12.27.2013

Beyond Broccoli

In an effort to add more dimension to my blog, I wanted to talk about FOOD. Not from a nutritionist point of view, but from a girl, that happens to be an athlete and loves food point of view!  
I grew up in a food loving family, but not by any means what an “average American” would consider food loving...or food for that matter.  We didn’t consume copious amounts of sugary treats or greasy fried goodness. In fact, I recall my Dad candidly remarking “If you eat fat, greasy food, you’ll be a fat, greasy dude”!
I’ve been a lover of all fruits and veggies for as long as I can remember and gladly make a chocolate bar last the better part of a year!  (ice cream is another story)
Lucky for me, I realized young how different foods affect my body, opting for the ones that make me feel good, and keep me from feeling lethargic, lazy and, well…gross!


I will reiterate, I am not an EXPERT, I just listen to my body (sometimes more than others) and eat real food!


Since it's fresh in my mind, I'll start with Christmas dinner.  The only holiday tradition my family has, is trying new things.  No gigantic pile of meat, no mashed potatoes, none of what you would see in most homes, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

CHRISTMAS EVE


I was lucky enough to make dinner for my Dad who was visiting from out of town, and I, which entailed pan seared sea scallops w/ salt and pepper (cooked to absolute perfection. seriously), a side of steamed broccoli (perfectly cooked as well) sprinkled with cheese and we shared most of a demi baguette.  
You see the real star of this meal was WHO was at it, not what we ate.  And the lovely bottle of 2011 Beaujolais ;)


CHRISTMAS
I was actually house sitting, so I had breakfast by myself, played with the dogs and went for a run with my virtual running buddy, all before meeting up with my brother's family for a little gift exchange.  Afterwards I took a quick nap and headed to my Mom's house.
Dinner turned out to be an unexpected treat!  I anticipated having leftovers from my Mom’s breakfast - our ONE  tradition is chili rellenos on Christmas, but she decided NOT to make it - what?!  And felt like stir fry - wha-what? DONE! 
What I love about going to my Mom’s is that she tells me what she wants and I get to create it! (I L.O.V.E. to cook)
So, we had chicken stir fry with absolutely stunning black rice.
It was not from a recipe or planned, so we just grabbed what was in the fridge and gave it a whirl!

Here’s what was in it:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
½ Red Onion, diced
4 large carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 turnip, cut into matchsticks
1 clove garlic, minced
Ginger - I thumb sized piece, minced
4 baby bok choy, sliced
5 mild chilies, sliced
juice from a mandarin orange
lime
crushed red peppers
soy sauce (low sodium)
ginger-garlic seasoning & spicy Szechuan seasoning


served with black rice


Um - yum!



Sometimes we do plan further ahead, but whether we do, or don’t, it’s never a stress.  The nice thing about not having traditional holiday meals, is that there’s no expectation.  No one’s favorite dish goes missing, instead, we usually all find a new favorite! Better yet, if it's a disappointment, no worries, we weren't planning on making it again anyway ;)
This year, I encourage you to go beyond tradition and just do and/or eat what feels good!


CHEERS!


XO

Sarah

12.20.2013

Jackpot

If I told you the future of your dreams was a $2 lottery ticket away, what would it look like?

What would you do with your life tomorrow if today you won the lottery?

"I don't like to gamble, but if there is one thing I'm willing to bet on, it's myself." - Beyonce

YOU are the jackpot.  Do something EPIC with your life.

12.13.2013

Running and movement

As a lifetime athlete, I have always had an intense fascination with the human body and how it moves. I've spent countless hours observing, researching and practicing movements to figure out the most efficient path for optimizing athletic performance.

Over the course of my life so far, I have competed in numerous sports from soccer to javelin to long-course triathlon and everything between!  Not only have I had countless hours of personal experience in training and competition, I've also had the opportunity to coach high school varsity athletes (soccer, basketball, volleyball, track, tennis, cross country, rugby and swimming), coach adult endurance athletes (swimming, biking, running and triathlon) and increase the physical fitness and strength of the general population at large as a Personal Trainer.

Here are a few things I've learned as both an athlete and coach:

  • Injuries are often a symptom of a larger issue.
  • Individuals do not all have the same level of body awareness.
  • There is not always one optimal movement pattern, but one that is best for each individual.
  • Successful athletes are a blend of physical talent, mental fortitude and relentless determination.
  • Intuition is underrated. Listen. To. Your. Body.
  • Mental skills take just as much training as physical skills, make time every day.

Though all movement fascinates me, running is no doubt where my passion lies.
Not too long ago, I finished my latest course on running through Bobby McGee, Total Run Transformation and I couldn't be more on fire about running and sharing what I've learned!

This is a great video that highlights some of the basics on running technique.

http://bobbymcgee.com/essentials-of-running-mechanics-with-bobby-mcgee/

In run training, it's important to start with a sound foundation to build upon.  Strong before long.
One must first look at their own movement patterns, kinestetic awareness, range of mobility, stability, flexibility, strength and symmetry.   Every movement you make throughout the day represents habitual patterns which can help identify where inefficiencies originate.  Any compensation allowed to continue over an extended period of time is not only a sign of dysfunction, but can lead to injury.
Strength imbalances are a symptom of compensation and result in instability around the joints. This results in our bodies relying more heavily on smaller stabilizing muscles as the large muscles/muscle groups are not able to contribute effectively.  Once the stabilizers are over worked, recovery is compromised, reducing your ability to train consistently and more often than not, leads to injury.
In order to be able to maximize your training, it's exponentially important to reduce both your inefficiencies and risk of injury!

YOUR TURN:
How is your body moving?  Take the time to check in with yourself.
Does what you are doing feel right?  It might feel easy, but the path of least resistance only the most worn, not the most efficient.
Have you seen pictures or video of yourself running and/or moving lately?  Ask a friend to help.
Do you have chronic injury/pain and treating the symptoms does not seem to be helping? If so, you haven't found the real problem yet.
Have you sought the help of an expert?  It's worth considering.

Remember -
Train hard, live well!

Sarah


12.04.2013

Thankfulness

Thankfulness:
         1. Aware and appreciative of a benefit; grateful.
2. Expressive of gratitude: a thankful smile.

I can't think of a day in my life I'm not grateful for! In fact, most days before I go to sleep, I write down 3 things I'm grateful for. This exercise is especially helpful on those "bad days", I am able to put everything behind me, go to bed with a full heart and look forward to the coming day.
On this day in particular, I wanted to share a few things I'm thankful for:
My family. There is nothing like unconditional love.
My friends. They keep me grounded.
Holidays. I love seizing the opportunity to express gratitude and spend time with loved ones.
Long weekends.
Rock concerts. LOVEd me some PEARL JAM this weekend. Best. Concert. Ever.
Training buddies. Having people to train with can make all the difference on long weekends with lots of travel, late nights and the previously mentioned concert.
Triathlon. I could not imagine my life without this sport and the community within.
Portland. Good people, good vibe, great food.
Road trips. Always an adventure.

Do you have an attitude of gratitude everyday?
Start by writing down one thing every night and reading it back in the morning.





