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.”


Amazing Awaits

“Amazing Awaits”is the slogan this year for the USA Olympics. I know because I was just there for USA Cycling. “Amazing” that word sure holds a ton of weight. Yes, these athletes are truly amazing at what they do, and so are the coaches and performance staff that work together to create perfection. I tried to get to the trials for the marathon, just to be a small part of something so great. I didn’t make it.. But, I have never lost sight of the dream, it has just changed as I have gotten older.

Yes, I made it to the Olympic Training Center as a USA Cycling Coach. It’s a course, but I was there, I felt the energy, the excitement. Maybe not in the capacity as actually being an athlete who qualifies but of one who had a dream to.

I am an athlete, I may not have made the Olympic Trials but I have never stopped training or racing… I love this sport that I do.. Running.. Cycling..Swimming. I will continue to cross finish lines hopefully stronger each time.

Now, I am excited to be able to take my knowledge of racing and training for the last 17 years and encourage other to start, or get stronger. Being a USA Triathlon, Track and Field, and USA Cycling Coach carry with them a responsibility to teach others that “AMAZING AWAITS”!! Who knows maybe one day one of my athletes will be standing on that podium!! Never Stop Dreaming!!


When the Weather Outside is Frightful…

What kind of athlete are you? Are you the kind that makes excuses when the weather is cold, rainy, or just plain miserable? Or the kind that takes advantage of the opportunity to train in inclement weather?

I like to think training in bad weather can not just make us physically stronger, but mentally it’s a doozie. If your a fair weathered athlete then when the weather goes bad on race day, after all that training, you gonna quit? NOT ME. That which doesn’t destroy me makes me stronger. Training in extreme weather can definitely make you strong. I’m not saying don’t train smart. Wear the appropiate clothing, have the right fuel, water, and let someone know where your going, especially if your going on trail runs.

Take advantage of training against strong winds and use that to help you build power and strength. Nature has given us elements to build us not just physically but mentally and just like everyday, every race can bring on those different elements. Don’t let that break your mental game. When you train in any kind of weather, you can race in every kind of weather. Good weather is just the icing on the cake, but be ready for anything.

So on race day if the weather turns bad, you can have a smile on your face as big as the Grinch when his heart grew 5x the size.. Before the race starts and the reason why.. You’ve train in this before. Been there done that!!! See you at the finish!!!


Building your Engine

The method behind the madness. I’m talking about going SLOW. Staying in a low heart rate zone. For those of you like me, this is a very trying time and takes tons of patience. I don’t like to slow down. But, when you’re trying to get faster, going slow in the beginning or BASE Phase is what it’s all about, especially when it comes to building speed endurance.

WHY?? you ask.. Well, our bodies can adapt to being very efficient machines, but they have to be trained to do so. What I mean by this is, even for the “SKINNY” people, we all have fat to burn , we have to train our bodies to burn our almost endless fat stores rather then our carbs or glycogen stores.

What happens when we go slow? We breath slower which means our bodies are getting more oxygen in our blood. Fat needs OXYGEN to burn. When your short of breath.. this is lack of oxygen which means your fat doesn’t have the oxygen it needs to be burned. Instead your body switches to carbs, and those come in a very finite supply and once those are gone our bodies start to do crazy things, actually without sugar, our brains won’t work. Sugars are the source of fuel for our amazing brains. So, lets keep the brain fed and use our fat for energy, we’ll last longer that way.

But if I am going slow, how in the world will I get faster? We’ll your heart is becoming more efficient in this stage AND let’s not forget we will add in some high drills. Just enough to produce lactate, which is also a fuel our muscles use, and flush it out with recovery. Nothing longer then 2 minutes or shorter then 30 seconds. It takes our bodies about 15 seconds to get in this zone anyways. Then for a full recovery, repeat this about 5 times and you’ll be well on your way. You do this about every 3-4 days.

