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 am proud to be able to share this article written about my client who had a near death experience during a race two years ago. As her coach, it is an honor to have helped her overcome her fear and tackle the same lake that almost took her life! Read on.
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!
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).
#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.
#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…
#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.
#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.
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!
A tri friend stumbled across this and I could not resist posting. Not sure where it originates from, but it is a classic.
Ironmen/triathletes: is one of these you? Let us know below!
1. Guy who is pouring anything he can find on himself to try to wash away the urine that was recently released all over his shorts and legs.
2. Guy who motions for the crowd to cheer as he approaches on his bike.
I LOVE this guy! His energy and enthusiasm epitomize the spirit of the Ironman. If you don’t cheer for him, you should be banned from spectating (IMO).
3. Alien hat guy.
Actually, about 30% of the bikers were wearing these helmets, but they never got old. They are soooo funny lookin’. If you think the drawing below is an exxageration, click here.
4. Took-as-many-sponges-as-humanly-possible guy.
This guy looks like a stripper tucking dollar bills anywhere they will possibly fit. (For those of you who are unfamiliar: race organizers sometimes hand out cold-water-soaked sponges at certain parts on the course as a way to help cool down the runners)
5. Biker guy who throws his water bottle at the fans.
At first I was alarmed, thinking I had done something to offend this person. But then I realized he was just doing a good deed by chucking his empties in a race-spectated area for easier cleanup.
6. Guy running the Ironman with one fucking leg.
There is nothing, other than seeing my brother, that turns me into a psychotic crazy fan than seeing these so-called handicapped people doing things that 99% of “able-bodied” people will never do. I cheered so hard I actually tasted blood (can you rip a vocal cord? Is that possible?)
7. Biker guy wearing a yellow jersey.
- First of all, he is not winning. Also, his name doesn’t rhyme with Shmance Barmstrong.
- Second of all, I’m making a point of this guy because he was the least friendly participant on the course (when I say “he” I am referring to every racer wearing a yellow jersey.) One yellow-jerseyed-man rode directly on the line that spectators are supposed to stand behind, and then shooed us away (a sweep of the hand, like “step back, plebes”) as if we were getting too close to greatness. Whyyy? BTW, there are studies showing that smiling enhances your mood and performance. All of these yellow jersey guys were just kind of …. jerks.*
*If you are friendly and happened to be wearing a yellow jersey, please bring back honor to your yellow-jerseyed peoples by commenting in the section below.
8. Guy who has turned himself into a human billboard for something comically unrelated to running, biking, or swimming.
Hey, If you run the race, you should wear whatever you feel like wearing! Just make sure there are big printed words so I can cheer you on (“YES! YOU’RE ENDING DIABETES! YAY! JEWS FOR JESUS! SALLY’S CLEANING SERVICE LOOKING GOOD!” If you print it, I will scream it.)
9. Guy who printed his name AS LARGE AS POSSIBLE on his uniform.
In doing so, he has announced to me that he enjoys being cheered for, and therefore I will probably pretend to know him…. “PETER oh my God is that really you???!! I have been waiting for you for MY WHOLE LIFE!!” (Yes. I actually do this. It usually goes over well. Usually.)
10. NYPD and NYFD guys running with photos of lost friends.
So touching. There’s something about it that gives you that gutteral “proud to be a New Yorker” feeling every time.
11. The pro who’s curled up vomiting somewhere along course, but won’t take help because he doesn’t want to be disqualified.
There are rules about assisting the participants – if you help people in a certain way it can actually kick them out of the race. I’ve heard amazing stories about people crawling to the finish at Kona, refusing help from anyone.
12. Old guy.
How are you doing this? More importantly, how are you beating my brother?
13. Pro women.
I was BLOWN AWAY by these ladies. The top female competitors were incredibly close to the top men. They. Were. Killing. It. Major props to these rockstar fembots showing all of womankind that we are in it to win it. I got chills.
14. Guy who bought a nice new white spandex unitard and shaved all of his extremities.
Except his ass crack. Which you could see clearly through his white shorts.
15. Fat guy.
I go wild for the fat guy. He’s doing this Ironman just like the rest of them, but he’s sometimes carrying almost an entire additional person’s worth of weight on his frame. The epitome of “no excuses”. Super inspiring.
16. Hottest chick I’ve ever seen.
This one is actually drawn directly after a woman who was running the race with a turquoise top (anyone who spectated will remember her, she was basically the picture of fitness). She had a nasty bod and her hair was in these cool braid things. She, too, was beating my brother. Girl was crushing it. Plus she always smiled at the fans.
17. Guy who lost like 30 pounds training for the race (and was normal-size to begin with) and you barely recognize him when he runs by.
Ironman training = major calorie deficiency. Really hard to keep weight on.
18. Guy who looks like he just got flour-bombed with sunscreen.
19. Super triumphant guy.
His joy is infectious, especially as he crosses the finish.
AKA my brother. Because despite the fact that the “peeing on himself” guy may have been loosely entirely based off of him, or the fact that the old guy and the hot girl beat him or that he didn’t finish sub-11 hours like he wanted to, this guy continues to be my hero in every sense of the word. Being an ironman? Cool. Being a better big brother than any other big brother of time? Way cooler.*
*Would like to note that he is currently tied with my other big brother for the “best big brother of time” award.