11.24.2013

The WHY

All week I thought on this blog, inspired to write something other than my thought life.  I came up with some really great topics!
As I sat down to write, I closed my eyes to clear my head. Opened my eyes, and let my intuition write take over and write what the topic should be.
"THE WHY"
REALLY?  Great.  Dear instincts, thank you for never giving me an easy out.
Though I do spend a fair amount of time speaking on my thought life, it is not an easy task.  It's not easy to let go of all my protective barriers and be able to write freely, and publicly.
First, before answering WHY, do we need to define the WHAT? This one took me a while.
Honestly, no, it doesn't matter what the WHAT is, my WHY is the same.

WHY do I do what I do? WHY am I who I am?

Because I choose to live a life worth telling a story about. Because I want to live the life of my dreams, not just dream about it. Because I want to inspire others to LIVE the life of their dreams by letting their authentic selves shine and grow brighter every day.  Because the best way I know how to inspire is to lead by example.  Because I am immensely grateful for my life and the things I get to experience in it, every day.
Why not!


11.15.2013

Grateful for FOOD!

Behold off-season, holiday season, sweater season, snuggle up season, snow season, season of joy and taking the time to be grateful season!

Don't worry, I'm not going to list off all the things I'm grateful for, none of us have that kind of time!
What I am going to do, in honor of one of my favorite things to obsess about, FOOD, I'm going to share with you some of my go-to FOOD BLOGS.  
This is the perfect time of year to try out a new recipe or 100, and get a jump start on a sound nutrition plan for the coming race season.  Or whatever, to be honest, I don't EVER need a reason to explore food websites/blogs/recipes. 

Oh, also, I have no affiliation with any of the following, I just adore them and hope you do too!  A lot of them lean towards a Paleo diet.  I don't follow a "diet" of any kind, but I like that they use REAL FOOD, and fun alternatives to some of the not-so healthy foods a lot of Americans grew up with.

thespunkycoconut.com (just posted a great Thanksgiving menu)
lottieanddoof.com (can't wait to make their milk-liqueur)
buttermeupbrooklyn.com (delish maple snaps and espresso-kissed brown butter cookies & I made their Twisted Double Chocolate and Orange Swirl Bread for Christmas brunch last year - uh-MAZE-ing)
againstallgrain.com (also just posted on Thanksgiving favorites)
thepioneerwoman.com (butternut squash and kale quesadillas are one of my go-tos!)
pinchofyum.com (pomegranae, kale and wild rice salad with walnuts and feta...serves 4??  ha, oops!)
multiplydelicious.com (dark chocolate java cups...you are going to DIE)
withstyleandgraceblog.com (pumpkin spice chia smoothie...yummmm)
weelicious.com - just plain FUN
smittenkitchen.com
mybakingaddiction.com (fresh peach jalapeno margarita - YESSS!)
loveandoliveoil.com (goat cheese...wait for it.....sugar cookies!  You heard me. Don't knock it 'til you rock it!)
coconutandlime.com (raspberry thai basil jam & grilled beef salad tacos, I used carne asada and it was perfect)
chocolatecoveredkatie.com (where to start...peanut butter biscuits, avocado smoothie...)
chocolateandzucchini.com 
trimarni.blogspot.com - for ACTUAL nutrition advise for endurance athletes and good recipes too!

PLEASE share your favorites with me too!

Hope you enjoy and find some fun ideas to try this season!

XO

Sarah

11.09.2013

I feel like an impostor.

As I've talked about, time and time again, I've spent a lot of time cultivating a healthier thought life for myself, which has rewarded me beyond my wildest dreams.  So much so, I was a little cocky and a little complacent, thinking that I had a good handle on it.  Not that I was going to quit the work, but that I could justify a break from the tools and routines I had in place to keep myself on track.
Ha, I'm sure you can all see clearly where this story is headed.... TRAIN WRECK!
Yup.
My training since Vegas has been going really well. I took a couple weeks to just do my own thing, put my feet up and jump in on some classes, group training, whatever.
After a few weeks, I more-or-less jumped back into training and a couple cyclocross races.
I'm extremely thrilled to be working with a new coach, Cliff English, so it's been a new routine and really fun for me.
BUT, something was missing. If you don't know me, I will tell you that I L.O.V.E. to train. Everything about it, every time I get to do it.  But I was feeling flat.  I would procrastinate my training sessions until the last possible second and I felt uninspired.  My motivation was trapped between really wanting to get going with this new program and feeling like I wanted to self-sabotage my workouts so that if I failed, it would be on my terms.  Because I know those self-sabotaging feelings well, I know how to push through them, but it's exhausting, I didn't understand where they were coming from.  After-all, I was coming off a great season and thrilled to be working with a new coach and filled with so much gratitude and optimism for the future.
A little over a week ago, I was listening to one of my fave podcasts (I listen to a LOT of podcasts) while running on one of my favorite local trails, on Impostor Syndrome. When I read the title, I wasn't even going to listen to it.  My thought was it didn't apply to me and would my time be better spent listening to something "inspiring."
My instincts told me to listen anyway.
As I listened, I kept thinking, gees, I can't imagine feeling like an impostor.  Feeling like I couldn't internalize my accomplishments and undeserving of my success.  Dismissing success as a fluke, luck, timing or deceiving others into thinking I was more intelligent or competent than I really am...
Yeah, it's a good thing I have this DOWN!
Ha!  It was a little over 20 minutes into the episode when it started to resonate with me, then about 5 minutes later, I was in tears....and tears...and more tears.
CRAP.  I too felt like a poser.
UGH, how did this happen?!
I'll tell you.  I worked so diligently on my thoughts on the front end of racing, leading up to and during a race, that I had neglected what I would tell myself afterwards. Afterwards I was a mess. I knew well enough to learn how to accept compliments and congratulations from people, but I was not internalizing that at all.  I felt like it wasn't real. It felt like a fluke. I felt that any minute the carpet was going to be ripped from under me and they would see I'm nothing special.  They would see I was just in the right place at the right time.  I felt that not only did I not truly deserve success, I didn't deserve the praise and attention.  It's even difficult to admit that because I don't want anyone to think I don't appreciate their love and support.  Truthfully, I can't even begin to put into words how grateful I am.
Now that I've made these realizations, it's time to take action by acknowledging and accepting that I am good enough, stop holding my breath and celebrate all wins-big and small.
And work on these things every day.

