Tuesday, June 30, 2009

report card

The other day when I embarked on my long run I was not positive that my legs would even work. Sleep deprivation + 2 days of walking around in Hershey had left both Curt and pretty trashed. How do people who are not in shape do this???? So I began the run thinking that I wouldn't be surprised if this turned into hell. But I need hell so give me hell then.

As I am learning to rely more on HR rather than pace I looped my Garmin around my Fuel Belt and I set off. I ran entirely by HR and I never looked at pace. I felt good. I felt so good I had tears in my eyes. It's been a long time since I have had a long run like this. Upon later analysis of my paces..... oh boy, I thought. It's been a while since I have run this.

It was a continuation from 3 days before, this feeling of being back. Back in my body, back on my feet, back in my health. I set out for 2 X 30 min efforts with Curt. And I dropped him. Upon returning to the house a bit later he said..... Um.... eeeks.... it's been a while since I have seen that bike form. To hear that from Curt is like him dropping down on one knee again. It makes my heart race to zone 3 all on it's own.

Musselman 1/2 Ironman is in 2 weeks. For this race we are aiming for a sub 5:08, even though I won the inaugural Musselman in a 4:48. I have let that go as the focus is here on this race and this season with this new coach.

Which brings me to the report card to answer the question I have been asked the most.....

How are things going with Coach Jesse?

My grade is an A+. And I have not even raced yet.

There are many things I really like about Jesse and his system. The first is that's it's a system. There are goals and parameters to meet each week. Meet the parameter and move up a notch.

Jesse is an excellent teacher and has proven to me that you can in fact teach an old dog new tricks. Through HR, pace and power I am learning to push myself beyond what I thought I could achieve in training. Through proper rep, during and post race fueling I am able to do the same.

The nutrition makes sense and it is real food. It's such a massive component of the training and I feel the healthiest I have felt in ages.

I like that he checks in by phone weekly or bi weekly. I like that he treats you like you are the most important athlete in his stable. I like that his methods are proven, I like that everything is measurable, I like that everything makes sense.

I like the way he puts together a week. I like that I can see where we are going. I like that we have short term goals for B races like the Musselman, longer term goals like Clearwater, and those goals that are stepping stones along the way.

I love that we've set an Ironman goal for 2010. Did I just say Ironman????? I did. More on that much later on, we have a 2009 season to focus on first.

I can't wait to race. I am feeling good, I am feeling ready to go get it and I am ready to step up a rung on this ladder.

Like I said...... A PLUS.

Monday, June 29, 2009

the privelage of the period

It's not easy being a girl. We've got stuff and issues and..... hormones. Any parent of a pre teen or teenage daughter knows this all too well. Those of us who have the ability to look back on our teenage years with the same reaction as fingernails scratching a chalkboard...... wish to god the same fate does not await us. I was horrible. I don't know how my parents survived. I really don't. Not only did they survive 2 teenage daughters but one with an eating disorder and a son..... well we don't need to even talk about him and his antics. At least not until Halloween.

Early on I had a swim coach who taught me to never allow anything to prevent me from doing what I dreamt of doing. She told me that when I first got my period at age 12. Yeah, 12. Not only that but I was already 5'10" in 6th grade and the first girl in a bra. More on that one Friday.

Lucky me, early bloomer, no one around me was going through the same thing. It was awkward, teenage years are awkward. At that age I was 2 full years into my EDO career so you can imagine I was .... oh just a little bit..... insane.

I remember standing on the pool deck and I was afraid to get into the water. What if I bled in the pool? I can't swim with my period! Oh my gawd! I was too mortified to ask my mother, and I actually wonder what she would have told me to do.

My swim coach ( a girl) told me that having my period was something I needed to learn to deal with. It's part of being a woman, that I should consider it a privilege and it is not something to be ashamed of. Now get in the water and swim.

So I did. And of all the things I took to heart, I took her advice.

Menstruation is different for every girl. My sister would be on the floor for days with cramps so bad she couldn't walk. Me, pretty easy. Heavy flow.... three days. Cramping? No.

Thank you god for giving me something that was easy. Fertility? not easy. The books? Not easy. College? Not easy? Being a triathlete? Not easy.

Marriage = easy. Period = easy. I will take those.

So I learned to deal with having my period. I danced with it, I swam with it, I swim and I bike and I run with it.

Last year I took on a wonderful new athlete who was doing the Ironman. One of her first questions to me was...... I don't want to have my period on the day of the Ironman.

Um..... God..... I might need some help on this one, I thought...... I can't control the period.

A few years ago when I visited my OB / GYN she informed me that women need to only have three periods a year, that by skipping the placebo row with your BCP's that you could have control over when you actually had your period.

As wonderful as that sounded, I was horrified. Tell a girl who has fertility issues to mess around with her body...... nice advice sister.

I did confirm with a few other physicians that this was a plausible idea.

I completely disagree with this practice. And that's just my opinion. I am not in favor of anything that messes around with the body like that. Especially especially if you plan on having children in the future.

If that's something that interests you... speak to your OB / GYN/. Maybe your period is so horrible that an option as that is like gold. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. I just plainly think there are better ways to deal with it than that.

According to several sources there is evidence to demonstrate that periods either slow down or stop when you are in water. Each and every person is different however and I am positive someone out there could tell me a horror story about how they bleed in water. Many athletes use tampons while swimming, just be sure to change it when you get out.

Know that I have seen 4 cases of Toxic Shock Syndrome. It is frightening. So change and change often. I know the box says every 6-8 hours, but I say change it sooner. These super absorbent ones...... be careful. Change it often. Bottom line.

So what do you do when training racing? Be prepared and know your body. In all honesty I seem to pretty well miss race day with my period. I recall one or two races where I had it.

In an Ironman I would honestly just wear nothing. As gross as that sounds the things your body goes through during that day..... I certainly wouldn't pop one in at 6am and take it out at 6pm. I wouldn't think to change it during the race either. But that's me, I have it easy.

If you do need to wear one in an Ironman I would change it post swim, and post bike. It takes 30 total seconds and if it's your comfort, if you know yourself then I think it is worth it.

Along with bleeding comes bloating, cramping and moodiness. There are medications like Midol out there which can help. However you know me..... I like au natural. In many cases manipulating your diet..... or cleaning it up...... can alleviate those symptoms better than a medication will, and minus the side effects.

