The Man, The Myth, The Legend {My Coach}

I’ve talked a bit in the last few weeks about having a new coach.

I do! I do have a new coach.

This year I really wanted to push myself a bit harder in training than I had before.  I feel like previously I’ve always been training to finish and this year I am hoping to force myself out of that comfort zone and see if I can push the bar a little higher.  The important thing to note here is that I’m not competing with anyone but myself.  I don’t need to finish in a certain percentage or anything of that sort. What I need is to push and to see that push pay off for me.  It’s a sense of accomplishment and a firm belief in myself and my abilities that I’m seeking.

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I want a finish line like this one, but better!

This year is the perfect opportunity for me to take this different approach to training because I’m not training for a full distance Ironman and I feel like I can really focus my workouts rather than being overwhelmed by the sheer number of them.  So that’s a quick glimpse into my thinking.

As I was thinking all of this, I decided to email a friend of mine.  I knew that he did some coaching and was, from what I had seen, really good at not only pushing his athletes but at also being a real person and recognizing that I do have a life that involves kids and a family as well as work commitments.  He seemed to be able to manage that pretty nicely for some of his other athletes so I figured it was at least worth a conversation with him.  After a few email exchanges we got together and reviewed where I was in my triathlon journey and where it is that I’m hoping to go.  And like that a deal was struck.

After three weeks of having Jeff as my coach I can report that thus far things are going really well.  We’re communicating nicely about workouts.  He only thinks I’m a little crazy with my texts each week as I finish my last workout of the week.  (BTW, who doesn’t want to receive obnoxious texts with hashtags about winning every Sunday afternoon! LOL)

In fact last week when I wrote about self-doubt still creeping in, he commented on my blog with this:

“The moment you choose to listen to your doubt it wins. Believe in yourself and what you’re capable of and you’ll find you’re capable of so much more than you ever dreamed of.

I was spinning after work and I wanted to quit so bad on my 5th interval but I knew you were working hard too. You impact and inspire people even when you don’t know it.

Believe in yourself, doubt kills. Keep going Sarah.”

 Good words Coach.  Good words.

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I mean, does he know how to party or what?! Doesn’t everyone do an IM like this?

And it helps that Jeff is a pretty inspirational athlete himself.  You can read more about the athlete he is here.  It’s a great story.  Jeff has since raced in some pretty cool races including Worlds last year in China.  And every time I struggle in a workout I remember a conversation that we had in our “athlete in-take” meeting.  We talked about not quitting.  I had written about it on the coaching form.  Of course if you read Jeff’s story that’s just how it goes with him.  And in that meeting I promised that I wouldn’t quit and I would always work my hardest.  So yeah, so far so good!

How about you?  Do you use a coach?  What’s your relationship like?

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Learning to Be Organized … {Bullet Journaling}

Ok, so I’ll admit it.  While I’m type A about some things, there are many other things… such as being organized that I totally miss the boat on.  I am continually realizing that I forgot I needed to do something until the last minute.  I frequently can’t remember the things that I wanted to look up and the list goes on.  I am just not that organized of a person.  I use google calendars.  I make lists.  And I generally drive myself crazy because it’s all over the place.

Recently, while perusing Facebook, I had seen a friend of mine, Erin, posting about Bullet Journaling to stay organized.  My interest was piqued and I looked it up.  I have to say that I was more than interested.  It looked like if I did it and actually took the time to do it every day and keep the journal with me, this could be a solution to some of my sacredness. (Is that a word?!)  After missing a meeting early last week that I forgot about, I went out and bought a journal and took the necessary plunge.

Once I started journaling, I sent Erin a quick note to let her know that I was so thankful for stumbling across her posts on Facebook.  She followed up by letting me know that in addition to using it to organize life, she was also using it organize her training etc and offered to send me some pics to show how she was using it.  Once she did, I immediately suggested that she should write a blog post about how she was using it.  I really think that it’s such a great tool for folks like me that are a little disorganized and for folks like Erin that are so on top of their game.  So in that vein, I wanted to share Erin’s post with all of you.

Check it out!!!! Your into to an adapted version of bullet journaling … triathlete style.

What do you think?  I’m so curious to see how this all plays out and what adaptations everyone has to accommodate their needs.  Do any of you use a system like this?  Inquiring minds want to know!

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{Product Review} CurrexSole

This post is long over due!

I almost never do product reviews because they’re seldom sent my way.  However, last year when I was training for Ironman I was contacted by someone from CurrexSole inquiring as to whether I’d be interested in trying out a pair of their insoles.  After a little bit of talking back and forth, we determined that it would be best if I tried the BIKEPRO insoles.  I chose to go with the BIKEPRO because I have relatively high arches and I often was feeling like my feet were unsupported in my bike shoes.  Within days they had arrived in my mailbox and I immediately put them in my bike shoes.

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I immediately felt the arch support that I hadn’t had before in my bike shoes.  They fit comfortably and while I did feel the support at first, it quickly just felt like “normal” and there was zero discomfort etc in my shoes.  I knew almost immediately that these babies were staying in my shoes for good.  I have trained with them since.  According to the person that I worked with these insoles are still relatively new in the US.  They are a bit of a different perspective on insoles, one that moves with your feet vs forcing them not to pronate, etc. They’s inline with all of the current shoe technology amongst major brands.  They are a far cry from that old theory that insoles are stiff and unmoving.  I highly enjoy my insoles and would recommend them.  Heck I’ve been using them for almost a year!

