Encouragement, Spiritual Growth, Triathlon Training

7th anniversary part A

Worship at word of life North  was off the charts with God’s presence. The last song they sang was The Stand. What’s so interesting about this is that that song, was my theme song, exactly 7 years ago today when I raced in the 70.3 triathlon world championships. Getting to that championship is a whole testimony in itself. Today, God showed me a deeper layer of that experience. When he told me to go and qualify to get to World Championships – I chose to believe (nothing in my speed as a triathlete indicated I’d get there). Then, I chose to train to qualify. Then, despite finishing poorly at the race I picked to qualify at, I chose to believe and went to the banquet to get my qualification “ticket” to world championships (despite finishing 18th in my age group that day, I got 1 of I think 5 spots to go to world championships b/c others decided to not go). Then, I chose to train like a world champion during the 4 months between qualifying and racing. He provided everything I needed. My only contributions were to believe and to make that belief into action.
Before racing world championships, I became very sick. As I traveled to Florida, I was sick. The day of the race I didn’t feel my best but I chose to determine to race my best. The entire 6 hours and 4 minutes of the race were absolute misery of nausea and diarrhea. But I chose to not quit. I determined early on when I realized that this wasn’t going to be pretty, or fast or fun. I chose to finish, even  if I were the last one to finish.
The Lord showed me this morning as we sang The Stand, that it is in our believing and choosing actions that support the belief that we STAND. He showed me that He has put in me a huge about of tenacity and perseverance. He showed me that when we are willing to let Him get the glory (and trust me…as an athlete nothing about my times to qualify or on WC race day brought me glory and with intention I prayed to race for His glory and not mine.) that He would bring His glory through me. Then, He showed me that these past 7 years, which have been HARD, have been  “training and race” days too and that I’ve been tenacious and persevered and He is pleased with me. Oh transformation and working with God can be ugly and messy and many mistakes can be made…but God…brings us through and works it all out for good.
He then asked me, Daughter, are you willing to keep “training and racing” with your life for my glory? I’ve told you things that will be and I know you believe them. You know you can’t accomplish these things on your own. Are you believing as passionately as you did? Are your actions supporting that belief? Are you walking tall in confidence, hope and expectation of my provision for you like you did 7 years ago? The past 7 years have been much preparation..but now, I want you to commit more fully to believing and acting on that belief. I’m calling you UP to a higher faith, a greater expectation..and it’s all for my glory! Remember a few years ago when I whispered to you, “don’t do this for me…do this with me”?  Will you do this with Me?  With all my heart I want to do this with you!! Are you in daughter?
Oh Lord, what can I say? What can I do..but offer my heart dear God only to you. I’ll stand with arms high and heart abandoned to the one who gave it all. I’ll stand, my soul Lord to you surrendered. All I am is yours. All I am is yours. I’ll stand.
Yes, Lord, the answer is Yes. Let’s do this together.  Let’s go to the next level for your glory. Soli Deo Gloria. Soli Deo Gloria.
here are links to the 2 blogs I wrote about the 2010 World Championships if you are interested: https://wp.me/pTgvZ-1f, https://wp.me/pTgvZ-1a,
Pilates, Triathlon Training

Remember, tell and believe!!

One morning about 5 years ago  after I “retired” from triathlon coaching and racing, the Lord spoimg_1703ke to me and asked me to take down all my triathlon photos, medals, posters etc. It shocked me  because the Lord had blessed me so abundantly during those years.  Through the tears, I pulled everything down and put it in a backpack I’d received as schwag at a race.  I then put the backpack into storage in a closet.

 

One morning, just 2 weeks ago, as I was praying about my Pilates career, the Lord told me to pull out all my triathlon stuff and put it up in the Pilates studio. Again, the instruction shocked me.  I asked, “why Lord?”.  Oh I love that the Lord speaks to His people!  He said, that putting it up would be a reminder of all He had done for me during my triathlon racing and coaching years and it would bolster my faith, hope and confidence of all he planned to do for me in my Pilates practice and career!! What a difference 5 years can make.

About a day later, I pulled out that back pack and pulled out my memories.  Yes, very emotional.  I remembered so much and the Lords’ hand was in all of it – everywhere!

