Thursday, December 26, 2019

19 things from 2019

19 things I learned in 2019:

1.       Reminded myself to be independent by traveling alone.  That it isn’t selfish to take time and a trip to center, recharge and energize my own soul. *I started off the year planning my first year that I took a trip on my own.  Not like a 2 hour down the road trip, but a LEGIT- I WENT TO BARBADOS for 3 days trip! ALONE!  I was embarrassed that I was going to do this, felt selfish and silly.  I came back feeling that it had been NONE of those things, honestly.  I felt like it was so nourishing, rejuvenating and I needed that time and silence to search my soul for some direction.  It was perfection.  I’m going away again on a trip by myself 2020, and I still feel a little guilty, but MUCH LESS!  I’m learning!

2.     Friends you grew up with have a very special place in your life.  Long story short:  I couldn’t wait to get out of high school.  My heart was in a broken place, I felt so lonely and unloved and I needed to start over.  It’s interesting and very GOOD to my heart to be now in touch with some high school friends or reconnected.  Some were just people who I knew their name, but now I see how much I adore them!  There is something missing to some extent when you don’t know anyone who knew you as a child.  It feels somehow like the people who knew you for the first 18 years of your life really know who “you are.”

3.     It’s hard to see people leave the world who were special to you, even if you haven’t talked in years.  This was a year that some people left the world that I still cannot understand.

4.     I am at the stage that I am very aware of my “bucket list” items.   Big Sur Marathon has always topped my list of something on my bucket list, and I’ve for a few years now applied to get into it- there is a lottery system.  I FINALLY got in on the last round last fall and ran it in April 2019.  It was EVERYTHING I knew it would be… AND EVEN MORE!  I am so glad to be looking AHEAD to things I know I want and making them reality.

5.     I age.  I always thought since I look young in some ways that maybe I wouldn’t ever look too old??!!  OMG.  I really think this year- the past 2 years have been the BEGINNING.  I finally am taking care to put moisturizer around my eyes/face, I see the difference in the skin on my LEGS!!!!  And hands!  Ewwww!!!  I didn’t think I would have these changes until I was like 70??!!  And… yep, I just started wearing “reader glasses”…. I only do it when laying in bed at night reading and my kids think it is hilarious when they come in and see it.   It’s fantastic. (no pictures needed for this one, haha!)

6.     I still love to do races, even if I’m not “racing”. I had so many years where I only did races with super focused goals, totally “on spot” training that I wouldn’t know what to do if I was just going out to “do the race.”  Now that I’ve been struggling with my hip and hamstring, particularly for Big Sur (and then all my other races this summer), I am really limited in intensity.  There isn’t even a breath of hope that I would be close to my old times, and I have been able to still go out and TOTALLY enjoy the journey of the race.

7.      Reaching out is always worth it. So many times- this year and always, I questioned and hemmed and hawed (I’ve never written that out before!!??!) and went back and forth and didn’t want anything to be taken the wrong way, etc.  But I thought each time—better to risk than to NOT reach out and find out or wonder if it would have lifted someone up.  Likewise, there have been so many times where someone has contacted me, messaged me, and I was like “HOW DID YOU KNOW??!!”

8.     This year, I have been finding that contentment in life doesn’t mean I am lazy or that my ambitious former self has died or given up.  I’m learning to be more selective of where I spend my time, less fearful of not joining the race to get ahead, and more able to be present and in the moment. I enjoy my level of reaching, but also sitting on my porch in the summer; I love feeling at my most challenged physically and in life, but also spending time quiet and doing the most basic daily life with my kids and dogs.  (and sitting lazily by the side of the pool, as well as churning out lap after lap in the summer!)

9.     I appreciate spending my time with people of varying ages.  I’m so lucky in my job, in life, all aspects—I get to meet, talk to and interact with young kids (in kids yoga which is particularly meaningful to me) and my friends little’s, all the way up to an older generation.  There is so much we can learn from others.  So interesting to see  that we are all along paths, and all where we need to be.

10.  I love visiting in new places.  Even for an afternoon, I love going to new places, and seeing towns, buildings, trees, and people.  I’ve enjoyed doing a few new races this year that I haven’t done before, going to new cities and towns with the kids sports tournaments and games, and vacations.  I’ve loved going to Roanoke, VA Beach in the winter, Big Sur, new beaches and places in Florida, Charlotte, but also finding great little nooks of places in my own town and area to enjoy, new wineries, etc.

11.   Every year, the dynamics of some relationships change, and that isn’t a bad thing.  Everyone is growing, and sometimes it doesn’t fit as well as it used to. Sometimes I feel sad, worry, think, ‘what is wrong with me” that something has changed.  But, it is just natural and life.

12.   Day by day, I see myself growing more solid in my faith.  There will always be uncertainty and questions that we will never know the answers to, but it is so wonderful to be able to say, “I KNOW.”  I know my God is with me, he is FOR me, and He loves me.  (and that was from one of my favorite sermons from a few years ago from church, but I will never forget those words).

13.   Time one on one with each of my kids is a lifeline for me.  This year, I loved traveling with Phoebe alone to a few of her volleyball tournaments, getting our nails done once, walking on the beach and more.  This fall, I was SO lucky to spend time with Forrest going to a concert in the city, and he was my standby pool buddy this past summer, who would always either come with me, or meet me there if he knew I was by myself, and…..he’s always up for a mom/son date for a milk shake at Chick filA.

14.   I don’t like “stuff”.  I started the year going through, day by day with a friend and I holding each other accountable, getting rid of STUFF!  It was meant to be a month.  We continued for about 3 months.  It was awesome.  I feel now like it didn’t even make a dent.  I still do a monthly purge of what I can, but I want to keep going and do more.  Holding on to STUFF to me is a bit of fear and “gripping” and… well, holding on.