Here is a link to the podcast.
http://www.trishblackwell.com/29-overcoming-impostor-syndrome/

XO
Sarah

10.04.2013

Painful awareness

Well, this is unexpected.  My next blog post was all planned out, to share with you the tools I used over the past year to get my Positive Mental Attitude in check.  
But, I feel compelled to share a few thoughts that have been on the front of my mind for the past week.  
As a triathlete/cyclist, I spend countless hours on the open road, daily risking my life to hazards beyond my control.  Some days I don't think twice about it, for whatever reason, my thoughts have been weighing heavy on me this week.  Then, with the news of Amy Dombroski yesterday, my thoughts seem even heavier.
There is no question that Amy lived an exemplary life, admirably and unapologetically pursuing her dreams and appreciating and loving every minute of it.
As quoted from a news article, "She didn't mess around with what people thought of her," Mara Abbott said. "She was passionate and she was happy and she was really able to live from a place that I think very few of us can."
Even if you didn't know Amy, I don't know how this wouldn't break your heart. It hurts.
Though it could be said, she was doing what she loved up until the very last second, I think this notion is overly romanticized in adventure/endurance sports. Do we let fear dictate what we choose to do, no, and for that I don't ever apologize.  That doesn't mean it's easy, and that doesn't mean we don't crave a full, rich, long and healthy life.  No one wants to go out early, no matter how big the bang is.  Our active/endurance sport/outdoor adventure community, though vast, is well connected and tragic events ripple quickly, serving as a reminder of how fortunate we are for making it through all those close calls and the fragility and scarcity of every moment.
Funny thing is, it seems the difference between us and everyone else isn't that we face these close calls, the difference is how painfully aware we are of them.  Our lifestyle does not allow us to forget not only how incredible this world is, as diverse geographically as there are ways to explore it, but also how incredible life is in the same way.
With a heavy heart, I rode yesterday.  I rode to remember and to also forget.  I was afraid and it was invigorating. I rode for joy. I rode for heartbreak. I rode for freedom.  I rode to appreciate the scarcity of every moment and how abundantly lived each one should be.  I rode to appreciate my body and what it has led me to accomplish. I rode for hours. I rode hard. It was brisk, my body was tired, my mind was exhausted and I was hungry.  But just as every time before, I didn't want it to end. I love to ride. Every.Time.
Please let this be a reminder to do what you love and love what you can do.  Spend your time with those you love.  Smile with all your heart.  Appreciate the moment. Don't worry about things that might happen, for that time may never come.

Train hard. Live well.

XO
Sarah

9.27.2013

Mind Over Mountain

Some of you may have heard, nearly 3 weeks ago, I raced in Vegas (Henderson) at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.  The race itself was great, but more remarkable than the way I raced physically was my mental and emotional preparation and race day execution.
As you may have guessed, yes, that is the segue into my non-traditional race report.
I'm assuming most of you really aren't terribly interested in a play-by-play of race day... my splits can be found at ironman.com.
Where was I...to set the stage for this story, lets rewind to 1 year ago at this race.
Basically I spent the few days before the race in 2012 incredibly anxious and uncertain of what I was doing there and how to quantify my expectations.  Not unlike big races I had done in the past, I was secretly hoping I could find a way to temper my expectations by sabotaging my efforts.  Usually that meant at some point, giving up on my efforts, accepting doubt as truth.  In fortuitous fashion a mechanical error (on my part) thwarted my best effort at a podium spot by setting both my bike and run splits 20 minutes off my goal (40 minutes total).  Post race, I spent the next month or so sulking around, and doing some, for lack of better description, honest soul searching.  I needed to figure out if I still had the passion to keep racing triathlon.  Beyond having that passion, did I possess the strength necessary to forge past the doubt and fear that had put the smack down on my progress and potential as a competitive triathlete.  After what felt like an eternity w/n my own head (about a week), there was.no question where my passion was and not only that, where my mind and heart needed to be in order to make my pursuit a reality.
Fast forward a few months and I had not only made a complete shift mentally, but I had also quit my "corporate job", started a new career centered more around fitness and triathlon and moved to a much more supportive community in Wenatchee.  If you have never done something like this, I highly recommend it.  It will push you in ways you didn't think were possible and you will learn more about your inner strength and perseverance than you ever realized was there.  Over the past 9 months, I have been through many ups and downs...so high I never thought I would come down and so low I was ready to throw in the towel...and every where between.  EVERY SINGLE DAY I recommitted to my goals and vision, which didn't make it easier as much as a reminder of where I started and how far I had indeed come.
This quote saw me through a lot:
"A ship is safe in the harbor, but that's not what ships are for".
My intent with this life is to do exactly that.  Live in every moment, pursuing what brings me joy and surrounding myself with people that make my heart smile.
For me, it has not always been easy to forge through fear and doubt in order to live true to my intent.  I have always been a master of training, physically pushing myself beyond what I thought was within my realm of capability.  But, I broke a LOT more than anyone realizes.

One of my great sources of inspiration has been from my fellow Wattie Ink teammates.  Stories of triumph, over fears, injuries, obstacles, etc.  These stories are awesome reminders of the fragility of life, vulnerability and validity that I am not alone on this journey.  Not only that, but my family, friends and Wenatchee community have been beyond supportive and up-lifting. My gratitude is beyond words!

Once racing started this season, it was clear to me how much impact these life changes had on my thought life.  Racing was no longer daunting, it was joyful.  Don't get me wrong, I've always loved racing, but it caused me copious amounts and anxiety, both leading up to and during an event.
It's no secret, that it has taken WORK to get to this point.  Daily reminders and mental skills exercises, cutting out what causes anxiety and spending my time solely with people and activities that would build me up.  I knew what I had to do, deep down I was a skeptical that I could change and that IF I did change, would it bring the results I hoped for.

Back to the present.  Though I had a few minor issues, my racing this season was an incredible success.  I trusted in my preparation and my ability to perform, and I used an ever so simple, yet effective mantra, "I believe I can".  EVERY time I started to doubt, have anxiety or feel my HR creep up a little too high, I repeated "I believe I can" over and over and over.  Without thinking about it, my HR would ease, shoulders relaxed and my head would pick up...yes, it REALLY does work!
Finally, here we are at IM 70.3 World Championships.  This was the true test of how far I had come.  I refused to let myself slip into my former mental state pre-race, by spending a little time relaxing and a lot of time hanging out with family and Watties to keep my mind occupied, as far away from over analyzing as possible.  Come race morning I had actually arrived relatively calm, despite the fact it was pouring down rain.  I did my due diligence, making sure everything was in place, nutrition dialed and bike was in working order.  There was one small hiccup in nutrition, but I just rolled with it, figuring panic would do me more harm than good.
Because racing with a clear and confident state of mind is so new to me, I had no idea what to expect, and could not wait to find out.  Seriously.
Once the gun went off, I found myself in a not-so-great position in the water, but I just found a rhythm and tried to stick with it, staying as relaxed as possible to conserve energy for the bulk of the race yet to come.  Maybe I conserved a bit too much.  Either way, I felt great coming out of the water and couldn't wait to attack the bike ride.  The pouring rain made for an interesting twist, but I'm from the PNW after-all, this was right in my wheel house!  As usual, the first 45 miles flew by, remaining right on my goal. Suddenly I had a thought that what-if I completely fall apart on the run and all this hard work would be for not..."I believe I can, I believe I can, I believe I can..." Whew, crisis averted.  KEEP PUSHING!
As I headed out on the run, I consciously took it SLOW.  Once I found my legs, I just tried to keep a rhythm.  All was looking up until excruciating pain started radiating from my left knee all the way up to my hip.  Oh man, just keep GOING!  The rest of the run went like this: BREATHE. RELAX. WATTIE - YAY! SMILE.  repeat.
I knew physically, and on paper, I was capable of a great result.  When I crossed the finish line, I had no idea where I stood and was not about to stand around waiting for results.  What I wanted was to be grateful for how far I had come and relax with my Mom for a minute.
About 30 minutes post-race, the results came to me and I was absolutely floored.  My first emotion was relief.  I had actually not let myself down, and had made my support team proud!  WHAT?!?!
Looking back, the experience is still very surreal.

