Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Why I finally joined a Triathlon Team.....

After completing 7 half iron distance, racing at Nationals and countless sprint olympic distance races, where I sometimes was self coached and sometimes coached from a far, I finally broke down this season and joined a triathlon team. Why you might ask? What  would possess someone to join a team after going through all the training and racing alone for many seasons? Honestly I was ready to change it up.

This season I will be tackling another 3 70.3 distances and oh wait theres that little thing of I am running a marathon again. I needed some new motivation to get me through what was going to be a long season with some serious training.

So there is a local team near me that actually is a race director too. I looked over their team calendar. I had done a few of their races. Asked a few questions and before I knew it I was talking to my coach about adding this to my training. She 100% agreed it would be a good new add to the training. So I paid the money and I was in. Perks include: race discounts, team support at races, team workouts and built in training buddies. So far I have done a few open water swims. It has been nice to get that in my training this year. Usually I am 100% pool swimmer then race day I am trying to get used to my wetsuit and my sighting. I also tried the team bike time trial this week. More on that another day.

I have even started doing some of my long bikes with a team. This past weekend I enjoyed a ride with some friends on another team. It was just nice to have people out there to help push along the training day. I was always so opposed to being on a team or training with people because I thought on race day it all comes down to me and what I can get myself to do. But when I was growing up swimming my swim races were all me... and a trained with team so maybe there is something in there that works for me. I enjoy the fact that on race day it all comes down to me and what I put in for work. But for now I am going to enjoy the fun of training with others, the push of training with others, and just use it to find another part of this sport to love!

My team is MRA multisport- if you are from the area def check them out. The races are great! And there are plenty of training opportunities that you don't have to be a member for.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

First tri of 2015- Greendale Tri- Race Recap

I have some big plans for the 2015 Tri season- and yes they scare me a little! So it was time to start the season. A little later than usual. I joined a local tri team (more about that another time) and they are also a race management company. So that with the fact that the first race they do is literally 10 min from my house and at my gym I signed up. The week of the race my coach took the workouts down a bit. I wouldn't call it a full blown taper but we did a little less than usual like 5 hours of training. For some reason when I ramp down training I seem to ramp up the race nerves. My swim on Thursday had some race pace 50s and I started getting really nervous!

Saturday evening we drove the bike course. I wanted to see the roads from our terrible winter. And boy were they bad. The course was hilly. Which is to be expected in that area. It occurred to me it was going to be fairly technical for the ride, given the turns, hills and potholes. I was going to need to keep my head in the game on the bike!

Alarms went off really early Sunday morning- 5am- oof! I had a cup of coffee and my usual pre race oatmeal. It was a chilly 40 something degrees out. I knew the water was going to feel warm at 65 but I was not going to feel great riding in that air temp. Packet pickup was smooth and everything set up in transition. Said hello to some team mates and co-workers that were racing and quickly it was time to suit up! GULP!

Swim- .5mi (actual .7-.8 by people's GPS)- Goal: 20min- Actual 18:24
I love that MRA does everyone sings the National Anthem. My nerves were killing me as I stood there and looked at the swim course. It wasn't the usual wave starts. MRA is trying to help the folks that are scared of the swim by doing a TT style start, sadly it takes away my advantages in the swim. Every 3-5 seconds 2 people are put in the water. Though there is no break between the Men and Women starting other than the 3-5 seconds. So when I started as one of the first women I quickly ran into the slowly seeded men. Faster than the usual, getting no clear water before I was bumping shoulders and running into feet. I passed blue caps (the Men) through the whole swim. I didn't see any Pink caps (Women) go by me. So imagine my surprise when I arrived in transition not as top woman!? I think some folks were a little confused by the bouys and didn't get in the full swim. But there isn't much you can do about course cutting in the water. But I did talk to the race director and he is going to work it for next year.

T1- 2:10
Urgh- wetsuit would not get over the time chip! And I am rusty! So glad I went sleeveless this would have been even worse!

