Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lots of love for the TRIkids!!

One of my absolute favorite parts of the week are the nights I coach the TRIkids. And, I'm not just saying that. I truly **LOVE** those kids!! And, I have to admit, I am darn proud that I have had a hand in forming the athletes they are growing up to be. Clearly, genetics plays a big part in what your athletic journey will look like but what about the kind of sportsman you are? That is all on YOU. Being an athlete comes naturally to some -- but who are you when you share the field? There are some teams that focus on being "bad ass". Push hard, go hard, no prisoners. But my favorite athletes are those who are skilled but centered. Just mad skills on top of a foundation of kindness and humility.

Now make no mistake: I push the TRIkids hard. Somedays REALLY hard. Somedays I think they may hate me. ;) But regardless of how difficult a training session or race is, they know that the ultimate goal is not just to do their best but to be the best sportsman.

And at the races this past weekend they all made me so incredibly proud! For example, one of our TRIkids fell down on the bike course. Other racers just went by but when another TRIkid came upon her, he actually got off his bike and helped her up. Now that's a true teammate, a true friend and a true sportsman. And, then at the Pink Power triathlon two of our TRIkids participated in the run as part of a relay. Now this course has a killer hill as it leads you back toward the finish line. And as our girls huffed, puffed and pushed up that dreaded hill, they still managed to eek out a quick "good job" to EVERY SINGLE athlete they passed or who passed them. And, after one of our girls finished, she ran back down the hill to wait for her teammate and run with her up that darn hill again!! It was absolutely awesome!

Oh, and I guess I should mention that some TRIkids took podium spots as well -- which is fantastic -- but the real inspiration was watching WHO they were and not just what they did.

So are my props to TRIkids. The crazy, silly, hardworking crew of awesome athletes I am blessed to coach. Go TRIkids!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Holy Smokes, I'm Re-Inspired!!

And this old world is a new world
And a bold world
. . .
It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me

And I'm feeling good

I have an admission to make: I have a TON of 1/2 done blog posts sitting in my draft folder. The fact is, for the past year I have been "triathlon depressed". First -- even after surgery -- my hip injury apparently has no liklihood of getting better (at least according to my stupid doctor). That sucks. And, second -- an environment that used to be my peace -- my escape -- my complete joy -- turned into Total Drama Island and I experienced first-hand how the "Ironman monster" can turn some otherwise normal people into elitist braggarts. (Note I said "some" ... defintely not all. But the two or three affected ones were enough to suck the fun out of life, for sure.) In any event, this newfound knowledge made me incredibly sad -- for many reasons and on many different levels. I actually figured that perhaps the days of silly yet "serious training for not-so-serious people" was long gone.

But something happened recently that has turned it all around:

I helped coach and completed an Oly tri with some super-cool chicks. It. Was. Amazing. Not the race, per se. I mean, the race was fine -- gorgeous scenery, some good, fun hills, and perfect weather -- but the inspiration I got from the group of women I raced with was absolutely unbelieveable. These are women who are stellar athletes -- some just getting into triathlon and some who have been involved for a while -- and each one of them taught me something during our team weekend in Luray. The most important thing they taught me was that life -- like triathlon -- can be tough as hell sometimes -- but the foundation -- the real core of life -- is in laughing, sharing, supporting, encouraging, trying, failing, falling, getting up and trying again -- and, of course, doing it all with humility, perspective and grace. It was absolutely refreshing!!

So, I'm back . . . different. More learned. Perhaps a bit tainted. But excited, nevertheless, to see what adventures lie ahead.

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore." Andre Gide

Bring it on. I am ready.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pop the floaties . . .

Last night was my first swim with Coach Karen and, I have to admit, I was a little nervous. I had heard she was an "ass kicker" and that the TRIgirls were going to get a rude awakening from her vicious swim training. But, more than getting a tough workout, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up with the length of the whole workout since my New Year's resolution to actually get in the water went out the window about 2 months ago.

Let me tell you: I have no excuse for not swimming. I have EVERYTHING I need to make swim training easier for me: a pool at a gym less than 3 miles from my house, an awesome SwiMP3, a cool little finger gadget that counts my laps, time during the day to get it done. I'm just missing one teeny-tiny little thing: the will to actually do it. So, given my lack of swimming dedication, I had no choice but to simply hold fast to the hope that splashing around in the pool a couple times in January & early February was enough to keep me from drowning. To add to the pressure, Kelsey came with me to training to watch me -- or, I suspect, laugh at me!!

But, you know what? It wasn't bad at all. Actually, it was fine. Dare I say, fun? I forgot that I'm really bouyant. I mean, I just don't sink. I think you could tie weights to my legs and I would still float. Sure, it doesn't make me feel great about the percentage of body fat I must have to make me just sit on the water like a flippin' buoy but at least it makes it easier for me to swim! And, Kelsey even said she thought I did a good job -- even if I did look "kinda slow".

So, what did I learn from swimming last night? Well, I guess it's that the 10 pounds I picked up in the off-season really isn't so detrimental after all. So, now I'm happily off to get in another training session for the swim: which means I'm going to go eat a Nutter Butter. Got to keep that buoyancy up!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dammit . . .

Well, the 10 mile run on Sunday felt pretty good. Monday: leg hurts. Hmmm. Maybe it's just that I ran too hard. Tuesday: my run kills the leg. Dammit. But, whatever. I'm SO done with injuries.

One of my favorite quotes has always been:

"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to slide in sideways, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, screaming "HOLY CRAP what a ride!"

Looks like I'm living the dream, huh? :)

Also, it's 3 months, 24 days til Placid. I may want to think about getting in the pool sometime soon!! I have a feeling I'm going to get a complete and total butt whooping when I go to my first swim next week!!!! I'm totally going to bring my floatie, some flippers and a snorkel.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

FINALLY an Answer . . .

I've been having this phantom leg pain for a few months now. Initially, I thought "Uh-oh. Is it even possible that the same stupid stress fracture is back?!?" So, of course, I did the smart thing: I ignored it and kept training through the discomfort. Yeah, my intelligence is a gift.

Flash forward a few weeks. Pain is now shooting down my leg. Well, that sucks. So, I go to see my super-awesome orthopaedic doctor. He thinks something is wrong in the joint but can't rule out a stress fracture so off I go to get another bone scan. Which comes back negative! Yay, me! But, dammit, doctor now says I should get an arthrogram and MRI to check the joint since he thinks there's cartilage damage in the joint -- more specifically a torn labrum -- that may need to be scoped out surgically. So, again, I do the smart thing: I ignore him and go get a gait analysis to see if maybe it's the way I'm running that's causing me pain. Seriously, I'm a friggin' genius!!

So Jim Miller spends all of his valuable time with me to tell me a couple things: 1 - my gait's not so bad -- actually, it's pretty good; and 2 - based on the pain I'm experiencing he thinks I have a torn labrum and need to go see my ortho right away. Dammit! They're in cahoots I just know it!!!

Flash forward a week and I've had the MRI and arthrogram done and I get a call from the ortho doctor. The diagnosis: damage to the cartilage and torn labrum. Crap. BUT, because my doctor is a rock star, and he knows I'm trying to get through Ironman USA he says we can try cortisone to hold back the pain until after IMUSA. Most likely, no further damage will be done between now and IMUSA so as long as the cortisone works, we should be good to go. I can get up to 3 injections before IMUSA but that's it since apparently too much of this stuff can cause more damage to the joint.

So, I still get to do IMUSA and once it's over, I'll have it scoped out, the pain will be gone and I'll be a new "me". You know I've learned something through this: I think doctors are flippin' AWESOME as long as they say what I want and I still get to do what I want. So, anyway, thank God for an answer!!! At least now I know what I'm dealing with. And, who knows? Maybe this is what's been stopping me from running like a Kenyan all this time! HA!

Of course, I'm not going to get the surgery until November so I can recover during the off season. I mean, if I can get through IM training with torn cartilage, I can surely last through the end of the season, right?

Yes, indeed, that surely seems like the smart thing to do. :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Chicken Dance

So, training is hard. Sometimes it's really, REALLY hard. Both mentally and physically. Yesterday I ran sprints. That was hard. Then I went to cycling and Coach M was unusually zealous about kicking our butts. My legs were burning and I had a difficult time keeping efficient pedal strokes. That was really hard. Then Coach M put on the Chicken Dance music during the longest, hardest part of the session. WTF?!? That song is not even entertaining when I'm drunk at weddings. Well, okay, maybe it's a little entertaining if I'm REALLY drunk. But, at cycling?!? Damn. Now I had to tap into my physical and mental stores! And that right there is the difference between what makes it hard and what makes it really, REALLY hard. It's the Chicken Dance.

And, you know what? The stupid song is STILL stuck in my head. Bet it's stuck in yours now too, huh? You're welcome. :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Um, I'm Doing Ironman Lake Placid In Less Than Six$!!!

Really, this time, I'm going to try to get back to blogging on regular basis!!! I swear!!! I will start out slowly and, hopefully, ease my way back into saying anything even remotely interesting or entertaining.

So, last month -- or perhaps the month before that -- we began our journey into Lake Placid training. So far, everything is relatively painless and oddly provides a sense of familiarity that I find comforting. Clearly that is a sign that I'm a lunatic.

Tonight is the first night that I've really thought about Placid and the fact that I will be there in less than 6 months participating in an Ironman that I once thought was WAAAAAAY out of my league (and, truth be told, I still have doubts about my ability there). I had a momentary panic attack and the butterflies took flight in my stomach but then I calmed. Life has been too busy for me to worry about it. I'm just moving along like an unthinking lemming, following the schedule in front of me with no thought to the ultimate consequence: wake up, eat, work, eat, take care of kids, eat, train, eat, sleep, eat, repeat. Did you notice all the "eating" in there? Yeah, that explains the ten extra pounds on my ass. I blame it on post-holiday binging. It will come off once the training picks up. Right? No? Okay, whatever. It'll help me gain speed on the downhills at Placid then.

So, the journey begins yet again. I'm still nervous. Madly excited. Totally overwhelmed. And, a teeny bit proud of taking this plunge. I guess, I'm ready for the challenge. Bring it on, IMUSA!!! Okay, just kidding ... I'm not really stupid enough to taunt the Ironman Gods. Let's not "bring it on" so to speak. How about Placid remains it's calm, rain-free, beautiful self and I just wander on up north with some awesome friends in a few months and we take a little swim in a gorgeous lake, toodle around the mountains on our bikes and take in 26.2 miles of scenery on a wee little walk-about? Deal? Excellent!