Monday, August 17, 2015

Being a good race Sherpa...it's all about the athlete...and much like being a parent

"Would you come support me at my race?" I get asked that often and it's not a request I take lightly. Especially for Ironman brand races. I also get asked about my approach and normally receive lots of comments about my support on race day (all positive mind you) so I thought it'd be worth capturing. AS for me...and my mantra...I always go into race support with the mantra that its my job to expend 1000% of my energy to ensure my race has the 100% of theirs for the race.

1. First off...go into being a sherpa with the realization that in order to be a good one and support your athlete...you and your likes or dislikes are unimportant. The last thing your athlete needs to deal with on top of the stress and strains of race prep/race day is dealing with you in their decision cycle. So just be prepared to not get a lot sleep, food etc, etc, etc. You can be a diva later...but your athlete is the diva now.

2. Know your racer. Sit down and talk with your racer to see what type of support they'd like. Are they the kind that wants to be patted on the butt the whole time? Do they want you to be a drill sergeant to keep them on track/task? Something in between? A little discussion up front will save a lot of upset later. If you have the "I didn't know" or "why didn't you do this" conversation/argument after...you've BOTH failed.

3. Check lists, check lists, check lists!!! I'm not going to say you need to be all anal with spreadsheets but you need to know what time you racer needs to be where, you need to make sure your racer has all the gear they require (that you can never double check enough!), food they require (especially if there's special food requirements like gluten free or vegetarian) for race weekend and what's needed on race day.

A happy Sherpa...I'm not really but my athlete always sees
me smiling!
4. On race day make sure you're out in a place on the course where you can snap pics of your athlete, offer words or encouragement and they can see your bright shiny face. At triathlons, I've always found the best place to be is at the transition area near your athlete's spot on the rack...partly because my voice can boom across the entire area (no matter the size of the race, you can ask people who know me...haha) AND you give your athlete one less thing to worry about in finding their spot on the rack..they just run to you. Wicked smart right??

5. Things to tell your racer...focus on the task/event at hand: Bad swim? Forget and focus on the bike, comfortable grip on the handlebars- death grip on the bike expends energy, shrugged shoulders on the run fatigues them AND and makes them sore as the race goes on. Give your racers tips that are constructive and keeps their mind focused...instead of their mind wandering and settling on the suck that is a long course, bad weather or the race not going to plan.

6. Encourage, encourage, encourage...the ENTIRE time. Almost every racer starts to doubt and second guess themselves. Your job is to remind them that they've trained their butt of for this, they're ready and they're gonna do great. Look, unless your athlete is in dire straits and you're concerned about them medically when you see them on race day...its even MORE important to tell them they're doing great and they've got this as they race!

7. Relax and smile! Up to and ESPECIALLY on race day...for you AND your racer. Trust me, when you're racer sees you and your happy face they'll feel like they're doing well and on track to crushing their race!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

My gut...oh the horror


I keep hearing everyone talking about fasted cardio. Training first thing in the morning on an empty stomach...ya, in the Army we called that "every morning". I swore off morning training when I left the Army but in trying to change up my normal routine I thought I'd give it a shot. 

I've been suffering from the same kind of symptoms I had before my emergency appendectomy. For what reason I can't even begin to explain. What's crazy is that whether I eat a small salad or a 10 course meal I feel the same way...bloated, suffering from GI issues and feeling like crap. I'd hoped a long run on an empty stomach might help, no dice. That 6 miles was not enjoyable. My gut was killing me through the whole run and that pace shows it. Guess it's time to call the docs again.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Invest in yourself!

Now I remember, if I cut out sleep I can get SO much more done! Solid 2 hour lift session... I won't be able to touch my nose tomorrow but it felt great to smash my bags in the gym. LOL It's funny, I was having a chat with a dear friend about "not being able to find time to train/be fit"...total crap. There are 24 hours in the day. You HAVE to realize that a healthier/fitter you means you will enjoy life more and LONGER.

Your health and fitness is not a selfish pursuit at all. It's an investment that you make to ensure you'll be around to not only enjoy life longer but also be there for your loved ones longer. We have got to get over this guilt trip, ESPECIALLY given to mothers, about getting to the gym or training to be in shape. Do you want to be that elderly person that's heavy, using a walker or in a wheelchair, fighting poor health?! Then make INVESTMENTS now in what you eat and your activity to NOT be that person. Sure it gets more difficult the older we get. Hell, 20 somethings have to do little to shed body fat and be fit...as you get older you have to WORK to get there.