15.   I  stand by my passion for GOALS.  – sometimes goals are just INTENTION.  Many people are so set AGAINST setting new years goals and intentions, and I don’t understand that.  Everyone should be able to trust themselves with their goals and be strong to commit to themselves.  Goals don’t need to be unattainable.  There is no reason to not have a GOAL that you are working towards at all times in life.  (even if sometimes that goal is to take 2 weeks to come up with a well- defined goal for the next year or decade).

16.   Moments matter. I am learning day by day, moment by moment to let go of expectations and experience reality as it is, appreciate it for what it is, and be truly content in the moment.  I am so thankful for my yoga practice that allows me to practice finding myself able to let go of the future and the past and practice the value of just NOW.

17.   I always feel guilty that I don’t market more for my business.  If I were really good, I would be active on social media, I’d be reaching out, getting things written about Rising Sun Fitness, etc…  But I am continually reminded from so many angles that the only kind of marketing you need is an amazing product. If it’s good, people will spread the word, and I am so grateful when people have done that for me.  I also love doing it for others.  Likewise, I sometimes feel guilty because I don’t have a tri-team, a tri-club.  I sometimes take myself through unnecessary negative self-talk making myself believe that I’m not as good or not worthy.  But this year particularly has reminded me that… IN THIS actually may lie my STRENGTH and what sets me apart!  I don’t waste time on marketing when I could be actually strengthening myself as a trainer and coach.  I understand the angle of athletes not being able, willing, desiring to be on a club or team for running and triathlon, but simply pursuing it for themselves and what fits into their lives.

18. Gratitude, compassion, empathy, love.  Sometimes I feel too much of these, and it hurts so much, is so intense.  I don’t regret it one second.  This is life fully felt. *This past week, in watching one of my favorite movies “Serendipity,” the character who is an obituary writer in the movie says at the end, “The Greeks didn’t write obituaries, they asked one question when someone died, “Did he have passion?”  THIS.

19.   Rest.  I’m learning to let myself to this, and learning to try to not feel guilty when I do.  The guilt factor/ mental harassment that I give myself is the hardest part.  And I realize my body can’t benefit from the slowing down, stillness and silence when I am inside beating myself up for thinking that I am lazy.

20.  I have so much more to learn, and I intend to be fully present for that learning in 2020!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

4 weeks and I cannot run.

4 weeks to go until  my marathon, and I cannot run. 

Long story, but I went out easy the other day and my hip was 100% fine during the run and immediately after.  100%.  I then sat to do work at the computer, and one hour later, I couldn’t stand.  I rested 2 days and tried to run today, and came hobbling home.  My hip feels like mush.  Like a bone bruise?  Nothing visible, but it feels as if it is bruised on my hip bone and oblique area.

I’m upset, annoyed and confused and really disappointed.  I am hoping at this point to be able to rest and somehow have some fantastic recovery that enables me to still do it.  There is the possibility I could do just the ½ that day also.  But that isn’t really what I want to do.  But I’m okay if I have to.  I don’t want to go and not be able to run at all though.

Maybe it is my “punishment” for not being 100% grateful for even being able to go out and to run at all.  For my last marathon build up (for Big Sur in April 2019), I was so focused on just being fully present and full of fierce gratitude for being back to running.  Last week I was complaining about not enjoying it in the winter…. (which I don’t), I was just being honest, but my honesty shows me that I wasn’t focusing on the good.  Maybe that is my lesson.

Sometimes I go through a phase where I think marathons aren’t “worth it.”  They are HARD.  And, then, I’m reminded.  That is why, that is why they speak to my soul.  They refresh me, they CLEANSE ME to the BONE.  They take me to the mental and physical max, where my systems  and self talk have to find their connection, essence and survival. Not just the race- but the TRAINING, and that is part of why I’m disappointed so deeply.  I should right now be doing my biggest and final long runs that I have no idea how they would go.  But I would be learning from them.  I would be struggling in some sense- physically, mentally, and learning my lessons.  And instead, I am having to be gentle, back off (back off to ZERO), and… maybe that is my lesson. 

I don’t like it.

*I’m taking this huge trip and part of that was to do the marathon, and that makes me feel less “guilty” but also gives me the huge HIGH that I was seeking.  I love running through new places, seeing everything at GROUND LEVEL- it seems “true” and my body feels immersed and part of it fully.  I love the feeling of being physically and mentally SPENT to the CORE/BONES, and that will make the BEACH TIME, water, sand on my legs even BETTER! 

*Doing this type of thing is my bucket list type way of living.  I feel like if I work hard for a full year, I can do this for myself.  And I need to mentally.  Sometimes I’m less lonely when I’m actually all alone.  I want to LIVE and meet people and see and soak it in fully without distraction or expectations.  I don’t want my hip to get in the way.  Plus, I Need to be able to walk while I’m there, not renting a car, and walking everywhere I go. 

*I will be smart daily, and I AM icing, taking off, moving smart and praying.  I’d really love if you would say a lil prayer for my hip. Thank you.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Charlotte 1/2 marathon

CHARLOTTE ½ marathon.

(November 2019)

I went into this race excited, a bit nervous, but feeling very ready.   This wasn’t a “goal race” at all, but a good stepping stone for a marathon in 7 weeks.  I had been doing weekly long runs up until the race, with my last one being 19 miles, and feeling really very good in these long runs.  I had some solid intervals, particularly in the 2 weeks leading up to the race that I felt good about:  a track workout of ½’s and ¾’s (although admittedly, that did leave my legs feeling really challenged…. But that is as it should- it is a track workout afterall), mile repeats, ¼’s and also 2x 3-4 mile tempo progressions.  I have been doing tons of hip/glute/hamstring/stability training since September and I know I am stronger and continue with daily core work.  My mileage was weekly around 40-46 miles/week.  (1 week was 50).  Also, my nutrition was really what I consider spot on.  I have been eating really super healthy, in fact haven’t even had cravings, and the week before (looking back) I almost wonder if I didn’t eat enough, or enough carbs- I basically saved carbs for just the night before the race, and actually the dinner two nights before also….  I was just otherwise obsessed with salads with roasted squash/mushrooms on it lately for some reason.

