Sunday, May 31, 2009

getting race ready!

I have always wanted to see a giant blown up version of my husband..... minus the hair! (Ryan, I am okay with you stealing this picture too, it would be your perfect FaceBook profile pic)

I would be completely lying to you if I said I wasn't feeling antsy. It's race season round here and I am not racing until July. That being said I am not race ready. I have some work to do. I have a lot of work to do and I feel like lately I feel that all there is, is a lot of work to do. We get into the nitty gritty this week, and have I mentioned dhow I love the way this training plan is set up?

Deliberate practice. Measurable improvements from week to week, or you could say, measurable non improvements, as that's always a possibility. Week one you achieve A, to move on to B you must completely achieve A. When you move to C you must achieve B. You might get stuck at B for a few weeks, but week to week measure able progress.

As so many of my athletes are heading to Mooseman or Keuka Lake this weekend, I will be training. I will be attending a really special event on Saturday, but I will not be racing.

I am envious. I am itchy.

And I am not ready.

I will be racing longer into the fall than the rest so I am biding my time.

As we do approach these races this weekend I see a lot of mistakes made race week. I think if you come into a race as an A priority, then you should be very deliberate about how you go about the week.

I remember an article coach T wrote last year about the 5 common mistakes people make during Ironman week: one of them being too much swimming. In fact I am working with a super swimmer..... he knows who he is...... whose weekly volume as he's training for an Ironman holds much too much swimming. In fairness to him: he has some swim races coming up that are important to him and has promised to DROP IT DOWN ONCE THOSE ARE OVER.

There is an art to tapering, and I believe it is so individual yet there are many of the same techniques we can use to get ourselves ready for the big day. Here are a few rules I like to employ with my athletes:

1. EXCELLENT NUTRITION and get off your feet:

Race week volume is less, and for the ever starving triathlete the only other thing to do might be to eat :-). Try knitting my friends, it's a good way to burn off energy without training. This is not the week to do a year's worth of yard work. A great way to ruin a taper is to mow the lawn twice this week, weed your brains out and install a deck.

2. Get your gear ready:

Make a list of what you are going to need on race day. Get it ready on Thursday, There is nothing worse than race morning fumbling for things in the dark and when you are nervous. Be ready. Pack it up. Make a list. Check it twice.

3. Review race instructions:

Know how to get there, know the flow of events race morning, do not get caught in a super long registration line with questions of where do I get my chip? These are the things that can get in the way of focus.

4. Visualize:

See your race. Picture your race. Some athletes do well with words, writing them on their hands to cue them to focus. If you are like me you race more on feeling with a blank mind. If so find that blank focused place and ride the waves of the butterflies in your stomach.

You put a lot of time into these events. Follow the taper either you or your coach has put forth, it's there for a reason. It's okay to say that this is important to you. The winner does not get a giant prize check either and it's important to them as well. Don't' be afraid to go out and give it your best shot!

And while you are at it, enjoy it!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Stroll for Strong Kids

I was very proud to be a part of an event put on by our Children's Hospital this morning. The Stroll for Strong Kids is in it's 13th year and this is actually the first year I could participate. Because they added a 5k.... I was all about being there. Plus I needed to run a little run test.

My goal is attention to detail, so I made sure everything was ready to go. I followed each one of my pre race instructions to a T. Coach Jesse lays out your breakfast, the timing, portions of everything that goes into your mouth (no coffee). He set specific instructions of how I should pace this run, and I made it my job to go ahead and do it. Garmin charged, back up HRM (my Garmin HR is no longer reliable) ready to go. Yes it was just a 5K but my first race as a QT2 member, and wanted to do well for myself and for my coach.

Let me preface this race with these 2 things: The corporate challenge was Thursday, that's where all the real runners had gone. And 2...... If I am ever leading a 5K, then you know the real runners stayed home. The field was small, but it was right on the U of R campus.

Gun went off, I hit the first mile in 6:45. Sorry to all of you sub 20 minute 5 K people, but I am not there yet, so in this world, 6:45 is good :-). It felt on the edge of uncomfortable and comfortable, right where I wanted to be. Mile 2 I started to feel the effects of running harder, which I haven't done in a very long time..... but I was able to hit that mile marker in 7:11, which was a bit off pace. So I picked it up and settled in to a faster pace. I looked down at my watch and the Garmin was blank.

Crap, I thought. Did this thing finally die? It couldn't have! I charged it all night! *** After I came home.... I was plugging the Garmin back in and I noticed it was not charging. I looked to the wall. The light switch has to be flipped on for the outlet to be on and for the Garmin to charge.

This right here..... that small error...... this is the kind of attention to detail that I frequently miss. That's what I am talking about.... I told myself. At this level, with your experience..... this is unacceptable. I dreaded confessing to coach the mistake.

Mile 3 felt much of the same. I was leading. Which was funny. The women behind me looked fine and fit and I cheered them on. I was smiling as the lactic acid built up in my legs. The finish line was around the track and at about 100 yards to go, a woman charged past me like she was just beginning her race. I tried to respond and was able to, but not as fast as she was.

But imagine the horror of running a 6:45 then a 7:11 and hitting the clock at 23 minutes.

Twenty THREE?

I looked three times. That would mean my last mile was well over eight. Am I adding right?

A man who was behind me commented that the course measured 3.4 on his Garmin. I wanted to ask him again but I felt like that was making excuses. I replayed the pace in my mind, it felt like the right kind of hurt, it felt like the right kind of challenge. But 23? How did I run that last mile so much slower and not realize it?

If I had paid attention to that small detail I would have known exactly where I was at exactly that moment.

Another friend of mine walked a bit with me as I cooled down. While I had not complained, I told him I had a good race......he told me that the course was long. His watch got a 3.4.

So what did that mean for my pace? I was too tired to even know. Pace felt good. Nutrition felt good. The training I have done under Coach Jesse feels right on target. We cycled through a base phase and this week brings the real work.