I picked out some of my favorite things and got a visual in my head of how I wanted to arrange this altar to the Lord on the wall in my Pilates studio.  Today, with Robert’s help, it is up.  After Robert got everything hung up for me, we stood back and looked at it.  With tears in my eyes I hugged him and thanked him for making my vision a reality.  He looked at me and said,” This wall has many stories to tell.”  True! So not only is my triathlon wall a reminder to me, it can be a conversation starter and I’d be thrilled to tell of the Lord’s goodness!!
When I pulled it all down 5 years ago.  I was broken hearted but obedient.  Never did I imagine the Lord would tell me to put it up again!!

Remember all He has done.  Tell of all He has done.  Believe in all He will do.

Spiritual Growth, Triathlon Training

Swimming with Sharks and staying alive

Tri swimLately, I have been feeling like Dora from the movie Finding Nemo swimming in shark infested waters.  My natural reaction is to swim as fast as I can, as far as I can.  It’s the logical thing to do when confronted with harm and danger. But, instead, I’ve decided to stay and swim.  In this situation I had to choose.  Sometimes we don’t have a choice and we must stay and swim.  If you too are swimming in shark infested waters, here are somethings I’ve learned. I hope they will help you swim strong too.

* Realize where you are swimming!  See the sharks.  Recognize the situation.  Listen.  Observe.  Assess. Take your time in doing this.  Don’t rush it.  Listening and observing can be like peeling layers off an onion. Accept the truth that actions and behaviors show.  Talk is cheap and often contradicts behavior and actions.

*Now, it’s time to ask the question do I swim away  or do I stay and swim ? As a Christ follower, I can’t determine this on my own.  I have to ask Christ!  If He says stay I stay.  If He says swim away, I swim away. There is a time for staying and a time for swimming away.  Be sure you make the right decision here. Again, take your time. You may take a few bites and the water may get a little bloody; but if this is a “stay” situation and you swim away…guess what?  You’ll get another “opportunity” to swim with the sharks again sooner or later!

*If the answer is swim away – by all means swim away with everything you have.  You can stop reading right now!

*If Christ is keeping you in the waters; then Christ also has a way for you to swim!  Again, ask Christ to show you how to do this!  He will.  If He has told you to stay and swim, you can count on a few very important things:

1.  That He has indeed prepared you for this swim.  You are ready.

2.  That you will need to keep your eyes on Him and not the sharks.

3.  That you will have to want to please Him more than you want to defend yourself or run the other direction.

 

During my triathlon days, I reached a point in my swimming ability where I needed to change my approach to the swim portion of the race.  Prior to this point, I had usually swam off the back of my swim wave.  I had not been a strong swimmer and swimming off the back kept me out of the fray of people kicking and shoving and struggling at the start of the swim.  But, I was, at this point not longer able to swim off the back because I was now both a strong swimmer and a pretty fast swimmer.  So, for this race, for the first time, I decided to swim off the front of my swim wave with the sharks! I was confidently nervous!

The night before the race, I was chatting with a couple of women who had raced this race before.  They gave me a very KEY piece of information.  The swim course would be marked by a tow line that was bright yellow and was about 2 feet beneath the surface of the water.  But this bright yellow line would be easily visible. They advised me to jump off the front of my wave, find the yellow line and swim right next to it the whole way. This would mean my siting would need to be minimal and I could swim a very straight course (preventing me from swimming any extra distance which is common in open water swimming).  I was excited about this KEY advice and it gave me additional purpose to stick with my plan to swim off the front.

Race morning came and there was a huge fog over the lake.  The large orange buoys that marked the swim course from above could not be seen.  The race start was delayed so the fog could lift somewhat.  Finally, it was my turn to get in the water.  I nervously went right to the farthest front point allowed in my wave.  Many other women hung way back.  I was focused on finding the yellow line.  I wasn’t worried about the fog.  I wasn’t worried about the other swimmers.  I just needed to trust my new found ability, trust that I’d find the yellow line and then swim my swim.  The gun went off.  I thrust myself forward and swam like crazy barely taking breaths until I have found the line!  It was bright yellow!  Easily visible and straight as an arrow.  Very few athletes ahead of me were even swimming near it!  Woo hoo!!  I quickly settled into my race pace and honestly I had a really good time.  As I rounded the last corner and was heading for shore I saw traffic near the yellow line for the first time.  A bunch of big guys, in wetsuits, that were not good swimmers.  What to do?  Get slowed down by them?  Swim around them and lose the yellow line? I kept looking and watching.  Finally, I caught up to them.  And I laughed as a tiny gap between them opened up. I  stretched my body as long and narrow as I rolled on my side and swam right through the middle of them!  I was home free!  A few hundred yards and I would be done with the swim.  I had gone off the front of the swim wave.  I had followed the yellow line. I had found a way through the blockade of big guys! As I got out of the water and ran toward my bike, I heard Robert yell, “you are third out of the water!”  What?  me?  Kimberly?  Third out of the water?  In the past I had been one of the last 3 out of the water!

