Why a Coach?

Some people ask “Why do I need a coach?” My answer is very simple, yet very complex…

Roles of the coach are to educate, inspire, motivate, guide, and encourage.  A coach wants that athlete to succeed.  The athlete may question at times why, but for every session there is a reason.  There is a time for everything and patience is key to success.  It takes years to develop as an athlete.  These are all very important issues that a coach needs to address. 

I know that I can run a 5:20-5:30 mile.. That does not mean I should.  I have not trained for that and if I choose to go there, my potential to get injured is great, I have to be smart.  My goal as a coach is to train my athletes to hold back during training sessions especially the longer ones.   Save it for the race, then we can decide what is left in the tank.  If I decide as a coach to let my athletes go full throttle everytime they train, they will either get injured or burned out, and eventually it will start to show in the workouts as time progresses.  A coach oversees that the athlete stays within these boundaries to prevent injury, burnout or worse… overtraining.  A good coach knows the athletes abilities, training zones, and skill level to build programs based on that very specific information.

Training is built on sessions that provide training in all zones to maximize the abilities of the athlete.  Only at certain times will a coach block hard training sessions together.  Hard training sessions need recovery/easy days for the muscles to retain what was learned from that hard sessions especially when it comes to endurance sports.

Coaches provide valuable feedback and guidance to the athlete to reach peak performance.  

The training is not always in the volume but in the quality in that volume.  An example of that is that I may have an athlete do specific swim sessions, run sessions, or cycling sessions to build  threshold tolerance for different distances.  Those hard sessions are not hours long, the are short and very specific for a reason.  They cover different zone in certain sessions to stimulate different responses from the body. 

Every training session is designed to leave the athlete wanting more, feeling great, and progressing in an Upward Linear Fitness Response

So… It’s simple.. Find a coach that fits your individual needs and you are well on your way to reaching your training and racing potential.

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PreRace Jitters

Marathon season is starting… Thousands of runners with join the ranks of “MARATHONER” or “HALF MARATHONER”. If you are a veteran you know the drill, but the jitters never fade, at least not for me. This is a long way to run and lots of things can happen, especially when running a marathon.

I’ll start by saying, if you are reading this, I assume you have done the training, at least most of it and you are physically ready. Yes, it’s a far way to run, but so was that 20-22 miler you did. What’s 4 more miles.. Piece of cake. I am not saying that lightly though.

The reality is past 15 miles it’s mental and if you’ve done the training, the mind is a powerful thing. Now, it’s not completely mental, if you don’t have proper nutrition or hydration it will definitely reveal itself in the final miles.. Then you will enter the “Pain Cave” a place that I have been and am not a fan of. It’s dark and cold and it hurts…

By reading this, I am hoping to help you avoid that place. Now that you are well into your taper, I hope you have rested up. If you are new to reading my blog, I encourage you to read my blog on Carbo Loading.

In a nut shell… Don’t go nuts(pun intended). What I mean by that is you’ve already cut your workouts, don’t add extra calories. Keep calories the same and replace some of your protein with carbs, and not the high fiber kind, that is not a pretty place to be when running a marathon.

DO NOT ADD extra calories. You do not want to gain a lot of weight. Carbs will also hold extra liquids so you will have extra in the tank. If you don’t start the process now or at least 3-5 days before your key race, trying to do it the night before will do no good. You haven’t trained on 3-5 or even more extra pounds and your surely don’t want to run a half or full marathon with the extra weight.

At this point to you are probably bursting at the seems with restless energy, hang in there.. YOU CAN DO THIS. Running this distance is a big deal and you need to be smart so you can have the BEST run ever!!! This is a good time to hydrate well and think about what you want to run in.

Plan for the weather. I recommend a race belt, that way you don’t have to mess with the pins, or worse when you go to the bathroom and you number tears.. You always want your number visable for that picture perfect moment. Wear your number on the front as well.. Think photo op:o)

Have your clothes laid out and the nutrition that you plan to carry with you. If it’s cold, I recommend arm warmers. Also, the shirts or tops I recommend the most.. TRI-TOPS. They have pockets for your fuel and they are fitted so no bouncing. Even for you guys, who want’s those awful bloody nipples.. That has got to hurt.

For women, just wear a sports bra underneath if it doesn’t already have one. It’s cold this time of year so make sure you have gloves to keep your fingers warm.

If the start is super cold, wear something you can throw away, that way you can take it off and get rid of it. All these items get donated to charities it’s a perfect solution.

Be Smart… Be Prepared. Enjoy the experience and your accomplishment.