Anyway:  I got to the race start early, it was windy, cold-ish but not as cold as I had feared it might be!!  I was so thankful that it was 40 rather than 32 that I felt FINE!  I warmed up jogging around about a mile super easy to just kind of get myself on my feet and warm, then there was a nice dead end street right by the start that I used to do my approx. 50 m builds.  I felt good and legs felt fine and good!  I was ready and kept bouncing around until start.  I had a throwaway sweatshirt so I stayed warm until race and then I was good to go.

Here were my race splits:

6:57, 6:53, 7:16, 6:55, 7:34, 7:11, 7:36, 7:34, 8:41 (stopped to go to the bathroom), 7:52, 8:28, 7:48, 8:42 (stopped to pet a freaking chocolate lab puppy), 1:38 last .2.

Total 1:41:11, average 7:40.

Ugh. I haven’t been over 1:40 in a long time.  My ave heart rate for race was 152, which is fine for me, (and I could frankly care less about heart rate- I do not track in training or races, I just happened to see this when I got my splits).  My breathing was FINE the entire race.  The problem was TOTALLY MY LEGS.  First 2 miles felt fine- just warming up and annoying because it was so crowded and so many potholes and I was worried about tripping/not seeing a pothole.  Then it spread out.  I think that is when I noticed I didn’t have any “juice” or “oomph” in legs….  Even running solid pace felt just heavy, low, and flat. Through mile 4-5 I was still thinking, hmmmm maybe I’m still warming up???  And then it became clear, no they are not warming up at all, they are like feeling DONE TODAY?  I passed the 6 mile mark, didn’t stop to go to the bathroom and soon after thought maybe that was a mistake, but I was like, please hang on until 8 and please let there be a bathroom there.  Mid mile 7, some guy came next to me and told me I was doing awesome and he had been trying to catch me.  I was surprised because I was thinking, this doesn’t’ FEEL GOOD AT ALL.  After stopping at mile 8 to go to the bathroom I tried to get my head back on, thinking, okay, now maybe I will feel better and more like myself.  But legs didn’t really feel that at all… it was more heaviness.  My times weren’t terrible (other than the miles I stopped to go the bathroom), but it was just  the feeling I had in my body.   At mile 10, I really felt TERRIBLE, in fact.  I reminded myself of a 3 mile loop at home and thought, okay, you are doing this loop now, so just follow that in your head.  Hills never felt really hard/extreme/or looked to me like it was too challenging…. I think they were more kind of rolling hills- so maybe that was part of it- maybe I am more used to hills that are shorter/steeper in VA and these were more “sneaky” hills that were just longer  inclines?  These miles I was also really feeling the wind- in fact 2 times it blew debris into my eyes it was so strong and I had to try to get it out because there were like little particles in my eyes.  Mile 11 we passed this restaurant I had been eyeing up and wanting to go to called “Flower Child” – it gave me a little bit of a boost because it was the CUTEST THING EVER- little flower designs drawn on the outside- totally unique and kind of boho style, a cute little outdoor seating area with lights and flowers!! So, I tried to kind of use that energy to keep me going, but I still just FELT MISERABLE in my legs and was starting to feel miserable in  my BODY--- not my breathing  or heart rate, but just like my shoulders and neck and head were even heavy and tired.  I tried for miles 10 and 11 to really get into the intention of “acceptance.”  I had done this as a “theme” in yoga the previous week—reminding myself to accept whatever my feelings were and not take more energy to FIGHT the SUCK.  Just feel the suck and accept it.  It did help for a bit.  Got to mile 12, we turned a corner and I felt like 9.3 or 9.4/10 terrible.  Maybe I didn’t even know if I could literally go another MILE- which was pissing me off because I’m thinking- this is not even ½ of what I need to run in 7 weeks, how is this feeling so hard????  And I saw a chocolate lab puppy- some guy holding him on the side like a baby in his arms.  I just stopped and walked and asked if I could pet his puppy.  I was so tired I just wanted to hide with the puppy forever.  (he was 8 weeks old  and his name was Bennett) but I had to go back to the race, otherwise I would look strange.  So, I plodded freaking along just trying to MAKE IT.  (plus I had to go to the bathroom again)…. It was literally step by step at this point.  So odd to me.  I couldn’t even look up.  The last ½ mile I just was laser focused because I didn’t want to stop again, I just knew I needed everything to get me to that finish line, ugh.  I saw the time over the finish and I was like, holy cow, I haven’t been in 1:40’s for a half in years….. (then also thinking, you freaking STOPPED TO PET A PUPPY SHARON!)

Anyway… moving on….  My legs interestingly weren’t sore at all.  Actually my right calf was.  It ends up that I was 4th in my “age group” so obviously not a TERRIBLE race, it was just how I felt.

Some thoughts:

*my calves were kind of bugging me also- maybe I needed to have worn calf sleeves because of the hills??  Although I don’t want to rely on those.  And plus I had long pants on, so I didn’t want to have two layers on my legs.

*my legs – why were they so fatigued.  I don’t know if I had done too much legs/too many classes the week of the race?  Traveling in a car 6 hours the day before?  I didn’t do legs up the wall the night before, I should have.  Have I not done enough plyometrics… that is a possibility- I have maybe eased off plyometrics subconsciously because I’ve been doing so much stability stuff and not wanting to bother my hamstring/hip, but maybe that has not been good. 

*hills—I haven’t been doing too many hill repeats focused on fast running up, so that could be partially why my legs felt like this was hard, although many of my long runs included very hilly routes just by the nature of being in reston.  My marathon in 7 weeks will be flat, so I have been not focused on doing extra hills since that is my real goal.