The memory of this swim powers me as I follow Christ and learn to swim with the sharks by knowing I’m going to finish, knowing that Christ has trained and equipped me for this “swim”, knowing that if I keep my eyes on Christ (my yellow line) I will survive, thrive and come out obediently victorious!

It is my hope and my prayer that if you are indeed swimming with the sharks that you will ask Christ to guide you, trust His training and keep your eyes on Him and not the sharks.

 

 

Spiritual Growth, Triathlon Training

Let go! Walk into a new thing!

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In October of 2011, I was sitting at the kitchen table doing my devotions and God told me to let go of triathlon. I asked Him to repeat that and of course He did. He wasn’t speaking out loud, but He was telling me,” Daughter, in your workout room, there are pictures, medals and trophies from triathlon and athletes you admire hanging on the walls – this sport I gave you to learn about me through is becoming an idol (replacement god, something I am loving just a bit too much) and I need you to go back and take all that stuff down for awhile and put it away. I know you are injured right now and I can’t tell you whether you will return or not to this sport. But, remember what I did for you through this sport- I helped you learn to swim, brought you a coach ( who turned out to be like the brother you never had), I helped you understand that if you swam in cooperation with the water it would be much easier.  I showed you that in life, when you cooperate with me it will be much easier. I gave you a great job as a triathlon coach and blessed you with many wonderful athletes. I gave you the discipline and talent to go from never being an athlete to competing rather competently in your age group. I provided you the funds and blessings to have all the first rate equipment you needed and to travel to great places to race. I placed in your heart the audacious goal to qualify for the World Championship race in Florida.  You believed in Me enough to go for it and I brought you there didn’t I? That dear daughter, was the last race I brought you to. I brought you to the top race in your sport. That is how I roll dear daughter! Only the best for you. So, now, I’m doing a new thing. I’m taking you new places and I need you to let go of triathlon to go with me on this new journey. I need to be number 1 in your life. Remember this triathlon journey we have been on? I promise you, the next one will be just as exciting and challenging as everything I blessed and challenged you with in your triathlon life.”

I cried. Both in sadness and in joy. I looked back at all God had done and wondered how could I not  let go of triathlon to go into this “new thing”? I decided God was making me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I got up in that moment of commitment and packed up everything as He had told me to and determined to go forward into this “new thing”.

Yes, I drift back into desiring to train and compete. But as time passes, I drift back less and less and less. And as time has passed He is showing me, leading me, preparing me for the “new thing”.

Over the years, I can tell you God has asked me to let go of many things that were hard to let go of, but each time I have let go, I have never ever regretted it. In fact, a few times I have wondered why I hung on so long!

About a year after I put all my triathlon stuff away, God permitted me to put it back up.  Why?  It serves as a visual reminder of all that He has done so I can remain hopeful, patient and confident in Him as He leads me into the new thing! Now, instead of an idol it is an altar that confirms who He is and how He rolls!

I  believe that whatever it is we are hanging on to isn’t nearly as good as what He wants to give us!

Let’s make a commitment today to release what we are hanging on to. He is a loving and trustworthy God. Let’s agree  to take a step forward with Him into the “new thing”!

 

Ephesians 2:10

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Philippians 3:12-14

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Spiritual Growth, Triathlon Training

Don’t miss an opportunity

For several years I arose at 4:30 am in the morning to go swim under the leadership of a great coach. Here are a few life lessons and training lessons I learned during those years that have changed my life.

1. If there is someone placed in your path that can teach you something you want to learn or improve at, then by all means be a good student. Here’s how:
A. Show up for the lessons. Every time. All the time. Not just when it is easy, comfortable or convenient.
B. Do what your teacher says. Don’t think you know better. Don’t think you can’t. Don’t look around at what others are doing. Just follow directions.
C. Respect their knowledge by treating them with respect. Be quiet when they are teaching. Show up on time. Do your homework.
D. Ask someone to teach you if needed! If we are good at something it is likely because we enjoy it. So asking someone to teach is probably something they will be very receptive to. Understand if they can’t and seriously consider any referral they give you.

