"Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best." - Theodore I. Rubin

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Racing and Fabulous FUN! :)

WOW, everything with the Training Bible Coaching Costa Rica training camp and the Rev3 races was so incredibly fun! I have not laughed, joked, cooked, trained and hung out with so many fun and hilarious people in my life. We all raced well in the Olympic and Half Iron distance races! We had many finish on the podium in their age groups and Adam and I won the Olympic and Half races on each day. Talk about an AWESOME experience; how often can an athlete and their coach win the overall male and female divisions in a big triathlon?! :) So great.

The olympic race results I think are incorrect but I am not sure if they are adjusting them. They also include transition times with our bike times as well. Anyway, the olympic race was a good rust burner for me and I think it helped me race better on Sunday in the half iron race. I felt stronger and biked much better for one thing. Secondly, my chaotic swim on Sat helped me realize what I needed to change for Sunday! Also, the swim courses were way long! Sat was 1.2 miles and on Sun it was like 1.8!? Craziness, haha. I also got to test my pre-race nutrition and make sure it worked so I could do the same on Sunday but add a big more. In the morning I ate my typical toast, some coffee, water and 2 packs of GU caffeinated Chomps. During the race I drank my GU Raspberry brew and water plus one Vanilla Bean gel on the bike. Sunday I did everything the same except I had some more toast in the morning and ate 3 gels on the bike and 2 during the run! Worked like a charm- NO stomach problems :)-

The hilly bike and run courses tested me like I have not been tested in a long time! Steep hills right away on the bike really hit my quads and heart rate after the swim. The sand running, roots, dirt and big hills in the run course definitely challenged me mentally and physically! My run time was decent on sat and on sunday I thought I was going to pass out in the heat and felt like I was running over 7 minute miles (Garmin died so didn't have a watch on!)..but I ran a 1:22 and lapped the other women on the 4 lap run course, so I don't know how I managed such a decent time! Overall I am really happy to have a couple races under my belt now. Racing pro the rest of the year will be such an amazing experience and I know I will continue to learn so much. Adam has already helped me in more ways than I can explain so the future looks very bright! :)

Next up is the fun Ragnar Relay del Sol with my friends this weekend. I am looking forward to doing something different and fun- running through the state of Arizona :) I have three pretty hard legs during the race and one of them Adam has me doing kinda like a workout but the other two will be more fun, so it should be a good adventure :)

Pics: From the race and camp :)

Quote: "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” - Steve Jobs

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Costa Rica!!! :)

Well, what can I say..Costa Rica has been fabulous! The first three days were the hardest, leaving me more sore than after most marathons! My lateral quad muscles and glutes were the worst! First of all, we are at the top of a huge cliff with hills ranging from 16-26 % grade!?!?! Walking or running up and down them is a workout in itself, and they are LONG. I literally had a panic attack the first day we had to ride our bikes DOWN the mountain and stopped at the top of one of the big hills because the steepness scared the crap out of me. The next day Adam rode next to me, talked me through it and helped me with where to look ahead, holding the brakes, etc. It was by far one of the scariest, if not THE scariest thing I've ever done in my life! At the bottom at least I was able to smile when Adam said "It wasn't that bad, right?" HAHA...if only he knew I thought I was gonna die the whole time ;)

Anyway, my swimming has improved drastically and today I had a great workout in the ocean with the fastest male swimmer at camp (if you don't count Adam, lol)..I didn't really know how to draft before camp but now I do, and staying on someone's feet definitely helps save some energy! It also keeps me swimming faster and trying to "hold on". I have been testing out a Skinfit speedsuit that I can wear during the entire race and I really love it. It's seamless which is perfect for my sensitive skin! :)

I also had my running form analyzed and now I have some things to work on with that as well. It's always good to find the little imperfections and tweak things because it will make me more efficient and therefore much faster! Adam thinks I should work on running more in flats and shoes with less of a heel, so I will start running in my flats more. I have heard of many runners doing this yet I know for me, I have to do it gradually. I'll also start running barefoot on grass more often.

My biking is going well too, but that is the area I really need to keep spending more time on, get more powerful and overall just stronger, not only on hills but also pushing my pain level and not riding comfortably hard all the time, but really get after it! Adam helped me tweak my seat a bit too so hopefully I'll feel more comfortable on my saddle now.

Well, I am getting VERY excited to race this weekend!! Tomorrow will be a light day and we are traveling to the Rev3 race venue to set up our bikes, go to the athlete meeting, etc. It's going to be a hot and humid race but I can't wait to see how fast I can go since it's been so long since I raced swimbikerun :) Adam and I have talked a lot and we decided it's a great idea for me to race pro in triathlon this year and really go after some big races in July and August and see how well I can do. I am so extremely excited for this year of racing!

Time to cook some dinner and sit on the balcony to relax for the night. I have also been enjoying speaking Spanish while I am here. There are some triathletes from Venezuela here with us so I enjoy practicing with them and they say I speak very well so thank goodness all my years studying it in school paid off :)

Pics: Some pics from the camp so far. Hills going up to the house, the group, view on a ride and my fave cereal in Spanish, lol

Quote: " It is not the place, nor the condition, but the mind alone that can make anyone happy or miserable."- Roger L’Estrange

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Skirts, Costa Rica and Mtn to Fountain!