This type of training lasts anywhere from 3-6 weeks. Blow it and your engine will not reach it’s full potential for racing. Which means NO TEMPOS, NO MILE REPEATS, Etc. Etc. and if your heart rate goes high on a run up a hill, well then, WALK!!! Same on the bike. DON’T Blow it and you know the minute you start BLOWING your Heart Rate is too HIGH!!!Let those other people pass you. Either they are truly faster, which means they’re ahead of you anyways OR they don’t know what there doing. They’ll be eating your dirt soon enough.

Remember this phase doesn’t last forever, your build will come soon enough. As well as your peak and racing then you’ll be begging for your base phase ;) .. Just to start the cycle over. So, be patient, be smart and enjoy this time.. cause this to shall pass


Sometimes it Just Hurts

Ever have those days.. you get up and it just hurts. You have a plan but everytime you turn around you hit a wall, those are hard days. You have a hard time seeing the other side of the Hill or Mountain or whatever it is your climbing.

Whether your running, riding, swimming through that ROUGH water or just living life.. we all have days like that. Legs feel tired, shoulders hurt, heart is pounding or life just isn’t what you expected it to be and it can take it’s toll, not just emotionally but physically.

As an athlete, the training we do helps us to cope with all those things that create instability in our lives. We can not control the world but we can control how we react to it, and part of that is being physically fit.

Today I was riding head on into the wind.. BIG WIND, my legs were hurting and I was feeling tired. Then somewhere in that misery and pain, a grin crept across my face that only a million dollars and a brand new Corvette(paid for of course) could have made bigger.. Somewhere a switch went off and the pain turned into pleasure… PURE JOY!! Man it felt good. I LOVE THAT PLACE.

Going 30+miles an hour on a push on a straight away. I feel like I’m FINALLY slowing down, not my speed though, just me doing something for me. We rush around all day and it’s when I am running fast or riding and pushing as hard as I can that I can finally BREATHE.. Let out that silent sigh “AAAAHHH” It feels good.

Just when I questioned why I do what I do.. It all fell into place, that place just for me and a satisified smile crept on my face like the cheshire cat!! I do what I do because I know that I will overcome that place of pain, that place of hurt, that place in life that sometimes just wasn’t what I expected and will be able to overcome it. No, it’s never easy but nothing good ever is.

Give it a try, I promise once you find that place there is no turning back


What’s the KEY???

What’s the best way to train?? The best way to stay fit?? The best way to eat well?? The best way to build endurance??

CONSISTENCY… If I say it once I say it a thousand times, just keep on keeping on. You get up everyday and consistently brush your teeth so you don’t get cavities or sometimes worse, have bad breath. You consistently go to work, eat, sleep. So what is the difference with training? Make it part of your LIFE. EVERYDAY!! The way you eat, the activities you do, even the company you keep. I’m not saying don’t hang with the …unfit… but I am saying, hang out with people who will help keep you in the best shape of your life.

Like Dave Ramsey says “you wanna be RICH.. Do RICH people things” … I say “you wanna be FIT..Do FIT people things.” and you don’t have to go broke doing either!!! Maybe you’ll just rub off on the unfit.. and if not then.. sad for them. As for the RICH hopefully they rub off on me:).

How do you stay consistent?? Why Brush your teeth? BECAUSE IT”S GOOD FOR YOU!!! yes, I know it only takes 2 minutes to brush your teeth and that’s if your doing it correctly. And training can take up to… well that depends on you. But if you add some friends into the mix… I can train all day.. and I bet you can too!!

But everyday?? Well you sleep everyday.. Eat everyday.. So..Yes. I’m not saying workout like crazy everyday, but have a consistent schedule. Change things up. Don’t run the same run everyday, but if you have to change it up. Run faster for 30 seconds a few times add some knee lifts. Do what you need to do. Build on your fitness regularly and make it part of your life everyday!!!


Eat those Carbs??

