Getting it Right

With 21 days left before World Championships for the Half Ironman, I am trying to get it right. The right mix of distance, speed and intensity, in 3 different sports: Swimming, Biking and Running.. and REST… and coaching, and family and friends.

What does 21 days mean exactly? For me, it means about 11 more days of intense training and then I start a taper. I have to stay focused, have a plan but, be flexible. I need to make sure I push myself hard on my intense days, and recovery when I need to rest. I need to make sure I am confident in my abilities and not question if I have or have not done enough.

I will be competing against some of the strongest endurance athletes in the World. I need to not fear the pain but, overcome it and embrace it. I know it hurts… I’ve been here before.

I will push my body in the next few weeks beyond it’s limits, not necessarily in distance but, in intensity. Hoping that when I get to the starting line, I will have done what it takes to not just be a finisher, but a strong contender with the best.

I also have to remember that some days will not go as planned. On our ride yesterday, we had rain, wind, flats and crashes. This started to crumble me mentally. But, I know everything has a reason. I ended up cutting my ride short, and going for a run. So after 50 miles on the bike, I hoped off, put my running shoes on and headed to the trail.

There was actually a marathon going on called the Frankenton. I took it all in. Enjoying my run, the day, and watching these athletes as I passed through push there bodies to the limits. I let my mind go, I saw some great friends and fellow athletes out training and I smiled. I smiled because I do this because I can, not because I have to.

I compete because I love to. I always have. I love the training even when it hurts, even when it doesn’t all go according to plan. I am also thankful no one was hurt yesterday. All in all a great day.

So for now… I’m getting it right.. everything in good time.

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I’m an Outlaw

As I get into some of the last weeks of my training for World Championship, I felt that riding a strong 100miler would be a great confidence builder. Lucky for me, Austin has some amazing organized tour rides. I was on the fence with this one though, there was also an Open Championship Olympic Distance Triathlon in Dallas that I was planning to do the same weekend. Knowing that I needed a longer ride, I decide to stay close to home.

The ride is called the Outlaw and is in Round Rock Texas every October. They have 4 different distances. I rode the 100k last year. This year I decided I go for the 100 miler. This is a fantastic event. So far this year we have ridden in the Tour de Florence which was 65 miles to finish at a winery

the Rip Roaring Ride in Leander hosted by the Lions Club (5 Stars for the aid stations!!! Peanut butter & Jelly Sandwiches and pickles) we rode the 80 mile distance, and the Outlaw. Each ride has its uniqueness. I have enjoyed every mile. At this point I have to put a thank you to Rick.. He is one of my training partners, and an amazing rider and has ridden all these miles with me, and changed my flat. Thank you to his wife Barb for letting me borrow her husband for a training partner. Also, Pam… aka Pammer the Hammer. (I thought of that today when we were riding but I was saving it for my blog:o) Hope you don’t mind. ) I know as I train for Worlds and then start training for Ironman, I need a team to help me do well. My biggest gains will be in the bike. These are 2 key people that will get me there. You will be hearing about them periodically in my blogs because we train so much together.

Ok so back to the ride. Just for the record, I have not ridden 100 miler in 7 years. Shiner was 6 miles short.. Just being honest. So the Outlaw was officially the I’m back ride, and Rick has not ridden a century since the 80’s. We’ve done plenty of 70-85 milers but not 100. We took off pretty slow then there were 2 breakaway packs. We hopped onto the second group. We had an amazing pace of over 21-22mph, I was going a bit over my threshold and my biggest concern was that we had just started, this was still going at mile 20-25. Then we had the first group in our site so, of course we drop the hammer and catch up, I was completely anaerobic at this point and was happy to draft.

About 10 minutes later, Rick and I got to an aid station, we skipped the first 2. I think this was about mile 30. We took a quick break then took off again. Now we were on our own which was great we had a great pace and the weather was perfect.. Next break was around mile 50 and I was in need of salt, hence the pickle juice, and pickles of course. This is the magic of the long distance rider. I learn this from Doug… I call him Coca-Cola/Pickles.. That’s what I saw him drink and eat the first time I rode with him and I was shocked. But, let me tell you this, he’s a strong rider.. Give me the pickle!! I’ll stick to my Powerbar Endurance or water for the hydration though.