I am grateful for pushing through the hard times and not giving up on myself not only in Vegas, but over the past year.  However, I have to give credit where it's due.  It would not have been possible without the following: my whole family (Mom, Jeff, Dad, Brother,  uncles Steve & Bill Smith, Grandma & Mike Pettus, and my grandma Barkley who used to chase down JackRabbits in the fields of Kansas), Wattie Ink, Power Bar, K-Swiss, BlueSeventy, FuelBelt, ISM, Specialized, Arlberg Sports, SET Coaching (Jason Jablonski), Gold's Gym of Wenatchee Valley, Polar, Adventure Wenatchee, Gale Fruit Company, my loving and uber supportive friends, the inspiring athletes I coach, and my incredibly encouraging and supportive Wenatchee community.
THANK YOU WITH ALL MY HEART!



8.22.2013

"Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage" Brene Brown

Having spent hours upon hours this past weekend with my own thoughts, Brene Brown's words were stuck on a loop that I couldn't shake.
"Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage."
And, that of the original definition of courage, which is "to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart".
Got it.
Everything about triathlon makes me come alive and my heart sing.  Pushing my body to places I never imagined possible is a very vulnerable place to go, but it's where I thrive, and it is the story my heart has to tell.  In order to live the life of my dreams, it's required to let go of parameters, judgment and doubt. Not only that, but it's also required to adopt the belief that I'm worth the life I crave.
Easy, I got this.
Willingly or not, vulnerability sometimes sucks.  Leaving ourselves open, virtually unprotected leaves the door wide open for a LOT of REALLY GOOD things, but we can't selectively let only the good in. Life is meant to be lived in full abundance, not only abundantly good.  So, along with the good, comes some bad, hurt and struggle.
My point is not to bring to light that life isn't all wine and roses, but to remind you (and myself), that it's not supposed to be easy, you are always stronger than you think, and to have belief that it will be worth it.  Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.



7.27.2013

When life hands you peaches...

First of all, if life hands you peaches, you already know you're one up on the lemons.  Which brings me to the second thing you should be grateful for, Peach jalapeƱo margaritas!  Seriously.  You can thank me later.  If life hasn't dropped a box of peaches on your door step, find some.

Why peaches, you ask? Well, here's the thing.  Sometimes it can feel like you were given a big box of lemons, which can be a little overwhelming.  What can I possibly do with all this sourness?  Do I have enough sugar?  But, have you ever thought that maybe, just MAYBE, it wasn't lemons to start with? Chances are that you might have been given something more like peaches.  Sometimes even ripe peaches need a little time off the tree until they're perfectly edible.  And the possibilities from there are virtually endless.
Sometimes I find my self reacting before I know what's really in the package.  Instead of being reactionary and trying to fix the problem right away, it just so happens, that sometimes the best thing to do is take your time to figure it out.  Take a step back so you can see more clearly, take a deep breath and trust that you will know exactly what to do and have all the tools to handle whatever it is. Another good thing about peaches is that they freeze well too.  So, you can cut them up into smaller pieces, put them in the freezer and deal with them a little at a time.  You see, it's also important to realize that you don't have to figure it all out at once or come up with the perfect divine solution right away.  Start with trusting yourself, your instincts and your intention and move forward.  Yes, you do have to move, that part is up to you...but the margaritas can be helpful if you're stuck.

When life hands you lemons, you have the ability to turn them into peaches.  Just make sure to keep some tequila, lime and jalapeƱos around for the occasion, and please invite me over!

PS.  Washington peaches are now in harvest, how convenient!

7.14.2013

What IS

I've actually been sitting here working on my long-over-due race report from Pacific Crest. Though there were quite a few highlights from not just the race, but my travels to Bend, it's not what I feel compelled to talk about.
Yesterday, I signed up for a SUP Yoga class, and though I was very excited when I signed up, I realized once the day arrived that I wouldn't be able to squeeze in my bike/run training before...which is what I usually prefer.  I mean, what better way to end a hard day of training than a good yoga session to get things loosened up, add a little muscular endurance and nothing can beat my favorite pose, Shavasana.
As it were, I just couldn't make it work...so I'd start my day with Yoga and end with my bike/run, which would also fall smack dab in middle of the days heat.  Deep breath.
I knew there had to be a reason for all this and I needed to just let go of my perception of the "best way" to get things done and not just try a different way, but believe that it could potentially be better. Breath.
Let me just say, SUP Yoga surpassed my expectations!  Thank you Bridget Shae and Ila Yoga!
It was definitely a challenge, but you really can't beat the serenity of practicing on water.  Magical. Seriously.
Though I was still a little unsure of how the rest of my day would unfold, I revisited my intention for the day, and carried the belief with me that there is a chance this would be better than I imagined.  It was.  At first I felt a little sluggish during my warm-up, but I really tried to just stay in the moment  and accepting of what IS instead of over thinking.  Starting the day with this mindset from yoga, ingrained it into my thick skull and translated seamlessly to training.
This view didn't hurt either.

My expectations so easily put parameters on everything, which in turn, limits the outcome.  
I am tired of living a limited life, aren't you?
Today, I give myself permission to let go of my expectations, to live beyond my parameters and accept that what IS, is so much more than I planned.

Onward.  XO

Sarah

PS.  I'd like to start every day this way, if anyone is interested in teaching a 4am yoga class, I'm in!

6.17.2013

THE VIEW

This past week, I was looking forward to utilizing some of my frustration to fuel some really good training.  BUT, it's a recovery week for me...so instead I had to actually deal with my emotions - ugh!
What better way than to get outside and play!  I planned most of my adventures based on taking in my favorite local views - Saddle Rock (twice), Skyline, Wenatchee Heights and Lake Chelan (also twice)...throw in a couple easy rides, TRX and Hot yoga, and I was one happy girl!  Did I mention a ton of organizing....clothes by color?  Or by season?  Or both?  Ha!
Oh, and to finish it off, the view at family dinner!

Taking this time is essential for me to maintain perspective.  I'm so grateful that I have a long ways to go, because I'm really enjoying this journey!


