Saturday, May 27, 2017


There is nothing wrong with changing your nutrition.

There is nothing wrong with changing coaches.

There is nothing wrong with thinking something IS THE BEST THING EVER one month and not liking it the next month.

I've been blogging since 2003.

Can you imagine if I kept doing the same things that I did in 2003?

The fact is, you must change to improve.

I don't eat the same things I did last year.

I don't train the same way.

I have changed my mental outlook. (Oh good god. I can't tell you how many times I've changed this).

I recently changed my race day fueling....again.

I don't change for the sake of changing. I don't jump on bandwagons with new products.

I make changes when things stop working.

Making changes requires being honest with yourself. It's uncomfortable. Many people will continue to force issues rather than be honest with themselves.

Over the past few weeks, I've had a couple of situations that have caused me to assess and change.

The first was feedback that I got from my masters swim coach. I was telling him about some recent frustrations that I was having. He knelt down on and the edge of my lane and said, "Tea, these are the things I see you can work on".  He then listed out 3 things for me to think about and work on.

I took the feedback to Coach Liz. She said, "That's outstanding feedback".

Keep in mind. Getting feedback doesn't mean you are a bad person. Your coach wants the best for you. It's up to YOU to ask for help. It's up to YOU to ask for feedback. If you don't, they think you aren't interested. The other side is that if you ask for feedback and don't get it, it's also time for a change.

The hard part? Knowing when it's time to ask for help.

I listened to what my swim coach said. He was absolutely right. I told him that I'd never even thought of it before. The things he pointed out......never even occurred to me.

The next thing, that caused me to stop and think, was a picture.

It was a race picture that Coach Liz posted. She recently raced back to back races (Sat and Sun).

The look on her face in the picture was sheer pain and effort.

That picture showed exactly what short course racing is all about.

I stared at the picture.

I don't get to that level.

Someone can tell you over and over (cough-Liz-cough) what short course racing is feels like, but an image is worth a thousand words.

Over the years, I've gone from being last to being middle of the pack to chasing the podium finishers to being a podium finisher to being in the lead.

My mental outlook has had to change as I've gone from being last to being a podium finisher.

Only in the last few weeks have I realized that my mindset has changed since I've gone from "chasing" to "being chased".

It hasn't been a good change.

If I want to continue becoming a better athlete, I need to change....yet again.

In masters, I've moved up a lane. I'm chasing much faster swimmers. I'm pushing my comfort level to learn to pace better and handle a higher effort level.  When I show up on race day, my goal will be to think about chasing those masters swimmers. I'm not going to look back to see who's behind me. I'm not going to look for people ahead me. My goal will be to give my best effort. Not the effort I think is my best effort; my best effort.

During the run, my goal is to remember that picture of Liz. Years ago, I said, "You always have another gear".

I'm going to find that next gear.

Gone is my old comfort zone. It's time for me to take it up a notch.....again.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sand Hollow Olympic Distance

Several weeks back, I quietly stopped posting my workouts to Strava.

I'm a huge believer in Strava. Many times, the information on Strava is used by local governments to make roads more pedestrian/cyclist friendly.

But, I had to get away from it for awhile.

I was heading into the hardest olympic distance race I've ever done. (This year was a new bike course).

I hadn't done an olympic distance in TWO YEARS.

I was nervous. I was having race dreams for weeks leading up to the race.

I have never raced the oly well. It's my nemesis.

Do I even need to mention that the oly distance is really f*cking hard?

It hurts. It's mentally draining to push threshold for a couple of hours.

Still, I had my race plan ready. I had done as much research as I could.

All I really wanted was to accomplish two things:

1.) Try not to be last.

2.) Have a successful race.

The morning of race, I was one of the first women to rack my bike.

Then, I went back to my car for a little while to have my second breakfast, read over my race plan and listen to my pre-race playlist.

When I went back to transition, the rack was filled with women setting up their bikes.

Bikes that represent these women don't play.

Bikes that cost more than some cars.

I took a deep breath.


Then, I noticed that three of the women were wearing their Age Group Nationals jackets.

I grabbed my wetsuit and went down to the water.

I have only podiumed at the oly distance once. It was in 2013. I came in 3rd....because there were only 3 of us in the age group.

I went down to the water. I stood there and looked out over the water. "One event at a time, Tea. You're not racing these women. Your goal is to do the best that you can today."

The RD announced that the water temp at shore was 62 degrees.

For two weeks prior to the race, I'd been working with my masters swim coaches on cold water races.

They set me up with a warm up plan and gave me advice on how to handle the swim overall.

I do my warm up routine.

My nerves left me.

I head over to the start.

I don't care what the distance is.

It was time to race.

When I got to the start, the pack splits up very easily: fast swimmers, faster swimmers, fastest swimmers.

I went to the front. A few seconds later, I felt a woman push me to the side saying, "Sorry. I need to be in the front".

I looked over at her.

That was the last time I saw her.

I took off running as hard as I could and hit the water in an all out sprint.

There were very few buoys which made sighting very difficult. Around 600m, I glanced over my the right.....there's no one there. the left.....there's no one there.

I glance back.

I can barely see anyone behind me.

As I made the first turn, then the second.....I start catching previous waves.

I see a couple of people with my swim cap color....ahead of me.

Where'd they come from? How'd they pass me without me seeing them?

I'm not going to worry about. Back to MY race plan.


I found out later in the day that those swimmers were sprinters who started after me and were doing the shorter course.

I finished 1st in AG with a 5 minute lead on 2nd place.

I tore up the hill. The path to transition is deep red sand. I had decided ahead of time to ride without socks, thinking that my feet would dry off enough that I could put socks on for the run. Normally, I don't run with socks but the majority of the run would be on gravel/rocks.

It was time for Black Betty.

How do you know when you are in the correct zone for an olympic distance bike?

Your legs start burning and they don't stop until you get off the bike.

Early on in the ride, we have to climb the Beast. Liz gave me specific information for the climbs.

I was focused. I climbed. I passed people. I passed people who were off their bikes and walking the Beast.

My legs were burning.

Shortly, after the top of the hill, I pass the sprint turn around.

I still have 20 miles to go.

I won't say the bike was easy, but I was ready for it.

I'm catching everyone ahead of me.

I noticed there are few women coming from the other direction.

I'm passing even fewer women.

For a brief moment, I start thinking, "Can I possibly be in 1st place?"

With that little glimpse of a thought....not only NOT being last....but possibly being in first????

I started riding harder.

I didn't really believe it, but I was doing the math. What about the women who were mysteriously ahead of me on the swim?

I pulled into transition.

I wiped off  the sand as best I could and ran.

I knew that if I was in contention for a podium, I was going to have to run my heart out.

A woman in my age group passed me around mile 2.

During the run, I didn't follow my plan.

But, I didn't give up. I suspected that I was in the running for 2nd now. 

Could I hold off 3rd? Don't think about it. JUST RUN.

With 2 miles left, I was running as hard as I could.

I crossed the finish line and KNEW I had a 10K OTB PR. Although, I didn't follow my plan. I hit the EXACT TIME and pace that I thought I could.

I immediately took off for the results table. 

I came in 2nd.

My first ever LEGIT Olympic distance podium.