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What kind of Turkey are YOU??

What kind of turkey will you be? The fit or the unfit turkey? Choose to start the season off with a BANG

Don’t wait until after the holidays to start making the commitment to get into shape. Start Now. Take the time to write down the goals you want to reach. Be it 5k to Marathon. Sprint Triathlon to Ironman. Make the decision now to start training, and making those healthy choices can start today.

Enjoy your family time and your celebration but do so in moderation and set an example to those around you. You may be the one that inspires the people that surround you. Encourage your family and friends to do the same.

Have an amazing Thanksgiving, now go for a Swim, Bike or Run or whatever exercise you enjoy!!!

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The Time is NOW

With most of triathlon season behind us, plans for next year are underway if you haven’t already done this. This is the time of year to evaluate your level of fitness and build your strength.

This is a great time of year to plan a late winter or early spring Marathon, only if your not doing a spring Half or Full Ironman, and start building your base back up. Make sure you take the time to heal from your past season. Take a week or two off from any structured training. Any training you do should be recovery, which means your Heart Rate should stay below 125 for most.

Half Marathon distance races are also great for increasing fitness and speed for longer endurance events without the stress of a full marathon distance race.

Take the time to write down your strengths and weaknesses, physical and mental, and the challenges you can expect to face and create a plan on what you can do to avoid them if possible. It’s not if we have challenges in our lives, it’s when…

How we react to those challenges are what build us in our daily lives, as well as our athletic endeavors.

Make the commitment today…

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World Championships 70.3 Clearwater, FL… PreRace

After having a great flight in, Jeanne came to pick me up from the airport. I was joined on the flight by Jim Ryan, a local Austin triathlete and friend. He rode back with us as well. We had a few hours before Rob and the kids arrived and we had lots to do, but also time to relax.

After dropping all our stuff off, we all headed down to packet pickup. My race number 716… I was super excited. We walked through the Athlete Village and Expo.

Then headed to lunch. After we ate Jim went back to his bungalow and Jeanne and I headed to the water for a swim. The water was cold and I was hesitant. I knew I needed to get my hand back in that wetsuit, and I knew it was going to hurt. I held my breath and suited up.

We went out and the water was great. Perfect actually for a wetsuit. We swam out and I played around for a bit. It just felt good to be in the water, I felt invigorated.

After the swim, we decided to head back to our hotel and get ready for the athlete dinner and meeting. I got my room and what do you know… It’s the same number as my race number.

When I got downstairs, a couple was waiting there for a cab so, I offered them a ride. I was pretty sure Jeanne wouldn’t mind. Luke and Meg Gillmer, the reason I mention them is because we spent a lot of time running into them. They were from Sydney AUS. One of my favorite places in the world. We sat with them both nights for dinner as well. They were great company and we got to meet a lot of their friends as well and everyone was so much fun.

After dinner, I had to head to the airport to pick up Rob and the kids. I was tired but, Rob couldn’t get our rental car until Friday. This kind of made things hectic, and I will explain. We got back, Rob put my bike together and we got the kids to bed.

It was now Friday morning, Cameron and Morgan were up super early and ready to go the the beach at 6am. I had a lot to do today and at this point we had no car. We wanted to wait to get the car until Jeanne’s friend Erin arrived so we wouldn’t have to make 2 trips to the airport. This proved challenging because Cameron and Morgan were ready to GO!!!

I had a lot to do before I could relax, one of which was getting my transition bags ready. This was a little stressful since both of my kids were pulling on me from both sides to do something… I fully understood though so, I was trying to be patient. I knew I needed to focus because once those transition bags get checked in, there is no turning back. I didn’t want to forget anything.

Once I had everything laid out I took the kids downstairs to run around the pond. :o ).. One way to wear them out. Then we went to the hotel pool. Erin’s flight was delayed so we had to wait until afternoon..UGH! I was distracting the kids as much as I could and patience was growing thin.

Finally we headed out to pick up the car…AKA the SWAGGER WAGON! I made a quick trip to the grocery store and we ran by the hotel and grabbed my bike and transition bags. It was almost 2pm and I had still not had lunch. I was getting a little frustrated but was managing. I got bike checked in and dropped all my gear off.

I walked through transitions to see the in and out portions and I was ready for lunch. 3pm, we went down to meet Karen Burks and Cookie Munson at an Italian Resturant. I was super hungry now and it was way passed time for lunch.

On the way down Morgan stumbles and tears her toe open. She’s crying I was carrying her and blood was dripping all over me. We arrived at the resturant with a crying child and a very stressed mommy. I went inside and cleaned her wound and finally sat down to eat. My race was tomorrow and I was anything but relaxing.