*nutrition- I was feeling good because many times in the week leading up to a race I end up OVER eating and this was not the case this week.  Maybe however, I didn’t get enough carbs?  It was also a super busy week, so maybe I needed a downtime to get my mind and body quiet for a little bit more.  I was go go go with family stuff, work stuff, every single thing (stressful tryout weekend the week before) (stressful freaking everything and lots of annoyances to be honest).  I also forgot to buy a banana the night before and I’m used to having a few bites of a banana.  I had a few bites of a honey stinger waffle in the morning, but…. Just a reminder to not forget the banana when I’m at marathon.

*maybe I was too focused on just getting away, rather than the racing part of it…. Which is fine too.  I freaking love going away.

I’m 100% glad I did the race.   After the first 3 miles, it was BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL- I loved about 6 miles of it where we went through these streets of CRAZY beautiful houses  and large grassy yards and roads lined with huge towering trees.  It reminded me of some neighborhoods in Richmond, and I totally loved seeing the unique houses.  I would love to drive or walk through those roads again.  It was so peaceful and it seemed southern.

It also reminded me of doing new races- some of the races I love, I have now done freaking FOREVER!!!  And my body is so used to them, my mind is so used to them, and it makes it so much easier to do when you KNOW exactly what is coming up after a certain turn in the road.   I am doing a new marathon in January 2020, a new marathon in the fall 2020…. I don’t have any new tri’s scheduled, so maybe I should also look to this to “surprise my body and mind.”

Overall, the race was  important to the goal of using it as a TRAINING TOOL for my January marathon and to make me question some of the things I am doing and not doing in training for myself, and to re-evalutae some aspects of my training plan.  I’ll be under 1:40 next time😊!!  No more petting puppies during the race!
(above is me.... just glad I made it... and thankful for those port o pots at the end!!! as always!!.... the life of a runner)....

Saturday, August 17, 2019

On Coaching......

On Coaching… finding a coach, being a coach, being coachable!

I love coaching people for fitness and races.  I’ve been coaching since I’ve been personal training, which is since 1999.  (oh my gosh, I just realized this has been 20 years now).  There is so much I love about coaching because I have the opportunity to see the growth, the struggles, adaptations, progress, journey and the joy of success.  Coaching is ALWAYS a blend of science and a bit of art, a bit of matching the science with the person, and discovering along the way.

I obviously am biased…. But I do honestly have moments of disbelief and questioning, “Why would someone NOT have a coach?”  I understand--- it is a cost, it is a luxury.  But, I also realize that for a goal that means BIG THINGS to you (as GOALS should!!), it is amazingly helpful.

A few things I’ve learned over the years:


---------Reach out and ASK.  Coaches are usually busy coaching and doing what they do, and they are COACHES.  They are not marketing specialists.  My point is:  reach out and tell them what you are hoping to achieve, ask how they can help you, etc.  This is the start of the relationship/conversation that needs to happen, so make it happen.

-------Speaking of:  the conversation should be two sided—ask them things that will let you know if this is a coach that will be right for you.  Let the coach know YOUR expectations of what you are looking for and need.  The potential coach should have many questions for you also.  If they are not asking about your goals (big dreams and smaller benchmarks)/background/history in the sport, injury history, etc….  ) they SHOULD BE!  And the coach should have expectations of YOU as well!

-----Do you want to have a coach that is local and to do in person coaching?  Or are you looking for online coaching, where your coach can be far away from you, but still create plans for you based on communication of results, training session updates, etc.  If you are wanting someone local to do in person coaching, this is usually to see your form or work with you in some capacity on strength as it applies to your sport, form with your sport, OR the motivation to get the hard training done.  Sometimes they will offer group coaching so you can split the hourly cost.  If you are looking to have a coach give you a plan for progressing your speed, fitness, endurance, as long as you are both great at communicating, you can be across the world, frankly.  I coached 2 athletes while they were living in Japan, someone in Saudi Arabia, in California and also Washington state. (and I am in virginia).


------ouch, this is a big one.  It is hard.  I have learned over time that sometimes people are not quite reach to have a coach.  Let me explain.  To be coachable, you have to be able to BE OPEN.  If you are seeking out a coach, it means that you are open to their ideas of progress.  You can of course ask them questions (and as coaches, this is a DELIGHT when people do ask!!!!), but if you are doubting your coach’s plan for you without talking to them about it and voicing your concerns, this lack of positive open-ness and trust WILL play out later (and not in the way you would like!).  You have to be open to receive instruction in ways that maybe you wouldn’t give to yourself.  This is sometimes the whole essence of coaching for people—for example, sometimes people know that they simply will not do something without being told to by their coach and accountable to that coach.  On the flip side, others will sometimes think/doubt/second guess the plan and “change it” to what they think is really the best thing for them, and….. well, again… don’t blame the coach when results don’t happen when you do this!   An example is this:  As a coach, I always flat out tell athletes that when creating a training program, I often ask myself, “what is the hardest training set that I can think of for this person to do before this race or big goal.”  From that, maybe I come up with a plan- for example a brick workout (bike/run combination) that is a 30 mile bike/10 mile run.  (this is just example). I may specifiy that I want the 30 mile bike to be a 5 mile warm up into 3x 5 mile segments all out with 5 miles light recovery.  Immediately into the 10 mile run as 2 miles transition, then each 2 miles build pace. 

Athlete A thinks: perfect- this is what I need, and there is no way I would have attempted this unless Coach told me to.  This athlete goes and gives it what they can.

Athlete B thinks:  really?  I’ve never done this before.  I’ve heard/read that you shouldn’t do anything longer than 1 hour running after a bike for training.  My last coach never gave me this workout to do.  This athlete goes out and… not quite believing fully in the workout…. Does the bike but then does half the run because … of reasons above and wanting to “not overdo” training during the run, thinking, well if I can do 5 or 6 of these miles, then certainly I can do 4 more…. (NOT). 

