Monday, March 9, 2015

What is this thing called a "Rest Day?"

Since November, I have been attempting to workout everyday.  Have I been successful?  To be honest, yes and no.  It was pretty scary logging into Training Peaks and looking at my workouts.  I personally think that Coach Brett is a mix between Drill Sargent and Mr. Burns.  I have this vision of him, sitting in front of his computer, looking at my statistics and laughing out loud when he thinks of a diabolical work out for me! (Teehee).

Coach Brett (Disclaimer.... Brett in no way looks like, acts like or thinks like Mr. Burns)

This is me after my first Fartlek run
So what has been bad.  I have missed some workouts due to life and illness.  My asthma really kicked my butt.  It did so much that I downgraded my half marathon in February to a 10K (note, this was due to the advice of Brett... and again... he was right in telling me to do so).   I have also missed some due to work, life and just being worn out.  It is difficult to juggle a full time schedule, two tween girls, two soccer schedules and a Hubbers that works nights.  But......
The missed workouts has not been as many as before.  Gasp!  There was a time where I would blow off two to three days of training... just because I wanted too.  I can't do that now.  I'm liking my workouts now.  I have anxiety just thinking of missing a workout.  "Who is this person?"  Well someone that wants to become an Ironman finisher one day. 
The results from my workouts have been phenomenal.  Nothing that would qualify me for Kona, but still huge steps for me.   My swim, bike and run have all been getting faster.  Competed double workout days.  Geez, I even went for a ride when it was "Not" part of my workout.  Let's just say, all the workouts has translated to results.   
Yes, using my 910xt is awesome, that thing scared me at the start.  Yes, I now believe in heart rate training, yes I had doubts.  Yes my heart rate zones have changed since I started.  (Note: That new heart rate zone scared me to death).  Hip rotation really makes a difference.  PR'd my 10k.  Finally, my cadence is getting better.  Yea all things to be happy about.

When I saw a blank entry for this Monday, it kind of freaked me out.  What the heck! I did panic.  "Did I do something wrong?" "Does Coach think I need to scale back?"  Monday's are the days that I don't have to worry about my schedule.  Why didn't Brett give me a workout?  Of course I had to ask him........

Me: Ummmm I have no workout on Monday???
Brett:  No. Day off
Rest is when you get stronger
So there you go!  I get a rest day. Sweet!  The timing can't be any better.  I only got 3 hrs of sleep last night.  I need my Zzzzzzzzz's
The lesson learned.  You might not always see a gain in your workouts on a daily basis but when you compare to what you're were like 3 months ago... there you go! 
So remember!
"Just Keep Moving Forward!"


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Finding the Right Fit

Someone asked me this weekend why I needed a coach.  Well, the answer that I gave them didn't really satisfy them because they walked away with a puzzled look on their face (which isn't anything new if you have a conversation with me).  The answer that I gave was a short and sweet one... "I just do!"

Being part of a online triathlon group, the question about coaching has come up often.  "Should I have a coach?" "How much are they?" "What can they do for me?"  These questions are all valid.  I would add, ask questions that are important to you.  Let me share with you my coaching journeys. It's going to be long.  

Though I have only completed one true year of training, I knew early on that I would need help with training.  My first mistake was that I thought I could go at it alone.  Duh!  Now many people can train without the help of a coach.  That's great, but  I'm not one of them.  I believed that 1.  I could swim 2. I could bike and 3. I could run... not well but I could do all three.... so a triathlon would be a breeze right???  For four months, even though I took swimming lessons from fabulous swim/tri coach, I pretty much went at it alone.  Well, that was a mistake.  After my first sprint, I soon realized that I needed more guidance.

I am not disciplined enough to go at it alone.  Training is not studying for a test or a certification exam.  I have done that.  I can do the training, but I have no idea on how to modify or analyze my results.  Pretty much my analysis is either it was a good or it was bad. 

My first coach was amazing.  She taught me drills for my swim and made sure that I could survive a 25 meter swim.  She was there to walk me through the early jitters of racing and taught me that no matter what, triathlon is suppose to be fun.  She was there when I got down on myself after my first Oly, and was there to prepare me for my next one.  Things got hectic after all the racing.  Being new at this sport, I really didn't know how to juggle my time as a mother, wife, nurse and athlete.  I had to step away.  I had too.  I was so burnt out, I didn't want to train at all.  I didn't know if I would ever want to race again.  Maybe I needed a break, I didn't really take a break after finishing school. 