2. Don’t presume that this teacher will always be there. Don’t hesitate. Don’t delay. Start learning immediately. They could move. The good Lord could call them home. Carpe diem!

3. Let the teacher know you appreciate what they are teaching by telling them how it is improving your life, the skill or the talent. Those that teach, encourage and motivate pour out energy and simple words of appreciation provide a lot of fuel to a teacher so they can keep teaching!

4. As you are learning, expect times of great progress. Expect times of immense frustration too. Anything we are learning and growing through will take time. There will be good days, bad days and break through days. Relish and record the break through days so that on bad days you can look back and see how far you have come.

5. If you are learning with others be open minded….often you will make a new and wonderful friend or business contact. What you are pursuing, the people learning beside you are also pursuing. Enjoy the journey together!

During the height of swimming early in the morning I achieved some accomplishments in the water I never dreamed possible. I shared a swim lane with 5-7 others and together we became a mini swim team. Each of us helped the others improve. Sometimes I was given goals by my coach and I would roll my eyes in disbelief and doubt at their absurdity. But, about 99% of the time the challenge was on target and I achieved the goal! With a good teacher and a team to learn with….you will be amazed at what will become possible and then achievable!

Sometimes we can’t find a teacher. Sometimes, we must determine to learn on our own for awhile. I encourage you to not lose faith or hope because you can’t yet find a good teacher. Do as much as you can while you wait for God to provide you a teacher, in His time He will!!

Remember, the best teachers give their best to the most teachable students! You don’t have to be the best in the class. Just strive to be the best you can be and stay confident in the teaching and allow the process to bring you through to your potential!

This blog is a tribute to my great friend and swim coach- thank you from the bottom of my heart !

Spiritual Growth, Triathlon Training

Stick it!

On my way to coach this morning I had two roads converge in my mind and I was reminded yet again how much swimming has taught me about life.

Road 1:
I was reflecting how much immediate change I saw in an athletes’ swim during a private coaching session . My thoughts at the time were, ” remarkable the improvement. I hope she will hang on to it and stay focused on it long enough to make it stick.”

Road 2:
Again, I was reflecting. This time on an overriding theme in my devotions the past few months. The theme has been “what’s important? What am I focused on? What are my values? My priorities? Do they show up in the choices I make with my time, my money, my thoughts??”

Whenever I’m meditating on road 2 I realize just how much I am barraged by the pressures, distractions and “shiny” things in life and how my answers to the questions in road 2 are not reflected as I would like in how Iive my days. That is always disappointing and heartbreaking.

Convergence:
In swimming, to make an adjustment in your stroke “stick”, you have to focus on it every single stroke, every time you swim. That could take a week or a month or two. It just depends!

In life, that’s what it’s going to take to have my values show up in my choices . Focusing on one at a time until that adjustment sticks.

Simple yes? Easy? Not so much!

To focus means by definition that other things will have to go out of focus. In swimming, if I am focusing on my hand entry, my kick may falter . Not forever , but the kick may falter until the hand entry change becomes natural (no longer requiring focus).

In swimming, I encourage the athletes to focus on one and maybe, for more experienced swimmers, two things at a time . They may have more than that to work onbut, if I give them 5 things, their chances of successfully changing many things at once is low. So, I pick the most important thing. The thing that will make the biggest difference for them.

In my life, I tend to try to change, adjust or improve too many things at one time. I allow myself to do this but, I know better!!

Today swim coaching and life coaching converged! I give myself permission to work on one thing. The rest can wait ! I’ll get to them.

As in swimming so goes life . As the swimmer “sticks” a stroke change, their overall swimming improves!

In life, as I focus on one value, priority or change at a time until it sticks, my life quality, overall, will improve.

An improvement in a swim stroke will offer the swimmer the ability to swim faster with less effort .

An Improvement in life, allows me the ability to live each day a little more reflective of my values and priorities.

One stroke change at a time .

One life change at a time.

In swimming a coach can make a huge difference!

In life, having the right coach . The right example is even more important!

I chose Jesus as my savior, example and life coach .

As I change, one thing , one day at a time, Jesus gives me all the strength, power, understanding, feedback and encouragement I need!

