What MATTERS

I hate habit, routines, and patterns. Bleh. I can’t stand doing the same thing every day, in the same order. I am a perfectionist in “HOW” things get done, but not order. I detest morning routines, and bedtime routines. But this year I really tried developing some routines because I thought it would help with my performance and life balance. My morning routine ended up…wake up, take Zeo off and dock it, take pulse, take Osat, open Restwise, fill out half the questions, go pee, check color, note in Restwise, get nude, weight, note in rest wise, put clothes on, check email, check twitter. Oy.

So, in my period of annual reflection I though I would make a list of things that matter and things that don’t. Now, beware, this list is personal and a bit theoretical in places. It’s my list, yours is probably different, but hey, maybe it will make you think about your own list and question some of the things you do that you think matter…but maybe they don’t really.

THINGS THAT MATTER

— Getting to sleep before 10pm, this makes me Superwoman.

— Making training dates with others, playing with your friends and family, being active together, and laughing. Laughing should be it’s own thing. Here…

— Laughing. It matters, big time.

— Eating a balanced diet every day, and developing healthy habits. Being the kind of person that enjoys clean eating, this matters.

— Organizing your training fuel and keeping it in a central location and fully stocked.

— Not eating late in the day. This is Oh-So-Hard for me, but it matters. It really matters.

— PMA …positive mental attitude

— Taking personal responsibility for what happens in your life. You always have a choice including your participation in this “sport”.

— Having organic veggies delivered to the doorstep every week

— Developing the habit to plug in your Garmin the minute you get done training, it’s worth the pain to develop the habit. I had next to no “dead Garmin” days in comparison to years past. Make a training electronics basket, tape a power strip to the bottom of it, and plug your stuff in.

— Reading, both for fun, and for sport depending on your mood. Read for sport when training hours are low and you need to stay motivated towards goals. Read fiction for pleasure when training loads are high. 50 Shades of Grey can give you a lot to think about during a 30 hour training week.

— Eating when hungry (Troy made me add this)

— Drinking when thirsty

— De-triathloning at least once a week, giving yourself time to think and discuss other things with people who don’t do triathlon

— Planning your day the night before, packing for training, and making food for the following day

— Finding solutions that fit you (Troy made me add this one too. I think it’s because he doesn’t want me telling him what to do all the time when it comes to swim bike run)

— The cleaning lady

— A good bike fit

— Listening to your Heart Rate Monitor, it very much matters, especially when you are out of shape!

— Your friends, they matter, big time, listen to them and be there for them when they need you

THINGS THAT DON’T MATTER

—Restwise…doesn’t seem to tell me much more than I know already, but does require me to develop a routine with filling it out which bugs me often. It also satisfies my anal retentive nature, but in all truth, it doesn’t matter, know thyself (as CV used to say)

—Zeo…although fun to wear and makes me go to sleep faster, doesn’t ultimately better my performance.

— Self portraits taken on the bike with your phone…does this even need elaboration?

— Counting calories

— Excuses

— Keeping track of Weekly Training Totals

— Weighing every day

— Drinking when you aren’t thirsty

— Filling in Training Peaks if your coach doesn’t use Training Peaks… really doesn’t matter. However, do upload your Garmin so you don’t have to mess with “Delete Active History – Active Memory Full”

— Foam Rolling (okay…it’s a personal list)

— The iPod, wear it if you want, don’t wear it if you don’t want, it doesn’t matter

— Cooking…not necessary, scrounging in a healthy way is just fine

— Folding and putting away laundry

— Looking up the results of your competitors before or after races

— Make up (duh)

— Looking cute on the podium, despite what recent Lava articles stress…see above

— Responding to comments on your own blog…time suck! Or Facebook several times a day…time suck! or being permanently on Twitter…time suck!

— The size of your Oakley collection…sad, I know.

–Being on time… doesn’t matter as much as the weight I give it. I’m punctual to a fault and spend lots of time stressing out about being late, when most the time…doesn’t matter.

