Thursday, October 30, 2014

This off season thing

I only realized this morning that my off season is going to be really short this year. Well, short for me. This is because I chose my first A race of the year.

With that said and with the goals that I have this year, it's time to get down to business with my off season.

First things first, I took some much needed down time. I have more scheduled through December. A few days off here and there to get a mental break from year round training.

Next up, strength training. Gotta get STRONG to compete with these women! WE CAN REBUILD HER! WE CAN MAKE HER FASTER! STRONGER!

Finally, I did my every 9 month weigh in. Mr. Tea and I had a conversation. In his brilliance, he said, "You know you'd run faster if you lost weight".

BLEH. It's true. It was time for me to lose the 10lbs that I had put on from Sept-Dec 2013. Also, carrying a little extra weight is ok and even necessary for people going very very far; for those of us who are "sprinters", it's more of a hindrance.

I "weighted" (hahahaha! I just kill me!) until the 70.3 water retention was gone before I hopped on the scale. And BOOM. Over the course of the past 10 months, I lost 4 lbs, so now I only want to lose another 6lbs.

Of course, I hate everything about trying to lose weight. So, my approach will be that I won't try. I'm thinking that with the reduction of calories and pasta, I should be able to drop 6lbs by April.

Believe it or not, my "training" kicks off in January.

What will my off season focus really be about? (And yes, I cringed at ending my sentence with a preposition).

I have no excuses this year. I'm choosing all my own races. I'm choosing the distances that I either love or want to DOMINATE. I chose those big somewhat outrageous and possibly unreachable goals. But they're mine. All.mine.

I take full ownership of the craziness about to ensue.

Monday, October 27, 2014

I gave it everything I had

When you read my blog, I hope you get ^^THIS^^.

I don't think I've ever hidden anything.  I think I've done a pretty good job of showing all the ups and downs that go along with training: the emotional highs, when I think I can WIN! And the low-low-lows-I HATE EVERYTHING.

I think it's important for people new to endurance racing, to see what we go through and understand all those crazy feelings are perfectly normal. For those of you who ARE endurance athletes, you know there are other people going through the same thing. You just ride the ebb and flow and don't get wrap up in the emotion of the minute....or they seem to be when you're racing.

I was thinking about my year.

It was such an incredible, great year for me on every level.

  • I cut free a few Toxic and/or just plain mean people. One in particular, I still see on a regular basis but cutting the emotional cord was everything. Not everyone is going to like you, but not everyone matters.
  • I also lost a really good friend in January, out of the blue, unexpectedly.
  • I met NEW, wonderful people who have become tremendous positive influences in my life. I hope to continue to get to know them during 2015.
  • I finally learned the pacing side of swimming and riding (at all distances). I'm still working on the run, but I've come so far this year; further than I thought I would, in such a short time.
After SOMA, it took me awhile. I'm still recovering. There are days I feel great and days I want to go back to sleep. Whatever, I'm feeling that day, I honor. If I want to swim, I go. If I want to stay in my PJs all day and only move to eat....I'm good with that too.

Emotionally, SOMA was the closure I was looking for in every way possible. I thought when I finished, I would just be glad the season was over. (And trust me, at mile 12.1 on the run, I was MOST definitely glad I had only 1 mile until the end of my season).

This might sound weird, but I wasn't expecting to feel so great, so positive, excited and looking forward to the off season and next season. 

Over the next few months, I'm running a ton of races. In a couple more weeks, I start a more sophisticated strength training regime. I love strength training so much. I am so excited to start hitting the gym.

In January, I'll be with Coach Liz for a year. The year went by so quickly. I can't wait to take everything that I learned about racing this year, into next season. When you start with a new Coach, they have to start you at a certain level or point (based on your own history). Now, that she knows me and what I am willing to do and can do, we can work to get me to that next level. 

I look back over this year. I really think I gave it everything I had. When we talk about racing, you'll hear people say, "I left everything on the course."

This YEAR, I left everything out there. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Coming back from the dead: 70.3 Recovery

After the race on Sunday:

OMFG THE SORENESS. MAKE IT STOP. Pleasebabyjesus. What did I do to deserve this? Shower? Are you kidding? I can't even lift my toothbrush, and I'm supposed to shower? I will never function like a normal human again. Who does this to themselves? This is torture. Oh no. Please, I can't go to the restroom again. I just went like an hour ago. I won't be able to get off the toilet this time. Can we call the hotel to help me get off the pot?

WHO invented stairs? Really? That's just the dumbest thing ever. At least, I can walk today. If you call it walking. My feet were moving....and forward. That's progress. Yesterday, I felt like I was hit by a train. Today, I feel more like I was hit by a Prius. But why am I so tired? What happened? I was ok.....until....ZZZZZZZZZ.

Wednesday: The depression
I fucking hate life. I hate triathlon. I'll never do this again. WHY AM I SO TIRED? I WILL NEVER DO ANYTHING LONGER THAN A SPRINT AGAIN. This is ridiculous. I hate running. I hate everything. I'm hungry. WHY AM I STILL PEEING? I'm so tired. I just want to take a nap. No. Sleeps. I want to take long long sleeps. I will never fit into pants again. 

Wow--I'm starting to feel better, but I'm so tired. PJ's are ok for the grocery store, right? How many naps can a person take before it becomes a medical condition? Maybe I could ride my bike today. Let's switch wheels and see how I feel. 

