Sunday, March 30, 2008


I just took a look at my schedule of training for the week and it thrilled me to the bone. I am well aware to the non Ironman fanatic that this might seem a bit much. Heck, my life to most is a bit much. But you know what I long for? I long for someone to just get it. I long for someone to just take it as it is.

People believe that I am not able to rest. That I am not able to lie on the couch and watch TV, that I have a complete inability to put my feet up. That my head is swirling a thousand times a minute and I just can not stop.

I don't even try to explain it. This is my life. This is what I do. I am an athlete. I LOVE TO TRAIN. A 2 hour run for someone who does not train as much as I do is going to sound completely insane. A 2 hour run for someone who has trained 15-20 hours per week for the better part of 10 years, it is a walk in the park.

A 2 hour run is not at mach speed. It's at e pace. It's like walking easy for walkers. I can do it when I am sick. I can do it when I am well. Because I am a superstar? No! Because I am accustomed to it. My body is used to it. It does not hurt to run two hours.

It used to. It used to hurt a whole heck of a lot.

But fitness is an interesting thing. It is bankable. It is progressive. It has cycles. There are peak weeks and there are recovery weeks where the body absorbs the heavy load. The people who are out there grinding out the same week, same workouts, same intensity all the time without a proper progression are the ones who get hurt, the ones who get burned out and the ones who don't make progress.

I am a thrill seeker. I love the excitement of the gun firing. I love the energy of running into a shark infested ocean with 2000 people. I love the feeling of jumping on my bike and riding with my heart on the handlebars. It strips away the layers, it strips away my story.

It puts me face to face with me.

I love running stride by stride with someone and never saying a word.

I love in my yoga practice when I can feel the energy of the people around me. Like our breath is one breath. Like our movements are one movement. Like the joy and the pain and the ups and the downs are combined into one.

It puts me face to face with me.

It's not a form of self sabotage. If I can't do it, I don't. It's a form of therapy. I think a bout a lot during these miles. I create during these miles. I spend time with me during these miles. And I dream about a lot during these miles.

So what is my dream?

My dream is always the same. The last 30 seconds of every single race. Especially the Ironman.

In the Ironman the finish line looks packed with people in stands on either side of me. It's my very own red carpet. I can see the hands waving, I slap hands as I run down the chute, I feel the excitement, I relish in the energy.

But each time I hear nothing. And it always happens in slow motion for me.

It is my moment of glory. The moment that answers the questions … am I fit enough? Am I strong enough? Do I believe enough in me? Can I stand on my own feet and can I completely occupy my own skin and love what I feel?

What do I have inside of me and am I willing to be torn completely apart to find out?

Do I have that much courage?

It brings to light the moments during the year of preparation…… the rides in sub zero temperatures, the runs on pure ice. The workouts that have been so hard and so hot that my cloths get strewn all over the lawn and I lay in a bathtub of ice and I love what I feel.

What do I feel? The absolute purest most vivid feeling of being alive.

I admit, sometimes people can find that by reading a book. Some people can find that by going for a walk. I can actually do that as well.

But nothing, absolutely nothing can make me feel every inch of myself like a finish line.

It's been in the pool, on a bike, and through trails and woods and streets that I have found everything I have needed to find in my life. I have found friends. I have found enemies. I have fallen in love, I have had my heart shattered out here and then I have gotten up and done it all over again. I have found sisters and brothers that I was not born with. I have found solitude and quietness in my brain. I have dreamt big dreams and I have let go of unfulfilled ones. I have found health and I have even found illness. I have at times tried to outrun illness. And then I have found my way back again.

So this is my life. This is who I am. I am not running away from someone I wanted to be, I am not running towards someone I want to be. I am not running from a problem or running for an answer.

I am stretching out my arms holding my head back and I am screaming as loud as I can.

I know that makes me scary.

I would rather be thought of as someone who frightens people and someone who lives big and someone who is willing to risk her heart, risk her body and risk her soul. Than be thought of someone who had…. potential.

I am not sorry for that. There are those who can't take it and they run. And there are those who can just take all of me and love me no matter what.


I can not remember how the quote goes exactly or who it is by but here is what I truly, absolutely and whole heartedly believe……

"When I die I do not wish to arrive at the gates in a pretty white dress with my hair perfect. I wish to skid in by my back wheel, bloodied and bruised to the bone screaming …… WOW……… what a ride."

