Tag Archives: Coach

New Team

There’s no time like now for a little training update. Right? Especially since tomorrow marks exactly 3 months out from August 25, also known as Ironman go time?

After IMC last year I was ecstatic about my race for a couple of days, then exhausted for a few more, and pretty soon after that I started thinking about the next one. It didn’t take me very long to decide for certain that there would be another, but I didn’t want a repeat of 2012. I wanted, and still do, a lot more than that.

I want to go to Kona. And if I don’t get a spot I want to walk away knowing there was not one thing that I could have done to be more well-prepared to earn it. If I believe that in my heart, I will be a happy Ironman no matter what.

I can’t complain about my 2012 season or Ironman Canada. If I had a magic ball the only things I’d change are things that can’t be controlled anyway: freak weather in Boise, freak bike crash in July, more freak weather at Lake Stevens. I have not an ounce of regret about how I handled any of it, but when the season quieted down I knew, and know, that I can do better.

What worked for my first Ironman (and second summer of triathlon) isn’t the same thing that that will help me continue to grow as an athlete. If anything, 2012 was more of a preparation against failure rather than aggressive and planned growth. So last fall I outlined what I needed to do to be better and came up with a few things:

  • Bike more. No matter the bike, no matter the weather. Saddle time!
  • Train, purposefully, with FAST friends. Force myself to (try to) keep up.
  • Join a master’s swim group to swim more. <- Thinking that if I swim more, I’ll get better, and hate it less, maybe.
  • Challenge myself. Make myself uncomfortable. Work through it, and find confidence.
  • Have fun.

Then in December I did something that was pretty challenging for me (thus meeting one of my goals?). I broke my routine with the friends and coaches I had become comfortable with and  joined a new tri team: Pauole Sport. And I think I was more afraid for that first day of master’s swim than I was the morning of Ironman Canada.

The good news is: it’s working. I’ve gotten stronger in the water and on the bike. And on my run off the bike as well. I have a pool (literally, ha) of talented athletes to use as carrots, training buddies, and resources. And I’ve met some awesome people who I’d want to hang out with even if we didn’t all have to ride for a million hours every Saturday so we may as well do it together. And on top of all of that my new coach is fantastic.

Things still feel exhausting and hard on many days, but having confidence in my coach’s plan, having friends to endure it with, having resources to learn from, and having the occasional day off is currently making all of the difference in the world for me. These things make it possible for me to spend time with my family and friends, have a (small) life, stay sane, and still think Ironman is fun while getting better.

Greg LeMond’s quote is the real truth, “It never gets easier, you just go faster.”



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Thank You’s

Ok, one more post before I post my recap. It’s written, so promise I’ll put it out there soon!

But before I recap my day I want to thank a lot of people. It feels corny and self-important to me to profess my thanks to people who may only moderately care that I did an Ironman, on the Internet no less. But in the simplest terms I want all of these people to know that in some way or another they made IMC possible for me. That I thought of all of them while I was out there. And in a few cases, they’re why I held it together and hurried back in to town as quickly as my broken stomach and tired legs would carry me.

Training Friends

Not one person in my usual cycling and running circle was racing Ironman Canada, nonetheless I’d receive texts and emails from them every week asking what the weekend’s workout was. They’d meet me for whatever portion of my day they could schedule in and let me complain about how long my long days were, as well as that my short days weren’t long enough. Through injury, the crash, and life I never doubted myself while training with them; it turns out their confidence in me rubbed off. Thank you for long rides, longer rides, and the longest ones as well. There’s probably no one that gets what this took better than you.

Coworkers Past & Present

Luckily I have an extremely understanding and supportive employer who cheered me on every single day leading up to IMC. I cannot imagine putting in those kinds of training hours without having the support of my workplace to slip out for a lunchtime, and don’t want to imagine not having people to talk to who understand the ups and downs. Luckily I’ve also had colleagues who are supportive in the past – in fact one of them was who put me on this crazy roller coaster. Thank you for not telling me how tired I look, and for putting up with my monopoly on the women’s shower. Thank you for a wonderful, inspiring, and supportive send off. And thanks for planting the Ironman seed in my mind.


I’d like to think that I’m a low maintenance athlete, but I suspect alas I am not. I might not analyze everything entirely to death, but I like to analyze it at least all the way to the ICU where it may or may not be revived. Thank you for your patience, direction, and leadership. Thank you for understanding how important this was, is, and will continue to be to me. Thanks for pushing me. And keep at that last one, please. We’re not done yet.