Spiritual Growth, Triathlon Training

Swimming in chop and peaceful decisions

As a triathlete, at some point, you’ll have to deal with swimming in choppy waters. Be that lake, river or ocean. Swimming in chop used to be scarey to me and it took me time to learn to adapt and adjust but not to fear. One day, while in training, the lake had a lot of chop, plus it had the swells of boats nearby. It was kind of stressing me out and I started to swim pretty hard, with a lot of effort. As I tired, I thought, “how can I do this and not have it wear me out?” That’s when I realized that the chop was on the surface of the water. If I just rolled my body more to breathe I could get air and not water and if I lifted my arm high and very relaxed I didn’t get it stuck in the chop. But the coolest part was realizing that there wasn’t chop beneath the surface. So, my pull underneath the water didn’t require any addiitonal effort. Relax more and lift gently on top, and pull in smooth water below. That’s the trick to swimming in chop.

But, how does this relate to decision making…let me connect the two!

Often, as a disciple of Jesus I begin to pray and wonder and ask what Jesus wants me to do. I worry that I’ll make the wrong decision or somehow I won’t hear Him or worse yet I’ll hear Him wrong! But, that’s just worry. It’s not decision making. Recently, in the middle of the night I awoke for about two hours and was thinking through a decision and praying. I came to the answer of no. No I wouldn’t. And I honestly, couldn’t tell you my “reasons” or my “logic”. Oh sure, I had some of those, but truly not enough to support the confidence with which I was going to say no to something.  Even though I wanted to say no, it was a joint decision with Robert and I. We would need to agree. So, my deep peace, I took as the Holy Spirit confirming that no was indeed right. How would I explain this to Robert?

In the morning, over coffee, I told him I thought we shouldn’t. He looked at me, didn’t ask why, and said, “I totally agree. We shouldn’t.” Wow. That was easy. We didn’t discuss our reasons. We just agreed. Then, after agreeing, we began to review the situation and we had exactly the same reasons but the biggest “reason”  was the feeling of peace. Peace that didn’t doubt or question.

Really, if we wait until we have this solid peace about a decision. If we don’t rush it. If we just wait for the Holy Spirit to confirm it, through peace, isn’t that pretty easy? I say, “Lord, here’s the circumstance. I’m not sure what to do. I think we shouldn’t. But, I await for your answer to me.” I’m probably not going to get an email or a facebook post or a text. But, I will get peace.

This decision came with some fears, some doubts and that’s the chop at the surface. That’s the stuff we start to focus on that we think is the issue. It is not the issue. The issue is do I or don’t I and which answer brings me peace. Perhaps the answer comes nearly instantly, perhaps it comes in a week or 6 months. I ask the Lord to confirm whether I should or shouldn’t and I stay in limbo awaiting the peace to come.

Good decisions bring peace even if the decision involves some uncertainty, fear , doubt or risk. But, those things are just chop on the surface water of life! Focus on the peace below the surface.

Triathlon Training

Small Steps

I am grateful today for small steps in my recovery and rebuilding as a triathlete. Today in yoga, I was able to do spinal rotations! Six weeks ago these were impossible and if I even tried, I’d be wrecked for a couple of days. Monday, in pilates, I was able to truly engage my core and I have a wonderful deep core soreness today! I can wake up and make coffee without have to stand one legged in pain. I am finally ok with the fact that doing yoga and pilates is enough for me right now. Oh sure, I could squeeze in some elliptical, I could do a short bike ride ( not in aero position of course). But I don’t. When I’m ready, I’ll make the time.And I’m ok with this understanding and have let go of the “wow, you’re a slacker” self talk.
And probably most importantly I truly still love this sport but, if my body decides that it can no longer do triathlon…I am ok with that too. In God’s arrangement of my life, if a return is not a possibility for me..then my last race was at the 70.3 World Championships. Yes, I would love to return..but if I can’t…my last race was truly an amazing world experience. There is something sweet, although bittersweet about that.

Yes, I remain hopeful. Yes, I am making progress. Yes, I am accepting of uncertainty. I believe that uncertainty presents possibility!!

I know for certain that the yoga and pilates are rebuilding me into a much stronger athlete. This makes me appreciate the injury that has forced me to go back to square one and lay a better foundation. It is on this solidly strong and flexible foundation that I will overlay swim, bike and run….should my body and my God have that planned for my future.

Triathlon Training, Uncategorized

Fitness and Health – walking the fine line.

A letter I sent to my athletes and probably good food for thought for any athlete.
Have you thought about the fact that there is a difference between being healthy and being fit? One of my favorite coaching guru’s and the guy our heart rate training is based on is Dr. Phil Maffetone.  I highly respect his work and his philosophy.  Now, as an injured athlete on a slow road to recovery, I have an even higher regard for his philosophy and approach.