You can check out the website by going to http://www.currexsole.com/US/en/.  If you check them out tell me what you think!

*The opinion expressed are my own.  I was given a pair of Currexsole BIKEPRO insoles for this review.

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Week 2 {Tinman Training}

And BAM just like that week two is in the books.  I promise that in the near future I will get my whole life organized so I can be here with more than just a weekly update.  Things are just a little hectic, crazy right now.  The training seems to be my normal.  I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

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Ok, so let’s get to it.

The ups …

  • Oh my god my long run was so much better than last week.  If that were the only up that I had to report this week, that would be enough for me.  This week I ran 11 miles, 9 of which were intervals.  It was a crazy blustery day, but I did it and I felt strong the entire way.  Winning, that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
  • I am still at the pool regularly.  And while I’m not breaking any speed barriers, I am feeling more comfortable and confident in the water.  It’s progress not perfection.
  • My coach is pretty awesome.  We swapped pictures of who was sweating the most during bike workouts this week.  I mean, hello, total dorks.  At the end of the exchange all we established is that he needs a tan.  😉 No but in all seriousness, I’m getting a lot of great feedback and I hope that by discussing what’s going on we’re building a really great base for this training cycle.
  • And I got in one last cross-training session of cross-country skiing! Boom!

The downs …

  • My Garmin.  Oh my word my garmin.  I finally got my replacement in the mail.  Did a workout.  Garmin Connect logged it as having been done in 2009.  Fist bumps to my past self.  ARGH! Then I got that straightened out and for some reason that is still unbeknownst to me, it will not download my 11 mile run.  It’s sitting there being held hostage on my garmin.  So I had to manually enter all of the paces & heart rates for my intervals for my coach to see how it went.  And I do believe he said he was going to make a graph for visual.  I mean really?  Is this really happening Garmin!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • I’m still doubting myself.  I know that I can complete the workouts as written, but before heading into them, I find myself questioning whether I can.  (I’m currently looking at my 12 miler scheduled for this week …wondering can I do this.) Self doubt is the worst and I need to push it out.  Working on it.
  • The only other real down I had was just that my work schedule was a little wonky this week so I had to move things around in order to get it all in.

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Goodies from my awesome teammates help make things better too!

So I think that if I can carry this momentum through this third week coming up that I will be all good with a recovery week on the other end.  I can easily say I’m looking forward to that.  How’s your training going?

Week 2 Totals:

Swimming: 5500 yrds

Biking: 77 miles

Running: 17 miles

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Week 1 {Tinman Training}

I’m officially done with week one of training for Tinman 70.3.

I am officially embracing this rest day.  This past week has absolutely been the right way to step things off.  It wasn’t all ups, there were a few downs but overall there was plenty of forward momentum.

Here are the ups…

  • I went to the pool three times.  For me, this is a minor miracle.  I generally avoid this.  However, not only did I go, but after my third swim on Sunday I almost admitted that I didn’t hate swimming.
  • It was a week with two bricks.  I haven’t done more than 10-15 minutes off the bike since last fall.  With a 1:30/5 brick and a 1:30/3 brick in the bank, I’m a happy girl.
  • My coach, J, pushed me but listened when I needed him to listen.  He did not make me feel like a loser in week one.  For that I thank him.
  • A training peaks account with a lot of green lighting up the board.  This is not always my norm.  I plan to make it such.
  • And lastly, what it was is a big confidence boost that this training cycle could have some really great things in store.

There were a few hiccups…

  • Only some days did I get my butt out of bed early in the morning.  When I don’t get up early, it leads to a lot of evening workouts and I tend to not get anything else done.  These things include, laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc.
  • I struggled a bit with my heart rate on the run for my long run.  I’m not sure if this is still a left over side affect from the bronchitis plague a few weeks ago that is still inhabiting my lungs or if it was mostly in my head.
  • I was tired! Holy cow, I forgot how tired.  But I’m making adjustments to accommodate this and remember where and when to get my rest.  TV off by 9:30!!!

This training cycle I’m really trying to focus and put in the work.  Because I’m not training for a full distance Ironman, I really want to give this my all.  And I have to say that with all of these ups and just a few minor hiccups, it sure feels like I did this week.

At the end of all of my workouts this week, I sent a text to Coach J…. and it went like this.

Me: Week one is done.

J: And?

Me: And I’m alive still.  #winning

J: Ha! Excellent.

Me: It’s just one day at a time.  Thanks for the push.

J: Absolutely.

And that about sums up my week.

Week 1 Totals:

Swimming: 5850 yrds

Biking: 57.7 miles

Running: 19.5 miles

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Beginning a {Journey}

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Lao Tzu

I’m not going to lie, this off-season has been pretty spectacular.  I took a nice big break from triathlon.  Yes, I kept training and yes by the end of it I even followed a plan.  But I didn’t think about it and I didn’t put any pressure on myself to have to get it done.  I also took the time to have some fun with cross-training.

