Dealing in Krabi

Posted on Mar 19, 2011 in Ramblings, Training Updates

 Thailand has been an eye-opening experience for me so far. Besides experiencing a new culture, I am embarking on a new adventure in my triathlon career with this opportunity to train as a part of Team TBB. As the training heats up, literally and figuratively, I know it will be great to have such an amazing team of athletes to learn from and try to chase down. With a little over one week in the books, I am already starting to feel fitter and stronger physically and mentally am finally enjoying the sport again for the first time in a long time. There few times in life where I have really had to look in the mirror and deal with my own crap. Here in Thailand I not only literally have to face it some of the non-flushing you flood it down yourself toilets but also face head-on the other issues that have held me back in triathlon and life. Instead of dithering about in a tizzy of stress and sweating all the small stuff, I am endeavoring to follow orders, turn off my head, and stop constantly second guessing myself. Maybe Nike has it right: Just do it. Their slogan isn’t try to do it or think about doing it or research the ways you could do it. It is simple, direct, and right on the...

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"Open" to new lessons

Posted on Jan 7, 2010 in Ramblings, Training Updates

Like Julie Dibens, a friend and fellow pro triathlete, I too have been reading Andre Agassi’s book “Open”. Julie has a great blog discussing her reflections on the book and how it applies to triathlon. I read her post and was not only struck by her insights but also by the fact that we had completely different portions of the book that resonated in our minds. While Julie was struck by Agassiz’s “last ten minutes before you fall asleep”, there were different lessons in perservence and perfection that I extracted from the book. (click here for her blog it‘s definitely a worthwhile read) I must admit that I am mostly a fair-weather tennis fan just tuning in for the big tournaments, but this book gave me more appreciation for Agassi and the game. In addition, the life lessons that Agassi articulates so eloquently are applicable to triathlon and everyday life. For me, Agassi had several life experiences that struck me as an athlete, but perhaps his resilience was the most inspiring. Despite facing numerous setbacks through his career, he kept on overcoming challenges that would have stopped many lesser athletes. Agassi continued to keep playing and improving over a long career. Remarkably for a tennis player, some of his best performances were later in his professional life when he should have been past his prime. In addition, as he matured, Agassi seemed to relish the wins more as he appreciated all the hard work and perseverance that were required to get there. As a triathlete, anytime an athlete can overcome injuries, personal difficulties, and burnout, to achieve success, it is very inspiring. I hope that I can continue to triumph over my challenges half as well as Agassi. Likewise, another key insight for me came from one of Agassi’s coaches, Brad Gilbert. Brad stressed to Agassi that he didn’t need to aim for perfection with every shot. He merely needed to beat the man across the net and force the other athlete to feel the pressure and make mistakes. I think many athletes fall into the trap of trying to achieve perfection all the time every day. Unfortunately, this is never possible in training or in racing. Most days, you just need to go out there and give it your best. Setting unattainable standards, only sets an athlete up for failure and disappointment. For me, the most satisfying training days or races have been not when I was perfect but when I succeeded despite one issue or another. The real trick is to stay positive mentally despite the ups and downs that are inevitable in sport and life. Finally, the last lesson from the book was that Agassi trained and performed best when he was happiest and his life was going smoothly. While some of this can’t be controlled, I hope that I can keep a positive and happy...

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Fresh Start in 2009!

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 in Ramblings, Training Updates

It’s hard to believe that we’re already a month into 2009. My new years resolution, to publish more frequent blogs, was broken swiftly and soundly in the first few weeks of this month. However, I am going to be optimistic and aim to improve from this sad start to the year. Nowhere to go but up. For my first post, I’d like to draw inspiration from new beginnings. The first and most notable new beginning is of course our new president, Barack Obama. For the first time in my own memory, it seemed that the whole country came to a stand still to watch the Inaugaration last Tuesday, and it was inspiring. My favorite parts of President Obama’s speech were when he addressed the duties we all have: “What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.” as well as when he spoke of the hope and bravery of General Washington and his men facing the British. In another notable quip, President Obama told those in the Beltway area to toughen up; he was referring to their relative lack of skill in coping with cold weather . I hope that I can toughen up this year and also take the initiative to find a task and purpose greater than myself. Another more personal new beginning is my change of training program. For the past few years, I have had the great opportunity to train with and follow Siri Lindley and her team of athletes around the world to training camps. While this was an amazing experience, it was time for more stability and a change. In the vein of nothing ventured nothing gained, it was time to try some new things. Last fall, I started working with Neal Henderson at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. It has turned out to be a great partnership, and I am enjoying the journey and excited to be learning new things. Most importantly, I am eager to see the results from all our hard work in my races this year. As an extension of the last new beginning, this year for the first time since 2006 I am spending the entire winter based in Boulder. Thus far, we have been lucky with the weather, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that our good fortune continues. Other new things this year are my new sponsors which I hope to have finalized soon. And my new training partner who is top secret and definitely going to take me to the next level this...

