The Missing Pieces

All these thoughts are swirling. I just can’t type fast enough. This one is probably going to come out all crazy like. Who cares!

Dirks email tonight summed it up:

Haha, it’s called a revelation or big jump. That’s what we worked for so hard and long. Yes. Awesome.

Oh gosh where to start? I had a jump, a revelation tonight, it was amazing. I shed tears. Okay, not really tears, it was more of a laugh/shudder/bending over/shaking head/looking to sky/arms raised sort of situation. It was awesome.

I knew it, I floated home, I literally levitated while running home, pure air.

Surrender and Joy. That’s it. That’s the missing pieces. Surrender to the work and love every minute of it. Through all the trials this year the work never changed. Dirk always remained constant and determined in his plan. He was rigid.

It’s a learning point for me as a coach. You have to see your athletes and understand them, but your process has to remain steady. There are times when they will blunder the best laid plans, you have to keep the course as a coach, and hope that your athletes will keep progressing towards all you know they can be. But steadfast, that’s what I think of with Dirk. He just kept looking down on the situation from cruising altitude.

There are steps you have to take as an athlete that nobody can take for you. They are yours alone to figure out, sort out, maneuver through.

Love the work. Love the challenge. Really. If you don’t, then find a way. Inner peace, leave the angst. Drop it. Find a way. It has no place.

See, I told you this would be a strange post. Still typing fast.

I was scared for tonights run. But as I jogged out my driveway my feet just pattered my body away from the house and I felt like a deer. The sun had set, soon the sky would be pitch black. The moon was barely existent and I ran straight into the darkness.

The temperature was perfect, if this was my last run, I would be happy. I stopped and peed in the bushes. Even that made me happy. Peeing in the woods in the dark.  Tee-hee-hee.

I stopped at the road. It’s a road through a state park, only an occasional motorist passes on it at 7:30pm. I reset my watch and just take off. No fear. The heart rate instructions are manageable, hard, but not killer. Just run 5K at 86% of max Hr. Simple.

I feel my feet, but it’s pitch dark so I’m more aware of the fluidity of my legs, the tempo with which they are turning over. My shoulders are relaxed, my stomach is tight only in the correct places for a runner. I have no idea the dips and cracks beneath my feet, I keep my gaze straight forward and my focus is on nothing and everything all at once.

My watch laps at the 1K, it’s on “light up continuously” mode so I can see the numbers, glowing neon green, a stark contrast to the dark world around me.

I acknowledge the 1K split and keep running. The Hr is so good and the effort matches. The legs keep rolling over. 2K and my brain starts computing. The mathematician in me is always computing, counting, adding, conjecturing.

I suddenly see that a 5k PR is a possibility and my mindset changes. It relaxes and the mental talk is all positive, not one negative breath. The feeling in my body, it’s beautiful and relaxing.

3K hits. throw the HR number out the window, but don’t be crazy. No huffing and puffing and losing form and acting like a dying animal. When I was young I got to see Suzy Favor-Hamilton run several track meets. After every race, where sometimes she would lap 2nd place, she would end and just walk off. Never a break in form, you never even knew she was working.

I was having a Suzy kind of day. A few cars passed the other direction and I’m running in the middle of the road, hauling ass with the most perfect form, I’m free and if I had any hair it would have been blowing behind me all perfect like. Loving it, actually feeling free and unrestrained. Like this is where I am meant to be in this moment.

The last 1K was uphill. Who cares? Not me. I just ran with the same intensity, the same form, just putting pressure in all the right places.

5K hits on my watch. I stop. I walk a few steps just like Susy used to. I turn around and start my cool down home. Then I look down and see the time. And that’s when the whole bending over, shaking, reaching to the sky, almost shedding a tear situation happens. My watch shows a 26 second 5K PR.

I ran a 19:20 5k in the pitch black dark, by myself, at 15 heart beats lower than I would run a 5K at. I had a revelation. I felt joy, not after, okay after, but during. I was full of joy during it.

Surrender to the plan, find the joy. Seek no rewards but the healthy feeling of doing the work day to day.

That’s it, the missing pieces.

What a crazy life, what a totally crazy life.

As I levitated home, I was thinking about Rasmus Henning. He just announced his retirement and I just finished his book. He talks about his “motivation pyramid”. It has 4 tiers: joy, goals, work, and willpower. He talks about how most of his time should be spent in the bottom section…joy. If he is spending all his time at the top using willpower to get through his days, it’s exhausting.

He gets it. Probably got it a hell of a lot longer ago than I did. We are all a work in progress.

Kona Fun

I just got back from a week in Kona training on the Ironman course. It was such a cool experience on so many levels. The best part of the trip was the people. Hands down. A few months ago Michelle and I met and rode with Laura Trimble when she was here training in Boulder. She was awesome sauce, and when I put out on Twitter that I wanted to spend a week in Kona training she invited me to stay with her. We meshed really well. We are in the illustrious…always friendly 30-34 AG together. She’s done the Kona dance a few times, so it was a good match. Oh, and she’s British, which means her accent is “dope-sauce” (something a Brit would never say. She’s extremely easy going and a complete bad ass when it comes to swimbikerun.

