Embrace the Suck

“Ultimately, triathlon is about pain – how you endure it and the mechanisms you put in place to deal with it when it comes.”                                                                                                                                     ~Chris McCormack

With the Indianapolis Marathon just around the corner, it is time to be reminded to “Embrace the Suck” on race day.  If you truly race, you are going to feel pain at some point during your race and it will suck.  “Embracing the suck” is all about how you handle the pain when it shows up.  Being mentally prepared for the pain and “suck” is essential to peak performance on race day.

How do we prepare to embrace the suck?  Easy…train…during tough workouts, push your body to the moments that suck and take note of where your mind goes during the suck moments.  Once you know what this pain feels like, you can determine a plan to help you deal with it on race day.  Make a checklist that you run through, accept pain as an inevitable…don’t try to deny that it will show up, positive self-talk can also help keep you focused, smile 🙂 (that always seems to work for me…learning this one from the best…Chrissie Wellington), focus on controlled breathing, determine if your nutrition is in check, make sure you are as relaxed as you can be so you aren’t wasting unnecessary energy, focus on stride pattern and/or stride cadence (for those who are in tune with their stride), and stay in control.

Your body will do anything your mind tells it to, so stay in control.  Never lose control of your mind when things get challenging.  Stay focused and EMBRACE THE SUCK!!

Macca Success

Full Throttle…Wide Open

My husband and I have recently been told that we do things “full throttle” with nearly everything we do.  My parents raised me to be a hard worker and to believe that I can achieve whatever goals I set for myself.  I am focused.  I am stubborn.  I am a hard worker.  I am committed.  I go full throttle with nearly everything I do.

This last week, my husband and I have spent a LOT of time working in our backyard…digging the fire pit, installing the fire pit, digging out the patio area, adding crushed gravel to the patio area and tamping it down, cleaning up the dirt “yard,” unloading all of the pavers for the patio, and preparing the yard for the fence installation that should happen this coming Monday.  Because of all the time we have spent in the yard, we have not completed any scheduled workouts this week.  We ran 15 miles last Saturday and ran 18 miles this morning (more information to come on this run soon).  The only “workouts” we completed between these two runs was working in the yard.

The fire pit was dug and the crushed gravel added to the base before installing the bricks.
The fire pit was dug and the crushed gravel was added to the base before installing the bricks.
The fire pit installation in progress...
The fire pit installation in progress…
The fire pit is installed and we started to install the crushed gravel around the fire pit in the patio area.
The fire pit is installed and we started to install the crushed gravel around the fire pit in the patio area.

I am ready to get back to my workouts and prepare for my upcoming marathon…only 6 weeks away 🙂

Back to School Routines…

I am very much a type A person.  It is no secret I like things my way…done in a certain order, following a schedule, being consistent, being efficient, etc…  Don’t get me wrong, I can be flexible and change directions when needed.  As a matter of fact, being an 8th grade science teacher, I often have to be flexible and change directions many times throughout any given day.

Having the summer months “off” is one of the perks of being a teacher.  For me, the summer can sometimes throw me for a loop…the absence of a set schedule, the inconsistencies that can be present and not having to be efficient when doing certain tasks…

Back to school

Heading back to school will allow me to have order to my life again…following a schedule, being consistent and efficient and early morning workouts are the BEST!!

Customized Coaching

While writing a recent post thanking my coach, it got me thinking about customized coaching and why I highly recommend it for any athlete.

There are a variety of training plans available for people to use or refer to while training for races of many different distances.  When I first started training, I used a variety of these training plans, pulling bits and pieces from each, to help me reach my goals.  After doing this for about 6 years, I felt like my training and racing had plateaued.  I decided it was time to take my training and racing to the next level…so I hired Coach Julie with Zoom Performance Endurance Coaching to help me.

Zoom Orb

I have found many advantages to have a customized coach:

  1. My customized training plan is designed for my physiology, my goals, my schedule and where I am at mentally.  If changes need to be made due to schedule conflicts or injuries (on those rare occasions), it happens seamlessly.
  2. My workouts are designed with a purpose in mind…I’m not just doing a workout for the sake of completing it.  Instead, I am trying to achieve a certain goal/purpose to help better prepare me for my race day.
  3. I am held accountable to someone instead of to a training plan that has been designed for the average athlete.  Without someone holding me accountable, it is much easier to skip a workout with little guilt.
  4. I am paying Coach Julie.  Some people would see this as a disadvantage, but for me it is a definite advantage…by paying for her coaching services and knowledge, I am often reminded of the need to complete my workouts to the best of my abilities so that I truly get what I am paying for.
  5. It requires me to be dedicated and complete my workouts as prescribed.
  6. My training zones have been established for me to use during my training workouts.  Power output can also easily be established (now if I just had some extra money laying around for a power meter on my bike…hmmm).
  7. Coach Julie has helped me develop my strengths…swimming and running
  8. She has also helped me improve my weaknesses…cycling and mental toughness
  9. She has helped me find my limits and push past them to become a stronger, faster athlete.  As a result, I have passed through that plateau and I am seeing improvements in my training and racing 🙂
  10. Having a customized coach is the right thing to do.  When it comes to race day execution, the customized coaching has never let me down.

There are probably many other reasons that I have forgotten to mention, but the most important point…EVERY ATHLETE should hire a knowledgable and reputable coach to customize their training plan and help them meet their goals!!

The Taper Demon has Reared its UGLY Head

Monday, May 27th was my last big workout before the taper for Ironman Kansas 70.3.  Tuesday I was ready for the taper and was excited to have minimal workouts for the day.  I knew I my gratitude for having made it to the taper would be short lived and the taper demon would show up, but I didn’t expect it to show up on day #2 of the taper.

