Friday, December 21, 2018

2018 Race/Fitness recap

2018 Fitness/Racing Review

So this year had some good times, but overall it sure wasn’t what I would have ever aimed for.

Looking back, my goal for the year was to “do” Eagleman … without really focusing on the training for it, to be able to complete it, and just enjoy a day in the sun; after which I wanted to train for speed and Olympic distance, culminating in a great race at Nationals at the end of the summer.

Here is a quick roundup of these goals and the races I selected for the year:

First race of the year:  Reston 10K in winter:  did a nice 10K and was proud of myself for getting out there, going hard for me at that time, getting out in really cold weather and racing, knowing that it made me more fit overall.

Williamsburg ½ marathon: Awesome AGAIN.  Top 10, so I loved getting in top 10 women. I felt strong, not my best…. But on my way to good run fitness and hopeful! (was a weird race- family went to Wburg w/me for a bit, but then they drove home separately a day earlier for kids sports stuff.  So, I took this selfie, which I really hate doing.

March: *I am pretty sure I didn’t do any races in March.

April: Went to Greenville, SC for Duathlon Nationals. I was super excited to do this race (no swim!).  it was a great weekend of visiting Greenville for the first time ever- I loved that city! Ummmmmm… I almost died in the race.  It was like 20 degrees and I was so cold on the bike that I really thought I may - DIE.  I wrote up a whole race report about it, about my various options for death, saving fingers, etc.  It made for a fun memory in that I survived.  But I was honestly annoyed for traveling so far and not being able to “race”--- I didn’t do anything fitness related in this race, just mental work in trying to not die work. (these pictures are the look of death on me.)

May:  THIS WAS MY MOST FUN RACE OF THE YEAR:  Wine Country ½ marathon- done with a friend!  Of course it was fun- it was BEAUTIFUL! I felt GREAT!  My running was strong and with that, I felt hopeful about my fitness for Eagleman and the summer!  And… oh my gosh SO MUCH WINE AFTERWARDS!!!!  ***Note to self- if I do this again in the future- bring some FOOD SNACKS, because I had only wine after the race and I probably could have used some solid food in my stomach as well😊

June: Eagleman.  First EM DNF. Omg.  What a game changer.  I did great in swim. Great in bike, maybe best ever or close… and then.. just “didn’t feel like continuing”…. And after 3+ miles of the run just walked off the course. Just didn’t mentally have the fortitude, drive, see any reason in continuing.  It really sucked and showed me mentally how weak I was at that time.  Part of it was that I was babying my hip/hamstring and just WORRIED (it did not hurt- pain was not the reason for me walking away) but Worried about making it bad for the summer….

Got back from Eagleman, took a week to mentally be okay with myself for quitting a race, and then got excited about the rest of my season.  Had some great workouts and really felt like, “AHA!! THIS is why it was maybe great that I didn’t finish EM- I still had LEGS to move!”  I didn’t feel so flat for a month at least after Eagleman, so it was so nice… and… I got… maybe too excited/ too ahead of myself.

I had two fun fun fun hard workouts where I was really excited about following my intensity plan and pushing things a bit….. prepping for some speed..  I remember the last workout I did with this intentionality and… that was it for my hamstring/hip for the rest of the summer.  I couldn’t get it to ease out of pain/ release.  I took some weeks of no running, or limited, just to try to keep minimal run fitness.. and I just couldn’t get it together.

I didn’t even START MD Duathlon in July because of a family issue the night before that reminded me that my primary job is being a mom/ not doing races… and I had to suck it up and eat  it and just not go.  It was an overall horrible weekend.

BUT… I knew I was still trying to make it through Nationals as well as Luray Triathlon in August.

USAT Age Group Nationals (Cleveland), mid August:  I wanted to at least participate at Nationals (Olympic distance), even though it was quite clear that I wasn’t in my typical trained state.  The hip was killing.  I didn’t even know how I’d end up driving to Cleveland because it hurt to sit m ore than ½ mile in a car.  Literally I’d be all sorts of making noises even to just get down the street.  It sucked. Major hip and leg pain that was driving me freaking CRAZY.

I got to the point I wasn’t even running, I was just trying to get through to the event without being in massive pain.  I started taking super strong anti-inflammatories 10 days before race…. Eventually really taking far too much I was later told (sorry, kidneys)… but I was able to GET THROUGH the race!  I did “well”… but just middle of the pack, I think I was literally right in the middle… but that was disappointing… although not unexpected- I mean, I cannot be greedy- if I haven’t been doing the training, I cannot just bank on my old fitness, etc….. 

*We got our 2nd puppy on the way home, so that also eased the disappointment a bit!

One week later, I couldn’t wait to do Luray because….. I love Luray… but also… because I knew it was absolutely the end, and I couldn’t wait to stop working out and killing myself.  I was in so much pain and just frankly sick of it.

MID-Late August was Luray and I was D.O.N.E. that day.  Done. Fini. No more.   