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Every Tuesday and Thursday morning I teach a spinning class at the Rochester Institute of Technology. It's a college course believe it or not! These kids get to choose form over 400 wellness courses that include Hip-Hop, Cardio Kick, Fencing, Beer tasting, you name it. RIT is a gorgeous campus with a gorgeous athletic facility. A pool to die for. And I get called "Professor Eggers" which I hate by the way.

Each trimester I get a new class, and each class is very different. My first trimester there class was at 9am and getting anyone to make eye contact with me was a challenge. Second trimester class changed to 11am and it was a small fun group of kids. Third trimester same time, and the kids were great..... except one. This guy drove me nuts. He hated spinning. He would say it out loud. He would complain that spinning interfered with his Frisbee training... and he was serious.

Now this trimester I have 31 of the coolest kids on the face of the earth. There are a few form previous trimesters even. They scream, they answer, they have fun. They are so enthusiastic. This morning this guy who would appear to have been some sort of high school varsity athlete in his day came up to me after class. He shook my hand, introduced himself and state dhow much he loves spinning. He was in fact an injured lacrosse player interested in getting into road riding. He loved the music, loved the class. Another guy gave me great music suggestions. They make me feel young(er). They make me feel cool.

I am cool to the college kids!!!

The best part is this..... RIT has a school for the deaf. This trimester I have five deaf students and an interpreter! It's opened up an entirely new world for me. What's spinning without music and how on god's green earth does this woman take what I say and put into sign language????

She does it beautifully, and she dances around to boot.

At a time when I needed it most, I found the most amazing group of kids. Eager, full of life, full of happiness. They don't even realize the gift they are giving me each and every single day that they show up. They climb with intensity in their eyes and fire in their hearts. They scream out loud in the middle of a 28 minute climbing set.

It's funny because just when you need it, life will somehow find a way to give you exactly what you need. Sometimes you don't' realize it is what you need, you look away and then life has to get your attention by dropping a brick on your foot. Or in my case on my head.

Thus far this trimester (all 3 weeks of it) have been the medicine I have needed. This morning I brought them bagels and you would have thought I would have paid their $45,000 per year tuition they were so grateful. Maybe they don't eat because they are paying that tuition.

So this morning we rode, we rode hard and we rode well. We rode as a team and they smiled. The ones who couldn't hear the music, in a way I envied them the most. Truly and honestly they were in the perfect place.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


The news of Marit's accident has shaken me so seriously to my core. At this moment I do not care what bones of hers are broken, I am so grateful she and Elizabeth are alive. I don't know what happened down at Camp HTFU last month but I feel like we are damn sisters.

I know Marit and I will be talking soon, I just want to catch you at a quiet time when things have settled.

A few years ago I was a "survivor" of a horrific bike accident. I used to ride with Dr. Les and the Tuesday TNT group on Tuesday mornings. I am a self admitted crappy drafter, so I'd hang back about 10-15 yards from the group. They were all experiences cyclists, some had TT bike,s some had road, so to keep things safer I just held back.

One day in may, there was a crash. I can still hear them all hitting the ground.

Les crossed wheels with someone.

Everyone was thrown all over the place. My friend Cindy was laying motionless on the ground. Out of eight I think 2 of us did not go down. Less was in a heap.

I got to Less and rolled him over, it was clear he was broken. Very clear. I held his head still and I choked back tears as Johnathan called 911. I didn't even know where they were. As I spoke to Les I looked to Cindy who was still motionless.

I was so scared.

I am an ED nurse, but at least when you come to me you are in my environment. Out here I was terrified.

It only took 10 minutes but it felt like 80, the ambulances arrived. I don't remember what happened after that.

Les can't ride to this day. We swim together and I know how he misses the open road. Cindy was all right as well and she's still riding.

Broken bones heal. Spirits heal as well.

But nothing has ever erased my memory of that day.

In the movies when people crash and fall it is in slow motion, hell there's even music.

In real life..... it's immediate. It's over before it happened. What I will never be able to overcome is the sound of them all hitting the ground.

And the feeling of why I was not hurt. Why not me..... why Les? It's a strange survivor like feeling, a feeling of guilt. You were spared but you are not sure why. The one who was injured didn't deserve this all, but why did you deserve to be all right???? They are the better person. They have bigger guts and the most perseverance.

