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Saturday, December 29, 2007

How Badly Do You Want It?

You can't get anything for free. You have to work hard for it. Hard is a relative term- how do you define "hard"? Hard is when you are not looking forward to something because it puts you in a position of discomfort. It is uncomfortable because it hurts. And, when it hurts, your body gets stronger- it learns to push through the hurt until it (not you) decides it is enough. This pain is not free. It comes with the price- the effort for you to put forth to exceed and get stronger. To feel better. To look better. It is not going to be easy. In fact, there will be days that you will stop before you start and say, "why am I doing this?". It is at this moment that you remember a workout that you have done in the past that made you feel like a million bucks. You got done with the effort and thought, "damn I am strong." Take yourself back to that moment and find your inner strength to try it again. You won't fail. What is the worst that can happen? You get tired and have to stop? Don't fear pain. Don't fear hurt. Don't fear effort. You can do it. How badly do you want it?

Now, get working. It is a New Year...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Xterra Crystal Cove Race Report

December 16th, 2007- Xterra Crystal Cove 15K Trail Run
Woke up at 5am on Sunday to drive down to Laguna to do my first off-season run. Usually, I do a few half marathons and/or 10Ks to break up the monotony of training in the off-season, while staying focused and competitive. There is nothing I love more than racing. I could race all the time and skip the training. It is so much fun!

So, of course I drive down by myself. No traffic- 1.5 hours, not too bad. Weather was absolutely beautiful. Clear, and brisk. I had tights on- which I feared would be too warm by the start of the race. But, it was only 50 degrees at the start, so no problem. I could keep the tights on- but, I did ditch my long sleeve shirt and just wear my running vest.

There were 250 runners total doing the 15K. I was looking around at most of the women, and there were come competitive ladies out there. I was unsure how I was going to do, as I haven't tested my speed too much lately. My legs were feeling fresh, but I had just ran a 7 mile "pace" run with an unsuspecting marathon runner the day before. I just couldn't let him run the last 7 miles of his 16 mile training run alone, so I did 4 more miles than I had planned. But, at least I felt good about helping him :)

I started at the front of the line before the race. The Xterra official started the race from his electronic megaphone and most people took off like a bat out of hell. I knew that we were going to climb 700+ feet in the first 3/4 of a mile, so I was a bit conservative. I didn't walk any of the climbs- which I was surprised about seeing as though many people at the start of the race were in freak mode about the elevation. I just set those worries aside and ran...

I knew that the first 6 miles were going to be majority climbing, and then after that, I would use as much free speed as I could and run my heart out to the bottom. I had the same 2-3 guys around me the entire time. I didn't see any other women, but I knew Pro Triathlete Heather Fuhr was in the lead- at least for the women- possibly the entire race. I was running at about 85% of my comfort zone, hoping to get to mile 6 and feel super fresh.

I hit mile 6, taking a rinse of Gatorade at every 3-mile stop, and I felt great. Not even tuckered out. So, I picked up the pace a bit, and stayed right on the heels of this young guy ahead of me. I glanced at my watch and saw that we were making really good time. I was figuring that we were sub 8-min/mile pace, but not sure just how "sub." A guy that knew the course was running by me at mile 6.5 or so, and I had asked what was coming up ahead, and he said just a couple more steep climbs, but then all downhill from there. I trusted him.

He was right. And, I still felt good. Still didn't see any women, so I just followed my pacer right through to the last few miles. Ran a bit conservatively on the downhills through miles 8-9.5, which was a good idea. I mean, c'mon: I am a city girl who mostly runs on the city streets of the SCV. I can't be rolling an ankle...(even though that is really why I wanted to run this race- I like the challenge of staying on my feet while running fast downhill..)

So, I was doing well, saw the finish, and ran hard through the end- saw my finish time, and I posted a 1:15:45. That was about a 7:45/mile pace for the run. Not sure how I finished in the standings, but thought I would stick around for the results. I ended up finishing 3rd Woman Overall- 2nd in my AG (the 2nd overall girl was in my AG- 1st was Heather).

At the end of the day, I was pretty excited about the results and definitely had fun. I enjoyed meeting some new friend and fellow Xterra peeps. I would look into doing another one soon!

Happy trails to you...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

5 Quickies in Under 30 Mins

So, it is almost time for you to get in the pool again after you have been hibernating all Fall after the end of tri season. BUT, you don't necessarily have enough time (or motivation :) yet to do an 1-1.5 hour Master's Swim Workout. Don't skip your workout- instead, take advantage of what time you do have and try these workouts for a quick 30 mins swim workout.

*Warm-Up: Your warmup for all 5 of these workouts can be as follows:

200 yd Swim (mix drill w/swim)
200 yd Kick
200 yd Pull
100 yd Swim
100 yd Kick
100 yd Pull
Total Warm-Up Yds: 900

Main Set #1: 1250 yds

10 x 50s
5 x 100s
10 x 25s

Main Set #2: 1200 yds

4 x 300s (each 300- split up into stroke- do the middle 100 as an IM). Each 300 should be descending.

Main Set #3: (1500 yds)

1 x 500 Swim
1 x 400 (pull)
1 x 300 IM Stroke Order
1 x 200 (pull)
1 x 100 Fast

Main Set #4: (1250 yds)

50 x 25s (Odds are sprint/Evens are recovery)

Main Set #5:

10 x 50s (evens= pull/ odds= kick)
5 x 100s (Descending- sprint the 3rd 25 yd)
20 x 25s (Every 5- Kick/Pull)

*Cool Down: 200 yds

Have a Great Workout!

Monday, December 10, 2007

C'mon Baby Light Your Fire...

If you are anything like 95% of every other person out there, you consume more food in the last 1/2 of your day than the 1st half- correct? I mean, who eats a huge breakfast, a good sized lunch, and a tiny dinner- with some smaller snacks throughout the day (if that). Well, if we don't get enough food throughout the day, on a consistent basis, (enough food= clean, healthy food), we lose energy, our metabolism slows down, and we store fat. That is how our bodies work- who wants that?

So, if it is the winter time, and you are not feeling hungry, or craving the wrong foods- snap out of it. I never use weather or the time of year (i.e. Thanksgiving/Xmas) as an excuse to eat poorly, or to eat more carbs, or to drink more alcohol. Not good.

So, if analogies help you out, you can think of your metabolism as a campfire. For a good campfire (your metabolism) to burn, you need to constantly be stoking it with new logs (food). As the logs go on, the fire burns strong and bright. If you didn't stoke the fire, the fire would slowly burn out and then, as you notice the fire about to burn out (your hunger overtakes you), you dump on a bunch of logs (eat a HUGE, non-nutritious meal) and then the fire goes out. This is what most of people do- they put their own fire out. You want to keep stoking your fire!

So, no excuses. You have time to plan your weeks meals/snacks. So, 6 meals a day- roughly 300-400 calories each, keep your protein high (at least 1 g/lb body weight), and watch your sugars and processed foods. You will be golden!

Have a great workout today!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Get Buddy-Buddy


You know why the business I am in is worth doing? Well, for more than one reason- more than just the "I help to change our client's lives for the better" each day they are in the gym. More than just the fact that we, as coaches, are the best part of our client's day, every day. More than just the fact that it couldn't be more rewarding than to help people get "fit" and healthy. It is a great job, and I am blessed that I am healthy enough to do it and be a great role model to them. However, what sometimes gets overlooked is that many clients, whether or not they believe it, are actually each other's best motivators. This is a workout buddy of mine, Julie, to the right.

Each day, I overhear others in the gym say things like:

1. Wow, she is really looking good
2. I will come in and do an extra workout if SHE does
3. I want to lift as much as she does
4. I have been eating healthier becuase I learned a trick from so-and-so
5. I want to workout during this hour because this is when "she/he" will be here

These are all different ways in which people are motivated- whether it be extrinsically (influenced by outside sources) or intrinsically (can motivate oneself), it would be great to figure out what works for you. If it means meeting up with a fellow gym member for a walk in the afternoon, or getting up early to meet at the gym to do some extra cardio, do it. Not only are you going to be holding yourself accountable, but you have another person that is counting on you as well (and vice-versa). It is pretty cool when you find a buddy to work with, helping to meet each other's goals.

Have a great reason for getting fit today and JUST DO IT! You will always feel better after you are done.

Monday, December 3, 2007

You still want to feel cold...

I lived in a very cold climate (Fargo/Bismarck, North Dakota) for about 5 years and ran in the Fall/Winter/Spring (yes, all 3 VERY cold seasons) outdoors during my time there. It is possible to do that if you are smart about what you wear. As these Winter months begin, don't feel like you can't enjoy the outdoors and get stuck on your treadmill until April. Follow some of these tips for fun winter training.

1. Don't Overdress: The worst thing you can do is wear too much. You want to walk outside and still feel a bit "cool." If you step outside, ready to run, and you are warm- you will be too warm on your run. This is always a good rule of thumb.

