Category Archives: Off-season

2016 is MY year!

usat 2016

This is what I woke up to yesterday morning on my email.  I knew that it might be coming, but had in all reality pushed it to some far reaching land in the back of my brain.   The email caught me a bit off guard but I was filled with optimism and excitement as I shared this news on social media for all my friends and followers.  All the words of praise, motivation, and encouragement had me very excited.

And then today happened.  I got the official email with the link to register.  So of course, I decided to just take the plunge.  Well, I cringed when I saw the price, but decided, hey this is possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity, just suck it up and do it.  I continued on with the registration, but it was not like any other race registration I had done before.  This one got personal, pretty much a sports resume.  I had to starting surfing the web for some of my race results to find times, pr’s, etc.  At that point my brain got the best of me and I started doubting myself.  What the heck am I getting myself into?  Why do I want to race with such fast folks?  Why do I want to embarrass myself?  How the heck am I going to find time to train?  Will I still be a role model for my triathlon clients if the race is a complete disaster? I know I am over thinking-I have done enough Olympic distance triathlons with mediocre training and been fine, but this race is different.  As a triathlon coach who pushes athletes to give it their all and never give up, I have to be the best version of myself at this race.  That is a lot of pressure since I am not some world famous athlete.  I am an average Joe that absolutely love triathlon , especially the cycling piece.  I love to train, talk to folks about the sport, participate in races, volunteer, travel to events, and coach.  And as far as I am concerned, this is anything but an average Joe race.  This is the best of the best in the country.  Holy crap!

So what is the plan of attack as a full-time bike manager in a bike shop, part-time trainer/triathlon coach, mother, wife, care-taker, and friend?

Step 1: Express my fears and concerns (you are reading them)!  And try to stay positive (hard to do when it is 10 degrees outside and trying to fight off the winter depression)!

Step 2: Focus on weight management.  I got way off track this winter.  Too much social drinking, eating out, and getting lazy with my nutrition.  My body is not very happy with me.  But thanks to some peer pressure from some other friends who got off the wagon this winter, we are all cleansing right now and focusing on our nutrition.

Step 3: Create a practical plan of attack for “off-season” to rebuild my endurance.  This is critical since spring and summer are so insane at work, kids out of school, select travel baseball, volunteer time with DEVO (Youth Mountain Bike Group). This will have to consist of getting in some solid runs, swims, trainer rides, and yoga.  Weights need to slow down a bit, I love them too much and they do not get along very well with endurance.

Step 4: Create an on-season plan for my crazy life (no idea at this point what this will look like).

Step 5: Make sure my calendar is always organized  for me and my hubby’s sake.

Step 6: Try to have fun while in an on-going state of stress.  Life is such a juggling act, I need to find the perfect balance, and it is a delicate balance.

Step 7: Ask folks for help.  This is probably my hardest step.  I like things done my way, but when life gets chaotic, I need to be ok with an extra set of hands.  This may actually be my hardest struggle of all.  And those that know me, know I never like to ask for help.

Step 8: Lean on my fitness friends to help push me, train with me, and keep me on track.  I can do it easily enough for others, but have a hard time focusing on myself.  And I keep reminding myself, that even though 2016 is not starting off great, this year is about being the best I can be.  I have shared this picture before, but feel I need to post again to help remind myself of the goal I set for myself:

motivations 2

A friend the other day told me that she had lost her mojo over the winter and just had no motivation regarding triathlons and racing in general.  I can completely relate, but now that I have clicked the submit button, I have a goal and there is no turning back.  It is a very challenging goal, but I can and will accomplish it!  USAT Nationals will be my race this year. 

As a final note and something I just found on facebook:

priority

 

 

Where Has 2015 Gone???