It's a feeling of guilt I will never shake as I swim 2 mornings a week with my friend Les. To sometimes see him still in pain as I continue on the journey without interruption.

I think of Marit a lot during the day. Her fighting spirit, her tenacity. I also think of Elizabeth too. Because i know what that feels like. I know what it feels like to be spared. It feels like luck + guilt + destiny. Like there is a lesson to learn and we might not be sure what it is. But we are a little more careful from then on in.

Stay the course sisters. We'll get there.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What If?

I don't know where these words are from. They might be a compilation from what I heard this weekend, a poem someone write that I am stealing, words that I read.... I don't know.

But what if we stopped waiting for everything to be just right ... in order to be happy?

What if we stopped waiting....

Until we had a baby.

Until our kids went to school.

Until they left for college.

Until we bought a house.

Until we paid off the house.

Until we lost 10 pounds.

Until we gained 10 pounds.

Until we bought the car.

Until we paid off the car.

Until we got married.

Until we got divorced.

Until we were 30, 35, 40, or 50.

Until we got that bike.

Until we did the Ironman.

Until we took a vacation.

Until we graduated form college.

Until we changed careers.

Until we had enough money.

Until we didn't have enough money.

Until we found our soul mate.

Until we lost our soul mate.

Until we got promoted.

Until we got fired.

Until ..... until ...... until....

What if we stopped waiting for that magical day to arrive. What if we threw all of this out, this is the story we carry around.... what if we threw this story out, put a smile on our faces and were happy today?

That's what I have done. I stopped waiting. I did it a while ago and guess what? It is awesome.

There's Been An Accident

Those are the four worst words you hear or read. In triathlon, in life, anywhere. But I am sad to report there has been an accident in San Diego and our friends Elizabeth and Marit were involved. Both are okay, Marit is broken. Please click here for the story and stay tuned to Jen's site for the latest developments.

I will say this..... Elizabeth I am grateful you are okay. I know the emotional part of an accident can be just as horrifying as the physical. Marit I am devastated for you. But I do know one thing, your tenacity in training will be what gets you through this. And know we are all her to support both of you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

From The Heart

I had to tell one of my athletes this morning that she needs to turn off her head and begin to come from her heart. I don't know if that advice was for her as much as it was for me, but it was something we both needed today.

I had my bike test today, my last one was January 9th. That one awarded me a good raise and I was feeling great this morning. After a good swim practice I cleared the house and got myself ready. I was feeling psyched.

My iPod was loaded with motivating tunes (I still can't hear hours later), my Ergomo was calibrated twice, and I was feeling good. I took a few pieces of tape and I taped up Mister Ergomo, so that I would not see watts or heart rate, just elapsed time.

Today I was riding from my heart. And that I did.

I rode and I rode like a woman possessed. I dug deep into my heart and I thought of the goal finishing time I have for myself at Ironman lake Placid this year. I thought about nothing else but that number.

And I stared at a crack in the wall. I don't think my eyes moved off of it.

When it started to hurt I pushed harder. This was the effort I should have put forth at Camp HTFU..... but then again..... maybe it wasn't.

It all came down to this.

I definitely threw up in my mouth.

When it was done I cooled down, removed the tape and downloaded the results. I wiped my eyes. What did that say? I highlighted the test again, and again, and then again.

I just earned a twenty one watt raise.

I was calibrated and I was calibrated correctly.

An email form my athlete came through. She asked me to define how to come from the heart. I smiled. I knew she would ask me that. I told her this:

"It can't be defined. It's a feeling you have in your heart...... I know that in your Spinning you have been able to find it, that feeling like you are riding like a woman possessed, like there is no end .... like anything put in front of you , you can ride right through. That place where there is no thinking, no analyzing, no questions, just you and the bike and that feeling in your heart. How do you find it? Let go."

I swear to you that the moment I jump off of something is the exact moment I will touch down. Today that's what happened for me.

And as victorious as it felt, it means nothing, unless I do something with it. It's all great to be a champion in your garage to the sound of your iPod. Unless I can use this fitness in a race it doesn't matter what kinds of watts I generate here.

And that, is where I learn to move from my heart, and not my head. And I learn to put it together correctly, like I did before I got stuck in my head. Stuck on numbers and just plain self.