Bike- 16.5mi Goal: 45-1hr- Actual: 55:59
It was just as technical as I expected. My head was on the whole ride. I only turned it off for a brief moment when I hit an area that had recently been paved. I distinctly remember telling myself okay you can turn your brain off for a couple minutes. Somewhere around mile 5 I dropped my chain. I couldn't grab it on the bike so I quickly hopped off and got it back on. I tried to push and occasionally I would have women around me to get me to push past them. I had a couple actually pass me and stay past but for the most part I was able to pass a couple too. When I reviewed the data I am happy that I was avg a little over 17 mph on a technical course.

T2- 1:12
I came into T2 and I was really cold. The fronts of my thighs had that cold tingle and my feet were frozen. How is this possible I just pushed a hard technical course for almost an hour? So I had to fumble with my shoes a bit.

Run- 2.5mi Goal: 20min- Actual 21:34
I started out the run course and my frozen feet were giving me trouble. So were my frozen legs. My hamstring started cramping from the cold. I just tried to keep pushing through. Within the first half mile we were running (aka walking) up a set of stairs and climbing a NASTY hill. So much so my first mile was 9:22. I tried to push it but it was tough. I passed a couple women on the run. And no women passed me. I had a couple guys get by me like I was standing still! The second half of the run was downhill or flat. So I made up time there. I was happy it was only a 2.5 mi run and not 3! I don't know if I could have kept it up for 3. Luckily when I finished my legs weren't cold and I could feel my feet again!!!

As I came into the finish I had in my mine a 2hr race for some reason. I was happy to see the clock being somewhere around 1:45 (reminder TT start). Actual finish time was 1:40.12. I was happy with it. I had no idea where this put me in the field. I knew there weren't too many women ahead of me. I hung out with friends and mulled around the finish. I was happy to see I finished first in my age group and 9th Woman overall. MRA gives out these great awards- you get race credit 40 bucks. And a few other gift certificates from sponsors. And this awesome first place age group cookie. Do I eat it? I say no.

I love my new Coeur kit.  I got called a rockstar probably 5 times on the course or after the race. It reminds me of my old punk rock skater chick days as a teen. It fits great and no chafe! WIIINNN!!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

I love me some Olives

When I was little I remember my grandmother putting dishes of olives on the table at family dinners. We would all get together for holidays or just random weekends and my all my cousins and I would put olives on all ten of our fingers and play with them. It was the one food everyone would let us get away with playing with at the table. It is one of my fond memories of childhood, those dinners and playing with olives.

So when SweatPink contacted me to see if I was interested in doing a review for Pearls Olives I jumped on board telling Alyse my fond memories of Olives as a kid. I promised her I would include finger olives haha. I received a pretty awesome care package from the folks at Pearl Olives. A couple packages of each kind of Olives they offer- sliced, black, kalamata, and pimento. They also sent a little insulated lunch box.

The olives come in pre measured cups. I am a big fan of lunch I can just throw together in the morning. Little packing, little time. I like my sleep so getting up early to do the lunch work is not my big thing. So I would grab a little container of the olives each day to add to my lunch or as a snack throughout the day.

The whole olives were quick and easy snack to grab when I came home from work and I was cooking dinner. The kalamata gave some great option for salty craving! I also threw them in my lunch bag and took them to work for an easy snack while working.

The sliced olives were so great over a few different things. Nachos!  I love throwing together a quick plate of nachos as a snack or adding some meat and having it for dinner. So nice not to half to slice them up and measure out the right amount of olives for my serving. I also like to make this recipe for Hillbilly Tacos- lentils and rice cooked together. I make a big batch and use it for lunches. Usually I put it in the container and just warm it up at lunch. I am not a huge fan of warm olives when I have put them on the recipe before. But with the Pearls I could just open up the separate little container of sliced olives and add them when the taco was warmed back up.

The Boston Globe will have an add for a sale on the olives this weekend! And I have a coupon left over too if anyone wants one let me know! You won't be disappointed with the olives! They are a great snack and add to recipes!!

**I was compensated and provided product for this post by Pearl Olives**

Friday, April 17, 2015

Growing ...