At halfway we were averaging just under 20 mph, and the smile on my face was a mile wide. As a matter of fact, I smiled the entire 100miler, I just could not stop smiling. I was so glad the bugs weren’t out.

We got back on our bikes and start riding with 2 other riders, at the time I nicknamed them Purdue and Alaska due to their jerseys. We had a very nice pace going and just stayed together for the duration of the ride even after I flatted, which was around mile 80. At this point I introduced myself and Rick. Purdue was Kevin and Alaska was Steve.

We got to the final aid station and had about 12 miles to go. This is usually the point in which I get turbo boost, second wind, whatever you want to call it. It’s also about the time I am ready to not be sitting on my saddle anymore and want to go for a run. So, we pick up the pace. I took off first, slowed up a tad Rick caught on and we cruised to the 100mile mark, still with a big fat smile on my face. We high fived and went to my car so I could get my running shoes on.

Now it was time for my run. I grab a bottle of water and head out for a nice steady pace. My legs feel good and I’m thrilled to have just done what we did. I finish my run and you could hear my stomach growling.. I was HUNGRY. I have no time to stop now, it’s 3pm and I need to get home. That’s when the real work starts.

You’d think at this point, WOW, time for a nap.. WRONG. I have laundry to do, kids to play with, a house to clean, and a sewing project for my son’s class. I get busy with everything and finally sit down to sew. Rob starts cooking dinner. Then phone rings, it’s my sister “I’ll be there in 30 minutes.” ARG… I totally forgot. She’s just here for the night but, I just blanked out. She arrives with one of her daughters, they’d been shopping all day, we sit and talk for a while and then she sits with me as I sew. 15 minutes later my sewing machine jams.. UGH!!! I need to finish this, but I can’t. The demin has jammed both my machines and they need to go the repair. It’ll have to wait.

I get to bed around 9:30, I needed some rest… I had Erica meeting me here at o’dark hundred for a long run…. Then spend the day with my sister and then a swim later on Sunday evening… That in a nutshell is why… I AM AN OUTLAW!!!

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What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you want to be when you grow up? My answer will be “ask me in 20 years”.. I might have an answer for you.

By then I’ll be 60 and what is called a GRAND MASTER..and NO, I don’t plan on growing up anytime soon so, I’ll keep you guessing.

I am doing what I want to do and that is competing at a high level and inspiring others for what is possible. I live my life to learn about what I love and that has always centered around exercise and nutrition. As a coach I hope to teach my athletes that they can reach their goals, even in times of struggle and frustration and set backs. It’s not if, it’s when. There will be those days.

As an athlete at any level, but especially at the level between being the best and just not good enough to make it to the top, is a very frustrating place to be. I should know, I have been here for 20 years. I have been racing as a top level Age Grouper for 20 years. Never good enough to make it to the PRO level. I have raced Elite at local events and even been invited to race at a few events to UP the field of talent.. I’ve even signed an autograph or two.

Some days, it could break me if I let it. There are days that I train for 4-7 hours, some non-stop. Other days, I train 2 or 3 times to get all the training in and manage it around family, coaching, friends, cleaning the house, laundry, cooking, kids to school, dogs, play time, birthday parties, and let’s not forget the sleep thing either.

But, the truth is…. I LOVE WHAT I DO… Yes, I get tired, we all do. But, there is not one day that I don’t get off my bike and say “that sucked” or gone for a run and dreaded every step.. Swimming and the smoothness of the water gliding over me, absolute LOVE.

The WORLD IS MY OFFICE… I am so fortunate. I wear what I want which is usually some cool training gear from one of the super cool gear companies out there. I can look like a total Tri-Geek because I sort of am…and there isn’t a day that goes by that some random person doesn’t ask me about what I eat, what I train in, what gear I use, what my recommendation are for bikes, wheels, helmets, running shoes, compression yes or no and general training and racing gear. I love talking about this stuff. There are some really amazing companies out there.

So, when you ask me what I want to be when I grow up, I will say “I do what I Love and Love what I do.”

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