After my hiatus, my friend introduced me to her coach.  She stated that her coach was vivacious, had completed 20 plus Ironman races and had totally changed her training.  Knowing that I was in a total funk, my friend thought I needed a kick in the pants.  So came the triathlon journey with another coach.  My coach was able to help me with all three aspects.  She came and watched me swim once a week, had group rides and went running with me.  She taught me the importance of race nutrition and hydration.  She got me through Soma.  Slow but she got me through it.  Something was missing though, something didn't click.  I did all the training that she wanted me to but it just didn't fit. 

At this time, you are probably thinking that I'm just super picky and that I'm just not satisfied with anything regarding coaching and training.  It might seem that way but here is the thing, training should provide you results but you should also like what you are purchasing.  Meaning.... you're paying for it.... you should be satisfied with your purchase.  I see finding a great coach like shopping for a bike.  Yes, there are beautiful and awesome bikes out there, many brands with many specifications.  If you don't buy a bike that fits you, you will never benefit from all your training.  (side note:  I bought my tribike blind...... so I'm paying for that now.)  That is how I see coaching now.  I need a coach that fits my needs like a bike that fits my body.  I never interviewed my prior coaches... I knew for my next one, I would. 

So here I am on coach number three.  Yes three.  He is the same coach for Swim Bike Mom.  I decided to reach out to him a couple of weeks after Soma (and after some family health issues were resolved).  This time around, I made the conscious effort to ask questions before I decided.  I contacted several other coaches and asked them the same questions and he felt like the best fit for me.

So why is this coaching experience different this time?  Well I don't know.  Could it be that he helped me with my Garmin 910xt and the data is being used to monitor my training?  Could it be that he is a coach but has another job, thus understands my crazy schedule with my career?  Could it be that he also has two kids, and understands the demands of being a parent with two kids in sports?  Could it be that his philosophy of training and racing fits mine?   Could it be that he is calm which is opposite to my spaz.  I might have to say..... all the above but there is so much more.

This is where I would share why I have a coach and would not survive doing it on my own.  One advantage of having a coach, Coach Brett has the ability to hold me back but push me forward at the same time.  Sounds weird but it's true.  He was there to hold back and told me that I needed to master the 70.3 distance when I wanted to sign up for IMAZ15, but he was there and pushed me to PR on my first race of the year (BOOM!!!!)  He benched me when I was sick, but told me that I would be okay when I came back.  Train "smart" he would say.  Little would I know that two words would change my mind set regarding training.

Second:  He has taught me that I need patience. As you can see, I get caught up really easily when it comes to races.  I also get really frustrated easily when my training or my racing isn't what I want it to be.  His response in one text "Patience Grasshopper."  That was all it took to calm me down.  This is to ensure that I have years and years of triathlon in me.

Third:  He has emphasized, the importance of technique.  Cadence for the bike, stroke and kick for the swim and my run well, let just say I need help. 

Forth (and not the last):  Coach Brett has gotten into my brain!  He flat out told me that I needed to change the way I looked at running.  I hated running!  While triathletes have one discipline that they don't like as much, I really loathed running. He has taught me that I do need patience, (eeekkk) and that placing a mental block translates to a real block that won't allow me to get better.  The thought of "just wanting to survive the run" will never translate to a good race.  I get it now.... I can see how it has been effecting my training and racing.  Just looking at my two recent races..... different mind set, different results.

So for those who are disciplined enough to train without a coach.  Hats off to you and continue!  For those who are considering a coach, there are major advantages of having one but make sure you have a great fit! 

Happy Training.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Bring it 2015

Happy 2015

Another year, or as many would say a blank book with 365 pages is upon us.  I looked back to 2014 and realized what an amazing year it was!  The Hubbers is well, the girlies are great and growing like weeds, Mom and Dad are doing great.  I had a great race year considering that I'm still considered to be a tri baby with only roughly 14 months of racing and training.  My goal in 2014 was to finish an Olympic length triathlon... I finished a half.   My career is in such a great place, I could not ask for more.  I felt really sad to say goodbye to 2014, it really was a great year.