We spent the next three hours at the party. We strolled with hundreds of others for about 2 more miles. Luc played away in the bounce house and loved the Doctor Dunk! I will post some pictures tomorrow!

So to assess where I am..... I will see if I can figure out the true length of this course. I don't believe it was certified, but nonetheless I am not going to get hung up on those details. The details I will instead focus on are the ones of this coming week. Enter us into build phase and a few pages of instructions that I must read and digest before my next conversation with Coach Jesse.

What I have concluded thus far:

1. I am happy to be training under such a good coach and as a member of such a great team.

2. I felt good for where I am at in the season.

3. I completely trust my plan and everything that goes along with it. This S*** is for me!

4. Attention to details like the Garmin charging are imperative. Now I have a mystery mile. I would not have that mystery mile if I had just properly paid attention. I am hard on myself about that. Sure this was a small 5K but it was important for data collection.

Pictures tomorrow...... but for the rest of the afternoon one thing is for sure....... my first block as a Qt2 Member is complete. Now we move to the meat of the work, and I have a bunch of things to sit down and study.

Friday, May 29, 2009

order now!

I love the T Shirts that say "Life is good." .... because it is. Believe you me I have had plenty of years where life was not good, so I am qualified to say that yes, life is good.
I have received a lot of emails this week asking how working with Q2T is going. It's going great. I am completing my first four week block with Coach Jesse and I couldn't be more thrilled. During the past four weeks we've done a steady volume of 14-16 hours, I am swimming 3 times a week, biking four, running four, and lifting twice. My runs are all 70-80 minutes and rides are 1:30-3:00 long. During this phase there are certain parameters to abide by, and I've done it. No problem.

Through this block we cycled through some testing, which to my relief sat me right where I knew I was in terms of pacing, heart rate and power. It's a big relief because often times you hear athletes feel that their paces and or zones are too fast or too slow. Understanding how this all works .... I am at the right place and pace at the right time.

I wish I'd have joined this team 6 months ago!

It definitely is tough as the race season is beginning, there are a bunch of races in June that I would love to jump into. But the next four week block will prepare me to begin racing again in July. Being that Ironman USA (Lake Placid) is just weeks away I am used to being in top form..... now! My peak will be peaking in November, so we've got a long way to go. I know though that I will arrive at that starting line wicked fresh.

This week was a recovery week. I have learned never to complain about a recovery week! I take them and I take them seriously! The past 2 days I have made it a point to lay low, stay home, get some work done ( but not too much). I tried turning on the TV but the only TV I am interested in watching in LOST. I walked the dog.

I taught myself how to knit (thanks internet). And my husband nearly pissed himself laughing. Me.... knit? It's been on my bucket list. Then Luc asked me to knit him a blanket. Then I realized that .... I can do a lot of things. But I don't really make anything. I want to be able to give Luc a blanket that I made for him and for it to become something he carries with him through life.

I know.... because I need something else to do, because I am not busy enough! Truth be told, through the three days that I have been learning, I really like it. It's quiet. It's strangely soothing.

I have learned two stitches so far: The cast on, and the Knit stitch. Thank goodness for You Tube. Here's my first masterpiece:

Yes, those are pink sewing needles. (I am trying.)

Exactly what is this? I don't know. I told Curt they were his new baby blue knit bike shorts. Maybe I will bring back the old knit cycling jerseys? Maybe a knit speedo? Knit cap (most practical I am sure).

I have a long way to go. Like everything there's a learning curve.

But for now if you happen to be at a race and you see some girl sitting by her bike knitting, come on over and join me. We'll start a trend. Knitting triathletes. Then I will create a division of Train-This knitting triathletes. Look for our booth in Hawaii this year. Train-This knit gear.

It will be all the rage. Order now while supplies last.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

eat the damn cheese

I stood in disbelief at the Dunkin Donuts nearest the hospital, the one that all of us Strong Stars frequent frequently for our coffee-before-work. If you are a good colleague and you work in layering tapering shift world like I do (meaning our shifts don't' follow normal hospital shifts.... we layer in and out one by one by one) you give a call ahead and see if anyone wants anything.

I had just finished a great three hour ride and was hanging on the back deck with the guys when I got the call from work. It was my friend Tracy, calling me at 5pm asking if I was coming to work tonight, since I was scheduled at 4pm. We laughed, sometimes I confuse 4p-8p and 8p-midnight. The fact that I was getting the call at 5pm was a good sign that they weren't busy (for once). So I took the coffee orders and headed on in.

So I stood in absolute disbelief at Dunkin Donuts with my order in hand, quite simple I might add..... when the girl at the counter could not understand me. She said she did not speak English.

What? I pointed out the drinks I had written down, she didn't understand my code. She spoke with her colleague who also didn't speak much English. Iced coffee with cream...... Iced tea....... it made no sense to them

So I settled on a box of Joe. Which itself seems to cause an uproar accompanied with the rolling of eyes and the sighs...... not a box of JOE! Geez..... it was the only thing I could order that wasn't greeted with a shrug.

I asked if they perhaps had an interpreter phone. We have one on every unit at Strong. Speak Russian? No problem. from Somalia? No problem! We plug in the phone, dial the language in need, and communicate through an interpreter.

No interpreter phone at Dunkin Donuts.

This is weird. I thought.

Equally as weird was the one kindest family on earth that I took care of that night. As a rule people who come to our Emergency Dept (Pediatrics) are not always that nice to us. When I can't define "How long" they get irate. It's my goal to always keep my families informed of what's going on. A trauma may be holding up X ray, the Attending might still need to see them.

When a family stopped me in the middle of caring for their daughter to thank me for taking such good care of her..... I had to stop myself from immediately deeming them as weird.

With my colleagues I noted that people can be so darn cruel in this world that it seems strange when someone is just plain....... nice.

We can get so used to fighting the fight that when we don't' have to...... we wonder.... what's up with that?????