By sticking to 4-5 nutrient dense fruit and vegetables per day you can give your body what it needs to self regulate. In many cases we use medications as band aids and we don't fix the underlying problem. It's like giving someone with high cholesterol a pill to bring it down and then they go eat bacon.

Now..... in my sister's case I don't think nutritional manipulation would have helped her. I don't know her that well and I don't know if she still has those problems, we live in different countries.
I just remember her crying on the floor of the bathroom. Because I am an asshole I will say she was just a wimp, although she probably was not :-).

So there are certainly cases where medications like ibuprofen, midol, or what have you will help. I'd still recommend doing what you can nutritionally to help take care of the root cause of the bloating and the cramping and the moodiness.

I would also recommend tracking your period and tracking your symptoms. If you have an iPhone there's a great tracking application called iPeriod. It's tremendously helpful in tracking patterns, predicting when your next period will come, and if you are trying to conceive it helps you plan your fertile days.

Tracking your period and what goes with it can then help you plan for it. If you know this week you have your period, with brings with it a 3 pound weight gain, and moodiness, plan for it. Maybe adjust your workouts, know that when you step on the scale you are just retaining water this week, the more you plan the better you can use that as an opportunity.

Like my swim coach told me years ago..... do not let your period stop you from doing anything. Anything. It takes understanding your body, knowing your body and it takes planning. I would never be in favor of changing the natural rhythm of your body, but I am for not looking at it as the enemy.

Look at it as a privilege. You get to have children. What better privilege in the world?

Friday, June 26, 2009

home sweet home

There are a few things I love about traveling other than traveling itself.... coming home, time in the car with people I love.... and seeing new places..... okay and old places.

I am convinced that the two greatest methods of seeing a new place are on foot and by bike. In Germany I saw the best parts on bike. This morning, I met Hershey on foot. It's a small town, not overdone (it seemed) by the chocolate, but just enough of it to make it sweeter. Sweet is the word everyone associated with Hershey seems to use.

Have a sweet day! Exclaimed all the park employees! I loved it!

This morning I had a short run through chocolate town and yes, it does smell like chocolate. Not strong enough to nauseate you but enough to make you smile. The street lights are in the shape of kisses. There's the Hershey museum, and a few other novelties. Aside from that, it's a small town with pretty landscaping and nice people. What a gift in itself!

We toured Chocolate World, got our Masters Degree from Hershey University, rode more rides and had more fun. We drove home smiling, worn, sun burnt and giggling. I swear the best times I have are in the car with my guys.

I feel like my biggest gift in life is the ability to soak up every single moment. People will try to tell me to live it now... meaning my son's youth.... because before I know it he will be off to college. Trust me I soak up every single minute of him. Every single day. That is my gift. I can't think of a single second in the past 8 years that I missed. I get to see it all and I hold onto all of it.

Today Luc rode his first upside down roller coaster. Since Curt shaved his head the two of them refer to themselves as the "Bald Brothers". The bald brothers took on some of the scarier rides and I got to spectate and photograph the moments shared by a father and son. Those pictures.... those are for us. But there are lots of good shots on Face Book.

Those moments make me fall in love with Curt even deeper (sappy moment!) and allow me to rest in the warmest moments of happiness. Life is so full and rich..... and damn.... so sweet.

This is the life.... I told them as we rode the Sky View last night. This is the life.

Back home we are full of great memories, ready for a summer of many more to come. We've got adventures planned all summer. I can't freaking wait.

And to give you an exciting preview of some blog topics for next week...... you either might want to skip a week of me, or tune in because next week I will tackle three questions I am repeatedly asked:

1. Monday:

Menstruation and the competitive athlete. (for the boys who don't know.... that means your period).

2. Wednesday:

Dropping the monkey...... meaning GI distress during races. Charting yourself, runner's trots, why it happens and what to do about it.

3. Friday:

Breasts, boobs...... how to find the right support for those who have to wear a sports bra while they race. I am the expert on this one, I am a bra tester for 2 companies!

Exciting stuff gang. Stay tuned.

the sweetest place on earth

At promptly 0500 Thursday morning we rolled Luc out of bed and into the car. We announced that there would be no attending the last day of school..... we were instead heading to Hershey Park (don't worry, his teach was in the know)..... and off we headed to Hershey Park, about a 5 hr drive form Rochester.

When we arrived at 1000 it was game on, until about 10 pm last night. Waterslides, roller coasters, laughing and a ton of sun!!!! Luc was out of his mind!

We are a little bit sunburnt, well rested, and gearing up for day two. Today we are sending Curt on the Fahrenheit, a roller coaster I wont even think of going on... and I rode 2 yesterday!!!!!

We will head home tonight, but first there is a chocolate factory to tour and waterslides to ride!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

the good life

After class last evening, one of my yoga students approached me. She told me she appreciated that I led such a well balanced life, that I had helped her find balance in her own life. I think any time you can help someone do something positive in their life, you can really feel good about it. I know that when someone has influenced or helped me, I let them know as well. It's a good way to keep the good energy flowing.

She made me smile for a lot of reasons, one of those reasons is how many people will take a look at me, what I do, what I write, and make the assumption that I live a totally insane life without room to sit in the backyard and drink a beer, or play with my son.

If you are a mother who is a competitive athlete you are automatically assumed to be too busy and focused to spend time with your children, and you are often told that by other mothers.

I don't explain myself to a lot of people, simply because I don't care. If you've created the story about me that I'm living a 24 hour life that speeds along at 70 mph..... I don't want to ruin that for you at all. I just encourage people to look in their own mirrors, and look at their life.

If I was told that this was the way my life was going to be for eternity I would cheer. I love every minute that I get to me in my shoes. I get to experience the best of so many worlds. I get to be a working yet stay home Mom...... most of my work and my training is done while Luc is at school. Last week he told his new specialist that I wait for him to come home all day, when he was asked what it is that I do.

It made me laugh because yeah, I pack a lot into his school day when he is at school. But when the bus pulls up it's all Luc. And I don't need to explain that or prove that to anyone..... what matters is that he knows it, and trust me he does.

That I get to call my husband my BFF, is incredible. I dare to say that marriage is easy..... ours certainly is. While I am no expert on marriage and longevity, I just know that we know and respect one another.