Friends & Family

Ironman is sort of a crazy thing to try to explain to loved ones. “You’re doing what?! All in one day?!” But everyone that I know was amazingly interested, and though it can be hard to understand an IM everyone was encouraging and immediately believed in me. Thank you for supporting me, and thank you for celebrating with me.

To all of my virtual friends, your advice, support, and feedback kept me going every step of the way. All of your training, racing, goals, and achievements inspired me on less than stellar days, and your celebration of my own accomplishments reinforced that I could do this. Truly, knowing that you’d be tracking me kept me going!

To my parents and Courtney and Thomas, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for my day. I didn’t know how much that meant to me until you were there, and I was saying goodbye and heading into transition. And it was reinforced every time I was nearby enough to think about coming back into town and spotting you. Thank you for never poking fun at how much time and energy and work this took. Thank you for screaming your brains out. Thanks for understanding, without question, that this was going to be so important to me all year long. Thank you for wearing neon yellow shirts.

Garth/Husband/Race Sherpa/Videographer/Photographer/Chef/Bike Bottle Fixer

And the most thank you’s on earth, more than even exist, to Garth. They say Ironman is a lifestyle, and it is. What they don’t tell you is that it is a lifestyle for everyone in your household. You carried my bags, forced me in the water, woke up at 5am, fixed my bike, folded about 800 sports bras, and got in bed at 9pm to do it again. When I told you I was going to do an Ironman you said, “Awesome.” When I told you my goal was sub-12 you told me, “You can go faster than that.”  There’s no one that believes in me more than you. And there’s no one that loves you for that more than me. There are a few moments from that day that I believe I always remember, and all of them boil down to one thing: seeing you believing in me. I hope that you always know that I know how lucky I am.


Alright guys, ready for round #2? 🙂

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Swimming Lesson 3

Today the Nuun Swim Team, as we I fondly call ourselves us, bailed. Early work duties, a race next weekend, and other miscellaneous excuses prevented everyone from attending, except for me and our fearless leader. And she is truly fearless if she is willing to take me on, trust.

Though I missed my teammates it was nice to have the lane to myself and to really get more swimming as opposed to some of the waiting that can happen when you’re sharing a lane with others who are trying just as hard as you to learn the drills. My normal pool has been getting more and more crowded in the morning with the onset of triathlon season I’d guess, and though I usually dodge the circle swim bullet it was nice to have a wide open lane to myself in a pool with bright lights and high ceilings.

We did more rotation and reach/glide drills (versus how I usually swim which is muscling through it) and though I felt some minor progress on Friday I really felt a leap today. Like, a L – E – A – P. The drills that I’ve been struggling with and sinking on came fairly naturally after a brief warm-up, and I was able to really focus on form and consciously make changes and uphold them.

It’s as though everything I’ve been thinking about swimming is completely backwards, and it’s taken a lot of fighting with myself and the water to reverse that. Rather than pull I should reach! Rather than speed up my cadence should be slower! And don’t get me wrong – it isn’t actually reversed yet. But I feel like I’m at a point where I can at least get myself back to here when I go (which is sure to happen) astray. Next time I’m in the pool having the worst swim ever I’ll be able to stop, realize that I’m doing something wrong, figure out which drills to do to center myself, and continue on without hating things too much.

I really want to like swimming more, and I’m getting there. Good thing, because there’s still not too much running happening on this foot which is a combination of nerve-wracking, disappointing, and depressing with Boise looming.

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Filed under Health, Injuries, & Prevention, Swim

Week Recap & The Awesome, Part 2

This week has been a little bit quiet, but as usual life has not been.

After my meh half marathon my Coach deemed this week special recovery and awarded me a super light schedule of easy activity. I was hesitant to embrace it; after a crappy race I feel like I should be working harder, not taking it easy! But something wasn’t right on Monday and Tuesday and when I realized that all I wanted to do was sleep I accepted my lazy fate.

  • Monday: Off with a 30 min light spin and a Green Lake walk.
  • Tuesday: An unsuccessful night at the track left my legs feeling like they’d buckle at any moment.
  • Wednesday: A feeling-slightly-better 5 miler.
  • Thursday: A – gasp! – day off, but I did my favorite hot yoga class to get stretched out.
  • Friday: 8 mile trail run that started off dragging but by the end I was on cloud 9.
  • Saturday: A historic swim, not only because it marked a new distance in the pool but mostly because I had the entire pool – EVERY LANE – to myself for the second half.
  • Today: A 2:30 (40 mile) ride and a 25 minute run in which I experienced every type of weather including but not limited to clear blue skies, rain, high winds, the glassiest most still Lake Washington I’ve ever seen, snow, mist, hail, and frost. Take that weatherman!