How about this....... sometimes people are just....... nice. And sometimes we just have to throw back our heads and laugh when the folks at the coffee shop don't speak English, or in my yoga class when I cue the wrong side..... or when your bagel comes through toasted with cream cheese instead of plain.

Those are the small things. The little things that tie us into our various tizzies.

But really, was getting a box of joe such a horrible thing? Heck no. We are nurses, we roll with any punch, and where I work that sometimes means literally.

Take a look around at your world today. What ignites that inner tizzy within you? Does it really matter? Or is it your cue to step back, laugh and eat a little cream cheese.

Eat the cream cheese.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Go Go Amy MO!

This is Buffalo News reporter Amy Moritz after finishing her first marathon this past Sunday!

I might be biased but I happen to believe I have the greatest father on the face of this earth. The older I get the more I hold close to me the lessons he has taught me. Form being 20 minutes early to everything.... to understanding that being happy is life's biggest priority...... he taught me to surround myself with people who contribute and won't try to take away from who I am.

I am pretty lucky that I don't get many harassing blog comments. Many of my friends have not been so lucky. Many of them have to deal with long and psychopathic emails and comments trying to tear them from limb to limb about their lives, their blogs.... whatever.

For me the answer is very simple...... I just don't take these things personally. Think of it this way...... if someone visits my blog each and every day, and what I write about gets them into such a huffy that they feel they have to spend actual time blasting me....... that's not a problem with me..... that's a problem with them. If I see within the first line of a comment that it's a harassment comment.... I just hit delete and move on. I have had one unfortunate experience with a psycho blog stalker, whom I was able to successfully prosecute for Internet harassment. It's not such a difficult case to win by the way.

I coach someone who I think is really really spectacular. Her name is Amy Moritz and she's a journalist for the Buffalo News. She ran her first marathon this past Sunday in 5:02. She learned to swim in November of 2007 and has competed in several triathlons..

As part of her writing she writes a blog a few times a week. You can find that blog here. On this blog Amy receives many positive comments. She unfortunately receives horrible negative ones, and sometimes even I have to wonder how she handles this.

For example yesterday, a man who calls himself Matthew Collins wrote this email to her......

From: Matthew Collins []

Sent: Tue 5/26/2009 11:12 AM

To: Moritz, AmySubject: Are you done yet?

Okay. Is your little experiment over yet? To any observer, astute or otherwise (head in the sand included) you are not an athlete.

How many Amy Moritz's are there writing blogs about their mediocre training runs? Now, how many get paid for it?

11:32 mile pace? This is as pedestrian as your 49 minutes for a 750 meter swim. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. And as soon as you finished your first season as a "competitive athlete" you express pie-in-the-sky dreams of a half-Ironman and maybe an Ironman. No doubt you'd get the tattoo on your calf like all the others. Hey look at my corporate symbol on my body. Yeah, it's owned by the world triathlon corporation. I'm getting the Pepsi logo next week.

You insult athletes by completely side-stepping the learning curve. Not to mention, everybody with a mid life crisis these days is turning to multi-sport to right their ship. Based on your results you have no functional strength. I'm curious what your dry-land consists of.

Like most wanna-bes, you'll state with great conviction that you work your "core" a few times per week. Please for the sake of your readership.

Stop blogging about your vain and meaningless pursuits. Isn't there a Girl Scout troop or soup kitchen that needs volunteers?

It makes me wonder a lot about the people who do this kind of thing. Amy unfortunately gets a lot of these kinds of emails..... and while I don't intend to turn this into a gender thing...... the ones who harass her are always males. Which makes me hop that these people are not fathers or even worse..... husbands.

My favorite comment of the day for her was this one from Greg:

Amy, some people are idiots. Simple as that. I'm inspired by your tales... and it's phenomenal that you ran a marathon. Anyone who thinks less of you can go... you know.

Greg's got it right. Some people are just idiots.

What's beautiful about Amy is that just over a year ago she did not know how to swim. Her running consisted of 5 minutes running, 5 minutes walking. A few years ago Amy was 40 pounds heavier and a party girl. She's slowly transformed herself into a healthy young woman who is finding herself on this path of health.

She's made friends in the athletic world who share her passion and her dreams. She's been able to surround herself with those people and shed the layer of self destruction that we all find ourselves in at some point in our lives.

I think each of us has encountered a Matthew Collins at some point in our lives. Someone who will take great strides to tear us down. We can choose to keep ourselves in that circle of needing to prove ourselves, or we can just accept that some people are idiots, and move on.

Personally I am really inspired by Amy. Being an athlete is not defined by a number or a placing or a status. Being an athlete is defined by you. The person who wins the marathon and the person who finishes last are athletes, and so is every single person in the middle.

To steal a quote from her race report, from which she paraphrased from somewhere else:

“If you want to learn about running, run a mile. If you want to learn about life, run a marathon.”
What would my father say about this email? He'd likely say the same thing as Greg did. Some people are idiots.

Monday, May 25, 2009

power off

For the first time in six years I stayed home for Memorial Day weekend. And I didn't work! As first I wasn't sure how I'd feel not being in Lake Placid, where several of our athletes went to train for the weekend...... and after about 5 minutes of that...... I was so glad we moved camp to June.

There are so many cool stages of parenthood, and I swear as Luc gets older it gets more and more fun. The challenges change, but the conversations and experiences you get to have just get richer.

A year ago Luc sat and watched the Memorial Day Parade. One of the Sub Scouts gave him a flyer and told him to join the Scouts, and he could be in this very parade. So he did. He joined. He earned a whole bunch of belt loops and patches, he made new friends (so did we!) and one year later....... here he is (in the red hat holding the banner, and wearing his brand new glasses!)

After the parade we made the short drive to Letchworth State Park, a gem around these parts and somewhere I have never ever been! There is serious shame in that! It's one of the most beautiful places around. We spent all day hiking and laughing and Cocoa swam her little dog butt off!