This is about letting go. Letting go of the fear of failing, embracing the life of taking the chance, and giving Ironman Lake Placid my best ever shot. I want this fifth Ironman of mine to be the finale... for a little bit. What it will take are days like today. A lot of them strung together. Add into that an ability to let go on the day that it matters most.... and the rest will be history.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Brighter Than Sunshine

Things are looking up in every single way. The evenings are brighter and even though there is 200 feet of snow and ice all around.... spring is coming.

My body is responding to rest and I am back to the grind. I am rested today.

In a month I begin a new schedule at work that does not involve nights, weekends or holidays and is still just 2 days per week. And that means that I get to have regular sleep on a regular basis.

The best part of everything right now is that we had quite possibly the best and most hopeful meeting about our son yesterday that we have ever had. Ever.

That's what happens in life, it's cyclical, it's revolving. One down gives way to a rise, which could steady out into a flat or give way to a bit of a dip. Our emotions will follow suit but we keep looking to the horizon.

Right now my horizon says Florida and it says Gulf Coast. Which means racing, and sun and Ashley and Marit. Eight weeks and we'll be there on the beach in the salt water and having the time of our lives.

I can't help but feel lucky as I sit on the computrainer and get lost in LOST.

But before that we've got a girls weekend coming up in a few weeks. Four girls and 30K Around the Bay. The title makes it sound like it's somewhere warm, I assure you Hamilton Ontario is not the tourist destination, but it'll do. We've got a lot more HTFU'ing to do.

Including a bike test tomorrow. Me my Ergomo and the dream of a new and improved FTP.

Tomorrow I will do the reaching.

Sunday, March 9, 2008!

My day just got brighter! We will be above freezing almost all week long!
k long!

I'm Having A Winch

If you don't link F Bombs then you need to click off this page today. Today this is not a family G rated friendly page.

I am having a winch, I am having a sulk, and I am having a fucking cry about it.

I hate, no I HATE, nah I HATE winter. Running with the wind blowing in my face ... might as well run on a goddamn dreadmill because when you run into the wind in snow you go nowhere. No f****** where.

The plows don't care, they'll just F****** plow you in.

What was the reason I came home from Camp HTFU? Why did I leave the sun?

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Nutrition is becoming a passion of mine. This is partly because of the amount of misinformation that exists out there. The diets, the supplements, the plans. The health and fitness industry is a billion dollar business, yet the actual amount of quality information is a very small fraction.

Once I gave a lecture to a group of women. I held up a big white pill and I told them the following:

"By taking this pill every single day you will lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks. You can eat whatever you want. You don't have to exercise. You will never gain it back. The only caveat is that you have a 75% chance of dying. Who would take it?"

Nearly every hand in the room went up. I thwarted high hopes by telling them it was a lie. It was just a simple calcium pill. They were disappointed. This was a group of mothers, wives, daughters and sisters.

The women in this group were willing to take a chance on dying to lose 10 pounds?

Take a look at all of the different websites out there. Woman A eats nothing but rice cakes. Woman B eats nothing but protein. Woman C wonders what to do. Sally eats rice cakes, so maybe that's for me?

Nutrition is made to seem very difficult. In fact however it is very easy.

The best food to eat is food with little to no ingredient list. Whole foods. The way nature produced them. The more you process a food the more nutritional value it loses. The less you process it, the better the quality.

The right amount of food, calories is individual. Jennifer Hutchinson, a renowned Registered Dietician, Sports Nutritionist and USAT Triathlon coach suggests that athletes use the following guidelines for calorie, carbohydrate, protein and fat consumption:

15-30 calories per pound of body weight
3-5 grams of CHO per pound of body weight per day (45-70%)
0.6-0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day (10-20%)
10-20% of dietary fat per day.

Notice that all of these values contain ranges. Not exacts. If you are looking to make nutrition overhaul begin to investigate these ranges and see how they apply and affect you.

The amount of training you complete each day will play into this range. Begin somewhere in the middle and see how you feel. You might need more, you might need less.

If you are aiming to lose weight … again play with the ranges. See what begins to work. Avoid going too low or you risk depleting your body of valuable nutrients and predisposing yourself to illness and injury.

