Sunday, December 30, 2012

Camp Los Angeles

During the fall semester of college, our volleyball team stayed around during the week of October break to practice and play in a tournament, usually local. Because we had an unheard of amount of downtime, we used to refer to it as Camp Swarthmore. In other words - lots of play with only a little work. The days were filled with trips to the King of Prussia mall or movie marathons or 4-hr practices. The nights were spent roaming Philly, playing beer pong or dancing around the dorms.

It's been a few years since I graduated and joined the work force. Luckily my vacation days are generous, though nothing like college. And since my family is 3K miles away, I generally devote my time to traveling to see them. However this year, I managed to strike a great balance between my two homes - CT and LA.

After 5 days with my parents and sister and little, four-pawed nephew...

Me and Wilson

...I came back to LA with 6 free days on my calendar. My itinerary was simple - coach, workout, sleep (aka slow my roll) and recharge. Mission: Accomplished. So far.

Camp Los Angeles has had a lot in store for me on the training front.

Perhaps not the schedule one should be playing with prior to the Goofy Challenge. But I'm happy and healthy and that's more important to me than sticking to a prescribed set of numbers. Fun times ahead, too, as next Saturday many of my friends and I will run the New Years Half Marathon in Downtown LA Saturday night!

Many other fun moments this week. I've dedicated at least 5 hours each day to training and coaching (sometimes one more than the other). Most valuable has been the time I spent with Coach J, who took an entire afternoon to trade stories and advice, and hash out the minute details of our Ironteam master schedule. And I got to play with his dogs, so that was fun too.

Outside of training, I spent plenty of time with the tri family. Trips to the movies. Ice skating. Wearing costumes. Haivng dinner with friends. Having lunch with my friend and CM. And most importantly: Laughing and smiling.

Just another #BEATCANCER Saturday

A 2hr ride / 20min transition run with 20 Ironfolks in Santa Monica, CA. A great day to ride, and I was blessed with opportunities to chat with most people as we circle the infamous "Amalfi Loop". At the last leg of the transition run - yes, I rode and ran as Batman - I was caught by IronCoach Brad (currently out of season, but still very involved) and he pushed me to a painfully wonderful negative split. I could have used a third lung in those last 20 strides ... but I go to bed tonight stronger for that effort.

Iron on Ice

Seven of us caught Silver Linings Playbook - funny and charming - and then headed down the street to the makeshift ice rink. One of the five of us fell during the skating. I won't say who ... but my hip hurts.

Bottle Rock, Culver City

Good reds and a surprisingly mild Zin. "Pick a Bottle. Buy two glasses. Rock out with your cork out." A great way to cap off a chill night.

Post Rainy Practice Talent Show

Thank you, team, for encouraging my inner 8-year-old to blossom.

While I've spent the majority of my time juggling sports management stuff, the one thing I am really psyched about above all else is an upcoming fundraiser that Coach Holly and I are throwing together in February. If you happen to be around the LA area on Feb 2nd, please consider stopping by and support our team. It's a night we promise you will not forget - we've been to this place before and it ranks up there with one of the most fun and memorable nights ever.

Sky High Fundraising Info

If you like the idea but live far away ... shout out to Canada! ... you can still support us with a donation - just email and and we'll make sure your generousity is acknowledged!

Wishing you peace as you reflect on 2012 and ambition as you journey into 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Kermit the Frog - Wise Words for IT '13

“I have a dream too, but it’s about singing and dancing and making people happy. It’s the kind of dream that gets better the more people you share it with. And I found a whole group of friends who have the same dream, and that makes us sort of like a family.” - Kermit the Frog


Tomorrow is the last all-team workout of the New Year - a long bike ride, a short run, and hopefully some good grub to follow. We are about to start week 9, and I'm already feeling the tinge of bitterness that accompanies the sweet of sharing a passion with someone ... or 80 someones. The bitterness being: how does time pass so quickly? How much have I gotten to really know my teammates? There is still so much to learn and share, and the clock is ticking.

After the New Year, when folks return from abroad and afar, we'll get to practice together as a whole unit - The Ironteam. We'll have 5, 6 and 7 months to do so.