On the way there I turned off my iPhone, which meant email, texts, phone calls. I turned it all off and turned my attention to the day and the experiences before me. I know that we all get so caught up in the smallness of this world, the instant messages we get to one another, that we often forget to stop and smell those flowers and look at the world.

Not today. Today was about family, and remembrance and turning all of it off.

Today I thought a lot about my grandfather. He died the night before the very first Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater in 2006. I remember standing on the balcony of the hotel and my Mother trying not to tell me, she wanted to wait until after the race. I spent the run so choked up I could barely run.
My Grandfather was a Naval man. He served in the Battle Of Normandy in World War II. He never spoke about that experience, until Christmas 2005. When I enlisted in the Navy he spoke with me for hours about what it was like to be a Sailor. It had been my goal all my life to serve our country. I enlisted in the Navy when I was 20 and the night before I was to ship out, they re reviewed my medical records. They deemed that due to the history of my eating disorder and how sick I became, that I could not enlist.
To say I was completely devastated would be an understatement. It was a lifelong goal and dream of mine to be in the Navy. If they came knocking on my door tomorrow I'd think long and hard about accepting that opportunity.
I grew up with immense respect and admiration for any member of the Unites States Military. I learned as a young girl that every single soldier, no matter what they were a part of (Army, Air Force, Navy, marines), they were to have my highest respect.
They always have and they always will. And I will forever carry with me a big degree of disappointment that I was not able to follow in the footsteps of my Grandfather.
At his funeral my son stood next to the soldiers that were there, and joined them in saluting him. It saddened me terribly that I was the only one of 2 grandchildren (my cousin came as well) who attended to honor him. My Grandfather deserved more than that. Much much more. This man saw things he emotionally could not even bear to repeat. The least I could do to honor his life, was stand and listen to the Star Spangled Banner, at his grave. A man of great great honor, being laid to rest, his casket draped with the American Flag.
He got the full Military Salute and I was given his Naval Uniform. It is because of him, and many others like him, that we have what we have today. I will never ever forget that. It was my honor to know him, to hug and kiss every time I saw him, and to have had the opportunity to say to him..... thank you Granddad, for what you did for this world.
I keep 2 pictures of him. One on my desk. One on the visor in my car. To me, he represents so many things that in today's world we have lost. Respect for one another, Love for family. And time. Granddad always had the time for me. He was at every big event in my life. I was so absolutely honored to be one of the fortunate ones to be able to carry his casket to his final resting place.
He reminds me that what is important in life is not the text messages or emails that we naturally look for and send ourselves. What is important is the experiences we have with one another.
Thank you to all of you who serve in our United States Military. Thank you Granddad for teaching me to be brave.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

a plus

Spring has sprung like you wouldn't believe here in the Northeast, and with Luc in school again, I have hit the roads for all my rides. How good it feels to be off the trainer! More importantly how good it feels to have had three amazing school days for Luc.

I try to put myself in his shoes form time to time, and I have to wonder what it felt like to have three good days of school..... after three years of fight and struggle. No pink slips, no phone calls. No threats.

"The teachers don't yell at me mom!" He exclaimed on day two.

Some things just break your heart. The very school I was afraid to go to is the very place he's had three of the best school days of his life. We're still on the honeymoon phase, but after this year to have these three days of great..... is the biggest gift we could have been given.

He's been absolutely over the moon all week!

Go Luc, that's for sure!

The third week of training is coming to a close, and I am settling in to my own routine with Coach Jesse. The first quarter report card is due and I have to give him an A. You always worry with a coach if you are going to be just a number and the recipient of cookie cutter TrainingPeaks workouts. Not only does Jesse not use TrainingPeaks, his workouts and terminology is his own. That's important to me, when I am paying the big bucks for a big coach. You will always have repetition in these basic weeks, but you don't feel like you get a cookie cutter plan with Q2T.

My volume is about 16 hours right now, I love the balance of my basic week. I love the attention to detail that Coach Jesse provides and asks out of me.

I have never worked with a coach I didn't know. So this coach athlete relationship is a developing one. I am trusting someone I don't know that well, but whose coaching results speak for themselves. Jesse is learning to trust me as well, that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing and providing honest feedback.

Alicia recently wrote a very article on trust in coaching. She beautifully hit on all the right points in my opinion. As someone who rides on both sides of this relationship I feel that trust in the athlete, is equally important in the coach / athlete relationship. As I am venturing through a new coach / athlete relationship I realize how important it is that this two way street flows evenly.

As a coach you have to trust that your athlete tells you the truth. That's the plain and simple of it all. They can record a 60 minute zone whatever endurance run, but if what they really did was head out for an hour and play grab ass on the track....... who does that benefit?

The advent of downloadable data makes that relationship stronger and more honest, data doesn't lie. When I worked with Coach T the rule was "If it wasn't recorded, it didn't happen."

We as athletes have to be just as honest and especially accountable as coaches do. If I don't hit my targets in a particular race I can blame my coach or I can take a look at the four things that affect the outcome of my race (training, recovery, fueling and pacing). Assuming responsibility for ourselves should be something that's easy. For many people it isn't. Especially when it is easier to blame the coach when things aren't going right.

As I build this coach / athlete relationship with Coach Jesse..... I so need a nickname for him..... I have set my priorities to make that trusting relationship a very strong one. To me it means I stick to my basic week, I record all workouts, I recover from each workout properly, and I follow the plan that we developed.

Thus far Coach Jessee gets an A Plus. For all of it. I always wondered what a fancy big time coach was like to work with, and now I know. The fun part hasn't even begun yet....... and I can't wait for that!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

new beginnings

Luc's first day of his new school went great. When I pulled a letter from his teacher out of his bag I had a bad feeling in my stomach. and then I read it. Luc made 2 new friends, he joined the walking club and walked 31 laps of the gym, he bought his lunch, he got on and off the bus without any problems. I had such reluctance on sending him to this school.... it's for kids who have some special needs..... I don't want him to be one of those kids...... As we navigate this new school adventure I realize that by sending him to a school that is so well equipped to handle kids like Luc...... I realize that perhaps the real crime was keeping him in a mainstream school..... where the special education children were segregated. At times they were picked on by the mainstream kids. I think we all know how we acted towards the "BOCES kids"!