2. Wear Mittens, Not Gloves: You want your entire hand to be able to collapse and your fingers to touch. That is going to allow for more bloodflow and your hands wont get too cold.

3. Proper head coverage is a must!: Get a nice beanie or even balaclava (depending on the temp- I had to wear one of those once it gets below -10degreesF or so) that wicks moisture away, but that covers your ears as well. You want your head to be protected.

4. Wear Sunglasses: The windchill can be pretty nasty when it is cold. Take the time to protect your eyes as well. That will also help keep your eyelashes from getting frozen together.

HAVE FUN TRAINING! Don't let the cold stand in your way!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Stay Healthy During Holidays!

1. Wash Hands- Can't be said enough! Take the time to wash your hands during this season as many times during the day because with more people sick, the higher the chances of spreading germs!

2. Don't Overtrain- If your immune system is already "down," the last thing you want to do is kick it down even further by working out too hard. If you are not feeling the best, take a few days off. It is not worth it to make it worse by continuing your training.

3. Stay Home- Don't come to work to further infect others around you if you are not feeling like yourself. That is just a way for germs to spread quickly and through as many different places as possible- stay home, get better and keep germs away from your peeps.

4. Take Your Supplements- When you are sick, you are probably not very hungry. So, when you are not getting in your necessary nutrients, you need to think smart and take in your vites via a multi, Omega 3s, or protein powder. Don't neglect your diet just because you are not hungry.

5. Eat Healthy!-AND, when you are eating, you need to eat healthy- lots of fruits, veggies, and NO FAST FOOD! Resist the urge to grab something quickly just because you are too tired to cook a healthy meal. Take the tie and make yourself something good to eat!

Monday, November 12, 2007

One More Day...

I was thinking the other day as I was working out that what we are doing, in fact, by exercising on a regular basis is buying ourselves another day of life. For each day you work out, you can add 1 more day onto your lifetime. I am not sure exactly how much of this is factual, as it has never been scientifically proven that I know of. But, it makes a lot of sense to me.

I don't' know how many times I train people during the day and they leave a lot happier than they walked in. I mean, rarely is the client on an early Monday morning super excited to jump on the treadmill and warm up. I try my best to motivate them, but all-in-all, it is truly up to the individual to buy-in to the workout and get excited. So, I started encouraging by reminding them about "One More Day..." and they seem to understand and get inspired by that.

So, next time you think that you don't want to run, or be in the gym, or swim those 50 laps in the pool- remember what you are doing. You are making an investment today for your future in health- and in an extended life. Have a great workout!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Train Movements, Not Muscles

I get asked a lot how I train in the gym for triathlon- or, more specifically, what makes up my strength training program. People say that I am very athletic and strong looking and that I have awesome muscular legs and arms. I say "thank you" and tell them that my genetics are good. The, I proceed to tell them that I don't lift to get this way- in fact, when I am in the gym, I am not focused on my muscles so much as I am in my movements. You see, much of what triathlon is composed of as a sport is a combination of fast/slow-twitch movements on unstable surfaces in all different planes of motion- not to mention, in many dynamic environments. So, one has to take that into consideration when planning their triathlon-specific strength training program. Don't get me wrong- I do train my lower body specifically to gain and maintain my strength for all 3 disciplines- squats and deadlifts being the greatest of exercises for power and speed gains for me in this off-season. But, I more or less think of these 5 specific components as being the most important for a Triathlon Strength program.

1. Get Moving: You want to keep your movements dynamic in order to allow for your multiple muscle systems to become engaged and therefore create powerful movement and strength.
2. Environmentally Conscious: You want to train in an environment that is most closely similar to the one in which you compete. That way, your CNS (central nervous system) has to work that much harder in order to keep you upright and balanced.
3. Work It 3-Ways: Our bodies move front to back, side to side, and diagonally (twisting). You want to perform motions in all 3 planes because swimming, cycling and running are done that way.
4. Have a Goal: Know where your weakest and what should be trained first. If you can focus on that within your program as a whole, you will get stronger- train with the end in mind.
5. Progress Yourself: If you have to start with a movement that is easy to the eye, yet a lot harder to do once you try it, don't be discouraged. Know that in order for you to get stronger, you want to focus on easy movements first, and progress accordingly. Never get stuck in a comfort zone and let something get too easy. If it is too easy, you are probably doing something wrong.

Happy Training!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I'm Addicted to FAKE Sugar

About a month ago, I was going into Starbucks every morning and getting a Venti, Red Eye (drip with an extra shot of expresso), adding half-half and 3 Splenda. That is how I started my day. Let me just say- lots of caffeine and artificial chemicals, sure to make me feel "awake"- or so I thought. Then, for morning snack, I would make a protein shake. Not a bad choice if I wanted to lose fat, but once again, packed with artificial sweetener. Then, for lunch, I would head to Subway to have a healthy turkey wrap and, then, a Diet Coke (artificial). Or, I would go to Starbucks again and have an Iced Green Tea for a drink and throw some Sweet N'Low in it for extra sweetness. This type of behavior would go on and on, and by the end of the day, I probably had close to 10-12 servings of FAKE sugar. There have been several studies done on the ill-effects of fake sugar, which is now available in so many forms. I mean- you have to have 3 choices at Starbucks: Equal, Sweet N'Low, and then the newest, Splenda.

Since being off of this for the last 10 days (well, I am not going to lie- I have had maybe 2 servings a day, but most days- not nearly as much as I was taking in). I am thinking that if you can ration your total sugar intake (real sugar) to any extent, that is GREAT. Sugar can wreak havoc on your diet, not to mention your waistline. But, if you do decide to use some artifical sweetener in your food, just watch how much you are taking in. And- perhaps thinking about taking it out of your diet completely. And, just see how much better you will feel. Take the NO-FAKE challenge.

Have a WONDERFUL day!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Please, Train Harder

I am coaching a Nutrition Class at my gym and this week's topic focuses more on how to fine-tune your already planned menu. Most of the clients I have coached thus far have developed their personal meal plans, complete with total servings of each fat, carbs, and protein per meal, for both workout and non-workout days. But, now- if you have reached the point where you are not seeing results or losing any weight, we need to change it up a bit. How are we going to do it? Well, there are 2 ways.

Basically, to create the calorie deficit needed to lose weight, you need to burn more than you eat. You can do this by either cutting your calories or moving more. And, most people opt for the former. That can be where most people go wrong.

Most people in the US are overweight because they are really good at starving themselves. It is sometimes easy to simply cut your calories because, then, you don't have to exercise anymore. I know lots of people that have lost weight by not exercising, simply by cutting calories. And, that might work for a little bit. However, if you don't learn how to workout that one extra day a week, or workout with the kind of intensity that I do- :) - then you can pretty much guarantee that you will keep those extra pounds on.

So, when forced with the choice for how to adjust your diet plan- keep eating healthy foods and decide to give it that little extra (or LOTS extra) in the gym. One more note: don't think for one second that just because you worked your ass off at the gym today that you can go ahead and eat whatever you want tonight. To keep the deficit working, you must continue to keep you calorie intake constant, while increasing your energy expenditure.

Have fun and train hard!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

If the air quality is THAT shitty...

Ok, well you know that L.A. has been burning for the last week. Southern California is a smoke-filled haze that is full of particles that will just eat out away at the Filia in your lungs. (By the way, my condolences to all who have been affected by the fires and/or lost homes- it is a serious tragedy that this region of the country has gone through. Also, mad props to all my fireman friends who are working their tails off, even outside of their jurisdictions to fight these blazes).

I was just thinking today (just got back from a 9 mile run) that everyone now knows what it must be like to be a smoker. That is why I am imagining this feeling like: a one-pack-a-day-smoker. Not good. BUT, I am not diggin running on a treadmill for any more than 1 hour. So, that is my rationale for venturing out today. Don't do it, though.

Anyway, the 5K Team met this morning at my gym, bright-eyed and ready to run. They thought they were going to run outside for one last weekend before the big race- the Santa Clarita 5K on November 4th. However, many of the outdoor activities have been cancelled for this weekend because the air quality is seriously very poor and many people who already have problems breathing (asthmatics especially) should not be exerting themselves outdoors. SO, instead, we set up a mini circuit course inside the gym.

We set up the speed ladder on the ground and made laps around our gym, going quick speed steps, agility drills, and plyometrics through the rungs on the ladder for 10 minutes. They, we sent the 3 groups through a 1:1 (30 secs on/ 30 secs off) circuit of Kettelbell Swings, Powersteps, and Medball throws. In the course of 30 minutes, the entire team was energized and having a blast. Sorry to say that most were more excited about this day than they were just running for 30-40 minutes. I think it was just a change of pace and that is why they were stoked- because we definitely could make the cardio circuit much harder next time :) Then, we will see if they would rather NOT run.

Basically, if you can't take your workout outside, make it fun inside. It just takes a little room, a bit of planning, and 2 awesome strength coaches (E and Mike) to make 1 morning at the gym a blast. Don't make excuses for why you can't get your arse to the gym. You can always find a way to get better- every day.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Are you Eating Enough?