So what is in store in 2015?  I'm pretty excited.  As for the family, lots of play and family time has been planned for this year.  It will be filled with soccer, music lessons and play.  As for Robbie and I, we are stronger then ever, maybe I can convince him to relay a race with me :0). I will learn to relax and enjoy the down time with the family.

As for my life as a triathlete (I still feel weird calling myself a triathlete).  I have some things I would like to do.  I am a Swim Bike Mom Ambassador, and I want to share my love of the sport.  As an athlete.  Well.... my goals are not set in stone.  Now last year I never would of set a time goal for myself when it came to the finish times.  All races were races where all I wanted to do was to finish.  Yes just finish.  This year, I wanted more.  Nothing crazy like Kona or podium but I wanted to be a more wholesome and efficient athlete (yes, I'm calling myself an athlete, something I would of never said before). 

I had many changes in coaching last year.  I am indebted to my first coach because she got swimming and racing.  I am indebted to my second coach, she got me to my first HIM.  The first change came when training was getting hard on the family.  Seriously, training was making my husband a triwidow.  I had to make a change and that change was a step away from Tris and reassess.  The second change came after my HIM in October.  I was beyond burnt out, but I needed to spend time with Hubbers and the family.  At this time, I needed another change.  A connection was missing, it just was.

Not to sound like a petulant child that is never satisfied, I really needed a change.  I needed someone to hold me accountable while still understanding my limits.   So if that makes me sound like a spoiled kid.... well... so be it.  I think those that have never had a coach before don't understand how much they can make a difference in your training and your mental health.  I am a weak swimmer, cyclist but I am a horrible runner.  I need so much help in my run, it's not even funny. 

So in November last year, I contacted Meredith Atwood's coach for a consult.  After speaking to Brett Daniels several times, I felt a connection.  I had a good feeling like this coach might be "the one."  I feel weird to use the term "the one," but it has been an awesome journey so far. 

My goals this year for my training include the following. 

1) Have better run mechanics, maybe I will finally become a runner.

2) Better my race times by a 5 mins.

3) Love racing.

4) Look at my results and analysis with purpose.

5) Lose wt. (as you can see that was last on the list because it's there every year.)

So many happy wishes for your 2015.  May you have health, happiness, laughs, smiles and epic race results! 

I will be looking for all SBM members at the following races (not set in stone).

Jan 1: Commitment Run (Completed and Pr'd)

Feb 15th: Lost Dutchman Half marathon, Apache Junction, Az

April 12th: Marquee Sprint, Tempe, Az

April 25th : Pat's run, Tempe, Az

May 3rd: Esprit Deshe triathlon Oly distance.  Tempe Az

May 10th: Tinkerbell Half Marathon, Disneyland, California

June 13th: Ironman Boulder 70.3

September 20th: Tempe Life Tri Oly), Tempe, Az

October 1st: Espirt Deshe: 10k, Mesa, Az

October 17th: Beach to Battleship 70.3, North Carolina

Nov 11th: Hits Havasu 70.3, Havasu, Az

Monday, December 8, 2014

My HIM Journey and Life afterwards

I Did it.. and the post grumpy crash! 

I'm a slacker....... and I haven't written any posts and I have suffered from the post blahs after Soma.  I didn't think I was in a slump but I am (was???).  After memorable years of first's I need to get back on track!.  I drank the triathlon kool aid last year and since that time, I went from a semi couch tater tot to finishing my first HIM. 

My first's are many....

1) First 5k
2) First Mud-run (completed three since)
3) First 10k
4) First Sprint Tri (done 5 since)
5) First Half Marathon
6) First Oly tri (done 2.5 since)
7) First HIM

I thought I would be satisfied after finishing my first HIM (note, that was in October..yea yea... I'm a slacking).  Well I wasn't.  After attempting to wipe that silly grin off my face, I wanted to race again.  Hubbers told me to hold off and see how I felt after a couple of weeks before I decide what races to do next year.

Well, then it happened.  I went back to being a couch tater tot.  Life got in the way.  From a health scare for Hubbers, Girls Robotics and soccer, work and everything else, I came to the realization that I was dead tired.  Really tired. Dog tired. 

Hubbers stated that during the time he has known me (19 years), he has never seen me take it easy. Go Go Go he would say, "just like your Daddy Esther, you don't know when slow down." I have to admit, he's right!  I'm always on the go, keeping busy, always doing more, not worried to take on more duties.  Well, it finally caught up with me. 