Wednesday, May 29th I was scheduled to do an open water swim (that was my only workout for the day).  When the ridiculous Central Iowa weather continued to pound on us, I knew I wouldn’t be swimming outdoors and that taper demon didn’t just show up, but it reared its ugly head!!

Taper Demon
Taper Demon

My husband even made the comment, “I can tell you are tapering and you weren’t very happy about not being able to complete your open water swim.”

Thursday evening (May 30th) we had a lot of the local runners who have been training for the Dam to Dam race (mostly for the 20K distance) over to our house for a pasta feed, so I didn’t get a workout in on Thursday…the Taper Demon became a little bit uglier.

Saturday morning (June 1) we went down to the Dam to Dam race and I finally got some workouts in throughout the day…My Reverse Triathlon Post

This helped calm the Taper Demon a bit 🙂

This week the Taper Demon has reared its ugly head even higher…not only am I tapering, but today was my last day of school for the summer.  As a middle school science teacher, this means lately I’ve been focusing on finalizing grades and getting my classroom ready for summer, which means putting everything away…including all wall coverings and bulletin board decorations…since there are different summer school classes in my classroom throughout the next couple of months.  I look forward to the summer months when I can relax, train for events, recharge my batteries and spend quality time with family and friends…although the current June weather feels more like April in Central Iowa.

I can definitely tell that I am tapering and the lack of physical exercise is affecting my attitude…I feel sluggish, lazy, weak, etc…typical taper feelings.  I know that proper tapering will allow me to be physically ready for race day, so I am trying to focus even more on the mental training during these taper weeks.

I am definitely looking forward to my race this weekend…and getting the opportunity to Push My Limits!!

Ridiculous Central Iowa Weather

We have had some ridiculous weather in Central Iowa in the last couple of weeks that has not cooperated with my triathlon training.  A few weeks ago we had drought conditions, but that has quickly changed to flooding.  In the intermittent weeks, there were MANY windy days…Oh, the relentless wind.  Some people may not pay as much attention to the weather and scoff at the relentless wind, but as a triathlete, I enjoy the opportunity to get outside and complete my workouts safely.

When every bike ride I do pounds wind in my face, I have one of two choices…gain mental strength from the challenge I’m faced with or mentally break down.  I choose to accept the wind as a challenge that is going to make me stronger.  This relentless wind has helped me improve my physical strength and mental strength.  I have had to alter how I’ve completed some of my workouts due to the extreme weather, but that has only added to the mental strength I have gained.

Some of the more memorable Central Iowa weather days for me include the following:

Sunday, May 19, 2013:

I knew there were storms in the forecast for later in the day, so I got out early to complete my triple brick.  Those storms did eventually show up and boy was I glad to have my workout complete when they did!!

After part of the storm had pushed through the area.
After part of the storm had pushed through the area.

Saturday, May 25, 2013:

I was suppose to complete a dress rehearsal for my upcoming race, but I pushed it back to Sunday due to the severe weather.  Instead, I did Sunday’s workouts…swim in the pool and run on the treadmill.

Bad Weather 1

Sunday, May 26, 2013:

I had to go to the gym to swim in the pool for my race day dress rehearsal since there was thunder and lightening in the area.  I was hoping that the weather would clear up enough for me to ride outside while I was swimming indoors, but no such luck!!  😦  Instead I had to hook my bicycle up to the trainer in the basement and ride in my own head for 2 hours at race pace.  While I rode in the basement, the weather did clear up enough for me to complete my dress rehearsal with an outdoor run.  I ran for one hour at an average pace of 8:42…I felt really good and strong 🙂  This was a huge mental boost for race day!!

The weather over the weekend did lead to some flooding in Ames…so much for that drought from a couple of weeks ago!!

Flood Waters
Flood Waters

Wednesday, May 30, 2013:

I was suppose to swim outdoors after work, but due to severe storms, I was unable to do my open water swim. 😦

Bad Weather 2I am hoping that this ridiculous weather is nearing an end and that I have near perfect conditions for race day!!

Workouts in Review for May 13-19, 2013

I decided to try something different to represent my workouts this week.  Last week I went picture style…this week…well take a look for yourself!!

Monday swim at 5 am
Monday swim at 5 am
Monday Bike Ride at 5 pm
Monday Bike Ride at 5 pm
Tuesday Strength Training at 4:30 am
Tuesday Strength Training at 4:30 am
Tuesday's 5:30 pm Run...This was a HOT, WINDY Run!!
Tuesday’s 5:30 pm Run…This was a HOT, WINDY Run!!
Wednesday's 5 am 2200 yard Swim
Wednesday’s 5 am 2200 yard Swim
Wednesday's Bike Ride at 3:30 pm...This was a PR at 17.4 mph for an average over the nearly 38 miles I rode :)
Wednesday’s Bike Ride at 3:30 pm…This was a PR at 17.4 mph for an average over the nearly 38 miles I rode 🙂
Thursday morning at 4 am I ran with an amazing friend.  We had a great run with great conversations!!
Thursday morning at 4 am I ran with an amazing friend. We had a great run with great conversations!!
Thursday morning after the run I did some strength training for my arms and legs.  I then did the core workout after work at 3:30 pm.
Thursday morning after the run I did some strength training for my arms and legs. I then did the core workout after work at 3:30 pm.
Saturday morning run at 5:00 am with AMAZING friends!!  Life doesn't get much better than this!!
Saturday morning run at 5:00 am with AMAZING friends!! Life doesn’t get much better than this!!
Core Strengthening after Running Saturday morning
Core Strengthening after Running Saturday morning
Sunday's Brick was mentally and physically challenging, but a GREAT workout that I conquered!!
Sunday’s Brick was mentally and physically challenging, but a GREAT workout that I conquered!!

This was a VERY successful week for me…I’m very happy with my performance on all of my workouts this week!!