A common problem with people who are trying to lose weight is that they are actually not eating ENOUGH. That is right- they are actually starving their bodies. With this deprivation of calories, you are actually teaching your body to store that extra fat as energy because it knows you are not feeding it enough. If you eat smaller meals throughout the day (with 2-3 hours in between feeding periods), your body is learning to burn calories consistently and, thus, increasing your metabolism.

My boss and mentor, Rachel Cosgrove, told me an analogy once that has stuck with me and it is something that I recite to my clients. Think of your metabolism as a campfire and with each meal you eat, think of it as a log that you are putting on the fire to stoke it. The fire will keep burning if you put a log on it once every 2-3 hours; but, if the fire burns, yet you don't put a log on until it absolutely is about to burn out, and then decide to dump a bunch of logs on the fire, then the fire is going to go out.

That latter situation is what most people usually do- starve themselves all day until dinner and then eat as much as possible because you are so hungry, anything goes. For this week, try stoking your fire 5-6 times a day and keep your "burn up." This week, focus on nutrition: don't forget to eat enough and don't starve yourself!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Best Compliment Ever...

So, Wednesday nights are my night to train my high school volleyball players. I usually go into practice pretty energized, but today I had had a tiring day at work, plus I had been a bit under the weather this weekend. So, I still didn't feel like myself. Needless to say, I still was looking forward to coaching because I love it. I absolutely love it.

I coached 5 different players tonight in 3.5 hours. All different levels, and all different positions. Not to mention, all different demeanors. My last player that I worked with is a Junior at a neighboring high school. (Not Saugus, my Alma mater- but a rival high school). Her name is Katelyn. She is a special player because she doesn't know how good she is. She is calm, and very "together." She has a very quick arm swing and she is extremely coachable. Did I mention that she is quiet? Yes, she is nothing like me as a player. And, I love that. We would work very well together on the same team.

Well, tonight, she told me that her coach pulled her aside at practice and asked her how much she had been working in her 'off' time, with her coach- Erika. She said, well, twice. And he said to her that he has really noticed a difference. How cool is that? Her setter also told her that she has noticed how good she is, and a head club coach in the area also noticed her at a clinic this past weekend. I was very excited to hear this, and so was she. I told her that she could be a little less humble- she laughed.

I left practices tonight with a whole different attitude. These girls are truly energizing and I know how good they are getting- I just know that confidence for them will come when they hear comments like Katelyn heard from the people that matter- coaches and fellow players. It's just nice to know that this resource that I am providing for these girls (it is all their hard work that truly makes the difference) is creating a positive atmosphere for them.

So, my lesson to take away from tonight.

“You get the best effort from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within.” - Bob Nelson.

Keep Motivating!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mark Allen Gives "Strength Training" a Thumbs Up

A recent article that Slowtwitch (, a popular triathlon website, did with Mark Allen validates that even triathletes (good ones at that) feel that lifting weights is important- especially as we age. Slowtwitch asks Allen:

ST: You looking fit and healthy, what do you do to stay in shape?

Mark: Surf, run and lift weights. So I still have my three workouts or sports but the emphasis is different. I live two blocks from one of the main breaks in Santa Cruz and can go out most days of the week. Running is my backup because it is so easy to do anywhere, anytime. And the weights is something that I am realizing is more and more important as the years add up on my life scorecard.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Trail Mix It Up

Hey guys. So, you have ran on the roads and bike paths long enough. How about you get outside today and drive to your nearest off-road trail and mix it up. Not only is it a different workout for your body (burns more calories), but it will also provide you an exciting experience and probably get you sore in areas that you are not normally (calves, glutes) after a regular flat surface run. Before you do, however, I wanted to make you aware of some of the hidden dangers of setting off into unchartered territory. Check out these trail blazing tips.

1. Bring a Cell Phone: This is always a good idea when you are going to be off the main road. If you happen to fall, you might not be heard or seen if you call for help. Also, tell your friends or loved one where you are going to be and how long you might be gone for.

2. Feet Need Extra Protection: Perhaps you want to think about wearing a thicker sock, or an additional insole, in order to prevent some pain you might experience from running on uneven ground. Thorlos brand of socks actually makes a sock that is specific to trail running.

3. Lose the IPOD: Do I need to explain why? Ever run in nature with the birds chirping, the wind blowing through the tops of the pines, and the sun lighting the path in front of you? If you do this, sans music in your ears, you might find that your senses are heightened and you can actually relax more and have an overall more enjoyable running experience.

4. Watch the penetrability of your shoes: Get less meshy shoes if you can. If you are constantly getting little rocks and sand in your shoes, they are probably sneaking through the little orifices in your shoes. You can try the thicker socks and/or try some trail running shoes.

5. Just Relax: One of the things you might notice most after you do your first trail run is that your shoulders are tight the next day. Why is that? Well, because you are running tentatively because of the uneven footing and/or because you are nervous. CHILL OUT! You want to stay as relaxed as possible and let your body take you where you want to go.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Competition is Dying

I have thought twice already tonight about blogging about this, but I have decided to go for it. I have not been known too often to watch what I say when I feel passionately about something, so here it goes.

I was speaking with a dear friend of mine today- probably one of the best competitors of his time. Not because he has won several triathlons, but because he embodies the total definition of a competitor. I believe that he would compete with you in pretty much anything- if you challenged him to a game of "let's see who could change the channel on the TV faster," he would do it and kick your ass doing it. He is a man after my own heart, and I admire him for that.

I, myself, am also a true competitor. One of the best coaches that I have ever had the pleasure of actually working under always said to practice competing in everything you do. Competition has the connotation sometimes of being some type of "negative" or "unfair" action that can get unfriendly, or potentially harmful, to the opponent who happens to lose. If you are not a sore loser, this is not generally the case. But, in most of my cases, I have not felt a loser. A true competitor always feels a sense of winning and is raring to try again.

A terrible event in running history went down this last weekend as many people know- a man died during one of the most famous marathons in this country- the Chicago Marathon. It was pretty hot- 89 degrees, terribly humid, which made for a grueling race. Fairly unseasonable weather-wise, but still- a race. A race in which everyone should have prepared- no matter the conditions. Herein lies my problem about this blog. I DON'T WANT TO SEEM UNSENSITIVE TO THIS MAN WHO HAS PASSED. I truly feel for him and his family/friends. But...

Sport these days has become very politically correct. There are already several lawyers ready to take this case to court and say that this marathon should not have been run on this day because of the conditions. Now- mind you- the race directors, trying to make just a few bucks, let in close to 40,000 people into this marathon. Yes, that many people. Odds are that if you take 40,000 people in a day and put money on it that 1 person in the group might die that day, I bet it could just happen- I mean, what are the odds? The man that died ended up (they have found) having a hereditary heart problem. Could have been exacerbated by the run, but still...

Back to the 40,000 people they let in. Now, several people sign up to compete in what they consider their 1st and last Marathon, just to say that they have done it. Not many people even run a sub 4-hour marathon anymore- people are doing it just to complete it. Good for them- I say. Honestly, good for them. But, what happened to those days where a 3:15 or 3:30 would be a goal time- at least for a woman in my AG. Pretty sure that the women who ran the LA Marathon this last year (seeing that they only had about 9 women pros race) were not nearly as competitive as they were even 10 years ago.

Now, I speak from experience. I did my first Marathon on May 14th, 2003. The Innagural Fargo North Dakota Marathon. Yes, Fargo. I got there on May 13th, 56 degrees and sunny. Beautiful. Woke up the next morning- 20 degrees F and snow on the ground. Wind chills reaching ZERO degrees. No cancelling of the race. A few people with hypothermia, but I adjusted my pace for the conditions and ran my race. Know your capabilities. I still ran a sub 3:50 in sub-zero temps in sub-perfect conditions. I was smart. I ran my race. I was trained. I am an athlete.

Kona- the Championship of Triathlon- has temps that surpass this 89 degrees every year. I mean, crazy humid and hot as hell. An Ironman distance- not just a marathon. Not to mention the winds...300 people will visit the med tent this weekend, out of only 1500 that are allowed to race (yes, you actually have to qualify for Kona). 300 out of 40,000 marathon runners in Chicago- 1 death- not too bad, considering the odds. (once again, not being insensitive, just stating the facts).

Swims get cancelled all the time now if the waves get above 3 feet or if the current is too strong. What happened to the days where it was, "finish the swim, or you can't race". No cancelling swims, "back in the day" (early-mid '80s..even into the 90s I am sure). I mean, I want fair competition. I don't want a cancelled swim. I don't care how cold the water is. Get in and swim, you wuss. Prepare for the worst during your training. Take personal responsibility.