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New Favorite Things

Posted on Jul 2, 2008 in Ramblings, Training Updates

I wanted to take the opportunity to share a few of my new favorite things. I couldn’t make it through the day without these items; well, I guess I could probably make it through the day but it would definitely be less enjoyable. Podcasts! I was first introduced to the magic of the podcast by my homestay in LA. Jay told me about these crazy Kiwi triathletes with some show and that they were talking about doing this things called epic camp, which involved a crazy amount of ironman training over a week. I listened to Jay and then started downloading the podcast, Ironmantalk. It was very interesting and I had almost 100 episodes to listen to since I missed their first two years of shows. Here are a few of my other favorites: This American Life (an NPR podcast that is excellent – there are a a variety of great NPR podcasts but this one is my favorite), The Final Sprint (running podcast with all sorts of interesting interviews), The Competitors (interviews with a wide variety of athletes), TrainingBible Coaching Podcast (interesting training tips for endurance athletes). I definitely recommend these podcasts, but there are so many great ones out there I am sure that you can find some favorites that fit your interests. Probars! I have tried a wide variety of nutrition bars from powerbars back in the early days when they were only in chocolate and came covered in that strange white powder to all the newfangled uber-protein bars. I tried probars about a year ago when Jeff was using them for his Ironman since they are calorie dense without being hard to digest. I liked them but wasn’t in love until last month when I tried some of the new sweet & savory flavors. The new flavors are amazing; I have tried the Cherry Pretzel, Maple Pecan, Kettle Corn, and Cocoa Pistachio….all great. Jeff is partial to the more understated flavors (aka he’s not as adventurous as me); his favorites are Whole Berry Blast, Nutty Banana Boom, Apple Cinnamon Crunch, and Original Blend. My other favorite thing during workouts now is the Cliff Shot Bloks or the Powerbar version; both are easy to digest and are definitely on the menu for my 70.3 debut. (I think the bento box will be stuffed with the bloks and probars…we’ll see what is appetizing when I am out there.) InSport! I love their running apparel. I have a several pairs of shorts, shirts, sport bras, a jacket, and running tights. The shorts and tops have become my lucky hard running workout outfits. I know it sounds strange but for those hard workouts it definitely helps to at least start them feeling comfortable and looking good. Then, when things start to go down the tubes and you’re falling off the back of the treadmill or collapsing onto the infield...

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Scottish Cats Meet Madrid

Posted on Jun 11, 2008 in Race Reports, Ramblings

My trip to Madrid was a blast. The city was beautiful with amazing architecture that obviously made it through WWI and II without being destroyed and has been restored meticulously. We stayed right across the street from the royal palace and gardens. The little bit of time we spent exploring the city just made me really want to go back on a “real” vacation. Not only did I love the city, but I have a great travel companion, Jenna, and really enjoyed spending time with the rest of the US contingent. The race site was in a park in downtown Madrid; it was so rural considering its in the middle of the city. There were a few women of the night working in the park as Jenna and I saw on Thursday night during our jog but they were gone by race day. I loved the race course; the bike was challenging with a decent hill on each of the 8 laps, and the run was flat and shaded. The only bummer was that the water temperature was just under the cutoff so it was a wetsuit swim. This makes the swim much more intense as the differentiation between the slower and faster swimmers is less pronounced.I had some nerves and only sleep a few hours the night before the race. The race didn’t start as planned. I had a good swim and then right before the first buoy I was dunked by another competitor just as I was taking a breath. As a result, I started hyperventilating and stopped dead in the water trying to regain my composure. Even though I only stopped for @ 10 seconds, a sea of other swimmers swept past me. When I finally started to swim again…tentatively, I had lost the front pack and to fight my way back the rest of the first lap and second lap. Unfortunately, I didn’t make up all the time I lost and started the bike in no-man’s land. I biked hard to catch the front pack and after 2.5 laps finally caught the group and was able to relax and recover a bit. By that time there had already been a breakaway of 4 from the front pack so I was upset that missed the opportunity to be among those girls. I rode with the pack and during the last lap launched a small breakaway to get into transition with a small lead over the rest of the pack. I headed out of transition ahead of most of the pack and felt good right away on the run. For once, my turnover felt great and everything flowed. I felt great until the last 3K on the run and then my legs started to cramp and even my arms were cramping. I backed off a bit since the main goal was simply to finish in the top...

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