He's been at the new school for 2 weeks, integrating slowly. What impressed me the most about the Bird / Morgan school was the opportunity for movement these children all have. At his old school..... 10 minutes of recess per day. New school...... more like 3 hours of movement per day. Which encourages learning, interaction......

I found Luc online on Sunday googling sign language. He said there was a boy in his class who didn't speak, he could hear but he couldn't speak. Luc googled sign language and we started learning some signs because he wants to be this boy's friend. He wants to be able to talk to him.

Not every day will be a great day for him. Not every day is a great day for us either. I have to say it's the first day in months months and more months that we've had a really positive school day. He got on the bus smiling. He got off the bus smiling. His school is GIANT he tells me. He tells me there are a lot of really fun kids and at his new school they don't get yelled at for being different.

He tells me they help kids...... they don't yell at them.

It worries me to be very honest. You may have seen this article in the news yesterday. Sure these are what people will call extreme examples. But if one child dies, it is one child too many. In my opinion there is no such thing as extreme cases when it comes to children, especially, especially, especially our special needs children.

I will be very honest that through the past 10 weeks of homeschooling / tutoring / reflection / analysis....... in a mainstream school my son felt worse than an outcast. Every time he walked through those doors he was out on high alert. One wrong move and to the quiet study you go. One wrong move and the pink slip goes home to Mom. Very rarely was there a day that I didn't get a phone call from school. There is a very big effort to control these children.

By that I don't mean that these kids don't have to behave or follow the rules. I mean.... Luc will occasionally use a keyboard. I was told that he didn't want to. He told me he wanted to. After some digging I was told .... well the computer is too hard to turn on.... you have to log in..... you have to wait....... I bought him an AlphaSmart. Problem solved.

When Luc was in kindergarten there was a kindergarten picnic for all of the kindergartens in the district. Interestingly the special education kindergarten was not invited.

He got off the bus and said to me...... "MOM I BELONG! THERE ARE NO BULLIES THERE!" and I almost cried. I should have pursued this sooner....... and I am well aware we are still in the honeymoon phase of all of this....... we will have our days. But for the first time in years I feel like we are in a place with the proper resources to handle those days.

For example: when a child starts to have what we all call "a meltdown" they can go to a room called Mission Control. Within this room: spinning bike for kids, a ball bath, swings, a skateboard ramp with skateboards, bean bag chairs, books, you name it. They can go in there and do whatever they need to do to decompress.

Opportunity for movement. To get it out..... isn't that what we do?

Luc walked 31 laps of the gym as part of the walking club......... and he said..... guess what mom..... in this school I CAN RUN!

Outside of Luc's window in his new classroom..... A POOL WITH A DIVING BOARD! (find an outdoor pool with a diving board in New York State and you might have found GOLD)

Movement. Allow these kids movement. What a concept.

Rather than stuffing these kids in a box....... figure out how to help them learn. What a concept. Instead of making them feel like an outcast..... make them feel part of something. Build their self esteem and build their confidence alongside their academic skills. Rather than segregate these kids so they don't blend in with your perfect suburban child who is on the honor roll...... watch it, they might catch something from these kids............ give them community, give them each other.

Just you watch this class of his. I have met these boys. I have a feeling about them. They won't be hidden away....... these guys are going to shine. They're in just the right place to do it!

Monday, May 18, 2009

holding back

"Come on, what's a little more swimming time?" one of my lane mates said to me this morning. It was the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other shoulder. I wanted to stay longer than my prescribed 30 minutes, I wanted to so badly it hurt.

I remember the conversations I have had with Jesse. About trusting your coach, and trusting your athlete, the two way street of trust that we take in the coach athlete relationship. I remember him instructing me very explicitly on how there will be times I want to go harder and go longer, but I must trust the plan that we have created. There is a purpose to everything.

There is purpose to a 30 minute swim.

There is a reason I went to Jesse and QT2 Systems. Not to do more, not to do less, but to take the path that come November in Clearwater.... will bring me my best race to date.

I know the frustration that I feel when one of my athletes "goes over time". By an hour. I have a few of them and they know who they are. Then you go back to the drawing board and reconfigure for the next week. I know abut adding time on, I am the queen of it. If you have a good coach you have a progression and a plan. You have to trust it.

Adding time on is almost the guarantee of time spent on the couch nursing an injury when you should be hitting race prep targets. Almost guaranteed.

It's easy to do more work in a sport where it might seem that more is better. If 30 minutes is good than an hour might be better. So you add it on not realizing you may have upset the balance of the scheme that someone worked hours to carefully plot out with you.

It's not getting people to do more or work harder that we have trouble with, it's getting athletes and myself to recover both mentally, physically / nutritionally. I will work myself into such a hole that I crash my bike due to being so far in that hole that I am too tired to pay attention to the road before me. Happened in October. Member that?

Training includes rest, includes recovery, includes nutrition. This is all part of the category of preparation. There are things that fall under preparation and there are things that fall under execution. By not hitting just one of those things in those categories you will affect your outcome.

Preparation today meant swimming 30 minutes. No more, no less. No matter what.

It's definitely tough, when people are hitting the races. When so many of my athletes and friends are hitting peak fitness for their July Ironman races. I am not racing again until July, and my biggest race is in November, in July November is still four months away.

As I told myself this morning, Cait Snow didn't win Ironman Lake Placid by adding this, adding that. She won that race by sticking to her plan. Solidifying the four pillars of performance as they outline in the QT2 plan. She straightened those four pillars and she nailed a race she was prepared to nail.