I’ve seen both of these things happen.  Enough said.  One coachable.  One not.  Believe in yourself, BELIEVE ALSO IN YOUR COACH!!, take risks, commit to the work.

From the persepective of… “BEING A COACH”:

*Please send us results.  Let us do our job WELL!!!!!  Results are MORE THAN:  “I did Mondays workout.”  That tells me not much.   It doesn’t tell me what was easy/hard, how it felt, where you struggled, what you felt after, and on and on….  The MORE you tell me as your coach, the more I can help you!

*Develop yourself as an athlete by following the ENTIRE plan:  strength, endurance, mental training, core, stretching, nutrition, sleep, etc. 

As coaches, we know things come up, life happens, sickness happens, family events come up,  (and I can have you train WITH your family!!)

and we will see your commitment through these things.  Adjustments can be made for work travel, and GOALS CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED if you truly do want what you say you want😊 bad enough!


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

One year later....

One year later…..

A year ago, I walked off the course of one of my favorite “A” races and DNF’d..  Eagleman is always an A race for me because it is my top priority, usually.  I train diligently, through the winter, on the treadmill, getting my butt to the pool when it is cold outside, and generally committing myself to doing the best I can at this one race.

In 2018, I was having a very good race, but just lost my heart to care.  It was a very odd year of training, you can read about here, but I just generally was lethargic, flat affect/ feeling quite depressed, and this race was the pinnacle of…. I just don’t have my heart anymore.  I don’t have a fire.  And there was nothing about finishing the last 10 miles of the run that seemed appealing to me.  You cannot finish a race like this without the heart.  I knew it was time to take off.

I also had been struggling with a huge conglomeration of hip injuries through the summer of 2018 while I was focusing on doing Olympic distance triathlons and in August, I was officially DONE.  I was sedentary (not joking) through November.  I couldn’t even walk the dogs without pain.  I frankly couldn’t SIT without pain.  I was so lucky to have a new goal to work towards with getting into Big Sur marathon, and even luckier to make it through the training with my hamstring and hip working decently! 

A month ago, I drove my daughter to a volleyball tournament in Maryland and we had to drive through Cambridge, EAGLEMAN LOCATION!  Ohhhhh I was feeling all the feels and was beginning to get the JEALOUS feeling for some of the people who were going to be in the race!!!  This is my race, I love this race, I’ve done it for so long!!!  I liked the little jealous feeling because it showed maybe I’m getting some desire back??  And with the proximity to the race nearing even further and hearing more about the race, I kept that edgy feeling of being EXCITED for….. maybe next year????  Maybe?? 

Then, the day of race came, and could it BE????  It was not going to be 98 degrees in Cambridge MD?!  How can Eagleman even be held when it is not 98 degrees!!  OHhhh I was a bit jealous again!!!! Wondering how I could do in this race without the oppressive heat (which I also kinda love a bit!)… And then… the SWIM was cancelled! I thought- WHY AM I NOT THERE!!?!?!  But then….. I realized, it is cold and windy and rainy… and I have ZERO DESIRE to be out there in cold and rain.  So, I was happy with this that I was NOT in Eagleman this year.

However, this also made me realize that I have much more “soul searching” to do. 

In the past, it wouldn’t have mattered 98 degrees or 58 degrees….. it wouldn’t have mattered, sun, clouds, wind, rain…. I was focused and determined and my MIND was unstoppable.  Regardless of degrees, wind direction, the skies.  Those were irrelevant factors.  And I realize now- I am still not ready.  This is not how I train and race.  I don’t invest my everything when it ends up being conditional upon the weather forecast.  I know better, and as an athlete, that is not who I am

Of course, soul searching leads to more questions than answers.

Do I need more time away from Eagleman?  Do I need to have maybe that edge of “fear” of a new race I haven’t conquered, similar to Big Sur Marathon, which I definitely had some doubts about going back to marathon distance for…. And I LOVED it, I loved the pride of finishing what I was really only HOPING to do!  Maybe another location for ½ IM distance instead of Eagleman?

Do I not love the sport anymore? I do, and I know I do- I love the races, but I also love love love love love the training….. maybe I am loving the training more than the racing and the focus on results.

Maybe I need to learn to race without being result oriented.  One month ago, in Big Sur marathon, I literally had no result goal other than to finish.  FOR REAL.  I wasn’t even lying when I said that!  And it was actually really nice.  I’m not used to not focusing on just being moderate in my intentions, and maybe this is something to practice more of in the future.

Or, do I need to just find WITHIN this new mentality of triathlons maybe not being such a top priority, a way to do them and find WITHIN this “relative softness” of mind, a firm focus that I will commit to the goal at a different “level of mindset”?? 

It has been many years since triathlon was my fierce focus (ummmm, hello KIDS in my life!!).  And I love and fully accept my ……… ummmm… aging self…I am happy with the new balance that I feel in the things I love spending my time on, including taking some time to relax!

But, I don’t want to be “done.”  And I am not.  I’m one year out, much further along than I was last year, but still not completely clear of where I am headed.  And that is okay.  We will see.  Maybe learning a bit of moderation is coming soon.
2015 race

2012 morning
 2014 race

Saturday, June 1, 2019

No reason not to practice.

No reason to not practice…

I was an unlikely yoga student.  19 years old, in college, completely type AAAAA and knowing I was not where I wanted to be mentally, I signed up for a yoga class series.  I went to only one out of 8 classes.  I found it horrible to be learning different types of nostril breathing and it just was not a good start.  I may also not have been ready and willing to accept the practice that it would take to change some of my patterns.  It was a huge deal that I PAID for a class that I did not continue with.  I do not do that type of thing.