— What kind of car you drive…as long as it fits your bike.

— What kind of bike you ride…as long as it fits you. Just kidding, you should ride a QR.

Next year I plan to go more in the direction of the top list, and less in the direction of the bottom list. More focus on emotional balance and health, less on data and being anal. More laughing, less lying in bed not wanting to get out. More good clean healthy food, less making myself feel bad about food choices. More listening to my body and trying to learn more about myself, less reliance on training gadgets. More fun!

It’s all a choice!!

My Friend Venn

And….the off season continues. Michelle and I got kicked out of Masters yesterday for trying to show up. One walk onto the pool deck had Nick turning us back around for the locker room, scolding us for not taking a break, and being too antsy to get back at it. Another week (at least) he said. We wined, “But it’s hard” and he said simply “It’s supposed to be.” So, we went and saw a movie.

I’m starting to get my thoughts together in a better way for next year. I’m starting to get the distance needed to look at things from a little further vantage point. Last night an impromptu chat with Troy got me thinking about fun and performance and how they link up or don’t.

In 2010, my first year with CV things were fun. Really fun, and looking back, it was probably the biggest growth year I had in my 6 years of racing. A win and successful execution at my first 100 mile run race, 3 Ironmans including an AG win at AZ, and a Kona debut of 10:17 were about as good as this girl could have dreamed. In fact it was beyond my dreams.

I had fun too. I got handed the right amount of training for me at that point in my journey, and I got to do a lot of it with people that I truly loved. We laughed so much and I have really fond memories. I was like a sponge, willing to absorb whatever CV was willing to give me. Giddy with joy, and the results just kept coming that year.

2011 was the same coach, the same set up, but things didn’t come so easy that year. the year started out fun, but I think everyones expectations were higher. 2010 had been great and everyone wanted to build on that. The year was a slow progression away from fun and towards performance results. And the results came, they did. The year was spent reiterating Kona Kona Kona under my breath. Do what’s right for Kona, be PRO, do the right thing, over and over.

I got a PR in Hawaii that year, but it was by the skin of my teeth. I almost broke 10 hours at Cozumel, by the skin of my teeth. The year solidified that I was an executor. I can take a plan and race the heck out of, stick to the correct details, make changes when needed. And I was fit, clearly fit. It was the first and only time I broke 3:30 in the marathon, and when I look back at photos I see the strain in my brow, and the fitness in my body.

Then I lost Chuck. And I found Dirk. I still haven’t met Dirk, hopefully someday. This year on paper was clearly a big step back. I felt fit, I really did. Heading to Kona I felt like I was in the best shape ever. I was seeing numbers that I wasn’t used to. But looking back, this entire year was a failure in race execution. There was a bike flat, but matched with a shakka filled lax marathon. Hawaii was my first disaster of an Ironman, it was the race I have feared for 8 Ironmans and a suiting way to finish off the year I suppose. In fact, Kona was a parallel to my year, “mild disaster but with a smile”.

I feel like this year was a big sweeping curve from performance results over to fun. I really had a lot of fun this year. Kona trianing with Laura, Friday Fundays with J&J including that awesome trip to Aspen on our bikes. NOLA 70.3 was about the most fun I’ve ever had after a race. I would say there was a brief pause in the fun and fast area at NOLA and Moab 55K, but from NOLA onwards the year was a series of less than stellar performances, riddled with execution issues.

As I look to 2013 it’s hard to decide what to do. I’ve been all over the board and yet, all my reflection doesn’t guide me much. How do I get back to what was so magical about 2010? How do I find that again? I don’t have any answers as of yet. I’m in the research and development phase.

But I know where I want to head. I have vision, and I’ve been there before, so I can find my way back. It’s about the journey, right? You can get short term results in this sport, but long term results take time. Sometimes it’s not the accumulation of training that is needed, but learning enough about yourself to let go of some of your hang ups. To grow enough inside so that all the work you put in can rise to the surface. To become vulnerable to failure, and to release your fears. I had no fears in 2010. I was flying by the seat of my pants and too busy to look back, truly present in the day. But this life of ours is an ever flowing river, that changes through the seasons.