Ok.Nevermind switching my wheels took everything out of me. I need a nap. WHY AM I STILL PEEING SO MUCH? Seriously, there can't be anything left. What I wouldn't do for a good poop right about now. Who does this to themselves? Voluntarily? I'm never doing this again. 

WOW! I could go for a run today! I'm feeling pretty good. The veil of depression has lifted! And the universe rejoiced! Hey! I'm not even peeing anymore. LIFE IS WONDERFUL! ALL HAIL THE TRIATHLON GODS!

Maybe I should look at races for next year. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What I learned this year

1.) I've always known that I race by feel, but I could never figure out how to make that work. Numbers don't mean a lot to me. They are more of a guideline. This year, Coach Liz really helped me with this. She didn't just say "Hold these watts". She said, "You will feel like will feel like you can't take another step. You will hurt more than you've ever hurt. Take it to the edge. Eat Pain, redline, go back for more. How will you feel? GOD AWFUL".  That's how you get through to me. I like that. Those are the words that I need in order to be my best. Don't tell me it's going to hurt. Tell me it's going to feel like death.

2.) Never underestimate the power of heat acclimation. We had an unusually cool and wet summer here. I spent many hours acclimating to heat: using the sauna several times a week, using two space heaters set to 90 degrees when I was on the trainer. I wore layers when I ran outside. When it came time to race in the heat, I was one of the few people out there who didn't struggle with the heat. Of course, Liz also gave me race day strategies for shedding heat while I was racing. Ice in my bra. Ice over my head. Ice down my back, drink 3 cups at every aid station. Put everything together and it resulted in a 40 minute PR.

3.) The important of POSITIVE language. At one point during the year, Liz sent me a research article about the important of positive language. The Research showed that when athletes use negative words, their performance suffered. For example, when a golfer said, "Don't hit the ball off the green". They would often hit the ball off the green. However, when they said, "Hit straight toward the hole". They hit the ball exactly where they wanted it. I was notorious for this. I thought I was doing the right thing. I would tell myself, "Don't slow down".  Once I read this article, I switched all my verbal cues. "don't slow down" became "hold this pace". "Don't give up on the hills" became "Climb strong". The crazy thing??? IT WORKED. Holding pace became so much easier when I said HOLD PACE.

4.) Using 3rd person language. Another research article Liz sent me had to do with how athletes talk to themselves. The research showed that when "you" used the the word "You" instead of "I", athletes were much more likely to be successful at reaching the goal. When you're struggling with intervals, say, "You've GOT THIS" instead of "I can do this". Crazy huh? It's how I've always done things. I tried it one day using "I".....the workout was much harder....I immediately went back to saying "You".

5.) The unexpected will ALWAYS happen. The sooner you can accept that, the better your race will be. This year, I repeatedly had unusual things happen during training. On the bike, I had mechanical failures. I had nutritional issues. I had stomach problems. I've found that if I allow myself to get stressed or start thinking about how this will affect the "outcome", I would get more stressed and things would spiral out of control. Instead, focus on the task at hand. Focus on fixing that flat. Focus on how you can adjust your fueling. Focus on the task at hand. Focus on the process. NEVER focus on the outcome or a finish time. Again research shows that when we focus on the process, we feel a greater level of satisfaction. This was never more true than my OLY in August. I was late getting to the race and barely made my start. There was a problem with the swim course, and it was chaos. In my rush, I forgot my fuel for my bike. If you look up my finish time, you'll see I had a pretty slow Oly....but it was one of the races that I felt the best about because of how I handled everything. After having a slow bike and a rough ride because I was out of water and fuel.....I spent extra time in transition. Then, I ran a 10K PR. I didn't let the previous events negatively affect my run. I got out there and ran my best run ever.

6.) Effort + Attitude = EFFATUDE.  The only things you can really control when you are training and racing. This year, I learned that I have a ton of EFFATUDE.

7.) Letting go of who you "were" allows you to become who you want to be. It doesn't matter how fast you raced last year. When you believe you are stronger than your race times, you give yourself the room to become who you want to be.

8.) Cut out the "yes" men and surround yourself with the people who will give you honest feedback. Those people are going to see the great things in you that you'll tend to ignore. They will also give you the constructive feedback that you need to be your best.  When I started with Coach liz, I did 2 races with her when I received an email saying, "You're steady state Sally, afraid to bust out." No one ever said that to me before. I never even realized that's what I was doing. As soon as she said that, I realized that I needed to change that in order to be the best athlete I could. My next race I ran a negative split.

9.) You always have another gear.

10.) Don't be afraid to state your goals out loud. No one has to believe in your goals but you. People will try to convince you that you need "realistic goals". FUCK'em. What those people think says everything about them and nothing about you. Because they can't do it, doesn't mean you can't. ALWAYS go for the biggest scariest goal out there and state it with confidence. Embrace it. Sleep it. Post it everywhere. When you believe it, you will attain it. You'll have to work for it, but you WILL achieve it.

11.) Be humble. There will always be people who are faster. There will always be people who are slower.

12.) Do what YOU want not what you think you should do and not what everyone else is doing.