I wouldn’t say that I feel like a new person after my easy week, but I for the first time in a while I felt energy and power on the bike today so I see that as a good sign.

In other quietness, Garth has been traveling for work. This means I miss him, a lot. It also means that I have been eating like a single person (cereal, anyone?). And that my bike still resides in its own special room, also known as the living room.

And in the last but truly most exciting of the quiet times, this week has been especially low-key because my last day at my job was Tuesday. I took Weds/Thurs/Fri off to catch up on life, and tomorrow I begin a new chapter. I’m so excited about what’s in store that it’s difficult for me to behave in a sane way or focus enough for the words my fingers type to actually make sense.

Tomorrow I’ll return to online marketing for a product I whole-heartedly support, enthusiastically believe in, and faithfully use as an athlete. I’ll be working for a local company that was founded by athletes and produces a product for athletes, meaning that my love for sport (my crazy) will not only be accepted but will be truly useful and valued. I feel so lucky that this opportunity came together and that I get to join a team of people who are equal parts clever, kind, passionate, driven, and just as crazy as I am.

Growing up as an athlete I lived by sport, and as an adult I feel grateful to have found it again and love nothing more than to share it. I’m so excited to live and breathe the athletic world that I adore, and for my job to be to share it. Seriously, does it get better than that?

So, just a few more hours of quietness in store. I’m thinking some laundry, a bath, some Grey’s Anatomy (yes I still watch that show which shouldn’t surprise you since I also listen to LMFAO) and Parenthood, and early to bed.

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Right Fin Left Fin

If you were not a swimmer, like I am not a swimmer, what would the following mean to you?

6 x 25 with fins on one side per length

It was accompanied with a disclaimer that explained though the drill might feel strange keep the core engaged to stabilize your body and it should be fine.

Yeah, I thought, swimming with only one fin does sound like one big exercise in awkward strangeness and stabilization. Done and done. But that doesn’t explain how the whole thing will work.

I started thinking, and logistically to do that I would have to place the correct foot’s fin at each end of the pool. I’d swim 25 yards and switch fins, swim 25 yards and switch again, 6 times. As I was picturing myself at the public pool setting up the scene a red alert went off: switching with only one pair of fins would only work for 1 lap, right? Because if I swam 1 length with the left I’d hit the pool edge and exchange it for the right, but then the left wouldn’t be at the other end of the pool when I needed it 25 yards later. Right? Right. I was puzzled. I emailed my coach to see if he had any tips on this mind-blowing topic of Fin Placement.

As it turned out, the drill that I created in my mind in all its wide-screen high-definition glory isn’t actually a drill at all. And “6 x 25 with fins on one side per length” actually means that you wear two whole fins, yes, with one fin on each foot, while you swim on only one side of your body. Making the whole 25 yards, in an essence, like one long stroke.

I laughed at myself for a good two days about that one before I decided to start telling people. If I had gone through with my version of the plan then it could have caused disaster! Surely all of the cool kids in the medium lane would have disowned and heckled me back into the slow lane. I would have never been able to show my face at Queen Anne again, and would have been stuck with the too-hot showers at Green Lake or the off-hours at Medgar Evers for all the rest of my swimming days.

Good thing I asked. And even better thing that I have many people to laugh at myself with me when I get too serious and stressed out about Fin Placement. Silly.

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No Rest for the Weary

One of the things that I super duper extra love about triathlon (versus just running) is that you can train at a higher intensity more frequently. It’s actually my favorite thing, and most of what got me so hooked to start with. When you swim you are resting running muscles, when you bike you are resting swimming muscles, and so on and so forth, enabling more long and intense workouts closer together without feeling as run down, tired, and, (though I haven’t been at it long enough to guarantee this one) in theory, injury-prone. Because of the same principle you also don’t need as long of a taper before a race. When I was “just a runner” I used to schedule at least one day off per week (no activity), plus another cross-training day to help my legs and mind recover and stay strong. Before a long race the taper lasted 3 weeks.

