Category Archives: Stress
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:
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:
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!!!
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!
I have been struggling to find the perfect topic to discuss, but no worries, I have came up with the perfect topic to discuss prior to most races. Do any of you struggle with anxiety or stress during training or a race????? I would like to say I don’t but the reality is, we all stress a bit. And this stress can be related to many factors. I want to pr at my race, I hate swimming in open water, I had a bad crash on the bike and do not have the confidence, I have been battling injuries while training-what will happen on race day…
So how do we handle this stress? Let me highlight a few of the bigger problems so during your training you can work on your stress level to be more confident at the race.
#1 Avoiding burnout from training:
This is a huge problem, but luckily for triathlete’s this is not as big of a problem since you are training for 3 disciplines and hopefully doing some weights and yoga. Best solution to burnout, is to not look at the big picture, but to set daily or weekly goals instead. I have some monster training plans, but refuse to look ahead, one week at a time. I just told a client today who is struggling with some injuries due to overuse, that her body is burning out from the hard training and to take a week off. Yes she grumbled, but she gets it. Even though it may seem like a set back, taking time off will help let the body reset.
Motivation is similar to burnout, but different in that you need to set goals. These goals are the key to staying motivated. When you get off track you need to reassess and adjust accordingly. I oddly enough have more clients that do a large group training than individual training I believe that the large group training is what keeps them motivated. You find those people at similar skill levels and you can push one another. I will let you in on a little trainer secret. When setting race goals, don’t just set a race goal. I always ask clients to write down the race they are training for, a realistic goal, a future/better than normal race day goal, and just had a bad race day goal. When trying to motivate oneself, we need to remind ourselves that not every day is the same. There are a lot of factors in a triathlon from weather, mechanical issues, tough race course, injuries, nutrition problems, etc. So in a nutshell, set goals and throughout your training keep reminding yourself of your goals!
#3 Swim Anxiety:
This is probably the number one issue for triathletes, especially beginner triathletes. It is almost impossible to replicate an open water swim in a pool which for most of us is where we have been training during the long cold winter month. Discussing all the tips and drills for open water swimming and how to use a wetsuit is a totally separate article. If there is one tip I can give, swim a lot. Become confident with your stroke, swim with people in your lane and get used to getting hit, kicked, jabbed, goggles getting knocked off. These are some of the more common issues during the swim portion of a race. Like I said, we cannot mimic a lake when we are in the pool but we can at least get our brains prepared for what is to come. And as soon as it is warm, get in a lake and practice. Lakes can be dark, smelly, spooky, strange things floating, fish nibbling, etc. so by getting into a lake many times prior to a race will help you to be prepared race day. Luckily in Omaha, the Race Omaha series offers open water swim practices which is a great way to get some of the jitters out prior to race day. I cannot promise that the jitters will be gone race day, but we can eliminate some of the guessing ahead of time.
Hopefully by discussing some of the basic things that lead to stress will help you to identify your individual stressors and ways to help deal with them. If you have questions, please let me know. I do not want to call myself an expert by any means, but am experienced as a racer, coach, and race volunteer. I have experienced all of these at some point during my training and race days.
Part 2 (Focus, confidence, race day anxiety)