I did the Duathlon which they offered for the first time this year.  The field was small, I was overall top woman.  It was nice to not have the swim, HOWEVER… I frankly may have preferred that because the duathlon just wasn’t well attended and I wanted to compete against more people, really.  (Although it was probably good NOT TO this year!!!!)  Walking puppies even hurt.  I took off 8-9 weeks COMPLETELY.  I did a few swims ONLY with pull buoy.  I did not bike a single pedal circle.  I walked dogs, but barely… I did dry needling with a physical therapist 2x/week and it just wasn’t getting better.  I gave it that time and knew I wasn’t going to go further.  My PT $ was limited and I was not willing to just spend thousands in recovery that didn’t seem to be working.  I tried a new doctor that I thought may do a technique on hamstring that would help.  He didn’t do the technique I was looking for, BUT…. I found DEFINITE improvement.  10 weeks later, I began to jog 1 mile, 2,3,… 4,5, and I am up to 10 miles.  SLOOOOOW MILES . holy shit running is hard!  I GET IT!  WOW.  Yea, I am lumbering around.   Just this past week, I was out “running” and literally laughed at myself as I went up a hill because I realized that I BET THIS IS NO FASTER than a fast walker!  My hamstring and hip are not perfect, But SO MUCH BETTER and on the way to recovery I believe. 

I have been doing more strength, yoga and core work every single day.  I have been back on the bike trainer going just gently and also in the pool once/week.


I have a goal to finish the last 2 weeks of December “strong” with  getting to a 12 mile long run on the last day of the year so that I can begin my marathon prep for BIG SUR MARATHON 2019 on Jan 1!

I’m excited for this race- I got in the lottery for it and it is BUCKET LIST HAPPENING!  I know I will do some tris also, but I promised myself that *I would not sign up for Eagleman again this year.. *that I wouldn’t sign up for ANYTHING until my hamstring/hip were recovering enough to know fully that I can do races.  I am excited to do something DIFFERENT next year- I think I need to do that.  I don’t have a full on list of races set for next year.  The winter and spring is going to be difficult because Phoebe is in a new volleyball club and will be doing lots of traveling…. Thus… it is not my time to do a real aggressive spring.  That is ok, maybe that in the end will be a good thing, although I’m going to terribly miss out on Williamsburg ½.  I love doing that each year.  I may do the wine country ½ again because it was SO MUCH FUN… and… (the wine!!!)  However, that will be very close after Big Sur, so I may just choose to save the money from that race to put towards another hot summer race! I cannot wait to see!

Wrapping up 2018: 

*What am I most proud of?  That I had a strong spring of “fitness” even though it didn’t lead to really the exceptional races that I wanted.

*What mistake did I make that I have learned from?  This is hard.  I don’t think I tweaked my hamstring because I really went “too hard” because I’ve been very conservative.  I think a big mistake was waiting for rest to allow it to heal.  I needed to get treatment, and it ends up I learned that I need to be open in treatment to new options/practitioners/ideas.  The new Dr. that I’ve been working with has helped miraculously!

*What was the most fun:  My race at wine country ½ marathon- it was fun to go fast and then to drink wine with a friend.  Note to self: I’m getting older.  This needs to be fun.  I am past the point of aiming for any high level stuff from myself so it better darn well be FUN, BEAUTIFUL and good fitness makes everything BETTER!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Injuries… Everything has a reason.

So late June of this year, I re”tweaked” my hamstring and hip.  In fact, it wasn’t really a tweak.  It was a full blown shit show.  I thought maybe a week of extra stretching to “release” it would work.  Or, maybe backing off mileage even to 50% may help.  But no- by the end of summer, I hadn’t run a huge amount going into Nationals and didn’t even know if I could even finish the race because of my run segment.  That sucked. (I did finish, thanks to a massive helping or two of anti inflammatory prescription).

I finished the season and I knew I was DONE. In fact, I had been planning on being done. In a way, I couldn’t wait on “being done.”  I hurt so bad.

I couldn’t drive 5 minutes down the road without being in major pain in the car.  From sitting.  I couldn’t move around in LIFE without pain, and frankly was SO DAMN SICK OF PAIN. I have become all too familiar with physical pain, and how it wreaks havoc on every aspect of life: your tolerance for other annoyances, unexpected things coming in at you, the ability to breathe fully.  Good grief.

In addition to the pain level, before my running backed off, I had been having some time on my runs where I frankly just “CRAVED” stopping and walking.  How luxurious it felt, peaceful, calm, nurturing to my body, heart and soul.  So, all in all…. (especially with the addition of two puppies much in need of walking), I was ready for my time off/ time to heal starting mid to late August.  I committed to : no running, no biking, only walking, swimming only with a pull buoy after warm up and nothing to aggravate hamstring. 

9-10 weeks later, here I am.

I have begun running in the past 2 weeks- JUST JOGGING, low intensity.  Low intensity and OMG SLOWER than I possibly have ever run.  But I am SO thankful to be moving.  Some runs, I jog the entire time thinking  “I am probably causing further damage because after 8 weeks of nothing, my hamstring is barely better.”  Other times—two times recently after some active release with a new dr. I have begun working with, I cannot help but SMILE and feel ultimate joy in being able to move decently.  I see a GLIMMER OF HOPE, and for that I am so thankful.  I am not healed, I am not “back.”  But I am MOVING a little bit!!!!!!