We had wonderful conversation and I was glad to finally sit down. After dinner we decided to take the kids to the beach even though it was getting cooler. They were playing and some of my other friends, Ellen and Brian Brown joined us on the beach. I was glad the kids finally got to play, those natives were restless for sure.

The sun sets and I decided it was time for us to get back to get some rest. As I was waiting for the Swagger Wagon at the parking lot(Rob went to get the car so I wouldn’t have to walk anymore, I needed to be off my feet) Luke and Meg are walking up to get a cab back. I laughed and said they had perfect timing, we were heading back. They rode with us and Meg told my kids about the “Endless Gobstopper” at Disney World. My kids were super excited. A candy the never ended. I laughed…

We all got ready for bed and I was thinking, tomorrow’s a big day and today was not exactly the perfect way to relax but, that’s what happens when you’re a mommy.

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Proceed with Caution

With 3 days to go until the Half Ironman World Championships, I am going forward. Broken hand and all. I have done my training as schedule this last week and feel pretty good about that. I have had some issues. Putting on my wetsuit was a huge OUCH!! On the hand.

Hitting bumps on my bike hurts like crazy on the hand, so if I see it coming, I try to let my right hand go.

I think my biggest fear is getting kicked in the hand on the swim and also, just not being able to fight like I need to on the swim.. I need my hands. The swim can get crazy especially with 1800 very strong athletes. I will do my best.

I am super excited to say the least and I hope to be able to update as the days go by. For now I am finishing my packing and getting to bed. 6am departure and I have my bike and a suitcase I will somehow manuever in the morning… So much FUN!!!!

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It’s 9:15.. That means it’s really 10:15??

The time change… I loved that I got extra sleep last night. Right now my body is in major REPAIR mode. But, I just looked at the clock.. it’s 9:15… Why am I so tired? Well, yesterday at this time I was already asleep.

As much as I love the time change in the morning, I love to wake up early. I am wiped out and it isn’t even 9:30 yet, the evenings will be a challenge for me for a while.

So for a short summary of my run this morning, I felt pretty good. I am not saying I am running without pain. For some reason the hit I took in my leg when I fell is causing my right leg to drag. What exactly does that mean?? I feel like I have a dead leg. It doesn’t want to flex or extend so I really have to focus on the muscle action. If you have ever run a marathon or done an Ironman and you just can’t pick up your legs anymore, this is what I am feeling during my run. That is the sensation I am having in my right leg.

It’s OK when you are at the end of a race, not so good when you start off like that. I am hoping over the next few days my leg feels better and better and the pain I am having at night will also fade. Other than that I feel pretty good and now that it’s 9:25 my body is telling my it’s 10:25 so I am going to sleep…

One more thing before I go, I would like to Congratulate 2 of my Athletes in Dallas, Karen and Jason both set Half Marathon PR’s for today!!!!!! Way to go!!!! Super Proud of both of them!!!!!

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My MoJo… 7 days and Counting…

My Mojo… I am relentlessly trying to get it back, today was a start but, also an eye opener. I was up early to meet some riders and Rick for about a 50 miler at Bicycle Sport Shop.

I opened the door and it was freezing.. Burrrrr. 40 degrees. Not the best for keeping that hand warm. I bundled up nice and warm.. 2 pair of riding pants, 2 shirts, arm warmers and a jacket. The first problem I ran into was that I couldn’t get my broken hand in my really warm glove, it hurt way to bad. I settled for some other gloves that still hurt getting on but, I could tolerate.

If I say I didn’t have second thoughts about riding in this cold, I’d be lying. I totally wanted to bail, but, I NEVER bail, unless it’s really important. This was just me being a sissy. I grab my bike and headed out to meet the group. There was about 10-12 riders when I showed up.

We took off down Parmer and headed towards Andice. Andice is a small town that has a General Store that has loitering cyclist.. That’s half true. It’s a turn around or stopping point for almost every rider this side of town.

The ride was a nice pace and I was actually dressed perfectly. The biggest problems I was having riding with a broken hand wasthat it hurt like crazy when I had to shift gears. When I shift I usually brace the outside of my hand on my aerobars and push my gears with my index and middle fingers or my thumb. I have bar end shifters.

Well, I can’t brace.. It put to much pressure on my broken bones. So I really had to either completely move my hand or take a deep breath in pain.. I did both. I also did some teeth grinding.