6.14.2013

PMA

Sometimes, in life, things go according to plan.  Or, so I've heard!  Is it ever plan A?
This past weekend I (with family in tow), traveled over to Boise, for a little racing!
Physically heading into the weekend, I was feeling pretty amazing.  Mentally, not so much.  Let's just chalk it up to having a rough week, at the wrong time!
It's been since Wildflower that I've done a race, so I was anxious to see what my training had produced and to catch up with some Wattie teammates again!
Even with all the excitement, I felt like I had a black cloud over my head that I just couldn't shake.
Black cloud or not, I was determined to race well, and have fun.  I did my usual race prep routine, and it helped a little, I just had to have faith that it would all come together.
Since my wave didn't take off until 12:39, I had plenty of time to calm my nerves and get amped up!  As soon as the gun went off I was feeling AMPED and ready!  All was going well, until I hit the first turn buoy, when the reservoir suddenly felt like a washing machine.  The buoys seemed to be moving, or was it just me?  It was hard to say, since every time I tried to sight I was smacked in the face with water - ugh!  No biggie, I told myself, just relax and KEEP SWIMMING.  I couldn't wait to get out of the water and on to my bike...unfortunately, that was nearly 40 freaking minutes later!
DON'T panic!
It felt amazing to get on my bike!  This race, my plan was to push the bike, and it felt great!  Yeah, it was hard, but I felt strong and just tried to keep a good rhythm.  As I came into T-2, I had made up for my poor swim and then some.  But I also knew something wasn't quite right.
My stomach was starting to get a little unhappy the last few miles of the bike,  and I was hoping if I stayed relaxed and ignore it, it would just go away...but, it got worse :(  Every time I tried to pick up my pace on the run, well, it wasn't pretty.  Between potties, I just tried to keep moving forward, I kept telling myself that anything could happen...I knew I was losing time, hopefully it wasn't too much time.  As I was being passed heading out to the 2nd lap, I knew I should have been able to stick with her, but my stomach was not having it...ugh!  I just tried to stay relaxed and as things kept coming out of me, I tried to find something that would stay down and keep my energy up.  For the most part, I stuck with the usual stuff, but by mile 8 I opted for Coke and it tasted SOOO good!  Seemed to be just what I needed, the last few miles I felt like I could actually run, finally!  Sadly, it was too little too late, but enough to hang on for 3rd OA and 2nd AG AND a spot to Vegas!
Though I am disappointed I have to be honest, I was able to accomplish my 2 goals for the race.  #1 race the bike & #2 qualify for Vegas.  Mission accomplished :)
Now time to recoup and get ready for my next big training block - yeeeehaw!  
Thanks for your support!

XO
Sarah

6.02.2013

This is NOT one of those days

WOW - I seriously can't believe it's been so long since I've written...or since Wildflower!
Not much has been happening in my life, other than life.

But, something BIG is about to happen, in one short week, BOISE 70.3!  Which means, my anxiety is on the rise, making every little thing frustrating and/or annoying.  Ok, not EVERYthing, but close.  Yesterday I was doing my last "tempo" ride before Boise and I noticed my saddle was a bit lower than it should have been.  I figured it had just slipped because the seat post clamp was loose, I was right!  However, when I pulled it out, it came apart (it's 3 pieces), and even though I had done this a million times, I couldn't remember how it went back together!  So, I called for back-up (coach), and as soon as I had him on the phone, I figured it out (of course).  Then, as I was putting it all together, I dropped one of the pieces into my frame and couldn't get it out!!  UGH!  Once I got it out, I dropped it again!  Nice one, Sar-Bear!  Once I finally pulled my sh!t together, 15 wonderful minutes had passed.
Deep Breath.
It wasn't long before I settled back into my groove and into my workout.  All was going well, until I had to pee.  The first spot I found, I was just about to go, when I saw a snake tail about 2 feet from me, and back on my bike I went.  Since there was virtually NO traffic, I decided to just risk it and go on the side of the road.  No biggie, until I looked down.  Yup, I was so worried about traffic that I didn't notice the "water shed", had puddled right under one of my feet.  Awesome.
Despite a few minor set-backs, by the end of my ride I was back to HAPPY and loving that even the least scenic ride around here is still gorgeously located right along the Columbia River.

Enough about that, what's been on my mind since a friend perked my up on my Terrible Tuesday, is what she said to me.  "Someday you won't be able to do this, today is not that day".
When I bumped into her, I was headed for my trainer and a ride that in the description stated "this will be pretty hard" and I was not motivated AT ALL.  Not only that, but I was frustrated that I wasn't motivated, thinking to myself, maybe I don't have what it takes!  With that one little sentence, my whole perspective immediately shifted.  After all, it was JUST a workout, and it was only going to take about 1:10, and if that's my biggest problem today...when did I start being so ungrateful and full of self doubt!?!?

It's so easy to lose perspective.  Just because your motivation is waining or you don't feel 100%, isn't detrimental, it's actually part of the process.  If we didn't face these challenging times during training, how would we overcome them in a race?
An article I read refers to this as "THE GRIND", which starts when training gets tiring, painful and tedious..and the point which might be most important in training.  Concluding with "The Grind may not be very enjoyable, but do you know what is less enjoyable? Not achieving your goals because you weren't willing to do the hard work."
http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/page/toolbox/?id=89592#.UauPGWRATf
So, you don't have to enjoy it, but I encourage us all to embrace it!
It won't be easy, so make sure you're prepared for battle when the time comes!
Here's some tactics I use to get up and go:
Inspirational blogs/posts from my AMAZING WATTIE INK teamies - they are relentlessly positive and motivating!  Find someone or something that inspires you and don't be afraid to read it every day.
Inspirational videos - watching some of my triathlon or track heros throw down in big races, like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLKqnvDl_rE
Inspirational songs - usually something like: Don't Give Up, Noisettes; Even if it Breaks Your Heart, Eli Young Band; I Made It, Kevin Rudolf; Kill Your Heros, Awolnation.
Bribery - haha, YES, I'm not above bribing myself.  But make sure it's specific, and something you can control "Don't give up on yourself, even if your pace is falling off, give all you have on each specific effort." The reward be anything you want.  Since I don't have a lot of $$, my favorite is a new song download :), but I've also used a recovery treat, pedicure, massage...or whatever I've been putting off because I felt I "didn't deserve it"

Know that you're not alone this battle, we ALL have our own "GRIND" to get through.  Know that you are deserving of what's on the other side and never, never, never, never give up.

Onward,

Sarah
XO



5.13.2013

The most fun I've had being HOT and DIRTY. Well, almost...

It's been over a full week since racing Wildflower Triathlon, so I thought I'd walk down memory lane for a few.  Join me?