Now what?

Doopy-Doo. Laa-Tee-Dah.

Soooooo, hummm, what now?

I’ve been told/urged/requested by pretty much every one I know to take some time off. Like a month….or as PIC says…maybe two. I don’t really even know what that means. Like, off meaning absolutely no swim bike run? Or just put the Garmin away and stay laxidasical about SBR? Me No No.

Is laxidasical a word? Spell check doesn’t like it.

This week I’ve been going to Yoga. I hate yoga. But I keep going. My hamstring flexability is worse than 100% of the 70+ year old women in Gentle yoga…oh and all the guys too. I can not downward dog, can not touch my toes, and the worst… I can not sit with my feet straight out in front of me. Like just sit there, can’t do it. So, I keep going to the yoga. Yes, THE yoga. It’s good for me to just simmer the F down for awhile and be still.

But I can’t say I’m comfortable with it.

Are all triathletes just hyper ADD compulsive exercisers? I don’t even know what fitness and exercise looks like without SBR. So, I’m doing some new things to keep me entertained. I walked the dog at the dog park with Michelle yesterday. It was thrilling…

I had a reservation to go SUP in the res but it was bogus and they were closed. Not the most “with it” state park I might add, letting people make reservations when you closed for the season.

There is probably some Zumba in my future, and some indoor rock climbing, definitely some roller skating. I love roller skating.

Half of me wants to make all these decisions about next year. Get my schedule figured out and tied up, decide what direction I’m going to head, how it’s all going to go down. But then another part of me knows I just need to let things sit for a ¬†little while. Take some walks, think about other stuff. Take a chill pill.

So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m delaying thinking. I’m just simmering.

It seems like in past years there was no break, I was onto the following year before the previous one ended. The “off season” was basically me swim/bike/running around and exercising without my Garmin. Some of my athletes are doing that as well. I can tell, I tell them to take time off, but they just put away the Garmin and call it good. It’s not really time off folks. But, you can probably get away with it for a few years.

I know I lose my fitness very quickly. Every winter with just one month of reduced work I come into the season with low watts and slow running and high heart rate. But I’m trying to not think about that. It usually takes me until June before I feel like I am somewhat back. So this month or two is probobly going to tank me, but I think after 6 years going hard, it’s time.

Did I just type 6 years…. 07/08/09/10/11/12 dang it, 6 years. Yea, this is probably long overdue.

So here’s to embracing real time off. Whatever the heck that means. Here’s to crappy yoga and sitting still and knitting and reading, and really trying to eat well and stay on track there so I don’t have to combat lack of fitness and weight loss at the same time come January. Here’s to embracing the break (shaaa…right).

2012 Austin 70.3

I thought after Kona that my season was done, but when PIC told me that she was going to race Austin 70.3 I wanted to join in. I was in no way ready for this race specifically. I mean, I had more fruity drinks than workouts by the time I stepped on the line. It was a swan song. Just one more for fun.

PIC and I had way too much fun in Austin. We saw Punky in the airport before we left Denver, and we ate at this really good co-op on our first day there. We had burgers, and fries, and they were awesome. It was freezing outside and the weather seemed to get colder as the trip went on. We drove the course, partially in the dark, stopped for popsicles and junk food and ate it all. I had this chocolate banana mexican popsicle that was to die for, and slightly suspect.

We checked into our hotel and it was totally seedy. I think there was a fair amount of drugs being sold in the hallway that evening, and PIC and I spent the hours of 3-5am huddled together in bed thinking we were going to die. I can’t imagine the quantity of drugs you can buy with 2 fully decked out Quintana Roo CD0.1s. Needless to say, we lived through it (barely) and we let out a huge sigh and awww when we checked into the Hilton the following day (you try fitting two built up bikes, two empty bike boxes, lots of luggage, and two women into a Nissan Altima…no easy task). Lunch with Brian was awesome, it’s been years since the three of us have all been together and was great to catch up.