That's why this weekend in Lake Placid I knew that whatever decision I made about an Ironman in 2010 didn't need to be run by my husband. It wasn't his call, he knew that if I got there and felt the need to sign up again...... then that is what I would need to do. Just as.... if Curt decides not to do Arizona..... that's his call.

Now, there are certainly much more important things in our lives than triathlon.... but those items are not up for public display. Triathlon becomes an easy subject to write about.

As I pulled into Lake Placid last Friday I immediately felt at home. Usually I know immediately if I need to do this race again. The Ironman is a spiritual experience for me, whether you resonate with that or not..... is up to you. We all have our thing.

The mountains were beautiful, the roads were smooth and the rain was warm. I felt good the whole weekend. I did the training I was assigned to do, I watched my athletes and my friends find new pieces of themselves out there.

Sunday morning I sent the campers out for their workout and drive to the out and back on the run for a 50 min interval run / 30 min bike / 50 min interval run. I wanted to go out there alone, and find the answer I was looking for.

While I was training alone I was not alone. Everyone was out there. People I knew, people I didn't know. People I hadn't seen in four years. I stopped mid interval to give a hug to a very old friend. What a cool place to run into him! And he ran with me for a bit. I felt tears in my eyes as I felt the energy of every soul I crossed paths with that morning.

"You look strong!" one man called out to me..... I told him he did as well.

Bob hit his turnaround point and I we cheered each other on.

A girl was out there struggling..... I gave her a cheer and she started to pull it back together.

The people in this multisport community are just incredible.

As I ran I looked at the ski jumps and I thought of Marit over in Ironman CDA, and I sent everything positive her way, knowing that across the country my friend was hearing me cheer for her.

When my second 50 minute run was over I will admit that I was on the verge of shitting myself and vomiting. The yellow car parked in front of my car offered me cookies (which I declined.... we have an eating protocol on QT2!!!!)....... one guy gave me a high five and told me... job well done!

I stood there for a few minutes as I looked down the straightaway of that out and back and I felt miraculously content. Sometimes in Lake Placid I hear the call of Iron, and this weekend..... I did not hear that call. I felt so excited to be coaching the Ironman and not trashing myself for it.

We all do the Ironman for different reasons. They are all very good reasons if they are your reasons, not someone else's. Right now I have different goals in my sport. I've gone sub eleven. I have qualified for Hawaii a few times. It's almost like.... been there done that.

I would like to try to break the family Ironman record. Scratch that. I want to break the family Ironman record. Not now though. It's not time.

My passion lies in improving how I coach my athletes through the Ironman. How I can even better help them on their own journey.

Myself..... I want to crack my favorite distance, the 70.3 race. That fires me up. That excites me. When you have a family this distance is just so darn doable and it's easier to recover from.

I don't' want my season to be over in July. People disappear after IMLP. They retreat. It will be the time I am emerging.

I got back into my car and drove back to the hotel to hear the stories of the morning and to see smiles and dirty bikes being wiped down and packed up to go home.

A balanced life is certainly what I have. A good life is definitely what I have. A life that gives me so much to be grateful for, and believe me I am.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Camp recap

In this current economy I am so incredibly lucky to be able to run my own business, have an athlete stable that is full, a waiting list and the ability to give out 2 coaching scholarships per year. I am anything but a necessity, triathlon would revolve just fine without me, so believe me I know what a lucky position I am in right now. I am more than lucky, I am blessed. Each person who contacts me I am fortunate for.

I have been in this sport a very long time. I am entrenched in the community of triathlon. Locally and nationally I feel like I have friends on every street corner. I consider the multisport community my family and what's really fortunate for me is that people know and understand who I am, just as I understand who they are.

A few months ago I discovered someone who was trying to bring negativity, drama, and destruction my way. It was hurtful in so many ways because I don't understand why anyone would get such pleasure out of trying to cause someone pain. In this community however, that kind of behavior is so recognized, and it was recognized for what it's worth. Those around me alerted me, and helped me move very far from the situation. What I love about this community is that it does not tolerate that kind of energy.

It's within this community that I have found love, friendship and so much more.

It's this kind of positive energy and feeling of community I get during an experience as we had this weekend, at the Weekend at Placid Part 6. Every single year camp gets better and better, with so many new faces I looked forward to what everyone would bring to the table.

My one regret from camp...... I did not take a lot of pictures. I was too immersed in the action!

This year we opened up camp to people outside our team. Dave from Ontario, Joe from Downstate, Jessica from Delaware, Jason and Charlie from Rochester and Buffalo, Bob from Massachusetts........ joined our group and it was awesome.

Most everyone arrived on Friday night, and by 3pm we had a big group ride through the run course and down the last 11 miles of the bike. The weather was warm and although it began to rain, it was a good rain. Everyone was ready, laughing, smiling and already enjoying the day.

When I was done riding I had a hill repeat workout, that I talked Sarah into. Most everyone else transitioned to a run and a swim, the plan was dinner at 7.

Sarah ran the hills great, excellent form. I could not believe that this big hill in town, the one we run for the Ironman..... was actually easier than Ward Hill Road. I couldn't' believe it. I felt stronger. I felt good, although low on calories, but I know better so push through Mary!

By 7pm we had gathered for dinner and it was wonderful to watch everyone connect and laugh and exchange their energy. I love this stuff.

Saturday morning brought us another big day. The Intermediate and 70.3 folks were riding one loop, and the Iron Folk were riding 2 loops. We all had runs off the bikes and the weather, looked like it would be cooperating.

I followed my plan, I stayed within my numbers..... I learned later that Don and I pulled a giant train around the course. I wasn't to pick it up until 2:30 and I did, right in the last 11 miles.

By the way, if you are coming to Lake Placid..... the descent into KEANE IS REPAVED. Smooth as glass! Holy FUN!

When I got to the top of Papa Bear I turned around to continue my interval, it was the kind of interval that was hard but not hard enough..... and believe me I am itching to go hard. I am beginning to froth at the mouth ready to race. That is coming..... it is coming.........

As I descended Papa Bear I got a chance to see many of the campers as they continues to climb. By this time I had sent Don ahead .... go charge I told him.... what's the worst that could happen?