Carbohydrates do not cause you to gain weight. Excess calories cause you to gain weight. It does not matter those calories are carbohydrates, protein or fat, excess calories in any form lead to weight gain. So stay away from the high protein low carb diets. Simply… they are unhealthy.

Your common sense is really your best guide.

Balance is the real key to nutrition. I advise to be careful of the "all or nothing" promoters. A good diet has a lot of variety, and to mean that mean's things like fruit, vegetables and chocolate. Color your plate like a rainbow. The more color, the more nutrients.

Seek the advice of a professional. As much as I admire Natasha Badmann I would not ask her for nutritional advice. Why? Because I am 145 pounds and she is likely 100. Our nutritional needs are different. Just because Natasha does it, it does not mean it is a good thing for me to do.

While I am a Registered Nurse and while nutrition was a vast portion of my education I don't consider myself to be a nutritional expert. The person you are looking to talk to is a Registered Dietician.

A Registered Dietician specializing in Sports Nutrition is your best ally in the game of nutrition. Look for someone who understands athletes, who understands the distances you are training for. Look for someone who has a good reputation and ask for references.

Look for one who can allow flexibility in your diet and who can help you rather than lecture you.

In addition to nutrition the health and fitness industry includes supplements.

Many bogus nutritional products exist out there. Believe it or not, A PRODUCT THAT IS ADVERTISED AS EFFECTIVE DOES NOT HAVE TO PROVE IT IS SAFE TO BE NAMED A DIETARY SUPPLEMENT. Look at the bottle of your supplement, is it FDA approved? Is it approved by ANYTHING? Look at the “studies” that have been performed on this product. Are they real? Did they include pieces of the results, or were the results real?

Everything that we think we need from a supplement we can get from whole foods. Products that claim they can increase the oxygen content of your blood, or than claim they can increase your V02 max, are flat out FALSE.

A product that claims it is safe and effective because it is natural…… well tobacco is natural. But is it safe or effective?

This is not to say that all supplements are bogus. Many are. Do we as age group athletes need them? Likely not. I am trying a new product Called Veema, which I was introduced to by Camp HTFU member Leslie. I liked the research, I like the product, and I will tell more about it later.

Bottom line….. research the supplements you choose.

I do suggest people take a multivitamin. I think that is a good resource to try to plug the holes of what our diets may need. For our general and training purposes I think that many supplements are a waste of money to be quiet honest. But remember that is purely my opinion, not a fact.

Remember nutrition is an inexact science, it is continually evolving. By basing your nutrition decisions and habits on the above ranges, you will create a good environment for your body to train and to get healthy.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Catching Up

The weekend of traveling and training finally hit me. Not in terms of soreness but in terms of fatigue. I noticed it this morning as I spoke with Grimm on the pool deck. I usually try to get in before he arrives because once he gets chatting I end up missing 1,000 yards. His stories are good, so I can't say that I mind. However it is my preference to get in the water with Ken, as then I can assure myself a good 1,000 yard warm up.

Today I was more inclined to listen to Grimm and Sue's adventures through New Zealand and Australia. An outdoor 50 meter salt water pool. Scenery and sunshine. I shared my experiences at Camp HTFU and still, the water looked no better.

Even with a new member of the Stud Lane. Mister Travis Earley himself.

I swam through 4300 yards and even a session of videotaping. Next to me Dr. Les admitted to not having any pizazz. Whew. I thought. When Dr. Les has no pizazz then it's okay if I don't either. Did they go to Camp HTFU???? Nope. So there, I thought.

Usually when I get videotaped I will kick my feet. I barely kick my feet when I swim. I was so tired I forgot to kick.

I took a 2 hour nap. Rode 30 minutes and headed back to the sheets.

That's how I know I performed well at camp. It's natural for me to hit the ground running after an event like this. But come Wednesday it will hit me. This time a little differently, it has hit me in sleepiness. And I must honor that.

Without recovery there is no progression. Without work there is no progression. Optimal stress + optimal recovery = optimal progress.

Contrary to popular thought a 3 week build and 1 week recovery cycle is not for everyone. It's what the Training Bible says, but it doesn't necessarily fit each person. The take away point of periodization is that we are all different athletes. Some may do well under a 3 to 1 progression. Many do well with a longer progression. That's why as coaches we track the daily parameters: sleep, sleep quality, stress, resting heart rate, fatigue, soreness, and even blood pressure. Track all of those parameters in partnership with a weekly volume and you'll find you are better able to plan periodization.