Laura knew Nick and Scott who were also already in Kona training and waiting for race day and the 4 of us all just clicked and ended up having a blast together. The boys made us dinner several times and we dragged them out to ice cream every night we could. Nick has a Brittish accent but is from the Seychelles. He won his AG at Vegas and was 2nd in his AG last  year in Kona. He and Laura are the sensible ones of the crew. Scott is Aussie and not racing Kona, so he gets the luxury of riding his bike trailing Nick during long runs, and he’s more of a short course guy. He and I claimed to be the “all over the place” ones of the group. We had a blast laughing all week. In my final hours on the island we all had Island Style Pancakes at Lava Java. It was a sad parting. Apparently they all match and once again I look like a rainbow threw up all over me….just how I like it.

Just in case you needed a close up of the Island Style pancakes. It’s really the coconut syrup that takes them over the top. If they are out of coconut syrup…don’t get them, you just aren’t doing them justice.

Speaking of Lava Java…the food!!! Oh my gosh. We ate A LOT and we ate a lot of REALLY GOOD FOOD. Nick and Scotts homemade meals were excellent. We found a good smoothie place at Menehune that put lots of protein in them for us. The Green Honu was my favorite.

Ice Cream. We had ice cream every day except one…wait…or maybe every day. We even got busted for having ice cream with out the boys. For ice cream you have to go with Kopi Lani. Trish is the owner and she is totally awesome. Also doubles as a fairly awesome matchmaker…in case you need those services. The coffee at Kopi Lani is terrific as well, not to be missed.

And lastly…save the best for last…is Basik the Acai Bowl place. It’s absolutely to die for and it has the best view. We would just sit up there together and eat and be happy. Very happy. It’s really calm, and it smells really good. There is also a breeze that goes through and you always leave there just feeling really good about life.

The Sunsets. Oh my the sunsets. They were jaw dropping every day and we always ended up out and about walking around town, strolling in the evenings, and sitting somewhere watching them. They never got even a little old.

I know what you are thinking…did she actually train? Yes, I did. Every session I was happy about over there. Every session was on the course pretty much other than the Masters swimming sessions and time with Karlyn in the pool. But everything else we stuck to the course, getting up to Hawi and also to Kawaihae. We ran the entire course and I really know it like the back of my hand now. I know all the hills on the run and even jotted down the specifics on the airplane ride home.

The swimming was out of this world as well. I started off the week with a session with Karlyn in her endless pool. Laura had a session with her a few days later as well. Then we swam every day. Sometimes in the ocean, sometimes at Masters, and again at the end of the week with Karlyn to check up on our stroke. She was so giving with her time and knowledge and I can’t thank her enough. Here is Laura in the endless pool with her. If you are coming to Kona for IM, get a session with her, it’s really good stuff.

Ocean swimming with the boys never gets old. I still have yet to see the dolphins in Kona. 3 trips, and tons of open water swims, never seen the dolphins. Maybe next time!

And finally….the fun. We had fun, all of us. Never a dull moment when you are hanging around two young triathlete boys. I can not even explain to you the looks on peoples faces after my superb belly flop. I didn’t stop laughing for at least 20 minutes. We had so much fun almost breaking our necks (it’s really not deep here)!

I got a new ukulele too. It’s a concert ukulele, so bigger than my soprano ukulele that I had at home. I love it a ton. Like really really a ton. I’ve been playing every day since I got it. Annie is taking ukulele classes after school, so now everyone in the family plays ukulele better than me…but none of them have as much fun with it.

All in all this week was just what I needed. It was hard to come back to reality. This trip affirmed that I am on the right track with chasing fun and enjoyment in sport. I trained hard, and I played hard. Laura is a lifelong friend now, and she was so awesome to tag along with for a week. The boys will always have a special place in my heart and being that they are both 22, I hope to watch the both of them have wonderful pro careers.

Until next time Kona… (full of smiles)

And it Continues

AND…..now we rest. Whew. That was a HEALTHY bit of training I just threw down. I’ll admit it, I’ve been having way too much fun as of late. Okay, sometimes the swimming isn’t as much fun as I would like….even with my new green flowery suit, and my special ops goggles. At least I rarely swim alone any more. Between Michelle and Troy, I have a steady set of swim homies and that does make getting in the yards a bit easier. Troy is now better suited to swim with Michelle than he is with me, but on hard days I do fight like hell to keep his bubbles in sight and that is making me stronger.

I do not consider it a good day unless I look like a rainbow threw up all over me!

Troy started a new job which he loves. He took a week off between the two and that was super fun to have him around to train with. BUT, this happened, and it made me feel strange. Here is both PIC and Troy….on bikes….