13.) Learn your weaknesses. Accept them and find a way to overcome them when you need to. We all have our challenges. The most successful people have found ways to overcome their weaknesses. I don't like running long. During my HIM, we had a plan. Run to each aid station. Walk the aid station and start running again. Instead of 13.1 miles, I knew I just had to run 1 mile. I didn't think of it as running 1 mile 13 times. I focused only on the mile I was doing. Run THAT mile. Don't worry about the next one. Don't think about the one I just finished. Run THIS mile to the best of my ability.

You are worthy. You deserve this. Don't be afraid of success. Don't be afraid of your power. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Where do I go from here?

I was going to wait to post my goals for next year, but it just so happened that Coach Liz and I talked about it today. I thought I'd wait until the end of the year, but why wait?

I didn't like the 70.3. I didn't really enjoy the process. I made the best of it. The fact is that I just don't like going really really far. THERE is no real challenge for me to attempt to PR whilst moving slowly. (I'm only slightly joking. We all know that a HIM pace is slower than an OLY pace regardless of how fast you actually go....your oly pace will be significantly FASTER. If it isn't, then you're not doing it correctly). Going slower for far distances, isn't exactly exciting for me. Why pace myself at 19mph when I can go lungs and legs ablazing at 23mph?

When I crossed the finish line, I didn't feel any kind of joy or elation over such a huge PR....I felt like, "Meh....I'm glad THAT's over." I don't get the woody that other people get about going really really far.

But what I dislike even more is wasting a race registration. I did it because I paid for it. I might as well see how far I've come. In that regard, it was a huge success.

Why am I telling you this?

Because unless my situation at home changes (ie: I have nothing better to do than train ALL FUCKING DAY), then it is unlikely that I will EVER do a 70.3 again.

I know what you're thinking.

Sit down. Take a deep breath. I know this is quite a shock.

I did the HIM. I PR'd. It's done. Now I can go back to what I truly love and enjoy: Sprints and Olympics.

You all know how much I love going really really fast. This year, just as I was really starting to get going, I had to stop to train for the HIM. Even though I did some really incredible things, I felt like I never got the opportunity to really see what I could do. I raced the best CO has to offer, and I held my own....I was top 3 or 4 at every race, after only a few short months of working with Coach Liz.

Next year, we're (coach liz and I and you all) are going to qualify for nationals and make a run at making Team USA to compete at the World Championship.


That means I get to go back to the gut busting, burning leg, IJUSTWANNASCREAM workouts that I really love.

And YOU get to listen to me ramble on for at least another year about triathlon.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Where do I start with this race report? I don't want to give you the blow by blow....for a would take me all night.

I think most of you know that I did this race because I lost a bet last year. Soma 70.3 was selected by my previous Coach. When I lost the bet, I immediately signed up....even though, my heart wasn't really in it.

BUT....I committed to doing the race cuz that's how I roll. I lost the bet. I held up my end of the bargain.

Let me say this: The training that Coach Liz had me do was the BEST training I've ever done for a 70.3.

And, there's more. A week ago, she sent me an almost 6 page email about specific recommendations for the week before, two days before, 1 day before and the day of my race.

All of the recommendations were things I'd never done and in some circumstances, never even heard of. Last week, I was sold. I bought into everything. I did everything she said.

She said, "No sweets or alcohol." I cut out all sweets. (I don't drink anyway, so that was a slam dunk).

She gave me specific dietary guidelines. I followed them to the best of my ability.

For the day of the race:

The swim: She told me to treat it like a warmup. If I wanted to build throughout the swim, that was fine, but ultimately I had to look at the swim as a warmup.

The swim at soma is a deep water start. It was complete chaos. Women took off like crazy fast. I thought, "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?" Me? I just kept saying, "Warmup. Keep it easy." I knew that even going easy, this swim was going to be a PR.

And it was, I passed 3 and 4 (at least) waves in front of me. I didn't care where my AG'ers were. I was here for me. I got out of the water with a huge smile on my face. I was joking with the volunteers, and I yelled at Mr. Tea "Well THAT's the first PR of the day."

(I don't have any times for you because I'm unable to upload my garmin, but I think garmin shows a 1.36 mile swim in 37:XX. I have no idea what pace that was.)

I ran to T1. (By the way, I had one of THE best transition spots. I was at the very end....on the very end of the rack. The people around me were the NICEST triathletes I have ever met).

Liz was very careful about my bike plan. She repeatedly told me to be conservative on the bike because of the heat. Race day temps were supposed to be around 92. I was under strict instructions to not exceed 80% of FTP. She stressed over and over the importance of making sure I hit my fueling.

With that in mind, I head off on the bike. OH! While I was bobbing around in the water at the swim start, I talked to a women about the bike course. I asked, "Is the course as confusing as it seems?"

She gave me the BEST advice. She said, "Use the first loop to get familiar with the turns and uturns. Take the first loop easy. Then, the next two loops will be very easy."

Liz wanted me to take the first 30 minutes easy. The loop was about 18.5 what if I went easier for the entire first loop? I kept my watts at the low end of my range. Took the turns very conservatively, and felt great at the end of the first loop.

At that point, I started thinking, "I'm feeling really great. I mean spectacular. What if I go a little harder for this loop (and stay within my range)??? Yes. Let's do it."

I can't even explain how I felt on the bike. It was downright magical. Coach Liz told me that many age groupers lose focus at "these points". She said I'd hate the bike. She said that my legs would want to stop....that I wouldn't want to eat.....and I kept waiting for all of it....and none of it happened. I was smiling the entire time. I was talking to other athletes and volunteers....