Leading up to the race, I was feeling strangely pulled together.  You know that feeling like, what the HELL am I forgetting because this seems too easy!?  Turns out, I didn't actually forget anything, which can only mean that my guardian angels worked their asses off that week.  Hallelujah.  Thank you.
My workouts all went well, though I was experience plenty of my usual pre-race tightness.  I headed to Cali on Wednesday, so I would have plenty of time to decompress and enjoy being out of town for a couple days.  But Wednesday I woke up feeling awful!  My joints ached, I felt nauseous and had a headache. Nice.  I tried to keep up with my calories, but only barely and only because I knew I HAD too.  Travel only seemed to make me feel worse, and by the time I arrived at my hotel in Paso Robles at 11pm, I was feeling worse.  I kept telling myself to NOT PANIC, there was plenty of time to pull myself together.  Or, so I hoped.
10 hours later, I woke up feeling like myself again - except every time I tried to eat.  UGH!  I spent the morning mostly being lazy, but managed to run to the store, put my bike together and head to the lake by 1pm to pick up my packet and take a dip in the lake.  This is when things really turned the corner.  As I arrived, there was almost no one around.  Not the massive crowds and caos that I'd anticipated.  WHEW!  I snagged my race packet and strolled down to the lake to hopefully loosen up, and to see what this Blue Seventy Helix was all about.  The wetsuit was amazing, it fit perfectly!  I still don't understand how it can be so incredibly snug, yet comfortable at the same time.  I don't really need to understand, but I most certainly appreciate!  As I did my short 15 minute swim, I felt better and better - quite unusual for me, since swimming generally isn't my "sanctuary".  Anyway, I left the lake feeling GREAT!  AND excited to race in a couple days!!
Uh-oh, Friday already!!  My morning was again, pretty chill.  I took my bike out for a spin through the vineyards around Paso Robles, it was stunning, and so peaceful!  Most notably though, after my ride, my appetite returned!  I spent the rest of the day steadily working my way through a pretty significant pile of food supplies.  In the afternoon, I headed up to the lake again.
Most of my WATTIE INK teammates had arrived, so I was anxious to meet them and get my bike dropped off. As I walked down the path to the lake, I ran into my first Watties - Paul Brown and Gerry Foreman. It was like meeting long lost family!  Shortly after, I met a few more of my family (team) before heading up to my car for a quick nap before our team pictures.
After dropping my gear, I took a quick peak at the expo, where I actually met Kristin Mayer (Betty Designs)!!!!!  There we were @ Wildflower in the middle of NOWHERE California and she and her hubs were working their own both at the race expo!!  I couldn't believe it was really HER - I tried to casually look at the swimsuits I dream about and had no idea what to say, really, so I intrudcued myself, a quick chit-chat and took off before I tried to say something funny...that wasn't.  But seriously, it was really her, and I still can't believe it!
Haha, if only that was the ONLY moment like that I had during the weekend.  NOPE!
After that, I went to track down Wattie, to pick up my HELIX wetsuit and podium shirt.  And BOOM, there he was!  As he sorted through shirts, just casually said, "oh yeah, and that's Heather".  I peaked in the door, and sure enough, there was HEATHER JACKSON, just resting up.  And I found myself again speechless - absolutely shocked it was really her!  I don't know what I expected, but I'm just going to tell you now, she's a REAL person ya'll!  Just then, Paul Brown returned and saved me from one more second of awkward silence!  The rest of the night was pretty uneventful, I left the lake around 6:45, grabbed a quick sandwich on my way back to the hotel, made sure everything was laid out and ready for the morning, set my alarm and counted myself to sleep.
Race morning - YEEHAW!!  As usual, I gave myself plenty of time to get to the race, arriving and parked by 6:15am, 3 hours before I was set to start.
But, before I knew it we were off!!  I had a decent swim start, it was pretty typical of me, still not the most confident swimmer, but at least I didn't panic!  Did I mention how AMAZING my new wetsuit is?  I L.O.V.E. it! Blueseventy Helix.  Get one.
It was already time to bike :)  I landed my flying mount, and was off!!  There is a pretty good climb right from the start, which allowed me a great opportunity to pass a LOT of people - let the fun begin!  Rolling hills usually make it difficult to establish a rythm, but I managed to settle in pretty quick and the miles just clicked on by.  And BOOM, I was staring up Nasty Grade...if you haven't done it, spoiler alert: it's NASTY!!  Not only that, it was well into the 90's with a nice hot head wind.  I was warned to keep my RPE in check due to the difficulty of the run, but that is NOT my strength.  Basically I pushed until I was literally too hot to push any harder.  My head felt like it was on fire, the beating sun and lack of adequate ventilation made my helmet an absolute oven.  For a second I started to worry, but since the only way out of this was to finish, I just tried to climb faster to minimize the amount of time I was out in the heat.  Logic.
Once I hit "T2", I had recovered.  It felt SO GOOD to run!  I was loving it.  Until, of course, I hit the climb between miles 3-5.  It sucked.  My run began to osilate between walking and jogging, while my heart rate only continued to soar.  Not only that, my stomach started to feel ill, and I started to get chills.  DON'T PANIC.  Stay calm.  Carry on.  I didn't feel like I could keep anything down, but I knew I had to try.  I forced down a PowerBar Gel and some water and shuffled onward.  I have had so many big races go so terribly wrong, and all that played in my head those 2 miles were the words of my coach - "you deserve a good result, go get it".  Between miles 5 and 6, I started to recover and by mile 6 I was feeling good again.  Since it was so hot, I decided I better be a little conservative still.  Until about mile 9 I ran well under where I'm usually comfortable racing, but I just couldn't hold back anymore!  With only 4 miles to go, I poured it on and felt GREAT and I was having fun!  It did help that Eurostar was there to get me through the last hill!!
People were cheering that I was the 1st AG female finisher - seriously!?!?  I don't think the announcer had time to notice, he was too focused on trying to pronounce Wenatchee...3 tries and still wrong! 
Post race was just as surreal - hanging out with my Wattie teammates.  All I can say is, I want some of their awesomesauce! 

After awards, I had to get my butt out of town to catch a few zzzzs before heading to the airport at 4am.  It took me less than 5 minutes to dismantle and pack up my bike - RECORD!  By the time I arrived at my hotel in SanJose, it was after midnight.  Ugh.  4am came too fast, and just like that, I was already home and whlole thing was over.
Even now, it's hard to believe that it actually happened, I had a good result at a BIG race.  I couldn't be more grateful!  HUGE thanks to my family, coach Jason Jablonski of SET Coaching, Gale Fruit Company, Wattie Ink, all my teammates, and sponsors: K-Swiss, Power Bar, ISM Saddles, Blueseventy, Speedfil, Reynolds, Scott, Kask & Fuel Belt.
Sweeeeeet reward!!

4.28.2013

Pre-Wild Flower

As I sit at my computer trying to pin down everything going through my mind as I prepare for Wild Flower - I realized that I was trying to figure out a way to write about my joy and excitement in a way that wouldn't come across as boastful or arrogant...or...the list goes on.
That, AND, how I can't breathe!!!  Ugh!  Between allergies, the wind and changing air pressure, I feel like I'm suffocating half the time.
WAIT a sec, WHY am I trying to come across as anything other than what I am?  Why am I AFRAID for people to know how truly excited I am?  What good can possibly come of holding my emotions hostage?!?!

So, if you don't mind, I'm going to share exactly what is going through my mind and heart.
Without so much as a blink of an eye, I have been living back in Wenatchee for 5 months.  On top of moving, let's just say I have been through a lot - both good and bad.  (translation =  emotional roller coaster)
It absolutely helps that I'm still reeling from a few successes in racing this past month!  It's still fun to think back on the Duathlon and beating all the guys...by 2 minutes :)
Doing all this work, I was starting to think that maybe I just couldn't change my mental game, but like with any training, all that hard work is starting to pay off!!!  ***dancing in my chair***

Physically I feel pretty great too!!  I know where I'm at with my training, which is to say I have a ways to go, but am so happy to be where I am right now and to know how much improvement I've made from a year ago.
I know Wild Flower is a tough course with some pretty fierce competition, but I'm bringin' my A game, and can hardly wait to meet up with some of my new teammates!!
For once I have confidence to embrace my fears, instead of trying to pretend I don't have them.

4.21.2013

Fortune

Monday was a weird day for most of us.