It has been a slow transition from winter to spring, but spring seems to finally be here. And if spring is here to stay for a while, so is training and race season. I have been meaning to recap the last few weeks, but am finally making the time now that my kids are on summer vacation.
Girls on the Run: This was the first season for my 2nd grader who just turned 8 to give Girls on the Run a try. She is not a real sporty kid-prefers artwork, books, t.v. and the occasional bike ride, but she wanted to try running like I do. All I can say is success! The girls met twice a week at school and not only ran, but did team building, self-esteem, and mentored one another. We drove down two weekends ago to Lincoln, Nebraska for the state GOTR event. It was definitely a bit overwhelming with almost 2000 girls, but between the face paint, hair dye, team shirts, race bibs, and friends all around my daughter had a great experience. And she exceeded my expectations by shaving time off her 5K, only walked at the water stops, and even sprinted to the finish. And now she is begging to do some fun runs this summer. As a coach and mother, I am very proud of her and cannot wait until next year.
Lucky Bucket 7K Trail Run:
I am all for fun runs, especially when trails are involved, but I definitely have more of a competitive edge. I had no expectations at the Lucky Bucket 7k trail run, but was not expecting 1300 individuals with little to no running experience who were rather scared of the extreme trail conditions. It was obvious rather quickly that most of the folks came out for the free beer which is not my cup of tea. When I race, I plan to race and then have fun. This event turned out to be a little bit of running with lots of standing around and hiking. I have learned my lesson, from now on if I sign up for these races, I will move to the front of the line so I can actually race. Trail running is super addicting when done right-downhills, uphill, water crossings, and stump jumping is all a part of it. Lesson learned-be more selective when choosing which trails races to do. For those in the midwest, check out the GOATz-Greater Omaha Trail Runners (www.irunwithgoats.com)
Kansas City Triathlon: This past weekend was my first triathlon of the season!!!! Or so I thought… I recruited some of my clients to take the road trip from Omaha to Kansas City to tackle out first triathlon. Most of my clients signed up for the sprint distance or a team tri, but I was ready for an early season Olympic distance. I was warned that storms were a possibility all weekend, but watching the radar, thought we might get lucky. Luck was not in our favor. Waiting in our wetsuits at the water at 7:30 am, the storm arrived. The race directors had us wait about 25 minutes to see if the storm would pass, but no such luck. Lightening, strong waves, wind, and rain stuck around for about an hour. The race directors made the call to cancel the race. I am not completely upset that I did not race since I feel my personal training has been lacking a bit thanks to a very long winter. Some of my clients are ready to throw in the towel and skip racing this season-I am the complete opposite. I am ready to tackle the tri’s and show them that one cancellation cannot throw me off my game. What is frustrating is that due to some politics, the Lawrence 5150 was the same day. They had the same weather, but rather than cancel waited a bit and then did a time trial bike and run. I sure wish we could have done that, but when it comes to nasty weather, safety has to be a priority.
I may not have raced, but still had a fun weekend, bonding with some like-minded athletes. And if anyone needs some motivation, my kids truly made my day when I got home from the race. They knew I did not get to race, so with a little help from dad, they gave me some special awards:
I am still in the process of figuring out my race schedule, but will for sure race at HyVee, XTerra BOLT, Wall Lake, and possibly the newly added Clinton Lake, KS 5150 and Branson Half. So keep training and see you at the races!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tomorrow I get to be a keynote speaker at the Race Omaha kick-off lecture series. It has been a while since I spoke in public, but excited to not only promote both of my employers-Red Dirt Running Company, but also Prairie Life where I do my triathlon coaching. So for those lucky enough to live in the Omaha area, stop on by and learn about running, injuries, and injury prevention.
Stay tuned for an update on how the event goes 🙂
Spring is in the air which for triathletes means training begins! As a triathlon coach, my brain is in full planning and training mode.
With that being said, I am pleased to announce that the 2nd Annual Group Triathlon Training program will be offered this spring at Prairie Life Fitness. Last year was very successful and there is quite a demand for group training. So for those in the Omaha area interested in training with a group, both myself and Stacy Houck will be doing a 12 week training program starting March 14th that will cater to the Omaha Women’s Sprint Triathlon. This is a great group for the novice triathlete, those trying to improve time, or for those that love training with others. The training will consist of everything to get an athlete ready for a USAT sanctioned sprint triathlon: group training, weekly homework, seminars about bike maintenance at Trek Bikes, gait analysis at Red Dirt Running Company, and of course some freebies and discounts from my sponsors. This training will be open to members and non-members of Prairie Life Fitness. For more info and registration, check out: http://www.prairielife.com/locations/home/?ID=2 and scroll down to “Coming-Triathlon Training”
I am really excited to coach this group again and look forward to both the familiar faces and meeting new folks. The more the merrier. So get ready to dust of those bikes, loosen up the legs, hop back in the pool, and get ready for an awesome triathlon season. See you at the gym.