I didn't want the bike to end.

When I got to the third loop, I thought, "What if I went a little bit harder?" At this point, I was catching and passing everyone and anyone. There were women who passed me at the very begining....I blew past them all like they were standing still. I went up the hills in aero the entire time when other people were standing.

I felt absolutely unreal. It was like it wasn't even me out there.

Every loop averaged 18.2 mph. I believe my garmin said my time was 3:04 for the 56 miles. (There's quite a bit of a run from dismount to the timing mat.)

When I got off the bike, I felt noodle discomfort. I felt amazing.

I nailed the bike nutrition. I nailed the watts.

Now it was time for the run. I spent extra time in transition (again) as I reapplied the sunscreen. I grabbed all my gels. I took salt tablets. I put on socks (which I don't do for short distances).

All the while, I kept thinking, "Wow...I can't believe how good I feel".

Another little tidbit from Liz "lose the heart rate monitor,..don't wear it".

That might be the BEST advice I've ever gotten.

We had a pacing plan in place. I was doing really well with it. Then, I had a bathroom emergency somewhere around mile know the kind.....the BAD kind.

I ran to a porta the door and immediately shut it. One of the race marshalls saw me, and I said, "FAHGEDABOUDIT" He laughed and said a mile up the road are real bathrooms. Ok....I can wait.

A quarter of a mile up the road, I need to go NOW. ON the bike course, I saw an out house. I made the decision to go off the run course and hit the bike porta potty....I mean NO ONE Ever uses those. I was right. Unfortunately, it was a delay that really slowed my average pace.

AFter that, I just couldn't get my average pace back up to where I wanted it. Granted, I also wasn't giving it everything I had, but my mental state was positive. I was thankful to be there. I knew I was heading to a big PR, and I was STILL smiling.

I kept fueling. Ice in my top. Ice down my back. Water over my head. Coke. Gels. Water. Ice. Ice. Baby. And more ice.

The plan that liz recommended was: hold pace. walk the aid stations to manage your heat level and ICE ICE BABY.

It really worked.

I knew I was going to have  a PR. I knew everyone was tracking me. I ran from aid station to aid station. I only walked the aid stations. I still felt good (well....except for the GINORMOUS blisters on feet that I felt popping one after another). I thought, "Hey. no matter how slow..always run...running is faster than walking. just keep going hold pace."

When I got to 12.1 miles, I had 1 mile left. 1 mile left of my season. I never really thought it would end this way. All I wanted was to break 7 hours. That's it. I would check my garmin every 3 or 4 miles, and I couldn't believe I was going to do it. I was going to have a HUGE PR.

PR's at all three events.  A stellar swim. An amazing bike. And ok....not my best effort run, but my best HIM run ever.

And I couldn't really believe it
I rounded the last quarter of a mile....there was Mr. Tea. I would have smiled, but now I was all about getting the race done.

And I ran. I ran straight down the finishers shoot. People were cheering. It's like 93 degrees, and people are out there screaming and yelling for me. No one else was around. I felt like I was winning the entire race.

I crossed the finish line.

I thought, "WOW." That was it. I mean. WOW. I saw Mr. Tea. He came over and hugged me....I think he did....maybe it was a stranger. I don't even remember now.

Then he asked, "What did you think?"

I said, "Never again."


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On my way

I did my last bike workout in the hotbox.

I swapped cassettes and put on the race wheels.

I've printed off my list of mantras and race strategy.

I've packed my gear, snacks & fuel.

After a quick swim tomorrow morning and breakfast with Mr. Tea, I start my road trip to AZ.

Thank you all for your support over the past few months. Y'all my rainbow.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

When you're almost there, you're almost home.

Know you're not alone.

11 days until race day.

I'm a little surprised at how I feel. I'm closing in on my longest race in a very long time, and I feel nothing.

No nerves.
No excitement.
No race dreams.


I just feel regular. I don't even feel like I have a race coming up.

I guess the word is "calm". I don't know. I've never felt this way before. I'm not making lists. I'm not panicking. I realized over the weekend that I was out of tubes and cartridges and no freak out. I just bought some.

I don't feel rushed or hurried or like I'm running out of time.

I still need to change my cassette, but I'll get to it. Everything will get done in due time.

I started planning my eating (carbo loading) for next week, making sure that I have snacks for my road trip.

Yesterday, Mr. Tea told me that he wouldn't be going to the race. It didn't really phase me. Of course, it would be nice to have a weekend away, but I'm it wouldn't really be a weekend away anyway.

I feel weird because of the lack of bad feelings, the stress feelings.

There is also the lack of "doubt". I'm not doubting myself. I'm not worrying about whether or not I'll hit certain times.

I'm just going to "do" one event at a time to the best of my ability.

Maybe it's too soon? Maybe next week?

On the other hand, I've had unusual things happen all year long. Maybe this is the result of getting used to the unexpected? You just kind of keep moving.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Worthy of your time

Two posts/blogs that are worthy of your valuable time.

The first one is from Amanda. She is coached by my coach and recently won her AG at the 70.3 World Championship. When you read her race report, you will truly understand what racing is all about: the ups and downs and how not to let those things get into your head. Maybe most importantly, how to become the athlete you've always been meant to be.