Now don't get me wrong, Soma was awesome.  It was awesome that another Swim Bike Mom (Emily Horner) was set right next to me in transition.  I had a freak out during the swim, had a slow ride and walked more than I ran.  I did it though.. It was awesome!  I was on a high, but I came crashing down right afterwards.

The three weeks afterwards included no working out at all.  I knew I could pick it back up but I had no motivation to do so.  Blah was my mentality.  I needed a kick in the butt.

Well after a major change in my training routine, I felt like I'm back in the saddle again (cue the scene in Sleepless in Seattle!).  I was wrong.  I loved my new workouts, but mentally, I wasn't the same as before my HIM.  Case in point, I sat through 9 hours of the Nuggers Robotics tournament this past weekend.  I was grumpy and I snapped easily at the girls and the Hubbers.  Finally, Hubbers flat out told me... "Est, you're grumpy, go work out please!"

Now I recognize that I was a total complete grumpy ass the last couple of weeks.  Easily irritable, tired and just not motivated.  I am glad that Robbie, was blunt with me!  I needed it!  I wished he did earlier but Robbie is that way.  He will allow me to find my own path, but if I veer off, he will pull me back.  I'm a grateful for that.

So, here's to a full year of happy racing in 2015!  I got Boulder 70.3 and Beach to Battleship 70.3 as my long races.  I'm sure the journey will include highs and lows.  For sure there will be grumpy moments but I'm grateful that Hubbers will be there to snap me out of it!.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Place I Need to Be!

Questions Semustions!

To many people, my journey into triathlon has been a puzzling one.  "Isn't it dangerous?" "Do you have time?" "What does your family think?"  Those questions don't bug me.  I want to think that those questions revolve around concern about me (yes I'm going to think that).  Other questions such as "Why?" "Do you have that much free time?" "Why would you negligent your family?" 'You're not fast so why do you do it?" and finally "How can you afford it being a nurse?" .... well... they do bug me.

Yea those questions bug me.  First, the reason it digs under my skin is the insecure side starts to analyze the questions and look for any type of truth behind them.  Am I taking time away from my kids and Hubbers? Do I really have that much free time?  Yea I'm a turtle...I will never win my age group, so why do I submit myself to this punishment to my body? Well, I finally come to the answer that.... BECAUSE I FREAKING CAN! BECAUSE I FREAKING LIKE IT!

This crazy triathlon journey that I have been on for over a year has taught me several things.  This things include, don't eat pizza before a long ride, place a towel under your bike during your trainer ride or you will have a sweat puddle on your carpet, some energy gels are disgusting, and forgetting your bra after a swim work out means you need to somehow origami your tittles in a way so you can race home and get one.  All kidding aside, Tris have taught me that I don't care! 

I really don't care what other people think when they are negative.  This has not always been the case.  I remember sitting in the car in tears because someone stated that there was a "fat chick" that completed a really hilly triathlon.  That fat chick was me because he was reading the results and he pointed at my division, at my name.... the only Athena.  I was standing behind him.  Standing there in horror, then walking back to my car in disgrace.  Now I just don't give a damn.......

I know that this might sound cold but there is a purpose to my thought process.  Is it selfish to do something that you like and enjoy?  Nope.  I finally understand the reason why others are negative ..... They are not in your shoes!

You know the feeling of excitement prior to the starting gun.  You know the feeling of excitement seeing your family cheering you on during a race.  You know the feeling of accomplishment as you see the finish line approaching.  Finally the feeling of being a BadAss for finishing a triathlon.  They don't. 

Yes I am slow.  Yes I might look like a zombie when I run (teehee).  It's the improvements that I look at.  I know I know.  I have been guilty of comparing my times to others.  "Wow, Rinny is fast!  I want to run like her!" "Andy Potts is a beast during the swim, I want to swim like him!"  It just wasn't productive people!
How I run.
I look at all my improvements.  That is how I answer the question that I'm not fast.  5 minutes faster in the swim.  3 miles faster on the bike.  5 minutes faster on my run lap (even though I pulled out of the last loop due to knee pain).  Then a week ago, I PR's my 10k run by 9 plus minutes.
So don't let people bring you down.  Don't let them get into your head.  Don't let them get under your skin.  Don't let them destroy your dreams.  If you fall...get the heck up... destroy the field... enjoy the ride. 
I will be racing my first HIM in a week.  I am scared out of my freaking mind.  I have doubts, but these doubts are my doubts.  While I know I shouldn't sabotage myself.  At least they're mine and not other negative peoples thoughts that I am allowing into my head.  I refuse to allow soul suckers to destroy me before I even start my race. I am working on making my mind a more positive place when it comes to my own racing.  I'm getting there but I'm better than before.  So you see...I look at all my improvements.  It's the place I need to be.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

So the Day that It Happened!!! Got a Call from Swim Bike Mom!

