Thursday, March 25, 2010



I'm not sure who Joseph Campbell is, but I like this quote. To achieve great things.... things that don't seem possible you have to make sacrafices, test the boundaries, break out of the comfort zone and ..yes enter that fearful cave from time to time.

Race season is really here. Many sacrafices are made along the way to finally get to race day. First race of the season, last race, A race, C race....they all take committment and sacrafice just to get to the starting line.

Sacrafices made along the road to success may include:

track workout with snow on the ground=sacrafice

holding the suit juice and calming pre race nerves=sacrafice

>Sleep: I know many athletes (including myself) who get up at the crack of dawn to fit in workouts around life...that is work, kids, spouse's training etc. And for those of us who aren't pro's who can come home and rest, there are no naps later in the day.

>Sweat: it takes consistent hard work, some serious sweat time to get fit and in race shape; you should see the puddle under my bike after indoor trainer sessions, and my laundry pile could talk

>Pain: it hurts sometimes to get fast on your feet, powerful on the bike and fluid in the water; you have to push yourself to new limits to make gains you're after; it doesn't come easy and it won't magically appear

>Patience: for some having patience is a sacrafice. They want immediate results..or the speed without the foundation, or the Ironman qualifying spot without the work. Patience and hard work will get you there.

>Limiters: lets face it no one is the perfect athlete and we all have weaknesses, find your weakness and address it. Its not fun doing drill after drill in the pool on a warm sunny day when it would be more fun to be outside if you exit the water at the back of the pack; or if your FTP on the bike is "girly like" then pump some iron and get some muscles

There are many more sacrafices we are all well aware of like the $$ that goes into the sport, time away from friends and family, and no ice cream before bed.

Those are obvious, but the ones less tangible or obvious similar to pain patience sweat limiters etc are what can make the difference between average and outstanding.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Temporarily Derailed

Daylight savings, 60 deg weather in March are the perfect ingredients for the first group ride of the year, better known as Colonial. I was excited to get out and ride hard with others if anything to see where I'm at with bike fitness. This ride is a great chance to put it out there and make yourself hurt. It is about 40 miles of HARD with some really fast riders. So Tuesday afternoon I had that funny feeling of nerves in my stomach like I do before some big races, but this was the perfect day to get out and get after it!

I kept telling myself, maybe they won't go too hard because it's the first ride of the year, or...maybe that will make them go super hard because they are all rev'd up. Then I thought...maybe there won't be that many guys because the ride is starting an hour earlier than normal....just because it is still getting dark before 7. All the silly self talk to myself making me believe it will be ok...when I know how this can hurt. least 20 riders showed up and they hit it hard once we hit the open roads. More so than I expected! The great thing was that, I was hanging in there with them. There were a few touchy moments where I was almost dropped off the back and left for dust, but my legs were there (thank you Mark and squats and dead lifts!) and I was able to bridge up and hang on for dear life.

About 3/4 of through the ride, the group is acting weird. Sometimes I can't figure out what they are doing, but I am eyes up and looking at the wheel or bum of whoever is in front of me. They must think I am a B*&^ because I don't chit chat much for fear of someone making a move and I'm looking the other way. But, I think between a cross wind and getting ready to sprint to a stop sign people were up and looking around and they were all over the road. Before I knew it someone was sideways and going down directly in front of me as I am surrounded by guys with nowhere to go but down, taking someone else with me. A 3 biker pile up. Bike fine/ check. No serious pain at the moment/ check. Everyone seemed ok and luckily we were all able to ride on home. I was left with some lovely road rash, and bruises keep appearing, but my sacrum was banged pretty hard and I've been walking around like I have a corn cob shoved you know where,....and like I did after having an 8lb 13 oz baby boy.

It's a temporary pause in a good start to spring. The athlete in me is mad and angry because I don't want to lose what I've worked hard this winter to gain, the coach and realistic person is ok and realizes it could have been worse and sometimes these things happen for a reason. My bike is fine but not shifting great, so I'll have to go see The Bike Shop boys, but that could have been worse also.