Steve was riding stronger than ever. Sarah not far behind. And Kim...... the work this girl has put in has given her moon leaps on the bike. I almost begin to wonder if there is some bike envy going around. Ken, right there. Everyone looked great,

I completed my interval back on 73 and back towards town. I made a turn to try to skirt the main roads and hit the hotel from behind. Of course I am out of nutrition and get lost, ending back at the horsefarm. My calories again were a little low, but we are experimenting so this is what we have to learn.

Back at the hotel the athletes have begun to arrive. And the stories that make this kind of stuff hilarious begin to roll in. I join everyone in the unheated pool for a quick ice bath before I head out on my run. My run felt great and so did my swim. I loved the feeling of putting in good solid training and not thrashing myself.

At 4pm I was out on the kayak watching everyone swimming, taping strokes and just....... loving the feeling of sitting in the middle of the Lake...... being surrounded by such beauty.

I later learned that Fitz as we call him, had a bit of a bonk the last 11 miles of loop 2. He stopped to buy a cheeseburger, realized he was $2 short, tried to get a cash advance on his credit card.... the seller ended up feeling so bad for him ..... he gave him the Cheeseburger.

Jochen..... rode the 112. Pulled into the hotel parking lot at 4:20pm. Drove to Whiteface to register for the 8 mile climb up Whiteface.... 8 miles at an 8% grade..... because he was feeling good. Upon returning to his car he realized he had a bike with no wheels. He raced back to the hotel and then back to Whiteface and started the race 10 minutes late. 74 minutes later he popped out of the clouds at the top of Whiteface.

K dub did the race as well and brought Jochen back down the mountain. I have to admit that when I saw K Dub and E Dub pull into the hotel parking lot with Jochen's bike and a bunch of foil blankets in the waaaay back....... I feared it was Jochen in the fetal position back there.

But no, he pulled in a few minutes later, got out of his car and did a little jig for us.

Oh my GOD!

Saturday night a bunch of us had dinner at the Dancing Bear, a new restaurant in town, others headed over to the Brew Pub. The Dancing Bear was awesome and the company was even better.

Sunday morning everyone had their assigned rides and I had my own workout to do. I will write up a personal report tomorrow but I found so much on my workout on Sunday morning. And made my decision about 2010.

As we all parted ways on Sunday I was almost in tears as people thanked me. Me? They did the work! All I did was organize and laugh and have fun. It showed me that I am in the right place at the right time in this very moment. That I need to never worry about the negativity that tried to harm me....... that ....... in this community..... is seen for what it is. Which is nothing.

Kim, Ken, Alan, Bob, Jochen and I did a late morning swim in Mirror Lake. Man I love that Lake. We had a final breakfast together at Charlie's, again where I felt such an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.

As Kim and I drove home.... it was an episode of Dumb and Dumber...... 5 hours of laughing at.... well really nothing at all. Chatting Ironman, planning the final peak period..... getting ready.

When I got home the guys were waiting and I of course began to cry. I am the luckiest girl in the world to be able to do what I do.

This weekend I laughed so hard my abs hurt. I found connection with so many people, I confirmed that I am doing what I need to be doing......

Out on that course I found the girl I left here last year. The one who is ready to hold the starting line in her teeth, who loves to race and turn herself inside out while doing it.

I am almost ready my friends..... almost ready to bring it.

Thanks to everyone who made this weekend about community, friendship and all things good in this world!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

quick camp recap..... the luckiest

As I drove home from Lake Placid this afternoon I kept basking in a warm sense of gratitude. I can't believe that I get to do what I do. Triathlon is my passion, and I can't believe I have been able to turn that into a career, which in turn, more importantly than anything in terms of a business..... allows me the great fortune to work with the athletes that I have the privilege to work with..... and this weekend add to that...... some great people that I don't coach, but who honored me by attending our camp.

I feel like I am the luckiest girl on the face of this earth. I need to send a giant thanks to the two boys in my life who make every single breath I take breathtaking itself..... my husband Curt and my son Luc, who gave me the biggest huggs upon returning this evening, who allowed me to go away this weekend, and who make every minute of my life just damn incredible.

I found so many amazing things in this world of multisport, while to outsiders we may be viewed as selfish people obsessed with exercise...... what I have found.... is a group of people who love life as much as I do. Within that a group of people who just love to laugh, move, breathe and connect with one another.

In our lives we get to meet people, in our lives people touch us and give something to us that brings such richness to us. It's like we exchange energy in the form of a laugh, a smile, a ride getting snot rockets blown on you......

In those memories so much is built in terms of friendships, camaraderie, and just plan great memories.

I can not express enough the gratitude I feel, that this team is made up of who it is made up of, that people outside of this team thought enough of the camp experience to come along, to be able to share laughter over a Gatorade and a slice of pizza. In the beauty, serenity and mountains of Lake Placid.

More to come, I will have a full team report and a personal report up in the next few days. Personally I found great healing in Placid in terms of my experience from 2008...... and have made a decision on 2010.

Thank you everyone who came along this year. I am so humbled by your desire to come, your kindness, your spirit, and I am so grateful to be able to know all of you!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

weekend at placid part 6

I'm a touch under the weather, but the Train-This gang.... plus some..... is headed to Lake Placid for our annual training camp. This year we moved it back a month as Lake Placid is a bit cooler and we want the option to swim in Mirror Lake!

I love this town. I don't know what it is but there is something about Placid that is healing, inspiring and amazing to me. The mountains, the people, the people I get to be there with at any given moment just fills me up like you would not believe.

If you were round these parts last year you remember that my departure from Lake Placid is something I do not remember very well, my fifth Ironman turned out to be my first DNF and some frightening medical issues surfaced in the month right after... that were actually happening all along.....

So I have some healing to do in the mountains. I have some questions to answer for the 2010 adventure. I have some fresh air to breathe, some laughter to laugh and a lot of miles to train.

We have an amazing group of athletes attending camp this year. for three days we will swim bike and run. We will have some swim clinic time, some taping, some good food, and a lot of laughter.

So we are signing off for the weekend, full update on Monday!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

big wheel keep on turnin

Tuesdays are big gear rides, where wattage is the priority, as opposed to Tempo Thursday where we gauge intensity by HR. I like mixing it up, I am learning to blend power and HR correctly instead of siding with one or the other. We began this set of 3 X 10 minute repeats holding a wattage of 225. Week 2 we moved up to 230. This week, since I had made cut...... I moved up to 235.