5 things about being injured that I have learned.. well, “re-learned”:

1.        Everything does happen for a reason.  The “universe” speaks. Earlier this year, I was wanting to walk on runs as if it was some sense of peacefulness I was craving and not finding any longer while running.  I would be out running, yet thinking about being done with the session, back at work, doing the next thing.  Not fully present.  Not fully invested in what I was doing with my time.  And most of all, not finding a full enjoyment from the heart, not being able to pull that sense of fulfillment, peace, connection with nature from my running.  I was tired of running.  UNTIL I COULDN’T, haha.  Ahhh the power of wanting what you cannot have.  I believe I was forced into taking this “break” after numerous signals that I didn’t hear, or actually heard and completely ignored.

2.       Our bodies are smart.  I had the opportunity last winter to have a comprehensive blood test/ in depth hormonal check done.  I was desperate to find out the results…. Which frankly, I already knew.  There was something very wrong and off with me.  I would come home from even a small workout SPENT.  I was actually spent before I went.  I was flat, dull, pale in both face and heart.  Just not myself. All I wanted was to sleep, lie down, and had no feeling of “oomph” in me.  I knew I was going through a spell of depression and trying to swim my way back to the top of the water, but I also knew it was a bit more because my physical body just had some other issues not making sense.  When I had the blood test, I couldn’t wait for the results because I already KNEW there was a result that needed to be seen.  I basically had zero T (testosterone) and ridiculously high cortisol (stress), and that ratio is a common one for endurance athletes to struggle with.  Because of the extreme low and high, my ratio was ridiculously small.  Every single symptom of this, I had.   I knew I should address it with some sort of “plan” however some events happened that further pushed me into a hole and I just tried to carry on, making it through.  First race of the season, I ended up just walking off the course- a clear picture of how I had felt for months.  Just flat affect/ didn’t have my heart attached.  Without this injury, I would have just kept at it.

3.       We all get injured, get over yourself.  If you are an athlete, there will be injuries.  I’ve never met an athlete who has had NO injuries.  I have been super lucky over the years.  20 years of triathlons.  My back has had major trouble in the past 5 years and I am constantly working to keep that managed.  I tore my calf 3 years ago.  However: prior to that, I Have been very lucky to have managed joints and muscles well.  being injured sucks.  It hurts, and I’ve been in major pain- a literal pain in the ass! It sucks even more not being able to sit, do normal daily things.  BUT, I remind myself- it is not like I’ve been going through chemotherapy for 4 months.  Perspective.   I am thankful to have used the past few months to try to learn how to have some “down time”!!  seriously😊  And it has been good for me to learn to walk without running, be without  reaching for something, to get some extra time for some of the other things I love to do in life, I’ve added a bunch of work in while the opportunity has presented with extra hours.  So while I’ve been annoyed to not run, I know it is part of the overall plan and to be patient.

4.       There is nothing like having a passion in life, and for that I am so grateful. Long story short: when I was growing up as a gymnast, I vividly recall being in the car with my mom and her asking me, “don’t you get sick of flipping around/ being in the gym all the time?”  I thought that was frankly the dumbest question I had ever heard.  Of course not.  There was never ENOUGH time for me.  This past weekend, I was recalling these conversations because by the end of the weekend, if I had to be on the sidelines of a volleyball court for another minute, I thought I might die.  I asked Phoebe if she was getting tired of volleyball after the hours she had been there.  She was not.  I smiled, knowing exactly how she felt, and I was so happy for her.  Likewise, that is the “old” feeling I have had for triathlon- hours and hours and too many hours (I’m giving you the eye Ironman Lake Placid) on the bike and run (not necessarily pool!!).  And all done with a pure love for the sport.  Not always easy, of course- bad days are a part of the process of the passion, disappointments come.  But the JOURNEY IS MY PASSION.  I love training, I love planning, I love making things happen. I love attacking daily goals.  I cannot imagine life without being a passionate person.

5.       I LOVE RUNNING>  In the past two weeks, being out jogging again has been a major HAPPY!  I have oddly been seen just jogging (at a snails pace right now) with a goofy grin BECAUSE I AM RUNNING THROUGH NATURE! I have gone to some of my favorite roads, had that peaceful time of just me, footsteps, breath, and the beauty of the world. Leaves falling down, landing on me.  I have a glimpse of hope that I will be fully running again!  Big Sur Marathon 2019- cannot wait to meet you!

Monday, June 11, 2018

2018 Eagleman DNF

2018 Eagleman DNF.  20 years now of triathlons and this is my 3rd DNF.  1st was when I walked out of the water at Columbia tri back in maybe 2008/9 when I had bronchitis and the water was like 60 degrees and my chest just got so tight I didn’t know if I would die.  2nd was not running at the 70.3 Savageman in Deep Creek, MD- this was during a time I had a huge amount going on internally in fall 2011, making big family decisions and I needed to be alone, quiet, and the lake honestly just looked so inviting to sit by.  (I seriously stopped, bought an ice cream cone and sat by the lake trying to clarity on something big).  And… this weekend is #3.

So, I swam well, biked well, and ran about 2.5 miles and couldn’t gather any positive ness in my heart to continue.  I was like “bored” with myself/ worried or fearful of the impending pain?  Not even sure…

Here are some thoughts.