I have come to a few realizations as I explore more about myself and learn. I have been continuing to listen to Brene Brown and learn about vulnerability and shame. Realizing I really want to live a whole hearted life not this half assed-ness a lot of people do.

1. I think I see every negative comment and every thing that might be guilt embarrassment or harassment to someone else as shame. I take it not as I did something bad but I am bad. Experiencing this level of shame all the time keeps me from letting things go to actually grow. Time to fix that bad boy!

2. I have become an A+ at foreboding joy. Just when everything is going great I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. I try to keep myself from thinking that way but I didn't have any tool with which to replace those thoughts. Finally I learned a little trick. Focus on what you are grateful for in moments of foreboding joy.

3. Fake it till you make it. I was really trying to work on being joyful and happy for a while. And I went with the fake it till you make it principle. If I keep trying to act happy eventually I will feel happy. Well I must have faked it long enough because between that and the fact that I have been doing some work I finally feel like I am getting to a place of happy.

Some great videos by Brene Brown at TEDx and TED:

I figure the only way to grow is to share my stories... so I share.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Doing some work

So when I was on my little staycation over Christmas I decided to do a little reading. I sat for hours in a local coffee shop reading Find Your Happy. I had bought the book months before but never slowed down enough to take the time to read it. I am a triathlete. I am an Engineer. When it comes to somethings I can be type A++. Other things I just hope things will fix themselves. Like hard emotional stuff. Please dear God- let that fix itself. I don't wanna do the work.

I have always considered myself to be fairly happy. Note: I considered myself. I had ex's that told me how miserable I was at times. And to be honest I was starting to hear my own tapes play over and over again. At one point I thought maybe I am depressed- and tried acupuncture for that. I found I love acupuncture. Not sure if I was really depressed but it helped with stress and anxiety and a thousand other things.

Reading Find Your Happy started me down a path to find my true self again. I know that is something that is thrown around a lot but I needed to find what makes me tick. What is is I enjoy. I took a bit of an inventory of my life to figure out what was working and what I might want to let go. I have a few things I know for sure. One being- I really enjoy training more to get me to the racing. I am competitive and I need something to measure myself and see my gains. Two- It is time to embrace my inner nerd and geek. I hid from it not wanting to be that kid for so long. But look I am an engineer. I didn't get that way not being a bit of a nerd.

 I asked my Dad and Mom when I was talking to them about it "Am I going through mid-life crisis early?" They kid of laughed and suggested that it is part of growing up. You are still figuring stuff out in your 20s in your 30s is when you do the work and grow up.

As I work through this growing up- which I am happy to call it now. I have done a lot of listening to books on Audible. It also helps that it fell as winter training was in full swing so I had plenty of time to listen and learn. I heard an NPR report on a morning before a swim meet with Brene Brown. I immediately needed to find her books. I started my Audible with Gifts of Imperfection. I started learning about shame and vulnerability and living whole hearted. Things I had never really thought about. Things that most people consider to be dirty words. And to be honest have been dirty words to me.

So I am reading these books, I talk to my coach. She tells me how much she loves Brene. And then someone on my Coeur Team site posts about another book and we all start raving about our books we are reading to help our growth and I quickly realize this is not something I am going through alone. This is a struggle of some others. I am not unique in this look at myself. And maybe it is time I start talking about it. So that is my plan I am going to talk about it. If you talk about it shame loses its power! So time to bring this into the light of day. The work I am doing to improve me and become a better person moving forward!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Mentally Finding Training Again

Last post I was saying how winter seems to be never ending in Massachusetts, well we seem to be getting close to the end. MAYBE! Then again they keep saying we might get snow again in April. URGH! After some life things taking over for a bit and the weather not really helping me want to train I think I just might be finding my training mojo again. I do winter computrainer classes and I had to take 3 weeks off to spend my weekends coaching. I came back and felt like I was staring from zero. To be honest with my long coaching days I didn't get much training in. But after a few weeks of huffing and puffing my way through class I had one class that felt better.