Aiming to control the situation rather than ride the variability of the roads, I do this set on my trainer. It's essentially outside. I am in the garage. I can see the sun. Truthfully I don't care because I am here to achieve a goal not check out the scenery.

After a 30 minute warm up I began the first effort. For the first one I maintained 233 and felt a bit defeated. I knew that during #2 and #3 I needed to look a little deeper. My cadence was 5-60, I wasn't feeling bad at all, in fact I was feeling hungry.

#2 I hit 235. Excellent I thought as I dove into the recovery section. Now we need to up the ante. In order to achieve 240 these needed to remain above 235.

It means turning off my head and just riding. Pure and raw, no thoughts, just me.

And I hit #3 in 237 effectively earning me a 240 goal for next week. I know there is going to be a week where I will top off temporarily. It might be next week, but I am already wondering..... can I hold 240?????

It excites me and makes me nervous at the same time.

As my buddies and athletes are all gearing up for Lake Placid and racing all over the place I am still in the garage. Waiting. Learning. Strengthening. I know that come August I will hear "........ but I just did Lake Placid....." which is when I will begin to get rolling.

Patience, I remind myself as I for now......enjoy the view......

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

eat this!

Yesterday I received my 35 page nutrition manual from Coach Jesse. I had been warned and warned and warned about everything I will have to give up. I have read through his nutritional principles and Core Diet recommendations....... I was afraid to be banned from coffee and now peanut butter......

Then we talked. This guy likes his athletes to know exactly what the plan is and why your heart takes every beat that it does. We went through the manual page by page by page. This nutrition program is not at all far off from the way I have been working tirelessly to eat through the past 5 months. In fact..... it's spot on line with that I have been doing..... now we make some revisions to mold to the athlete..... and we are golden.

I think the three resources that would be most helpful for the athlete are these:

The Ultramind Solution by Dr. Hyman

The Core Diet Recommendations by Jesse Korpelnicki

The Glycemic Index.

What Jesse does with all of this is bring it into the world of an athlete.

The problem is not our training, we all train hard. As I have failed at the 70.3 distance in recent years I always look at my training. My training logs are great, my data rocks. I train my ass off and it does not show in my results.

Jessee is teaching me just how poor my nutritional protocol for myself was. I council my athletes to better nutrition before, during and after a race than I follow myself. My calories are good. My protein is terrible, my fat content is good but could be better quality.

The nutritional program of QT2 is about quality and timing.

It's not that coffee and peanut butter are bad for you. They are not. Coffee is good when used at the right time. It gets grouped in with the High Glycemic Index foods and how they affect our blood sugar. There is a time and a place and a purpose for it.

Right now I am drinking green tea. There is a lot of purpose to Green Tea.

Peanut butter? It's not a bad food to have, but there are better choices, foods with more bang for their buck. I am a peanut butter addict. A.D.D.I.C.T. But give me a purpose and a good reason to make a better choice.......

It's already been done.

After an hour on the phone last night listening, note taking, and getting it, I mean really getting it...... I truly understand how all of this ties together. I understand how to use nutrition as my ally and not as my enemy. I understand that timing is everything and I can eat all day long.

Every time I get off the phone with Jesse I have a new piece of understanding, and increased passion for this program that I am on. I am getting itchy to race, yet I know I am not ready. I have a few more weeks. We need to roll all of this together.

I am planning on racing at A Tri In The Buff Intermediate Distance on July 5th, 2 weeks before the Musselman. Musselman will be a B priority race for me as we are still in the beginning of this. Typically my parents steal Luc for the morning so we can both race. However they have guests that weekend, and Curt is gearing for Nationals, so he needs a tune up. So if I can find some help, great, if not, I am looking for a Saturday race that weekend.

I have a great second half of the season schedule that I will post soon (just me being lazy)...... one thing is for sure..... I will arrive in Clearwater hungry, and ready.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

the coffee ride

A little recovery .......

Today was one of those days that reminds me why I love this sport so much. It was the who-knows-how-many-years- annual Train-This coffee ride. We ride South to Naples, stop at the Grainery and we ride back. Simple. It might have been our best coffee ride ever.

I had some zone 2 work to do..... and I do need to mention that Coach Jesse has his own heart rate ranges:

Zone R
Zone 1

Zone 2

You can equate The QT2 Zone 2 to Friel's Zone 3..... give or take. Now the rule on rides like this is when Zone 1 (which is more like Friel's Zone 2.... give or take) is perscribed, you stay in Zone 1. You try not to use your Zone 2 bank until the Zone 2 intervals hit. That meant I sat back for a lot of the ride and watched the fabulous athletes I get to work with ride. Their winter work is paying off.

I primarily rode with Don..... THE BULL..... Jochen..... King of the Mountain...... Jackie D.....the British invasion, Steve, and Kim. I don't' have nicknames for Steve and Kim. It was awesome to watch them all ascend the hills.

Dennis and his very own sweat box arrived part way through the ride. Dennis dresses warm. All of the time. He used to wear this green fleece that we called his Snuggie or his Woobie. Jeremy and his one lung showed up with Uncle Glenn. Alan stayed right in the thick of things, the guy can freaking ride. Amy Mo got duct taped due to a fall at a gas station. Peter O claims to not have killed the squirrel he jumped but I have no photographic evidence. I imagine Eddy is wondering what he got himself into. I noticed that Steve and Dennis suddenly have matching P2C's...... planned?

Amy Mo and her carnage

We rode south to Naples. When you say South and the road seems to be downhill.... you imagine it to be fast. Not so much today. I was pushing big watts and staying where I was supposed to stay. I reminded the gang I didn't need to lead the ride, in fact when training I'd much rather stare at the hub of your back wheel. I know when to push and the time was not then.

On the way back Jochen requested coach permission to push the 10 minute climb out of Naples. As I did my best to stay out of zone 2 and in my zone 1, I granted it. We all looked at each other.

Dude can climb.

As I neared my own zone 2 intervals coming up...... I sent Jochen ahead again with the intention of catching him. My time finally, finally came. I put my head down and I rode. Not so hard I thought I'd puke, but I rode hungry. I rode to catch Jochen and I was on my favorite section of my favorite road. 64 between 5 and 20 and 251. Heading North. The world seems to tip when you come back from Naples, this road is F.A.S.T. Finally I was in my element, riding hard, the wind flying through me, catching someone ahead. I reminded myself that I am to push when I am supposed to push, not a second sooner. I follow instructions. (I do need to mention that I only caught Jochen because he was recovering. And he didn't know I was chasing.)

