Work Hard, Race Hard, Play Hard

Work Hard, Race Hard, Play Hard

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Focusing on the Journey

Wow, where has the time gone.  Has it really been 4 months since I last blogged?!  I know, I know I sound like a broken record, but this year is going way too fast!  Now that I have entered what I call my 8 week Ironman crackdown mode (I’ll explain more later), I figured it was a good time for an update.  I have been living true to my motto "Work Hard, Play Hard, Race Hard" and there is sooo much to update on!!

Quickly, before I get into too much Tri talk…it’s not all about Tris is it?!  A quick recap since I was last on here.  April was a fun month (except for turning 35).  I have to admit, I really struggled with this birthday.  Some people struggle with 30, some with 40 and I assume maybe 50, 60 etc?  But 35 was really tough for me and had me thinking a lot.  I started to think about where I was in life and how it is so not where I thought I would be at this age.  Actually, I can’t even say I had this big picture layout of where I expected to be at this age, guess I should have set more 5 and 10 years goals back at 25 and 30.  Oops.  But live and learn, so yes, the goal setting has begun for the next 5, 10 years.  My lululemon friends will be so proud :)   The build up to 35 was way worse than the actual day…not surprising right?!    That is when I realized I should be focusing on all I have to be thankful for at 35 and not focusing on what I didn’t have or had not accomplished yet.  First and foremost I was thankful for my friends and family who made the whole birthday week so special and fun -- I forgot all about the age! And what’s a Birthday without a Birthday present to yourself, right?? This year I purchased a new Scooter - ROMEO!

                                           ROMEO!!! Isn't he HOT??!!

                                          Celebrating "35" NYC style with Great friends!

                                             My adorable Godson Eamon blowing out my candles :)

The bday celebration continued in Cabo a few weeks later with my friend Danielle and Sissy.  We had a great week in the sun and lots of fun :)  Sissy now works at lululemon full time (I am sooo jealous!)  and its more difficult for her to take time off now, so I was SO glad she could make the trip for a few days.  Celebrating my bday without Sissy just wouldn’t be the same. 

                                           Cocktails in Cabo at the One and Only Palmilla

May finally brought race time for me.   I toed the line at Florida 70.3 thinking wow – 6 months since I last raced? And those were 6 months of mostly NO training!  It certainly had my nerves going even more than usual race morning.  Florida 70.3 was my first ever 70.3 back in 2006 and when I qualified for my first World Championship event and have raced here almost every year since! After not having raced here last year, I was really excited to go back! I love this race!  Let me take a step you know from previous blogs, I took a very loooong off season!  And let me tell you, boy was I out of shape when I got back! But the good thing was I missed it - I missed the training and the racing and that is the point I needed to get to in order put in the work again!  So at first when I suggested Florida to my coach he wasn't thrilled with the idea because at that point I would only have had about 4 weeks of training under my belt and he didn't want me to be disappointed with my result.  But I was able to convince him that I needed to get back out there and test my fitness.  My goal for this season has really been to focus on the process and not get too caught up in individual results. The one thing I know I have lacked in my training is consistency and I'm really trying to work on that. Nothing has changed in my job and I’m still working crazy hours, trying to squeeze training in when I can, and not getting nearly enough sleep, but you know the saying "If you don't like something change it, and if you can't change it, change your attitude!"  Well that is essentially what my mantra for the year has been and on most days I think I have been successful :)

Ok back to the race..I flew down to Florida with my Mom  (I am always so THANKFUL to have her join me on these trips, I truly couldn't do it without her).  Although I have raced Florida many times, this was my first time at the new venue.  Pre race all went very smoothly and I"m also extremely thankful to have Tribike Transport as a sponsor as they take off all the stress of having to deal with getting my bike to and from races!  As for the race itself, I had a good day! I didn't set any personal records, I didn't win the race, but I did land on the podium with a 3rd place finish and most importantly I REALLY enjoyed competing again! I had fun out there and I did the best I could on the day. I think my result was a fair assessment of where my fitness was at. My overall time was 4:58.  I swam 36 minutes.  I was happy with this since I swam a total of 5 times since IMAZ and it was a non wetsuit swim! One of these years I will find the time to focus on my swim, I know I have a lot of room for improvement here. But with limited training time, I need to focus on the bike/run where I know I can make up the most time!  I biked a 2:42.   Hmm the bike...for the past year I feel as I have been making big improvements in training but it hasn't seemed to translate into a good bike split! But I'm hopeful one day soon that fast bike split will make an appearance!! And I ran a 1:33.  Not my best run, but again with so much time off I'm happy with my effort and on a day where it was super hot and a lot of people were walking this was still one of the fastest splits of the day, so I'll take it :)   Overall it was a good day, and I left Florida happy and content with  my performance!

Yup Looks like I"m happy to be racing again :) Not sure what I"m doing here?? Carrying a torch to the finish??
                                    Post race with my Biggest Fan & Supporter - Mom!

June was a hectic month with a little bit of everything.  Started off the month doing the Rev 3 Quassy Olympic.  I had not raced an Olympic distance since 2009, so I was a little nervous. You might ask, nervous about an Olympic when you race Ironmans?!  The Olympic distance is hard – all out for 2+ hours!  The shorter the race the harder the effort gets right?   Well that’s what I told myself :) Since I am not a great swimmer, olympic distance events aren't the best distance for me, but I had a free entry for a Rev 3 event from winning my AG at Rev 3 Maine last year and for a few reasons I decided to sign up for this race!  Also, a few friends were racing the half the next day, so I stayed for the weekend to get in some additional training and cheer them on!