I feel like I quit due to maybe 5 things that were overwhelming my brain with negative daggers.

1.       I’ll get it out of the way and I’m sorry, and I know some people don’t want to hear it and it sounds petty, but… it is my truth.  I am “chunky” for me this year and I had nothing to wear.  Not joking.  Seriously.  I’m never a FAN of my body, but I’ve had a few years where I gathered resolve and let go of inhibitions and wore a 2 piece because of the heat conditions and it worked well and I was proud of myself for being brave.  This year, I detested the rolls that I saw coming out and was horrified by myself.  However, the one piece swimsuit I could have worn- I don’t like that as much because when I throw a cup of ice down my swimsuit, it doesn’t have the bra top to hold the ice, so then it slides all the way down and doesn’t work.  I seriously spent so much annoying time trying to figure out what to wear.  I had nothing.  I ended up wearing a 2 piece and was fine until the run and then it was just horrifying ­­­­me to run through people who were able to see my stomach.  Plus, my fuel belt was annoying me and I had to hook this stupid pouch onto it to hold a car key since I was by myself and while I was running the part I ran, everything was moving around- my fuel belt didn’t feel attached right and the bottles were moving and the damn pouch and on top of that I just had too much negative energy going towards being embarrassed.

2.      So… backing up….. Eagleman has always been MY RACE I LOVE to set goals for.  Last year, I was extremely disappointed after I trained and was at my VERY FITTEST EVER… and… I didn’t stay for the slot rolldown to world championships and ended up missing my spot.  I was a bit devastated, so I was all negative on doing Eagleman. I didn’t register for awhile, then decided, no I love Eagleman and it is tradition and I’ll just do it as a long training day in the sun!!  WITHOUT TRAINING FOR IT! So I won’t be emotionally invested, etc…  Then about 3 weeks ago I thought, omg, that really isn’t SMART to do this race without fully training, but I knew I could do it…. I did a ½ marathon last weekend and felt AWESOME and enjoyed it and was so hopeful to just continue channeling that this weekend….. HOWEVER…. Something I’ve realized maybe after DNF’ing today was… I don’t really think I do well when I’m not FULLY FOCUSED.  I do much better BEING invested, I enjoy it more.   I don’t like to be out “in a race” “having a long training day”… I just don’t find myself motivated by that….. I think also in the past few years, I haven’t been RACING the bike portion which I used to.  Yes, it used to tear my legs up even more, but I used to LOVE and be so motivated by being fully 100% IN the race- racing the bike, fierce and flying… I used to love that feeling.  Now I’m like “riding safe.”  Ewwwww.  Just doesn’t “thrill me.”  I honestly feel like I turn into a lazy mental mush pile.  I know that sounds silly, but I just feel blah.  Like I’m just toodling around and unmovitated. Playing it careful.. not fully 100% MENTALLY IN… just “waiting”, “surviving” half-assing so I don’t die on the run?  Thinking about the run before I’m on it?

3.      I really have no idea WHY…. But I was just frankly ANNOYED at little things that I needed to let go of today.  I got to race site early/parked, transition was still closed and a bunch of us (crazy early people) were lined up WAITING at 4:30am to get into transition.  I’ve always been there this early and it is always open.  I like to get stuff in before crowds, then go back and chill for a bit in my car, mentally focus, then go back for last minute transition area stuff/bathroom… so I was “annoyed.”  I felt annoyed by the change in the swim start as well- it was ROLLING start—meaning-  no age group waves.  Instead, you position yourself where you “think” you are going to swim at a certain pace and then like it was just people walking down there and going!   So, it was so many more people going at the same time - I just cannot understand why they think this is better—this way, you have like 50 people who think they are all swimming the same pace for 1.2 miles… so then you are BUNCHED UP at the same pace?!  THAT IS NOT SAFER! And I like how normally you are all in your age group- full of very fast all the way to very slow and then people just naturally spread out.  In addition- this way- you get to know during the race if you are ahead of someone- it is because you are ahead- not just because you maybe started earlier than someone in your age group etc….I lost the kind of mental attention to:  everyone in my age group started at the same time, so if I’m behind someone, they are currently beating me. 

THE MOST ANNOYING thing was a change to the bike to run.  OMG this race has gone on for years with a simple transition that is totally fair- you bike in one corner of transition and run out the other.  No issues.  This year, they said to make sure no one has to run any further than anyone else (which was never an issue so not sure if it is new race director?) BUT: we got off of bike and had to RUN our bike like almost an entire loop around transition- it was killing my wrist/arm/shoulder to be holding my bike up and just honestly was the worst ever.  (and unnecessary).  I should have easily been able to “let this go” however.. and I couldn’t.  I was just annoyed…. (I do honestly have a problem being annoyed by stupid things… I wish I didn’t, but if something just hasn’t been thought out well, I do not understand why it happens).  IN ADDITION- there has been for at least 10 years- a bathroom on the way OUT of T2 to begin the run.  I had been waiting and planning on this, but when I run out- it was on the OTHER SIDE OF THAT STUPID LONG UNNECESSARY run with our bikes!  So I couldn’t like HOP the fence to go to the port o pot and then hop a fence back… (plus, remember I am now running and trying to not draw attention to myself in anyway just blend into the atmosphere since f am not feeling great about myself and jut want to get back out into anonymity.) In the first 50 steps out of transition, I am running and look down to see my energy stingers flying across the road.  Yep.  One by one.  There was a hole in the freaking ziplock.  Great.   

