Tuesday, January 31, 2017

One sport wonder

So if you've been following along with the #blogsquad themes, last week, we assigned a topic to another gal and this week, we are to chose one of those 7 questions and answer it ourselves.  I'm not sure if there's a rule against answering your own question, but if so, I'm about to break it.  Last week I asked Liz, "if you could do one (tri) sport for the rest of your life, which one would it be and why.  Also, what have been your fave event that you've done in that sport, and what is still on your list to do. Liz and I must be total opposites, as she had great reasons to love each sport and landed on jack of all trades, master of none.

Check out these lovely ladies' blogs and see what they chose! Erin Klegstad, Laurel RichardsonLizzie CullenChristine CoggerCaitlin ConstantineJennifer Ward and Elizabeth Rich

I've thought about this one a lot over the years, and hands down, it would be biking.  I think swimming is the easiest on your body and might have better longevity, but it's not that social, and my husband doesn't swim much, so it won't ever be something we can do together.  Running has always been my weakest link and is always the sport I will neglect the most in the off season.  It beats my body up the most (Achilles issues, hamstring, etc...), and it is the sport that honestly, gives me the least pleasure.  I have never run an open marathon in my life and have zip, zero, zilch itch to do one.  But what about seeing how "fast" I could run?  Doesn't really interest me.  I don't put much value on folks' open mary times, as they very rarely correlate to a post 112 mile ride marathon time.  I know there is value to running shorter races, but I will only do those in an effort to get faster overall in triathlon. 

This leaves us with biking.  I think there are lots of reasons it's my favorite.  It's the sport that we grew up doing as a family.  Riding a bike over long miles will inevitably bring out what is on your mind.  I've had some of my most meaningful and honest conversations on bikes, and I place a lot of value in that.  I've also had some big fights on bike rides, but they re usually long enough that there's time to make up ;). I dream about taking my bike all over the world with Mark and seeing beaches and countryside via two wheels.  I love my time spent both solo and with friends on the bike.  I'll always choose company, but sometimes a bit of alone time on the bike is just what you need to work out the brain. 

230k's of FUN!
I think my fave bike memories/routes can be whittled down to two trips.  When I was young, we used to go on TOSRV every year.  This is a 210 mile, 2 day event in Ohio and you sleep overnight in a gymnasium.  We would do this as a family, and I think my first ride was when I was 12.  I did it on the back of a tandem with my sis manning the front and my mom and dad along side.  It's a flat ride, and even then, I was competitive and we tried to hammer as best we could, while of course stopping at the many aid stations where you can consume more food that you were burning off!  The other bike ride that I would say is a must do, is the amateur Tour of Flanders.  This event takes place the day before the Spring Classic that the pro cyclists compete in and you can do the full course of 230k/142miles.  Mark and I did this in 2011

When in Belgium...waffles!
Pave and steep hills!
and it was amazing.  We got lucky with amazing weather, and the amount of cyclists was just awe inspiring.  Europe, really takes cycling seriously and I love that.  The route is challenging with the wind, hills and pavé and there are extra bragging rights for those who stay out of the smooth gutters and ride all of the pavé...I was making guttural noises by the last section of cobblestones, and Mark and I decided it might be a good time to ride with LESS pressure!  I was one of a small handful of women doing the whole route, so I got extra cheers, which made it extra fun.  The course is already lined with spectators on the famous climbs who are there in preparation of the next day.  The aid stations were filled with sweet Belgian waffles and frites at the end.  I would be remiss to not mention my back yard.  Although I don't really love climbing, I do enjoy the views it affords, and Northern California has some of the best riding in the world.

What is on my bucket list for cycling?  I would love to do a week in Italy or France and see some of the tour routes and even ride at the same time of the Tour de France and do a ride/spectate combo.  Also, the wine tasting wouldn't be bad, so I suppose I could be talked into that too!  I would also like to cycle parts of Australia and South East Asia. Both of these sections of the world have been high on my would love to visit list for a long time, so this would be a great way to see the world and get my bike on!

Friday, January 27, 2017


Our assignees
This week the #blogsquad decided to do something different and instead of all writing on the same topic, we each picked a topic for another gal.  No control, say what?!! Elizabeth gave me my question and asked "has there been a time in your life where you have failed {fallen flat on your face} and now you're thankful for the lessons you have learned? And what were those lessons? - my challenge for you is to pick something non tri related".  Ummmmmm, seriously, you throw this question at me and I can't use a tri example?!!  Elizabeth may get the award for hardest question this week.  