I finally was able to up my watts for the whole class and maintain the cadence. I walked out of there feeling invincible. Like I finally had training mojo back. I was able to get through the next week of training feeling good. I even got in a fun hilly run with Lisa for about 10 miles. Coach wanted to give me the next week as my recovery week but I suggested we keep going. I felt like I finally got into a mental space I needed to be and needed to push again.

I am hoping this is the start of spring and getting back on the mental and training train! Getting close to my 3 months till my first 70.3 of the season. I am comfortable with 2-3k in the pool, 2 hrs on the bike and 10 mile runs. Not a bad spot to be in 3 months before race season even kicks off. I am excited to see what this level of pre season work brings me for the season!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Is Winter Over Yet?

I know it is national and in some cases international news that Boston and all of Massachusetts has had a  harsh (no down right SUCKY) winter! I spent 2 weeks around Christmas training, reading, coaching it was great. I continued to coach well into February which eats up a lot of my time out of work Monday to Friday. I actually have no idea how many hours are spent either on a pool deck or prepping for the pool deck from November to February. I can sometimes squeeze in workouts before and after practice or at lunch. But it is hard and I am generally really exhausted during the season with the hectic schedule.

Then add in the fact that almost every weekend in February resulted in a major blizzard. Then there were the week day storms all told we ended up buried. So it was off to the gym day after day after day. I don't lack motivation to go to the gym. I have no problem getting off the couch to head there. The problem is.... staring at the wall or whatever for an hour or more. I can trick myself in to 30-45 min no problem. The whole hour and I want to run out of there screaming.

I have been doing audible and getting through some great "reading". I try pandora, my itunes, and netflix. I just mentally get to a point where I just can't take another day feeling like a hamster on a wheel. Going to class with friends for computrainer on the weekends helps me get through those 2 hour rides. And finally on Sunday I scheduled to do a long run with my friend Lisa. She is the best and lives by the motto "more miles is more smiles" also known as the best person to get you through a long run. Saturday the sun was shining it was 50 and I was psyched to think about my run Sunday. Then I got up Sunday morning to whipping wind and wind chill temperatures back in the teens and 20s. But it was so nice to get out and run in the sun and get some vitamin D. The company and getting to spend time with a friend is always so much better! I am hoping eventually spring will show up here. Though I know it will be a while until the roads are clear enough for riding.  What do you do to get through a long winter in the gym?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Want to Improve Your Swim

I really get sick of hearing everyone during the season complaining about their swim times. To be honest after being a swimmer since age 6 I am lucky enough not to have to spend much time in the pool training. I get to focus my energy on running and biking. To have gains in swimming at this point I would have to put in a TON of training for the gains of only a few minutes at most in a 5-6 hour race. I am better off spending time to gain 30 minutes or more on the bike or run through some hard core training. It would be so much easier for me and in my comfort zone to work my swimming for hours every day. Growing up I would swim for an hour or 2 before school and an hour of dryland after school with a 2 to 3 hour practice in the pool after that. So that is where I am comfortable. But we all know no gains come from staying in your comfort zone.

So if you want to improve your swim, you have to get out of that comfort zone. I know swimming is not the comfort zone for MANY triathletes. I know I am the slim minority that loves the swim. In the winter I am a head coach for a high school swim team so I am very used to providing swimmers feedback to improve strokes and even the little things to get gains. I have to say triathletes are a tough group. They don't often go out and ask for help in general. I am learning to do that with my own work in cycling and running, I have a coach and go to weekend hill climb classes to work my weaknesses.

The time is now if you want to see changes in your swim times this coming season. You need to find a master's team with a coach who is willing to provide feedback. Or find a friend who knows swimming and can help. Sign up for clinics. Spend some time working the pool. Maybe video yourself and ask a friend or coach to provide feedback. Don't stay in your comfort zone of riding the trainer and running, hit the pool. I know it is cold when you walk out and your hair freezes but when your swim time drops dramatically this season you will be thankful for that time you commit now.

I am happy to help friends and they are always asking but not many have ever materialized.... keep me posted if I can help in anyway!!