Much of my morning was spent reeling from the highs of watching the Elite Women racing in the Boston Marathon.
Once I heard about what happened in Boston, the rest of the day was spent more-or-less in a daze, trying to sort through news articles, horrific pictures and my own myriad of emotion.

There is not one single day I can think of that I don't recognize how extrememly fortunate I am for all that I've been given and have in this life.
Though my heart is absolutely broken for those dealing with injuries or worse from the bombs in Boston, it is at the same time absolutely full with joy for all that I am grateful for and honored to have.

Fast forward to today and I am even more grateful and filled with joy!  Yesterday I raced in the Wenatchee Half Marathon, and beat my time from last year by over 3 minutes!  That, in itself, is a huge accomplishment.  But, it wasn't my biggest accomplishment of the day.  Last year, I was filled with anxiety, knowing my potential, but doubtful I would ever get there.  I was exhausted before the race even started and ended the race as an emotional roller coaster.
This year, I was focused, but also calm and confident.  I have been working tirelessly on my mental game.  Rehearsing over and over what to say in every situation.  I was in perfect position at the turn around, and for the next couple of miles had a stream of cheerleaders as the rest of the runners were approaching the turnaround.  But, that didn't last forever.  When I got to the inevitable wall, and saw my pace had slowed significantly, I didn't give up.  BREATHE.  I remembered Boston, and all those runners that had just cheered me on, and I repeated "I believe I can" over and over and slowly, but surely, my pace picked back up and spirit soared!!  Yes, I missed my goal, but I was elated. I finished the race PROUD for not giving up.
Those who say "never, never, never give up" are on to something - if you do, you will never know what's possible.

I am so fortunate to have such an amazing support team in my family, friends, community and Watties.
Thank you so much for standing by me :)

Love and Gratitude!!

Sarah




4.08.2013

Well, that's never happened before!

Most people living in the NW consider any race in April exceptionally early.
Though I knew there weren't going to be thousands, or even hundreds of participants, I treated the Apple Capital Spring Duathlon just like I plan to approach all my races this year, a little different and a lot better.
It's been inspiring to hear all the stories and success from fellow Wattie Ink teammates so far this year.  Of course, it also brought pressure.  Knowing that I couldn't very well just decide not to ever race this year, I had to just rip off the band-aid and lay it on the line.  It's been so long since I've raced, I didn't really know how my body was going to respond.  Unlike in the past, I did not let myself worry about it, but instead got excited.  Excited to see what would unfold.  For the past year, I have been diligently practicing my self talk, and finally in the last few months I've had faith enough in myself to apply it.   Yes it's taken a while...what can I say, I have thrived on being hard on myself my whole life, it's been a tough to break.  
Anyway, it's certainly not been easy, but it IS going well!  
Considering my legs were sore and tight from my workouts during the week, I knew this was going to take some real work and preparation.
I re-listened to a podcast by Trish Blackwell, Nobody Cares, and pulled out my Magical Running book by Bobby McGee the night before to further establish my mental racing strategy.  No problem, I got this. 
Of course, come race morning and the closer it got to race start, the harder it was to stick with my plan, but I did pretty well!  I tried not to let the fancy bikes and flashy race kits get the best of me and stick with my simple strategy of - race to win.  
As we toed the line, I made my usual one-liners at the start to try and cut some of the tension in the air... and before I knew it the gun had fired and we were off and running!
I tucked in behind the lead guy since it was windy, I figured I shouldn't do all the work.  After about 1k, the pace slowed, I knew I was strong enough to push it into the wind, so I took the lead and pushed the pace.  I tried to be a little safe with the wind, but if I wanted to win, I figured I needed to make these guys work on the run or I wouldn't be able to hold my own on the bike.  It seemed to be working as I lead the whole first run, into and out of transition. 
The first part of the bike was into the wind as well, with some good rollers so I knew if I could put some distance between us at the start, I would be able to get out of sight and keep a little pressure off.
It worked!  But after being in the lead for almost 15 min, I started to worry and second guess what I was doing.  Am I going to hard?  Is there something I don't know?  Ugh - STOP it and RIDE!!  And that was the last I even gave it a thought.  Just then Rocky passed me, he was a team rider, and I knew for sure he has a stronger bike than me.  Perfect, I'll use him as a carrot - just keep him in sight!  That kept my motivation up for the rest of the ride and I was able to stay focused and keep pushing.  
As I headed into T-2, I still had the lead.  Huh, weird...and AWESOME! 
Don't think, just GO!!  And GO I did!! 
After the turn around I finally saw 2nd place, about 1k behind me.  Ok, I thought, at least 3 minutes.  If they are going to catch me, they are going to have to suffer!!  There was 1k left into the head wind on a slight up-hill, so I pushed as hard as I could there, then once we turned out of the wind, I picked up my pace to about 5:30 and was able to hold HIM off for the W!!!  Not to mention by 2:23, and over a 2 min PR!
BOOM!!

I'm so grateful for all the support I have from family, friends, Gale Fruit Company my uber inspiring Wattie Ink teammates and all of our amazing sponsors!  It was my first race using both K-Swiss shoes and PowerBar nutrition - both of which I loved - THANK YOU!  ISM saddle = happy buns!  Looking forward to a fun season and trying more great stuff from: Kask, Reynolds, Blue Seventy, Speedfil, Fuel Belt and Scott :)

3.15.2013

Trouble With the Curve

Just for the record, not one of my favorite movies.
Moving on.

This past week has been interesting.  It seems like no matter what, the curve balls just keep coming!
It's good, it's like a test to make sure I'm paying attention.  To everything.  All the time.

On weeks like this, I'm grateful for my training.  Grateful that nearly every day, I have the opportunity to practice not quitting.  It's not easy, but I know the rewards and know it will be worth it.

They never said it would be easy, they just said it would be worth it.


3.07.2013

Good comes from good.

Just to be honest, the past couple weeks have been pretty rough.  As I sit here for what seems like the hundredth time trying to identify what lessons I'm learning or something others can reep benefit from, I feel lost.  So, I'm just going to start typing and see what happens...  Hang on!

Have you ever noticed that even though things seem pretty awful sometimes, that every so often someone will swoop in out of the blue and offer some sort reprieve from the discomfort?  Did you ever consider that it's feedback from positive energy that you put in motion?  You have to pay attention because when you're feeling down, it's easy to overlook everything positive in your life...but it's there, trust me!  Lucky for me, I'm in a position where I don't have a lot of time to dwell on my short comings because I fill up most of my time motivating and inspiring others to overcome just such obstacles.
And sometimes that's exactly all you need to do.  Turns out, I'm not the only one who can attest to that - check out this video on confidence:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x73YyqOxXzo
 
Yes, it's easy for me because technically that's my JOB, but you can do the same thing.  Even if it's sending a quick text to someone, giving them a call or writing a letter (yes, an actual handwritten note). It does take a little bit of work on your end, but trust that people will feed off your positive energy and send it right back to you.
So, today my message is to get out there lift someone up today.  It could be a friend, colleague or even a complete stranger.  Trust me, it will come back to you.

Have a great day!!