I felt awesome.

Back at the park Jochen joined me for a 30 min T run. I talked Kim into it by completely lying to her. I told her it was 10 minutes around "the loop" and back. Strangely when we got back it was 17, and if you run for 17 might as well run for 30, right?

It was a great run. I could not believe how good I felt. After the week of training I had, after the ride, I began to negative split the run a bit.

30 minutes hit. 18 hours in the bank.

I slapped hands with Kim and Jochen.

"This is the stuff Ironman is made of." They smiled.

I smiled too. we head to camp in Lake Placid on Friday. This might be the best camp group we've ever had.

Stay tuned........ the picture below is the British Invasion. Jackie D. herself.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

eating hill

Look! Another day on the trainer.... because I won't publish pictures of hill bounding......

At the top of the hill on my last hill repeat there were tears coming from my eyes. For the first time in a very long time I can feel it coming back. Not the athlete I used to be but the one I know I am becoming.

We began this hill repeat set last week. Last week was four times up the hill, bounding up, zipping down. After #3 2 X 15 sec wind sprints (ha!) Negative split each and every one. This week FIVE with the direct instruction to negative split each one. Today was the first day ever that I felt like a runner. I even traded in my running skirt for running shorts, not even a visor of a fuel belt. Instead I went old school, for the warm up to the hill I ran with a 24 oz water bottle to park at the bottom of the hill.

Seemed like everyone was out. The folks gardening form last week, a British man and his wife were walking in circles (a circular path around the side streets) and the nursery school kids were out. Welcome to the freak show, I thought. The freak being me. I could just imagine what these people were thinking.....

  • who is that busty chick running up the hill?
  • honey.... there's that strange woman again running up and down this hill.....
  • wonder how many she will do today?

I was just hoping no one would

A. Take my water bottle

B. Pee on it.

#1: I hit the first one in 1:26. Feeling pretty good. Bounding to all hell with perfect form..... just because to the audience it looked cool.

#2: 1:25. Okay, a little progress. The problem with progress is that the faster the repeat the higher the bar.

#3: 1:20. Wowser, it's like hitting 20 min for a 5K. right on the bubble! The 2 X 15 sec wind sprints...... let's just say you thought I looked good during the hills!

#4: 1:20 Again? I wonder if I will die on the last one. I am determined not to.

#5: 1:18. Eighteen? Yes, eighteen. If it had said 19 I would have wondered. But I smiled, as I stopped for a moment.

It wasn't like I had something left in the tank after my bike intervals this morning. It was that I had dug deeper. Inside of me. To that place where you are sometimes afraid to go to.

That place of I might blow up, throw up, or die. I might die right here. In front of this crowd of people wondering what the hell is going on. But even though the chances are higher that I will throw up..... there is chance I might not. There is a chance I will negative split. There is a chance I will make it. I made it. I smiled.

I was a god forsaken sweaty mess. I had my hair cut last night and there was hair mouse running into my eyes again, after I had just spent 1:40 with it dripping down my face. I was soaked. I was stumbling, but I was five hill repeats stronger than I was 75 minutes earlier.

As I ran down the hill for the final time, the couple who was out gardening waved again. "See you next week!" They said. I smiled and waved back. Damn straight you will.

Then I remembered..... next week is camp in Lake Placid. When I left Placid in 2008 I could barely utter my own name, I had a grade 3 concussion. It was a rough day on what was supposed to be my fifth and final Ironman.

Coach set the stage for what he believes I could do in Lake Placid. It caught my eye.

Will I sign up for 2010? Ask me next week when I crest the hill that descends to Main Street and gives me my first view of Mirror Lake. I will answer that question then.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

welcome to the box of hurt

Thursdays.... much like Tuesdays.... just add in a 75 minute hill bounding run. Double your trouble on Thursdays I like to call it. Tempo bike and hill bounding. All that before 8 hours of saving lives.

Ahhh..... the life of a Princess!

The horrible thing about all of it is that I got my semi annual hair cut yesterday..... and she used mousse..... oh excuse me.... product. Do I use product? I didn't know what it was so I said no. Good thing, because I don't. But just like I am the world's most coach able athlete I am the world's easiest hairstylee.... one who has their hair cut by a hairstylist. Don't take your time combing through my tangles one strand at a time, just brush them out like a real woman. My hair is down to my waist, minute three inches now (not out of a hair plan, out of sheer hair laziness) so that means I am used to a tangle, or two.

The problem with product is when you are knocking out 2 X 25 minutes in your garage sweating your butt off, and the mouse, oops.... product...... runs into your contact wearing eyes. God forbid you stop in the middle of the effort, because if I went blind from the mousse in my eyes I am sure it would have impacted the world enough to solve some global problem.

I lived. And I didn't go blind.

I didn't hit my goal wattage though. Bummer. The intervals were 5 minutes longer and my goal was 220...... and I was at 210. Heart rate and cadence were in check, but those are the easy ones to control. Sometimes you just don't totally rule the bike like you lead yourself to believe you do. Or at least me.

I did my very best for today. There are five sets of hill bounding that will happen in about an hour so I can swell on missed wattages or I can saddle up, hydrate up, resist from downing 3 cups of Pike Place in the hopes that it will carry me up the hill and negative split each one.

Today that hill is my B****. Missed wattages or not the hill is mine today.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Around these parts there were a gazillion races this weekend. I love racing and I love to race in June. Typically I will bang out 3-4 triathlons this month, but I did not race, which elicited several emails, 2 phone calls and 2 people asking me in person..... are you okay? what's wrong? are you racing locally this year?

Absolutely I am! For the first time in my life I am holding off until July to race, as you know I am just in the second month of my training with my new coach (whom is AWESOME!!!!!!) my A race is in November, which is when everyone else will be hibernating. We decided to hold onto June as a preparation month, and we will continue to build straight on through to November.

My race schedule is right here. And my first local race is coming soon, I can not wait. Trust me, I am not one of those people who is afraid to publish a race schedule!

So while y'all were out racing, I was home training.

I know, professional photography at it's best! Actually this was this morning. When the thermometer reached eighty, I sat inside because I had big gear intervals to nail. And nail them I did.