As athletes we inevitably experience all kinds of set backs at 1 point or another. Injury, poor performance, getting sick, missed workouts due to (for those of us who do more than train/race for a living) such as sick kids work/travel etc. can put a kink in training. The important thing is to not let it get you down. There is always something to be working or focusing on to help better your performance like stretching and flexibility which always seems to get neglected, core work, even laying on ice visualizing the perfect race is work towards achieving your goals. A few days on the sidelines can also re-light the fire inside, damper any burn out and fatigue allowing you to come back even stronger.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I recently had a birthday now making me 42. I was lucky enough to have a fancy girls dinner 1 night which included getting dressed up and blowing the hair dry, and then a surprise visit from my Dad who was traveling through for work. My Dad is a retired football coach and has always been the best for encouraging me to dream the biggest dream, and chase after any goal. During high school sports, or college volleyball, or training for my first Ironman when things went wrong, he always had a way to make something positive out of it, and taught me how to set goals and go after them. So, as I sat there with my Dad for my 42nd birthday dinner he asked what races I was doing this year, he gets excited to hear what races I have planned, how training is going and still gives me pep talks! :)

I am no longer a newbie to the W40-44, and I have been a part of this division for a couple years now. So here are some of my thoughts and observations on the W40-44.

1. At big races the times can be still quite fast and fierce, while the depth of the fast times might not be as big. It is still a very competitive group, but I do notice a little more relaxed attitude at the start line, even though the fierceness is still there. I think this comes from experience, which leaves a lot of the uptightness at home.

2. You now get to compete for the "masters" overall. Hmm. not sure what to think about that. The first year I raced in this age group, I completely forgot about that it was even there, because I don't think of myself as an old master and I am still out there going for it and don't want a special category. I have raced long enough to have an award in the W20-24....and I can remember in being in my early 30s seeing the W40-44 getting awards and thinking wow, they look great for their age, but what are they still doing out there? here I am/ that person!. Somebody please tell me to excuse myself from the sport if it gets too ugly!

3. Most of the women are managing kids, house, and work and whatever else is added to the plate, PTO, fundraisers, kids activites etc; so when their time comes to race and train, they are putting it ALL out there. They've managed and muli-tasked their way into some training and racing time, add a little mom guilt and that is enough to light a wicked fire. They are smarter with their training doing what they know works, either because that is all there is time for, or...they have learned from past mistakes. Too much training and being pulled in too many directions doesn't work and leaves can leave you feeling flat as a pancake.

my 40-44 y/o friends

4. Many in this age group have figured out that doing all the tricks for faster recovery is a big part of still having success. At first I didn't think I fell into this category, but it it took several bad races and bad workouts following killer efforts to make it sink in that it takes a little longer to recover. So you become smarter with planning out the training, racing, and take recovery a little more serious. Choosing to do an Olympic Distance race 2 weeks after a 1/2 IM just isn't an option if wanting a good outcome. When I take the recovery process serious, I can still go out there and pull out some good stuff.

5. I think most may agree that it takes a little longer to get the high end speed back after time off, and most likely the high....high end isn't quite as it was. I refuse to admit it, but it is a little bit of a hard reality.

So what races and goals did I tell my Dad at my birthday dinner? Well the funny thing is that the training I've been doing has been going great. I have felt great, getting fit and fast again, and I've been motivated to get up in the wee hours of the morning, or step out into the artic tundra we get to train in through the winter. The thing that is different is that I don't have any super high goal of qualifying for this or that or racing sub this or that. According to Simon Thomo(my coach) this is how you want it, truly loving the training and the journey of getting fit and fast, then the rest (races) will fall into place. It seems like in years past it was always the opposite. Pick a huge goal, race/races then train like a madwoman and go for it leaving everything in else in the dust. It worked for awhile then things fell apart behind it in the dust cloud. This also is part of being 40-44. Coming full circle. In this age group some have already figured it out, some haven't yet.

So my season starts with Memphis in May, continues with a 1/2 IM in June (haven't done 1 in a few years !), and from there who knows. That's another part of being 40-44, having 2 kids and being married to an Ironman... going with the flow.