For me - the finish line? It's not as important as the process of getting there. Sharing the same dream of pushing limits, exceeding expectations and holding onto those brief moments of confidence that fuel the inner fire - that's what making the most out of the 'here and now' is to me.

So much promise and potential on the horizon for 2013. Never expected it'd be a puppet from my childhood who brings these ideas into a valuable perspective.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tao of the Treadmill

I promised myself one last long run before WDW marathon weekend, and the workout happened to fall when I was in Connecticut. Cold, cold Connecticut. I’d done a bit of running outside for shorter workouts, but I wanted to long run to be +2hrs, and the thought of my big ears freezing in the wind was enough to keep me inside.

Only option, aside from running in place? The Treadmill. Aliases include: The Treadie. The Dreadmill. The Hamster Wheel. None of those are particularly positive nicknames...

But for this workout, I decided to shift my focus – instead of solely concentrating on the miles, I took the opportunity to practice some mindfulness – flexing the mental muscles along with my calves, quads and hams.

See, all of the time I spent in the airport this week afforded me the chance to dig into some great reading.

you are here by Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the most well-known Buddhist teachers, and in the past three years, I’ve tried to incorporate bits and pieces of his teachings into my life.

A few days before the treadmill run, I started you are here. And the first chapter touches upon shadow feelings (as termed by psychologists and psychotherapists, not TNH) and how to embrace them. Shadow feelings are the negative feelings – pain, anger, jealousy, guilt, etc – that we turn our backs on because we don’t want to feel or acknowledge them. Yet, when we ignore them, these feelings grow bigger and eventually rear their heads in monsterous ways.

He writes, “When you are dealing with pain, with a moment of irritation, or with a bout of anger, you can learn to treat them in the same way. Do not fight against pain; do not fight against irritation or jealousy. Embrace them with great tenderness, as though you were embracing a little baby. Your anger is yourself, and you should not be violent toward it. The same thing goes for all of your emotions.”

So I took this mindset to the treadmill – I am going to feel the boredom. I am going to feel the pain of the workout. I am going to feel the fatigue, and I’m not going to block them out. Instead, I’m going to embrace them and move beyond them.

I logged 16 miles in 2hrs 20mins. All on the treadie. The first 10 were my “backpocket” miles – ie, easy to pull out and get done. But boredom crept in at 11, then aches at 12. And then I quickened the pace by 45 seconds/mile and ran the final 3 with a vice around my lungs. But during all these uncomfortable feelings, I kept my mind on them. And you know what? They didn’t go away, but they didn’t scare me. They were just there – neutralized.

Once you turn your face to the boredom, the discomfort and the fear of being in your own head for hours on end, all those shadowy feelings are diminished. And all of a sudden, the mental part of the workout is more manageable. I stopped feeling the "mind versus body" duality and instead felt a little more whole. I wasn't fighting myself. I was using my entire self - the energy, the focus, the aches and the boredom - to soldier on.

So what do I take from this? Well, I’ve recently struggled with race anxiety, but this training session chipped away at that a very tiny bit. The act of embracing discomfort as opposed to fearing it is something I will store away for future use. And it’s something that might be useful to practice with those I get to coach, it may help someone who shares my wavelength.

So with all this mindfulness in mind, time to hop on the bike and log some time on the road and between my ears. And then time to eat. All of this thinking makes me very hungry! :)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Quiet on the East Coast

Hometown Population: 5,000
Year Founded: 1804
Stoplight Count: 2 (100% increase since I lived here)
Today's Temperature: 32 degrees
Topography: Rural, State Forest

With three clicks of my Kinvara's, I'm not in Los Angeles anymore. If only for a few days. Took a phone camera along for the workout around town. I love running in this area in the summer - so much green. The winter, less so, but I still pick up on the slow, quiet Colonial feeling of central CT.