THANKFULLY!!!, 25 years later, and 18 years of practicing yoga, I can positively say that yoga has changed my life. I don’t say this to mean that I have reached zen or nirvana (have you SEEN me lately!!!), but I am firmly within the work I need to be doing.  That means I am practicing.  I am not a perfect yogi, physically or mentally.  I get injured, and I still and will always be a work in progress of clearing my mind, being okay with what is, and being patient with myself and others. But I am in the middle of this work, fully immersed, bringing my practice into my days.

Why am I writing about this?  Because I simply see so clearly and completely how much it could improve others’ lives, but not everyone is willing to take the step.  To step in and practice without being perfect. The step to begin. To begin, even in a horrible place with one’s mind reeling over past or current struggles.  It pains me when I see people putting off something that could help them.  Maybe not today, this week, this month, but over the course of practice, nothing will improve without beginning.  I sometimes try to share that sentiment, but I also can get a general feeling of when someone is not open to suggestions, when their mind is already made up that they are too far off balance to even be helped (in their opinion).

I work with people struggling physically with injuries, chronic tightness and physical ailments that could be completely improved (I’m not saying completely FIXED/ never to return)… but yes, improved and the severity of daily pain lessened with even a 1-2x/week practice.  Tight hips lead to knee and foot problems, back problems and more.  Tight hamstrings lead to ineffective and painful running over time.  Tight muscles make it painful to go from stand to sit in our daily lives, to turn in our cars to look backwards when going in reverse.  Tight hips lead to neck and shoulder tightness which hurts, is distracting, always on your mind that you just don’t FEEL GREAT.  It is so frustrating to me when I suggest something that has only the potential to help, and people will reject the idea of trying…. “because they aren’t flexible.”  Duh.  I know….  That is why I am suggesting it.

And furthermore…. We are adults. So what if you are not flexible and cannot balance?  That is fine!  We have modifications obviously, and a wall to hold onto for balance!  We are not trying to be perfect, this is talking about a once/week yoga class, not registering for the Olympic trials.  Do we need to be good at things to begin?  Is this what we ask of our kids- no- so why would we consider asking ourselves to only do things that we already excel in.   It drives me bananas. (and see…… I need to “let this go”- let go of my desire to control and make things happen and just LET them happen…. And it is good of me to recognize this as the ideal, but I still feel frustration….. again…. I am not buddha, I am me, in my practice, evolving and learning).

I know many who struggle with anxiety, depression and more….. as do I.  I know the seriousness and implications of mental health, and you could even say it is a major reason why I got into fitness in the first place.  I often hear some people say that they cannot do yoga because they cannot quiet their mind.   They would be sitting there with their thoughts racing, etc.  But, how would you learn to quiet your mind without practicing the skill? The only way to BEGIN noticing your patterns of thoughts, to begin to slow the mind, is to work to slow it for one moment.  And then maybe a few breaths.  And then this goes through your days and you notice yourself more.  You notice being centered and you notice when you are not.  You learn to control your reactions, to let things be, to release expectations, of others and yourself.  Obviously, this is not in a week.  Quite frankly, we are never done with this lesson, which is why we continue the practice.  There is no perfect in yoga, as there is no perfect in life.  But we can work on things that we want to work on!

In so many ways, yoga has fundamentally changed my life.

*I continue to be amazed how within the first 30-60 seconds of sitting and breathing on my mat, I feel the change within:  I feel the change within, the streaming of softness through my bloodstream and the change of everything flowing within.  I realize I am ok, ok in so many ways.

*Yoga is my first experience in not sucking in my stomach.  I sucked in my stomach from age 7 until probably 25!!  I learned to let my belly be soft and move with breath, thus calming my nervous system.  What a life change!  It amazes me daily the power of inhaling and being okay with my stomach rising. To me, that is finally acceptance of myself.

*Yoga isn’t always full effort.  It is okay to find ease.  It is more than okay.  It is the path that we seek to listen inwards to what we need and how our body speaks to us.  Some days are days for challenge and some days, we are better off doing a less challenging practice.

*Yoga on the other hand, is finding ease in challenge.  I love applying this to performance in endurance sports.  In coaching others and myself, it is profound to be able to push our bodies so intensely, but at the same time, learn how to be okay with that.  To relax the things that you can relax.  To only focus on the immediate now and breath. 

*Yoga is acceptance of just now.  Not waiting, not reaching, just simply breathing. How nourishing.

Sunday, May 5, 2019


BIG SUR 2019

What an event.  Where do I start? Ohhhh my number 1 Bucket list race (and oh yes, I do have more!)

I am so thankful that I got into the lottery so that I could do this race this year.  I loved training for it, accumulating so many miles, so many THANKFUL MILES—thankful that I could RUN AGAIN After my hip/hamstring injury.  Our trip started out wonderfully- it was so beautiful there, and I was just so amazed to see the sights.  My senses were on overdrive for our 4 days there.  Truly amazing.  Our first full day there, we did a bunch of hikes down by Big Sur area, went to the beach at Carmel by the Sea, walked up the big sand hills.  Such an active day that I ended up a bit sore from the hikes the next day!  I never ended up mentioning that to Ryan because I felt kind of stupid that I had maybe overdone it, but I wouldn’t have changed it in any way because WE WERE THERE! Nothing would stop me from doing our full trip!  The day before the race, the hikes we did were much less elevation gain/ easier on ankles, and I told Ryan that at about 1:30 I should really take some time off of my feet, so we went to a wine tasting!  It was right in the city of Monterey and was so fun and nice and relaxing and different- my mind was totally off of running for this time, and that was good!