The myth about Carb-Loading and why I say that. Why eat more carbs before a long distance event or any event for that matter? My first example is a 5k you don’t ever need to load up for this particular distance, it’s just not long enough and for that matter neither is a 10k. As a matter of fact if your doing your TAPER (which is cutting back on training before your big event) correctly, you are already dropping your energy expenditure which means… your burning less fuel and storing energy. Adding extra calories on to that if your dropping your workout only means one thing… WEIGHT GAIN.

The only weight you should be gaining before a race is from water and that’s usually from decreased sweat loss. You add extra carbs and calories to less activity and to me that does not add up right.

Carbo loading doesn’t mean upping your calories, it means adding carbs and taking away from something else like maybe fats. Or ideally, since at this point you should be so trained that your nutrition has been great all along and you don’t have to add much except maybe starting 2 days before the race adding a sport drink like Accelerade or PowerBar drink mix. Keep things bland and usual no one likes race day surprises. AND you really don’t want to feel bloated race morning. Also, adding carbs the day before the race.. that’s like studying for your finals the night before.. Good Luck, but you’ll probably get an F and I say you deserve it. Be PREPARED, practice during training, not during your race or you’ll get a DNF and that means did not finish, which just sucks.

If you make sure your nutrition is good the WEEK/WEEKS leading up to your big event as long as you did your training… I expect nothing but a stella performance!!!!!Now GO EAT SOME NOODLES:)


Follow you Heart

Following your heart, so much easier said then done. Sometimes this just leads to heart break and drama. Other times it breathes new life into us. Our heart gives us passion, love, and emotion. But our physical heart gives us LIFE.

Our hearts can tell us almost immediately if we are, or are not in shape. Sometimes it just takes a few minutes. Our hearts can also tell us if we are sick.

For training, our heart is a real indicator for how well we are doing. First thing in the morning, our Resting Heart Rate, or RHR tells us if we are overtraining, tired, or… doing everything just right.

We’ll try to keep this simple because heart rate training can get a bit scientifical and complex and technical and I really don’t wanna lose my crowd.

So first thing is getting a BASELINE in the morning.. RHR and by that I don’t mean get up start cleaning, getting ready, drinking your coffee (for me DietDP..We all have a flaw right?) whatever you do in the morning. STOP!!

STAY IN BED.. Lay there and RELAX. Take 2 60 second counts of your pulse. Write it down, this gives you a starting place. If this goes up during training you could be overtraining or overtired. Try to keep a log and make a habit of this especially if you are training for a race.

Now for the ZONES.. And NOT the Speeding kind even though we love to speed.

For training purposes I’m going to use 6 zones:

REC(Recovery)40-50% and below- Is just that. Your body is recovering from intense physical activity

AERO(Aerobic)50-60%-this is the zone where you strengthen your heart, improve muscle mass, reduce fat, cholesterol, blood pressure and other degenerative diseases. This is not the zone that will increase your fitness, strength or endurance but it will ward off health issues.

LT(Lactate Threshold)60-70%- this zone starts burning the fat, something we all have on some level. This zone increases your bodies ability to use fat for energy or fuel.

AC(Aerobic Conditioning)70-80%-this is where you are actually increasing the size of your heart muscle, your lung capacity and respiratory rate. In this zone is where the body increases it’s ability to exercise for a longer period of time.

AT(Anaerobic Threshold)80-90%-the “BURN ZONE” and it feels good, we just usually can’t stay here for more than an hour. This zone is used for tempo training. Here is where we get FASTER, LEANER, and STRONGER. Our intensity here is much higher.

VO2max-this Zone is saved for all out bursts or training intervals, with recovery and aerobic zones to get the full benefits. This is an extremely High Zone and the risk for injury can be potentially high so make sure you know your zones.

Training your heart and following your zones is crucial to gaining fitness. So get out there get that blood pumping and GO BREAK SOME HEARTS!!!


Feeling FLAT?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I do not like to flat. EVER! In my life or on my bike. Sometimes flats in life take longer to fix and I am definitely not the one to ask.