People are so damn sensitive these days and feel a need to be absolutely politically correct. Everyone has a lawyer to protect them in the case that they are not taken care of correctly, regardless of how much they have prepared or trained. Watch out, race directors. In your quest to make a few bucks in a race you are letting in a wave of peeps who want nothing more to rip you a new one had you created a poor race experience for them. I read a quote once that went something like this..."If you can please a triathlete, you have got it made." That is the case- thank God I am not that anal.

Whew, that felt good.

Now, if you are racing to finish a race, and that is your goal, congratulations. I am seriously happy for you. But, as you race more and get better, your confidence will increase and that spark of competitive edge might come to the surface. Embrace it, for I fear that the expectations for the athletes of today are becoming lower simply because we have to round down to the lowest common denominator. Don't be that LCD. Compete because you want do to well- do more than just finish. And, don't get mad when the weather is not as you wanted or expected. After all, races are not perfect and neither are you.

Shut up and Race!

Have a great week,
Coach E

Friday, October 5, 2007

Put "I" First

Ever thought of taking personal responsibility to make your day a GREAT ONE? Yeah, imagine that- YOU are in control of how your attitude is for the day. Who would have thought? So, the next time you look to external causes for why you didn't perform the way you wanted to in the race, or why you didn't make it practice that day, or why you didn't get the proper recovery nutrition in and thus didn't have the energy to be the best you could be- look inside yourself and find your own control of your actions. Believe that you can make yourself better.

Have a Great Weekend!

Taken from "THE GIFT OF LOVE"- by Dan Baker






Wednesday, October 3, 2007

If I Wasn't a Triathlete, I would play...

I really miss playing volleyball. Having played since 6th grade, and have coached since 2001, I realize how much I love the game. I still keep myself pretty involved by giving private lessons to high school players in the Santa Clarita Valley. I absolutely am energized by these girls that I get to work with as they possess that same passion that I had when I played. Now, I was a setter- which means that I set up the hitters for each play as they either swung outside, middle, or rightside. As a setter, you run the offense- essentially, you are the "quarterback" of the team. So, you get to know all of the positions really well. As a coach, that is a major benefit to me. At this current time, I am working with about 8 girls on a regular basis. 3 setters, 3 outside hitters, 1 rightside hitter, and 1 middle. I am pretty stoked about training all of them, as they all are very good competitors and good students. That helps a lot because usually with good grades comes a strong work ethic and that is always so great as a coach working one-on-one with a player. Tomorrow night, I get to go to the actual high school games so I can watch my players play in a game situation. It should be exciting! Anyway, just thought I would restate how much I miss the game and I look forward to playing more in the off-season. If I ever get out of tris, I will make it to the AVP :)

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Have a Goal Snowball

If you are anything like me, you have GOALS. But, what exactly does having goals entail? Most times, we have goals an they are saved up in our memory and not clearly visible or revised or, at times, even defined. I have recently learned of a new way to think about the goal reaching progress, which might help you to learn how to pick away at the things that might be holding you back from your long term goal.

If you think about your big goal as a series of smaller goals to tackle on your way to the big goal, you are in effect, working on your goal snowball. Here is a process for you to put into practice this week. Think of 5 things you want to accomplish- things meaning behaviors or habits that you want to zero in on making better or changing. You can think of them in the training sense, or nutritional sense, or even in the sense of your lifestyle. After all, if you are not happy, you will not feel good, and as a result, not look good. Follow these 5 steps to reaching your goals and pretty soon, you're on your way to one giant attainable snowball.

Check it out:

1) Think of five or six behaviors you need to improve or change to reach your physique or performance goals.

2) List these things and put the easiest attainable goal at top.

3) "Maintain" all your other goals and focus your attention on the easiest behavior/habit first.

4) Once that change has been made you can move up to the next item on your list and focus your efforts on that one- then, repeat steps 1-4.

5) Pretty soon, all of your changes and/or goals will have been met.

Basically, think BIG PICTURE, but also keep in mind that it takes baby steps to get there.

Monday, October 1, 2007


I am in the middle of completing an assignment regarding a case study of a cyclist who's goal is to get FASTER. An all-too-common goal for all of us triathletes, I was reading up on what some of the experts were saying and I came across the TESTA TEST- written by Max Testa, who is one of the most famous cycling coaches, most recently, aiding Levi Leipheimer in getting faster for the TDF, as well as having helped coach some of the first pro cycling teams (Team 7-Eleven) back in the day. Testa basically established the theory that the strongest cyclist is the one who can climb in the biggest gear, at the highest cadence, for the longest period of time. Sound familiar, Lance Armstrong? Al Lyman (bio below) published the TESTA TEST, and I wanted to post it today on my blog. Something for us to try in the off-season to see where we are all at when it comes to power output.

Coach Al Lyman, CSCS, is certified with USA Triathlon, the Triathlon Academy, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and is the founder of Pursuit Fitness ( In addition to coaching athletes of all levels in the U.S. and abroad, he is also a 8-time Ironman Triathlon Finisher (3-time Hawaii Finisher) with a 10:29 PR, and holds a 2:39 PR at the Boston Marathon.

The Testa Test for Finding Your Optimal Cycling Cadence
(The information below is taken from:

How do you determine what cadence is best for you?

There is one test for determining your optimal cadence created by Max Testa, that I believe is perfect for most of us to use as a reliable testing protocol and it also happens to be a great way to find out what your strengths and weaknesses are on the bike, i.e. whether you need further development in strength vs. aerobic conditioning.

Testing Your Cadence With Hill Repeats (The Testa Test)

One of the best ways to experiment with different cadences is when you are in the middle of doing “hill repeats” in a specific hill repeat session. Your body will tell you what style cadence works for you by the feedback you get as you hit maximum on your climbing repeat test (Testa Test). You must wear a Heart Rate Monitor in order to get accurate feedback. Also, you should pay attention to your body's reactions (HR, breathing, power meter, speed, perceived exertion, and INSTINCTS) during this test to get an accurate determination about what cadence style suits you best and you will have to repeat this test several times to get an accurate measure.

Testa describes one possible reaction as: "Do you shift to a lower gear and spin fast because if you go to a bigger gear and grind your legs, you’ll die? In that case, you need to be stronger."

Testa also describes,"But, if you use a smaller a gear and spin, and your breathing goes out of control, you need more cardiovascular development."

Optimal Cadence Testing Protocol (Testa Test)

On a day when you are well rested and feeling good, get on the bike and ride to warmup for at least 20-30', bringing your heart rate up into your zone 2.

While you warm up, ride toward a fairly steep hill (but not REALLY steep - about 6-10% on avg. will work great!), and do 3 x 3-4' HILL repeats, all while seated and all hard efforts, with an easy spin down recovery.

Important: Choose a gear and cadence for these repeats that feels most comfortable to you! It may be slower, or it may be faster. Choose your most preferable cadence, and then work it!! Since you are going to perform 3 repeats up the hill, be sure to pace yourself on the first, so that you can finish all three reps strong!, and then cooling down for the day.

On the second "repeat", you’ll be warmed up but hopefully not yet “toasted.” When you’re near the top or the end of the climb, push as hard as you can! Near the top, at the point where you begin to lose power and your pedal stroke gets ragged, shift to a harder gear and try to maintain the same speed. Pay attention to what happens (HR, speed, perceived exertion, etc.)

Then recover (4-5 min) with a light spin and prep for repeat 3...

On the third repeat, when the going gets tough, shift to an easier gear and try to spin at a higher cadence. Compare your feelings, sensations, and SPEED to the first and second repeat.
Done several times, this experiment should tell you whether you’re more efficient as a spinner or a grinder. It should also reveal if you need to work on leg strength and power or cardiovascular conditioning in order to become a better climber and cyclist.

Obviously, if you are training “with a power meter,” that can be an excellent way to gauge what’s happening. With the benefit of being able to see BOTH heart rate and watts, you can instantly tell which “way” is more efficient.

Keep in mind that this is only a representation of a test that you could do, over the course of a couple of different sessions, to hopefully see a pattern over time. Be patient, one will eventually emerge. If you’re listening closely to your body and feelings, you’ll find that cadence “sweet spot,” and you’ll be much more in tune with your body when racing.
Finding your cadence "sweet spot" takes practice and discipline. Be patient and LISTEN to your body!

Just one more reminder: all this talk about finding a cadence “sweet spot” doesn’t take away the fact that when it comes to cadence, you should nearly always err on the side of caution by turning an easier gear, rather than a larger one. This transfers stress to your cardiovascular system and saves the leg muscles from undue fatigue.

Thanks, Coach Al. All something we should pay closer attention to when thinking about developing max power on the bike. Don't forget about strength training in the gym in the off-season as well. More to come on that topic...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

So, what ARE good choices?

"You can tell me all you want about eating more healthy- eating 5, 6, 7 times a day, getting in your protein, eating fruits and veggies, taking all the right supplements. But, give me some examples?"

Makes sense. I would love to. Michael A. Roussell has written a book called NAKED NUTRITION. I highly recommend that you buy it, read it, and follow it. What I like about his take on nutrition is that there are no special diets or gimmicks involved. Much of what he says is common sense, but also, the advice he gives focuses on lifestyle changes. Functional stuff. Real-life solutions for us- the busy mom/dad who needs just a few tweaks in her/his nutritional plan to make a huge difference.