We had dinner that night and then just went back to the hotel, I had everything lined up for the morning, food, waters, bag of clothes for afterwards, etc. I did legs up the wall for about 30 minutes while reading and then also did “cupping”.  I did this for about 20-25 minutes on my quads and IT band and I have to wonder now if that really did give my legs some benefit/ boost the next day.   Basically cupping is using these suction cups to work into the fascia and bring blood flow to the surface of the muscle and fascia.  It felt good and my legs did feel good the following morning.  (maybe it was the wine flight though?! Haha).

Race morning:

It was early. OMG, I had to wake up at 3:15, had to be at the bus stop in the center of Monterey at 4.  It was a LONG bus ride there.  The 26 miles from Carmel down to Big Sur goes so fast when you are in the middle of the day and have miraculous beauty on both sides of the road to be absorbed in.  But in the pitch black, I just kept thinking… this is REEEEAAAAAALY long!

I got in line for port a pots immediately.  Couldn’t really go.  Ate a banana along with my coffee that I had from the hotel.  It wasn’t as cold as it could have been, so I was so thankful for that! I had my shorts/shirt/arm warmers under long throwaway pants, a long sleeve shirt and another long sleeve shirt that I had planned to throw (both of them) away at the start line.  (they normally donate those clothes).

It really wasn’t a super long wait and that was good.  Waiting is the worst.  It always is- the hardest – the waiting for workouts, for hard track intervals, ughhh get it over and BEGIN! 

Anyway:  it was so exciting at the race line up. I was in Wave 1- predicted under 4 hour time.  I had placed myself there on registration only because all of my previous marathons have been.  HOWEVER.  For this marathon—oh my gosh, I had told Ryan it would be very possible that I may not be coming in until 5 hours?  I had no idea what would happen and I didn’t want to be out there on the course and feel guilty.  I thought it is highly possible that I will have to walk the final 4 miles?  Anyway.  I was in wave #1, we began at 6:45AM- perfect time to begin, with a perfect SONG at the beginning:  the gun went off and “CHARIOTS OF FIRE” started playing.  I loved it!  It was so perfect with the location.  The beginning in Big Sur was wooded, beautiful big trees, etc.   I was so happy.  I was smiling completely- I probably looked like a clown, but I was so happy.  I knew how lucky I was- it would have been so easy for me to not be there- I just got lucky- both with the lottery and with my hip getting better.

The first 5 miles were a net downhill.  It was a perfect beginning.  I would rather finish the final 5 miles uphill than the first 5 miles uphill. The beginning of the run is always the hardest, so the downhill was very welcomed! It literally felt so easy.  My breathing never got hard in that first 5 miles.  It was awesome.  I was totally relaxed, holding a very smart pace.  Within 1 mile, I kind of wanted to already throw my one long sleeve shirt that I was still wearing away, BUT: California and this race particularly were so noticeably environmentally aware that I didn’t want to get “in trouble” by throwing it to the side of the road.  At Mile 1, I saw some people had a few shirts in a pile and so I pulled it off and threw it.  It wasn’t cold and I was already beginning to sweat. 

I continued to be surprised by feeling so great and really at ease, my pace being strong, but knowing I was going downhill.  The scenery was the rustic part of the race with trees, redwoods, cabins, the river on the side of the road, etc.

The 2nd 5 miles of the race I ended up considering to be my 5 mile “hill warm up”.  On the course elevation map, the hills on this 5 mile section were like little blips.  When they didn’t really FEEL like little blips, I got a bit worried thinking, what is the hill from mile 10-13 going to feel like?  But I just reminded myself to not think about the future and to just stay present with my body, doing the next steps and having focus.  I was telling myself to stay calm and I would deal with the hill when it came.  The miles continued to go well, although my stomach didn’t.  Within these 5 miles, I had 2 port a pot stops.  Good grief.  Luckily, they were efficient and I was probably out within 40-50 seconds.  Boom and run!!!!

I was running near the 3:40 pace group for much of the first 10 miles. I was slightly worried because I knew this was too fast for my finishing time, but I felt “appropriate” in my intensity and I went with how I know I should be working.  I felt a combination of worried, but also happy that I was still around that pace group.

Mile 10: This was the beginning of the 3 mile climb to “hurricane point”. Everyone was talking about it.  All conversation quieted down as the hill began.  No talking.  It was steep.  It’s ok, I trained hills over and over and over and up and down and up and down and 3 miles nonstop uphill on the treadmill as practice.  ½ mile in.  This is VERY STEEP.  The TAIKO drummers were there, which I previously have LOVED in a race.  The drums just rumble through your stomach and gives you this intense beat that vibrates through your being.  This time, however, it didn’t feel as magnificent and I was surprised, but I had too much to concentrate on to dwell on it, so  I just reminded myself to go ahead, continue.  1 mile in.  I was thinking that there has GOT to be maybe 20 feet where it levels out, right?  Should I walk?  No. There will be a place of leveling out.  I kept telling myself to continue around the next corner, and to look LEFT at the ocean!   1.5 miles, no leveling out, but a PORT a POT.  OK, well great, here I go again I quick went in, got my business done and back out quickly uphill. It felt BETTER- like I had had a good “break” from the hill while in the bathroom!  When I came out, I think that may have been the last time I saw the 3:40 pace group.  The 2nd half of  the hill was definitely less steep, but still felt 9/10 hard.  It frankly SUCKED BAD.  It may have been 9.5/10 bad.  When I hated it, I just said, “look left” and there was the big beautiful pacific.  Calm, peaceful, beautiful.  It reminded myself to stay calm, step by step.  That was all. Super simple.  I tried to not allow it to be too big in my head.  No drama.  Continue on.  I MADE IT.  No stopping and we crested and what a GLORIOUS  1 mile downhill afterwards!