As I reflect on this past year, I have come to realize that I have become the ultimate slacker with this site.  In my defense, this year has been quite a whirlwind of a year.  As the year started, I would have never expected to grow both personally and professionally.  It has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster, trying to improve myself while still doing what I love and am passionate about.  As a fellow triathlete and friend just reminded me, I am good at what I do.  I had to question what she meant, but she said it perfectly “Making people feel successful in their training.  Motivating.  Practicing what you preach.  Being empathetic, but not enabling.”  Wow, I truly did not know that I made that much of an impact on others, but excited that my strong passion has carried over to others.  This quote reflects a professional goal as I continue on this life long journey.  And as we all know, no journey is perfect: there are hurdles, bumps, hills, and rocks, but that’s what helps us grow.  So I am vowing in 2016, not only to help others, but to focus on ME!

motivations 2

So what have I been up to this past year?  Well, I have always been interested in working in a bike shop to learn more about one of my favorite passions and to share that passion with others.  Dreams apparently do come true.  Late spring, while helping a triathlon client buy a bike, my friend working at the bike shop mentioned that they were looking for a store manager.  The wheels (no pun intended) starting spinning in my head.  Later that evening, I was emailing the owner of the company who I have known for a long time to inquire about the position.  Long story short, the position as Store Manager at a Trek Bicycle Store fell into my lap.  The decision was a heavy one, that meant giving up some of my jobs, leaving behind close friends, and just like moving to a new town, starting over a bit.  I have spent so many years developing a community at Prairie Life both with the tennis and triathlon, but in the end decided tennis is what I needed to give up.  I am fortunate enough to still have the time and opportunity to train my triathlon clients, plus it keeps me connected and active.  One thing I vowed to myself by taking this job was to stay in the loop.  I love my clients, co-workers, friendships, and the vibe at the gym.  No way could I give that up.  So now I try to focus on a balance between Trek and Prairie Life.  Balance is quite a challenge, but so far so good.  Beauty of it all is that by working at a bike shop and working at a gym, everything seems to blend together nicely.

MWC logo

Time for my rant-Men, warning, you may want to shut your eyes and ears.  What I have learned by working in a male dominated bike industry is that I starve for my female time now.  This was never an issue before, but now that I have to listen to dirty jokes, crude insulting comments, and interact with a male dominant customer base, I need FEMALE power.  As a female, I am trying hard to change the dynamic and culture in the bike shop to make it more inviting to females, but this will take time.  So for you females that are intimidated by bike shops, I get it.  It has never overly bothered me, but understand why chicks do not love the bike shop culture.  Between the guy talk, smell of grease, lots of tools, and lots of testosterone, it can be overwhelming.   But I promise, men in bike shops don’t bite.  Ladies, let’s work as a team to help change the bike shop image and make it just as welcoming to women as it is to men.  And ladies, I don’t want to hear excuses about working on bikes.  Am I good at it, heck no.  But when customers see me wrenching behind the service counter, it’s pretty cool.  I have a very limited skill set, each day my goal is to learn something new.  Guess my nickname at the gym, Bike Girl actually works.  female power on bike

Triathlon, where does this fall into the equation?  I obviously had to juggle a bit, but I still managed to train a kickass group of folks for the 4th annual session to get ready for the 2015 triathlon season.  And when I say kickass, that is an understatement.  It was a huge year, with lots of energy, motivation, goals, pr’s, and humor.   We had a lot of returning folks and a ton of new faces which made for a great group.  I am still blown away with what a great group it was and how we were able to train almost 40 folks.  There were many new challenges with a lot of beginner swimmers and even novice weight lifters, but no challenge is to tough for us.  The best word I can use for this past season is teamwork, both on the coaching side and as a group of individuals coming together.  I wish more groups could become something more like this.  This picture alone is just a small handful of the folks that raced last season, but wow, such a cool powerful pic! omaha women's

On a side note, did I race?  My race season was mediocre at best because of the work/family balance, but I was able to escape a weekend of Select Baseball and work to do an Olympic Triathlon.  Did I train, ehh.  Yes I did train, but not to the level I should have.  Needless to say, the road trip with a tri client/friend was worth it and it was a great race venue.  I ended up doing the Bluff Creek Triathlon in Boone, Iowa in the dead of summer.  Triple H: Hot, Humid, Hilly.  But doing triathlon can be therapy for me.  I love to open water swim, absolutely love to be on my bike, and running, well running is running, good days and bad days.  It ended up being a rough day both physically and mentally, but by some unexpected odds, ended up on the podium.  I can’t complain for being out of shape, overweight, overworked, and under-trained.  bluff creek