Give the athlete the proper amount of stress and they will adapt. Pay attention to the athlete's whole picture and you will then see when they need a bit of rest. At rest muscles repair. But don't forget about adaptation.

Rest for one person could be a week, another it might be 2 days. Each person, each athlete is different.

So today I am taking a bit of rest. Maybe tomorrow will be the day to jump back in, maybe Friday. Maybe longer. That's why I am honest with myself, honest with my coach, and realistic about my own progression.

The only person who really benefits or doesn't benefit.... will be me!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Team Photo

Camp HTFU: Elizabeth, Jennifer, Marit, Mary, Ashley, Leslie

and click here for some more photos.

It's A Wrap.... Camp HTFU

Greetings from somewhere above the East Coast, at 30,000 feet! As I am on my way home from Camp HTFU I have been reflecting a bit on a terrific weekend. Terrific for so many ways.

Each of us came to South Carolina for different reasons. We all found different things. Some found strength, some found guts, but I believe we all found a common friendship that is not just shared through internet blogs. I think we all found something within each other that we got to take home with us as well.

I am taking home the memories of five wonderful girls who gave me so much this weekend. So much more than miles and pain. I was amazed at each person I was so fortunate to spend time with, and I think we all came away with wonderful views of one another.

Marit. Marit is quite possibly the hardest worker I have ever met in my life. She gives 800% of each and every session. And then she gives 900% when we are off the field. Only Marit, on a 200000% climb would sit behind me and cheer me on. So what if I believed at the time she was smoking crack? That was just a moment in my own head. I took her positive vibes and I allowed them to carry me. She's genuine. She's passionate. Like I said before keep your eyes out…. this girl is coming down that finisher's chute with a damn purpose.

Jennifer claims to have wanted to be a prosecutor. I disagree with that, as that would have involved being cruel and Jennifer isn't about that. If I had to choose another profession I'd choose a Corporal in the Army. Not because she's strict and hard on her athletes, she knows how to push them to be the best they can be. She calls them out when they are not being honest with themselves and she helps them find their own purpose.

Ashley likes to claim she's Greenville's most eligible bachelorette. While that may be true you'd better be quick and fast to keep up with her. She climbs right up with the rest of the gang, and she's aligned herself with the most beautiful people of South Carolina. She's got a genuineness that is crystal clear. Not only is she quick and genuine, she's damn smart too. Ashley was our hostess with the most-est and I can' thank her enough for so graciously allowing us to invade her home.

Elizabeth reminds me of Lisa Bentley when she was 30 years old. Small, full of heart, and athlete with passion and with purpose. Her mind and her heart drive her past any obstacle her body tries to throw in her way. At the same time she offers great mental nuggets when needed. As I was having difficulties descending she instructed me to "become the bike". I did just that and suddenly the world got a lot better.

Leslie is by far the world's perkiest triathlete. She's bouncy, light, and happy and at the same time she's fierce. I had the absolute honor of spending 2 hours on trails with her this Sunday and I couldn’t' have asked for a better trail running partner. Afraid of nothing, accepting everything. At the same time she reminded me to stop and look around at the beautiful mountain we were running on.

How would I describe myself? Elizabeth gave me the Good Egg and Wall Flower award. So much of my life has been filled with drama; it was like I had finally arrived when I was deemed a wall flower. She'll never know how much I appreciated that. As the slowest girl in the group (and I do say that with absolute respect for myself, I promise you that. I just don't have a good word to say slowest girl with… how about rock star? ) The rock star worked very hard. Judging by my soreness I am not sure I worked hard enough.

I did work hard enough to get in some great training. I got to climb mountains that make Lake Placid seem flat. I got to work on my descending skills while there was snow on the ground in New York. After those descents I suddenly feel unafraid of the descents in Placid. I got to swim long course meters. I got to run on a gorgeous mountain.

I got to share beautiful moments with beautiful friends. I got to learn a lot about each person. Those moments usually happened as we drove around in "Big Momma", the team HTFU van.

I got to encounter the kindest people of Greenville. Those who would help someone they don't know. Those who would hang back and help the rock star.