I bet you any amount of money, that when told to swim 30 minutes, she might not like it, but she does it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


"Find something to do." The commencement speaker told us all. "Find someone to do it with."

I looked over at the other side of the auditorium, my parents, my son....... my husband....... and I thought about how lucky I am. To do the things I love with the people I love. As I looked before me to the graduates who were just beginning their careers I wanted to tell them to listen to this man.

"Be passionate about what you do." He said.

That right there is your biggest life lesson kids. That right there.

As I walked across the stage yesterday in a beautiful theatre as a graduate of the University of Rochester (a school I could never before but am given the incredible tuition benefits .... FREE...... given as a reward for being a Nurse there........) I had to laugh.

When I graduated in 1999 from Nursing School, that morning we were racing in Muskoka, five hours north of here. Curt qualified for Hawaii and if we stayed for rolldown I would have missed graduation. So I hitched a ride with our friend Stu back to Buffalo and hung out in the grass in my bike shorts and sports bra until my Mom brought me a dress.

Yesterday wasn't much different! 4am run...... 6am teaching yoga...... 7:30 home...... 8:15 Luc to school....... 9:15 yoga ....... 10:45 pick up Luc...... 11:15 meet family at restaurant.... then as I was in the bathroom at the restaurant I realized I had forgotten my bra. My back up..... sweaty sports bra and yoga clothes.

Luckily Walgreens was right down the street, I flew in there hoping they'd have some, and bought the cheapest bra of my life, and mighty uncomfortable too! And as we were checking out Luc told the checkout girl "My mom is graduating and she forgot her lung holder."

11:30...... Eating with my family.

I looked down at my feet. Danskos. I wear these babies all the time. I have four pairs. Crocs? Hell no. These shoes will keep your feet healthy. PROMISED. I wear nothing else. Today's [air happened to be blue suede.


As we arrived at Graduation I found my friends.... I forgot bobypins, a hairbrush (like I even OWN one), how does this hood thing go????? And my shoes were a hit.

All the silliness aside, I was proud to walk across that stage. As I came down the stairs with my diploma my son was jumping up and down waiting for hug. Today wasn't really about me graduating, it was for him to see. I knew how important it was for him to see this. He thought it was the neatest thing ever.

I sat back down in my chair and I felt a little bit teary, somewhat emotional. It's been a long road for me, through these small achievements. I have never been the smart girl in class. I have had to work hard for a C all my life. When I was told my GPA at the University of Rochester was 3.7, I thought I would have another heart attack.

I have three more years until my Masters Degree and until I go to the ocean. That's the plan. I have found something to do in my life. I found what I am passionate about in my life. And I have been absolutely blessed that I have found someone to do it with. In fact, I have been incredibly blessed that I have found many people to do it with.
(Head out of the gutter RYAN!)

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I am graduating on Friday! And then I am planning on graduating this same weekend in three more years! So write it down on your calendar.... it will be then I venture with the boys to the sun and the surf.

It's been a great week. I am still on easy street with training, and soaking up every second of it. I am going easy like it's my job and learning that it is my attention to detail about myself that holds me back. Details, I am told. Details.

Okay then. Details.

I am back in the weight room even. I finally found a coach who will let me do some. Let me? Try make me. It's pretty much agreed that weight training will not make you faster. Swimming biking and running will make you a faster triathlete. Weight training for those under 50 for men and 40 for women, can do a lot to hinder you in fact. So you do it carefully, planned and do the moves you are told to do.

I love the program. It's short, it gets me in and out. It's not easy. We all know that weight training trains the same system whether you lift heavy or lift light. High reps and low weights do the same thing high reps and low weights do. The weight training I am doing is somewhat different, it's a progression and it's fun. Kind of like a game of golf and you gotta beat the score.

I dig games. :-)

But I am the kind of athlete who listens. I don't buck when told to go easy. I become the queen of it. I know hard is right around the corner. And so is nutrition.

"The party's almost over." Warned Jesse last night over the phone. So I had a brownie, it doesn't count that it's organic, does it?

I am ready for the party to be over. Tell me what to do, eat and when to breathe. Damn the Navy may have never realized what they lost when they lost me. (another story for another time).

Until then, I have a run to run, yoga to teach, a little guy to get to school and pick up, Cracker Barrel to eat at with my parents and my family....... and I have a great big stage to walk across tomorrow and a hat to toss into the air.

With a theatre full of nurses however, I can't imagine we will be throwing the hats. EYE INJURY!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

mother's day bubble blower 4,000

Bet you didn't get one of these for mother's day:

Yes, it is, it's the Bubble Blower 4000. And it's mine.

It's been a wonderful Mother's Day so far. I slept in, elevated my legs for a good 30 minutes. Went out to breakfast and am going to go for a nice easy 70 minute run in a little while.

My favorite part of today might seem a little bit strange, but it's tonight at Breathe. The teachers and staff are gathering for a feast. A feast? Yes a feast. Breathe has just undergone a very exciting renovation (pardon the dust, there is still more to come if you can believe that), and Breathe now offers a full menu of locally grown, wholefood, ready to eat entrees. Tonight we are going to be treated by our absolutely incredible Chefs...... yes that says CHEFS......... and it's pleural...... to a sampling of everything we are going to be offering.

I have mentioned her before but the owner of Breathe, Cyndi Weis is probably the most talented Dietitian I have ever met. She's spent the better part of the past 2 years planning this renovation and nutritional hotspot for the area. There's a full fledged teaching kitchen and semi weekly cooking classes (yes, come and learn how to cook healthy, wholefood, and locally grown meals) that have already been scheduled through the end of the summer.

I am so lucky to be a part of this. Stay tuned, so much more to come!

On Friday I came home form teaching yoga to find this at the end of the driveway with the trash.

I rescued it. It's my first ever tricycle. I don't hold onto much from my childhood but I take this with me through every travel. It's thirty years old. It doesn't even have pedals anymore. But it's what started the cycling fascination for me.