More today's workout:

The Start Line/Finish Line

Today's path

A quiet morning at the lake

Site of childhood summers and swimming lessons

Color on an otherwise grey morning

S. Hill House, built in 1840

Stone walls and fences - much of what you see here

Opposite side of the lake

Closed in 2008 but still standing, Marlborough Country Barn

Center of town, flags half mast

Friday, December 21, 2012

New Year's Resolution

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!””Jack Kerouac

I think I'd be okay if the world ended today. I feel like I'm on equal footing with the universe for the moment. No major debts owed. No dire words unspoken. Sure, there are places I haven't seen and a long list of to-do's. But all 'n all, I'm good.

But since tomorrow's going to happen ... onto setting a New Years resolution. I don't usually set one, but this goal is something I've been working on for a couple months. And after an inspiring conversation with a friend this week, I'm going to full on label it a resolution.

I'm going to invest myself more in people. Not any particular person or persons. But people in general. I've got such a great opportunity right now having 60-or-so new faces in my daily life - the triathlon team. If I'm going to coach and I'm going to care and I'm going to invest the minutes/hours/days of my life - I'm going to do so with all my heart. For me it doesn't mean being a 'rah rah' person all the time - as athletes, we all know that sometimes tough love and a biting word can send us in the right direction. But I'd be foolish not to seize the chance to do as much good as I can for my teammates.

And beyond my team, I'm trying and will continue to try to tell people how much I care and appreciate them. Sharing the gratefulness, I guess. I'm in the midst of writing my holiday emails -- my lame little version of cards -- and it's not easy to pick pointed and thoughtful words that let my friends know how important they are to me. Sometimes what I write just sounds creepy :) But I'm getting past that - I'd rather my caring be shared than go unsaid, because you never know if you'll ever get the chance to say it again. You just don't.

I'm not sure I'll be able to hit a midpoint next year and measure this goal. It's not quantifiable in miles or miles or pace. I suppose it's up to be to be the judge and jury. And I believe that 'you can always give more'. So that's what I'm going to continue to try to do - invest more, give more, care more. And grow from it all.

Okay enough promises to myself! Off to CT tonight, and will hug my parents by 10am tomorrow morning. Bundling up for what will be a CHILLY 5 days of working out. IronChamps don't take a holiday!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Small Form Tweak to Make You Faster

"There is no tension in swimming," Coach Jason said last night. We were standing on the deck working with one of the team's intermediate swimmers - a guy who has such potential to be a great three-sport athlete if he would only relax a little.

After Jason reviewed more proper form, I looked down at my teammate and said, "Try this: With the rhythm of your strokes, say this to yourself, 'I am a worthwhile person." (My alma mater, a super-academic haven for masochistic students, has the tongue-in-cheek slogan, "No Matter What You Say Or Do To Me, I'm Still a Worthwhile Person.")

With this advice and Jason's instruction, he laughed and then swam.

For me, Jason's words illustrate such an important part of training - focus and relaxation. You can't fight tension with tension. You end up fighting only yourself. So what is one of the smallest and easiest changes you can make to your form to help you go faster? What relaxation technique can make the hard work easier? Smile.

On Sunday I ran with 11 other Ironteammers down at Venice Beach. I shuttled from group to group so that I could chat with everyone and make sure they felt comfortable. It was a 6-mile run, and at the turnaround point I found one our runners going at it alone. From what I've observed over the past 7 weeks, she's got a ton of promise as a triathlete. She's a competent swimmer, really stronger biker, and a solid runner. But as we ran, she talked about how she doesn't quite have the confidence with her run yet.

So for the last 2.5 miles, we did a little "pain cave" work. I pushed her through two one-mile repeats at a pace below her PR. As we ran, I threw out little pieces of advice - roll your shoulders, remember why you run, etc. I also told her, twice, to smile. Even though I was 1.5 steps in front of her, I immediately heard her breathing change. It was lighter. There was a laugh to it. And if she could lighten up and laugh, it meant she could keep on going at this speedy clip.

The most productive state you can be in while training is relaxed and alert. It's why coaches say that when you run, hold your hands like you are cradling eggs. Don't clench your fists. Same thing with your head - don't clench your jaw. Just smile.