I thought I would list some foods within the 5 major food groups from you to choose from on a daily basis- with these tenets in mind- protein at every meal, veggies/fruits throughout the day, fats sparingly, and starches in the morning and/or around your workout. Check out Mike's list of naked foods:

Eggs/Egg Whites
Lean Ground Beef
Protein Powder
Cottage Cheese
Workout Drink

Brown Rice
Yams/Sweet Potatoes
Whole Grain Bread
Oat Bran
Corn Tortilla
Whole Wheat Tortilla

Summer Squash

Olive Oil
Flaxseed Oil
Coconut Oil
Cheddar Cheese
Feta Cheese

Now, get to planing and cooking. Take the time to think about your meals and start seeing yourself as the healthy-you. If you start eating these healthy foods- great tasting foods- your workouts are going to benefit from it as well. Eat good-feel good-look good.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sight in Mind- Visualize

Ever take the time to truly visualize? I mean, I tell my volleyball players that I coach all the time to visualize the serve coming to them, visualize the set, visualize the kill...but, what is VISUALIZATION, truly? My volleyball coach in college once asked:

When you visualize, do you see yourself performing the act that you are visualizing, or do you actually embody- and, or, are you the main character in your visualization? Are you acting, or sitting back and seeing yourself perform the action? I know that I am both. Sometimes, I see myself, or sometimes, I can actually feel myself going through the motions. No one way is better than the other. In fact, some people visualize somebody else, but give that "somebody" the actions that they hope to perform. Anyway you SEE it, here are some tips for step-by-step visualization, which help for your overall focus for any goal you may have.

FIRST...find a quiet place. Allow body to relax and practice calm breathing.

SECOND...close your eyes and visualize a circle. Imagine it getting smaller and smaller and then filling with a color as it is decreasing. Then, imagine another shape, getting smaller, in another color, until it disappears. Do this several times for at least 5-6 shapes.

THIRD...visualize your SETTING. Whether it be for sport, or for any other event in your life, see all the details of the setting- weather, people there, time of day- all details are important.

FOURTH...picture the other people there with you. Your competition. Visualize yourself performing the act that you are trying to accomplish. See the sweat come down your forehead, or feel the running shoes embrace your feet. Taste the gu in your mouth...ok, well, maybe not. But, you get the picture...

FIFTH...see yourself finishing, ending in great performance. Take a few deep breaths and then open your eyes.

The whole process can last at least 10 minutes, to as much as 20 or so. Take your time. That is something that not a lot of people do these days- and, you wonder, why rash decisions are made. Think before you act- see yourself as you always wish you did.

Act with sight in mind.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Joys of Soy

O.k., so I went to Starbucks this morning and thought that I would get something different than my usual Grande drip. My choice a couple years ago would be to have grabbed a Nonfat Latte. However, a couple of months ago, I decided to try Soy Milk for the first time- mostly because it is lower in carbs than a regular milk latte. I thought I would look into the health benefits of Soy Milk to see exactly what I was enjoying and here is what I found.

1. High in Protein
2. Higher in Fiber than cow's milk
3. High in isoflavones. (chemicals similar to the hormone, estrogen)
4. Not as much cholesterol as regular milk
5. Lower in carbohydrates than regular milk

1. Lower in Calcium (only 1/4 calcium of regular milk)
2. Higher in Fat than regular milk
3. Doesn't taste as good as regular milk (as some people would say)

So, give it a try if you want to change it up. I have had put it in my oatmeal, and have tried it in regular cereal as well. This morning, I had a Grande Sugar-Free Vanilla Soy Latte and it is wonderful. I should have added an extra espresso shot, but next time.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Like Running on Clouds

Have you trained for a long race, finished it, and then told yourself you were going to take a few weeks or month off after to let your body and mind recover? I have, and it seldom works. I have a serious problem just chilling out when it comes to taking recovery, especially since I am addicted to that endorphin buzz that a great run outside or a hard workout in the gym gives you. It has been exactly 2 weeks since Ironman Wisconsin and I feel great- both physically and mentally, despite the fact that I didn't take too much time completely "off.". I had 3 days totally off from doing any workouts, simply because I had a bit of a head cold and couldn't muster up the energy to do much except for take a 30 minute walk outside. But, this entire last week, I have started Afterburn II in the gym (an advanced fat burning program that Rach and I are going to hammer on for the next few months before we delve into prep for Oceanside) and I have also had some nice 'unplanned' runs that have gone pretty well as far as my recovery and how my legs have felt during them. That takes me to where I want to blog tonight.

Today, I woke up, had breakfast with a friend, and then decided to go for an hour run. I left my house, sans watch, and took my 7 mile, somewhat hilly loop that I haven't done since the Spring. The weather was unbelievable- crisp, sunny, and not too windy. Just perfect. I had done a trail run the day before and hammered the legs a bit, so honestly, I wasn't expecting to feel that fresh. But, as soon as I stepped out the door, my legs felt relaxed and I was in the zone. I kept a great pace the entire time- not too fast, not incredibly slow. I just let my shoulders relax, my breathing calm, and my head wander. I felt at peace, and it was almost as if I was running on clouds. Ever had that feeling?? It is a great one, and sometimes, you don't want to stop. And, the only reason I did was because I had plans in an hour. But, otherwise, I could have kept going for a few more miles...

I think that my fitness level is still "up" since the IM and, having said that, I believe that if I were to race, even a half-iron distance next week, that I would have a great race. The base that I had built up (if there is such a thing as "base") during my training for the IM has given me the endurance to have these longer, steady paced runs and rides (even if they are under 2 hours) feel really good still. So, the drop in intensity during the off-season will allow me to keep my volume high, and recovery even higher. And, hopefully, my runs will continue to feel this good as I enjoy the incredible Fall weather we are having right now going into the last week of September and into October.

Have a great week!

Friday, September 21, 2007

4 Killer Stability Exercises

Are you wanting to do something other than CRUNCHES after your daily run/swim/bike that you can do 3 times a week to strengthen your core and help your overall performance? Here are 4 core moves that can add both a new dimension to your post-workout routine and some excitement to your cool down. Check these out...

1. Side Plank with Single Leg Lift:
How to do it: Lay on the floor, supporting yourself up with one elbow. Lift yourself up in a push up position, where your body is completely off the floor except for your elbow and side of your foot. Your hips should be in line with your shoulders. You want to stabilize yourself in this position and then lift your top leg up about 5 inches, keeping your core as still and strong as possible. Hold the leg up for a count of five seconds, then drop it for a second, and then repeat. Do a total of 10 reps, each side. Perform 2 sets total.

2. Kneeling Superman with Opposite Arm/Leg Lift:
How to do it: Get on the ground, supporting yourself on your hands and knees. You want to keep your head staring at the ground, keeping your core tight, while lifting your opposite arm and leg completely so that they are parallel to the ground. You want to hold your arm and its opposite up, squeezing your core and booty tight, for 3 seconds each and then switch. Perform 12 reps each and keep your head neutral.

3 . Reverse Crunch with Twist/Add Crunch:
How to do it: You want to lay on the ground, and put your knees up so that your legs are at a 90 degree angle to the ground. Ideally, you want to lay flat on a bench so that you can grab onto the bench behind your head. But, if you are on the ground, you can hold onto something bolted to the ground that is directly on each side of your head. You want to lift your hips up off the ground, pulling with your abs and then add a twist at the top. Then, lower your knees back to the neutral starting position. Once back at neutral, you want to put your hands behind your head and add a crunch. Then, hold on again, reverse crunch with the twist to the other side, and then crunch. Repeat 10 times each side. Perform 1-2 sets total.

4. Standing Single-Leg Cobra:
How to do it: You want to stand and bend at the hips. Extend your arms behind you, thumbs up. Then, raise one leg behind you as high as you can, while slightly bending the knee of your supporting leg, and keep your core tight. Make sure you don't support your pelvis and keep your head neutral to the ground. You want to statically hold your leg behind you for a total of 30 seconds and then switch sides. Make sure that you are keeping your arms up and thumbs back, squeezing your shoulder blades back together. Repeat 2 times each side.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Leg Cramps While Swimming?

I had a question posted to me a few days ago from a fellow swimmer in Massachusetts. He was wondering why he always got lower leg cramping during swim workouts, especially during kick sets with fins. Then, over the last day or so at Master's Swim practice, I have heard a few other swimmers talking about cramps as well. I gave Jeff some advice and hopefully it will be useful to you as well.