I'm getting excited for the 4th annual Skirt Chaser 5k race this Saturday here in Tempe, at the Tempe Beach Park! I have enjoyed this race every single year it's put on, and this year I'll be gunning for my fourth title of not being "caught" by the chase men who start 3 minutes after the women. It's super fun and will be a great event to do before I head off to Costa Rica that night :) Now it's time to decide which of my many skirts I'll race in?? ;)

Have I mentioned I am excited for Costa Rica??! hahaha..it's almost here and with this week jam packed with training (3 days of triple workouts!), working and getting EVERYTHING ready to go, I'll be the most relaxed when I finally sit down on the plane :) As many of you triathletes know, and some runners may not, taking everything you need not only for a triathlon race, but an entire training camp week, seems endless. Packing for 3 sports, nutrition stuff, gear stuff and ummm taking apart my bike and getting it in the bike box to be ready for the airplane will likely be done late at night on Friday...let's hope D is home to help me! :) My mind goes from excited to apprehensive to nervous, like a cycle, every 24 hours. I am nervous I won't be able to keep up with everyone at camp, mostly in the biking and swimming, HA ;) I am nervous my coach is going to find a gazillion things wrong with my swim technique, bike form, etc. and I know it will overwhelm me and make me feel inadequate...

BUT, that's where my mental positivity and patience needs to come right in and smack my mind right...refining your skills and technique with two sports you have not done for 16 years (like your strong sport), takes TIME, for crying out loud. I tend to want results immediately. I want to be great right away. Maybe I am too hard on myself...as evident from the camp I went to last year in Tucson when I broke down sobbing on the phone to my mom after the first day because I hated myself and didn't feel I was good enough...Then 4 weeks later I qualified for Kona easily, at Oceanside, with minimal training those two months prior. The physical talent is there but my mental relentless positivity needs to improve about 20 notches; I know it will come eventually. I know everyone struggles with this at times but a HUGE goal for me this year is to take everything- ONE. DAY. AT. A. TIME....honestly, it's a daily struggle for me...so it's something I better be an expert at by the end of the year :)

Another great race that our awesome local Bandidos group is putting on this year is the Mountain to Fountain 15k, in Fountain Hills, AZ on March 12th. They have great prize money, age group awards and even a team competition where the winning team wins their weight in beer from Four Peaks Brewery! Four Peaks will be there on-site for the beer garden FUN afterward. It's a USATF certified course and will definitely be a fast course, with the first 5k being mostly downhill and then not many climbs thereafter. If you are interested in racing you should take advantage of the awesome happy hour they are having at Four Peaks Brewery this Friday from 5:30 to 7:30, Feb. 11th. It will be tons of fun and you can get a registration discount while also having some tasty appetizers and even better beer from our awesome local brewery. Don't miss it!

Pic: My cow friends I see on almost every ride...they stop and stare as I ride by and I just think it's hilarious :) I wish I could set them all free to graze in a huge pasture...

Quote: "It takes time to build a castle."- Irish Proverb

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize!!

Everyone goes through rough patches during life. Whether it be someone training for a really important race, a student in med school or a family member dealing with a severe sickness; the toughest trials in life show us who we truly are, what we are made of. Getting through really rough days, weeks, months and years usually make us stronger people and we learn new things about ourselves. It's sad to say but often tragic events completely wake us up to what really matters to us the most! I remember when one of our dogs was hit by a car in the fall of 2008 and it was almost as if everything in my whole word did not matter at all; I dropped everything to take care of him and nurse him back to health, including running...I didn't even want to leave the house in fear that something would happen while I was gone and just in general I felt so guilty.

Anyway, thank goodness nothing drastic has happened in my life (knock on wood), but lately I've been forcing myself to think about what really matters to me in my life right now. I have so many goals and dreams for myself and I'm not a very patient person, so I tend to analyze and stress about how I am going to make them all happen, ASAP! I don't like to make the excuse "Oh I'm still pretty young. I have time"...because we don't know how much time we will have in life, and I want to live every day with no regrets. The weeks following Kona last year I regretted not going and racing. Although I had a big focus on the NYC marathon, I still wished I had gone to Kona.

This year, although I have not qualified as of now, I am living my life and visualizing my training as if I AM going. I have HUGE goals for Kona this year and many big dreams for my career this year. The past few days have been rough for me in the positive mental attitude realm. Today I managed to turn it around quite a bit and also had a good workout this morning, visualizing racing in Costa Rica in barely over a week! All in all, everyone doubts themselves here and there when they are pushing themselves to their limits, thinking "Geez I don't know if I can do this!" Most of my doubts tend to stem from outside sources and I have to push those away and focus on myself, keep my eyes on the prize that I've wanted for so so long. When that day comes and all that I've worked for turns into a huge success, I know all the doubts I had will finally be washed away and I'll be so incredibly proud of myself :)

If you ever doubt yourself and what level you can reach, whether it's your career, athletics or both, read the article about the Raelert brothers in the current issue of LAVA magazine..it'll surely inspire you to never.stop.believing in yourself!! :) If your mind can conceive it and your heart believes it, you can achieve it!

Pic: A little reminder to myself when any doubts come in...

Quote: "Mirinda Carfrae ran a record 2:53:32 marathon in Kona this year, making many believe, for the first time, that a woman can break 2:50 on the run"- LAVA magazine....yeaaaa baby ;)