You're not the only one who will benefit from the smiling. At IMCDA '10, there was an enormous amount of course support. While I was on the bike, I told myself, whatever happens out here, I'm going to grin through it. I committed myself to high-fiving every kid I could and waving at all the spectators that cheered me on. Because, maybe somewhere in that crowd, there's a kid who thinks he or she can one day be an Ironman. Or maybe next week sign up for swim lessons. Or ride a bike on the weekend. If they happen to catch my crooked grin and mischievous eyes - the look I have when I'm having a blast - maybe that's the small touch they needed to send them along their journey. Who knows? Not me, for sure. But why not think that?

Perhaps this is cheesy, novelty advice. It has nothing to do with body angle, heart rate or VO2 Max. It's just a smile. But smiles are windows to your head and your heart. And in the end, those are the two most important things that get us to the finish line.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Evolution and Reflection: My TNT Journey

Inevitably when the New Year holiday rolls around, we take at least one last look over our shoulder and review the past 365 days. I've found myself twisting my neck a little farther back and thinking about all of the time I've lived in LA (6+ years) and how my friends, teammates and participants I've made here have shaped me as a person and a coach.

Scrolling through some pictures, I'm surprised to see just how many people I've gotten to work in the TNT community - particularly in the marathon program. With each go-around hovering around 75 people, and with 12 season under my belt ... discounting repeats, I think I've shaken a fair amount of hands and shared a lot of smiles.

I've always been a planner - there is safety in knowing what's coming up and what's on the to-do list. But had you told me in 2006 - when I graduated college - what my life would like in December 2012, I would have wrote you off as mental. Who knew.

As important as it is to know where you are going, it's also important to remember where you came from, who has traveled the trail with you, and who has changed your life. The folks in these photos, among many, many other people, have made me who I am today.

This has been my TNT path - a big part of my adult life.

San Diego Rock 'n Roll 2007

It started with the Summer '07 season. Marathon bug bites. I'm forever infected with desire to run far and free.

Followed the Winter '07 season...

Running and fundraising allowed me to travel Honolulu for my second marathon. By the numbers, this was my worst race. And physically, this was the most painful one. But I returned to the mainland wiser and stronger and still motivated to chase down another finish line and raise more money for the mission.

Became a TNT mentor in '08

Might as well hit up the other non-contiguous state. I broke 4 hours for the first time at the Mayor's Marathon in Anchorage, AK.

I kept my West Side Team involvement alive by racing the Santa Barbara half marathon the following season (Winter '08-09). No pictures, but a PR that would hold for a couple of years.

The following summer I had my first shot at coaching. And I returned to the San Diego RnR race.

2009 was the year I fell in love with coaching. Wise men say that the things you think about during your free time are what you should be doing with your life, because when you love what you do, it's not work. For me, coaching is never work. It's an expression of love. It's how I "be" and "do" and feel alive.

Unable to kick the TNT addiction, I returned for the winter season in 2009 as an assistant coach

Back to Honolulu! By now, then race had become an annual tradition.

Arizona RnR Marathon in January '10

Track jacket family descends upon the Inspiration Dinner!

Step up to co-head coach the team for the summer '10 season - San Diego, Alaska, Seattle marathons.

I was balancing IM Coeur d'Alene training as well as a 60-hour work week schedule. Little sleep, but unforgettable experiences and lessons.

Big, scary, rewarding leap to solo head coaching for Winter '10 season

We trained for LA Rock 'n Roll, Hawaii and AZ RnR races and completed them all. Forced to step up and lead, and with the help of my assistant coach, Joe, we had a successful season.

At Arizona RnR, Jan '11

Our team had the Top Fundraiser in the Nation. Proud to call her my friend, Lori.

Winter Season '11-'12 - Back to Hawaii!

I took a season off, finally, and then returned to co-coach the group to Santa Barbara Half, Honolulu Full, and Walt Disney World (Half, Full, Goofy) races.

Robert and I at the first leg (half marathon) of the Goofy Challenge

So very memorable to share my love of WDW Marathon weekend with my TNT family.

Summer '12, San Fernando Valley Team

The following season, I took what I felt like was a big risk - I left my home on the West Side and jumped chapters to the San Fernando Valley. It was the best decision I have made in recent memory. The doors that opened for me there, the people I coached and worked with, and the path it led me on (to where I am today) are all irreplaceable.