Possibly the biggest kicker was when I get to mile 1- yea yea yea- the port o pots were here, yea!!  So I go over to them, and one is like totally slanted downhill on this incline part of the grass and I quickly congratulate myself for taking notice of that detail and choosing the other one, so I step in and HOLY FREEAKING MOLEY- this one also must not have been stabilized… I am literally going like swinging inside of this port a pot thinking I’m going to tip, I GRAB this side wall and somehow knock one of my fuel flasks out of the belt, and then freak out thinking it was my pouch with my CAR KEY IN IT and I think “my key is going to be in the middle of the… well…. HOLE of the port o pot”!!!  (which it wasn’t, but in doing this, I sway the port a pot back the other way apparently.. and I’m in there literallyl screaming/kind of laughing/curse words…. Omg.  It is ok though.. I go to the bathroom, kind of annoyed when I get out because (on top of a port a pot nearly falling on me) I now I have to repass all the people who I had already passed. I think a few times over in my head, I’m not in this, I can still walk back, still close.  But then I know to just shut up and keep running. I need to go to the bathroom again at mile 2.  So, I go again.  (these port a pots are stabilized better by the way).  In there, my stomach starts not feeling great (but I’m not sure if I was halfway making it up in my head because my mind games were really being strong).  I get out and start running, still wishing slightly to quit and be done.  My hips and back are always in the back of my mind, so I worry also that they will not hold up for the 13.  If they do… not sure my stomach will hold up.  feel one of my hamstrings do it’s little slight awareness pull which reminds me to not push too hard.  I just honestly have these visions of years past and the 100% mental fortitude it has taken to continue and slog through survival to the finish.  And I think, I’m not having that 100% today, and then I am (again AFRAID… fear… fear is a theme here I notice) going to have to get through rest of my week feeling like crap, back and hip acting like I am 94 years old, trying to have energy to get through my work week, etc.  I just realize, I don’t have it.  Or I’m not willing to be tested today? 

4.      I’m also alone at this Eagleman. Again…  And it is getting old- I’m tired of not having my family theren  I’m not trying to make excuses, but it is so nice to have them there.  I also am not coaching anyone doing the race this year, didn’t travel with anyone, and it seems like I’m just alone.  Always on my own.  I know I should have more fierceness and focus on my own, but I miss the big excitement of togetherness- family, friends, etc.  I’m just alone.  I can quietly walk back to my car, put on a tee shirt, and return my chip.

5.      Overall, I think I just failed to focus.  Focus to me brings meaning, heart, passion, it isn’t tiring to me, it is exhilarating. It is my WHY.  I think by not GOING FULLY FOR IT like I usually do, I lost MEANING.  I think I physically could have done well, I WAS doing well, but I cannot do something without my heart attached.  I realized the night before, I didn’t even go over some of my “race info” meaning--- really break it down, go over my “mantras” that I had set, my intentions.  That is unlike me, unfocused, something I would never want any of the athletes I coach to do.

Finally, the final thought that I am realizing the day after:
I feel EXCITED for my upcoming races this summer….. which are shorter!!  (oly. Distance).. and maybe this was part of it also.  I usually finish Eagleman and no  matter how fit I was going in, I am essentially wrecked for 4-8 weeks after- NO speed in my legs.  I am hopeful that Eagleman this year was just a blip and I can stay excited, even MORE excited about my upcoming races.  Maybe in the end, it will be a blessing to remind me to train with heart, race only with heart, and to be honest with my mind and body always.
(this was taken before race start- thx for pic, Koen).

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The sport of my life....

I recently had an unexpected thought of former gymnastics teammates of mine.  I say teammates loosely—in the sport of gymnastics- you may be on the same team but you are essentially there for yourself it seems.  This was a competitive private gymnastics club/team and really, if you are a gymnast growing up and spending your childhood in a gym, every girls goal is to be at the top of the podium.  There is only one first place, and everyone is aiming for it.  That being said, we were always of course super close with the teammates that we practiced hours each week together with.  There is no way to not be.  These are the girls that you sit on a mat with at the beginning of practice and begin warm ups with, you hold each other’s legs to stretch, you push each other’s legs to stretch further, you push their legs down, you hold them across the vault to do back strength and ask them to spot you on some things.  You share tape, occasionally grips, beam shoes, know each other’s floor music, have seen each other fall, get hurt, be afraid, get new skills, have the best days and the worst days.  We share chalk buckets, pass down leotards, know each other’s floor routines, go to meets together, try to not eat too much together😊 We have stayed in hotels before- doing back handsprings down hallways, trying to not go into the pool the night before meets lest we become “wet noodles” incapable of keeping tight bodies, jumping on the elevators going down to get more air. 

And eventually, these are the teammates that we share our eventual dreams coming true… or in most cases, fall spectacularly short.  And the season realizing our dreams truly won’t ever happen for us, are brutal.  They come during difficult teenage years when not only are we experiencing changing bodies and experiences, we are found with a loss of identity, and new teammates “taking over our spot.”  There is only one top girl.  If you are on top, there is only one place to go if you don’t stay on top, and that is down.  That is scary.