The main set is what's the fun part: 3 X 10 minutes at 225 watts, cadence of 55-60, with 4 minutes of recovery. During the 10 minutes I have to hold a certain wattage which we determine through a percentage of my 20 min power. Right now that's about 250. One of my goals is to raise it to 285 by Clearwater.

To get to that goal of 285 I have benchmarks to meet and those are met in workouts such as this. My goal wattage for this particular sat was 225. I can go higher but I have to maintain that wattage. So for example if I make all 3 at 225, then next week I move up to 230. If I make 230 the following week 235. If I don't make it, I stay where I am at.

I felt awesome, I will say that for sure. On the trainer I have complete control of the set. I can find a marriage between heart rate, cadence and wattage. On the roads I don't have that kind of control. To see marked improvement I need to do these in an environment that I can replicate.

This one I can replicate.

I hit them all. I exceeded my goal of 225..... I hit them all in 230. The last one at 231 to be exact. I stayed exactly where I should stay and in my mind I felt in the zone, on course, in the present moment, whatever you'd like to term it. I was on today. I have been off so much in my life, I know what ON feels like and I know it quickly.

I couldn't help but smile and feel a rush of excitement as the download began. I knew the results, I was watching them for cryin' out loud. But the confirmation. Last week I held these at 220, and this week I got stronger and more importantly I got better at handling the hard.

Another notch in the belt, another rung on the ladder, another bail of hay in the barn. I am seeing progress. I am thrilled to death to see how well my QT2 Teammates did at Mooseman. The top ten men and women were tons of them. The formula, the plan... it works.

And I am in the sacrifice.

It's going to be a good season. come on JULY!

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Addition!!!!!!

Many of my athletes send me terrific race reports post big events........ they aren't bloggers and aside from our team newsletter I always feel like their great stories go unread!

So click here to read their terrific race reports!

Sunday, June 7, 2009


My spellcheck isn't working..... SORRY!

I don't often speak about my yoga practice and my love for it, for a few reasons. The misconception of yoga in general is at best a misconception and not a battle I wish to engage in. It's not what yoga is about. For me yoga is much more than stretching, it's a moving meditation, it's prayer, it's offering. It keeps me in the present moment and it helps me to be a better person.

It has nothing to do with what poses I can or can not do or how flexible my hamstrings are or are not.

The other reason I don't talk a lot about my practice.... is because it is very very personal. Yoga can be about flash... to me yoga is about the spirit. Am I right? No. Am I wrong? No. The meaning and purpose of yoga is up to the individual to decipher and define. That's the art of the practice.

I am very very very fortunate to teach at Breathe Yoga, a family owned yoga studio in Pittsford N.Y. We are a Baptiste studio meaning that we train, practice, and teach in the Baptiste methodology. Our studio is kept at 90 degrees. We teach the Baptiste sequence, we teach power Vinyaysa. Click here for a great 2 minute video of Baron Baptiste giving a great intro to what our practice is about.

Power Vinyaysa, broken down really menas powerful flow. Vinyasa yoga attracts a certain type of person: typically type A, athletic, competitive people. This is an athletic very dynamic practice. Dynamic is defined as gross motor movements.

The reason that this type of practice draws this type pf personality is because this type of personality is addicted to the energy of tension. We are not the personalities that would do well in a hatha class or a resorative class. Many of us come to this particular practice to become more flexible, stonger, an alternative to the other sports we participate in.

What keeps us in our practice is a different reason entirely.

But first let's take a look at some of the pieces of yoga in general. What is the most important piece of yoga? The breath. Why the breath? Respiration stimulates circulation. Circulation carries fluid through the lymphatic system. There are over 600 lymph nodes throughout your body. These nodes collect body toxins. Respiration stimulates circulation which then allows the lymph system to be drained, eliminating toxins from your body. These are eliminated via urine, sweat, C02, etc. Realize I am being highly highly simplistic here.

Within a practice as there is within life there is Yin and Yang. You can not have good without bad, happiness wihtout saddness, elation without pain. Our practice reflects that as well. The yin piece are the static poses. The poses that are held for a long time. These static poses work on connective tissue. Connective tissue is not elastic and plyable as skeletal muscle.

Sean Corn this weekend used a beautiful example to explain connective tissue: it's like taffy. You cant pull or bend taffy easily. But if you put your thumb and first finger on either side of the taffy, and just hold..... the heat of your fingers will allow that connective tissue to become more pliable. So CT needs applied heat to open, strengthen, essentially to respond. The subtle action required to work the connective tissue, which is done through the static asana (holding poses) helps to create stability. Which is vital as we age.

The yang of yoga is the dynamic movement, and the movement moved into first during many practices. This si the movement that involves the skeletal muscles, the gross motor movement, these muscles are pliable, stretchy, etc.

In the end the muscular requirement to maintain the body will open, will increase.

So you can see, there must be yin and there must be yang. There must be dynamic and static movement within our bodies. If we don't develop the static movement then when we move into poses like Warrior II.... we will sink into the weak parts of our bodies.

So that's the physical.

Sean Corn this weekend at a workshop I was honored to participate in, helped to uncover the spiritual side of yoga. Often as a teacher I stay away from that because it's such a hot topic and no one wants to feel as if religion is being shoved down our throats.

Yet even if you are an atheist..... you can have a spiritual practice. Even if you are an atheist you can have faith.

Sean Corn defined God as this: That which is within you that is truth and love.

I love that.

It can be God, Jesus, Buddah..... Mohhamed Ali for all I care. It is up to the person to define it.

But yoga is a spiritual practice, a moving prayer. That right there is what deters many people from committing to a practice. It really is not about sitting still (because you don't in Power Vinyasa)....... it is about answering the big questions that only yoga can really ask.

Our physical bodies hold onto every experience...... both good and bad..... that we have ever been through. All of our experiences are right here within our hearts. The hard lessons that we are forced to learn, the hardest moments in our lives...... those are the times that who we define our God to be..... that's when our God is really with us. Sometimes we don't get the lesson correct the first time around, so we keep getting hit in the head with the 2 X 4 foot piece of wood. It's like our God asking us...... "You ready yet?"

There is no doubt that delving into the spirit, the mythisicm, the aspect of our faith is challanging. It knocks on the big brick wall we have around ourselves. It's sometimes scary but it is necessary work. And you do the work on a continual basis. You can only begin when you are ready. Because we come to this style of yoga from a place of tension. We give that energy of tension equal tension with the flavor of the Vinyasa practice, which in turn releases that tension....... then we have this energy, emotion, spirituality that just floats to the surface, and that's where the real gold in yoga is.