Life now: an assistant coach on the Ironteam.

9 months, 75 participants, 3 races and 1 goal - find a cure. I haven't left marathon-ing, I've just added two more sports before it! The feeling of belonging here is strong.

I cannot believe so much time has passed since my first season. I've lived so many lives between then and now - many of which I did not expect and some were trial by fire. But all of them have molded me into the coach and friend I am today. And while I, like everyone else, always wants to change things about myself, for the moment I am content and comfortable. And I believe wholly in my heart the best is yet to come.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I Eat A Lot

I ordered two breakfasts today. No shame. My tri friends ask me how I do it.

The Answer:

Certainly I am not the hardest working athlete. This mileage isn't all that high. But I don't log all of the dancing I do around my apartment. And we're only in week 7 of a 38-week season.

The triple order may happen soon enough.

Great week of workouts. Great week of coaching. One more until I'm home for the holidays.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

31 Days On ... Slow Your Roll, Kid

"Moving eight miles a minute for months at a time / Breaking all of the rules that would bend / I began to find myself searching / Searching for shelter again and again / against the wind" - Bob Seeger, Against the Wind

"Slow your roll, kid"
- the voice inside my head

I wanted to go for a run tonight. Go knock of a handful of hills and see my friends. I had ran this morning already - speed work with one of my teammates at almost my speed work pace. And I usually go after the double-workout days with teeth-knashing determination. But not today.

I gotta slow my roll a bit. I haven't had taken a break from workouts or from come-on-be-brave life in the last 31 days. I've been burning my candle at both ends, logging doubles, and riding a fast and furious wave of energy and motivation. But tonight...I had to shut down tonight.

Everything in my life these days seems to be flaming fast. Perhaps it is the push toward the holiday. Juggling workouts, friends, coaching, work and sleep has been doable, but at the sacrifice of that last one. The important one. The eight hours of recharge I like. This month, it's been 4-5 hrs/night. Not good for brain and body, I admit.

But the thing is, I haven't had a bad workout in these 31 days. Ironman base training + layering in Goofy Challenge mileage has me on the move constantly. I give myself a D+ in sitting still.

But finally, I feel like I'm getting in shape. My runs are consistently sub-8min/mile, even if I throw inclines in. At our team's long bike ride last week, I pushed myself to stick with our lead rider, and my lungs and quads hung in there. And I'm jazzed when I get the chance to log 90-120 mins of exercise on a work day. From it, my brain buzzes constantly.

And that's the rub - my brain is buzzing. I'm wide awake and extra chatty. (Mostly wise ass comments. Yesterday I started to get sick of the sound of my voice). I have the adreneline rush that is egging me on to do what I say, and say what I mean - live life hard and fast and passionately. It's too short not to. Hell, I'm writing on this blog once or twice a day recently. I've never had this much to say!

But this new mindset is not an omni-benevolent gift.

See, at work, I'm in charge of organizing two all-company events. One happened yesterday morning. And though I planned and prepped and executed without a screw up, I had a faceoff with someone that set me off. An HR person (admission: I HATE HR and all it stands for) was slow on the uptake with providing me some info - info that it takes about 5 minutes to collect. Yet, when the deadline loomed and I asked for the four time for it, I got an attitude back at me. And I bristled.

I got so worked up and aggitated that when my boss arrived she took one look at me and asked me what happened. I bit my tongue as much as I could, but eventually spilled it all out. Thankfully, because my boss is awesome, she commiserated, and even said she enjoyed me being unhinged. It was fun for her to watch.

Normally, I'm unfazed by the stress of my job. But the go-go-go that I got going is upsetting that. So, time to shut that down for a beat. Resetting my brain with a night alone, a TV on, and the physical and social stretches I reach for well out of my grasp.

Home. My parent's backyard. Where I get to 'slow' for the holiday.

I gotta slow down now to benefit the time to come. I gotta bury my head in the sand and shutdown for a bit. Last time I rode the energy wave without caution was in my last IM training ... and I crashed. Overtrained. Lost a lot.