On race morning, which was so cold I had on every single piece of clothing I brought on top of one another, my main concern was thorns. My transition spot was a bed of those kinds of thorns that are multisided and evil. One step and my Uggs were loaded with them.

The transition was a “clean transition.” That was said to us over and over. I knew my tires were good and that I would carry my bike to the mount line, it was my feet I was worried about. They wouldn’t let me put a towel down. I asked, I begged, I gave sad eyes to the cute guy, nope, he was unyielding. I thought about getting an official but decided to not clip my shoes in my pedals and to just wear them through T1.

After setting up T1 we nestled ourselves into one of the cabs of the rented Rider trucks that Ironman had. Nobody ever knew, it was our secret hideaway. The water temp was like 30 degrees warmer than the air so the cold temps actually were fine during the swim.

I swam as best I could, tried to stay on feet, got a bit muddled at the end, but felt good about it. AND, I really enjoyed it. I was warm and it was a wave start so I didn’t get beat to smithereens, which was so relaxing compared to Kona.

I ran to my bike, put a coat on, and started to put my shoes on. I had to wipe 20+ thorns out of each foot. They were in deep. I carried my bike out, mounted and got out of there.

I started in the next to last wave so I had a blast out there. I got to pass lots of people all day and I totally totally loved the course. It was cold when I started and my legs were quite chilly, but they warmed up about 10 miles in and I just had fun. I rode hard, but it felt good to ride hard. I just gave it what I had, and didn’t worry about much else.

Into T2 I threw on the Newtons and went running. 1 mile in I pulled off my HR strap and shoved it down my pants. I just ran by feel, as hard as I could, but I enjoyed myself as well. I found a guy at one point that had a metronome. I asked him what it was set to and he said 89. I run a pretty natural 90, so I had a blast running with him and marching to the beat of his little beep. I’m not sure one of those things would make me any faster, but it was fun for a few miles.

At one point he said “I just did IM Louisville a few weeks ago” and I retorted “Oh yea, I just did Kona” and I felt immediately bad. I even said “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to rain on your parade.” I didn’t at all mean it to come off as arrogant, I just meant to imply that we had something in common. Total dumb bunny move there and I felt bad the rest of the day over that one.

I really liked the course. It was three loops, but not boring loops, they were exciting and I really enjoyed myself. But my feet hurt and I couldn’t understand why. My heels and the balls of my feet were so sore and my Newtons never make me sore. Come to find out after the race it was the remnants of the 20+ thorns in my feet that made that pain. Talk about a prickly situation (bada-boom).

The Mile High Multisport crew was out there cheering and they made me feel like a queen the 6X I saw them out there. They cheered for me like Troy cheers for me, and I tried hard to smile every time I saw them.

The finish line was a total blast, it’s inside the arena. I was glad to make it to the line, as I am every race. I had no idea what my placing or time or anything was, but I did know that I enjoyed the race and it reminded me of how I felt when I first got in the sport. Just happy to be able to race my heart out for the sheer reason of physical movement. Michelle and I have agreed that we can’t ever race it again. They temps were in the 60s and this race is usually in the 90s. We had the perfect day, and don’t dare temp fate. One and Done!
This is probably one of my favorite pictures of all year. I love PIC.

Michelle and I both ended up 2nd in our AG. The lady who won mine was not only drop dead gorgeous, but out swam, out biked, and out ran me, was so far ahead I didn’t know she existed, and put out a stellar performance (maybe? who knows how she felt, but she dominated for sure). I look forward to following her from here on out. The other lady on the podium at the awards was a Nun. Rad.

The weekend was topped off with a few drinks with Jess Smith and friends and some damn fine TexMex. Michelle and I went for ice cream, and then snuggled the night away before a 6am flight…which I slept through.

And with that, I officially put a cap on the 2012 season. It’s time for some time away. The Garmin has been put away for good, and my bike is still in the box. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m not that concerned.