As I am making my way up the east coast I am smiling. I feel good inside and I feel great outside. The 1 mile sprint that I just made through the Atlanta airport (wish I had the Garmin on for that) didn't hurt so much.

Which makes me think…. while I HTFU'd a lot, I have more room to HTFU. That's an exciting place to be for a rock star like myself.

Thanks to all of you for your kindest words. Thanks to all my team mates for accepting a rock star on this trip, and for honoring me with your strength, your wisdom and your miles

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Camp Update

Greetings from camp HTFU…. is this day two or is this day three? Whatever day it was it was a fantastic day. First of all if you are a company looking to sponsor an aspiring athlete you might want to get the name Marit Chrisloch-Lauterbach. I know, the name is long, but it is a name you will not only NOT forget, but you will be seeing more often.

What's the definition of HTFU? Marit. What's the definition of guts? Marit. What's the definition of the hardest worker I have ever met? Marit.

Enough said. Just trust me on that.

Again today was a fantastic day. It was a day of climbing, and that's with a capital C. I will admit to wussing out of climbing Panther Mountain. And I am very comfortable with my bail. I do believe I would have gotten to the top. An 18% grade, 12X23 gearing, and a terrifying fear of descending this thing with rear brakes that were locked open, this was just plain unsafe.

The better value for me was to bail with Elizabeth and fill up in the rolling flatlands while the other girls took the challenge. And they did. Jen and Marit made it to the top, so Gold stars for them.

The next 3+ hours were awesome. I climbed the biggest climbs I have ever climbed. I was able to keep the girls within my sight but I was behind them. This group is absolutely stronger than me. Which I am comfortable with. I knew that coming in here. I accept it, and I really feel proud of staying as close as I did.

Where I did lose time was where I didn't expect to. The descents. I am a self admitted terrible descender. And as kid as they were they waited for me at the bottom of each big hill. Dunstan (quite clearly the most talented + kindest + patient + everything else really good) cyclist I have eve met circled back a few times and gave me some descending pointers.

I kept begging them to stop waiting for me at the bottom of each hill, but they'd have none of that. Little did they know that I do have internal GPS and I could find my way home. I should have had a map. I worried because when you descend for 20 minutes and then stop muscles get cold and tight and I did not want to be the cause of any tightening or missed work.

But they'd have none of that.

Matt whom I had met yesterday rode back with me, and after I drilled him to admit if they sent him back (he pinky swore me that they did not), I rode with Matt for a while. As I was climbing in my small ring and 27 I noticed that Matt was climbing in a 54 big ring. He told me what he was training for, something with the name ASSAULT in it, some epic ten billion foot climb over 200 billion miles and he had to build his strength by climbing this entire ride in the big ring.

Okay so I have nominated Matt to be the only male member of Camp HTFU. Maybe he can be the King and Marit can be the damn queen.

I rode for four hours and two minutes and I felt great. I would come to this climb prepared to ride at least with a 12X 25. Trust me on that, I did it all with a 12 X 23 and it was hard. I am not sore, nothing hurts, so in retrospect I wonder if I took it too lightly.

Tonight at dinner we had great conversation, and great food. I really love Greenville. The downtown is quaint and happening. The restaurants embody history. And the weather….. oh the weather.

The sunshine came out today. It was warm. That's the reason I came here. For the sun and for the hills and that's what I found.

After dinner I went out for a solo 30 minute run. The air was warm and the streets were busy. I just soaked it all up.

I am learning a lot at camp.

A year ago I would have been pissed at myself for not hanging onto or not leading the pack. I would have spent the ride condemning and criticizing myself for being the slow girl.

I felt very proud of myself. These girls are a class above me. Realize that I am not putting myself down; I am respecting their and my own abilities. I am working within myself this weekend. I haven't ridden over four hours, on any roads since Nov 4th and I certainly have not worked on hills.

The bike training I have done has been a lot of tempo work and a lot of FTP work. I felt that begin to take effect. I did feel very strong, in the gearing that I had, at the point of the season that I am in….. I felt excited.

I had fun. I worked on my descents. I didn't beat myself mentally and I didn't nuke myself. I likely should have nuked myself a little more.

Tonight I enjoyed the warm evening as I ran. I enjoyed a conversation with my husband as I set outside. It felt good to be outside. It felt good to be warm. It felt good to be in South Carolina.

Another stellar day in Camp HTFU!