But, I can help you fix the flat on your bike and you can feel confident that when it happens you can handle it and maybe even have a chance to show off your new mad tire changing skills. It takes practice though, just like training to get better, stronger and faster. Practice on the front and back, until you have it down. It may not be the fastest change but it doesn’t matter. This will give you confidence when your on the road by yourself or your riding with someone who has not read this or ever changed their own tire(you’ll look like a pro).

1. Rear Wheel flatted, make sure you shift into your smallest cog (gear) and the reason is it allows your cassette to slide right past your derailleur when you remove your wheel. Otherwise your struggling and pulling it around your derailleur which could get damaged if your not to careful.

2. Release your brake.. There is a lever that you move in the up position on the brake itself, open it up. Now you can take off your wheel. Make sure when you lay your bike down MOST IMPORTANTLY: MOVE TO THE EDGE!! I have seen people change tires in the middle of the bike lane.. what are they thinking?? Lay your bike down with the driveside up (Chain up). Hopefully you have a tire lever. Makes removing the tire a bit easier. Grab the rim opposite the valve stem. Pinch the tire with your other hand and put the lever in dragging it around the rim to release the tire. If you don’t have a lever .. GET ONE.. or you can always pull the tire up and over the rim away from you body and use your thumbs to pinch beads over the rim at once.. Usually hurts your thumbs though.. At least it does mine.

When the beads are loose pull the tire and rim in opposite directions. It will pop off and waa-laa tear out the old tube. Give your new tube a little air to give it some form otherwise it’s flopping all over the place and hard to do anything with. I usually carry a small pump. CO2 cartridges cost more and why? I’m not racing I’m riding and training. Just seems a little wasteful. But do learn how to use these as well, they come in handy on race day if you do flat. Now that your tube has some form, place it inside the tire. Before you do that though run you fingers in the inside and outside of the tire to make sure whatever caused the flat is not stuck in the tire or you’ll keep flatting and if you ride 650’s like me unless your close to a bike shop your outta luck.. Seems like I’m one of the only 650 riders around in my area.( that’s tire size by the way, there are 2 sizes 700’s and 650’s) you most likely have a 700, make sure you check this before you buy spares.

4. Now put the tubes valve through the hole, holding your wheel parallel to the ground. Starting at the hole, start cinching your tire back on over the rim with each hand working opposite of the tire. Once the beads start getting tight, roll each over your rim with your thumbs and fingers, and/or the ever functional tire lever.

5. Fully inflate your tube and put your wheel back on your bike. Make sure your rear derailleur is out of the way. Now close your brake-release with the lever.

**** Super Glue****

Now if by chance your tire has a cut or hole in it carrying a small tube of super glue and putting it in the hole of your tire(not your tube) will seal that tire until you get home and buy a new set of tires which is usually the case.


Make sure to check that your tube is properly in your tire so you don’t give yourself a pinch flat.

Before fully inflating, make sure to push up on the valve to make sure it’s seated fully in that portion of the tire. This portion of the tube is thicker.


Time is Now

In the final week before my next race I feel strong and confident, this is an A race for me which means it’s the race I have been training for this entire time. It didn’t start that way though. I was actually coaching a friend and felt that since I was doing the distance I should do the race. “Do the race” that’s funny to me, and it’s because I never just DO anything. I give it my all. I commit and I train, I finely balance all that life throws my way, put my head down and go foward full force.

Somedays are great, others not so great but it’s putting all those pieces together in the final days that I see the results. Will I question and second guess myself? Absolutely, every single day. Even as I race I have to struggle with that, I think we all do on different levels. Just today as I was swimming the words I told myself over and over.. You are a FIGHTER, You are STRONG especially when that self doubt starts to creep in.

For as long as I can remember I have struggled with self doubt. For as long as I can remember I have stared that self doubt in the face and said “I’m going for it anyways.” The Time is Now .. I don’t want to look back and wish I could have done more. What do you want to do.. Go out there and Just do it!!!