Needless to say, you become family.  You understand frustrations at coaches who you may feel have abandoned you or let you down.  You understand frustrations at our own bodies for failing to be what we want them to be or do.  We stand next to each other while we find our places in the world.

So, even years later, it is heartbreaking to find that one is now gone.

I am unsure if gymnastics is different from other sports since it is so intensely focused during the growing adolescent years, but I talk with other former gymnasts that are now adults that seem stuck.  We are 30 and 40 year olds still doing bar routines in our mind before we fall asleep (or while asleep).  We still dream of new connections and routine ideas, we still cannot help but do handstands in places that we visit, we are adults who cannot stop leaping down the driveway after picking up the mail.  Our sport was our love and is engrained in our muscles, souls, movement and hearts.  Not only stuck continuing to walk on curbs and lines mimicking a balance beam, but stuck in some tough ways of thinking.

*stuck being a human acting as an efficient machine optimizing time management to an almost inhuman extent.  We learned this through a childhood of moving fast, and we cannot imagine doing something without a purpose/goal/intent.  We cannot imagine living without a goal.  Sometimes to a fault.

*I personally am stuck being hard on myself.  To a fault. Asking for a perfect 10 of myself, at all times, in all situations, and not knowing how to not be always reaching for the next thing, the next improvement.

*stuck with injuries….ohhhh how I have wished over the past year so many times that my back hadn’t had so  much jolting/ I hadn’t had so many falls.  My body is definitely “stuck” with some effects.

Sometimes I do wonder how to get RID of this stuck-ness that I live in, but I also am so passionate about the extraordinary benefits I received of sport during my growing years.  If you asked me what I would do differently, for the most part, I wouldn’t change a THING.  It was hard, but it was life.  Sports are life.  It was such an honor and privilege to spend my childhood doing the sport I loved.

I got to experience my greatest love, hobby, feeling in the world through my sport.  I truly was and will never forget the PHYSICAL FEELING of my sport:  flying, landing a solid jump on beam, attacking the runway on vault (when I wasn’t scared of the freaking thing), catching bars solid, swinging solid and strong. The memories of those physical sensations are priceless forever.

I have done more SINCE my gymnastics career than I ever would have had I not grown up in this sport.  I would have never known how to never ever give up.  I wouldn’t be stubborn, feisty, and all of the things that have allowed me to go through my college years as intensely as I did, worked to create my own business.  I would never have had the stubborn fortitude to adopt a child, jump through hoops for the things I believed in, and stand again when my dreams have been crushed so many times. 

I would have never learned the life lessons of:  taking risks versus playing it safe, and when to do which.  I would have never challenged myself to do the SCARIEST THING I COULD THINK OF.  I remember things that really used to scare me in gymnastics (freaking vault) but also other things/landings/ that I had to learn to overcome.  I had to learn to trust myself, to trust to let go and just try. 

I would have never known how to challenge myself physically to run and then learn to do triathlons and accept the challenge of the race distances and intensities that I’ve done.  I wouldn’t have had this inner “thing” in me that doesn’t allow me to quit.  I would have never been told that my dream wouldn’t come true and be so fired up mad that I vowed, “ohhhhhh yes it will……”  I probably never would have felt a need to prove myself (to both myself and others) so strong that I trained for and did an Ironman.

I would have never learned the beauty of coaching.  I know things that have worked and didn’t work for me, and maybe those are different from everyone.  I know it usually doesn’t work to poke a teenage girl in the stomach though and let her know that you can see that she has already eaten dinner.  I know that it does work to stand back and watch with confidence, support, joy and pride.  I know it doesn’t work when you fail and fall and disgust your own self to walk up to a coach asking you, “why did you do that” as if I wanted to bomb a routine or fall.  I know that a knowing nod of the head and hand on the back mean, “I know you know that sucked and I’m so sorry, but it doesn’t diminish you as a person or athlete.”  Those things don’t need to be spoken, they can be felt.  I know the time for constructive criticism and time for quiet support. 

But I’ve been reminded as I reminisce this past week, that I also would have never known so many beautiful friendships built with smiles, tears, chalk dust, stinky gym bags, exhausted muscles, ripped hands, hours, glory and defeat.  When you experience it ALL together, you will always be family.

*I’m so sorry Christina.  I loved you and remember you then and will always remember you.  I remember your strong legs and arms, I remember your crazy flexibility.  I remember your laugh.  I remember your power and also your softness, sensitivity and your hard times.  Your hard times coincided with my hard times and I think those last years together allowed me to see your heart and your wonderful being.  I remember always being thankful when you were at a practice the same day as me.  Those were good days, you comforted me to have someone so real around.  I remember you at meets, pulling boards for each other, sharing beams and cheering each other on.  I wish I had known you at the end.  I wish I could have maybe been that comfort for you that you had been for me.  I would have continued to cheer you and your beautiful heart on forever.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Top 5 Nutrition Bites for the New Year


Sigh. Everyone either WANTS more info on this, or they  just don’t want ANYMORE! I really frankly hate talking/writing about nutrition.  I’m not a registered dietician, so I cannot give “meal plans” etc, but also- eating is so FUNDAMENTAL and personal.  And no one wants to REALLY listen.  Because then we are held accountable slightly.