Yesterday, all proud of myself because I’ve been exercising pretty regularly for 5 weeks after 5 months of nearly nothing, I went out for a walk.  When I started my back was quite cranky.  I just figured that once I got moving, the “motion is lotion” philosophy would loosen it up and I’d have a great walk.  As I began to walk, I started thinking about 2012.  What could I train for?  What races could and should I do?  I know that my body is enjoying swimming.  So far, after 3 rides, my body seems to be tolerating biking.  Although I did have some achilles twinges (warning, warning, warning).  My body is not tolerating running.  I’ve tried to take some short little runs and the back just says no, no, no.  So given that..I let my mind wander and I began to think about doing Kansas 70.3 and Redman 1/2 ironman aquabike.  I’d walk the run at Kansas and hopefully kick some bootie at Redman.  Now, I’m about 20 minutes into my walk and my hr is truly settling in (I’m out of shape and a sign of that is a HR that fluctuates all over the board as the body tries to figure out how to most efficiently accomplish what it’s being asked to do) at 98 bpm.  98?  That’s not even zone 2!!  I try to walk faster, my back is not loose and not happy.  I ease up for a couple of minutes and try again to walk faster.  Nope, the back won’t do it.

That’s when I began to think about Health versus Fitness.  In one of Maffetone’s first books, he addresses this issue.
Health is defined as: The optimal function of all the body’s systems:  those made up of muscles and bones, organs and glands, heart and lungs, nerves and brain, etc.
Fitness is defined as: Athletic ability, with the level of fitness associated with the levels of training and competition.

Maffetone writes, “Many athletes, including weekend warriors, spend much of their time getting fit but don’t pursue health with the same vigor.  Many others can actually become less healthy as a result of pushing and sacrificing their bodies from stress, more training than they can handle, poor diet or other factors, rendering them less healthy.  The result is injury, recurrent respiratory infections, chronic fatigue and other health problems that are sometimes wrongly considered “part of the game”.  But they are NOT part of healthy training.  These problems are indicative of an imbalance between health and fitness.  Once CAN have good health and achieve very high levels of athletic performance.”

Wow, I am now both unhealthy and unfit!!  So, what do I do first?  Get healthy.  Stop planning to train and race.  Focus on what I CAN do to get healthy and to set myself up to be in the best possible health when my body IS ready to begin to get fit, whenever that may be.

As a coach with 2012 on her mind and planning a little each day, you as one of the athletes I’m so blessed to coach are also on my mind.  I know that I have failed myself and I have failed you.  I had signs of fatigue, stress, etc and I didn’t stop.  I wanted to keep going.  I allowed myself to feel pressure and even put more pressure on myself because I thought as a coach I needed to.  When I first started in this sport – I was just so grateful to train and race and have FUN.  Each race I learned, each race I improved.  It was pure joy.  Then at some point, it became addictive and I took the challenges that my potential showed too far based on what my body could handle and what I could readily fit into my life.  Want the truth?  I was training for an Ironman because I felt that as a coach I had to/needed to do the distance. My performance for the second 1/2 of 2010 and all of 2011 had totally stagnated – that means what?  Overtrained.  Did I really feel it?  No, I didn’t think I was overtrained, I kept thinking that I needed to do something different to have a “breakthrough” in my performance even though I know that the fastest way to a breakthrough is more rest in a training program.  Geez, easy to see in an athlete, tough to see in myself!!  I have a group of wise people that I seek advice from a couple of times a year and they EACH told me it wasn’t necessary for me to do Ironman.  But, I had convinced myself it was.  So, at the beginning of this year I set out to train for Ironman knowing that I was pooped and had nagging little  aches left over from 2010.  I told you at the beginning of this paragraph that I failed myself and I failed you and I did.

I am ABSOLUTELY convinced that many of you are chronically tired, have so much on your plate and you keep trying to rearrange it to make it fit and stuff keeps slipping off.  I’m convinced that like me, you don’t even truly understand how tired you might be or just how incredibly beneficial REST would be on every single level for you.  I am absolutely convinced, more than ever that it is CRITICAL to fit triathlon into your life and that HEALTH comes FIRST.