This week, Amanda is racing Kona. Read her World Championship Race Report here. It will bring tears to your eyes.

Second, Coach Liz posted an excellent article about how to handle your off season. I love this article because she doesn't just say "Do a swim or bike or run focus", she emphasizes the whole athlete. Set up your off season to accomplish the goals that are important to you. Don't just follow the herd. Do you!

Read her off season article here. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Find your Greatness

In 2009, I did my last 70.3 for awhile. I didn't know at the time that it was going to be my last long distance race for 5 years, but it was.

I finished in 7:20.
My swim was 41:31
My bike was 3:26
My run was 3:06

After that race, I took off 2010 from triathlon. I still swam, rode & ran, but I more or less did what I felt like which was a couple of running races here and there.

During that year, I decided it was time for me to stop focusing on going long. It was time for me to spend time working on my speed. I didn't want to be one of those back of the pack age groupers anymore.

I'd done two 70.3's, and let me tell you.....I didn't get a whole lot of satisfaction from "just finishing". It was time for me to take a different approach.

In 2011, I hired a Coach. For the next 3 years, I put all my energy into getting stronger & faster. Stronger: physically and mentally.

Now, I've finished my training cycle. I'm heading into taper.

I walked into the house after my 9.11 mile run with a huge feeling of accomplishment & satisfaction.

When I started the training, I knew what my weaknesses were, and I came up with solutions for addressing them. We all have weaknesses. Learn to work with them or have them work you. It's your choice.

Throughout training, I was tested.....over and over....and I liked it. I liked being pushed. I loved being uncomfortable.

Every time the next challenge came up, I was arming myself with new ways to get through the mental battles.

As our body get stronger through the physical exercise, we have to take extra effort to also convince our minds as to what the expectations will be.

On Thursday, when I had my hardest swim to date.....which in general focused on doing 3x300's....hard....repeatedly.....I turned to my friend Roci. Roci said, "This is where we stop thinking. We go out there, and the only thing we think about is swimming. We don't think about how far we've come. We don't think about how far we are going. We swim."

I swam. Sometimes, it's hard to know how to handle pain. By the 5th 300, my arms, my back were screaming at me to stop....or just give in a little bit....just back off a little. That's when I pushed harder.

I knew that I had been building to this for months. 6 months ago? I wasn't there physically or mentally to handle a hard effort 3500m. Now, my body could handle it. I said to myself, "We're doing this regardless. You don't have a say in the matter." And I focused on swimming. I focused on pulling hard, hitting the wall fast and getting back into my rhythm.

On Saturday, I had a tough, long ride that including 5 min at harder than HIM pacing and 20 minutes of HIM pacing.....over and over again.

Going from harder than HIM to holding HIM pace is tough. Twenty minutes felt like forever, but I broke it down to 5 minute intervals. Five minutes. I could do anything for 5 minutes. Get through 5 minutes. Then, do it again. Then again. Then again. Don't think of the 5 min before, don't think of the next one. Focus on THIS one. My legs and butt were hurting. I knew I wasn't going to back down. I had sweat dripping off me. My legs were tired, but I wasn't going to give in. This is where greatness is made. When other people are backing off, I'm going to keep driving at it. It doesn't matter how much it hurts.  Do you want that PR? Do you really want it? Because if you do, this is what it takes. This is what training for a 70.3 PR feels like.

I like to think of this training cycle as a success. It was physically & mentally demanding. There were good days and bad days, but every morning I woke up and shook off the previous day's training. Every day, I stepped up to the plate with one goal, "Give my best effort that day. Don't think about yesterday. Don't think about tomorrow. There is only today."


Saturday, October 4, 2014


Accountability is the wholehearted embrace of what you desperately want to ignore.

That quote popped up in my twitter feed this morning. I wrote it down but did not write down who said it. Isn't it just perfect?

Some of you already know this, but I was offered a job on Thursday do I say current salary + an extra zero. When I did the math, that's what the total salary would be.

I promptly turned down the offer.

As I said to one of my friends, my "Happy Factor" was 100% the reason for my decision. If you ever read my About Me page, you know that Mr. Tea and I started a company from the ground up. We survived the recession and have a healthy, fast growing company in a highly competitive market.

I thought back to the idea of accountability because of the years, we've done a lot right, but we've also made a number of mistakes. That's the only way to really grow a business. Take risks, make mistakes and move on.

Think about these situations.

A restaurant owner (A) is the only restaurant on a particular street. A new restaurant moves in. Owner A's business starts dropping off. He immediately blames Restaurant Owner B when he is in fact responsible for his own failings. Maybe he hasn't changed his menu in years. Maybe his prices are too high. Maybe the food quality is poor.

Competition moves in, and it's easier to blame someone else rather than turn the microscope on yourself.

A personal trainer loses a client. He starts complaining about the client when the trainer wasn't meeting the expectations of the client. Again, it's easier to blame someone else for your own personal issues.

Competition makes things better for the consumer. Businesses have to step up, improve their quality, or service to keep and grow a customer base.

A local coffee shop (here) went out of business last year, when we were talking to the owner, he said, "People just stopped coming in. I can't do anything about that." It was the only coffee shop in a 5 mile radius. When the store opened, people were excited. After awhile, they realized they could make better coffee at home at much better price. He blamed the lack of foot traffic on his business closure when it was his own business decisions that caused the business to close.