When I was 16 years old my father took me to the bike shop. While my friends were getting cars I was equally excited to be given the opportunity to choose any bike I wanted. Believe me I did choose wisely. The things I have seen and experienced on two wheels has been extraordinary. Beyond competition and beyond going hard, I have seen and learned so much while riding.

I have seen prairies, mountains. Germany. I have strengthened friendships, learned who I really was...... and I met my husband on two wheels.

There are so many things to see while riding. Things you can see or experience with your ass planted in the seat of a fancy car. I have ridden through snow, wind sleet and rain. I have crashed, been crashed into, and crashed because I was not paying attention. I have healed, I have grown, I have laughed and I have cried.

There is still so much I plan to do on two wheels. There's a whole country to see and we've already begin to dream about that family expedition.

Keeping that trike with me all these years reminds me that the seeds that are planted in our youth are the seeds that grow as we get older and have our own children. Luc.... he's got several bikes. He's got no Wii. No video games. Because while it might be fun to throw an imaginary ball down the lane of a television screen..... it's much more fun to actually ....... do that.

My bother was a video game connoisseur. He might still be, I don't really know him. He's spent countless hours locked away in his room playing whatever video games he had. If we touched his Atari or Coleco Vision he'd kick our asses. Little did he know....... that by doing that he was doing the very same thing my father did when he got me that bike.

He gave me the world.

While it might be fun to hop ski jumps or jump rope on a TV screen...... try getting outside and actually doing that. There's just nothing like sun, and wind and rain and the feeling of coming so close to flying your stomach jumps. Cant' do that on a video game.

I hope to god I never see a Wii game that's a bicycle. I will burn it in the store.

Get a bike, go outside...... like we did when we were kids. Like I did on my trike when I would ride with my babysitter stood on the back. When we left to play and didn't return till dusk.

To me this trike is just a reminder. Of the outdoors, of life, of play, of moving and breathing, of time spent laughing and not sitting in front of a screen that simulates. Of experiencing.

What does the Bubble Blower 4000 provide for us? The chance to go outside yet again, to jump around, to play pop the bubble with each other and the dog, and to live life the way it was meant to be lived.

In action.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Last night I had a great meeting with Jesse, my new coach (I swear he's worth double his going rate already). I have been so fortunate to work with Doug Bush of Endurance Factor, Trevor Syverson of TMS Multisports and now Jesse Of QT2 Systems. I don't think in all my life I have ever had a bad coach. There was one swim coach who was questionable...... but if you cut through his ego he was a great coach.

But then again my father has always said, and so have my coaches, that I am a coachable athlete.

Jesse is certainly no exception. He's freaking passionate about triathlon. But we all are, aren't we? It's why we read each other's blogs, cheer one another on, check in and make friends all over the world. Meeting and talking with Jesse just confirms everything I love about this sport.

As each coach does.... Jessee has spent a lot of time and several years developing his systems, his protocols and his methods. To get details on those you will have to ask him, or click here. If I tell you ...... well unless you work with him it means nothing to you. Just like unless you work with Mark Allen, or Gordo, or anyone....... I think you have to work under someone to really get their philosophy and their system so to speak.

I have been trained strictly in heart rate, and specifically in power and pacing. I would say that QT2 uses a combination, and quite appropriately it seems. There are times to monitor heart rates and there are times to monitor pacing.

I like Jesse's philosophy on strength training, it's kind of the view I have, but he articulates it much much better. It won't make you fast, we all know that strength work can slow you down. To swim bike and run faster you have to swim bike and run. Strength training will give you soft tissue durability. The person who it might help to become faster is someone with a strength limiter. As we looked at my body composition, my power to weight ratio it is pretty clear that I am strong (let me beat my chest!). Strength is my attribute.

I like Jesse's ... what he calls..... histogram. I like how it is laid out, I understand the meaning behind the break down of the megacycle and the mesocycle. I am so used to training and or coaching a certain way that this is a breath of fresh air. Much like Coach T was when I was training with him.

There are protocols to follow for every workout during the next four weeks. Which are base weeks. Here we are monotonous, he said boring.... I said relaxing..... and just coming back to the basics. As we spoke last night I was able to see the progression. Clearwater is going to be a good day for me, but I am seeing how this will set me up for the come 2010.

And beyond.

Jesse's passion for this sport leaks through the phone lines. I am delighted to hear him talk.....if you have ever read his articles you should try to attend a seminar from him. He makes talking about cells and the ATP and Krebs cycles interesting (why wasn't he my chemistry teacher in college?).

The biggest thing I am so grateful for is that he believes in my ability as an athlete. I know this is a guy who is not hurting for athletes. The man coaches Cait Snow.... it's not like he was looking for Mary Eggers. I didn't expect the opportunity to work with him, I was hoping for anyone who would be willing to help a struggling athlete. But he took me on.

I have a lot of respect for a lot of people in this sport. As I have seen all of this unveiled he asks me what questions I have. I say none. It's self explanatory. It's simple. It makes sense to me. When you are a good presenter and you keep you ego out of it....... then the audience will absorb.

There's so much more to it than this as well. The nutrition component..... that will take several posts as I digest it (get it.... ha ha) myself. But I love it. It's me. The goals are right in front of me in terms of body composition and performance. They are attainable.

The one thing Jesse mentioned to me (and I am paraphrasing here) that really rings true for all of us, is in regards to our work ethic:

We all work hard. That's not the issue. We can all go out and pop off X intervals in zone Y and beat out chest. It's the nature of our sport. How many times have you heard your friends talk about the mile repeats they ripped off last night and how hard they went......

when is the last time you heard someone say this..... "Man you should have seen me last night. I was in BED by 8pm and got 10 hours of sleep. THEN I got up and had blueberries for breakfast and really warmed up before I began my 60 minute easy ride......"

Uh...... I might be president of the winning the workouts in training club.