So, I’d like to ask you to reflect on how you feel, take an inventory and assessment of ALL aspects of your life.  Listen to those you trust and trust what they tell you. Take an honest look at what is driving you – ego? stress relief?  Keeping up w/ your teammates?  A secret “I’ll show you” attitude towards someone or life in general? Escape?   Really, as I see it if we aren’t having total FUN….staying healthy and constantly improving what the heck are we doing?  Give credence to the fact that you probably don’t know how tired you might be from training (I didn’t really know) and how a BIG break or a BIG reduction in plans might actually get your health and fitness to a higher level.

Our Try a Tri  input meeting (for those in or returning to Try a Tri) is coming up 11/14/11 at my house.  6:30 pm.   I’ll also be sharing my approach to 2012 at this meeting and at the Winter 2012 reg and roll on 12/8, 6:30 pm at the Northwest YMCA.

If you want, please call me to arrange a consultation where we can sit down and really assess where you’ve been and where you should go.  This assessment time will probably really help you to get an objective view of where you should go and what you should do for 2012 and 2013….a long range plan is always a good thing.  Thinking of just next year, may be too short!

Not long ago, I sent out a youtube about how a top elite runner fit more rest into his training regime and actually got much faster as a result.  Here’s the link again: http://youtu.be/icKwnvYGSQI

Triathlon Training

Entering a new phase!

Week 4 is ending and week 5 of the come back is beginning. There are 2 parts to this blog.

PART ONE

I missed writing last week.

Week 3 I took off 5 days w/ family in town.  I enjoyed the relaxed pace and the time w/ them.

This week has been a good week.  I completed 100% of the training that I planned plus I added a 45 minute bike ride in.  This is the first in a long, long time.  My back felt ok during it and it was awesome to push on the pedals.

I am swimming well.  I can feel the rhythm of my stroke coming back.  Each master’s session I feel stronger.

I am not running – even a little bit seems to just tighten my low back.

I plan to do 3 bike rides this week – 1 in cycle class w/ TaT and 2 -30 min. on my own.  Zone 2, easy peasy.

I’ll test drive some strength and continue faithfully w/ yoga and pilates.

The highlight of the week is that I did have a pretty big break through this week in regards to my back.  An athlete generously gave me a one hour massage with my massage therapist, Lesa Lomax.  I saw her on Friday.  She worked really hard (ouch!) on the area of my back that I call “the hitch”.  I have felt the most relief in months since that.  But, she also told me to tell my body to “let go.  It’s ok.  It doesn’t need to hang on anymore.”

I know that sounds a little out there.  But, I took her advice as I often do and voila!  My body is definitely responding to the freedom.  I walked for 40 minutes today and the hitch didn’t get hung up once.

The question I am asking myself is this…is hanging on to something merely physical in my body or is there something emotional I’m hanging on to as well?  I don’t have the answer to that, but you can count on the fact that I’m asking God to show me what I might be needing to let go of.

PART TWO

I decided that I would do baseline testing w/ my Try a Tri team this past Saturday.  We were to do a 1 mile mahr run (running at our highest aerobic heart rate) and then 1 mile AFAP (as fast as possible) and then a time trial swim of either 500 yards or 1000 yards. I would pass on the afap as my back probably wouldn’t be too happy if I tried to run yet alone run fast.

So, on Saturday morning, I put on my running shoes and heart rate monitor.  Remember I said I wanted to look forward and not back?  Well, I’m committed to that BUT..I couldn’t resist the urge to look up my last mahr mile.  It was 9:16.  Yesterday’s mahr mile was 15:36.  Ok, that’s where I am and I’m going to train smart so I don’t stay there.  Humbling, yes.  But, on the other hand – it just is what it is and I’m really ok w/ that.  For a few minutes, I wanted to do that afap mile – geez, do you think my ego was bruised or what?  Then, I realized, that I would tell an athlete, “don’t stress. You won’t see that number again and next time, you’ll have a big improvement because training works.”  I told myself that and very quickly became ever so grateful for a team of athletes that support me as an athlete.  They were so encouraging despite the fact that their coach had the slowest mahr mile of the day!!

The  500 yd. swim was fun.  Paul and I did it together.  My goal, keep up w/ him and apparently he had the same goal.  We finished in 8:17 and I hit the wall just ahead of him..but I know Paul…he gave me that and let me hit the wall first!

 

There’s hope and improvement for my back. I’m enjoying the come back trail and plan to be mindful and aware of each phase.  It will help me appreciate the journey and I’m just sure it’ll help me improve as a coach.