Slightly awkward when your daytime spouse (PIC) and your nighttime spouse (Troy) are all together? What do you talk about? It’s like the universe shifted that week…I just put in my headphones. Sensory overload!

Troy now works from home. When this went down I was like “sweet” this will be awesome, he’s home and I’m home, we’re all home, one big happy family, at home, all day, together, home. Um, it’s taking some getting used to. ONE…he eats a lot of food, and now he works in the same building as our fridge. He’s always eating. But, TWO, he doesn’t have to dress even casually for work now, so I get treated to half naked hotness daily. However THREE, I can’t rock out loudly at my time of choosing, and FOUR my daytime spouse can’t change from biking clothes to running clothes in the kitchen anymore. It’s only a matter of time before daytime spouse and nighttime spouse see each other nude. This must be avoided at all costs.

Luckily I’m training tons so most of my days are spent outside, lots of it riding my bike with PIC, where apparently (if you believe my pictures)…we spend most our time stopping at convenience stores for food (wearing the same kit every freakin’ time). It’s not enough that we wear the same kit all the time without discussing things before hand, but we even wear the same shorts under our shorts on long days without discussing (long ride day = double shorts day). Friday, I was in the bathroom when PIC made her purchases at the convenience store, then I bought my stuff. We sat down on the curb looked at each other and both realized we bought containers of grapefruit. I’ve never bought grapefruit on a ride, neither has she, but we both did at the same time without discussing. This is officially getting strange.

This week we rode our bikes a very long ways. I haven’t ridden this far since 2009 when I did lots of crazy shit for the sake of doing cray shit. Now, I’m doing crazy shit for the sake of getting faster at Ironman. There is a difference between the two, and it takes a smart coach, and a smart athlete to understand and execute that difference. That being said, doing crazy shit just for the sake of it is a great way to stay healthy and happy….so if that’s you…keep it up, why not!

We had an 8 hour ride on the schedule. This is something I think Dirk will give me maybe 1-2 times a year when I am very very ready for it and it’s a time thing, so if I make it 90 miles, no big deal, but Friday we made it 146. It actually was great and felt fun and about like a 80-90 mile ride, it really clipped along. I didn’t look down 4 hours in and go “Oh no 4 hours to go.” Nah, it was fun.

Whenever we have done this stuff in the past, we always had man-wheel of some sort. This was cool because PIC and I had no man wheel to set tempo, it was us girls. 10 years ago I never thought I would have been the type of woman to ride 146 miles without man support. I don’t even worry about getting into trouble any more. PIC and I are more handy with a bike than most men, we have our phones, we know how to stay out of trouble, and we are fit. Winner winner chicken dinner!

We totally ran out of road on this ride. We literally took a road that most people who live in Colorado think goes FOREVER, and we rode to the end of it. We were shocked when exactly when he had planned to turn around the pavement ran out.

We rode to Agate, CO. Go look it up on a map. BFE! In fact…don’t look it up, it’s a little depressing, I think there are like 11 permanent residents! But we have been there…here’s the post office to prove it, we almost sent a post card to Dirk. Haha!

Well, after this restful weekend life gets 100% crazy fun! Like totally bat shit crazy fun. First I get to go to IM Wisconsin for Troys 1st Ironman. I hear this town is awesome at hosting the IM participants, plus they have a Trader Joes, AND I get to meet Mike, who I have coached for a year, and he lives in Portugal! Troy is going to love it, and he’s going to have a blast. For once I get to be the person to pack all my stuff in a tiny carry-on for the trip.

Then, after WI I’m home for about a day and then I leave for Hawaii to train. I get to go to Kona for a week before the craziness begins and just train, and swim with turtles, and have a refresher with Karlyn, and run to the Energy lab, and eat pineapple, and fish and Acai Bowls. I’m hangin’ with my friend Laura, who is British (cool accent) and we are just going to have fun being girls with bikes. Oh happy day!

Then I’m home for a few weeks and we leave for the BIG DANCE. Back to Hawaii for the business end of the Ironman. And this time I get to hang with friends, sponsors, half naked people at the underwear run, turtles, Macca….you know, all my BFFs. Oh yea, and then I get to race 140.6 through shark infested waters and molten lava. YES PLEASE!

I had the coolest talk with Kendra Lee a few days ago. She created a little stir when she had the fastest time at Ironman Canada last weekend. She’s an amateur. Her time was faster than all the PROs in the race. Can we say “awkward!?” But not with Kendra, she is gracious, awesome, and full of PERSPECTIVE! We had a good chat about her race, and turning PRO, and she said “Every day that we can get out and race we are lucky. All of our parts work, you gotta take the good days and the bad days for what they are, an opportunity to compete and push yourself and have fun.” If the girl who won Canada as an amateur can say that, then we all can afford to adopt that approach.

And, because 2012 is the year of cute little inspirational quotes on Facebook, here’s yet another.