This time I'm pulling the reigns back. Trying to find that intensity between All and Nothing. I will, with time and patience, and a nice holiday break.

So with complete moderation, a deep breath, and (still) a tiny voice that says find-those-f'ing-limits-and-break-them, I roll on. Just half a step slower than normal.

Obligatory Holiday Gift Ideas Post

For the endurance athlete in your life, (mom and dad).

Stocking Stuffers:

The Icy Hot Stick - Unlike the balm, you don't have to get your fingers all oily. This stuff works well for mild muscle soreness - calves especially.

Bike Tubes - The flat tire gods are fickle, and have a way with timing their punishment when you are farthest from your car or home.

Reflective Tape: Turn any of your normal clothes into night running gear by adding reflective tape. This version is iron-on.

For Running:

The Quotable Runner
: Inspirational words and observations for us to think about as we plod along our training runs.

Smart Wool Socks
- I was skeptical that wool socks would be comfortable to run in. But my aunt swears by them and got me a pair. They are amazing! I've done plenty of rainy runs and these have kept my feet warm and fairly dry. No blisters or raw rubbing.

For Swimming:

TYR Goggles - My favorite goggles, the ones I lost, were TYR make-your-own. I made them purple and green in honor of TNT. I'm bummed they are gone. I will probably buy more. Comfortable, non-leaky and good peripheral vision. Highly recommend.

Fun Swim Caps - Happy caps make for happy swimming.

For Biking:

Cycle Shoe Covers
- Even though it doesn't get super cold in SoCal, the winter months can bring on frozen toes on some early morning rides. Booties can warm you up a little more.

Tube Belt - I think this one is really neat, but then again, I'm wearing a Smurfs track jacket today. So trust my fashion sense at your own risk. A repurposed bike tube as a belt.


Proform Spin Bike: Replace your trainer with this bad boy. I watched the TDF this year, and almost every commercial break featured this bike. With google maps integrated and the ability to climb and descend 20% ... seems a lot more fun than cranking away on a CyclOps.

The Vitamix 5200 - Epic Recovery Shakes in seconds. But watch your fingers.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Monkey in a Visor (Swim Practice)

The expert at anything was once a beginner. - Helen Hayes

I like to be useful. Helpful. Of value.

Sometimes passively - listening, learning, absorbing, overseeing.
Sometimes actively - directing, advising, contributing, deciding.

However, put me on a swim deck with a list of drills and the responsibility to correct swimmers' techniques? Might as well put a monkey there. A monkey dressed in a visor and TNT jacket and a crooked grin.

I can encourage, sure! I hope I can bring some motivation and humor the participants who are putting in the work. But when it comes to understanding form and technique, I'm in the guppy lane.

It's frustrating, fascinating and very humbling - all things I knew to expect when I signed up for this role. Growing as a coach and as an educator means exposing myself to new material and practicing it. True of almost anything in life.

I'm not a swimmer by trade. If the first leg of a triathlon was something else (pie eating contest?), you wouldn't find me at a pool. But since the swim is included on race day, I practice the discipline. I've swam since my senior year of college, but have never been coached, nor never have had to teach others.

Man, it's tough. Like trying to enforce the rules of a game that you don't quite know how to play. I can analyze a running gait and diagnosis wonky form and function on a runner. And I feel confident speaking about the bio-mechanics of cycling. But swim language is like British-speak to me ... it's almost an English I understand, but just out of my comfort zone of really getting it. Like every fourth word is foreign.

My fellow coaches - saddled with placing the swim monkey to oversee a lane or two - have been amazing. They coach the participants in the pool, and then coach me on how to coach others. They point out hitches in form and then show me how to correct it and tell me how to message it. And then they make me deliver the correction to the participants. Trial by fire.

Monkey in the black jacket and purple t-shirt

I'm learning a lot. I'm floundering as I go. I'm dancing around getting frustrated that I can't master this skill over the course of a week. Just when I have a grasp on one area (ie high elbows, hip rotation, head position), something unfamiliar pops up and back down to monkey-brain I go.

