiter. I used to, but I know now that my limiter is my mind. It has nothing to do with my run. This year, particularly the last couple of weeks, I'm learning how to manage that.

For me, the question is why would I give it up?

Why give up on the chance to break an hour on the 10k off the bike? Or to go sub 30 off the bike? Or to run a 2:10 half marathon after swimming 1.2 miles & riding 56 miles.

I don't want to give up on those goals just yet.

This year, I feel like I'm closer than I've ever been to hitting them. To give up now? I can't even imagine..... working so hard for something for so long and then giving up.

I look back over my finish times, and I've come really far: from being last in my AG and almost last for the entire race to coming in 1st last weekend.

Having bite sized goals are good and are necessary.

But nothing beats having a BIG FAT goal that you have to really work for.....and accomplishing it.

It's something that no one can ever take away from you.

That's why I do triathlon.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The big girl pants are on

Taper-race-recover-taper-race-recover-taper-race-recover is over. Now, I officially start 70.3 training.

I knew today's run was going to be a challenge after the run-bike-run (150% FTP intervals and off the bike 5k paced run) on Wednesday.

And it did not disappoint. Thankfully, it was a no technology run. All I had to think about was putting one foot in front of the other.

These are the types of workouts that I need as I keep learning how to race. I need to learn that no matter what the level of pain is, I will run through it. That was my goal today. I never stopped, and I didn't drudge along. I held a decent pace, and my legs, which felt like they had weights attached to them.....just kept doing what I told them to do.

I've been through this before. I know that in a month, the workout I did today will feel easy. I know that every week, I'll have a new chance to be uncomfortable and be willing to push through and hit paces while being uncomfortable.

That's the part that is new to me: telling myself, "Hey look, we're doing this no matter what, so pull on the big girl pants and let's do this thing."

Because plodding along has gotten me nowhere, except incredibly frustrated.