Everyone already knows both so much and so little, right?

On one hand, everyone knows how to eat well.  Everyone KNOWS how to.  It is harder to DO IT.

On the other hand, there are CONSTANTLY this that or the other diet (also known now as plans, programs etc—so don’t be fooled- a plan is still a “diet” at times….).

So, I’m going to throw out a few ideas.  AND the funniest thing- look back to anything I’ve written previously on nutrition- could be 10 years ago.  It is the SAME DAMN INFO!!  Omg. This is not rocket science, it is not hard to understand, there is not a trick that you’re just missing out on.  It is so simple, but OH SO HARD.

First:  OMG- I’ve been saying it for years – it is not something new from any company/advocare/shake companies, etc.  ::: meal prep.  You freaking must plan.  That is it.  If you do not have a meal plan for the week, I can tell you it probably won’t be really top notch healthy.  You’ll be scrambling, you’ll have snacks that you didn’t count on. You need to plan.  (again good grief, this is not a NOVEL and new thing).  Here is how I do it.  This is just one way of many, but it works for me.  Thursday nights I try to plan my meals for the following week.  Friday I check what ingredients I need that I don’t have for that plan.  Sat- Ryan shops for me- yes I am SO thankful and lucky that he does our big shopping trip!  Sunday I begin cooking/planning/putting stuff together that needs to be ready for week/washed/cut, etc.

Second.  Nutritionists have been saying it for years, I’ve tried to recommend this to frankly EVERYONE I train!  WRITE IT DOWN.  If you write down for 2 weeks everything you eat and drink, it will MAKE you eat healthier – I’d put money on it.  Either way, you’ll KNOW where you are starting/ what you really need to cut out/add in/ make changes in.  *as an aside, if it helps to SHARE that list and be held accountable for that list daily, grab a friend/ask your trainer/ someone in your workout group, etc!  Some people don’t want to be bothered to write it down (and it doesn’t need to be detailed).  Just a LIST of times/foods/approx. portions.  If you cannot be bothered to make this simplest of efforts, do not expect to miraculously end up eating better.  Sorry to be harsh, but it is going to take a smidgeon of effort.

Third:  What is the PURPOSE of the food.  Ok, again, I’ve said this FOR-EEEEEEVER.. about fitness: “what is the purpose of this workout”?  It might be VO2Max training, it might be an active recovery day, it might be hill/strength work etc, but it should have a purpose and you should be keenly aware of that purpose.  So, for FOOD:  every single thing you eat should have a purpose- what are the nutrients/fuel that you are GAINING from this!  Don’t focus on what to AVOID- focus on what it BRINGS IN—what great things it gives you to nourish and fuel your body!

Fourth:  MAKE IT NOURISHING.  Make it look great on your plate.  Look at the proportions on your plate- YES – over ½ should be veggies!  Then lean protein and whole grains take up the rest!  Make it SEASONAL!  If it is winter- do roasted winter veggies over greens with lentils and some quinoa.  Or make a nourishing seasonal soup to warm you and fill you!  Food should be nourishing which means to be FILLED with great things!  And make it fun!  Follow 1-2 food blogs that you love!  (ask me for recommendations- I follow some and even if I don’t use their meal plans, I can always even get a new great idea from a post or a picture!)

Final fifth “tidbit”:  Always think of how you are pairing your foods/ even snacks.  Every time you eat, you should be able to ask yourself 2 questions:  1. What is my fruit or vegetable? And 2.  What is my protein or calcium to pair that off with.  (for example- even a snack of an apple needs more—it needs a protein or calcium with it ---think a tbsp. of nut butter, or 2 egg whites along with it, or some crunch garbanzo beans, etc. ).

And… to those who are adamant that they cannot eat “fruit” on a diet, or fruit at a certain time of day, or a certain type of fruit.  OMG I cannot even continue talking about that silliness—show me someone who is overweight because they ate too much fruit, fruit at the “wrong time of day,” or the “wrong type of fruit.”  I cannot even.

And… one more… anyone doing a “3 day cleanse” a “10 day cleanse” ……. I cannot even… OMG WE HAVE KIDNEYS TO CLEANSE our bodies and we can EXERCISE!!  A “cleanse” is a current day term for crash diet, we are not fooling ourselves.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

2018 GOALS


So, I did my 2017 year in review earlier in the week and of course I have many many hopes and dreams for 2018.  Writer Zora Neale Hurston said, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer them.”  I love this and also believe there are always more questions that we didn’t even know we’d begin to have and always answers that we didn’t even know we were looking for.  Part of our purpose is to listen and find these questions and answers, no matter how uncomfortable they are or make us.  2017 wasn’t what I thought it would be, but I’m so glad I started it out with intentions and goals.  I am ready to learn from 2018 and energized to have a good amount of commitment to my goals!

 Ohhhh so many people say resolutions are bad- that it means that right now there is something about us we “need to change”… and that isn’t a resolution at all.  There are always things we can work on and aim to and for!  That is not bad! That is EXCITING, THRILLING, and HOPEFUL!