Like anything ( Ironman), these skills take time to development. And patience and a passion to want to understand them. I have the latter and am working on the former. We have many folks new to swimming and to triathlons. If they are willing to face the giant learning curve and conquer it, so am I.

Ultimately, if I can coach with empathy and invest myself fully in the progress and experience of the participants ... then, well, it's not the end of the world if my swim education comes along slower than I want.

The monkey to man evolution did take a couple billion years. I hope mine doesn't take as long.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Friends in Low Places

Now I'm not big on social graces,
Think I'll slip on down to the oasis,
Oh I got friends,
In low places.
-Garth Brooks
I've mentioned it time and time again ... I am not used to doing my running or tri training with a team. Having spent the last couple of years in a coaching role, I relegated my own training to my free time, which meant solo runs for marathons, and bikes and swims when IMCDA populated my schedule.

But now things are a bit different. I am a part of a team. It is weird and unfamiliar and great all at the same time. And above all that, among this team of +80 folks, there are a few others who are generous enough to share their insight into their training.

For me, it's really great to read the minds of my colleagues. Naturally, it's rare that we speak all that we are thinking. So to read the various accounts of my teammates Ironteam experience is kind of nice. If you're interested in checking out various points of view from the 2013 GLA Ironteam, I recommend you connect with these great people.

Anabel - All In - a kickass triathlete, honored teammate, #beatcancer survivor and, though I've only known her briefly, I vouch that she's an awesome person. If you need any inspiration to get out there and give your best ... follow her.

Holly- Her writing is at: And...Go! - You ever meet someone that you feel like you've already know for a long time? For me, this would be Holly. She is the Ironteam's lead swim coach, and I'm learning a lot from her. Also, she throws great parties and doesn't hate you for passing out in her spare room [Update: No hate, just laughs. All cool. Thanks H.]

Amy - I was SO happy to hear that Amy is also a CT native! She is a fellow assistant coach (bike-focus), and works at JPL. You know the time we sent the Rover to Mars? Yeah, that's pretty much her doing. Her writing is thoughtful and self-depricating, and it's very much worth your time. Take a look: here.

Solange - Though she's new to the Ironteam (like me), Solange is a TNT alum with a passion for pushing limits. I had the pleasure of biking with her about a month ago, and along the way she shared the story of her first marathon - the very challenging Catalina Eco-Marathon. If you are looking for a caution-to-the-wind athlete, check out her IronTeam experience.

Elisabeth - also know as EWS, I met Elisabeth back in the summer of '11 when she decided to join the Ironteam. Through twitter, we connected and she inherited my bike, Max. Since then, we've kept in touch, and I've followed her progress to her first Ironman event, Vineman Full '12. She's come back to IronTeam as a mentor and captain, and I'm looking forward to hearing about the progress she will make throughout the season.

Chris - Every year, Chris finds a source of motivation that fuels him through some crazy endurance events. In the past, he's run and tri'd for his immediate family. This time, he's honoring the life of another young man. Chris was my first coaching mentor, my first Ironman shepard, and an inspiration to me. Should you need a spark yourself, please connect with this guy.

These folks, among the many, many others I'm proud to call friends, are how I can trek 140.6 miles in one day. It's not just physical, it's personal.

Strike a Balance

Train hard.

Work hard.

Love hard.

Take chances.

And wear costumes while doing it.

Dress for the job that you want, not the job that you have

Happy Monday!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Good Pins

There are a couple of friends on facebook who post some pretty great jokes, quotes and meme-style pictures. Since tumblr and micro-blogging has gotten more popular, there seems to be an endless amount of visuals floating around there. Pinterest is a site you can use to catalogue or bookmark what you like.

I was resistent to start a Pinterest account because I thought it would be a waste of time - and truthfully, it is a great time waster!

But have you ever heard a quote or seen a poster and just thought to yourself - yes, THAT. That's what I like about it - I can read and stash some motivational quotes there. Every now and then, I find and pin more.

In the spirit of another great IronTeam workout weekend down (90min bike + 5m run), here's a few of my favorite pins. The entire board is here.