September 16th 2014 started like any other start of my week!  Start of a long day teaching that would last from 0730 to 1700.  Get up, get ready, get busy.  After my usual routine, I kiss the kids (still asleep I must say) and the Hubbers goodbye.  After my second break, I noticed that my phone was receiving a phone call.  Area Code Georgia!  Who the heck would call me from Georgia?  So I return back to class!  Complications related to intubation here I come!

So after the first class was completed, I check my phone again.  Hmmm a voice mail.  So thinking that this would be a call related to buying life insurance, donating money to a campaign... carpet cleaning, I listened to the message with my finger fixed on the delete button.  "Hey Esther, it's Meredith Atwood......."  What??? Swim Bike Mom left a message on my phone!!!!

Who is Meredith Atwood?  She is the author of "Triathlon for the Every Women," blog master of Swim Bike Mom, an Ironman, a mother, a wife, an attorney, and to me an inspiration.  I remember after reading her book, I felt like I should send her a quick message!  She responded back!  I know that it sounds stupid, but it meant so much that I got a response.  You see, when I mentioned that a triathlon might be in my future, people told me

1)  You're too old.

2)  You're not a runner.

3)  You're not a swimmer.

4)  You're not a cyclist.

5)  You're overweight.

6)  The sky is blue!  You get the point.

In her book, she mentioned all the ups and downs including advice on how people around you could be not so supportive.  Yes, it was just a simple message, but it was the message that I needed and it has taught me that the triathlon community will support one another!  To me, she was my rock star. 

A couple of days later (3 days to be exact) Meredith completed Ironman Coeur d'Alene.  I watched online for updates throughout that day.  I thought to myself, "When I grow up, I want to be Meredith Atwood."  Too bad I'm older than her!  Of course I had to send her a message to congratulate her! 
So now that you know about Meredith, why was that phone call so important to me.  Well her Army, the Swim Bike Mom army was looking for ambassadors located throughout the country.  I thought, "how cool would that be," but fully aware that I was probably the most unworthy SBM member. I did it anyways and sent in my application. 
I called Meredith back, she told me the news, if I wanted it... To become a Swim Bike Mom Ambassador team member for 2015.  Well, I screamed and I squealed.  My poor students saw their nursing instructor lose her mind.  She told me about how she would provide more information later.  Wow, I was awe struck, shocked and over the moon.  As silly as this sounds, I cried after getting off the phone with Meredith.  Why you might ask?  It felt like my rock star idol picked me out of the crowd to dance with her on stage!  Unworthy, uncoordinated, unfashionable but chosen.  Then it hit me.  I hope that I can fulfill the role to her expectations.  Now came fear and fear that I will fail.
What Meredith heard when she told me the news!
When the time was right, I called Hubbers.  Shared everything with him!  As the calm individual that he is, he stated to me that he was proud and that I would do a great job!  Again, Hubber comes through.  He always has a way of making me feel better!  The man who is there for me at every race!  The hubby that coined the phrase "Embrace your Jiggle!"  My favorite line from Hubbers was when I was freaking out before my first open water swim.  "Esther, you're not there to compete, you're there to complete."  Hearing positive words from Hubbers eased my fear a bit! 
So I'm looking forward to the responsibilities of being a Swim Bike Mom Ambassador!  Hey, without fear, without stepping outside your box, without taking that first step... you will never know what is in front of you.  I hope that I can meet the challenge and be able be as awesome as my other Swim Bike Mom Ambassadors! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Welcome to my Crazy Blog

Hello Everyone

Just want to introduce myself.  I am a wife, mother, nurse, educator, former couch potato, triathlete, want to be Ironman.  Thought I would record my journey via a blog!  Please enjoy reading my journey!  Welcome to the wild world of Triathlon.  #ChunkyCA