You have a very common problem- lower legs cramping while swimming, especially using fins. Good news: you are normal :) Let me tell you what you can do to help this problem get better. Your ankles are probably not as flexible as they can be. So, you need to take some time to stretch your ankles using an elastic band, pulling back on your toes, actively extending and flexing the ankles. You can also sit on your legs where your ankles are directly under your tush and lean backward- if that is not too much. You might need to work up to that. Essentially, your calves are what are cramping because during your kick, your feet are plantar flexed the entire time- it is essentially like you are wearing high heels throughout the entire workout. If your ankles lack flexibility, you will run into problems holding this position for any extended period of time- for you, at the 40-60 minute mark. It has nothing to do with what you are eating/drinking- even though drinking enough water is very important.

I would work on your flexibility of your ankles and also do some calf raises at the pool prior to your workout. You can do your raises at the edge of the pool or in the gutter if you are able to hang onto a starting block and hold on safely. Try this and let me know if you notice a difference.

Have a great day! Enjoy your workouts.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

FOCUS YOU defines FOCUS in 8 different ways. Today, I'd like to touch on these:

1. a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding
2. direction

In order to reach any goal in life: family, racing, nutrition, work- you need to first understand the direction in which you hope to go, and then set a path of least resistance for which to reach your destination. Take into account that our life throws us come curve balls now and again, and some this clear direction, or FOCUS, can get blurry. Some of these curve balls include:

1. Sickness/ Health
2. Kids
3. Friends
4. Work pressures
5. Time

These are just some distractions that can lead to a blurred FOCUS to our end goals. I don't like excuses- in fact, I am all about one taking personal responsibility for their actions. My biggest pet peeve when it comes to the 5 examples I list above is when someone tells me they didn't HAVE TIME. Time is the universal thing that each of us has in our corner- everyone has an equal amount of it in a day. The most successful people are the ones who use it most effectively. The people who are FOCUSED- focused on minimizing the curve balls in their life to use time on their side to get to their goals. Take the TIME in the planning of your route to your goal- so that when you are on your way to your destination, you can best manage your time effectively and minimize any pit stops along the way.

The biggest distraction to focus, however, that I did not list above is reading this email. Yes, YOU. I think that ONESELF be one of the biggest limitations in one's quest to focus who they only hope one day to become. I hear things like, "I wish I could", or "I can't see myself," or "How did you do that? I couldn't..." and that just baffles me. I have never put that much of a limitation on myself and you shouldn't either. So, literally- check yourself, see where you are at as far as your level of commitment is concerned and get YOU focused.

Have a GREAT swim/bike/run/fun today...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fortune Cookie Says...

A fortune cookie that I opened (and quickly devoured) in Middleton, Wisconsin last weekend a few days before my Ironman said..."Be assertive when decisive action is needed." I, prior to opening it, was saying that I was going to look for an immediate reason for this 1 cookie to tell me all I needed to know before I raced, as if it was going to be the tell-all of the result of the IM. I am not usually superstitious, even though my favorite number is 13, but seeing as though I had this big race coming up and it just seemed proper to read into anything three days prior to it, I let the cookie voice get the best of me. So, of course, I looked into the fortune and thought that being assertive in a race is something that I sometimes struggle with, especially on the bike. I sometimes sit back and let some chicks pass me because I am in a comfortable pace and don't want to push too much for fear I will blow up on the run. Being that I am usually decisive, but have wavering levels of assertiveness in the saddle, I took the advice personally and remember 3 distinct times where I held off a few girls on the ride and finished strong ahead of them, having trusted in myself to be the aggressive rider I knew I could.

I am sure the fortune cookie doesn't know jack- but, how fun is it when you look back in hindsight and find reasons for why you validated the cookie advice. Bottom line: trust your decisions, follow your heart, and give it 110%- as assertive as you can. Don't let life happen to you- take charge and decide for yourself to be all that you want to be and more.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Our 5K Team

Today was the 1st practice of our gym's 5K Training Team. We are prepping for the Santa Clarita 5K, which is to be held on November 4th. We have had sign-ups at our gym over the last couple of weeks, getting newbies (new runners) and some more experienced runners to join- all with the goal to finish or at least set a personal record. This is the first time that I have this much involvement training such a wide array of talent and people. It is very evident that many of the team members are hesitant and unsure after the first run today, but I honestly believe that everyone will surpass their goals and have a great race. I saw some great enthusiasm today and honestly, it is just what I needed to squeak out a 4 mile run for myself today after taking 5 days off from my Ironman on Sunday.

No matter your "running" experience, anyone can become a runner. I started with 1 mile just like everyone else. It takes some time to build up to your 5K or 10K, and eventually, maybe your next Marathon- but, with the correct progression and the right motivation (teammates sure help :) You can do it.

Have fun training!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

IM Wisconsin- Race Report

Wow, what a cool event. Probably the toughest event, physically and mentally, I have ever completed. However, that said, I would admit that I have had training days that would have rivaled the difficulty of this race, simply because of the mental toughness required to complete some of those 9-hour bricks by myself in the 100 degree heat. Having 2000 other people there completing the same event, reaching the same great goal, truly helps one keep going. I do have to say that a Lucky Charms Jersey and a really great smile on the entire run also keeps one going, so I have learned. I don't know if I really want to recall all of the events of the weekend, as it might bore you to read. But, basically, coach planned the race for me, and I raced the plan. Nutrition was a 9 on a scale of 1-10. The weather was perfect. I loved it- well, not right after I was done. But, I do want to do it again- the full distance. I have put together a TOP 10 LIST of what ROCKED and what COULD HAVE ROCKED MORE for the race. Check it out and thanks again to all of my awesome friends and family who followed me that day and cheered all of us on.


1. The volunteers.
2. The weather- 78 degrees and sunny.
3. The bike route. Challenging, but some of the coolest riding I have ever done.
4. The town of Verona.
5. Exclusive Bicycles. Thanks to Jeff and Frankie for making me feel at home.
6. Roman Candle Pizza and Wil- Thanks for the pizza, the ziti, the coffee, the breakfast, and the flowers in the Zebra in the room after the race. Very thoughtful.
7. Meeting up with Lynn at the Athletes Dinner and saying "Good Luck" minutes before the race. Giving him a huge hug and seeing the focus and calm in his face through slightly wattery eyes. So proud of that guy!
8. Tri Bike Transport. Loved picking/dropping my bike off right there at the site. Super convenient. Very cool free visor as well.
9. Mexico. 300 Mexican participants and 1 free Mexico Jersey para mi. Gracias a Claudio para la cambio- voy a usarle con suerte.
10. My Lucky Charms Jersey. I seriously had my own fan following with that damn thing. People chanting "lucky charms, lucky charms," who would have thunk it.


1. More Coke on the run course. (just kidding).
2. People in the stands cheering as we ran through the UW football stadium. What a rush, though. You could almost hear the crowd despite the emptiness.
3. More Chamois Butter. You can Always use more Chamois Butter.
4. Seeing Jeremy finish. You rock! Congrats for qualifying for Kona.
5. Having a Surge at the end. I didn't pack one- should have.
6. Running into the arms of a loved one at the finish line.
7. Actually having my mom and sis there to see me- especially to have my sister standing there at the swim exit screaming "go, Erika, go- faster transition, faster transition".
8. Not having my bike break at mile 80.
9. Keeping up with Sean on the bike- actually, good thing I didn't, as I would have blown up. But, Sean, if you know who you are- thanks for the great advice.
10. Having to fly back on Monday. I could have used a few more days with my friends from Kentucky. You know who you are! (J.B.)

Looking forward to doing Vineman and Silverman next year!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Ironman Madison, Wisconsin

The night before the Ironman...less than 12 hours before I will wake up before the biggest race of my life. I am sitting in my hotel room, watching the Top 100 1-hit wonders on VH1. I am resting, and trying to "take it easy." It is kind of an oxymoron- to tell a triathlete to relax. That is a good one. Anyway, I am pretty excited and definitely ready to race. Madison is a calm 70 degrees, probably 75 for the high today- 55 degrees for the swim start. 55 above zero. :)

I have a couple of really awesome tangible pieces of motivational material here for me. I have a card from an awesome client of mine, who inspires me more than she knows- her card reads, "I know you can do it! Get out there and show'em your stuff!!- (inside)- well, Not ALL your stuff". I also have a hand scribbled note from a 7 year old girl and her sister who I met at the hotel the night before- that they left on my door yesterday, which reads: "To (blank): I hope you win your race. Love, ?". I also have a text message from my sister, which bottom line- reads, get out there and do your best. Classic Taylor. I love it. Also, Clancy and Mike have both sent me motivational texts. I have some voicemails that I have saved- of course, from Coach Rach, who (surprisingly) didn't say, NOTHING TO IT BUT TO DO IT, but who always says, you are READY and she knows that I will do my best. I have talked to Monty every day and of course I miss his call today so it goes to voicemail. I love it- he says, "go out there and race your plan. If things are not going that well, just change the plan. (laugh, laugh)." Classic Monty. I also have a message from a friend, Sue Fish, who says, "Take it to the bridge" and my uncle/aunt, who remind me to "Be the Ball." Bottom line, when you are with 2000 others who are trying to accomplish the same goal- nothing will stand in your way. That is the motivation you need- just catch the person in front of you, one at a time, saying "I am going to get you, and you, and you".