Now think about this on a more personal level. I'm sure this would never happen. A married Senator has an affair. When the news breaks, he and his wife blame "the other woman" for destroying their marriage. The Other woman was single. Right or wrong, she can sleep with whoever she wants including married men. The only person who destroyed their marriage was the Senator. But it's much easier to blame some innocent woman than to talk about the hard issues in a marriage.

How many times have you been driving, and some one cuts you off? Did you get mad? Did you want to speed around him and do it to him? Did you blame him for ruining your day. Did he piss you off? Newsflash: All he did was make a bad driving decision. He didn't make you mad. He didn't ruin your day. Maybe he did it accidentally. Maybe he did it on purpose, but his reasons don't matter. It's YOUR actions and thoughts that matter. He didn't piss you off or ruin your day. Something is going on in your life to make you feel like that.  Think back to when that happened, there were things going on, weren't there? Maybe you were tired. Maybe you just had a fight with your spouse, but none of that had anything to do with the person cutting you off in traffic.

But it's easier to blame the random stranger instead of doing deep self analysis because when we analyze ourselves, we have to look at the unpleasant, the ugly the dark side of ourselves. That's not easy.

However, that's how we have breakthroughs. We aren't bad people. We are just people. When we accept the dark/ugly side of our personality, we grow and become confident and strong.

If there is no enemy inside, the enemy outside can do us no harm.

When we take accountability of our lives, when we take ownership of our actions, when we accept our whole self as it is, only then do we have the opportunity to become the person we want to be and reach our full potential.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ironman Boulder 2015

Me: I registered for Ironman Boulder in 2015.

Mr. Tea: You did NOT register for Ironman Boulder 2015.

Me (trying not to laugh): Of course I did. What makes you say that?

Mr. Tea: Because I know you better than anyone. You are not interested in doing ironman. You could do it, but I know you. You don't want to.

Me: Ok. Well, I didn't register for it.

Mr. Tea: I knew it. I think that IF you decide to do Ironman.....let me think....IF you decide to do it, it would be in 2017.

Me. Actually, you are 100% correct. I've often thought that if I wanted to go back, it would be the year that I turn 50. Can you think of a more fun way of celebrating?

Mr. Tea: Well yes. I probably could come up with more fun ways to celebrate your 50th. BUT I think that actually sounds like a really good idea.

There you go. For my 50th birthday (in 3 years), I might be doing Ironman.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Rascal Flatts is often criticized for over-produced music. I love them because they are great story tellers.

Some time ago, I watched one of those inspirational sport videos. There was the most beautiful quote. I've looked for the video since then and have never been able to find it.

The quote was something along the lines of:

When the monsters inside are quiet, the monsters outside can do you no harm.

After the events of the last few days, I've thought about how sad Mike is. His anger, resentment & lack of confidence come through in his actions and words. That's not making an assumption. Truly happy people do not attack other people, especially when the other person is simply trying to give them feedback. They do not attempt to belittle or demean others. I went through a lot of self reflection many months ago and learned a lot about myself, but he isn't willing to do that. It's really sad to me because I really did care about him.

I never attacked his person.

Angry/unhappy people make personal attacks.

Strong/confident people address actions.

And I felt so sorry for him.

When the monsters inside are quiet, the monsters outside can do you no harm.

And this quote is the reason his attacks on my person didn't bother me. For those of you going through something similar, I hope you realize.

When someone makes a comment about you, it says nothing about you. But, it says everything about them. 

I can't imagine the hurt & hate people like this, carry with them every day. The pain. I can't get over feeling sorry for him, I mean, truly sorry. My heart breaks for him, but I think empathy is one of those traits that women have that make us such great leaders.

Over time, it will go away.

Until then, I feel a sense of liberation that I haven't felt since this whole thing happened many months ago.

For months, I knew he blamed me (because I think he misunderstood my apology. I apologized for the way I broke up with him. I never apologized for doing it.). He needed to understand that he was responsible for the actions that got him fired. He didn't want the feedback, but I had to say it; after he continually called me a liar. I've noticed that when people resort to name calling, it's often because they seem themselves in the situation.

After all, people only get mad when they know deep inside that they are wrong.

The whole thing could have been avoided if he only just listened to me. Instead of getting angry and attacking me, if he only could have said, "Thanks Tea. Thank you for this feedback. It's important for me to learn how I can improve as a Coach. I know this wasn't easy for you to do." Instead, because he claims he 'never had a problem with an athlete" I was the problem. No, my dear. I was the only one to give you feedback.

I was the only one that tried to give you feedback because you told me once that you always strive to be better. Yet, when faced with the opportunity to do so, you chose to attack the person that cared enough to give you the feedback. 

That doesn't sound like someone who wants to be held accountable for their actions or wants to become a better coach.

After I told him, I felt so free. No more negativity or judgments disguised as being helpful.

And it feels wonderful.

So....this sounds familiar. :)

I'm posting this for all women and men to understand this IS emotional manipulation. Women are subjected to this on a regular basis.

It is a man's attempt to bully, manipulate & degrade women when we point out their bad behavior. It is a way for men to place their emotional burdens on women.

Thank goodness for the GREAT men out there who are willing to speak out against this type of behavior.

View the article online here.