Writing about failure is hard? That can't be possible right?  It's not that I've never failed, but one of my superpowers is that I forget.  I mean I really forget bad experiences. You can remind me of them, and then I'll be like "oh yeah, that WAS terrible!" But then I just laugh about it and get back to whatever I'm doing.  This particular skill of mine (I say skill, you say shortcoming, same dif, right?) lands me in some hot water with my husband and coach, Mark.  Example:  
HM- what should I be doing for training, I really want to work on speed this year since I'm not doing an IM until Kona?!
MM: running races, the local Saturday ride...  Same things I've been telling you for years...I swear, I'm a broken record.  

Got it now?  Same things happens with crappy experiences.  I think it's because I like to see the sunny side of life.

This got me thinking about failure.  I don't think I like the word, failure.  I don't really think you fail if you gave whatever it is you were trying to do, your biggest and best effort.  How can that equate to failure?  It might mean you didn't hit the mark, and I'm not trying to give us all participation trophies here, but how is that failure?  If you give something your best, fall down and get back up again, I see that as success.  If you fall and can't be bothered to get back up, then yes, we can say that's a failure.  

What I'm about to say, please don't take the wrong way.  I can't remember a time that I have failed. Maybe others have seen me as failing, and maybe this is what it boils down to, is perspective.  I choose to keep a perspective on life that rolls with the punches.  I have had hiccups along the way, a few rough spots in my career early on, but thus far, life has been incredibly kind to me.   Maybe "remember" is the key word, but when Elizabeth asked me this question, I was like, how am I going to answer this?! Do I have days at work, in life and in training that absolutely suck?  Yes, of course, and sometimes I fail to hit intervals during a session, fail to get back to people in (what I consider) a timely manner, fail to be my 100% best.  But after that happens, I wrap up my day, tell myself the next time will be better and I move along.  That's one of the best things about life, you get to wake up every day and try again. 

What these things have taught me:
1. No one can do it all.  Full stop.  Maybe you can do a lot of things, but when I try to do it all, I can't do ALL THE THINGS to the level I expect from myself.  Something has to give.  
2. Just keep going.  Get up, brush yourself off, and say what's next?!
3. Figure out what is the root cause of your failure.  One of my tri related failures was IM Texas in 2013 I think?  I stopped for almost 40 min and had no idea what was wrong with me.  Turns out, I had super low iron.  I fixed it and got back to being my normal self.  
4. Failure can teach you a lot about what is important to you.  I believe that if you truly want to do something in life, you can do it if you value it enough.  The success may not come overnight, but if you stay the course, you will be successful.  Maybe sometimes when you fail, if you're really honest with yourself, it's. because the goal wasn't that important to you.  

How do you view failure?  Check out these lovely ladies' blogs for the rest of the theme from this weekErin Klegstad, Laurel RichardsonLizzie CullenChristine CoggerCaitlin ConstantineJennifer Ward and Elizabeth Rich

Monday, January 16, 2017

Number one scarcity...time

The "Blog Squad"...oh yes, we have a name, is at it again this week.  We're talking time management and I have not managed my time well this week and am LATE in posting this.  But that means that I've had the opportunity to catch up on all the other gals' takes on this topic and have taken some notes and laughed out loud at others.  Check out the other reports here LaurelErinChristineLizCaitlin, Jen and Elizabeth’s 

As I was reading all of these blogs, I got to thinking about time.  When we're little, it can't go by quickly enough...you want to be old enough to do X and a day takes FORever.  Then as we age, suddenly time seems to shift and all of the sudden, I can't slow it down.  I want to savor the moment longer, but alas, time waits for no triathlete.  So here are some of the things we do to keep doing what we like as often as possible.

  • Outsource.  Yes, outsource everything you can possibly afford.  Some things like grocery shopping are so commonly done now (Amazon Fresh, Instacart, and your local market) that they don't even cost anything.  When folks OPT to go to the store instead of freeing up an hour by having it done, I can't comprehend (again, it's free).  Yes, I like picking out my produce too, but not more than I value that hour.  The other night, I was on the trainer exchanging texts with my Instacart shopper and just feeling so damn happy that I use this service.  My dad always says do whatever puts a smile on your face. Triathlon does that, so I try to make sure I'm doing what makes me happy as often as possible.

  • Divide and Conquer.  This is where the "we" above comes in.  Mark and I don't do a lot of chores or house stuff together.  If I do want to go to the grocery store, he doesn't come...he stays home, works on house projects or maintains my bikes.  Or he goes and exercises on his own.  I would love it if we cooked dinner together more, but often, it's just me making dinner while he does X/Y/Z for us.  We're a total team and by doing tasks separately, we create more time for the things we really value like time together, time with friends, and training.

  • Always pack your gym/work/food bags, pump tires/lay out kit the night before. I've yet to end up after a masters practice with two discolored shoes/no pants, etc since I get it done the night before....although those posts make me laugh so much!  And kudos to those that can get it done in the morning, but I really like to sleep!  I wake up 10 minutes before i leave for the pool, so it's literally wake up, brush teeth, GO!  Most of the time, my bags are already in my car and I just grab my food and go.  