One of the coolest things about this race is that I am going to be racing with a friend of mine, Lynn Beiswanger, from Bismarck, North Dakota. He is one of the most inspiring people that I have ever had the pleasure to meet and train with. I seriously can't imagine racing my first Ironman with anyone else who has worked and has wanted this so much, so much more than even me. His determination is truly an inspiration and his focus is unparalleled. Good for you, Lynn, to be this ready and to have the health that you do today to compete in this big event. I will be waiting for you to pass me on the bike- that is if you can catch me! :)

Well, I have a dinner date at 7:30 with some pasta and a glass of yummy red wine. Then, up at 3:45am to get myself up, dressed, and off to the race site. I will be back to give a full race report when I am done.

Have a great day and check back by tomorrow for a full report!

Friday, August 31, 2007


I had a really great conversation with a dear friend of mine this morning at Starbucks. I did most of the talking this morning, but usually, I am a pretty good listener when it comes to my friend. He just wanted to hear a bit more from me this morning, so I felt a need to offer some encouraging words.

Basically, when you truly LOVE WHO YOU ARE, you will find focus, calm, confidence, and control in your life. You will find that your goals, as far as feeling/looking good, your family, your job, your friends, your entire well being, will come easier to you as you have first and foremost accepted how wonderful you are as a person. Honestly, life is too short to be hung up on appearances or the way you are TODAY. Are you living out your life today the way you imagined a year ago? A few years ago? If you were to write a story about your life in the year 2010, would you say, 2007 was the year of my life?

Each year of my life keeps getting better. Not sure what it is, but I believe I attract positive things in my life because my attitude is a direct mirror to the people, places, and things around me and vice versa. For instance, when I hear things like, "You are always happy" from the lady at Subway who helps me 3 times a week a lunch, I feel good. When I hear things like, "You look healthy and so fit- keep up the good work," I can feel good about myself. When I hear things like, "You have helped me lose 15 pounds," I can feel good. When my sister hugs me goodbye and tells me "You are a great sister", I can feel good about myself. Life is good, and I feel like I ROCK.

Do you ROCK? If yes, ROCK ON. If no, get to ROCKIN' and know that it is in you- LOVE YOURSELF AND BRING OUT YOUR INNER ROCK.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Santa Barbara Triathlon- Race Report

I raced in the Santa Barbara Triathlon last weekend (August 25th) and had a mission- to take 1st in my AG again. I got there the day before and picked up my packet and did my ritual swim in the ocean at East Beach. I was staying with a friend in Summerland for the night, so I was going to be on my way to her house by 5:30pm, dinner date at 7pm. The Tri itself is a 1 mile swim, 34 mile bike, and 10 mile run. It is one of the longer tris to do, if you want to challenge yourself to a distance a bit longer than the Olympic distance, but don't want to do a half-ironman. It was my final race before Wisconsin, so my goal was to have a solid race and test my speed on my long, slow distance training legs :)

The race stated at 7am, my wave set off at 7:18. The sun was out and bright and it was going to be a beautiful day. I was one of the first to dolphin kick into the water and had a good fight out to the first buoy. It was actually pretty fun- I don't mind getting smacked around a bit on the swim. Makes me stronger... I held on to a chick's feet for the entire swim. Thanks for the pull, I was thinking the whole time. We had bright pink caps, so it was easy to follow her. My own personal buoy...

I ran out the water in the swim and looked at my watch- 25 minutes and something. Wow, I thought, 2 mins faster than last year. (Not that you can really compare, but I was excited thus far with how I felt). Must have been the Starbucks Iced Light Coffee...

Got on my bike (Gonzales) and off I went. I also wanted to ride HARD today on the bike and test my speed. No prisoners. I knew the bike course and what to expect at mile 25 or so. A few steep climbs and hopefully, not burn my legs out. I didn't want to see Clancy or Gabby at all on the ride..but, sure enough, mile 28 or so, here comes I have my work cut out for me for sure. Gotta play catch up now..

I sure enough caught up to Clancy on the end of the bike and we literally ran into T2 together. Didn't see any other girl in my AG on the run. So, pretty sure I was in 1st. Clancy took off like a bat out of you-know-what and I thought, either I would catch her or she had it. I have been starting my runs with major confidence this season, so all I told myself was to take the first 3 miles "easier" and then hammer it home. The last 5 were going to be all downhill, go hard.

I got to the turn around and ran into some humorous male Age Groupers. I had some nice compliments, like "nice legs" or "good job sexy"- since when did you get this kind of harassment at races :) Bring it on...

So, here I am, having a terrific race, thinking I am #1 when I see this girl in the near distance. Near distance being .3 mile away..with about 1.5 miles to go. I am going to chase her down, I thought. I had some left in me, and regardless if she was in my AG or not, I was going to get her. Gabby and Clancy were already done..I needed her. Sure enough, I got up to her and saw a 25 on her calf. Hmmm..she is in my AG. I caught her and passed her..looked back and she was not chasing. She was done. Hah! I had her...1st in my AG- 7 mins faster than last year. I felt great- took home another tile. Clancy took 1st in her AG, Gabby 1st in hers, and Mike 4th in his. Congrats to all my friends who did the race and great job on the beer relays later at the pool- hosted by, of course, Emilio DeSoto.

Here is to Wisconsin- less than 2 weeks away. TAPER IT UP!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Carb Timing

Don't be "Carb" phobic. Especially when you are an athlete and you need the energy to perform the best that you can. You need the carbohydrates (energy in the form of food) to help your body move- to feel strong, fueled up, and energized. Well, if I do eat carbs (you might say), when is the best time to eat them? Well, check this out:

Nutrient timing when talking about starch and carbs is is so important to understand- as it is more about when you eat certain foods rather than what you eat. As you sleep, your body is using the energy (or sugar), which is given off by your liver, in order to help you sleep- yes, you are burning calories and using energy while you slumber. By the time you get up in the morning, your glycogen levels are low and to replenish these stores, you need to eat your oatmeal or whole wheat toast in the morning. Go ahead and eat your starchy carbs as soon as you get up in the morning or within an hour before or after your workout. Don't fear eating your carbs- just know when to eat them and your body will be more efficient at burning this energy and won't store it as fat.

Be smarter than your body and understand- it is not what you eat, but when you eat it!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Way Starbucks Sees It...

I have a bad habit. It's not really "bad." I guess I feel guilty because I spend at least $10/week at Starbucks when I could just brew my own coffee at home and save a few dollars a month. But, it is all about the experience- and the "The Way I See It" on the back of my Americano in the morning (or afternoon..or night). 3 weeks until my Ironman and so I look forward to any unexpected motivational signs or words of encouragement. Tonight, before I tossed my cup, I gave it a read.

"Run when you can, walk when you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up"- Dean Karnazes (Ultramarathoner).

How appropriate, especially after my workout today. My last big brick until my 2-week taper heading into Wisconsin. Today, my workout started with an 11 mile run, followed immediately by a 90 mile ride, then followed by a 6 mile run. I started at 6:30 in the morning and ended at 2:30 in the afternoon. Then I had a shower. Then I ate. Then I napped. It was a perfect day. I felt great, and honestly, I never felt like I needed to walk- I ran the entire way and finished strong. It felt good to see this quote tonight on my cup. Good Coffee Karma.

Here's to a great week!

Thursday, August 16, 2007


According to, Accountability is defined as:

Main Entry: ac·count·abil·i·ty Pronunciation: &-"kaun-t&-'bi-l&-tEFunction: noun: the quality or state of being accountable; especially : an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions.

Responsibility to account for one's actions is the most important part of this definition. If you are wanting to reach a goal- whether it be to become more fit, or to race in your first marathon, or to qualify for Kona- no matter the goal, you must be willing to take the responsibility to follow your plan for which you set out to reach that goal or accept the consequences if you don't. As a coach, my role is to make sure I am doing the best that I can (i.e. being the most responsible for my motivation and inspiring actions) toward my clients and if they are not reaching their goals, I am held accountable. That is right- I personally hold myself accountable. That is my job. To get you fit and to coach you in a lifestyle that is healthy and will get you the most fit of your life.

That said, you (the client, the athlete, the student) must also hold yourself accountable for your actions. If your actions are not in line with your goals, you must take responsibility for the lack of results. No one else. Ask yourself before you eat that cookie- will this cookie get me closer to my goal? Ask yourself before you go out and drink that 5th beer- will this beer get me closer to my goal? Ask yourself before you skip your next workout- how will taking another day off get me closer to my goal? Be real. Be real and responsible. Get accountable!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Do You Want a Swim Workout?

If you are wanting to change it up in the pool and try some new workouts, check out my new article on

Remember, get in and swim at least 3 times a week to better your time in your races- you can recover faster from hard swim workouts than you can a hard bike or run workout. Plus, during the summer, you can get some Vitamin D- but, try to stay healthy and smart in the sun. Wear the sunscreen and drink tons of water- even during your workouts.