At the bottom of this hill was the famous Bixby Bridge.  We had stopped to take pictures of it two days before and it is just an awesome sight.  It was super neat to run over, I was looking around just literally soaking it in.  So, it was kind of like I was half focused, but “allowing” myself some freedom to also be open to seeing the big picture.  At the end of the bridge was the iconic grand piano playing of Michael Martinez.  I had heard about this tradition and kind of judgily thought…. Grand piano playing???  Middle of a marathon??? Ummmm, no send in more drummers!!  BUT. I LEARNED.  It was perfection…… literally it was like the peacefulness of the ocean, air, mountains, land were being played out in music.  The peacefulness was just the essence of this race.  It was a pure highlight.

So, I had mentally divided my race into 1-5 warm up miles, 5-10 warm up hill miles, 10-13 hill, 13-14 recover with downhill.  14 miles I knew I was coming into a critical time.  NEED TO FUEL.  I think I had messed up some training runs by not fueling well, or early enough.  I made a commitment to have a block/honey stinger at each mile.  And to keep drinking my water that I was carrying.  This was a rather flat portion and I was so so so so so thankful for that! Flat felt so so nice after that hill!  I kept at what FELT a decent pace, and was happily surprised when the miles came and my GPS/watch beeped and I saw that my pace was in fact holding quite steady and strong!

I planned to go from mile 14-17/18 having a block each mile, drinking water and having that be a “segment” that I was focused on fueling.  At mile 17, I took a run gum piece that I was carrying and told myself that I could use that for 2 mile- it has caffeine, was cinnamon and I was hoping it would help my stomach stay calm because it had since approx. mile 13!  So, I enjoyed chomping on my run gum for 2 miles.

I felt great at mile 19 (great meaning…. I was continuing and not slowing down, mentally still connected and strong, not overwhelmed, not giving up, and still HAPPY!  On the flip side of this, I was very aware that my legs were getting quite tired, I felt a few times that my hamstrings and hip were so fatigued and on some of the hills, I thought that it could be any step that would send my hip over the edge back to massive pain where I had once been.  Luckily, that never ended up being the case.)  At this point, I spit out my run gum and went back to blocks and water.  I was drinking my own water, but also there were aid stations every 2.5 miles approximately, so I would also usually get a cup of water from the aid station and take a few sips from that.   I was really nervous to UNDER-fuel. I knew there were 3 hills that were predicted to be quite big from 20-25 miles and I kept myself mentally prepared.  They obviously weren’t as bad as the 3  mile uphill, so I knew I could manage.  I just mentally told myself to take it one hill at a time.  They were hard, my legs were tired, but I was committed and continued step by step.  I didn’t speak nastily to myself when I had to slow down, I just kept my confidence and motivation and took it strong, tall running, focusing on form, and made it up step by step.  There began to be more people lining the sides of the course.  There were bands- a middle school band, a harp player, a banjo.  And there was the view.  It was amazing.  What a beautiful earth we live on.  What a privilege we have to be on this earth, see these things, use our bodies to our potential.

I felt just LUCKY at this point to be a witness to this opportunity.

Hill by hill, I was making it.  Each downhill, I felt more excitement building as I knew I could do it at this point.  I knew I had felt so much worse in training.  It was not easy, but I was still at the point I could keep decent pace, keep form.  There were some times where my hips/hamstring would scream with the hills and I thought, here is the end.  One wrong step and I may pull something and it is over, so I was also being careful.

Mile 24 came and it was the strawberry station.  There was a group of kids handing out strawberries.  Of course I never TRAIN with strawberries, but I remember doing Boston marathon when people were handing out orange slices, they were SOOO good, so I decided to go to the side and get some.  The kid I was aiming for was kind of in a daydream, and I felt a slight annoyance that he wasn’t going quick and I didn’t want to have to slow to a stand to get my strawberries.  I had my hands out like I was going up for a wafer at communion and he got 2 strawberries in my palms.  I took a small bite of strawberry and HEAVEN.  Just the perfect sweetness. I KNEW this could get me to the end.  It would have been so easy to pop the whole strawberry into my mouth and gobble it, but I knew how good it was and I wanted to save it.  So I went about .2 miles further before taking another little nibble of the strawberry.  I only had 2 berries and I didn’t want them to be gone too soon. I tried to save them as long as I could.  Maybe ever 1.5 minutes I’d have a teeny bite.  I was worried they’d start smooshing in my fingers.  I was holding them delicately one in each hand.  They took me really until the last mile.  When they were gone, my hands were free and I knew I could make it to the end.  26 miles came and I was elated.  I of course was way fatigued, legs tired and heavy, but it was a dream come true.  Two tenths of a mile left and I was so so so happy, I could hear the crowds, I began looking for Ryan.  I didn’t see him, I kept looking along the way, making sure also to not miss anything and do something stupid like trip on something when my legs could barely hold me.  But I finally saw him and called his name (shouldn’t it have been the opposite way!!!) Anyway, I was so thrilled, I wanted to cry.  I crossed the finish immediately after I saw him and I couldn’t believe that 26.2 was already done!

Finish time = 3:45:53

In the finishers area, I met up with Ryan and we walked around to keep my legs moving and beginning recovery.  Ryan had brought me a diet coke, which is my favorite thing after a race.  They had minestrone soup, which I think was so helpful to me- broth/some salt/ and veggies.   I went for a 2nd cup, I changed into dry clothes and we didn’t really hang around there at all because I didn’t want to get cold, which kills my recovery after races.  I showered at the hotel and we walked right away to the harbor area in Monterey, sat on a bench and ate something, walked back and it was then 1:00 when Highway 1 was set to reopen.  So, we got into the car to drive back down to Big Sur.  We sat in an Adirondack chair in the Big Sur river- put our feet in the frozen water- so maybe that was a bit helpful for recovery as well?!  It was PERFECTION!

Mile splits (for my future reference, I know this is not very interesting to many)!



8:36 (first bathroom stop)



10:48 (2nd bathroom stop plus first mile of big climb)

8:57 (another big climb)



9:37 (another bathroom)









9:51 (final bathroom)



7:32 pace to end.