A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not "Crazy"

Posted: Updated: 

You're so sensitive. You're so emotional. You're defensive. You're overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Stop freaking out! You're crazy! I was just joking, don't you have a sense of humor? You're so dramatic. Just get over it already!
Sound familiar?
If you're a woman, it probably does.
Do you ever hear any of these comments from your spouse, partner, boss, friends, colleagues, or relatives after you have expressed frustration, sadness, or anger about something they have done or said?
When someone says these things to you, it's not an example of inconsiderate behavior. When your spouse shows up half an hour late to dinner without calling -- that's inconsiderate behavior. A remark intended to shut you down like, "Calm down, you're overreacting," after you just addressed someone else's bad behavior, is emotional manipulation, pure and simple.
And this is the sort of emotional manipulation that feeds an epidemic in our country, an epidemic that defines women as crazy, irrational, overly sensitive, unhinged. This epidemic helps fuel the idea that women need only the slightest provocation to unleash their (crazy) emotions. It's patently false and unfair.
I think it's time to separate inconsiderate behavior from emotional manipulation, and we need to use a word not found in our normal vocabulary.
I want to introduce a helpful term to identify these reactions: gaslighting.
Gaslighting is a term often used by mental health professionals (I am not one) to describe manipulative behavior used to confuse people into thinking their reactions are so far off base that they're crazy.
The term comes from the 1944 MGM film, Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman. Bergman's husband in the film, played by Charles Boyer, wants to get his hands on her jewelry. He realizes he can accomplish this by having her certified as insane and hauled off to a mental institution. To pull of this task, he intentionally sets the gaslights in their home to flicker off and on, and every time Bergman's character reacts to it, he tells her she's just seeing things. In this setting, a gaslighter is someone who presents false information to alter the victim's perception of him or herself.
Today, when the term is referenced, it's usually because the perpetrator says things like, "You're so stupid," or "No one will ever want you," to the victim. This is an intentional, pre-meditated form of gaslighting, much like the actions of Charles Boyer's character in Gaslight, where he strategically plots to confuse Ingrid Bergman's character into believing herself unhinged.
The form of gaslighting I'm addressing is not always pre-mediated or intentional, which makes it worse, because it means all of us, especially women, have dealt with it at one time or another.
Those who engage in gaslighting create a reaction -- whether it's anger, frustration, sadness -- in the person they are dealing with. Then, when that person reacts, the gaslighter makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure by behaving as if their feelings aren't rational or normal.
My friend Anna (all names changed to protect privacy) is married to a man who feels it necessary to make random and unprompted comments about her weight. Whenever she gets upset or frustrated with his insensitive comments, he responds in the same, defeating way, "You're so sensitive. I'm just joking."
My friend Abbie works for a man who finds a way, almost daily, to unnecessarily shoot down her performance and her work product. Comments like, "Can't you do something right?" or "Why did I hire you?" are regular occurrences for her. Her boss has no problem firing people (he does it regularly), so you wouldn't know from these comments that Abbie has worked for him for six years. But every time she stands up for herself and says, "It doesn't help me when you say these things," she gets the same reaction: "Relax; you're overreacting."
Abbie thinks her boss is just being a jerk in these moments, but the truth is, he is making those comments to manipulate her into thinking her reactions are out of whack. And it's exactly that kind manipulation that has left her feeling guilty about being sensitive, and as a result, she has not left her job.
But gaslighting can be as simple as someone smiling and saying something like, "You're so sensitive," to somebody else. Such a comment may seem innocuous enough, but in that moment, the speaker is making a judgment about how someone else should feel.
While dealing with gaslighting isn't a universal truth for women, we all certainly know plenty of women who encounter it at work, home, or in personal relationships.
And the act of gaslighting does not simply affect women who are not quite sure of themselves. Even vocal, confident, assertive women are vulnerable to gaslighting.
Because women bare the brunt of our neurosis. It is much easier for us to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of our wives, our female friends, our girlfriends, our female employees, our female colleagues, than for us to impose them on the shoulders of men.
It's a whole lot easier to emotionally manipulate someone who has been conditioned by our society to accept it. We continue to burden women because they don't refuse our burdens as easily. It's the ultimate cowardice.
Whether gaslighting is conscious or not, it produces the same result: It renders some women emotionally mute.
These women aren't able to clearly express to their spouses that what is said or done to them is hurtful. They can't tell their boss that his behavior is disrespectful and prevents them from doing their best work. They can't tell their parents that, when they are being critical, they are doing more harm than good.
When these women receive any sort of push back to their reactions, they often brush it off by saying, "Forget it, it's okay."
That "forget it" isn't just about dismissing a thought, it is about self-dismissal. It's heartbreaking.
No wonder some women are unconsciously passive aggressive when expressing anger, sadness, or frustration. For years, they have been subjected to so much gaslighting that they can no longer express themselves in a way that feels authentic to them.
They say, "I'm sorry," before giving their opinion. In an email or text message, they place a smiley face next to a serious question or concern, thereby reducing the impact of having to express their true feelings.
You know how it looks: "You're late :)"
These are the same women who stay in relationships they don't belong in, who don't follow their dreams, who withdraw from the kind of life they want to live.
Since I have embarked on this feminist self-exploration in my life and in the lives of the women I know, this concept of women as "crazy" has really emerged as a major issue in society at large and an equally major frustration for the women in my life, in general.
From the way women are portrayed on reality shows, to how we condition boys and girls to see women, we have come to accept the idea that women are unbalanced, irrational individuals, especially in times of anger and frustration.
Just the other day, on a flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles, a flight attendant who had come to recognize me from my many trips asked me what I did for a living. When I told her that I write mainly about women, she immediately laughed and asked, "Oh, about how crazy we are?"
Her gut reaction to my work made me really depressed. While she made her response in jest, her question nonetheless makes visible a pattern of sexist commentary that travels through all facets of society on how men view women, which also greatly impacts how women may view themselves.
As far as I am concerned, the epidemic of gaslighting is part of the struggle against the obstacles of inequality that women constantly face. Acts of gaslighting steal their most powerful tool: their voice. This is something we do to women every day, in many different ways.
I don't think this idea that women are "crazy," is based in some sort of massive conspiracy. Rather, I believe it's connected to the slow and steady drumbeat of women being undermined and dismissed, on a daily basis. And gaslighting is one of many reasons why we are dealing with this public construction of women as "crazy."
I recognize that I've been guilty of gaslighting my women friends in the past (but never my male friends--surprise, surprise). It's shameful, but I'm glad I realized that I did it on occasion and put a stop to it.
While I take total responsibility for my actions, I do believe that I, along with many men, am a byproduct of our conditioning. It's about the general insight our conditioning gives us into admitting fault and exposing any emotion.
When we are discouraged in our youth and early adulthood from expressing emotion, it causes many of us to remain steadfast in our refusal to express regret when we see someone in pain from our actions.
When I was writing this piece, I was reminded of one of my favorite Gloria Steinem quotes, "The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn."
So for many of us, it's first about unlearning how to flicker those gaslights andlearning how to acknowledge and understand the feelings, opinions, and positions of the women in our lives.