Lesson, we all have to ability to do anything, just never doubt yourself.  The sense of accomplishment is SOOOO worth it.  And I got the bug from the Olympic distance race enough to peer pressure both my sidekick and some of my fellow clients to do another race at the end of the season.    Black Squirrel Sprint Triathlon was a blast.  The swim sucked and was chaotic, the bike was awesome, fast, and flat, and I PR’d on the run.  Perfect way to end a season; racing decently, bonding with some of my favorite peeps, and gosh darned it, having fun!!!

black squirrel

What have I learned in 2015?  More than I would have ever expected!  I am almost at a loss for words.  It really has been a roller coaster.  I have found a new me.  I have learned the importance of a strong family support system, my close female friends are vital to my well being, working out is necessary for multiple reasons, my favorite pastime has been carved into my career, I have a new appreciation for music thanks to my employees at the bike shop, and life is too short to dwell on the negatives, find what you love and roll with it.  Make life fun and rewarding!  Cheers to a fresh start in 2016 and new adventures!

 

Adios 2014, Bring it 2015!

I must admit, I have been a bit AWOL for the past few months.  Not for lack of trying, but thanks to good old writers block.  But I am back and want to recap 2014.  I promise not to bore anyone with a brag fest about myself, but rather just highlight the high’s and less of the lows of the year.

Excitement number 1 for 2014.  My broken elbow bike injury from 2013 healed up nicely so I decided to hit the year hard.  I started off with a bang by spending way too much money to sign up for the Triple Bypass Ride in Colorado.  As noted in a previous post, my whole training season consisted of riding, riding, riding.  As a result, I did in fact do the ride in July and yes, it was the hardest ride of my life thanks to 3 mountain passes and almost 12,000 feet of elevation.  Since my body was already used to intense training, I decided it was time to do my first 70.3.  I opted for the Pigman in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  After having a full year off of triathlons thanks to my elbow recovery, I had no idea what to expect.  With the name alone, I figured it would be a country type race and I was right.  Lake was absolutely beautiful and I found out very quickly during the race that I love 1.2 mile swims in open water.  I am frustrated that I did not push myself more, but did not want to overdue for my first 70.3.  The bike was fine, rolling country hills and less than smooth country highways with a slight breeze.  I have no complaints about the 56 mile bike except it was just boring.  I got spoiled in Colorado with amazing scenery and great company.  But I have no complaints about my ride except legs were a bit heavy from only a week of recovery from Colorado.  And then there is the run.  Started off pretty solid and set a goal of stopping at each water stop on the 90 degree day to get fuel and walk til my hands were empty and then start running again.  This method worked awesome until the turnaround halfway.  My good ol injuries decided to make their appearance and bring some extra unwanted friends.  So for about 6 miles I hopped, hobbled, gimped, walked, and jogged to the finish.  I must say in retrospect, I knew going into this race that a half marathon was not going to be pretty since my IT bands tend to act up at mile six.  But gosh darn it, I finished and can now say I have done a 70.3.  Will I ever do one again or do an official Ironman 70.3?  Maybe, but not quite sure.  My true love is the bike, X-Terra, Olympic distance races, and coaching so not exactly sure what my future holds in store for me.  But at least I went big in 2014.