Friday’s used to be that activity-free day, and I wasn’t sure if I’d like it when my coach starting assigning “Group Swim” on my calendar every Friday. For years, whether training or just working out, Friday has been my morning to sleep in, take some extra time to get ready (AKA blow dry my hair and wear mascara, we’re not talking some insane beauty routine), and shuffle around the house before starting my day. It’s been the one day that I’m average and not scheduling around training, thus this new Friday ritual was a transition in a longstanding physical and mental routine. Fast forward to now, and I’ve grown to love Friday mornings in the lake. I love them for the time spent with equally “crazy” friends, and because there is truly no better way to start checking into the weekend than a serene and peaceful swim during sunrise. The Friday swims have meant  nearly no days entirely off, but I’ve picked up on that and have learned to better use easy days (Friday swims, short runs) as recovery to get out and move and encourage my body to heal while teaching my mind to tune in.

Tomorrow marks my 3rd official assigned real day off since formal training began, and I’ve gotten so into the rhythm of tri versus running that I’m not looking forward to it. I don’t even plan to wear mascara to celebrate, in fact. It’s assigned as rest because it’s the first day of my taper week leading up to Saturday’s race and though it makes sense to start it off with a day to rebuild and repair after some big weekends/weeks I don’t love the feeling of pausing my momentum. There are a few things that I know I need to improve upon as an athlete (other than FASTER! STRONGER! FASTER! STRONGER!, but that, too), and one of those is that I need to embrace rest without falling into depression and ambivalence. But I just can’t get my mind to stop questioning myself when I’m not proving my progress daily!

I spent time this weekend recalling the simpler days of “just running,” more specifically my personal state in those weeks leading up to marathons. The discomfort (mental), fatigue (physical), and discontentment (all of the above), has lasted for all 3 of those weeks leading up to race day in the past (poor husband!). Though remembering and acknowledging that doesn’t make those feelings disappear, they do make me feel grateful that this time around I only have to handle it for 1.

Okay, so there is rest for this weary person, but I don’t like it much.

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Where Everybody Knows Your Name

I truly enjoy training alone. Many athletes talk about liking the friendly competition and support that they get from a group, but I’ve honestly never felt that way. Somehow I’m able to push myself just as hard whether I have witnesses or not, and no matter who’s waiting for me in the morning it is myself and myself only that gets me out of bed and in the lake/in the saddle/on the road.

From the start I’ve planned to work with a coach but I always knew that would turn out great. I love being provided with a plan and following it, and I totally thrive on following directions as perfectly as possible. But, it’s pretty uncharacteristic of me to have unofficially joined a training group, and even moreso for me to be enjoying it!

On Tuesday nights we meet at the track, and on Friday mornings at the lake, and in my few weeks of participation I’ve enjoyed it so much more than I could have anticipated. It’s nice to show up  to a handful of waves and to simply be beside people who are experiencing the same thing that you are regardless of whether you talk about it or not. Though I tend to be shy it’s good to celebrate with others who know what your success means, or joke about the lack therof.

My favorite part, the corny part, is that it makes me feel like I belong here, doing what I’m doing, in this new sport and new space. I’ve seen team members on non-group days and though we may only say “hi” before we swim off in our separate directions, for me the interaction makes me feel confident and deserving of my space, and validates my hard work. I am part of this club and I deserve to be here.

It’s sort of like the triathlon version of Cheers.

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In regards to the everlasting foot injuries (that are currently present):

If you try to run and it hurts, stop. If you try to run and it doesn’t hurt also stop.

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Filed under Health, Injuries, & Prevention

First official day

Today marks the first official day of training. Perhaps I should wait until I’m actually registered for the race to make it official, but as of today my coach has started providing planned workouts and this morning I enjoyed my first coach-assigned session. My biggest challenge as an athlete is enjoying rest, celebrating a job well done, and knowing when enough is enough, but I think that working with a coach will really help me in those departments.

My prescribed workout today was a brick: 30-50 mile bike, 30 minute run. Given that my foot is still pretty injured I know better than to push the run (ok, maybe I don’t totally entirely know but at least sort of…), but it took every ounce of control, coupled with low energy from lack of Gu, to pull a u-turn on my bike at mile 25 and not one-tenth of a mile further. Lucky for all of us I gain as much satisfaction from being a good rule-follower as pushing myself so having a plan that a smart and qualified athlete put together with exactly me in mind should serve as good direction as well as constraint.

The road was beautiful today, a perfect morning for enjoying hours of sunshine. I passed through lots of tri training clinics and practice racers out there, as well as my first funeral procession on bike (apparently I was suppossed to pull over to the side of the road even though I was heading the opposite direction?). I’m getting a lot more comfortable on my bike and might even claim to be okay eating and hydrating while riding soon.

While today marks my first official day of training, it also marks my first official PNW sunburn of the year!

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