As I predicted, racing Olympics is hard!! And this is a hard, hilly course!! I pulled off another 3rd place finish and the fastest run split! Again, I really enjoyed racing and was happy with my overall performance ! I loved racing again and know I gave it all I had!  Rev 3 puts on a really nice race and I had such a fun weekend racing with friends.

The next weekend I was off to Turks and Caicos for 5 days with my extended family.  This trip involved very little training, a lot of beach/pool time, laughs, drinks and fun.  I wasn’t feeling like much of a triathlete after this trip (PLAY HARD too right?!).  Thankfully I followed this trip with a weekend in Lake Placid with WorkLiveTri team for a training camp.  The 2 days of biking and swimming was much need after my fun in the sun in T&C.

                                    Ahhh pure heaven...the beach is my happy place 

After over a year since my last trip to visit sissy in SD (don’t worry we saw each other plenty throughout the year) my mom and I headed to SD for a long weekend with JK.  Our already planned trip was such perfect timing as… Sissy and Mike got engaged the wknd prior!!  YAY – congrats.  I could not be happier for them.  It was a girls weekend so we did a little bit of everything.  Mom, Sis and I did some runs along the beach, swim, beach time, shopping, good food etc.  We even squeezed in a race – the JUMP aquathon.  Fun race, but running right after the swim with no bike in between is tougher than I thought!  Was also so happy to catch up with my old friend (and MUCH missed training partner) Liz and meet her adorable daughter Hailey.   It was really such a great weekend and we were all sad to see it end. 

                           Celebrating Sissy's engagement SD style!!
                                    So happy to be reunited with Liz & meet cute Hailey!
                                                    My two Faves!
                                               I think I'm winning the bike race :)

Back in NY recovering from the red eye also had me gearing up for my 8 week Ironman crackdown… oh yeah, forgot to mention I am doing Ironman Canada in Whistler in August.  I learned after Ironman Cozumel 2011 that I can only focus on Ironman training/intensity for 8 weeks.  If I try to do longer I lose focus and get too tired. And for those wondering what exactly "Ironman crackdown mode means to me...for me during these 8 weeks besides work I really try to make training a priority and I do my best to block out other distractions. It's only during these 8 weeks that I will not miss training sessions for a few glasses of wine with friends or skip a ride for a day at the beach. During all other times of the year I really try to balance social activities with training. For me, there is so much more to my life than triathlon training and I can't sacrifice everything else all year long!   It is only during these 8 weeks that life is all work, swim bike and run!   I like to think this would be different if my job wasn’t so demanding on my time, but since this is what I have to work with right now, I’m working with it.  Back in the winter as I tried to figure out how to approach this year and what worked and had not worked in the past is when I realized I felt most prepared for IMCOZ 2011 after only 8 weeks of focused training.  So here I am now…in the beginning stretch of it and really enjoying it.  Very late start to the season for me, but I am enjoying the journey again and that is what it’s all about!

I knew after last year that I had to make some changes.  As I have mentioned, I spent a lot of time this past winter thinking about where I went wrong, how I ended up in such a rut at the end of 2012 and how can I improve on those issues.  There were three glaring things that kept resurfacing every time I reflected back – 1. Find a way to have more consistency in my training 2.  Don’t put so much pressure on myself 3. Focus on myself and not what other people are doing.  Number 1 speaks for itself, so I’ll skip to number 2… I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself in all that I do, but I realized that as excited and proud I was after winning the amateur title at IMCOZ it also brought even more self imposed pressure.  I got so much in my own head last year that I took the fun out of it.  As for number 3… social media is great in so many ways.  And not so great sometimes too.  For me, the more I knew about how much other people trained, how they were out getting in extra 100 mile rides mid week, how they were just finishing their ‘morning’ workout at 9am while I had already been at work for 2 hours and barely could squeeze in an hour training session, or how most people seem to be going to bed for the night just as I'm leaving the office..all of these factors just added to the pressure I put on myself.  And I will admit, this led to some insecurities on race day.  No matter how much I tried to tell myself I have to trust what I did in my training, it wasn’t enough because I was always thinking about how others had trained so much more.  

So while being aware of this is a step in the right direction, I also needed to make some changes, one of which was a coach change.  I decided I wanted to have a coach based in NYC.  For some reason having a local coach just made me feel like I was going back to my early days of Triathlon when it was just for fun!  Deciding to change coaches is one of those things that is NEVER easy.  I am now working with Brian Hammond of WorkLiveTri based here in NYC.  It has been really great working with him so far and I am excited and optimistic for the future together.  Sadly, I had to say goodbye to Mike Plumb (sort of!).  Mike and I had a great run together.  He taught me so much, he was amazingly supportive of me and I am so thankful for all the time and advice he gave me to me as a coach and a friend.  Luckily he can’t get rid of me completely…he is soon going to be my brother in law :)

Lastly, I am thrilled to be on the NUUN and Sparkly Soul ambassador teams this year and have the support of Newton.
And huge thank you for the continued support of Tribike Transport, HealthWarrior, lululemon and Sai Systems.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous summer.



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