So yes, I have goals, specific/measurable/reaching, blah blah blah!!! Yes. Of course.

I am also doing what I have for the past few years- a “word” for the year.  I have done Joy, Love, and more.  This year, what I have realized is that I couldn’t really separate some words and they end up being actually encompassed in the letter P.

PLAY, PASSION, PURPOSE. I’m putting those words in a blender and that will be my year!

I want to feel playful frankly in everything I do!  I want each RUN to feel like child’s play- I want to bring PLAY  to my job- to people’s workouts, to classes I teach! I want to remind myself and others of the lightness and fun in our hearts and bodies!  I want to play with my family- meaning that when I am with them, I can truly be with them and play both actively and lazily!  Also, I want to PLAY in new ways- I want to try new things- I still am hoping to do a trapeze class, among other things!

PASSION: I want to live my passions daily- do the things that GIVE Me energy, I want to fuel that cycle and give even more energy out to the world in doing so.  I am passionate about LIFE, FITNESS, WELLNESS, JOY and MINDFULNESS. I’m passionate about how I spend my time and treasuring every minute with my kids.   I’m passionate about movement, outdoors, dogs, flowers, crafts, parks, porches, simplicity and quiet.   I’m passionate about breathing, moving, being near and on water and warmth, trying new things and living without regrets.  I’m passionate about my relationship with my God.

PURPOSE: I have learned to realize the present moment is all we ever really have.  I believe in having a purpose to all that I do, even things that I now see had purpose through pain (both emotional and physical).  I want to live mindfully, making my choices according to my truth and values, and sharing my life with those I love.  I am willing to go out of my comfort zone for my purpose and need to remind myself to do this without fear.

This year, I have the intentions of play/passion/purpose and of course many specific goals:

*FITNESS:  I hope to not begin my age decline yet, but priority is being smart and hoping to work to stay injury free. I signed up for EAGLEMAN again, however this is not my A or Highest priority race this year, as it usually is.  I am going to do it as a (LOOOONG) training day in the sun and heat!! while I train for my goal of being FASTER at Olympic distance races.  I am going to do MORE 10K’s this winter and sprint to keep myself honest- I am hoping to do one per month to help my training, keep me motivated- and to not “be scared” to do them even when I’m not “where I want to be”!! HOW SILLY- no one is EVER where they “want to be.”!!!!! 

I will sign up for 1-2 new races this year- ones that I’ve never done, even though of course my faves I intend to do and have already signed up for some.  Of course I have gone through  more specifics- I have times/rankings/workouts etc that I would love to achieve, but I think that would be boring to write here and I have written other places.  I also am fully committed to being open to the days as they are presented to me.  I know enough to know that my body isn’t really as I would choose it to be at this age, haha.  I have some injuries working against me, and I don’t intend to sabotage myself.  But I also don’t intend to continue (yes, I have been) being

Now, to DO THIS:

FIRST … NUTRITIONALLY.  I am already making changes.  I do this every year, and I’m actually ok with it!  I don’t eat as healthy in the fall.  I like to have a time to get off my schedule, to eat cookies, to not be strict with myself.  And then I LOVE getting back on to great food that just delivers for me… and makes me feel better and energized and fuels me like an athlete.  I cannot wait to run 10 lbs lighter again. Good grief.

I need to go back to religiously training/coaching myself just like I coach others.  This past year I didn’t do it as well because I was always “waiting” for my back to go out, or scared to commit to a workout in case I wasn’t ready for it.  My commitment will be back.

STRENGTH: I’m going to be doing this every day this year- the plan for the beginning of the year at least is: every other day hit big/small: meaning, if I do 15-20 min of “main lifting” pullups/regular/more standard strength training, etc, then the next day is all the “little stuff” which is actually of course the big stuff- this being stabilizers- single leg calf work, outer hip/inner thigh/posterior shoulders, etc. When I am doing my strength stuff, it is a natural reminder to me of play and a passion for feeling strong, working hard, and this actually helps me create and keep a cycle of motivation.

YOGA (and abs):  yoga every damn day.  Seriously.  I am just smitten in love with my yoga practice.  I’ve been doing it every day as a “requirement” of myself for a few months and have really grown to love the freedom of taking 20 minutes even to do some work on my own.

Swim/Bike/Run: I have set specific goals for my beginning “phase” of the year.  Realistic, but great motivating, specific, intensity, skill, form, fun workouts!

That was fitness, but I won’t bore you with everything:  I have too many categories, family/travel/ garden, books, continuing education, learning and living!  I have goals to learn to be still, to be a better giver, friend, mom, etc.

I want to go places—we are going to hit as many beaches this year as I can, and lakes and pool days and hikes (even if I am on my OWN….)!  I am not going to wait to make plans like I sometimes do.  I’ve already hit some reservation buttons.  I want to be outside, I want to have a list every day to feel accomplished, I want to LIVE EACH DAY so fully.  Not that I expect each day to be over the moon, but I want to delight in the days, in the simplicity, in breath, in my friends, in my work, in my heart. Play/passion/purpose.  I’m joyfully on it!

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.  – C.S. Lewis