My next problem was hydration. I couldn’t grab my water bottle from the cage. I can’t rotate my hand and grab. When I did I almost dropped it and it hurt like crazy. I was glad it was cold and I wasn’t that thirsty. I was also glad I was riding with experienced riders.. If I had a flat I was in big trouble on my own. I knew that when I started.

My leg felt OK. It’s the stops and starts that cause the pain in my leg. I am really concerned with the location of the pain in my leg. The bruise is high on my quad and covers almost the entire muscle but, the part that really hurts it the tissue above my knee. The pain is waking me up at night. It’s not knee pain though, it’s in my deep connective tissue.

We head back and we have a big headwind on Parmer. I dropped some of my layers and I was glad, it was getting warmer and once I hit Parmer and head home, I am on a mission. Doug one of my training partners said I should be the poster child for “Mind over Matter” I laughed and said I have no time for whining. I have to say it was “mind over matter”, I had to disconnect from the pain and I did that today. My ride was not as fast as I had hoped but, it was a good solid ride. The head wind was pretty crazy as well.

I got home and went for a very easy run. I needed to see how my leg would do after the bike. It was painful, but tolerable at the pace I was running, which was not fast. I am just not sure how fast I can run on a bum leg. With 7 days to go I am well into my Taper and I am hoping for a miracle.

Tomorrow is just a run for me and I will try to hold a steady pace and not whence. I hope for a restful night and am excited to have an extra hour to hopefully sleep in, but I’ll probably be up, laying in bed pressing the light button on my watch to see what time it is every 10-15 minutes until I get bored and get out of bed. Even when I hurt I am excited to go run…

So, Don’t forget to FALL BACK, just don’t FALL DOWN…..

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Damage Control

With 8 days left until World Championship, I am a little stressed.

I rode on Monday morning and felt good but, my leg was hurting. I had to really suffer with my hands. I came back and ran a very easy 20 minutes. My legs are still moving albeit slowly and painfully. I also had a big swim Monday afternoon that I managed to get through, which I was happy about.

I decided after my swim I should get my hand X-rayed. I made an appointment for Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday morning I went for a run and I threw in some speed work that I really suffered through but, it wasn’t bad enough or fast enough at this point for me to quit.

Tuesday afternoon: what I thought, was confirmed. My hand was broken. Thankfully my Dr. is a triathlete and he knows what I have going on. He also knows me very well, I’m a fighter not a quiter. Where the is a will, there is a way… His dilemma was thinking outside of the box. My hand has to be protected. If it breaks more or displaces, it will need surgery, which means pins in my hand. That would not be good. He had me casted in something I can take off when I swim, bike, or run if I needed to. I asked that he do nothing permanent. I told him about my leg, he told me to go easy. I was listening. Thank you Wilson!!

Wednesday was cold and raining outside.. YUCK!! I still needed to ride so I stayed indoors and got on my computrainer. I managed a good indoor session and then it was off to get the kids and head downtown. I needed my racewheels checked. I am riding Zipp 404’s. I headed to Mellow Johnny’s to have this done, one of my athletes works there and he takes great care of my bike needs. My bike goes in next week for a good going over. I am riding a Cervelo P2K that is almost 8 years old. I am in need of a new bike but, remember that “starving actor comment” This might be a while. Thank you Jason for taking care of my Old Blue!!!

Let me just add in at this point that not only am I injured, I have cut out all caffeine until race morning:o(. For me this means no Dark Chocolate. This might actually be the worst part.(I had one piece if I am being honest… I cracked under pressure)

Ok, so now we are up to Thursday.. I had Cameron dropped off at 7:30, Morgan and I headed back home. I had exactly an hour before I had to leave to take her to school. I hopped on my spin bike for 45 min.. Got a good recovery ride in and headed out to take her to school. I had a massage scheduled at 10am. My Therapist saw my leg and said “Whoa, that’s really bad, we have to go very easy there.” If a therapist goes to deep on bruised tissue it could futher the damage, my Dr. said the same thing. I already knew she couldn’t go crazy there, it hurts to looks at. I really needed that massage, and I knew it would help with my recovery, more damage control.

She was finished and I headed out for a 30 min run afterwards to see how I felt. My leg is just not in good shape. It was a very easy 30 minutes. As least I was moving, and the weather was good.

Now I was going to Tillman Therapy to have another cast made that I can potentially race in. Lisa was the therapist and she was really amazing. I enjoyed talking to her and having her take good care of my hand as well as tell me her concerns about my hand. She called me a “professional athlete” I laughed and said ” athletes like me are like starving actors” She says ” well you’re a professional to me” That warmed my heart. If I can inspire 1 I have done my job… My JOB is to inspire and motivate, to show passion and love… Some days I do better then others. As a coach that is what I strive to do with my athletes.