Geez...... all of this from practicing on a mat?

Yeah, you get all that just from being on a mat. Yoga has made my life richer, it's taught me how to be here and to live each moment. It's taught me to work through pain rather than shut it down and avoid it. It's taught me that everything in my life right this very moment.... is exactly how it needs to be.

I teach 5 classes per week and assist one, 75 minutes each in a 90 degree room. I teach in a beautifully inspired environment, and each person I teach with and practice with is a very close yet open family. I am fiercely protective of the space in which I teach and the practice that I teach because it is a place that is of love and of truth.

That space has at times brought energey into it that does not belong. I love those people anyways becasue that's what my faith teaches me to do.

When I practive at home it is about 20 minutes in length, every single day. A practice is a practivce whether it is 5 minutes or 2 hours. I always follow the same skeleton:

Sun Salutauon A
Sun Salutation B
Warrior Series
Triangle Series
Back Bends
Foward Folds
savassana..... relaxation.

This weekend Sean outlined her 20 min practice, I thought I'd do the same, to deomonstrate that you can practice at home!

My 20 minute practice looks like this......I link them all together with a vinyasa, a flow which is jump back to chattaranga, upward dog, downward dog then stepping forward to the next pose. I always begin in Downward Facing Dog. That's where each circle begins and ends. (I have noted that with vinyasa. Perhaps I will put a video up next week.)

1 Sun Salutation A
1 Sun Salutation B
Warrior I > Warrior II > Peaceful Warrior > Extended Side Angle (vinyasa)
Eagle Pose both sides then Vinyasa
Crow Pose X 3, from Crow jump back into chattarunga, Vinyasa. Flat up to the next.
Step forward to Warrior I > Open to Warrior II> Peaceful Warrior > Triangle > Vinyasa
From this Down Dog I come to a high plank then lower to the floor.
Push up into up dog, come to downward facing dog.
Jump my feet through my hands come to my back for bridge.
Rock forward plant my hands, jump back to chattarunga, end in Down Dog.
From here a hip opener: 1/2 Pigeon, frog or full pigeon (all which are murderous for me!)
Then an inversion, I like forearm balance.
Spinal twist

Some helpful links:

Baron Baptiste breaking down Downward Facing Dog;

A real life discussion about yoga with Baron and David Reuben (this is really great to bring into triathlon training).

How to flow from chattarangua to up dog and avoid shoulder injuries

Sean Corn on the spiritual side..... "working the shadow".

A beautiful Sun B demonstrated by Sean Corn

I invite you...... if you are looking to have a richer life with less emotional turmoil, less conflict within yourself and within your life..... to explore the benefits of yoga. Bring it into your competition, and watch your performances soar.

Thanks for sharing ..... Namaste!

Friday, June 5, 2009

i just want to cal you my B****

I was so relieved when I saw only a 25 minute run and a swim on tap for today. Yesterday was hard. I made Ward Hill road my Bi***.

A tempo bike ride is like giving me candy, and although it was gorgeous outside I do these rides indoors. Well, in the open garage. If you were around here last year you remember I had a pretty good bike crash doing intervals outside. I have wattages / cadence / heart rate I have to align and it's nearly impossible to achieve that much control on the rolling terrain we have round here. Secondly I have to be safe. Control of the parameters, safely on the roads, I just like to do these things indoors.

Ideally you have 3 hours between workouts on days like this but who does? I got a 90 minute break in before I headed out to my hill run.

"Pick a good hill." Jesse instructed "It's the hill for the rest of your life". It takes me about 2 minutes to run the whole thing, Coach wanted a shorter effort of about 90 seconds. I took the back way to Church Hill Road so I could cut out the beginning which incidentally is not the steepest part. I chose this hill because it is the hill I avoid the most. It's got a billion percent grade.

As I ran down Church Hill road I was a bit nervous, I will admit. It's been a long, long time since I have done hill repeats. I can't think of a time where I have ever bounded up the hill. You run up the hill the way you think you should run down it. High knees, long strides, big arms. To zip down short cadence.

Remember this is just a drill. This is not how you want to run hills. This is bounding, strength training. Hills make you damn strong.

I made it up to the top in 1:22 on the first one. 1:24 on the second and third. 1:26 on the fourth. The 15 second wind sprints were like sticking a needle in my eye. Yet as much as it hurt...... it was a good hurt. The hard work kind of hurt. The kind of hurt that will make me stronger.

There was a couple, the ones who live in that brown house..... out working on their lawn. The wife waved to me during the first one. Looked at me strange during the second. And stopped watching after the third. The husband called to me "Short steps up the hill!"

"Bounding!" I called back. I knew someone would offer advice somewhere along the way here.

At the end I smiled. I stood at the very bottom of the hill, past Church hill Road and I turned around. I took this second to pause and look back. The hill I have avoided is now my hill for life. I will make it my Bit**. I will get that time down to below 1:10. I will gain a wicked amount of strength as I run it. Both mentally and physically. I felt ignited, I felt excited yet at the same time a lot like I'd freaking pass out.

When I finally got home I got into the bath tub and turned on the cold water. As the tub filled I slowly added.... scoop by scoop..... seven pounds of ice. And I started the timer for 15 minutes. It's easier for me to get into the tub and then fill it up, than to immerse myself into cold water. Ice baths are by far the best recovery tool.

After the 15 minutes were up I took a good long hot shower. Then I put my legs up for 20 minutes and got my compression socks on. Rather than a feeling of exact quad soreness, I just felt general leg heaviness. And a light feeling in my heart.

When Jesse and I spoke the other night he reminded me to recover like it is my job. So that's the kind of stuff I do to recover. I had to work for 8 hours on my feet last evening so not only do I wear the socks, I wear Danskos..... I will never again wear Crocs. Danskos have a slight pitch to them which is heaven when you work on your feet. They are a hard soled shoe, like steel hard. So your feet get stronger.

I welcome a nice easy day today. A swim and a short run. I love when we make the hard days hard and the easy days easy. It allows my body to fully commit to the effort. Allows my mind to wrap itself around it. Ride the waves of hard, get stronger with each bounding step........ and make that hill my bit**.