Monday, August 6, 2007

Barb's Race- 2nd Place!

This past weekend, I had my 2nd Half-Ironman of the season- Barb's Race, held in conjunction with the Full Vineman Ironman. The location of the race was pretty much ideal- held in Sonoma County- swim in the Russian River, Bike around the rolling hills of Sonoma, with a run around the town of Windsor- hilly, to say the least. The weather was pleasant- but 92 degrees. Very warm, indeed. I felt confident, however- as I have been training in the heat for most of the summer. And, mental preparation is key in a Half-Ironman.

I had one of the best races of my life there, as I raced a minute faster than Oceanside- on a tougher course. I took 1st out of the water- swam a sub 28-minute 1.2 mile swim. Then, heading out on the bike, I got passed at mile 2 by a girl that looked like she was in my race, but I wasn't sure. I kept going, but didn't see anyone else pass me. I got on the run, in the heat of the day, and told myself to be conservative for the first few miles. Then, by mile 6, I would pick it up. Well, I picked it up by mile 4 and I felt great- nothing stopping me after that. I finished and saw that girl that had passed me on the bike finish at least 20 minutes ahead of me. Turns out she is a pro and, wow, did she have a great race. I finished in 5 hours, 8 minutes. And, I ended up 2nd Overall and first in my Age Group. I was stoked!

Wisconsin, here I come...

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Amino Acid Supplementation for Summer

Ever heard of BCAAs? They are Branched-Chain Amino Acids, which essentially help your body produce more amino acids for growth and repair of muscles, in addition to giving you more energy for your workouts. However, there are some studies out there that say that BCAA supplementation can be especially good for when you exercise in the heat. According to the Sports Supplement Encyclopedia (Antonio, Stout, Edition 1), research within the last decade performed by scientists at Rutgers University has shown that BCAA supplementation during heat stress (94 degrees or warmer) increases endurance in cyclists- the BCAA group lasted 16 minutes longer than the placebo group. How cool is that to know when you are in the peak of summer, heading out for your 3 hour ride on a Sunday afternoon- worth a try? I personally have used BCAAs both during my workouts in powder form and in pill form and I have definitely noticed a positive difference. I do agree that other sups I take during training in the heat (Endurolytes) are also helping, so not sure how much of the benefit is coming from the BCAAs. However, more athletes are trying BCAAs (not just endurance athletes) and- if nothing else, having extra amino acids in your body while you are trying to build strength and get stronger is not a bad idea. Happy Training!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Do What You Love- 5 Tips to Keep your Workout Fresh

Life is too short to "work out," doing the same thing day in and day out, without enjoying it. Take inventory of what you are doing daily to get yourself in shape and healthy and if you truly aren't enjoying it, chances are you are just getting bored. If you can take your workout to a different place, or do it with a different workout buddy, at a different time of day, you might enjoy it more and remember why you love to work out so much in the first place.

Some Ideas to Keep Your Workout Fun:

1. Try an evening workout rather than your typical morning workout.
2. Instead of your daily run on the treadmill, head outside to the great outdoors for a cooler jog.
3. Try flipping your resistance training routine- that is, do your lifts in reverse order (trying to still keep your bigger muscle groups first).
4. USE YOUR IPOD! You might workout better with music, as it is a great motivator. Plus, it lets you keep your mind focused and ignore the outside distractions.
5. Play a sport or Set a Goal: Get out and play a pick-up basketball or volleyball game with your friends. What about training for a triathlon? A 5K? Set a goal and train for it. You will be less reluctant to skip out on your workouts because you have this event planned.

Monday, July 30, 2007

2nd Big "Brick"

Yesterday (Sunday, July 29th), I had my 2nd big brick workout. I had a great idea to go to Santa Barbara for the day to do it- to not only change it up scenery-wise, but to enjoy some weather 20 degrees cooler than I was used to here in Santa Clarita. The workout consisted of the following- in the same order:

Run: 10 miles
Bike: 75 miles
Run: 7 miles

I set off at 9am and thought that by 4pm, I would be done and enjoying some Chipotle down on State Street.

1st Run: East Beach Bath House was my transition area. I set off from there and ran the SB Triathlon run course- which I knew was exactly 10 miles. My goal was to have a faster run both times today, as they were split up into two (17 miles after a 75 mile ride would for sure be slower). So, I ran 10 in about 1:25 and felt great! Got in my bike after that and took off toward Carpinteria...

Ride: I started my ride, wanting to keep it fairly flat, but as I got to Carp, I decided to take a left at Hwy 150. The sign said Ojai-20 miles. So, I proceeded. It was not flat, but I got there and turned around- and it was exactly 4.5 hours. It was a great ride...

2nd Run: I ran the run course again, but this time- turned around a bit sooner. I actually got to the turnaround point at the same time that I did the first run, and I finished strong. Felt great!

So, Race this weekend in Windsor- Barb's Race. Half Ironman.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mental Motivation

Today, I told you that you were going to go out and run 5 miles without worrying about the time- we would just run and I would let you know (by distance markers) how long we had to go as we progressed through the course. We set off and as we get to the final mile mark, I let you know that we only have 1 more to go. We are now 1/2 mile away from the finish and you tell yourself, "just hang in there..just about 4 more minutes." We hit the finish and I break the news to you, "congrats, you just ran 7 miles." You can't believe it. We were just going to run 5. You mentally prepared yourself for 5- how did we just run 7?

Most times, we place mental barriers on ourselves when we focus on pure numbers- in this case, mileage. You mentally prepared yourself for 5 miles, yet your body could go the extra 2. Had you just run 5, you would have been (at mile 4) telling yourself- 1 more to go. But, you truly had enough in you to go the extra 3. I am not suggesting that you do this every workout- or that you even have the energy to do this every run. But, it is amazing what your mind tells your body to do if you place set limits or barriers on yourself. No limits=no barriers to reaching your goals.

I use this example for the scale, too. Some people have specific expectations for their weight- and most people have a "goal" weight. If you took the focus off of this number and placed your mental efforts in the methods you need to take to get there (eating right, exercising) your weight will come off- trust me.

So, today- practice positive mental motivation, without barriers. Truly believing that the sky is the limit is a great way to believe in your capabilities. If you tell yourself to only workout "this" hard, that is what you can expect- but, if you go in with the thought that you will work out as hard as you possibly can- you will surpass the "this" and you just might hit an all-time height in your physical image and strength.

Monday, July 23, 2007

First Big Brick

Yesterday was my first big brick workout in preparation for Ironman Wisconsin. I had a 60 mile ride/14 mile run on the schedule, so I had to get myself "ready" for it- both physically and mentally. Saturday was a planned DAY OFF on the schedule and trust me, I took it. I knew that my nutrition was going to be key, and I am going to be strictly following a nutrition plan during my training rides and runs that will mimic race day.

Saturday: I went to Sports Chalet and bought some Power Bar Gels- 6 of them. I also bought a couple of Clif Bars in case I needed it- along with some Gatorade for hydration. I wouldn't have bought so many Gels had the weather not been fore casted to be in the 90's. But, I thought I would use the Gels as my sodium replenishment as well- since there is some sodium in those things. Saturday night, I went out with a friend and had some salad and pasta. I also had some ice cream for dessert- a big cheat, but thought if I was going to do it, that tonight was the night. I went to bed by 10:30 and set the alarm for 6am.

Sunday: Alarm went off and I re-set it for 7am. I thought I could buy one more hour of sleep and still get out of the front door by 8am. I got up at 7, made my oatmeal, pumped my tires up, filled my water bottles, got dressed, and was on my way.

Workout: My plan was to ride out to Santa Paula on the 126 and back. It was really pleasant weather-wise, so that was nice. Had to stop once to use the potty, but then got right back on. Rode to the turnaround in 1 hour/40 mins. I headed back to Santa Clarita and got back to the house 10 minutes off of pace-but there was more climbing on the way back. I transitioned and the time was 3 hours, 28 minutes. I through on my running stuff- including my hat and fuel belt. I also grabbed a water bottle to carry with me the entire time. It was 11:20am, but getting close to 90 degrees outside. I set off at a pretty easy pace and had a goal of a 2 hour run- I would drive it later to see how far I went. I had felt really good on my ride, and the first 30 minutes of the run, I felt ok- but, knew I was just warming up. I had to keep my heart rate down- as I wanted to keep it around 150. It never got up above 160, and didn't go down below 150. I finished the run in a total run time of 2:12 (2 hours, 12 minutes). I drove the course later and I had ran a total of 14 miles.

After I was done, I went upstairs and took a cold bath- jumped right in with my running clothes on. I soaked my legs and it felt really good. My legs definitely needed it, as they were still sore from the big run I had on Friday. Overall, it was a great first brick workout!

Great job to Rachel, by the way, who is now officially an IRONMAN! She finished Ironman Lake Placid in 12 hours, 43 minutes. Great Job to her!

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