  • Find supportive co-workers.  I am incredibly lucky that my closest colleagues are BEYOND supportive of triathlon.  I have some that will run with me and others that will bring me back lunch from wherever they've gone so that I can get my lunch workout done AND eat when I get back :)  While I'm good about packing breakfast, I do rely on lunch out nearly every day.  

  • Socialize in training.  I'm lucky that most of my closest friends, also do triathlon.  This means I never feel "cheated" because we don't go out often, because I likely have just spent all day long with my buddies on the bike, or just did a tempo run with them.  Yes, we lead what most would consider "boring" night lives, but I'd rather be swim/bike/running than out on the town most of the time, so it's worth it.

  • Try to become OK when shit doesn't go to plan.  You miss a workout, you had a meeting, whatever comes up, sometimes life just doesn't go to schedule.  I've tried to become more OK with that, and that can create- less worrying/stress, which can create more time, right?
That's it...hoping this is somewhat helpful!  Onto the next topic...what will we think of next?!!  

Friday, January 6, 2017

7 in '17

Wow, twice in two weeks, right?  We'll see how long I can keep this (regular) blog thing going.  Our little group of bloggers has me inspired and also gave me a due date so this week, we're moving on from 2016 and jumping into 2017 with 7 things we're looking forward to.  If you haven't already, check out these other ladies' blogs, it's great to see how we all put our individual spin on the different topics.  There's Erin, Jen, Christine, Liz, Caitlin, Elizabeth and Laurel.

Now 7 things...doesn't seem like a lot, but it took me a while!

These are 7 things I'm looking forward to in 2017...

My only impressive yoga pose
Beach yoga!
1.  More yoga.  I've always loved yoga and did it a lot before getting into triathlon, but it's time for a come back.  I had a lot of problems with my back and hamstring last year, so I am hoping to manage it with yoga, strength and daily mobility.  My fave type of yoga is HOT (of course) power yoga.  I got a flashy new mat and everything, so I better stick with it!

2.  Less racing.  What?!! Over the last 13 months, I raced 5 Ironman races, as well as 3 (maybe more) halfs as well as other smaller, local races.  That's a LOT.  For the mind and the body.  I'm not planning on racing an IM until Kona, and will race shorter races to build speed, but am looking forward to a few less races this year.  I've been exercising for the last 6 weeks since Arizona, but I'm still not really ready to TRAIN.  And for now, I'm OK with that.  It's not time yet and I think after LY, a bigger rest is A-OK.  Does it suck not being race fit?  Absolutely, but it's not time to be race fit.  Do I get grumpy on group rides when I am the lanterne rouge?  For sure, but again, it's not race day, is it?

Experiences AND Hawaii!
Can you see "Aloha"?
3. More trips to Hawaii.  This place feeds my soul, and my sister also happens to live on Kauai.  And being with her and her family also feeds my soul, so I plan on heading to the islands more this year than I did last.

4. More experiences and less things.  This year, when Christmas rolled around, I couldn't think of anything I wanted save one pair of shoes.  Thankfully and luckily, we have everything we want, material wise.  So now, it's time to seek how to carve out more time for experiences with those I love the most.  Whether it's long rides or runs with friends or trips to see family, I'd rather spend my discretionary $$ on being with those I love than a material possession. Editor's note...not that I don't enjoy shiny, new things...I CERTAINLY do.

Ohio and my parents
5. Two trips to Ohio in 2017 to see two of my longest standing and best friends get married.  Brandy and I used to roll around our small town BUMPIN' Biggie Smalls and The Fugees and were lifeguards t.  She's come to see me race in Hawaii and now it's time for me to see her on her biggest day.  And Sam, my college BF (yes, we're still good friends).  He came to a remote island in the Caribbean to see me get married and now I will trek to the great land of Ohio to see him wed his amazing bride.

Riding down the coast w/these two
6. The Coast Ride.  It's looking like rain next weekend...thank the good lord, as asking this butt to ride 375 miles next(!) weekend, would be a major ask right now...see #2.  However, we will arrange a summer coast ride like we did last year to make up for the rained out/cold version.  This is always a highlight of the year, endless (almost) hours of gal-pal talk time and views of the California Coast.

Smiles on Alii Drive
7. Ironman Kona.  You had to know this would be on the list, right? This will be my 8th one, and I already dream about it!  Whenever I'm feeling blue, I just whip out my phone and scroll through pics of Hawaii.  Acai bowls, swimming with friends and dolphins, hot sun, and RACING!  What's not to look forward to about all that?

And there you have it.  Here's to your more's and even your less's...let's enjoy 2017!