But isn't the issue of gaslighting ultimately about whether we are conditioned to believe that women's opinions don't hold as much weight as ours? That what women have to say, what they feel, isn't quite as legitimate?
Yashar will be soon releasing his first short e-book, entitled, A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not Crazy -- How We Teach Men That Women Are Crazy and How We Convince Women To Ignore Their Instincts. If you are interested and want to be notified when the book is released, please click here to sign-up.
I hope you will join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.
This piece originally appeared on The Current Conscience.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Several months back, when this whole thing with Mike R happened, I was advised by some really great people to "let it go". I took their advice.

Over time, as Mike and I started talking again, I realized that he blamed me for the the collapse of the relationship.

Now, this struck me as odd because, obviously, I'm the one that fired him. So, yes. I called off the coaching, but I had some very serious reasons for it.

This resentment in me just kept building that he actually blamed me and refused to take any ownership.

Most of us understand that if I am fired from a job, I did something wrong....over and over.

He didn't get that. Every time I approached the subject, he would shut it down and go back to how I lied to him about this personal trainer issue. Yes. I fired you because I lied about a personal trainer.
Oh....did I mention that he had me doing the same strength workout for over TWO YEARS with NO changes or progression? Can you blame me for looking into a personal trainer? Clearly, strength work was out of his realm of expertise, so I started looking into someone that could really help me. 

You can understand how this really started to eat away at me. Especially, when he would tell me about all these WONDERFUL things he was doing for his athletes.

WONDERFUL things that he never did for me.

Things know....basic coaching: helping them with race day nutrition (EVEN ONE WOMAN! WOWZA! A WOMAN!)

I bet he has Binders Full of Women.

When things sort of blew up yesterday, it wasn't really a blow up. I just got tired of listening to his bullshit. I sent him an email with everything that went wrong over the 2 years I worked with him.


It gets old, right? Now, he told me many times that he does everything to avoid confrontation....everything including blaming innocent people...not reading emails that have good honest feedback....ignoring my requests for schedule changes....ignoring my requests for help....major lack of self-awareness.

Imagine hearing about this for months.

My laundry list of issues with him was 3 pages typed, single spaced. I wrote it back in January.

The reason I FIRED him (in his mind) because I LIED ABOUT A PERSONAL TRAINER.

OK. Do we need to go over this again?

I wake up this morning to an email with the subject line: VERY CLASSY.

His "folks" (in other words, his athlete name Keith) told him that I ripped him apart. You have all read the post. There was no such thing. I let his actions and his own words speak for themselves.

Immediately after that, he starts stalking my blog and attempts to follow me on Strava....because when you hate really want to stalk them, right?

Then, the best thing happened. He sent me an email with the most demeaning comments to date. Those comments, I then posted online, so all his "folks" could see his own words. His own thoughts and opinions about women.

Woman have been going through this for millennia: witch hunts, crazy women, it's your monthly cycle (yes.....he actually said that to me before. Is there anything more offensive? Talk about one hell of an oblvious man. He has a complete lack of respect toward women.) lock us up, glass ceilings, good old boy networks. It's all a way for men to attempt to control women and as a means to belittle, degrade & patronize poor women. We need Men to help us or we'll just dry up and disappear.

Since then, I have been vindicated. He didn't want to hear what I had to say, but I certainly got his attention when I posted his own words online.




Neither one of us is crazy OR on meds, and I would never stoop to that level.

But one of us IS sexist.

I'll give you one guess as to who that is.