I get my chops busted all the time that I'm never happy about my fitness level/body. Duh, continually raising the bar and never settling is how I stay motivated!!! I'm about 20lbs heavier than my "ideal Ironman race weight". "Ideal" established by me but I have to admit I'm liking being a little bit bigger than normal. I will say that while it might look good in the mirror, I feel every extra pound with each step during the run or every pedal turn up a hill on the bike. An Ironman triathlete's body looks/performs different than any other athlete. Muscle stretched over bone with little body fat is key and I'll be back there soon. The fact that I'm working every day to get there is the key. Remember to invest in yourself!!!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mizuno Running posted an article I wrote (this is me doing a happy dance)!

So...who has two thumbs and is on the Mizuno Running website? THIS GUY!!! I can't even begin to say how excited I am that Mizuno put my article (about how to train for your first 5k) on their website...but they actually wanted to use pictures of me too! I'm not going to lie, I'm feeling pretty awesome about now. You can go read the whole article here. I'd like to know what you think. Now, if only I could just go run..damned broken toes.

Monday, June 22, 2015

I mean...I HAD to go try a run to see if I was healing up

Look, I'm not going to lie...not running is killing me. Yes I can swim, lift and bike (although biking is a challenge) but nothing help me feel fit and trim like running. It was such a nice day out that I couldn't spend another day inside training.

What I had planned was to do a 1 to 1.5 mile "test run" to see if my toes could take it. I went with a pair of my Topoathletic shoes because they're a "natural" running shoe with a wider toe box and man I never understood what that really meant until now. Even busted up, my toes felt good with the more room.

I started out with an easier pace just trying to focus on body position and turnover to see how uncomfortable running would be. Because I cant roll off the end of the foot, I was running with a shallower step and that's what got me in trouble. I didn't see the "rise" in the pavement and caught the tip of my left foot on it. It caught me by complete surprise and it went down hard. I didn't do my normal "tuck and roll" fall and ended up taking off the top of my knee, a good chunk of my elbow and the skin off both palms (thanks goodness I didn't break a collarbone)! And not even at the 1/2 mile mark!!!

Well, what was going to be an "easy test run" turned into a rage driven, adrenaline fueled, expletive filled screaming in my head, 4 miler. The good thing about the fall is that pain made me forget all about my toes...at least for a little while. But after I stopped..wowza! Ya, I'll be enjoying a large glass of bourbon later.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Who knew toes are so important?! Sonuva!

So, I've never broken a toe. Yes I've banged them, stubbed them but NEVER broken them...until now. To add insult to injury, literally, I didn't break them doing anything cool either. I was walking between my kitchen and living room while making myself some dinner and "kicked" the edge of the oak feet of my couch.

I looked down to see the last two toes on my left foot pointing 90 degrees to the left and oh my sweet baby Jesus the pain. So, I quickly reached down and grabbed the toes to pull them out and reset them back in place (I mean I've reset my own should before, not fun but has to be done) but heard the "snap, crackle, pop" of what had to be broken tootsies. I just told myself "they couldn't be broken, I didn't hit the couch that hard",  "sure they're dislocated but not broken, "I'll be fine in the morning".  Well, woke up the next morning to realize I was just lying to myself. I couldn't even get my foot in a shoe for Christ's sake!

A trip to the doc, and x-rays revealed I did dislocate them...AND break them. Although, I take great pride that both the doc and the x-ray tech were impressed by my resetting the toes correctly. Prognosis? Its toes, no way to cast them or even tape them to other toes because they're on the end. So two weeks on no running period, then reevaluate. Bottom line is that  its broken bone and will take 6 weeks to be completely healed. You know the doc knows you when you ask about painkillers and his response is "I'm not giving you anything for pain. you'll just take 'em and keep running". This is NOT what I needed to have happen now. I was just getting back into the training and racing groove and this now jeopardizes my racing Timberman 70.3...and that was my only BIG race this season. Ugh. I'm gutted. I'll just have to see how I recover. more to follow...

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Something new is coming AND I got a speedwork workout in too

So I had an impromptu photo shoot for an article I hope to be able to share shortly. Gorgeous, sunny, hot New England day to get out and snap some photos...and my friend Melanie made me look awesome! She shot so many great images of me and this is my fave. Good running form, proper turn over, one of my favorite quotes and a wicked light, fast pair of running shoes (hint, hint...more to follow, I hope).

If I'm on the track to shoot pictures, I might as well get a workout in too right?! A 1 mile warm up on 7:15 pace followed by 6x100s on a 5:45 pace. I need to get back to speed work and having a great "kick" for racing. I never cease to be amazed at how you can literally run off the anger and frustration of the day. Oomph, I'm a bit wiped out but I feel great!