Pigman 2014

 

2014 was a very big learning year for me.  I needed some CEU’s for my triathlon coach certification, so rather than do something boring, I decided to expand my current knowledge base.  I was fortunate enough to become Water Safety Instructor Certified (WSI).  It was a long 2 days of classroom and pool instruction, but was well worth it.  I feel like I am a much more proficient swim coach now and it even improved my own swim skills.  Besides WSI, I was very fortunate to partake in IMBA’s Instructor Certification Program (ICP) Level 1 Ride Coach Course.  Thanks to my awesome connections with the Trek Stores in Omaha and Papillion I found out that IMBA was coming to Omaha.  I jumped on this immediately since I knew I wanted my 9 year old daughter to experience DEVO and figured she would want me as a coach.  Plus I am always wanting to improve my own mountain bike skills and have clients who want me to take them out on the mountain bike.  From the minute I walked in the classroom, I knew I was a bit out of my league with Cat 1 racers, elite racers, and two instructors with very impressive bios (former pro downhill racer and a snowboard/ski coach for the US Olympic team).  After 2.5 days of classroom and on the bike training, I was one beat down girl both mentally and physically.  I learned a lot of skills about my own bike skills and had to make a lot of improvements, realized that as much as I love my 1st edition Gary Fisher Sugar GS signed by Fisher personally, my bike is outdated and old school, but I PASSED the class!  Boom, enough said.IMBA Skills-ICPIMBA Course Completion

 

Moving on, I am very big on giving back in the community.  I try my darndest to volunteer at races and this year I went above and beyond and was not only a lead coach for Omaha DEVO but also for my daughter’s elementary running club.  I have a knack for coaching kids and found it is very stressful, but very fun and rewarding at the same time.  As a tennis coach I know that youth are the future of sports so it is vital to make it fun, get them involved, and learn a few skills at the same time.  I must say the run club was a bit of challenge.  50 girls chatting and picking flowers while running is not ideal, but they ran.  My daughter had a tough season due to foot issues, aka growing pains, but it was still a rewarding experience.  I think both my daughter and I had more fun with DEVO.  Any excuse to get on a bike is good for me.  And there is nothing better than watching little kids rocking the mountain bike, hitting the jumps and berms, and learning how to properly shift and brake on dirt.  It was by far the best volunteer experience I have ever had.  Not to say there were no hurdles and folks butting heads a bit, but the end result was lots of kids having fun on mountain bikes.  Sole SistersDEVODEVO

No summary is not complete without talking about my awesome triathlon clients.  The group I co-lead has grown by leaps and bounds this past year.  I am amazed by the improvements my former clients have made and am extremely impressed by the accomplishments of the new folks.  I have people from every walk of like and this past year is no exception.  I have folks that do not know how to swim at all to those taking the podium in their age group.  I have a unique group of people that tend to train for the shorter distance races such as sprint and Olympic due to work and family obligations, but regardless of the distance, I am extremely impressed by everyone’s hard work, dedication, and commitment to TRIATHLON.  Without my awesome clients, I would not have a job.  I am truly grateful for each and every person and look forward to what will come in 2015.  I plan to have everyone set goals starting tomorrow.  It may be as simple as to finish a triathlon without walking or PR in a race, but whatever their goals may be we will work to make them successful.  I expect this to be a big year in triathlon, especially now that the industry is growing in Omaha and the midwest. If you are at a race, keep an eye out for my awesome Prairie Life triathletes!!!

Omaha Women's 2014

 

No year cannot be complete without thanking those that have helped to support.  I am fortunate at a coach and amateur athlete to have some awesome sponsors, ambassadors, and employment.  Thank you for the support in 2014/2015:

Swiftwick     Rudy Project     FitFluentail     Ride Live be     Prairie Life Fitness     Red Dirt Running Company     Mott’s     Active Ambassadors     TYR Endurance Sport     Vitality Sciences     JUNK Bands     Coeur Sports     Race Omaha      GoTribal     Juice+         

What to take away from 2014 is in order to have a great year, it is about the effort you put into it.  Setting goals early are huge.  Personally and as a coach I am not as big on numbers, gadgets, and all the extra bells and whistles.  Our bodies are the primary machine.  Treat them well, work em hard, challenge them, get outside the comfort zone, and for goodness gracious, just have fun!  If it is not fun, it is not worth doing.  And one thing that I do not mention enough, make sure to involve the family.  Even if they do not have your interests, somehow try to find something you can all do together.  Endurance sports are not for everyone and take a lot of time and training so make sure your support system is there to support you and way possible.  Team support is vital, but family is essential.

So on that note, I bid you a farewell to 2014 from my adventurous family to yours and wish you well in 2015!