One of my very good friends Ruthie picked Morgan up from school and met me because my appointment was at pick up time. I am also going to add in here that if I didn’t have Ruthie and Ruben as friends, I could not do what I do. Ruthie does so much to help me out with my kids. I absolutely have to thank her.. Thank you Ruthie. I don’t have family here and Rob travels for work, so my schedule and planning can be very complex at times. We went to get Cameron and then headed to the gym so I could get a swim in. I get in a nice recovery swim and my day is done. Well, the training part anyways. At this point I am taking Arnica and rubbing a homeopathic cream on my leg called Tramheel, as well as wrapping it in compression bandages. I’m OK when I am moving but, sitting down and getting up feels painful and actually at night when I move my leg I have pain in my quad muscle and into the top of that knee. I am also taking Advil.. As much for my pain, as for the headache I have had without caffeine…Probably more for the headache though.

Now I am up to today and I am getting anxious. I really wanted to go for a run but, I also know I needed to stay off my leg. I take Morgan to the gym and she “swims” while I swim. Today I was swimming 100s and 500s and the water was perfect.. I was a happy swimmer. My hand felt good in the water, I have had to adjust my stroke and my left shoulder is feeling the pain, it’s working overtime.

Tomorrow I will do a group ride with one of my training partners Rick aka GARMIN and a group from Bicycle Sport Shop. Last time I rode with these guys we held a great pace until the crashes and rain. I am looking forward to getting my MOJO back.

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It’s Not Falling Down, But How You Get Back Up

Last Saturday, I was racing a 24k Trail race in Bluff Creek. I felt great coming off a big week of training for me.

My goal was really to maintain a specific pace for training purposes. We started the run with a pretty good pace, I backed off a tad just to stay where I wanted to and have fun. The course was a double loop, it was great, it had tons of variation, rock, roots, ascents, and descents, a lot of fun. At mile 9.4 (I was wearing a Garmin) I went down. I was flying down a descent going into a gradual climb and I tripped on a tree root, I think. I landed so hard it took the breath out of me. I was laid flat out and stayed there a couple minutes to see if I could even move. I remember reaching up to get my glasses which flew off and landed infront of me, still laying down at this point. I felt a searing pain in my right quad. I staggered up and looked at my hands and wrists. The Garmin saved my left wrist, I had it flipped to the inside. My Polar on the right was the other way. Yes, I wear two devices.

My right hand was already swelling up, I figured something was broken. I wiped off and tried to start running again. It Hurt. My quad had hit something when I landed and felt like it was ripped open. I looked down and saw a mild abrasion but, I was in serious pain. My thought was to just keep moving, I had aboout 4.5 miles left. I started out very slowly just putting one foot in front of the other, I was trying not to cry but, my pain was deep.

It took me a couple minutes and I had my feet going again, but I was still in a lot of pain. I saw one of my local competitors Matty on one of the switchbacks and yelled to him the I fell and I was really hurt. He yelled back some encouraging words that kept me going. As much as I was hurting, him being behind me helped keep me going. I was getting back on pace somewhat, I was about 20 seconds off, but I was OK with that. I went through some bouts where I wanted to cry but I told myself to be strong. Then I starting singing ” even the best fall down sometimes,” I am not sure where that song came from. I think I am far from the best, but I strive at all times to be the best I can be. So the words went through my head again and again.

Then in pain I roared loud like a lion, I figured no one would hear me but Matty if he was close enough. I roared again and again, getting the pain out, the miles fading into the distance. I knew the finish line was coming up and I needed ice on that leg and hand. I blazed through that finish line happy to see my kids cheering for me.. Matty was close behind. I thanked him for the push.. He says “even when you fall down and get hurt, you won’t let me pass you.” I said ” If it weren’t for you today I would not have finished… Thank you.”

It’s not just that I fell, it’s that I got up to finish the race.

Now for damage control…. Sunday came and I was a mess, my hand was completely swollen, and my leg was horribly bruised and had knots in the muscle. This was not good. Early afternoon I hopped on my spin bike to do a recovery ride which is HR at 125 or less for 45 min. Then at 4pm I headed to the gym to see how my hand and wrist will affect my swim. I swim 1,000 m, it hurt but I did it. I was out of time, I needed to go get the kids and we had Trick or Treat tonight. No time for whining.

I got dressed up in my Supergirl Costume and claimed someone threw Kryptonite on the trail. I was actually only half kidding.

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