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I do generally feel like winter in upstate NY demands some fun cross-training or you will lose your mind!  Plus, truthfully, on the nice days it’s exceptionally nice to be outdoors even in the snow.

Over the course of this off-season I have also had a chance to do some reflecting on my goals and the ways in which I might be able to achieve them.  Part of that has been owning up to some things that I’m not doing to the best of my ability.  So I’ve set some intentions regarding food etc.  And I have to say, so far so good.  Of course I didn’t do as well as I wanted to do with eating while I was away on vacation, but that’s vacation.  Since we’ve been back, I’ve been pretty much full force back at eating a clean, vegetarian spread on a daily basis.

What’s the point of the post?  Right.  Well all of that off-season has been wonderful and it’s given me the chance to recharge, reenergize and hopefully refocus.  But today begins the next journey.  Today is the start of my official training plan for this season’s A race.  This season’s A race is Tupper Lake Tinman 70.3.

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A throwback to the first time I raced Tinman.

It took me a little while to pin this race down as my A race for this year.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after finishing Ironman Lake Placid last year.  That’s such a big goal that I wasn’t really sure what kind of goal I could have after that.  It’s like the big kahuna so how does one follow that up.  After a lot of thinking and considering what is best for my family, I decided to stick with the 70.3 distance this year.  Tinman was my first 70.3 and since I crossed that finish line, I have learned a great deal about myself and I have come a long way.  (At least in my mind I have!)  And thus it was decided that I’m heading back.  I’m heading back to this race, smarter and, once my training is complete, stronger.  I am heading back with goals to really do well come race day and hopefully be able to measure my progress both mentally and physically from the first time I crossed that finish line to now.

So, with my coach at my back and in my head, guiding my way….

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I’m hoping to see bigger and better things this year.  And thus begins my journey.  And he’s all business! So, fingers crossed for a great season!

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Setting the Intention to Do Better

I feel like I’ve been talking the talk for so long.  But I wonder if I’ve been walking the walk.  My intentions are so good and yet I often feel like I fall short.  What am I talking about?  Well, pretty much everything.  I mean to eat better,  I mean to train harder and tri better.  I say that we eat healthy.  It’s all easy to say and it’s relatively easy to “do” if you’re just looking at the surface.  What the heck am I talking about and why do I sound like a crazy person?

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It’s time for me to put my money where my mouth is and this time I mean this about food.

This is how it started – the lunches that we send with our kids to school.  I said, “we eat healthy.” And a few weeks ago as I was packing lunches I realized that once the sandwich went in, almost everything else was a prepackaged (read processed) snack food.  When I actually realized what I was doing, I took the food out.  I took it out and replaced it with a sandwich, a hard-boiled egg, carrots, cut up red peppers, a much smaller amount of goldfish crackers and an apple.  I counted the calories and even still was sure that the kiddo that was getting that lunch was getting more than necessary, but at least none of it was “packaged” and was overall a much better intention for their lunch.  Whew.  Since then, pretty major lunch over haul.  Similar thing are going each day, but we have guacamole as a dipping sauce for carrots or maybe humus.  We have yummy, delicious, real foods.  We have a lunch put together that I’m certain some adults wouldn’t even eat because it’s too healthy looking.  And truth be told, the kid has been coming home and telling me how great his lunch is each day.  Winning….. I am winning.

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I’ve done this same sort of thing to my own food intake.  We have a whole wellness plan at work that awards points based on activity, logs ins, steps taken and food intake.  I’ve been using the myfitness pal app to track food intake and that certainly does keep you honest … if you log what you eat.  I also found myself working out a little extra so I could still eat the crap that I wanted to eat.  It’s a vicious cycle.  So now I’m trying to get out of it.  I am still logging what I eat, but I have cut out some real trigger foods.  I am working on eating almost a strictly vegetarian diet because I find that when I stay plant-based and am eating a lot of beans, etc. that I am indeed full and my cravings for crap are more clearly identified as cravings for crap.  I recognize that what I just said makes almost zero sense.  But I think that if I limit myself in this way, I can eat more … it’ll just be veggies.  It will force me to prepare foods so I’ll have to be more thoughtful rather than just throwing food into my mouth.  And ultimately, hopefully, the foods that I choose will be a bit calorie dense.  We will see what happens.  In addition, I too am now taking things like hardboiled eggs, carrots and cut up peppers to work as food.  Funny when you put them in your kids lunch but not in your own.  Time to flip a roo that scenerio!

So I’m setting a better intention.  I’m eating better and I hope to start sharing some of what we are eating right here.  Of course, I AM NOT making my family members skip the meat but I’m providing the meat free options alongside the meat free options.  And above all we are just all trying to think a bit more about what we are eating and making sure that it’s worth it.  So, I’ll share the recipes as they likely won’t be mine but I can tell you where to get them and if they’re worth it.  Deal?  Deal!

What intention have you set recently that is inspiring you and helping to you head purposeful into your daily life?

Posted in #sbmat2015, About Me, Food, Fuel, intentions, meat free | Tagged , | 2 Comments