Adventureland

Goodbye 2013, bring on 2014

5 Off Season Rules

For those that have not seen this in Triathlete Mag, the info is fabulous. I recently posted my top fun things to do off season, this list is the pertinent list. For anyone who is a triathlete, take a moment to read the article. Good Read!
http://triathlon.competitor.com/2013/11/training/the-new-off-season-rules_45467

5 Tips for Beginning Swimmers & Triathletes

5 Tips for Beginning Swimmers & Triathletes.

 

These are some very simple but important tips for beginner swimmers. Make sure to practice these in the pool!

Top 5 Off-Season Activities

My personal top 5 Off-season fitness activities:

Off-season is a time to take a break from a long training, racing, and competition.  Our bodies are beat down, need a break, and a change of environment.  Here is my go to list of fitness activities to keep you in shape, but give your muscles and mind a break from the daily training routine.

#1 Yoga/Pilates: Many folks neglect this part of training (shame on you).  It is key component to help engage your core, stretch, lengthen, and relax the body.  I try to make this part of my training year round, but really try to do various classes 1-2 times per week in my off season.  I am lucky enough to have classes offered at my gym for free, but in any major city there are a wide variety of options.  And if classes are not available, videos are perfectly fine (just make sure to check your form).

Funny yoga clip

#2 Hit the Trails: I absolutely love hitting the trails.  I personally prefer dirt over concrete any day of the week.  Off-roading is oddly enough more gentle on the body.  Constantly running on concrete beats up the body; plain and simple.  And the road or TT bike is very freeing, but cars are becoming a major problem, everywhere.  Mountain biking is just as fun if not more fun that hitting the road.  I am obviously biased since I have been on the trails for years, but I love the variety of a good singletrack trail.  Not only do you get a good hill workout it, there are obstacles such as rocks and roots, lots of wildlife, off-road folks tend to be more laid back and easy going, and you get an amazing workout from head to toe both on the bike or by foot.  And during the fall months, there a lots of fun runs on the trails, and of course the ever so popular cyclocross.  So if you have not ever hit the dirt, put it on the bucket list.

mtn bike clipTrail head

 

#3 Slide Board: Most of you are probably confused.  This was a popular activity back in the 80’s and 90’s, but luckily the older gyms still have slide boards and if you play hockey, you might have a clue what I am talking about.  Think fiberglass or smooth plastic surface, bumper guards, and booties.  Put those booties on, get some good posture and start sliding similar to the motion of a speed skater.  Many of you are probably wondering why would one want to do this?  I try to incorporate this into my cross training days.  It works your glutes, quads, hamstrings, hips, abs, lower back and even arms if you do some mountain climbers.  It also gives you power and aids in balance and stability.  It may sound a bit cheesy, but there are many workouts you can do, especially if you throw in timed intervals.  So I challenge you to give it a try if it is an option for you.  I promise, you will sweat…

Slide Board

 

#4 Stair Tower Training: Huh?  There is a unique type of race gaining popularity during the winter months.  Racing stair cases to the top of towers.  In Omaha we have Trek the Tower (First National Building).  And of course, there is the ever so famous Sears Tower race.  If you love to cross train, like quick bursts of energy, like running and climbing stairs, are not claustrophobic, and want to race in your off-season, this is for you.  And the best part about these races, is they only take minutes to complete.  Since most folks cannot train outside in the winter, many take to stair cases, stair mills, and indoor tracks.

Running stairs

 

#5 Rest and Relaxation: This is probably my favorite and most important.  We work our bodies really hard when we are in full race and competition mode.  And the one thing we tend to forget is to relax.  This could be doing absolutely nothing, to going to a movie, or my favorite, get a long deserved massage.  If we do not allow our bodies to rest, the muscles never have time to fully repair.  So take an extra day here or there and just chill.

Funny massage clip

This is just my personal list, there are a million other options out there.  But as a triathlete and coach, these are some great tools for the off-season to keep you fit, sane, and give you some variety from the daily grind of swim-bike-run!

%d bloggers like this: