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Friday, January 27, 2012

I'm Gonna Talk About Me For A While

This week of training for me has been one of the best I've ever had- I mean it. I've had lots of weeks, like, I know!

The highlights of my week included 3 very hard bike workouts. Last Sunday, we (my amigos from Ventura) rode 92 miles, from Ventura to Magic Mountain and back. I am doing the Solvang Century, so getting in some longer rides is no problem for my training schedule right now. We had had lots of rain Saturday, so we were praying for sun Sunday and that is what we got. Beautiful weather without too much wind, and we had just a beautiful 5 hour ride. When we got done, I put on my run shoes and ran to the pier and back. I felt good, just needed a few more calories. But, other than that, I was good to go.

Wednesday, my coach had some time, so he rode with me on this awesome 2 hour "fartlek" style ride (not to be confused with a far lick) on Foothill road- out and back to the far side of Santa Barbara and back to East Beach. Again, beautiful weather. And, riding with coach, it is always such a treat because he gives me a goal and then mini-goals through the ride. That day, we practiced big gear, out of the saddle style riding, with some in the saddle, high cadence spinning up the rollers. There were 4 times at least my heart rate got above 174, which is pretty legit on that ride. When I finished the ride, I ran my 10K with my boys at East Beach, and killed it. Felt great, but I was tapped out. Nothing left. Gave it 100 percent. Great training day.

Thursday...nothing too amazing to report- except 4000 yards in the pool...getting ready for Friday's ride- again with coach, and the same Friday ride...but now on my tri bike.

Friday (today), the ride was the usual climbs- Gob, 192, Toro, San Ysidro, Cold Springs...and then even a lil APS on the ride home. 40+ miles. I killed it today on the ride, on my fancy tri bike and everything was just feeling super good. I had only 20 miles on the legs this week as far as running goes (tomorrow morning, a longer run of 12-15 miles), so that probably helped. But, I am feeling way more efficient in my pedal stroke on my tri bike because I have been working hard on my road bike.

Overall, I am having a great time learning how to bike better. I alluded the cycling I have been doing before my coach as a young volleyball player trying to just get the ball over the net and in the court...and now, with my coach, I am placing the ball with intention and accuracy and having a specific goal each time I get on the bike. That was not always the case before. I am also eating better and having some down time- learning to take time for myself in preparing workouts and meals..and sleep!

Thanks for reading- if anything, I hope this motivates you to get up and go- on your bike, even if it is just for 10 of the 92 miles :)

Oh yeah, and 100 miles on the schedule for this Sunday... to be continued.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It Takes Hard Work

So, if you think becoming the greatest in your line of work, in your sport, in your LIFE...were easy, then becoming "great" wouldn't be that much of an accomplishment. I know that sounds obvious. However (and I am guilty of it), we all want INSTANT results- we want to change in a day what took MANY DAYS to create. And, whether it good or bad, it will take time to reverse or change, improve or dissipate. GREAT TAKES TIME.

A man in the gym today was talking about his mom still being alive. This man, Bob, is old enough to be MY grandpa. So, I asked, "how old is your mom?". He replied, "103! and I hope I don't have to live THAT long!". I thought to myself, "OMG, that is 70 more years for me if I live that long- that is extraordinary!". And, I would LOVE to live that long. Call me crazy, but I love life. I would not change a thing- except have my coach cook for me everyday. But, realistically- wouldn't change a thing.

I question all of the clients and athletes that I train everyday to reach their goals, and within this conversation of striving to do his/her best comes the question, "Well, what have you done to get there?." The answer given most often is usually..not a whole helluva lot. And, that is where we go wrong. It takes hard work-sacrifice, reading, learning new things, changing what you do every frickin' day in your routine in order to change. I am not asking you to give up coffee for god sake. But, perhaps see a greater you, within the current you, and get after it. That is the beauty of life- it is dynamic and it might take you further than you ever imagined.

Now, go slam dunk it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Shifting Gears, Efficiently

So, you think you are gnarly? Can withstand any amount of "road rash" and that you are a complete bad-arse? You bust through super hard workouts, day in and day out, beating yourself into the ground FOR FUN. The harder the better! Periodization goes out the window and MORE is better! Quantity not quality... (you get my drift)...

I was on a run the other day with my buddies, Jeff and Shawn, and we were running a hard 10K at lunch time. I think we averaged 7:20/mile pace, on a somewhat hilly course. But, Zone 3 style running. It was good. On the run, as always, we were talking away, telling stories about the other athletes we know...and the story about a fellow Ironman athlete came up (I will not mention his name). He used to run with "our group," yet he couldn't hang any longer because he was either too serious or too structured to do our simple, fun, up-tempo runs during the day (where most of the guys-yes, I am the only chick- on the runs, were RUNNERS). This "IM athlete" one day just lost it and went off on Jeff..."you are just a SUGAR know NOTHING about Ironmans!!!! you just burn sugar with your running...we go hours and just don't get it."

This made me think. I, at times, wonder why I train for as long as I do somedays. I have 8 hour training days sometimes- and most weeks are more than 20 hour training weeks. I am not a professional athlete, but I sure as heck train like one sometimes. I also work 50+ hours a week. HOWEVER, I hired a coach this week to keep me FOCUSED and get me on the right track as far as my mileage is concerned. Not doing too much at once. Pedaling efficiently. Starting from the beginning... breaking the chain!

I quickly realized something over the last 2 weeks since I have had DS as my coach. I have become a better coach. I have reverted back to many of the original philosophies that I had started to coach from- simplicity and fun. I have found myself having a great time writing programs for my clients with care and detail. I have put together some INTENSE volleyball practices for my MVC 14s teams. I have had a better attitude with my co-workers and I wake up each day feeling refreshed and looking forward to my training. I have had some amazing group sessions with my LAVA volleyball teams in the North at Spectrum Club. I am open to learning, and even more open to giving. It is amazing what things can be done when you step back, analyze how you can be more efficient in your life- and, at times, delegation of duties (even your own) can be so freeing. And, my coach, DS- has been that one I have delegated to- to handle the training sessions for myself, which I have so long taken into my own hands- haphazardly, inconsistently, and, frankly, foolishly- doing too much, too often, and with no focus.

As I sit here, post Friday ride with Coach, I am calm- exhausted, but so appreciative for my health, my clients, my athletes, my family/friends, and my life. Several times on our ride today we had reminders that we are truly in one of the most amazing places on the planet. And, even if it is just for today...I can say that I shared some pretty good times with some beautiful people. And, what can be better than that?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Constantly Improving

I have been coaching all day today at Cal State Fullerton- my Junior Olympic Volleyball team, Montecito 14-1s. It was their first tournament and, honestly, I could not have bet how they would have done. I figured we would make silly mistakes- rotation errors, communication flaws, missing serves..running into each other on the court. The usual "first tourney" mistakes. However, I was very pleased to see my girls do well- better than most for the first tourney, and most parents also enjoyed the day. That is always a win in my book.

When coaching young adults (I all my 14 year olds this... :), you have to be "tough" without being too negative- encouraging, but not too easy going that they think you don't care about winning. After all, life is a constant struggle to improve- get better, stronger, faster, richer. It is what we all desire. But, to what degree do you coach this? Encourage improvement? Hold athletes accountable?

I told my girls before the day started that I was proud of them- no matter the outcome of the day. AND I MEAN THIS- 100 PERCENT. I didn't used to be that way when I first started coaching....I wanted to win everything, super intense, almost scared kids away I think. However, I have learned the importance of finding the balance between "success" and "winning"- and, to me, just improving in small ways are big wins in your own book.

For instance, tonight- I was sending messages to my coach asking, "what should I grab for dinner?"...(not that I don't know HOW or WHAT to eat...,but I always knows he has a quick answer and very smart about food I trust that). I was driving home, and he said "salad, with oil and vinegar. Chicken breast, no skin. Oh, and a yam would be awesome." My first thought was, "uh, this is going to take to much work than it is worth...", but I did go to a nice store- bought my protein and salad, and had a great dinner. Small improvements to my past "grab and go" turkey sandwich from Starbucks. It is a constant improvement for all of us- and, if you see yourself making a few better choices each day, that is the important thing. Small steps in the right direction- and making sure that you are recognizing these.

Have a fantastic week!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years "Fun" Ride

I have never riden 100 miles on January 1st. Perhaps it is a foreshadowing to the year before me. I was unsure of the riders that were going to join today, but as soon as I saw the talent show up, I figured it wasn't going to be the mellow ride I initially thought.

My coach said two things to me yesterday: enjoy the ride, and keep the rpms up. So, that was my true focus- RPMs. However, I did get excited today when I saw on my computer that on the ride from Ventura to Zuma and back that I had pushed some strong watts today (high of 455) and close to 200 watt average. The 3 other guys I rode with are part of the Rincon tri club and are all doing Ironmans next year. In fact, Shiggy has completed 37 Ironmans- 30 more than me (but he is a bit older...) and a kicker asser on the bike. It was humbling riding with him today..he is super talented. And, waited until the very end to, what I call, open the hurt locker.

I felt great during the entire ride. Shiggy and I put in an extra 20 miles (after we dropped the other 2 friends off at the cars at the 80 mile mark) and Shiggy, in his best English said, "Erika- we make it hard? or medium?" Dude...I thought, his medium is my hard. So, what the heck is his medium is going to be? Well, there was no choice and the last part of the ride was the hardest and the best. 65 degrees....super sweaty soaked through my 3 layers...3000 feet climbed, and about 500 calories consumed on the ride.

You know what the best comment was of the day? When Shig said.."Erika..all the riders (on PCH) are looking at you...", and I said, "why?", and he said, "Because the girl is pulling the boys." I thought that was pretty cool. And, honestly, I was pulling pretty darn hard from miles 45-66..and it felt great.

I have added 2 races to my calendar- and the one I am super excited about is the Rouge Robaix- it is a 100 mile bike race right outside New Orleans and I am especially stoked because my coach is going to get me in such great cycling shape!! This should be one of the best racing years of my life.

Clancy, Mike and I

Clancy, Mike and I
SB Tri Finishers- Nice Tiles!