So remember, it's the whole package. The Qt2 System, just like many other systems, has a few basic concepts. This I will share (and these aren't groundbreaking, every coach has them):


Nutrition / Rest

Race Fuel


Those are concepts I can trust in!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Weekend At Placid 2009

Just a reminder, the last call is going out! If you have emailed me months ago reserving a spot, just please email me again to confirm I have you on the list!
Here is the information should you need it or be interested!

Monday, May 4, 2009

day one

Day one...... just fine. Nothing killer on the menu today. Little swim, little lift. My first day of school went good. Luc's however...... didn't exist,

Tuesday: meeting to determine whether the transfer was to happen. I was told at this meeting "We will call the new school and make sure everything is ready to go."

Wednesday..... ho hum. Nothing.

Thursday..... nothing.

Friday..... let me give the new school a call. Secretary answers...... of yes Luc! We haven't received the paperwork from the old school yet. When we do we will give you a call.


Yes, my head blew. B.L.E.W.

Let's just say they have a timeline set for them. And not to worry.... this will be taken care of (if you know what I mean).

So Luc got to work on riding his bike. This kid already has 3 bikes. I told him once he gets off the training wheels he can have a trick bike. (He's got issues with balance, but man we are CLOSE). That's the benefit of being in our family....... good bikes, and a bunch of them. When does school start? Who knows, probably the last week of the year.

Tomorrow we are riding our tandem to go get some coffee. No one told me to give it up yet, so I didn't. Yet. The team and coach are in St Croix, so that means a few more days of the juice.

Other than that, nothing big and exciting to report. Except you may have seen my new sun glass sponsor, these babies are wicked hawt and guaranteed to elevate my performance to the next level.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

the whole picture

One of the attracting things to the QT2 Team and Coach Jesse is the attention they give to nutrition and body composition. Jesse was recently mentioned in an ESPN segment with professional UFC fighter Kenny Florian (before I forget), who is speaking about nutrition.

This is an area that many coaches, including myself fall short. I think it's because of the touchy subject that nutrition is with athletes. especially female athletes.

As a recovering Bulimic (15 years!) many females will come to me because I understand EDO's. I certainly do. I am also known to take a very hard stance on them. But I am not a nutritionist or a registered dietitian. I am a Registered Nurse however and just by interest have a good understanding of nutrition and body composition.

I'm not entirely comfortable however dictating to an athlete what they should eat, what their body composition should be, etc. Like many coaches I use some resources.

Deb Iovoli, located in Rochester, is a Dietitian specializing in Sports Nutrition, a triathlete, runner, Ironman finisher and our local Moms in Motion Leader.

Beth Shutt, who recently opened the Athletes Eutrophia is located near Pittsburgh PA. Beth is also an accomplished triathlete and a Registered Dietitian who focuses on Sports Nutrition.

Cyndi Weis the owner of Breathe Yoga in Pittsford (where I am so very very proud to be celebrating my fifth year of teaching yoga) is also a Registered Dietitian, is incredible. She's the one who turned me on to the wholefood way of eating so to speak. Getting an appointment with her is tough, I don't know anyone who can present it better than her!

So as a coach I use resources to help my athletes with nutrition. I am hesitant to tell someone they need to be heavier or leaner because of the touchy nature of nutrition and athletes.

As a member of the Qt2 team I will be working with Jesse and the RD's of the team to determine where I currently am in terms of body composition and where I need to be. It would be the first time in my eating disordered history I am feeling very comfortable in doing that. It's also the first time I have worked with a coach who has placed such importance on both training and body composition, and the first coach I have worked with who talks in terms of body composition. It's a great learning experience for me in many ways.

I feel like I have finally reached the stage in my recovery where I don't have to run from it, it doesn't bother me, rule me, but with that being said I have to be careful. While I am such a different person than I was when I was actively Bulimic..... the memories of how that felt and the physical repercussions of that part of my life are forever.

My teeth need to be re enameled every 8-10 years. I am coming up on the second round. I had a dental reconstruction that will need to be updated in a few years as well. Want to rob me..... there is value in my mouth. I see a Cardiologist regularly, with no problems, but I still have to go. I must manage my stress level due to ulcers I developed, while they are dormant now I have to manage my stress properly or else they get bad and they bleed. I have a healed tear in my esophagus that is watched. Fine, but watched.

The worst part is that these are all things that didn't need to happen. The guilt and shame of eating disorders run deep. It was my choice in the end to do that to my body and I had plenty of people to try to help me along the way.

But back to there here and now....... I will be working closely with a QT2 RD to determine where I should be. I will be given the daily menu much like I am given my training. The menu will also revolve around a very detailed race fueling plan. And I like that. I like to be told what to do :-)

Nutrition on this team revolves around the Core Diet that they have developed. It's very similar if not the same as the way of eating I have been gravitating to this season. For the most part I don't eat refined foods..... I don't eat bread, I instead eat Ezekiel 4:9 sprout bread. Everything from Peanut Butter to Peanuts is organic, and I have given up Diet Sodas. That was a tough one.

Now what about coffee? I am not sure we can talk about that yet. I am a nurse, it kind of comes with the territory, I am a massive coffee drinker. I have a couple of big cups a day. I define a cup as Venti. I drink it black, I like it strong. I could drink a Venti pure Espresso. I never ever fluff it up.

I like it straight up.

I can drink a pot of coffee and go to sleep. That, therein lies the problem. In athletics we can use caffeine to help us. Used at the right time it can benefit performance. Right now I would not say I am addicted to it (denial), but I drink enough of it that it doesn't affect me.

We will be keeping the morning cup for now. But starting Monday I can have 2 cups per day.

So think about how much time you put into training and competing. Think of the money you spend as well. By not paying attention to what we fuel our bodies with, we are in fact cheating ourselves of health and performance. I think it's worth the investment in ourselves to determine where we are and what we need to do to become the healthiest we can become.
I'll drink a Venti to that!