2.11.2013

When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

This past week was the 3rd of 4 tough training weeks in a row, and I'm pleased to report it was a success - and by that I mean, I'm still alive and I haven't killed anyone!  Towards the end of this week, I started to feel the toll of all the work I've been doing, in the form of mental and emotional fatigue.  For those of you that don't know what I mean, I would liken this state to PMS.  A little tired, but not so much "sleepy tired", as much as the kind of tired when everything makes you mad, frustrated, or break down in tears.

On a good note, I have managed to make significant gains in my fitness and stay relatively focused and productive at work...at least, as far as I'm concerned.  Okay, okay, at least I'm still GOING to work ;)

For those of you that haven't been here (this level of fatigue) before, this is where all those mental skills come in to play.  This past week would have been one in the past where I would have either given myself an "out" on a workout or had a complete melt-down in the middle of one... most likely at the pool.  But this time, I knew it was coming.  I kept my mental skills tool box with me, and used them every day...whether I needed to or not.  Even on my "recovery" workouts, I congratulated myself on how well I got through them, how much better my technique has gotten, etc.  By the end of the week, I felt amazing!  I all but flew through 4 hours of riding on Saturday, nailed my swim set and topped it off with an endurance tempo run on Sunday, without even batting an eye!

Don't get me wrong, I have always loved training, but getting through 3 weeks of 17+ hours in a row and feeling great physically and mentally, has never happened.  I have always been a believer in mental training, but never had the confidence in my own voice to make gains.  I know that in order to get where I want to go, there is no room or time for self-doubt and fear.

Today, I'm re-stocking my tool box for another tough week of training.  BRING IT ON!!!

1.28.2013

FISH-LIKE: The swim breakthrough.

I have been struggling with my swim for the past few years...well, since I learned how to swim.  Anyway, most of what my struggles center around is my head.  I have worked really hard on my "mental skills", but for some reason, as soon as I dip into the water it's a whole ball game.  My mind goes right back to the place of fear and doubt, the place where I'll neve be good enough.  Sure I may never be a swimming super-star, but I'm sick of being where I'm at, I work too hard to self-sabotage every chance I have at progress.
The reason I'm writing this is not to talk about my moments of weakness.  What I'm writing about this time is a moment of triumph.  As I approached swim #4 of my week this past Saturday, I knew I was going to be tired.  I knew I had already overcome a ridiculously difficult swim just 2 days before and was concerned about what might happen when I started to break down.  So, I came prepared.
I had just read a blog post by Hillary Biscay (http://hillarybiscay.com/2013/01/25/are-you-all-in/), where she quoted one of her athletes getting through a tough swim set by asking herself, "are you all in, or not?"  Being doubtful doesn't change my goals and doesn't leave time or room for areas of doubt.
Not only that, but I had earlier that morning, taught a group bike class.  The class was REALLY hard, but not one person complained, they just stuck their heads down and got it done. When I said "GO", they did, when I said "faster", they went faster...so it wouldn't really be fair for me to get to my workout and allow myself an "out".  So, I imagined all of them there at the pool, cheering me on and pushing me to do my best, just as I had done for them.
Let me explain a little.  I doubt myself so much in the pool that on most tough workouts, I give myself an out before I get to failure.  I see it coming, I know I'm going to fail, so I back it off, or throw my fins on, or give myself extra rest or...my deal making list goes on and on!  Pathetic, but true.  I've bee quite fed up with myself for a while and know I need to bust out of my self-sabotage swim workout rutt.  So. I. Did.
Ok, I did make a deal with myself.  This time it was to go as hard as I can on the effort at hand.  My main set was 8x50 AFAP :10 rest, 200 kick 25 hard/25 HARDER (ouch) :10 rest, 8x50 AFAP :05 rest (keeping the same pace I started with), 200 pull with paddles 25 hard/25 HARDER (double ouch), :10 rest, 8x50 AFAP :02-:03 rest (same pace), 200 kick 25 hard/25 HARDER.  Seems pretty straight forward but bare in mind, I had already had a tough swim week.  Oh yeah, I was given a specific target pace of :32-:35 on the 50s...:32 being my BEST 50 time EVER - woof!
My goal was simple.  Stick to the workout, as if I didn't have a choice and go as hard as I could go on each 50 and not ask myself "can you do 7 more", but instead..."can you do one more" after each one, until before I knew it, I was done!  AND, I had stuck with my goal pace, for the most part, finishing the last ones in :37.
I might not have set the pool on fire with my blazing pace that day, but I did light-it up with a soaring spirit and positive attitude.
Please don't let yourself down like I have done so many times.  You are capable of much more than you ever imagined - trust me, I proved it on Saturday!!
So while I may not be quite a fish yet, I'm definitely showing much more fish-like qualities.

1.18.2013

Take care of you


As a "fitness professional" I can't tell you how many times a day I preach to others about the necessity of taking care of themselves.  So why is it the last thing on my list for myself!?  UGH!

This time of year it seems there is an especially greater amount of pressure due to the large influx of individuals determined to make a change in their lives for good.  Of course, I know the odds of how many people will likely stick their goals or "resolutions" and I'm determined to beat the odds!  I want to show people they CAN do it, and am willing to sacrifice as much of my time and resources as needed.  But there is a limit to what even I can take.  Yes, I absolutely L.O.V.E. what I do, but my current strategy of spending every waking hour ensuring that hundreds of individuals receive a customized plan  for success, is wearing on me a bit.  Time to get real!

This week, I took a gigantic deep breath and took a dose of my own medicine.  Yes, I'm still WAY behind, but I've accepted that it's okay to get a little behind 5% of the time...no, it's not 100%, but it's still an A.

I know how much time it requires for me to take care of myself (kind of a lot #highmaintenance), so it's scheduled.  If you don't already do this, please do it for yourself...especially if it doesn't come natural to you.  Just in one day of practicing this, my level of output increased dramatically and I feel like myself again - whew!  It really is true that if you take care of YOU, there it's a lot easier to have the energy to give to others.  I know, it's not a new concept, but some things are easier said than done.  Ok, off to Yoga and then work.

1.09.2013

You have to TRY!

Today is the 9th of January.  We are officially well into the first FULL week of the New Year!
I don't know about you, but I'm excited about this year and the endless opportunities that are coming!!

The other day, someone in my bike class said "Craziness is thinking your body can do physically what is used to do.....stupidity is not trying."  Isn't that the truth!


I spend a lot of time talking about the mental aspects of life and having belief in yourself.  While all this is absolutely necessary, it's not the only piece of the puzzle.  There is the fact that to achieve big or small things with and within your life, it's going to take a little effort.  It's funny, but I realized the reason I don't really talk about it is because I TRY all the time, all day long.  I have goals set, I put my head down and work HARD.  It comes easy to me.  What I have a hard time with is believing in myself and enjoying that reaching my goals is a process, not a destination.  So, just like with everything else, I'm working at that too :)  
There isn't a magic pill for success.  People that achieve great success, are not typically gifted it; they work hard and they believe.  It's important to write your goals down, not so you forget about them, but for you to look at every single day.  Look at those goals (or goal) and recommit to it every single day. Trust that anything worth achieving  is worth working for.  You won't regret it.